When I was a lawyer, I always knew when I was done with a project. After all, if you are working on a financing and the company receives the money and the investors receive the stock certificates, you are pretty much done. Same is true of a licensing agreement. You draft the agreement, negotiate a lot, but when both parties have signed the contract then you know you are done. But not so of the venture business. You are never done. There aren't discrete projects. There aren't a set of tasks to get done in any given day. There are only a bunch of opportunities to be considered, a bunch of smart people to be met, a bunch of interesting companies to spend time with, a bunch of new technologies to explore, a bunch of blogs to be read, a bunch of email to answer, a bunch of breakfasts to be eaten. It is a bunch of stuff. And each VC has his or her own theories about which of those things is truly important to be a successful venture capitalist.
One of the reasons I spend a lot of time speaking at and attending events is because I think it kills a lot of those birds with a single stone. I spent last week speaking at the Microsoft VC Summit and at TiEcon 2006, and I also had the good fortune of attending a planning dinner for this year's Web 2.0 Conference coming up in November. I got to meet with a bunch of smart people, learn about a bunch of interesting opportunities, explore a bunch of new technologies and, in this instance, eat a bunch of good dinners. All in all a very productive week. And while I'm still having a hard time explaining to my family what precisely a VC does for a living, I'm pretty sure all of those things are part of the job description.
Along those same lines, I will be speaking at three really interesting events coming up in the next few weeks. I have no doubt that I will have the opportunity to meet with a bunch of interesting people and learn about a bunch of interesting stuff at each. But in hopes of facilitating that, here's some info on the events. Come on by and join the conversation.
June 14th (Bay Area): Under the Radar Conference: Why Digital Media Matters. The latest installment of the great Under the Radar conference series will focus on new companies in the audio and video world. The panelists at Under the Radar are some of the smartest folks in and around new media (Rafe Needleman, Chris Saaca, Zander Lurie, Michael Arrington and, because we don't see each other enough, Jeff Clavier, among many other thoughtful folks) and the presenting companies are always entertaining (Amiglia, Blip.tv, BroadbandSports, Dabble, Filmloop, Flukiest, Grouper, Jumpcut, Motionbox, MusicStrands, Pando, Podbridge, TagWorld, among many others). For all you American Idol fans out there, this is the tech conference for you. For the best price available for the conference, register here, and get the VentureBlog discount (VentureBlog is becoming the eCoupons of tech conferences).
June 20-21 (Bay Area): Internet Venture Fair & Investment Forum. The inaugural event of the Internet Venture Fair & Investment Forum (that's a mouthful, but I'm not sure that IVFIF is any better) will have a number of interesting Web 2.0 companies presenting (Browster, Fatlens, iBloks, MusicStrands, Simple Star, Simply Hired, Sphere, VideoEgg, and 42 more) and more VCs than you can shake a stick at (Jake Seid from Lightspeed, Tom Rosch from Interwest, Tod Francis from Shasta, Baris Karadogan from Comventure, Peter Loukianoff from Alloy, Scott Raney from Redpoint, Nick Sturiale from Sevin Rosen, and me from August). To sign up for this event, go here.
June 26th (NYC): Venture Voice Startup Workshop. For those of you who haven't heard the Venture Voice podcast before, you should definitely check it out. It is hosted by Greg Galant, who does a fantastic job of asking the right sets of questions and getting people to talk about the stuff that matters. Greg is going to put those same skills to use in his upcoming Venture Voice Startup Workshop. The event is going to be a discussion of "how to start and grow innovative businesses." The speakers include successful entrepreneurs and venture investors alike. Most importantly, I will have the pleasure of sharing the stage with Dick Costolo again, which is always great fun. If you are interested in attending the Workshop, you can register here. Be sure to put in the Referral Code "vblog" to save $50 off the price of the event.
UPDATE: My appologies to those of you who were intereseted in registering for the Under the Radar conference and couldn't click through to the VentureBlog discount. I have fixed the link above or you can click here to register. Sorry about that.