15 June 2006

Anti-portfolio

BVP, a venture capital firm in the US keeps what it calls its anti-portfolio — a list of opportunities passed up which later became incredibly successful.

These companies … inspire us in our ongoing endeavors to build growing businesses. Or, to put it another way: if we had invested in any of these companies, we might not still be working.

My favourite is this:

Cowan's college friend rented her garage to Sergey and Larry for their first year. In 1999 and 2000 she tried to introduce Cowan to "these two really smart Stanford students writing a search engine". Students? A new search engine? In the most important moment ever for Bessemer's anti-portfolio, Cowan asked her, "How can I get out of this house without going anywhere near your garage?"

Quite a neat idea, and it probably applies to many more areas: jobs and relationships come to mind. Could the highlight of your anti-love-life be turning down a girl who later stars in several Tomb Raider movies?