Perhaps it’s just a sign of a bubble, but I’ve had several people (entrepreneurs, partners at venture firms and junior partners/senior associates) ask me in the past month whether I was thinking about leaving venture capital to join a company. Their thinking generally follows the logic that given the new Web 2.0 paradigm (presumably they mean the idea that you can build a net business relatively inexpensively, generate sometraffic and either cash flow it or sell it off) there’s a better chance to create wealth in the next 2-4 years by working on the operating side of the world than in venture capital. Given how difficult it is to land a job in venture capital (not to mention how fun the work is), it may sound strange that people are even considering this, but in the course of these conversations a number of examples always come up of sr. associate/vp/principal level colleagues who have jumped ship for what is perceived to be the greener pastures of the company side of the fence.
I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon for the past few weeks – not because I’m actually considering leaving my venture job (note to Brad – the title of this post was rhetorical), but because I’m fascinated by people’s perceptions about opportunities. While I’m certainly convinced that many companies that are currently in their formative stages will be successful I think there’s a perception that the world of the next generation web is easier than it really is. Couple that with the notion that G/Y/M/I are staring to pick up their acquisition pace and you can understand how people are getting stars in their eyes.
I personally don’t buy it (at least for me). But then again, I subscribe to David’s notion that most of this is about luck anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on – as long as you’re working with people you like and having fun.