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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Lessons for New Entrepreneurs!
Do you want to found a business, take it public, and change the face of the world? This book can help you.
Most people who want to found a new business dream about getting venture capital en route to going public. At least a third of these people who approach venture capital firms do not have any contacts to get them a hearing at venture capital firms. Even those who...
Published on 4 Aug 2004 by Donald Mitchell

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars eBoys revisited
And here is where the hype came from... my favourite part is them arguing about art.com's valuation... how about ZERO! And webvan's a multibillion dollar company--uh-huh. I think Stross OWES us a post bubble review of his heroes at Benchmark. They did make a lot of dosh for some, lost a lot for others, and objectivity was never key to the tome. But still, Randall, let's...
Published on 21 May 2001


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars eBoys revisited, 21 May 2001
By A Customer
And here is where the hype came from... my favourite part is them arguing about art.com's valuation... how about ZERO! And webvan's a multibillion dollar company--uh-huh. I think Stross OWES us a post bubble review of his heroes at Benchmark. They did make a lot of dosh for some, lost a lot for others, and objectivity was never key to the tome. But still, Randall, let's see a 21st century epilogue and count the millions lost. Then this book would be a real contribution to the history of this interesting era; as it is, it's about as compelling as a copy of Fast Company dated 1998.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Lessons for New Entrepreneurs!, 4 Aug 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Do you want to found a business, take it public, and change the face of the world? This book can help you.
Most people who want to found a new business dream about getting venture capital en route to going public. At least a third of these people who approach venture capital firms do not have any contacts to get them a hearing at venture capital firms. Even those who do will find the odds are long. Perhaps one deal in 100 from connected people will be funded by a particular venture capital firm.
Almost all entrepreneurs I know think that venture capitalists get paid too much, and that they get in the way rather than being a help.
This book will help you draw your own conclusions, as well as give you some ideas about what to look for if you do decide to go for venture capital.
Many will be astonished to see that funded ideas often come with no workable CEO in place. The venture capitalist will often play a key role in doing the recruiting of the CEO and other key personnel.
Also, others will be amazed to find out how important little things are to keeping deals together or tearing them apart -- usually the trust or lack of trust in those involved on all sides.
For years, I have worked with executives whose firms were orginally funded by venture capitalists. I also have friends who are venture capitalists. Everything in the book rang true to me.
The only thing that would have made the book bettter would have been equal access to the thinking of the people in the start-ups. We get their view through the VCs. Because of the relationships involved, that's hard to accomplish because there's a need to stay friendly that is harmful to candor.
Although the book will be invaluable to entrepreneurs, it was not designed for that purpose. It really is more of a business history of one firm over a two year period of time, highlighting some of its most successful (eBay and Webvan) and unsuccessful (a venture with Toys R Us that went nowhere) relationships. You'll have to draw your own lessons along the way. So it's like reading a mystery novel. Keep your eyes open for the clues, and draw your own conclusions.
People thinking about a career in venture capital will also find the book to be valuable. The demands and strains are large, and so are the rewards when it all works. Keep in mind that success in venture capital goes in cycles. My friends tell me that dot com investments have been the most successful class of investing ever for VCs. Some firms report making money 90 percent of the time in the last 5 years. It won't usually be that easy. Se remember that you are reading about the good times when you go through this book.
Buy it, read it, and apply its lessons to make your own success greater! You're much more likely to create an irresistible growth enterprise when you do.
I encourage you to always be building your relationships with outstanding people. You can learn from them, and often they will become important allies in your entrepreurial journey!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Partisan, but potentially enlightening, 26 April 2001
By A Customer
Ask anybody in the US technology industry where the real money was to be made during the boom period of the late 1990s and most will point to Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, California. Since the early 1970s, Sand Hill Road has been home to all of the big names in West Coast venture capital, a group whose senior figures now measure their personal wealth in hundreds of millions of dollars, or even billions. eBoys is the story of just such a group. Written by serial technology author Randall E Stross, the book follows the spectacular rise of Benchmark Capital. Formed in 1995 to invest in technology start-ups, Benchmark is now almost a household name in technology circles, after its initial investment of $6.7 million in Web auction giant eBay, made in 1997, rocketed in value to an incredible $4 billion just two years later. According to Stross, this makes it "the best performing venture investment ever".
The eBay story was just one of many such incidents to be witnessed by Stross in his two-year tenure as 'writer in residence' at Benchmark's Menlo Park offices. Also chronicled are the early days of Webvan, the Internet grocery firm founded by book millionaire Louis Borders, who has convinced the VC community (including Benchmark) to part with extortionate amounts of money to build his vision of a computerised grocery distribution network. Added to that are the inside stories of landmark companies such as Priceline.com, which achieved the highest first-day valuation ever by an Internet company on flotation, and Scient, the hugely successful e-services firm.
There are moments where readers will marvel at just how far Stross has penetrated into the machinations of venture capitalists and the companies in which they invest. Sadly, however, this same intimacy is also the book's ultimate undoing. The freedom that Stross was given to participate in the lives of the Benchmark partners is, from a journalistic viewpoint, unparalleled. But the experience has clearly left Stross feeling indebted to his benefactors.
Stross seems so enamoured of his subjects, and so caught up by the bravado of their adventures, that he fails almost entirely to step outside of the spectacle and tell the reader what is really going on. Along with endless talk about 'Big Hitters', Stross has gone all out to persuade his readers that 'the Benchmark boys' are all-American heroes who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and should be revered for their altruism and dedication to duty.
"Benchmark's mahogany-and-art appointed office on Sand Hill Road was an unlikely destination for a working-class student from a single-parent family in Flint, Michigan," he muses about Benchmark partner David Beirne. As for Bob Kagle, already a multi-millionaire venture capitalist before joining Benchmark, he suggests "material success was a garment he simply refused to wear".
For readers who can stomach such partisan viewpoints, eBoys remains a potentially enlightening read. And for those who simply wish to marvel at the sheer scale of the wealth that technology venture investing has created, then eBoys is unlikely to disappoint.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Sycophantic stuff., 4 Sep 2000
By A Customer
I really wanted to like this book. The fundamental proposition and the supposed inside angle at Benchmark Capital should have made this book a killer. Instead I found it drearily repetitive and a slog to get through. The author panders to venture capital cliches so anyone who has read any basic (however basic) articles about vc will learn nothing. ...There are some interesting elements - such as an entrepreneur's take on dealing with venture capitalists. I think this book is a sadly wasted opportunity on a subject which is so relevant and potentially exciting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, if a little sensational, 7 Jan 2001
By A Customer
A well written book capturing many of the major events during the net-bubble. However, perhaps a little melodramatic. Compares weakly against Lewis' New New Thing
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to know how the big deals are made, read this., 29 Sep 2000
By A Customer
I thought this book provided a superb insight into the world of big money and big risk. It's not often that you get such a fly on the wall view of the decision-making that goes on behind the big deals. Also, venture capitalists are increasingly becoming such an influential component in the business world, that a book like this can't fail to help any existing or budding entrepreneur understand the way they work.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWFUL COVER, GREAT BOOK, 13 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I really did not want to read this book but had to in order to impress my boss. It was actually a very enjoyable and well-written account of what goes on inside the secretive world of VC firms.
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eBoys: The True Story of the Six Tall Men Who Backed eBay, Webvan and Other Billion-dollar Start-ups
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