Thursday, October 9, 2008

EEStor's use of Kleiner Stealth

For historical purposes, it's important to note that the secrecy surrounding EEStor's activities has largely been attributed to EEStor. This probably makes persons familiar with how Kleiner Perkins manages it's investments chuckle somewhat. Maybe there are several sources for this information but I've been reading David A. Kaplan's book "The Silicon Boys and Their Valley of Dreams" to understand better how Kleiner operates. Most of what I write in this topic is based on Kaplan's book so hopefully you'll forgive the lack of exact citation and simply go buy the book yourself immediately and without delay. Or, maybe you'll be kind enough to post a blog comment with an even more revealing book, article or conjecture.

There are at least 3 reasons EEStory fans should read Kaplan's book. First, it goes into some detail about the rigor behind Kleiner's efforts to find winning projects including weeding through proposals, eliminating weaknesses and finally settling on an extremely select few in which to invest their millions. Convincing Kleiner to invest in your project is an accomplishment in itself. Due diligence is almost always involves bringing in SME's from the field of interest. (something I learned myself by speaking with persons Kleiner spoke to about EEStor, ie, John Miller). Second, it speaks to how involved Kleiner becomes in day to day operations of a start up. Kaplan says the first law of Kleiner according to John Doerr is "identify the risk up front and get rid of it." A good excercise for EEStoryians is to ask what that risk may have been for EEStor. The third reason for examining Kaplan's almost 10yr old book is that it speaks to the use of stealth as a market strategy.

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