06 April 2008

Kirsner Misses MIT's Compton et al...

Scott Kirsner did a nice review in his Innovation Economy column in today's Sunday Globe entitled Venture Capital's Grandfather of the Creative Capital book about Georges Doriot and American Research & Development or AR&D, the first formal venture capital fund. But he misses the crucial role played by MIT President Karl Compton and the other Bostonian co-founders of AR&D, including other MIT faculty and alums active in local financial circles. Doriot was an amazing manager and operator of the fund, but the others had the creative vision to initiate it, inspired by the tremendous fruits of WWII war-research and imagining the civilian applications, but realizing there needed to be proper financing to bridge the transition. In any case, check out Scott's video of an entrepreneur who engaged with "The General" online at Innovation Economy


Scott Kirsner said...

Hi Joost-

Thanks for this post.

Spencer Ante, author of "Creative Capital" gives props to some of the other minds that gave birth to ARD, including Compton... but Doriot is the focal point of the book, and seems to have been the key player in the firm's success (though not the lone creator, as you point out.)

(Also, the Globe video *is* embeddable... just click "Get Code.")

Joost Bonsen said...

Doriot's important in operations, but others inspired AR&D in the first place. And even Doriot did not build an enduring venture (despite what I expect he advised his investments). The fact that so many colleagues left to do their own things -- as you point out -- and that the current leadership are so minimally visible -- as you point out -- is further evidence of this. So I wonder how much he's rewarded for simply being first, as opposed to truly amazing.

Per your come-back, I DID "Get Code" but it has such obnoxious Glob advertising embedded and is so difficult to easily shrink without knowing too much about code that I gave up. I'll wait till you do it right on innoeco.com