Matt Cohler isn’t necessarily a name many would recognize as someone at the forefront of social networking, but Cohler, who is now a partner at Benchmark Capital, carved out a specific professional niche by making choices that differentiated him from the smart people around him. From Chapter 3: Plan to Adapt:
Cohler spent six years in his late twenties and early thirties being a lieutenant to CEOs at LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman) and Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg). Most supertalented people want to be the front man; few play the consigliere role well. In other words, there’s less competition and significant opportunity to be an all-star right-hand man. Matt excelled at this role, building a portfolio of accomplishments and relationships along the way. This professional differentiation in the market set himself up to achieve a long-standing goal, which was to become a partner at a top-tier VC firm: Benchmark Capital.
[Also posted recently: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/technology/a-circle-of-tech-collect-payout-do-a-start-up.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&ref=business]