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Roger McNamee starts a blog

mcnamee.jpgRoger McNamee, one of Silicon Valley's most kinetic and serial investors, has started a blog called The New Normal.

We welcome him to the Blogosphere. This is significant because McNamee's is the first blog we've seen from the more established generation of venture capitalists in the valley -- part of a group that arguably doesn't really "need" to blog. He says meekly: "Iām not good at blogging yet." McNamee started with T. Rowe Price in the 1980s, but then moved on to launch Integral Capital Partners, then started Silver Lake Partners, and recently created Elevation Partners (you know, the one that includes U2's Bono) to invest in the convergence between technology and media. Granted, he's been more focused on the buyout end of investing, as opposed to true venture capital.

But in some ways, this is a return to his roots. Back in the 1980s, McNamee started writing something called "Field Notes from Silicon Valley," a newsletter he sent to his investors at T. Rowe Price along with a few others. Back then, he wrote out what he really thought, and people would "just pulverize it," he told us. "What happened was that people started to get pissed at me because they perceived even when I was wrong, I was having an influence." In addition, he recalls, he wasnāt getting paid for it, and it just took a lot of time -- so eventually he folded it. (Hmmm, suppose we should take heed).

Still, it helped boost his reputation in valuable ways. As he tells it, one of the first recipients was Intel's Gordon Moore. Some 36 hours after McNamee mailed out the second version of his Field Notes, Moore responded with a fax to say he disagreed with McNamee's take on a PC architecture issue, but invited him in to have lunch at his favorite restaurant -- Intel's cafeteria -- with Intel's marketing manager who Moore said shared McNamee's views. "Oh my God," McNamee recalls thinking, "I just wrote something that Gordon Moore thought was dead wrong and he actually wants to talk about it. Wait, this is a guy who I revered, and I didnāt know from a hole in the ground. I might have met him a couple of times, but the whole idea that he cared enough, that was amazing. So for me, writing was a way to test ideas."

Sounds a lot like blogging. And now McNamee is back at it again. One of his first blogs is about the Motorola RAZR cell phone. Some of his other entries pertain to his new book, The New Normal, which offers practical tips to people about how to manage their families, careers and finances. Here's a link to a review we did in early Oct. when it first came out.


Great, let's hope that Roger will blog outside the confine of "The New Normal". Sounds a bit too much like a promotion vehicle for the book right now (or am I getting cynical ?).

Quite interesting to see that this blog has been around for 3 months and that it just got indexed by blog search engines, and it is not yet in the Google cache. Talking about "island blogging"...

Jeff Clavier on February 1, 2005 12:27 AM
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Jeff, you have a point about it being a promotional vehicle. It's clearly linked to his new book. Cynical? Let's see what happens. McNamee told us that writing is a part of his philosophy of taking the first step -- of giving of himself even though he might get pounded -- and to use his words, "then you kind of count on the fact that in aggregate it will work out." We know McNamee has the intellect and curiosity to make it more than a promotional vehicle, and hope he follows through. That's part of the conundrum. With his knowledge and background in the valley, he has created such an extensive network that it's hard to know what'll drive him to be a pajama-clad fire-in-the-belly blogger. It would be a shame if this dies just beyond the life-span of his book sales.

Matt Marshall on February 1, 2005 5:18 AM
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The book provided a great excuse to do something I have wanted to do for a year . . . start a blog. I am such a newbie, but with time I hope to get better at it. Let's face it, blogging has changed the face of journalism . . . and may be the new driver of what used to be known as print media. Given Elevation's focus on media, I want to understand blogging from the inside.

So far, most of my blogs have been about cool new products. Why? There are lots of them, and I am comfortable sharing my views. Over time, I hope to develop the courage to share my views on a wide range of topics.

Let's stay in touch.


Roger McNamee on February 1, 2005 8:32 PM
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