David Tuckerman

As a pilot who has logged more than 2,500 hours in the air, David Tuckerman sees many parallels between aviation and venture capital. “A pilot is constantly making decisions, and it’s critical not to let emotions get in the way of a correct decision,” David said.

For example, it’s all too common for airplane accidents to occur because the pilot was fixated on reaching the planned destination, and didn’t want to disappoint his passengers, or be inconvenienced.

Venture capital does not move at the same speed as an airplane, and the nature of the risks are different, but the lessons are clear, according to David. A venture’s management can become emotionally committed to a course of action, even though rational analysis suggests a course correction. Important decisions like selecting a CEO, redefining the market opportunity, or abandoning a particular product development in which there have been significant sunk costs, should be made in light of new facts and with a conscious effort to avoid emotional influences.

From 2003 to 2009 David was Chief Technical Officer of Tessera, where he was a member of the management team that executed the company’s successful IPO. Tessera innovated technologies that have transformed a variety of wireless, consumer and computing products. Prior to Tessera, David was co-founder and CTO of nCHIP, a chip interconnect company that was acquired by Flextronics International Ltd. He previously held R&D positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center.

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