I never accomplished real heights in any sport. I would put myself in the “frustrated athlete” category, always pursuing excellence in a number of sports but never reaching the pinnacle in any of them. More recently, as a master cyclist, I set a number of world records and won three world championships, but I think that’s probably the height of my athletic prowess.
The HBS Experience I was frustrated at Harvard Business School, too. There were only two entrepreneurial courses. Most of the courses were grooming students for entry into large corporate environments. I had no interest in going into a large corporate environment and so I was somewhat frustrated by the content of the cases.
Although I absolutely love the case method and the forum for debate that it provides, I also got a lot out of my relationships with the student body. As a matter of fact, I think the critical element that helped start my career and helped me start businesses was the network that I established at HBS. Many of my classmates ended up inside money management organizations. They were probably junior people in those businesses but they were helpful in getting me into the right places and helping me really establish myself as an institutional sales person. In fact, that’s what I ended up doing a few years after I got out of school. So although the experience I had was mixed from an intellectual standpoint, from a personal and career-building standpoint it was really one of the most important things that happened to me in the first ten years of my career that allowed me to establish myself.
I know now that things have totally changed in the HBS curriculum and that’s why, frankly, I’m very excited about the school and where it is today. The whole Entrepreneurial Management group and the development of the professional services area as well are much needed here. Many of the students will go into either consulting or investment banking. I think Tom DeLong is doing just an incredible job of understanding and mapping the critical elements of success with a professional service organization, which I sure wish I had been exposed to thirty plus years ago. It might have helped me get ahead a lot quicker.
Early Career I knew that I wanted to get into the investment business. Frankly, I wasn’t sophisticated enough to understand the opportunities and the risks involved in venture capital, money management, or investment banking. My thought, when getting out of school, was to get into one of those three areas. It turned out that none of them were open to me, so I took a job at Food Machinery and Chemical Company as a staff member in their planning area, reporting to the president. They were doing a lot of acquisitions at the time, so I thought that might be interesting while I still looked for a job in an investment bank or money management organization.
I tried for almost a year to get a job here on the West Coast with no success. Art Rock and Tommy Davis had their own venture capital operation going at the time. I eventually