Kred, the social analytics tool that claims to measure one’s online influence, just put out a leaderboard of the venture capitalists who wield the most clout on social media. While my list of most influential VCs might include names like Reid Hoffman, Marc Andreessen, Mike Moritz and Jim Breyer, Kred’s number crunchers claim that Al Gore — the guy who invented the Internet — is at the top of the list.
Kred defines “influence” as “how frequently a person is retweeted, replied [to], mentioned and followed on Twitter.” Which is all well and good, but is Gore really a VC? Sure, he’s been a partner since 2007 at Kleiner Perkins, but the firm’s own website acknowledges that Al spends most of his time on his climate-change nonprofit. I have yet to see a funding announcement from Kleiner that has Gore taking the lead role in an investment.
But let’s say you give Gore the mulligan. Is Biz Stone a VC? Since decamping from Twitter last year, he and co-founder Ev Williams have re-launched Obvious Corp., which near as I can tell is a sort of incubator/seed fund for “various things.” Its own website says it’s “more of a philosophy than a company.” Third on Kred’s list is Kevin Rose, who did indeed join Google Ventures earlier this year (much to the chagrin of my colleague Chris O’Brien). Again, though, there are people within that very firm with more impressive records as venture capitalists.
Investors like Chris Sacca, Michael Arrington and Fred Wilson, who probably have far more actual influence in the startup world, appear further down on Kred’s list. John Doerr, who’s created billions of dollars in value by backing the likes of Google and Amazon, ranks 22nd. He and Andreessen no doubt have better things to do all day than post to Twitter (or worry about their Kred rankings). Nor am I really trying to diss Stone and Rose, who’ve created groundbreaking Internet companies. But while I understand how Kred is defining its terms, I’m having a hard time buying the argument.
Kred CEO Andrew Grill, for his part, says the ranking system (and a companion list of investors who spend the most time retweeting and mentioning others) “provides a good indication of those people who really ‘get’ social and are most likely to be open to a discussion about funding.” So, in case you didn’t already know, Dave McClure may be good to approach about your idea for a social media startup.