Drinking from a Firehose

There is a saying here in Silicon Valley when information is coming in faster than a person can deal with it.  That situation is “drinking from a firehose” because the skill involved is getting a small enough amount of the water in a cup that you can drink it without having the force of the rest of the water rip the cup out of your hand.  I’ve been the person trying to drink many, many times; now I am getting ready to hold the firehose.

When I retired, I created a class in the business and legal aspects of Venture Capital, which I teach at the University of Santa Clara Law School.  I designed the course to be a three-credit course, but have also cut it down to a two-hour course for the short summer semester (although I now think that was a mistake).  Coming up next week, I will be teaching the course in a new format – an intensive three-day seminar.

There is a special Masters Program this summer for people that are already lawyers and want to learn more about various aspects of how the law interacts with high technology.  Some examples are Patents, Trademarks, Licensing, Start-Up companies, Immigration, etc.  Among those subjects is my area of expertise – Venture Capital.  Each subject will be taught as an intensive high-level seminar; the students should already have an understanding of the basic legal concepts so we can focus on how those basic concepts are applied in the high tech world.

I’ve spent much of the past several weeks whittling down what I normally teach over a semester to fit into the allotted time.  I think I have succeeded, but these students will need to have skill.  They will need to be able to drink from a firehose.


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