I don’t talk much about work here at MoB, not because I don’t like my job or am worried about getting dooced in trouble for blogging about it. I mostly keep work at work because I don’t want to bore you, dear readers, with the ins and outs of the venture capital industry. I know it sounds glamorous but what I have come to understand in my decade of working for this industry is that it’s a pretty serious business, chock full of nerds really smart people who do their jobs like the rest of us. When people ask me what I do, I rarely get past my one liner which is “I head up communications for the venture capital industry.” Heads bob, eyes go blank and I change the subject.
And while I enjoy talking and writing about venture capital market conditions and public policies that support entrepreneurs, it does get a little dry from time to time. It is a rare moment when “silliness “is an appropriate communications strategy that I recommend.
But early last summer, I did just that.
In a casual conversation with one of our Board members, Jason Mendelson of the Foundry Group, I was singing the praises of Justin Timberlake and Andy Sandberg’s SNL Digital Shorts. And suddenly, it became clear to me that the venture capital industry needed its own digital short – a spoof on the industry – and there was no better firm to pull it off than the Foundry Group. These four partners — Jason, Brad Feld, Seth Levine and Ryan McIntyre - are savvy investors, but real human beings with a killer sense of humor to boot. (Their web site has in the past spoofed Reservoir Dogs and currently is a tribute to Mad Men) So I casually shared the idea with Jason – and the rest is music video history.
Never before have I seen such a commitment to execution. We batted a ton of concepts around in that first conversation and by the next day, Jason was already writing the music and testing lyrics. It didn’t hurt that he is an accomplished musician with a recording studio in his house. Within a week he had convinced his partners to play along, laid the tracks and recorded the first take what would become the song, all the while brainstorming the story board for the video shoot. I’m proud to say that a number of my ideas made it to the final cut, and I was completely tickled when the Foundry partners flew me to Boulder in June for a cameo during the first of two days of filming. For me it was a stunning example of what can get done if you put your mind to it. I never would have thought anyone could have pulled this off – but I was wrong.
The final video was released yesterday to well-deserved high praise. For the layperson who isn’t immersed in venture capital every day, you have to appreciate the quality of this project. For those who understand VC, it is (IMHO) brilliant. And while the four partners singing in the shower was not my idea, it is by far my favorite part. To any entrepreneur who thinks VCs are scary: Watch this. Rewind. Repeat. I’m secretly hoping that Jason will produce a pop-up video version so he can explain some of these shots and how he got his partners to agree to them. Warning: The song is a total ear worm and you will be humming it to yourself for days.
This creative detour from my regular duties was just what I needed this summer and I’m so very grateful that Jason and his partners took the chance and let me play along. I’m fairly certain an opportunity like this one won’t come along again soon – but maybe I’ll go looking for one. I’m seriously thinking about writing a rap — The History of VC. Any takers?