“In The Studio” this week hosts a special guest who doesn’t typically go on camera that often. As a result, I decided to make this particular episode of the show longer to capture my entire discussion with Greylock’s David Sze. For anyone who follows the ins and outs of venture capital, Sze’s name looms large. By now, most everyone knows of Greylock’s impressive run over the last decade, a firm which originated decades ago in the Boston area and has, thanks in large part to Sze, successfully transformed to one of the premier Silicon Valley shops. Over the last decade, he has helped lead the firm to write early checks into consumer-focused companies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pandora, as well as startups attacking the enterprise, such as Workday and Palo Alto Networks. More recently, he made his largest investment ever (in terms of dollar size) in NextDoor, a company which fits into larger societal trends he’s observed.
What’s not often discussed, with respect to Sze, are the careful moves he’s made to position the firm where it is today. This is the focus of our video conversation, and while it’s a bit longer than most, I would encourage anyone interested in venture capital, Silicon Valley history, and those embarking on a career in technology startups to spend the time to watch this. In this video, Sze and I discuss the following topics: The early stages of his career, when he graduated from college and went into consulting; His move out to the west coast, going to business school, and jumping into the technology world; His first operational role at a real startup; How he paired up with former classmate Aneel Bhusri to join him at Greylock; How he began investing in enterprise and was, admittedly, not that good at it; How he went back to his consumer roots and began investing in consumer companies, such as Pandora; How he met Reid Hoffman, invested in LinkedIn, and eventually recruited a team of operators; and advice he would give young folks who are interested in venture capital and/or who coming to the Valley.