I remember the ache I began to feel in my guts as I read of Wayne Erickson s pilgrimage to the inner sanctuary of venture capitalists who have money but no real expertise. It takes a hell of a lot more to run a company than just money and the expertise to spend it properly. It takes a real self-analysis. It takes believing in what you're doing without overlooking that which may need to be improved. It requires that no matter what the venture capitalists may say, when it comes to your technology, you are the expert in the room.

It has been my experience that venture capitalists have two problems: an inability to learn from those of us who may only be experts at one thing, and a fear of teaching those of us who may need to polish our business skills.

There is a psychological myth that most entrepreneurs believe. They think that venture capitalists are leaders. Venure capitalists act like leaders, but I have found that true leaders don't have a need to lie the boss all the time. True leaders are willing to get their hands dirty, to feel compassion when it is appropriate, to take command when the situation demands it.

Ultimately, the true task of a leader is to find the means of restoring that which is lacking.


Editor's note: When we published "Why Smart Companies Are Saying No to Venture Capital" (August), we anticipated that the article would generate much response from both entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The response, as reflected in the letters that follow, has shed some additional light on a very important subject. We trust that this is not the end of the discussion about the role of venture capital in building companies, and we encourage other readers to inform us of their experiences.