Sunday Conversation #2: David Hornik, August Capital

Welcome to the second “Sunday Conversation,” this week featuring August Capital’s David Hornik. Unlike many investors are public but tend to only cheerlead, David is an authentic balance between knowing his role in the ecosystem yet not being afraid to respectfully share his views. I saw David on a conference panel earlier this year and he was simply laugh-out-loud funny. We talked after that event about doing a longer conversation, and David was gracious enough to set aside some time, invite us to his offices, and to spend some time thinking about the questions I posed in advance. Below are the seven (7) short video segments separated by topic, and at the bottom of this page is a SoundCloud file if you’d prefer simply to listen to the audio. These questions were designed so that the audience interested in this topic can quickly learn from the guest. Please note the Sunday Conversation series will run twice per month and feature guests in a long-form discussion. ♦

Part I, How Sand Hill Road Has Changed Since Fall 2008 (3:58) — Hornik discusses how Sand Hill has and hasn’t changed over the past few years, and what he expects the future to look like. ♦

Part II, Why VC Firms Spend So Much Time On Marketing And PR (2:03) — Hornik traces the time from his own blog over a decade ago, the rise of social media, the increased competition for deals, and why investors now need to differentiate themselves with branding. ♦

Part III, Trend Of Hiring Operators As VCs (2:36) — Hornik points out that there have always been operators in venture capital, but lately, it feels as if some investors feel as if they can “operate” in their businesses, an approach he’s not sure works. ♦

Part IV, On Demo Day Culture (2:56) — Hornik is one of the few people I’ve seen publicly discuss his views on the culture of “Demo Days.” ♦

Part V, How Hornik Works With Founders (3:59) — It’s essentially like dating. ♦

Part VI, On VC Bashing (3:57) — Hornik explains how VC-hating has reached a fever pitch, but that a few bad apples give all a bad rep. He additionally points out that VC is essentially a job of saying “no,” which can foster some bad feelings. ♦

Part VII, His Views On Breaking Into Venture (5:31) — Essentially a must-watch if you’re even remotely thinking about a career in VC. I will now just point to this segment indefinitely. ♦

Audio Recording, Full Conversation via SoundCloud

A special thanks to the team at Scaffold Labs for sponsoring the Sunday Conversation series on Haywire. Scaffold Labs is a boutique technology advisory firm based in Silicon Valley which designs and builds scientific and predictable talent acquisition programs that helps technology startups hire great people. Scaffold Labs has previously partnered with companies such as Cloudera, Appirio, and Nimble Storage, among others. For more information, please visit