The VC Three

One of the most interesting subcultures of the technology industry is that of the venture capitalists that fund so much of what’s going on. While the conventional wisdom is to have a hearty skepticism for VCs, or to caricature them as having more money than sense, I’m generally one of those people who thinks everyone has their own role to play in making tech go.

However, there’s one observation about VCs that’s incontrovertibly true. They’re a competitive lot, as obsessed with what the other guy is doing as anybody in fashion or entertainment or other industries. This became clear to me with something I’d noticed recently.

Almost all the VCs I know have three kids.

Now, the average number of children per household in the United States has been slowly decreasing for years. I believe it’s less than two, maybe even as low as 1.5 children per family. And what better way to demonstrate a commitment to oneupsmanship than to have twice as many kids as an average family? It’s a no-brainer!

Of course, it lets you have a whole set of other accoutrements for your pile of little ones. A house starts to creep into four or five or six bedrooms, instead of two or three. It’s easier to justify having a minivan or even (gasp!) an SUV when you have to tote a family of five around to soccer practice or to the movies. In all, it’s a perfect way to extend a bit of friendly competition and a habit of subdued, but still somewhat conspicuous, consumption to a realm that’s been sadly free of competitive energy.

So, just a note to all my friends in the VC community. You’re a good bunch of people, and I like the work you do in helping to build new companies in technology. Your expertise, influence, and of course investment is invaluable. But I’m on to you with this kid thing. And I’m watching for when you start fighting against the bigamy laws.