This is a guest post for Integrate.io written by Bill Inmon, an American computer scientist recognized as the "father” of the data warehouse. Inmon wrote the first book and first magazine column about data warehousing, held the first conference about this topic, and was the first person to teach data warehousing classes.
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Computer scientist and "father of the data warehouse" Bill Inmon recalls a time when a venture capitalist would only invest in his company if he had $10 million in sales.
Bill argues that venture capital is like the Hollywood movie industry, which plows money into already-successful franchises rather than taking risks on anything innovative.
Innovators have hurdles to overcome to seek the venture capital they deserve.
The venture capital community has made life harder for entrepreneurs.
Innovations like the data warehouse won't achieve market success if investors don't take risks.
I just got an email from a venture capitalist. For about the hundredth time, the venture capitalist told me they were anxious to invest money in us. The only qualification was that we needed to already have at least $10 million in sales.
If we had $10 million in sales, we wouldn’t need to be talking with the venture capitalist. How stupid is that? I suggested to the venture capitalist that they go invest in IBM or ATT because they do have $10 million in sales.
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It Didn’t Use to Be This Way
Once upon a time, venture capitalists actually took risks. Once upon a time, there was actually a venture in venture capitalism. But in today’s world, you have to have at least $10 million in sales before the venture capitalist will even talk with you. And there just aren’t many ventures left on the table when you have that much in sales.
So where is this “new venture capitalism” leading? It's leading to a familiar place.
It is leading straight to Hollywood.
Why Venture Capital is Like Hollywood
Where does Hollywood place its big bets? On what already has worked! That's why we get “The Planet of the Apes” 3, 4, and 5. Or “Star Wars” 3, 4. and 5. Or “The Avengers” 3, 4, and 5. Everything is warmed over. There is very little innovation shown in Hollywood.
Hollywood doesn’t want to bet on anything new and innovative. All it wants to do is recycle the same old tired ideas. Just like in Hollywood, the “new venture capitalist” wants to recycle the same old ideas. That’s what happens when you adopt the stance the venture community has taken.
The really new, exciting innovations have even more hurdles placed in front of them to achieve marketplace success. That’s a shame if Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and others wanted to start over. Nobody would be willing to believe these people had discovered a marketplace.
Is Innovation Dead?
The fact that the IT community no longer fosters new ideas and innovations makes the world of the innovator really difficult. Once upon a time, the IT community was a place where innovation thrived. Just think about game-changing innovations like the data warehouse.
But IT made so many bad, really stupid bets that management no longer trusts them with precious corporate resources. IT kept making promises that were never kept, so management no longer believed them. IT kept betting on the silver bullet that never came. IT cried wolf once too often with its so-called silver bullets.
There will be less and less innovation when new marketplaces are created. The life of the entrepreneur was already hard enough. But IT and the venture community have made the life of the entrepreneur just that much harder.
Bill Inmon, the "father of the data warehouse," has authored 65 books and was named by Computerworld as one of the ten most influential people in the history of computing. Inmon's Castle Rock, Colorado-based company Forest Rim Technology helps companies hear the voice of their customers. See more at www.forestrimtech.com.
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