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Stayin’ Alive: Alan Patricof

Alan Patricof

Rich, white, and old. But not dead!Photo: Patrick McMullan

Every so often you read a profile of an old person that seems like an obituary, even though the person is not yet dead. Such is the case with Fortune’s piece on 70-year-old venture capitalist (and early, not-so-dearly departed New York Magazine investor) Alan Patricof. This is not necessarily the fault of the author, Oliver Ryan. Patricof has been around so long that every story about him in the past twenty years has seemed like an obituary. Ryan uses Patricof’s new “web 2.0 life” — his second (third? fourth?) coming as an digital-media investor with Greycroft Partners — as a starting point for rattling off a laundry list of accomplishments: his co-founding of private-equity group Apax Partners, his fund-raising for the Clintons, yar yar yar. Ryan even calls him “the man who owns the Internet” and a “mobile maestro” — which is funny because Patricof’s ignorance of the Internet was at one point rather funnily documented. The whole thing is interspersed with testimonials from various celebrity friends that would sound like eulogies if they were in the past tense.

Russell Simmons: “Alan is like a godfather to me.”

Hillary Clinton: “He’s insatiably curious. He wants to know everything. And he is just absolutely one of the most energetic people I have known.”

Partner Bob Machinist: “No one approaches a new company with greater enthusiasm and wonder than Alan. And nobody is more tenacious.”

Machinist then reminds us Patricof is still alive. In fact, that he may never die. “When everyone else is sure a company is dead, Alan will still be at the graveyard praying at the stone. And he’ll pray the body out of the ground.”

This Old Guy Sure Can Pick ‘Em [Fortune]

Stayin’ Alive: Alan Patricof