Chris Dixon started my thinking about whether VC's need to be blogging. He posted a quote from Marc Andreessen, which is actually quite good, but not relevant to this post. What is relevant is Chris's quote at the end: "Man, I wish Marc still blogged!"
I, too, miss Marc's regular blogging. He wrote great things and although he wasn't consistent in his regularity, they were always really good. His partner Ben has taken up the reigns in terms of writing blog posts but he too is writing less and less. Is this a trend? Well, yes & no, if you look at it from multiple perspectives. There are only a few bloggers out their in the VC sector who regularly garner large readership, including Fred, Brad, Marc and maybe Euro-Fred as examples. On the other hand, there are a ton of blogs from VC's which are rarely posted to or are totally dead after a couple years. So what's happening here?
I have two theories. One is that said VC has some downtime and launches a blog. He plays with it for a while, has some interesting thoughts and posts them. A couple of these posts get a large number of readers so he or she continue for a while in regards to posting. Eventually though the downtime comes to an end and said VC does the math? Does the time I invest in writing bring as much reward as if I were investing this time elsewhere? This question can easily be answered by looking to see how well the VC writes and if the writing is a passion or just a tool. I believe that those VC's who continue to write do it because they love it and not because they have to. The second theory for why VC's stop writing is that they run out of ideas. It's hard to keep banging out posts which people want to read. As creative and witty as we VC's try to be, most of it has already been written. The numbers are simply against you when you look at the sheer number of VC blogs which were launched in the past 10 years. Someone out there has usually already written about everything you come up with (probably this topic too). You put your own spin on it but it's not new. This can be frustrating.
Back to the question of whether VC's should be blogging. I think the answer is yes but only if you do it because you love writing. Those VC's I mentioned above all write (I believe) because they love the practice of writing. Most of them are doing it late in the evening or early in the morning alongside their heavy work and travel schedules. Hats off to them for having the energy to keep at it. Further, a large readership does bring it's benefits and you can bet that they are generating fairly large marketing value for their funds via their blogs. On the other hand I'd bet Marc stopped blogging frequently because he's been real damn busy. Look at the funds he's raised, the team he's built, the boards he sits on and so forth. I would be shocked if he regularly banged out high quality posts on top of all this. Therefore, my answer is that VC's should blog but only because they are passionate about it. You shouldn't blog as a VC because everyone is doing it. Some people simply write poorly and have no business maintaining a blog. I write because I enjoy it. I'm always secretly planning my next book in the back of my mind and do this because it's a way to think out loud. It gives people an idea of how I tick. Finally, I hope it adds value for my readers and if not that, is at times a bit amusing.