Something Ventured

Synopsis: Apple. Intel. Genentech. Atari. Google. Cisco. Stratospheric successes with high stakes all around. Behind some of the world's most revolutionary companies are a handful of men who (through timing, foresight, a keen ability to size up other people, and a lot of luck) saw opportunity where others did not: these are the original venture capitalists. All were backing and building companies before the term 'venture capital' had been coined: companies that led to the birth of biotechnology and the spectacular growth in microprocessors, personal computers and the web. SOMETHING VENTURED uncovers the ups and downs of the building of some of the greatest companies of the twentieth century, and the hidden dramas behind some of the most famous names in business.
Director(s): Daniel Geller (co-director), Dayna Goldfine (co-director)
Production: Zeitgeist Films
  1 nomination.
84 min

I was in my laboratory...

probably talking to students.

Here's a call, comes out of the blue.

This young guy...

wanted to know if the technology

was ready to be commercialized.

Then he said the magic word.

He says'

"I have access to some money

that would allow us to get started."

And I said, "Okay."

I said, "Where does the money originate?"

And he said,

"I'm a junior member

at a venture capital firm."

I went to look up what

"venture capital" meant.

I had never heard of it before.

The risks were just enormous.

They came to me

with no business plan.

Willing to risk everything

You have to be a street fighter.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

We didn't know what we were doing.

Silicon Valley.

Technical breakthrough.


A million dollars.






Good markets.

Create companies.

Growing companies.

The sky's the limit.

The rest is history.

I don't know to write a business plan.

I can only tell you how we read them.

And we start at the back.

And if the numbers are big, we look at the

front to see what kind of business it is.

You have to look at the way conventional

wisdom works and abandon it.

No one has ever accused

me of underestimating...


Jobs and Wozniak came up to see me.

Steve Jobs is a national treasure.

He is so visionary and so bright.

Uh, I had to fire him though.

These men didn't always wield

such influence and power.

In the beginning, they barely

knew what they were doing.

Fifty years ago, they were just

young guys from modest means...

who thought they could

help build innovative companies.

This is the story of a handful of men...

who stirred up a revolution

in finance and technology,

because they saw opportunity

where others only saw risk.

Venture capital.

I don't think I thought of it first.

But I don't know anyone...

who used the term before I did.

Back in the spring of1957,

Arthur Rock was just

a junior banker on Wall Street.

But then one day, an unsolicited letter

arrived at the office.

The letter was unusual, and no one else at

his brokerage firm knew what to do with it.

It was a cry for help.

And it would forever change

the trajectory of Arthur Rock's life.

You gotta be lucky.

Everybody's gonna be lucky

at some time or another.

Thing I'd say is,

I was lucky to be lucky early.

The letter on Arthur Rock's desk...

had come from eight engineers

in California.

A group of brilliant young men...

who would soon become known

as "the Traitorous Eight."

We were young guys.

A bunch of young engineers

and scientists mostly...

working together

at Shockley Semiconductor.

They were having a hard time with

Shockley, and they were gonna leave.

Things had deteriorated

at Shockley Lab.

He was a very difficult person

to work with.

And a group of us started considering

the possibility at least of leaving.

So anyhow, we did write-

"'This prospectus is to introduce a group

of senior scientists and engineers...

who have been working together at the

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory."

Shockley had just won a Nobel Prize.

It was probably a little presumptuous

of us to think we could push him aside.

"A group feeling arose

to the effect...

that rather than leave one by one,

we believe that we are much more

valuable to an employer as a group."

These were, by their resumes,

very superior people,

and I thought, "Gee, maybe

there's something here."

Something more valuable

than just to be an employee.

That "something" that Arthur saw...

inspired him to step out of his

ordinary role as a Wall Street banker.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Something Ventured" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 May 2020. <>.

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