Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Capital, has a nice post on why VCs blog/tweet. According to his back-of-the-envelope calculations, 10-15% of all VCs blog or tweet. I would add a few more reasons why they do so:
- VCs in competitive markets, now more than ever before, need to appear (and hopefully be) accessible to entrepreneurs. Blogs allow VCs to be visible, appear human & approachable. Hey, I have never met Fred Wilson or Brad Feld but via their tweets I even know what Fred’s wife writes about or how much Brad weighs :). Makes me feel somehow connected to them. If I had a consumer internet idea, they might even be on my short list of people to talk to just for that reason. Unfortunately for me, not as many energy techies/founders are web/blog/tweet savvy, and hence it is harder for me to reach them via social media. No wonder few cleantech VCs blog/tweet.
- I like to think smart VCs are hypothesis driven, but they often don’t get enough time to vet their ideas out as deeply as they would like. So blogging, tweeting etc provides a way for VCs to get feedback on their thoughts and ideas. I, for one, also like to be connected to the community around me and by putting my opinions out there I feel better even though I stand the risk of being misunderstood, misquoted, disagreed with and/or even publicly embarrassed.
- At least the entrepreneur community tends to pay attention when a VC speaks. VCs can utilize that podium to promote their portfolio companies. Nothing wrong with that – in fact I love it. I noticed that a few VCs even have links to news articles about their portfolio co’s as a part of their signature profile. (Now that I think about it, about 10-15 years ago having famous people’s sayings at the bottom of your signature file was the ‘in- thing’. That was kind of a tweet, no?)
- By all measures, most VCs get less printed press/PR time than they may have had as an entrepreneur or an executive. Even young startups often hire PR firms who try to get interviews/profiles etc into trade rags and big journals. Could it be that all the entrepreneur-turned-VCs miss that exposure to media and utilize the blogs/tweets just to be famous for the heck of it?
So why do VCs blog and tweet with such frequency? I can’t speak for all 129, but here’s why I do it:
1 I love to write. Simply put, I enjoy words, language and the challenge of expression and composition.
2 Creative expression. As a VC, I can’t exert my creativity in the same way that I did when I was an entrepreneur. My blog is one productive yet harmless outlet to express my creativity.
3 Educational. There’s an old adage that if you truly want to learn something, teach it to someone else. Forcing myself to explain the VC business to entrepreneurs through my blog has pushed my own thinking and required me to study issues more deeply than I might otherwise have done.
4 Transparency. The VC business can be an intimidating business to many. I am an iconoclast at heart. As a former entrepreneur, I particularly enjoy breaking down barriers and making the VC business more accessible and transparent for others.