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This Author: Randall E. Stross
This Narrator: Eric Conger
This Publisher: Random House Audible

eBoys by Randall E. Stross


The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work

by Randall E. Stross

Product Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
11 Hrs. 11 Min.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 4 ratings
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The first inside account of life within a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, eBoys is the fascinating true story of the six tall men who backed eBay, Webvan, and other billion-dollar start-ups that are transforming the Internet and setting a new pace for the economy.

Randall Stross, author of acclaimed books on Microsoft and Steve Jobs, blends a business historian's perspective with a journalist's flair for suspenseful storytelling to look at wealth creation up close. For two years, Stross gained unprecedented access to the venture capitalists at Benchmark, an upstart firm founded by thirtysomething renegades whose average height happens to be 6'5. Since Benchmark's founding in 1995, each partner's net worth has increased, on average, $100 million annually.

Stross was present as the Benchmark boys debated which businesses to support, and by recounting their conversations in testosterone-rich detail, he offers listeners the most precise and enlightening account of the ways in which venture capitalists think, evaluate prospects, and wield influence.

The author also gained access to a number of the Benchmark-backed start-ups, including a small, privately held San Jose company called eBay. The value of the company grew from $20 million to more than $21 billion within two years of Benchmark's investment, an increase of 100,000 percent. Business Week called it "probably the best venture capital investment of all time."

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Reviewer Donald
 February 17, 2006
This Text Refers to the Hard Cover Edition:

Most people who want to found a new business dream about getting venture capital en route to going public. At least a third of these people who approach venture capital firms do not have any contacts to get them a hearing at venture capital firms. Even those who do will find the odds are long. Perhaps one deal in 100 from connected people will be funded by a particular venture capital firm.

Almost all entrepreneurs I know think that venture capitalists get paid too much, and that they get in the way rather than being a help.

This book will help you draw your own conclusions, as well as give you some ideas about what to look for if you do decide to go for venture capital.

Many will be astonished to see that funded ideas often come with no workable CEO in place. The venture capitalist will often play a key role in doing the recruiting of the CEO and other key personnel.

Also, others will be amazed to find out how important little things are to keeping deals together or tearing them apart -- usually the trust or lack of trust in those involved on all sides.

For years, I have worked with executives whose firms were orginally funded by venture capitalists. I also have friends who are venture capitalists. Everything in the book rang true to me.

The only thing that would have made the book bettter would have been equal access to the thinking of the people in the start-ups. We get their view through the VCs. Because of the relationships involved, that's hard to accomplish because there's a need to stay friendly that is harmful to candor.

Although the book will be invaluable to entrepreneurs, it was not designed for that purpose. It really is more of a business history of one firm over a two year period of time, highlighting some of its most successful (eBay and Webvan) and unsuccessful (a venture with Toys R Us that went nowhere) relationships. You'll have to draw your own lessons along the way. So it's like reading a mystery novel. Keep your eyes open for the clues, and draw your own conclusions.

People thinking about a career in venture capital will also find the book to be valuable. The demands and strains are large, and so are the rewards when it all works. Keep in mind that success in venture capital goes in cycles. My friends tell me that dot com investments have been the most successful class of investing ever for VCs. Some firms report making money 90 percent of the time in the last 5 years. It won't usually be that easy. Se remember that you are reading about the good times when you go through this book.

Buy it, read it, and apply its lessons to make your own success greater! You're much more likely to create an irresistible growth enterprise when you do.

Donald Mitchell

More Details

  • Published: 2000
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: E002058
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