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April 29, 2010

Mastering the VC Game Is Available Today - Why So Grumpy?

My book, Mastering the VC Game, is officially available today (and 40 pages of excerpts are available for free if you want to preview it), yet I'm kind of grumpy.

I've gotten nice reviews (see AVC, Boston.com and YoungEntrepreneur for a few examples) and TechCrunch, BusinessWeek and Upromise have done really nice excerpts.

But I confess I'm a bit of a perfectionist (when I'd come home with a 95% on a test, my parents would ask me what happened on those 5% points - I wonder if that has anything to do with it?) and so I find myself mulling about the mistakes I made with it.  Tangible, print products are tough because, unlike a blog post or a piece of software code, you can't just change it on the fly.

Here are the top three things I've been stewing on:

  • I regret that I didn't spend more time discussing the recent phenomenon of super-angels, as covered nicely in a recent VentureWire article.  Guys like Chris Sacca, Roger Ehrenberg, Dame McClure and Ron Conway as well as small seed funds like Chris Dixon's Founder's Collective and Mike Maples' Floodgate are worthy of more treatment than I gave them although I do cover First Round and profile their co-founder Howard Morgan.  There are pros and cons for entrepreneurs who take money from these groups and I'd like to expand on these in future blog posts.
  • I'm sorry to have left out any great cleantech entrepreneurs.  With yesterday's announcement of Cape Wind going forward, it's another reminder that the energy sector is brimming with entrepreneurial opportunities and I should have included a few stories about some of the emerging starts there, like EnerNOC, A123 and Silver Spring.
  • I'm annoyed that my publisher, Penguin, and Amazon.com are locked in a battle over royalties, resulting in my book not being available on the Kindle.  As a result, all new authors are getting punished.  The book is available on iPad, Sony e-Reader and the Nook, but I've been getting tons of complaints from folks that they want to download it on their Kindle and can't.  What kind of a technology VC writes a book that isn't available on a Kindle?  Yeesh.

Those are my top three.  I have a few other smaller ones, but I guess that's why they print second editions.  Let me know if you spot any more.

you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bussgang


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I think you should look at #1 & #2 as an opportunity to publish Super-Mastering the VC Game

As you noted, it's the difference between a blog and a published work; can't change it once it's gone to print. But you can use your blog to make these enhancements. I'm sure it's more than a 95% and that your parents will not be asking you tonight where the five points are! See you on Nantucket.

True, Des. And as Adam points out, there's always next time. See you in Nantucket!

Hey Jeff -

Does your book have a website? Great place to post addendums if so, and to get a whole new viral following with videos, quizzes and other interactive content and what not! How cool would that be? "Do you have what it takes to be a VC?" "What would you do?" "Which companies would you invest in?" "Which CEO would you hire/fire?" - you could even have a virtual game where you choose your own portfolio and track the value! Imagine if this book became an online business - and you could invest in your own company!

Thanks for continually demystifying "the other side".



I went through the book within 3 days! It is very well written and useful. My previous read on the VC industry was "Venture Capital Cycle" by Lerner and Gompers. After that, your book was a refreshing change. Lookin at the VC industry from a laregly financial lense doesn't quite capture it. Like you say, its all about people. Your book provides great insight, advice and inspiration for an aspiring entrepreneur/VC like me.

There will always be sectors/ firm types you didn't cover. Thats your chance at your next book!

Aditya Ranade
Babson MBA

Thanks, Kathy. The book website is www.jeffbussgang.com. Super suggestion.

Thanks, Aditya! Do me a favor and post that very kind review on Amazon.com. I'm told that helps get the word out.


A second edition would be nice but a second book ( for example a book expanding on the pros and cons of receiving money from super angels and the implications of such funding for entrepreneurs) would be even nicer.

Congratulations on getting the book published! Look at that 5% as what propels you forward.


Congrats again on writing the book! I just started reading it today - good stuff.

For people who are interested in hearing the EnerNOC story...

We have the video on VentureFizz from Eric Paley's (who I see made your book) Founder Dialogues event a couple of weeks ago. He hosted a sit down discussion with Tim Healy, Co-Founder / CEO of EnerNOC.

EnerNOC is an amazing success story in Boston and this discussion is very inspiring. Here is a link to the video:


Best, Keith

Can't wait...! I just ordered your book!

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Thanks, John!

Jeff, big congrats on your book! Very exciting. Question though, you said that it's available for the iPad but I can't seem to find it for the life of me. Do you have a link to an iPad/iBook version of it so I can purchase and dive in? Thanks!

Jeffrey, congratulations on the book, the reviews I've seen are amazing. Any idea where or when we'll see a Kindle version? I've sworn off dead tree versions of books, but Amazon has no reference to a Kindle version.

Sorry - Penguin and Amazom are still fighting over royalties. No clue when they'll resolve. Hope you will simply buy the hard copy for now?

Congrats Jeff...looking forward to reading the book. You mentioned ipad but I can't find in the iBook store....do you know when it will be available?

Jeff -
Fret not, the beauty of today is that you can start a long term relationship with the fans of your book -- start a facebook page dedicated to fans of your book and then over time deliver updates/thoughts as the world turns ... there by creating an evergreen long term (years) dialog with your readers/fans and the current book becomes a prologue.

I look forward to picking up a copy soon (waiting to get my iPad 3G to read it on it).


My 2 cents, fwiw ...

Hope the mess will be fixed. :)

Glad I checked here. Was on Amazon and fuming about lack of Kindle version, and casting dispersions on your character as a result. Know at least I know the real culprit, and at least I can get it on my iPad.

Super angels are an interesting new component to the ecosystem, but it will be more interesting in 2 more as we see if their business model works financially on the back end.

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Thanks, Chris.  Appreciate your not being
too harsh on me on the lack of Kindle version! J  I don’t know who to be
more annoyed with, Amazon, Penguin or both!

Please, Point 3. Need it on the Kindle.

Jeff, great book. I read an article you wrote about VC and it happened to promote the book. It was great to learn more about the complex nature of the VC business and how this small community views entrepreneurs and opportunities. I know our start-up, (cough, cough....Fan2Fan.com) is in its early phases and trying to build up a following just like some of the companies mention (linkedIn, Twitter). I especially liked the part about how emailing business plans to potenetial VC's is not a good strategy (don't expect mine in your inbox unless your request it). The reason this is so important is that it made us realize that even though we have a very talented team, we need to work our connections and continue to network. We've since began to circulate our idea to many friends and acquaintances, make ourselves know at events, and now we seem to be gathering steam.

Lastly, I love the fact that you point out that being an entrepreneur is a daunting task and that drives a person to question themselves and the forward movement of the company. It helped to me to realize that while there may be missteps along the way, we'll learn from them, possibly make other missteps, and ultimately be successful of we continue to stay focused on our vision.

Thanks again for providing your knowledge. I've suggested the book to others and will continue to do so.

cool very nice picture of the booth, thank you for this information

Hi Jeff!

Discovered your blog a few months back have enjoyed quite a few of your posts.

Quick question: do you know when your book will be available in the UK/France (print edition)?

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Thanks so much! Should be available in UK.
 Amazon & others ships there, no?  check out www.jeffbussgang.com to order.

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