Should VCs Blog?

I ask this question because the Boston Globe asked it in a piece in yesterday’s paper. The answer depends first and foremost if you are comfortable blogging and are willing to make the commitment to do it often and do it well. If you are uncomfortable with blogging or are unwilling to commit to it, then the answer is no, you should not blog.

My views on the the subject are pretty well outlined in the piece. The journalist who wrote it, Scott Kirsner, had an email conversation with me. I told Scott the following:

[Blogging is] a huge benefit to our business. Of course it brings
incremental deal flow, but it also filters the deal flow and makes it
more targeted and more relevant

Its also a great way to bring needed attention to the companies we invest in

And its a way to do research on new sectors and learn about other companies that compete with our companies

And
its a great way to learn about emerging technologies. Check out the
comments to my andreessen post yesterday or my post on AIR last week.
You can’t buy that kind of education and I get it every day for free

I could go on and on. Its the best tool for vc investing that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in this business for more than 20 yrs

My favorite quotes in the Globe article come from my friends Woody Bensen and Charley Lax. Woody says:

Woody Benson of Prism VentureWorks says the Needham firm has spent
years gaining venture capital experience, "something that we call our
intellectual property."

"Our goal is to share that in the
confines of the meetings that we have with our portfolio companies and
potential portfolio companies," he says.

That, to me, is the defining argument for and against blogging. There are those who think the best way to manage your "intellectual property" is to hoard it for yourself. There are others who think that intellectual property should be shared, developed out in the open, and that it will grow exponentially. I am in the latter camp. In fact, that is my worldview on almost everything, as readers of this blog well know.

Charley Lax’ quote is classic Charley:

Charley Lax, managing general partner of Grand Banks Capital in Newton
Centre, says the limited partners who put their money into venture
capital funds think blogging is "stupid. They want you to be working on
your portfolio companies and looking for the next great deal."

You can spend you time in the venture business worrying about what your limited partners think or you can focus on your true clients, the entrepreneurs and the companies they create. I prefer to do the latter and I think blogging helps enormously in that effort.

I don’t think there’s a right and a wrong in the "should VCs blog" debate. It works for me and it works for our firm. And I couldn’t imagine doing this business anymore without a blog.