Monday, October 15, 2007

Paul Graham Gets Vague when Boston needs analysis

Paul Graham, founder of Y-Combinator, chief driver of the Boston Web 2.0 scene and accomplished essayist has long been chastising the Boston Venture community. Mostly he points out how conservative and tentative they are when it comes to investing in Web 2.0 and Consumer Web companies. He encourages his fledgling companies to relocate to Silicon Valley where the VC's are more aggressive and understand start ups better.

I believe he is referring to his type of start ups which are mostly Web 2.0 consumer plays, but the Boston start-up market would be better served if he used his powers of analysis to more thoroughly evaluate the issue. Just making a general statements about Boston VC's not understanding start ups, will not move the mountain. It reminds me of Scott Kirsner prodding the top tier Boston VC's to open up to entrepreneurs and start blogging, when the old guard is rolling in IPOs from Airvana, Starent Networks, Bladelogic, Netezza, Constant Contact, AcmePacket and the Q2 IPO numbers are equivalent to Silicon Valley. Things are changing but it is hard to see it when the old ways have been successful.

I am hoping that if he can delve into data regarding the price of slaves in ancient Greece and Rome to support an essay regarding the variations in income in modern society, then a more thorough analysis comparing the Boston and Silicon Valley VC communities could lend more credence to the discussion than generalities. My wish list would include topics such as sector preferences and expertise, per-capita and company density comparisons to IPO or funding levels, and a discussion on why the perception is that CA. can market and Boston cannot. Could there be some insight into Microsoft's problems and the fact that is run by people from the Boston area? So many possibilities!

I always look forward to a new essay at and if a future article can shed more light on improving the Boston start-up market, I am all for it. I realize that Mr. Graham may not take up the challenge presented here, so if anyone else would like to delve into the details, please do so, as it is well beyond the scope of my abilities to attempt the project. I look forward to the results.

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