VCs and Taint

Dare has an interesting post on the way that VCs are now bragging about how they steer clear of anywhere Google might go.  I’ve noticed that VCs often think in “big dog”, “Moneyball”, “old boy” terms, so it’s not surprising.  That’s the challenge for Umair; he covers all of the same topics as the VCs, and in more depth, but he’s just a wee bit too intellectual.  He needs to sound just a bit more paternalistic and sexist if he wants to appeal to the baby boomers and sound like a member of the VC club.

Coincidentally, the other day, my aggregator fed me this post (warning, totally NSFW) by Sam Sugar about his conversation with Fred Wilson (a VC).  It was right next to a post by Fred; the irony wasn’t lost on me.  Fred made it pretty clear (very politely) that he wasn’t interested in even having a conversation about the topic, because of “taint”.  The interesting part is that the VCs have no problem investing in companies in Sam’s industry, as long as the “taint” is sufficiently dissociated.

The “taint” in Sam’s industry, of course, comes from the fact that we have a whole industry organized around exploitation.  As Sam chronicles, though, it’s a rather complex picture where the exploiters are increasingly as likely to be women as men.  I suspect that many VCs read Sam’s blog, since he thinks like a VC and asks the questions that VCs generally won’t ask publicly.

Speaking of, if you’re visiting Shanghai in the next couple of months (and you look British), don’t arrange private dinners with attractive single (or married, for that matter — I’m afraid to take my own wife to dinner in Shanghai now) Chinese women.  The angry mob is on the hunt for ChinaBounder, a British retard who thinks that Shanghainese promiscuity is a license to brag about his cross-cultural sexual exploits.  As the Sugar/Wilson conversation on “taint” shows, a bit of humor can help people push the edges and discuss an uncomfortable subject without blowing up.  Bounder (like Sugar) loves to quote Shakespeare.  But Bounder clearly is crossing the line between “poking fun to allow an uncomfortable subject to be discussed” and “mocking and provocation with malicious intent”.  The violent reaction was quite predictable, and the subject could have been raised with moderation and sensitivity, so Bounder has nobody to blame but himself for what he gets.

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