Venture Capitalist

Me: Do you live here in San Francisco or are you visiting?
I live here.
Me: What do you do?
I’m a venture capitalist.
Me: Hmmm….so that means that you fund companies? Is it your own money or do you also look for investors?
I fund start-ups with my own money.
Me: Oh…………………
I started several companies. Some worked…some didn’t. My first one was 10 years ago.
Me: And so now you have lots of money and you fund companies. How do you like it? I read “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh and he talked about how fun and exciting it was to start companies.
Yes, that is very true. It’s lonely being an investor it’s more fun creating a company….I know Tony…he’s a good friend.
Me: Yes, it’s very exciting to create things. One of my biggest accomplishments is the establishment of a program for the medical care of women and HIV through a grant I wrote.
What do you do now?
Me: I just became the Director of Development for Reality Mentor.
Is that like Big Brother Big Sister?
Me: Yes.
Those are great programs. I was a Big Brother in New York. We need more of those programs.
Me: Yes. I work primarily in Hayward, a school district which has some of the worst schools in the state and a graduation rate of 58% and where 85% of the students in the district are Latinos. I grew up in Hayward, which is why I care about it. It is now worse than the Oakland schools, and those are notorious for how bad they’ve been.
That’s great. Those are the kind of programs we need, not more “hand-outs”Me: I couldn’t agree with you more.
Hand-outs don’t help people…the old adage of “don’t feed a man, teach him to fish” is so, so true.
Me: Yes, those programs do more harm that good. I believe they decrease people’s self-esteem and they create the opposite of what they were intended to do. I once heard a 27 year old say, “I’m so happy!! I love my new apartment…I love my Section 8!” But I thought you said you just moved here? and I thought there was a long waiting list for Section 8? Yes, but when you move to another city, you don’t lose it and you don’t go on the waiting list. So since I already had it, I went right to the top of the list!”
What a shame….her life-long goal was to be on Section 8…I can’t believe Oakland is still in the shape it’s in. Oakland needs to take advantage of the tech companies being so close. They need someone with leadership over there. There is no reason why the tech companies shouldn’t be spilling over into the East Bay. They need to create some incentives.
Me: Yes, but the people who work in government don’t think like business people.
Exactly. And if they do, people don’t like them. Look at Bloomberg…he did a great job in New York, but some people don’t appreciate what he’s done.

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