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After writing Do More Faster with David Cohen, I have deep appreciation for the effort involved in writing a book. After reading a bunch of entrepreneurship books, I’ve decided there are three categories: (a) autobiographies, (b) consultant roadmaps, and (c) practitioner stories. I like the practitioner stories best, followed closely by autobiographies. I do not like consultant roadmaps and have decided I won’t read them anymore.
Bill Draper (officially William H. Draper III) has written a gem called The Startup Game. It’s a mix of practitioner stories with some autobiography mixed in. Draper is one of the original VCs – his father (William Henry Draper, Jr.) started Draper Gaither & Anderson, one of the first VC firms on the west coast that coincidentally was the first firm to use a limited partner (LP structure). His son, Tim Draper, started Draper Fisher Jurvetson. And William III started several firms, including Draper & Johnson, Sutter Hill Ventures, Draper Richards, and Draper International. Yup – lots of Drapers, but they’ve all collectively accomplished some amazing things.
In The Startup Game, Draper talks about the early days of venture capital, the creation and evolution of the industry, and many of the early players whose names are well known to any VC insider. Along the way he tells stories about companies he’s funded (or missed funding) and generally teaches at least one lesson in each story. This isn’t an autobiography – while he mixes in lots of biographical information, the chronology is self-admittedly random and he bounces between stories of his father and son along with his sojourn to Washington DC which he calls his lost years.
SF Gate published an interview on Sunday titled William Draper, veteran venture investor, reflects and SiliconValley.com wrote a review titled Venture capitalist Bill Draper adds ‘author’ to his résumé with ‘The Startup Game. Both capture the spirit of the book which I view as a must read for any practicing or aspiring VC or entrepreneur.