An Engineer's View of Venture Capitalists

VCs know how to deal with engineers, but engineers don't know how to deal with VCs

11 min read

With Brion Shimamoto, Dynamic Silicon

I first encountered venture capitalists (VCs) in 1987. Despite a bad start, I caught the start-up bug. In the years since, I have worked with more than 30 start-ups as founder, advisor, engineer, executive, and board member. It's a lot more than that if you count all the times I've tried to help "nerd" friends (engineers) connect with the "rich guys" (VCs). Naturally, I've formed opinions along the way. Many books and articles eulogize VCs. But here I want to present an engineer's view of VCs. It may sound like I'm maligning VCs. That's not my intent. And I'm not trying to change human nature. VCs know how to deal with engineers, but engineers don't know how to deal with VCs. VCs take advantage of this situation to maximize the return for the venture fund's investors. Engineers are getting short-changed.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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