Sunday, October 21, 2007

KP: Tom Perkins - behind the swagger

"Toward the end of his memoir "Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins," the founding partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers mischievously offers some "likely" reviews that will be posted online. Here's one from "Patricia":

Self-aggrandizing drivel from a misogynistic, narcissistic egomaniac, who inadvertently makes it clear why he has more enemies than friends!

Could that be Patricia as in Pattie Dunn, the former Hewlett-Packard chairman who learned that it's not good to have Tom Perkins as an enemy? Perkins has good reason to blame Dunn for HP's spy scandal, which ultimately included snooping into Perkins' private phone records and ended with her resignation from the board.

What's more, even neutral readers might think "Patricia" got it exactly right - and it's clear after reading the memoir to be released next month that Perkins would be OK with that, too.

"Valley Boy" and journalist David A. Kaplan's "Mine's Bigger" - focusing more on Perkins' quest to build "the greatest sailing machine ever built," his mega-yacht the Maltese Falcon - are two new offerings in the valley's non-fiction canon. In both, Perkins comes across as a swaggering, combative rogue who relishes competition in any form.

Until the HP spy scandal erupted, Perkins was widely perceived as yesterday's news. By the late 1990s, John Doerr, not Perkins or other founders, was Kleiner Perkins' most prominent partner. "

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