iPads take over the boardroom.

Author:Hornik, David
 
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I don't know about the rest of the country, but Sand Hill Road has clearly embraced the iPad.

There was a time when every VC on Sand Hill proudly carried the latest, greatest Palm Pilot. No self-respecting VC would be caught without one. And for good reason. Suddenly VCs could carry their calendars with them (no need to print out a pesky piece of paper) and have their contacts at their fingertips. It was a huge improvement over the status quo and increased the efficiency of VCing greatly. (I'm sure there is no such word as "VCing" but I think there should be. If I were to define "VCing" it would be the act of being a VC.) Plus, it just looked cool when you pulled out your Palm Pilot at a board meeting. It said to everyone at the meeting, "Hey, I'm on top of all this tech crap and I have the tools necessary to be a world class VC, so check me out."

Fast forward a decade and that tool of choice for the VC world is the iPad. Since its launch, the iPad has taken over the boardroom. I have not attended a single board meeting since the day the iPad shipped in which at least one iPad wasn't present. OK, that's not exactly a fair measure, given that I have carried my iPad to every board meeting since launch. But I am not alone. In nearly every board meeting I attend, multiple iPads are unfurled. In a recent board meeting, after every VC in the room pulled out his iPad 3G in matching black Apple case, one of the entrepreneurs in the room noted, "I take it the iPad is the new boardroom toy of choice." Indeed, it is.

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And I think there's good reason that the VC community has embraced the iPad for board meetings. Prior to the launch of the iPad, VCs would arrive at a board meeting and promptly set up their laptops. Anyone who's attended a meeting of laptop users knows that it is not the most conducive environment for discussion. Open laptops create a real obstacle to discussion. Perhaps it is the clicking of keys. Perhaps it is the physical barrier the laptops create. Whatever it is, the VC com-munity has realized that an iPad lying flat on the table does not have the same effect. It is possible to pull up your calendar, browse for a piece of information, share relevant contact info (and, in all truthfulness, scan your email) with minimal interruption...

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