I am not sure what curve this cliche refers to, but for me its the market adoption curve of any technology or business model. It's hard to make money in the venture business if you wait until the adoption curve starts to slope upwards to make your investment(s). I believe that you must always try to look ahead to get a sense of what's next and make your bets before they are obvious.
...If you get too far ahead of the curve, you can find yourself on the bleeding edge and that is no good either, so its a careful line you have to walk and nobody does it perfectly, not even the best venture firms. But I am convinced that if you spend a significant amount of your time looking ahead, trying to get ahead of the curve, you'll have a better performing fund than if you simply invest in whatever is the hot trend of the day.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.