The most important man at the table...

The most important man at the table...

Summary: The White House's Flickr stream has a picture of the now famous dinner where US President Obama met a sizable cross section of the Silicon Valley technology aristocracy. We've all heard of most of them, of Larry Ellison, of Carol Bartz, of Steve Jobs, of Mark Zuckerberg.

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The White House's Flickr stream has a picture of the now famous dinner where US President Obama met a sizable cross section of the Silicon Valley technology aristocracy. We've all heard of most of them, of Larry Ellison, of Carol Bartz, of Steve Jobs, of Mark Zuckerberg. They're all important and influential people, but they don't wield the power of the man whose home hosted the event - venture capitalist John Doerr.

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It's possible to trace the hand of Doerr and the venture capital firm where he's a partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to nearly all the companies represented at that table. If KPCB hadn't invested in them, then they were partners in funds, or had bought companies that had been KPCB investments. Google was one of KPCB's success stories, and it's probably only Doerr who could get committed rivals like Google, Twitter and Facebook around the same table for a convivial chat.

KPCB is one of the oldest VC companies in Silicon Valley (and possibly one of the reasons we have a Silicon Valley at all). When you look at their list of successful investments, from Sun Microsystems to Lotus to Symantec to Visio to Amazon.com to Google, it's a list of familiar names that define much of the tech world of today. They're companies that have been shaped by KPCB's guiding hand and in turn have shaped the world we live in. It's a fascinating portfolio of success stories, and it's as interesting to look at the company's list of current investments.

Doerr is also politically active, and many of the folk around that table are also members of his TechNet lobbying organisation. Its mission statement, "The voice and advocate of the innovation economy by uniting CEOs and Senior Executives with leading policy makers in a bipartisan effort to sustain and advance America’s global leadership in technology and innovation" is bland enough, but when you look at the list of companies involved, it's clear that this is a powerful organisation and one that President Obama would very much want to have on board with his agenda.

Our ZDNet blogging colleague Jack Schofield has wondered who might be around such a UK table. It's perhaps more interesting to wonder just who might be the man bringing together so many different companies. Perhaps it would be the man who's on his list - Hermann Hauser, the Acorn founder who's funded so many of the Cambridge area tech start ups...

Who would be your choice for the most important man at the table?

Simon Bisson

Topic: Windows

Simon Bisson

About Simon Bisson

Simon Bisson is a freelance technology journalist. He specialises in architecture and enterprise IT. He ran one of the UK's first national ISPs and moved to writing around the time of the collapse of the first dotcom boom. He still writes code.

Mary Branscombe

About Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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