Thinking About Thinking

Blogging: A Cultural Difference Between Boston And Waltham VCs

Posted in Venture Capital by larrycheng on September 10, 2009

Scott Kirsner, a Boston Globe writer and freelancer, wrote a provocative blog post a few weeks ago entitled “Why Waltham Doesn’t Matter”.  Scott’s basic claim is that Waltham VC’s “don’t matter” as they are being displaced by the new aggressive and open culture of VCs emerging in Boston and Cambridge.  While I disagreed with the title of his post and the implication, Scott’s point on cultural differences has real merit.  Hence, I thought I’d put it to the test on one dimension after publishing the revised Global VC Blog Directory this past Monday. 

Here’s the list of the greater Boston VC bloggers ranked by Google Reader subscribers and whether they’re from Boston/Cambridge or Waltham (# of subs):

Greater Boston VC Bloggers

  1. Mike Hirshland, Polaris Venture Partners, VC Mike’s Blog (1,038) – Waltham
  2. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners, Seeing Both Sides (1,018) – Boston
  3. Scott Maxwell, Openview Venture Partners, Now What? (483) – Boston*
  4. Larry Cheng, Fidelity Ventures, Thinking About Thinking (433) – Boston
  5. David Beisel, Venrock Associates, GenuineVC (429) – Cambridge*
  6. Rob Day, Black Coral, Greentech Media (323) – Boston
  7. Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital, Bijan Sabet (296) – Boston
  8. David Aronoff, Flybridge Capital Partners, Diary of a Geek VC (222) – Boston
  9. Richard Dale, Sigma Partners, Venture Cyclist (176) – Boston
  10. Rob Go, Spark Capital, Rob Go Blog (148) – Boston
  11. Michael Greeley, Flybridge Capital Partners, On The Flying Bridge (138) – Boston
  12. Mo Koyfman, Spark Capital, Mo Koyfman (127) – Boston
  13. Todd Dagres, Spark Capital, Todd Dagres Tumblelog (123) – Boston
  14. Santo Politi, Spark Capital, This and That (121) – Boston
  15. Tony Tjan, Cue Ball Capital, Anthony Tjan (69) – Boston
  16. Anupendra Sharma, Siemens Venture Capital, So Little Time, So Much… (25) – Boston
  17. Vishy Venugopalan, Longworth Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners (2) – Waltham
  18. Chip Hazard, Flybridge Capital Partners, Hazard Lights (new) – Boston

(To subscribe to all of these blogs in bulk – click here. * = inactive)

What’s interesting to note is that 89% or 16 of the 18 VC bloggers in the greater Boston area come from firms that are based in Boston/Cambridge.  Only 2 of the 18 are from firms in Waltham.  This is in contrast to a pretty fair presumption that a (strong?) majority of VC firms are located in Waltham or Rt 128.  It’s also worth noting that the Boston/Cambridge VC bloggers represent both newer firms (Spark, Flybridge, Openview, Cue Ball) and firms that have been around for decades (Sigma, Venrock, Fidelity, etc.).  So, it’s not just a new firm dynamic.

Let’s be clear, though, that blogging is one very narrow dimension.  And it is not a dimension that at this juncture can be tied in any definitive way to ultimate success or returns.  So, I’m not sure at the end of the day that who blogs and who doesn’t really matters in any material way.  But, it is reflective of a cultural difference today that is stark enough that it seems worth noting.