VCs Who Code

I'm going to stop by Google I/O in SF this afternoon to see this panel (yes, a panel) of VCs that Google has assembled. The common trait among all of them is they write code or at least they used to write code for a living. Here's the list:

– my partner Albert Wenger

Brad Feld

Dave McClure

Paul Graham

Chris Dixon

I am a big fan of "VCs Who Code." I wrote software for a living very briefly during college and before business school and have a basic understanding of the process. But that was 25 years ago and modern software development is fairly different from what I did back then. I used punch cards in one of my jobs.

Software development is the foundational technology for everything that we invest in. And so having people in the venture industry who have their heads wrapped around software engineering is a very good thing.

Our firm has benefitted in many ways since Albert joined us full-time two and a half years ago. But one of the most important ways that we have benefitted is that our comfort with technology risks and technology issues has gone way up. You have to take risks to make money in the venture business. But you also have to understand the risks, asses their magnitude, and figure out how to mitigate them. The more technical chops you have in your partnership, the better off you will be.

It's also true that I have deep respect for every one of the investors on the panel this afternoon. Each of them is a superstar and they are among the most innovative and thoughtful VCs in the business right now. I wonder if that is derivative of their early years writing code? I suspect it may well be.

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