Agile VC: 

My idle thoughts on tech startups

The Essence of Silicon Valley

Lee Hower
July 23, 2008 · 1  min.

Reading Time: 1 minute

“Instead of managing business risk to minimize or avoid failure, the focus here is on maximizing success. The Valley recognizes that failure is an unavoidable part of the search for success.”

This is a quote from Randy Komisar’s book. It’s not a new book (first published in 2001), but I only recently picked it up and started reading it. When he wrote it, he’d been an entrepreneur involved with a bunch of exciting companies like WebTV, Tivo, LucasArts, Claris, etc. More recently he ended up joining Kleiner Perkins as a partner.

I’m still in the middle of the book which touches upon entrepreneurship, career/life choices, and other topics so I reserve judgement until I finish but I’ve enjoyed it thus far. But his point from the quote above is that in Silicon Valley the greatest risk to startups isn’t failure but rather mediocrity. Komisar crisply expresses one of Silicon Valley’s primary points of cultural differentiation (for better or worse) relative to many other parts of the world.

Lee Hower
Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.