Thursday, March 16, 2006

Larry Sonsini

Last night, I attended an HBS dinner honoring Larry Sonsini as the Bay Area's 205 business person of the year.

In his acceptance speech, Larry reminisced on a 40 year career working with growth companies. Larry's career serves as witness to the many industry changing companies started here in the valley and to his role in advising many of them along the way. By decade he rattled off a list of clients - Bob Noyce, TJ Rogers, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Jim Clark, etc - and the pioneering vcs - Arthur Rock, Tom Perkins, Don Valentine, etc - who funded them.

He closed with a comment on three traits the great entrepreneurs all share:

  • passion,
  • adaptability,
  • and not taking themselves too seriously.
Finally, he remains very bullish on the future of the valley. He took the audience back to the 1980s and to the fears that the Japanese would decimate the US tech industry. While he acknowledged challenges - education, burdensome regulation, etc - he remains confident that the next 40 years will be as bright if we continue to embrace change, reward innovation, promote meritocracy, and accept failure as a sign of trying something new.

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