[iDC] Why Magic Stinks

Christiane Robbins cpr at mindspring.com
Mon Oct 9 20:01:03 EDT 2006

Just to add an interesting bit of the zeitgeist:

TITLE:  Venture Capital's Homage to the Alchemy of PARC

SPEAKER: Roelof Botha

ABSTRACT: According to WikiPedia, the word "alchemy" means "cast 
together", "pour together", "weld", "alloy". Early alchemists were the 
predecessors to modern scientists whose many discoveries of substances 
and processes continue to be the mainstay of industry today. For 
instance, Chinese alchemists are credited with the invention of black 
power in the 9th century that, when combined with combustible 
materials, brought us fireworks in the 10th century that continues to 
be the universal symbol of community gatherings in the 21st century.

The venture capital community owes great thanks to the scientists and 
inventions that were born out of PARC.  It would be difficult to deny 
that the genealogy of Silicon Valley's successful companies is deeply 
rooted in PARC's inventions. Sequoia Capital recognizes the PARC DNA 
strands found in companies like 3Com, Cisco, Apple and Yahoo.  The 
founders of these companies were fellow alchemists who mixed together 
prior technology and added a twist of their own to enable their product 
or service. 

How is a company formed out of innovation? How does a venture 
capitalist decide to invest in a company? What are the phases and 
milestones of a company? Looking back, what are the elements of a 
sustainable company? What are the progressions of technologies, trends, 
cultural shifts and innovation recombinations that foster an 
environment of new opportunity?

Roelof Botha, a Partner at Sequoia Capital, will offer observations, 
experiences, examples and mistakes around these questions and, on 
behalf of one venture capital firm, say "thank you" to PARC.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Roelof Botha is a partner at Sequoia Capital, where 
he focuses on services and software investments. Prior to joining 
Sequoia Capital in 2003, Roelof served as the Chief Financial Officer 
of PayPal (EBAY). Earlier, he worked as a management consultant for 
McKinsey & Company. Roelof is a certified actuary (Fellow of the 
Faculty of Actuaries), and has a BS in Actuarial Science, Economics, 
and Statistics from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the 
Stanford Graduate School of Business. Roelof currently serves on the 
boards of Insider Pages, Luxim, Meebo, Xoom, and YouTube.

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