John, who? Well, yes, not many people knows billionaire John Doerr, one of Silicon Valley’s most revered Venture Capitalist specially from 2005 to 2009 when he was either ranked number 1 or 2 on the Midas List. So, here…
Since being a cornerstone of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, he’s backed up some of the most successful technology companies in the world such as Amazon.com, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Intuit, Symantec, Friendster, and Google.
On the other hand, Doerr also missed some great investment opportunities in Facebook, Twitter, GroupOn, and LinkedIn. With Facebook, because he was already committed to Friendster. While with Twitter, because he didn’t see the early potential of the service. And the others? Oh well…
Obviously, Kleiner’s initial passing on the big three affected its popularity among web entrepreneurs which eventually led to a wake up call in terms of how Kleiner is run – from developing a tracking system called Dragnet which monitors the social media and app-store rankings among others; to making some pivotal recruiting in Mary Meeker, a Morgan Stanley analyst.
Would this do? With the company’s basic philosophy of seeking disruptive ideas and game changers, of looking to support entrepreneurs who wants to build institutions – these changes may sound sufficient as Doerr has also been looking into promising green and clean technology.
But wait. This only sounds enough, but to truly determine “disruptive ideas and game changers”, you got to get to their base and experience them – not just hear it from afar or from those already on top; this is actually one reason why some venture capitalists miss out on some opportunities.
When investing, good product-picking is more than just feeling the public, it’s about understanding the uses or objectives of the product and foreseeing how it would evolve over time. For sometimes, there are products that may sound auspicious only to mature so fast with no other direction, Doerr should know better. And other times, there are those that may have vague to no revenue-generating features, but could really be hot commodities if only given a deeper look.
Many times, greatER things start with small beginnings.
What’s your take?