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Publisher's Summary

The first inside account of life within a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, eBoys is the fascinating true story of the six tall men who backed eBay, Webvan, and other billion-dollar start-ups that are transforming the Internet and setting a new pace for the economy. Randall Stross, author of acclaimed books on Microsoft and Steve Jobs, blends a business historian's perspective with a journalist's flair for suspenseful storytelling to look at wealth creation up close. For two years, Stross gained unprecedented access to the venture capitalists at Benchmark, an upstart firm founded by thirtysomething renegades whose average height happens to be 6'5. Since Benchmark's founding in 1995, each partner's net worth has increased, on average, $100 million annually.
Stross was present as the Benchmark boys debated which businesses to support, and by recounting their conversations in testosterone-rich detail, he offers listeners the most precise and enlightening account of the ways in which venture capitalists think, evaluate prospects, and wield influence.
The author also gained access to a number of the Benchmark-backed start-ups, including a small, privately held San Jose company called eBay. The value of the company grew from $20 million to more than $21 billion within two years of Benchmark's investment, an increase of 100,000 percent. Business Week called it "probably the best venture capital investment of all time."
©2000 by Randall E. Stross
(P)2000 Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"This eye-opening first-hand account of the young, gutsy, and mega-rich entrepreneurs who are financing today's hottest Web-based businesses will leave you gasping." (Glenn Brenner, author of The Emperors of Chocolate)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Sean on 12-01-03

Entertaining but misinformed

I found the book to be totally engrossing and entertaining, but also amusing (not always in a good way), a little inaccurate, and probably more than a little embarrassing to the participants in hindsight. If you are looking for an entertaining read about the highest fliers in the internet bubble, this is a great choice. But if you are hoping to learn more about venture capital from an insiders point of view, this book will lead you astray.

The description of the attitudes and lingo at Benchmark and other venture firms in the book seem out of place. The author seems to be describing the macho environment of an investment bank rather than the more subdued approach of venture capitalists. But maybe that's the way things actually were at Benchmark in the late 1990s.

As a venture capitalist myself, I was surprised by the apparent lack of due diligence and the thin premises upon which the partners seemed to make their investment decisions. I'm sure that my perception of this is in part a consequence of the author's choice to gloss over the nitty gritty details. But explicit dialogue between the partners shows that the partners did in fact have a shoot-from-the-hip style. I am hardly qualified to question the partners' instincts when they were so successful. But I do think it is a wildly inaccurate portrayal of the industry as a whole.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By William T. Katz on 05-24-03

Entertaining look at one VC firm

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to eBoys. The audiobook doesn't attempt to be a treatise on Venture Capital. Instead, it gives you a glimpse at a new "democratic" VC firm, Benchmark, and describes some of the more interesting ventures like Ebay and Webvan. It gives you the venture capitalist perspective on those ventures, and how the standards of investing changed during the dot-com mania. This is not a textbook on venture capital, but it is an entertaining peek at how some of the big internet deals went down.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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