Reading List: Failure Is an Option; BIG: VC Survey; Small Booksellers Make a Comeback

It’s a damp and chilly morning, so what better to do than grab a cup of my depth-charge coffee (two shots of espresso topped up with an organic dark roast blend) and catch up on some reading.


I have come to believe that Silicon Valley is optimized for failure, which is to say that entrepreneurs and investors in this region far more casually opt for and excuse failure than in other regions.  So I was very interested to read Don Dodge’s recent post on the topic.  I know Don as a startup guy in big companies, including Microsoft and Google.  With a foot in both camps, his insights are invaluable, as they are in this post in which he explains why failure may very well be the best option open to you.


The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) is fielding a study to understand the role of brand in the venture capital industry.  Dubbed dubbed BIG: VC, or Brand Influence Guide for Venture Capital, the study seeks to understand whether brand matters to startups looking for funding.  NVCA is joining with What brand attributes serve a venture firm well?  Today, the National Venture Capital Association along with Dow Jones VentureSource, branding firm DeSantis Breindel, and PR agency Rooney Associates to conduct a first-time survey to better understand the perceptions of venture capitalists, startup CEOs, and limited partners as it relates to VC firm brands.

The survey will be open for the month of February; we think you will find the questions to be interesting and enlightening as they are designed to make you think about what makes the perception of a VC firm positive or negative.

The survey questions are thought provoking, although I’m hard pressed to see how the results might impact VC positioning and behavior, given that they survey barely touches on the most meaningful definitions of brand value.  Still, I encourage startup founders and CEOs to take 5 minutes to complete the survey, if only because I’m curious about what it will reveal.


I’m inclined to say this last story has nothing to do with tech, but truth be told, digital publishing and e-commerce has had a profound impact on the book-selling business.  There is something romantic about a book store that all the efficiency and savings of will never be able to match.   In fact, high on my list of favorite ways to spend a day like today is pouring over the stacks of at an independent book store.  Maybe it’s the weather, then, that made this story of the rise of new book sellers all that more enjoyable.

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