The author likes to think about Rasputin (among other subjects)
French and Raven define six sources of influence - Coercive power forces compliance - Reward power pays for compliance - Legitimate power rules by social norms (expectation of compliance) - Expert power rules through experience (expectation of knowledge) - Informational power rules through proprietary access - Referent power rules by character (power of personality)
An illiterate Siberian peasant conquered the Russian court with charisma - Charming St. Petersburg parlors with "strange manners" - Won over church officials even among rumors of orgies - Referent power can only be defeated in one way - how do you make someone less themselves? - With Rasputin, it was cyanide and three bullets - hopefully that doesn't happen in the Valley - Certain founders and leaders have had similar power - Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, etc.
VC has expanded as an asset class, with more money for fewer startups - which has implications for the industry - There's an escalation of competition, money in early funds = power to the startup - Valuations are up and more "value-adds" are provided - but everyone has that now - VC never had coercive power, reward power is just more money, legitimate power is only for brand-name firms - Expert power has paid off - specialized firms hold experience or proprietary tools, but competition will erode these advantages - Informational advantages are also useful but erodable- first dibs is nice, but anyone with money can copy scouting tactics