August 16, 2012

In honor of “jOBS” – the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic led by Ashton Kutchner – in which J.K. Simmons will portray legendary venture capitalist Arthur Rock, we want to share a “Golden Oldie” from Mr. Rock himself on strategy, tactics, and people.

From a 1987 piece in Harvard Business Review, Strategy vs. Tactics from a Venture Capitalist:

The problem with those companies (and with the ventures I choose not to take part in) is rarely one of strategy.  Good ideas and good products are a dime a dozen.  Good execution and good management – in a word, good people – are rare… I will continue to look for the best people, not the largest untapped market or the highest projected returns or the cleverest business strategy.  After all, a good idea, unless it’s executed, remains only a good idea.  Good managers, on the other hand, can’t lose.  If their strategy doesn’t work, they can develop another one.  If a competitor comes along,  they can turn to something else.  Great people make great companies.

This reflects our approach as well:  we invest first and foremost in entrepreneurs with experience, vision and integrity.  We often back the same entrepreneurs in more than one business, and view honesty and consistency as critical to success over the long term.  We also put a premium on transparency, as it’s easier to remember the importance of being honest when everyone involved in a business relationship can observe how decisions are being made.  That transparency also helps when, inevitably, things don’t go according to plan.  At that point how you react will define the relationship.

While we’re on the subjects of golden oldies and the importance of quality partners, here are a few from our own more recent past:



© 2023 Ballast Point Ventures. All rights reserved.