What makes him tick
Why did you go to Kleiner Perkins?
I just thought there was, to coin a clich?, convergence in the
media business and the computer business. I thought it would be a
better place to find out what's going on and participate.
The beauty of the venture capital business is that you talk to all the
smart people and they tell you what they're doing, and little by little,
you get a stronger sense of what's going to happen.
Have you made any mistakes so far in getting the project up
and running? If so, what?
Tons of them. I don't know where to start. One of the things I
have found out about all these entrepreneurial businesses is that the
people really matter the most. You can get very focused on process, very
focused on technology, but if you don't build a team, you really can't
get anything done.
If I had to do it again, I'd probably think more about things like
recruiting than I would worrying about engineering issues where I'm not
the expert anyway.
What have you learned from this experience, and how is it
different from the newspaper business?
This phase of the business that I was involved in was really a
start-up, while the Examiner was really a business that had been there
for a hundred years. So there's one thing that's very different: the pace
and the daily change.
On the other hand, the Examiner was more of a content business, and I
spent my day not only thinking about presses and trucks but also
thinking about stories, headlines, and pictures.
I think when @Home gets deployed in front of millions of people, then
there will be a similar group of folks inside the company that are
talking about the content of the service and what can be delivered
through this distribution channel.
What did you learn from this experience?
I've learned that all of these start-up companies rely more on
talent than they do on engineering or patents. There's engineering
talent, there's marketing talent, and there's accounting talent.
If you pull the right people together and lead them well, you have a
much better chance of success than trying to come up with some perfect
What would your grandfather have said about this business?
I think he would have been in it. I look back and read history,
and I see that he was in radio at the very beginning, and then television
at the very beginning, and in motion pictures when they were going into
sound. You cannot be interested in the media business at large and not
be interested in the Internet and data business in the '90s.
If there's a Moore's law, what would be yours: in essence,
It's the team.
It's been said of the Hearsts that ink runs in their veins.
What sort of legacy would you leave future Hearsts? What will run in