When a startup entrepreneur tells the story of his/her mistakes and how they've corrected them, it's endearing. When an investment associate for one of the more prestigious VC firms does it, it's surprising.
While investment analysts and associates don't directly control the money in the VC world, a large number of our readers believe associates help drive the decision-making process. When someone like Parker decides to air his mistakes for all to see, he's giving us a glimpse at the information that guides the future of the tech landscape and whether or not the funding will follow. Some of Parker's mistakes have included:
1. Privacy: Parker was adamant about user privacy and assumed that others were the same. He watched as personal finance site Mint, Loopt and Twitter gained ground despite the expectation that privacy concerns would prove to be a bigger barrier to adoption.
2. Mobile Browsers: In 2006 Parker told investor Fred Wilson that he did not expect the mobile browsing experience to catch up to the laptop in the next 5 years. He believed that the form factor of handheld devices was to small to make it easy to reformat pages on the fly, design mobile web pages and zoom into regular pages. Parker admits he was proven wrong by the iPhone.
3. Taste-maker Risk: Parker explains that certain sites succeed on the ability to popularize content from taste-makers. When he first saw the Huffington Post close a $5 million dollar round he was unsure of the investment thesis. Says Parker, "In hindsight, I think I have a blind spot when it comes to first-party content and editorial choices in web services. The taste-maker risk is a risk, but it's not nearly as important as I thought it was, and additionally, it's a risk that smart technologists can navigate well."
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