Continuing from the previous post…We now use the relations found in the previous map to investigate ‘hot company’ networks in new ways. This is based on the idea that key people and investors can help point the way to new companies. The goal of a ‘derivative network’ is to take a network of interest and ‘invert’ it to see another view of its affiliations. In each of the ensuing three derivative maps, we will be exposed to new sets of people and companies that are not in this group of ‘hot companies,’ but are related to that group through these derivative networks.
First let’s look at the networks of the three key board members identified in the previous post: Reid Hoffman, David Sze, and Bill Gurley. Q: What do these board members have in common? The goal here is to identify companies not found in the previous post map - companies that are found in the same circles as the ‘hot companies’ discussed in the last post. Along with the new people we find, all of these companies are potentially interesting, so let’s see what we can dig up.
In the last post we started with a map of company nodes. In this first derivative map we will look at the network formed by the affiliations of those companies - namely, the key board members.
Zazzle zooms in Alexa Rankings: The Top Alexa Mover and Shaker for the week moved up from 4,028 to 760 (granted, Alexa is only one measure). Zazzle personalizes t-shirts, coffee mugs, stamps, etc. The movement is in no doubt due to a big ad campaign, but they are nevertheless generating some pageview interest. Here is Zazzle’s Relational map:
Zazzle Relational Map. Notes: (1) Zazzle is funded by KPCB and Sherpalo (their only 2 investors); (2) John Doerr and Ram Shriram sit on the board (their only 2 outside board members); (3) Zazzle has capital relations with Google, Tellme, and Podshow (it is a full Kleiner-Sherpalo sibling); and (4) Zazzle and Google are the only two companies that have both Doerr and Shriram on their current board.
Cisco buys NeoPath, a network storage company (Venture Beat)
NeoPath Relational Map (Pendants dropped, Inactive companies included). Notes: (1) Cisco was an investor in NeoPath; (2) Cisco relational investment ties to August Capital = BroadLogic & Ubicom; (3) All of the active companies are private; (4) Only 1 inactive acquired company = Caw Networks; and (5) Cisco relational investment tie to Bill Joy (Caw).
VC Ratings @ thedeal.com reports on the company The Funded, which offers ratings for VC Firms. A blurb on the post that drew my attention:
While the news and opinion in this blog hopefully provide readers with a sense of which VCs are doing well (and badly) and why, there is little quantitative analysis that would provide statistical-backed insight into not just which firms are doing good work, but which individual partners adds value to those around them.
I believe that our Relational Capital Index would be a good metric along these lines. The main idea here is the quantification of network relations based on the strategic value of VC firm connections. More to come: (1) we plan on publishing our rankings of Silicon Valley Investment and People (Board) Relational Capital; (2) we will incorporate network metrics as an optional advanced feature on LinkSViewer. For those who want to learn more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s NCAA Basketball Tourney time - get your brackets ready and start talking some trash. I did a network analysis of the tournament teams and my predictions are below (explanation follows).
Final Game: Florida over Washington State in a squeaker.
Final Four: Florida, Washington State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh
Teams that could go further than expected: Oregon, Louisville, Virginia, Boston College
Teams that could leave sooner than expected: Kansas, Memphis, Texas
Potential First Round Upsets: Long Beach State over Tennessee, Georgia Tech over UNLV
First, a mea culpa on some incorrect information related to the Wikia Board of Directors on our previous post on The Omidyar Network Network. This was pointed out by Ross Mayfield (CEO of SocialText) and also commented on by Marc Canter on his blog - if anyone would know it was wrong, then it would be Ross (he’s on the map!). Our information from the LinkSV database has since been updated (sorry for the inconvenience). The changes result in only one direct connection from Wikia to SocialText (Jimmy Wales, Wikia Founder) - no cluster of common advisory board members (as noted before), but there still exists a tie. The corrected map is shown below (and also updated on the original Omidyar post).
Corrected Relational Network Map (Pendants or one-tie nodes dropped). Note how Jimmy Wales is now the only board connection between Wikia and SocialText. The Wikia board has been updated. The Wikia/SocialText ties are interesting in their own right…
Relational Map for Wikia + SocialText (Pendants included). Notes: (1) inclusion of all board members and management team members for both companies; (2) gatekeeping role of Jimmy Wales and Omidyar; (3) addition of Jeremy Levine (Bessemer) and his board ties to Yelp and Gracenote; (4) additional connecting presence of angel investors Brett Bullington, Ron Conway, Dan Gillmor, Michael Tanne, and Dave Whorton; and (5) hybrid role of Joi Ito as angel investor (Wikia) and board member (SocialText).
What I find most striking from the above map are the extensive ties between the companies in the center of the map (despite both having relatively few VC investors). Certainly there are some alliances that have or will be formed by these related companies - look at the names, a virtual Who’s Who of Web 2.0. Indeed, I commented in an earlier post on the relational capital of Web 2.0 companies and how individual investors, well-connected in the space, have helped redefine the venture capital (and social media) landscape. True to the spirit of blogging, individuals can make a difference (but it helps to have some connected VCs as well).
VentureBeat reported on the Silicon Valley windfall (haha) of cash for solar energy initiatives. Here’s a map for the combined networks of three of the recent grant recipients. Looks like a good spread of involvement across the valley without too much overlap - investors aren’t putting money into redundant solar energy projects. Click on the map below too see a live LinkSViewer version that’s easier to read. Find out who’s benefiting from this windfall of grant money, and who’s related to those beneficiaries.
We recently updated LinkSViewer to include LinkSV people profile information. The people profiles, company summaries, and investment firm summaries are also now all available from the Information Window in LinkSViewer (which we spruced up a bit). This should improve the functionality of the site and speed up the navigation process for users.
By double-clicking on any person node in the map, their LinkSV.com profile pops up in a new window. The profile allows immediate access LinkSV’s Web-accessible information on their background, boards, and investments. It also links to other available information such as their Web bio, company Website + address, LinkedIn record, and Jigsaw contact information. Here is an Example LinkSV Profile (full-screen).
Double click on a person (board or management team member) the next time you map, it should be useful. More new stuff to come…
This post is divided into two sections, Lessons Learned and Overall Trends. The first section contextualizes the network analyses using three questions: (1) Why the Silicon Valley?; (2) Why Networking?; and (3) What are the Predominant Types of Maps? The second section provides details on the overall trends from the Midas List Network Analyses in two parts: (1) Midas List 2006 vs. 2007: (a) New to the 2007 List; (b) VC Firm Changes; and (c) Title Category Changes; (2) Midas List Network Content Analysis: (a) Top Midas List Connectors; (b) Top VC Connectors; Top People Connectors; (c) Top Future Stars + Watch List Private Companies; (d) Top Future Star Private Companies; and (e) Top Watch List Private Companies.
Google’s acquisition of JotSpot is a great little trick or treat surprise for Joe Kraus. Tons of blogs out there are already covering their predictions of what the incorporation of this wiki platform will bring to the already significant suite that Google has been piecing together… spreadsheets, word processing, online collaboration, and more - all under the umbrella of Google with their uncanny knack for optimal monetization. But that’s only moderately interesting to me. If I got incredibly interested and surprised every time Google made a move that sounded potentially groundbreaking and innovative, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. The networks involved, however, do interest me.
What I see when I map Google and JotSpot together is the fact that they’re not exactly connected in any direct and profound ways. Let’s add a couple of caveats in there… Joe Krauss (formerly Excite.com as well as many other ventures of interest) is an extremely well connected individual in Silicon Valley, so it is doubtless that there are links that exist beyond what can be seen in these network images. Let’s take a look.
Relational Map of Google, JotSpot, Infrasearch, and Joe Kraus
(click to see full size)
I have to mention that the Mets just won to extend the series to it’s final game. Not that I’m such a huge baseball fan, nor a Mets fan, but including the word “Playoffs” in the title allowed it to roll off the tongue. On to the networking…
Miguel Helft, who used to be often read in the Mercury, is now a tech writer for the NY Times and had an article on the front page business section on Tuesday about the pals from PayPal and their microcosmic Silicon Valley networking effect, and how that small group has hatched and reared some of the most successful companies (and exits) in the tech world. However, Helft is not yet familiar with our LinkSViewer tool that does visual networking for Silicon Valley tech and VC networks. As such, I can’t blame him for the illustration from the times - a network of sorts, but I can credit him with the inspiration to put up some of my own constructed networks of this power cluster that has achieved the kind of success to which we all aspire.
Here is the first network view. It shows the network formed by including Peter Thiel as an investor, Reid Hoffman as an Investor, and PayPal as a company. Simply including these three nodes creates a network that includes most everyone mentioned in Helft’s article.
Relational Map for Thiel, Hoffman, and PayPal (click to see full size map)
It is important that readers do not automatically assume that just because a person or company appears in this network, it should be somehow affiliated with the current HP board scandal. By nature of how our network analysis works, we are investigating the power of indirect links. As such, it would be rash and irresponsible to assume that a company or person with an indirect link to HP – or in this case, to one or two of HP’s former Board Members, indicates some sort of impropriety in the totality of their work and dealings. The ‘real-world’ nature and context of these relationships must be taken into account. This map can illustrate how those connections are structured, but conclusions as to the nature of those relationships is inference only. It is my responsibility as a conscientious analyst to state this very clearly because I have a concern about how people may jump to conclusions. Viewing networks like this is very new for some people, and with the hype surrounding the connections displayed here we must be sure that when this network is viewed, it is viewed as an illustration of the network structure for HP’s current and former board, and NOT as a direct illustration for a particular incident.
Relational Map for HP’s Board of Directors Network
This LinkSViewer map shows HP’s network, including current and former Board Member connections, and active and inactive companies included. Note that this only includes Northern California companies. The Person nodes for Robert Knowling, Sam Ginn, Tom Perkins, and Robert Wayman are expanded. They are the only four current or former Board Members that link to other companies as well as HP. This means that even if all of the other Person nodes were expanded, no additional links would appear.