Kleiner’s Laws – And the time to eat the tarts

When I first joined KPCB, I got a detailed history of the firm and how a small group of pioneers became technology-first VC investors.

The ‘K’ in KPCB stands for Eugene Kleiner. Beyond being an incredible investor, he had a knack for catchy statements and frameworks that are still applicable today.

Joe Lonsdale, now of 8VC based in Austin, wrote this summary that can be found on Medium.

According to Joe, here are 8 of his most well-known “laws”

  • Make sure the dog wants to eat the dog food
  • Build one business at a time.
  • The time to take the tarts is when they’re being passed.
  • It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re inside the frame.
  • Even turkeys can fly in a high wind.
  • After learning some of the tricks of the trade, some people think they know the trade.
  • Venture capitalists will stop at nothing to copy success.
  • Invest in people, not just products.

At different points every year one of these themes seems to outshine the others. Right now, it feels like one of them is coming forth:

“The time to take the tarts is when they’re being passed”

Eugene Kleiner

Right now, for a host of reasons: low interest rates, energy transition going mainstream, big growth in new technologies, policy…. deep tech/cleantech is being served a main course of capital. The most seasoned investors and operators recognize this opportunity and are ramping up balance sheets to make massive technology, team and market share investments in the coming years.

(PS: my favorite Kleiner statement isn’t actually on this list and I will cover it another day!)