Joy’s Law

I recently came across Joy’s Law by Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy.

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”

The consequence of Joy’s Law is the following.

“In any given sphere of activity most of the pertinent knowledge will reside outside the boundaries of any one organization, and the central challenge is to find ways to access that knowledge.”

This reminded me of what I believe is the second of the two most important attributes of successful VC’s.

The first is an ability to pick winners. This requires having insights about how technology will impact different markets or create new ones, and being able to identify the people that will make these changes happen.

The second attribute is helping your chosen winners achieve their goals. This is where Joy’s Law comes into play. Startups need to access the knowledge of the smartest people that work for someone else either directly, by hiring them, or indirectly, by partnering with them. A VC’s second role is to help make these hires and partnerships happen.