Jeff Bezos: We’ve co-invested with Bezos Expeditions before and here’s why I like him as an investor. He takes such a long term perspective but is always bringing you back to the customer’s problem. He also understands that you need to experiment and iterate quickly to address the need. So while it is harder to get Jeff’s time when you are a co-investor, the approach he has applied magnificently at Amazon, we’ve also seen him use as an investor.
Greg McAdoo: He was at Sequoia for a number of years and we had a close working relationship. We partnered on Isilon and he was also the seed investor in AirBnB. I think very highly of him and his approach to working with entrepreneurs and other venture investors to build great companies.
Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson are two of my role models. We share a cultural alignment--give first, help entrepreneurs and the rest will work out. These guys conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and I’ve seen first-hand how giving without expecting any direct benefit pays back in spades.
I also admire Fred Wilson of Union Square, Mark Suster of UpFront, and Josh Kopelman at First Round. They are all are good actors in our space and feature substance over flash. Too many VCs run around waving their arms and making noise as their only redeeming trait!
Sequoia because they funded 25% of the Nasdaq. That's pretty impressive. And the fact that they've been able to sustain it over so many years. They've invested in everything from Apple to Google to Airbnb. I hope that we will someday have a track record like that as well!
I like Brad because I share his philosophy about being entrepreneur-driven and friendly. It’s just a much more fun way to live life. The other person that comes to mind is Tom Alberg, a founder of Madrona.
Both he and Brad are subservient to the entrepreneur and truly happy for their success. I remember early in my career being in Tom’s office one day and talking about a sale of one of our portfolio companies.
I heard Tom say, “Gosh, this young kid Matt Williams [the founder of LiveBid] is going to make many millions of dollars on this exit. Isn’t that the greatest thing ever?” Tom totally gets it. It’s first and foremost about the entrepreneurs and trying to make them successful.
Of course, I love the entire team at Madrona, but since you held me to two, there you have it.