A venture capitalist's ego trip
Click to viewMost venture capitalists I know are deeply insecure. Why? Because they're not entrepreneurs. Yes, it's true: The Valley's moneymen have a founder fetish. And the worst of the lot are the former lawyers, who never did anything even remotely resembling building a company, but retain the lawerly suspicion that they're smarter than their companies. I mention this because I've stumbled across August Capital partner David Hornik's intro video from The Lobby, his invite-only Hawaiian vacation masquerading as a conference.In the video, which he posted publicly to his personal blog, Hornik puts on a series of baseball caps — he wears many hats, yageddit? — from his portfolio of startups. A song plays: "You're my superhero, my knight in shining armor." Venture capitalist to the rescue! Hornik's wife and kids also appear. He's a family man! At first, I wondered if Hornik had actually made Lobby attendees sit down and watch this video en masse. Not so, I'm told; instead, it was preloaded on the free iPods everyone at The Lobby received, along with other self-introduction videos. The Lobby's schtick is that it has no formal schedule of presentations; instead of sitting in a room ignoring the video while Twittering, attendees can simply ignore the program outright, as it sits unviewed on an iPod's hard drive. I don't know what's worse: the image of Hornik inflicting his egofest on a captive audience, or the pathetic vision of him wandering around his own conference, wondering how many actually bothered to watch it. And that's why Hornik's a funder, not a founder. He has enough ego to make this video — but not enough ego to force it on people. He lacks the chutzpah an entrepreneur needs — and I suspect he knows it.