Small—and relentlessly experimental, quick-footed, and determined—truly is beautiful now. “In the ’20s and ’30s, there was a turn toward big national companies—U.S. Steel and others,” he says. “‘Small’ meant Uncle Joe’s shoe store. Small meant lame.” But it’s clear to Graham that brilliant technologists who work small are anything but lame. Instead, they are the rocket ships everyone is clamoring to board.
Whether the angel-touched companies of the Twitter age will endure, produce something of true value, and propel us all forward remains to be seen. That was the gold standard that the former Silicon Valley—including its VCs—judged itself by. Though Graham won’t say that his entrepreneurs and the angels who watch over them will go down in the history books alongside the giants who created the Valley’s iconic companies, he does speak of working at the center of a shift on the scale of the industrial revolution. Then he checks himself: “Not even the participants know how this is going to end up.”