Valley Boy And The Maltese Falcon
Valley Boy - The Education Of Tom Perkins, by Tom Perkins

February 01, 2021

Valley Boy And The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon is one of the largest and fastest sailing vessels in the world. She is a marvelous example of technological innovation allowing for single-handed operation on the 'Big Briney.' After catching a glimpse of S/Y Maltese Falcon online, I had to find out more about her owner, which led me to the reading of 'Valley Boy - The Education of Tom Perkins'. Welcome to the world of high-tech venture capital (VC) investing. And it all started with Georges Doriot at Harvard Business School...

I can’t tell you how to write [a business plan], I can only tell you how to read one. We start at the back, and if the numbers are big, we look at the front to see what kind of business it is.‘Valley Boy’, by Tom Perkins, page 135

The Maltese Falcon

S/Y stands for Sailing Yacht, by the way…

S/Y Maltese Falcon is 289 feet long. She has three masts made of carbon fiber that stand around 58 meters high (or close to 18 stories). Her DynaRig sail technology allows for one person to unfurl and control the sails - talk about automation and economy of s(c)ail. She was built in Turkey by an Italian naval architecture firm, Perini Navi. She is a technological marvel that came together as a highly functional seafaring machine after a great deal of testing using mockups, prototypes, computer simulation, computer aided design, etc. Upon seeing such a vessel in person, online or in pictures, one can’t help to realize that she is the product of significant wealth and power, which led me to try to learn more about her owner.

Valley Boy, Tom Perkins

What’s a ‘Valley Boy’ anyway? In the context of Tom Perkins, I believe the term pertains to a certain breed of venture capitalist (VC) living and working in Silicon Valley. Tom Perkins was born in New York, but moved to Palo Alto to start his first full-time employment with Hewlett Packard (HP). Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett met Perkins at a trade show back East and the three hit it off, with an offer of employment being tendered during Perkins’ first informal interview with the HP owners as they setup their booth.

Perkins thus became the first MBA to work for HP.

Perkins eventually teamed-up with Eugene Kleiner to form the famous Kleiner Perkins Venture Capital Fund, famous for investing in companies like Tandem Computers, Genentech, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and even Google and Amazon.


Reading Tom Perkins’ book, ‘Valley Boy,’ gave me a deeper insight into his life, career, and decision making that led to his huge successes (and failures, like being tried for manslaughter in France). He made his first millions in a laser-based side-hustle while working full-time for HP.

Perkins was a sailor and a man of the sea. He approached sailing and boat-building methodically and empirically like he approached building businesses.

Ultimately, we want to emulate Tom Perkins’ success, not Jan Sloot’s (necessarily)…Read the book or listen to the podcast to learn more about Jan Sloot.

Dream 10X!

podcast career goals professional growth continuous learning money stocks investing business tom perkins georges doriot dave packard bill hewlett hewlett packard hp digital equipment corporation dec tandem computers genentech uli university laboratories inc venture capital silicon valley netscape sun microsystems maltese falcon sailing boats palo alto georges doriot

Dialogue & Discussion