The character of Ralph Gibsen, the protagonist of The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley isn’t based on the author G. Craig Vachon.
Not in any way.
Sure, they both are big, goofy-looking lummoxes and they are married to beautiful, smart women that could have coupled more advantageously. And yes, Ralph and Craig are both overly-lucky, Silicon Valley-based venture capital investors living on the beaches near Santa Cruz, CA. And both spend too much time in business-class seats flying to strange places and meeting exotic people. But that’s where the similarities end.
Craig grew up in Massachusetts as the eldest son of immigrants. He graduated third-in-his-class (sadly, it was from the bottom of the ranks) from a very expensive prep school with a formal dress code. In rebellion, he hasn’t worn socks since. As his GPA wasn’t sufficient to enroll in a normal college, he enrolled in a community college in Western Colorado near a magnificent ski hill. (His mother may have had to sleep with the President of the school to ensure his matriculation). On the first day of school, upon seeing a very attractive woman signing up for the debate club, Craig did so likewise. Eventually, success on the debate team allowed Craig to transfer to Emerson College where he earned two degrees in Rhetoric. After graduation, he couldn’t find a real job, so at the urging of his mother and his mentor, he started his own company. Two years later, he sold the marketing company and moved to Tokyo to work with the acquirer.
Over the next thirty years, Craig has lived and worked as an entrepreneur in Japan (twice), China, Taiwan, India, Europe, and Canada. He’s earned >7.3 million airline miles and typically spends >150 nights per year in a foreign hotel room. His small VC firm (Chowdahead – which is almost-nothing like Clam Pies’ VC firm in the Knucklehead novel, by the way) invests in great founders of start-up companies who are trying to make the world a slightly better place.
Craig started writing when he first moved abroad and couldn’t afford long-distance calling. He’d type his earliest missives onto a single page and fax his adventures to friends and family. Because his mother (and mentor) were fax recipients, he wrote in the third-person using his childhood imaginary friend’s name (Ralph – an amazing coincidence) as the protagonist of his missives. Inasmuch, Craig’s mother Bubsy, couldn’t get too anxious/upset when “Ralph” did something dumb/dangerous/risque.
Craig is already writing the sequel to the first Knucklehead novel.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton