Flipboard recently unveiled a new version of its successful tablet magazine app as the entire staff stood around their Palo Alto, Calif. office gawking at the traffic numbers. As the needle starts moving, the room gets giddy, and the few dozen employees gather for a group snapshot. In the middle of the scrum: John Doerr, the 61-year-old billionaire venture capitalist who for years was the undisputed king of Silicon Valley, a Flipboard T-shirt over his button-down.
Doerr has been Flipboard’s champion. His legendary firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is the company’s biggest booster, and Doerr went so far as to introduce Flipboard cofounder Mike McCue to Steve Jobs a few weeks before his product launched on Apple’s App Store, to great fanfare, in 2010. “I thought he was going to rip it to shreds,” says McCue. “But instead we got into a fascinating conversation about the state of journalism.” Despite Doerr’s trademark roll-up-the-sleeves advocacy, Flipboard is one of the precious few hits he’s backed lately….