A lot of folks seem to think that I’m an anti-startup “zealot.” All because I spend my time telling people to be wise, be wary, not fall for the mythology, and to think about the money-dangler’s motives.
Well, my friends, allow me to introduce you to a real zealot.
Tom Perkins – yes, of Kleiner Perkins fame – cofounded one of the biggest and most respected VC firms you’ll find.
And not only does he believe that one protestor breaking one bus window is equal to Kristallnacht, he is so sorely lacking in judgment that he wrote a letter about it to an international publication.
And the Wall Street Journal published it.
Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.
This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?
That’s it. In its entirety, because I strongly suspect the WSJ will be taking this down because it what-the-fucks on an epic scale.
Let’s dissect it, just briefly:
ONE: The epicenter of progressive thought? San Francisco? Dude, have you gone outside or read anything in the past 15 years? Yeah, there was a bunch of free love and hippies and it was the epicenter for safe de-closeting… quite a while ago. Today it’s an epicenter for something quite different. For example: median home price, and evictions.
And ONE protester who broke ONE window. OMG.
TWO: To claim that Jews made up even most of the 1% in Germany etc. is to open your mouth and let Nazis spill out. This is an untrue, anti-Semitic characterization on par with the caricatures of Jews as rats and spiders.
THREE: Wow, that Occupy movement. It was such a success. Everybody embraced it. Everybody believed in it. The news media! The government! The populace at large! Everybody but the rich people.
Wait, no. Occupy fizzled into irrelevancy for many reasons, not the least of which was that it was vilified by almost everyone including most of the people it wanted to speak for.
FOUR: Danielle Steele? What the heck? She may be your ex-wife but she’s not SF’s number-one celebrity. Also: On what planet is it a vicious attack when you call somebody a snob?
FIVE: Kristallnacht was a centrally coordinated military campaign against people who were born into a certain ethnic group. Home windows and shop windows of butchers, grocers, cobblers, milliners — you know, the 1%! — were absolutely destroyed. Hospitals and schools were attacked. The safety of these buildings was compromised, goods were destroyed or stolen, homes were exposed to the elements, and livelihoods were lost. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned. At least 91 people died. Ooh, and the perps knew who was who because of required registration and forced badge-wearing!
Yes, that’s exactly like one protester (among a group of peaceful protesters) breaking one window and physically harming not a single individual. Oh, and calling your ex a “snob” in print.
Yet one more reason to stay away from the ridiculously moneyed class, their money, and their money managers. Perkins may be especially loud and especially tone-deaf… but he’s far from alone.
Kleiner Perkins may be attempting to distance themselves from the Perkins half…
Tom Perkins has not been involved in KPCB in years. We were shocked by his views expressed today in the WSJ and do not agree.— Kleiner Perkins (@kpcb) January 25, 2014
… but he’s still listed as a partner:
Bottom line: Huge amounts of money never comes without strings. Therefore, taking venture capital becomes a political act.
Not only do you get a stakeholder (or three) who can & probably will breathe down your neck, not only do you put yourself on a one-way track to either failure or sale-ure (or IPO), you, if you succeed, will be enriching certain individuals and firms with everything you do. Quite probably they will earn far more off your back than you do.
Who are they? What do they do with that money?
You’d be a fool not to ask.
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