It's a Friday afternoon (in some parts of the world, at least), so go ahead take a nice long drink of your favorite alcoholic beverage. If you're like me, you'll need it to make it through the CNBC interview with the Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss that aired today. It is embedded above for your viewing pleasure, complete with CNBC reporters asking for the Winklevii's autographs and all. Really, drink up.
Anyway. On air today, CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin talked with everyone's favorite Harvard grads cum Olympic athletes cum Mark Zuckerberg nemeses about their latest foray into the tech startup space as individuals with significant financial reserves and no apparent engineering credentials. They're becoming venture capitalists.
The VC Gold Rush
As PandoDaily's Paul Carr has quite humorously written, this is just one example of the larger VC boom that's happening: "In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to headlines about: An infant who has decided to call herself a VC. A robot that has decided to call itself a VC. A duck that has decided to call itself a VC. An infant robot duck that has decided to call itself a VC." The Next Web's Drew Olanoff had a good point about their prospects as well: "Personally, I'd rather take money from the guy who played them [in The Social Network movie], Armie Hammer."
But we really shouldn't take away from the Winklevii's vision preemptively. It's entirely possible they have deeper insights into this whole space than many realize. "We think the cloud is going to be huge," Tyler Winklevoss told Sorkin today, after all. They're focusing on "early stage disruptive startups" who are "shifting the paradigm." I mean, Marc Andreessen, watch your back.
It's Not Actually All Bad
OK, all snark aside. Like it or not, this really is just the beginning. The Winklevii have actually had their hands in the web world in one way or another for years so if Silicon Valley peeps are feeling appalled at them jumping into the scene full time, they should really brace themselves for what's coming in the future.
Wall Street isn't as lucrative as it once was and for many years, the most ambitious, savvy, money-oriented people from top universities just went straight into investment banking. Now that those jobs have dwindled and seem unlikely to make a resurgence anytime soon, those same people are now heading west and hitching their wagons to the tech industry's star.
I actually think that this shift away from Wall Street and into Silicon Valley is a good thing, on the whole. The best and brightest young people in our society have been going into the finance world for far too long. And whatever we think of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in particular, they are part of a larger class of people who have made the business world go around for many years: They're well-educated, quite intelligent, and clearly don't give up without a fight. It'll be interesting to see how much more the tech industry goes into turbo-drive as more of these types enter the fray.