In this post Dea Wilson, Lifograph founder, is doing an interview with Tim Draper, VC at Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).
DFJ’s investments include Skype, FeedBurner (acquired by Google), Yammer (acquired by Microsoft), GlamMedia, Tesla, Solar City, Box, Tango, Sugar CRM, Baidu, Hotmail (acquired by Microsoft).
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What was your first job? What did you learn from it?
My first job was picking and selling apples from our tree. Various neighbors occasionally came by to help or hang around, and when we ran out of apples, I had made $8. My neighbors' mother decided that all eight of the kids in the neighborhood, whether they helped or not, should each get a dollar from my work. So I had to give up seven of my dollars. I learned that that was called socialism and I didn't like it.
List 3 things people don’t know about you
1. I have a regular game of hoops early in the morning in Menlo Park with some friends when I am in town, and I tend to foul too much and score too little.
2. I have a dog and a three legged cat who compete for my attention whenever I sit down at home.
3. My younger daughter, Eleanor is an amazing artist/designer.
What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy about them?
My hobby is my work. I love supporting, brainstorming with, and helping entrepreneurs. I guess I am obsessed.
What companies did you pass on and later regretted it?
I was talked out of Google, outbid on Facebook and Yahoo, and lost a note that offered for me to invest in Xilinx.
Who is your business idol? Why?
Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They have/had such passion for their customers and their businesses that nothing else matters.
Who were your mentors? How did they help you become who you are?
My father, my mother, my wife and my children have been my best mentors. I have also learned a lot from my partners and my students. They have molded me to be a better venture capitalist, but also they keep me grounded. I tend to take flight without proper oversight.
If you were not a VC, what would you have been?
An entrepreneur. I have so many ideas for businesses though, I would not have had the pure focus I would have needed to be successful.
What were the most defining moments in your life? Why?
Every moment defines me. Every choice, every blink, every movement.
What is an immediate turnoff in a pitch? Why?
Someone who just wants to do it for the money. It is hard to keep entrepreneurial passion alive if the mission is for the money and the money doesn't come in for years.
What are the most important traits an entrepreneur needs to have?
Persistence, passion, people love, personality.
What would you consider the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
Professionally, being outbid for Facebook.
Personally, there are several.