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: “Iï¿½m 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 wasnï¿½t 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 didnï¿½t 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.