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Silicon Valley dynasties (part 2 of 2)

(Courtesy of Shane O’Neill Photography)

See part one of our coverage here

Tim Draper spoke about his international investments. He said that the Hotmail investment propelled DFJ to look internationally given its global reach. That’s how they found Baidu and Skype. Adam Draper agreed that entrepreneurship is everywhere but remarked that the Silicon Valley ecosystem is a thousand times better than anywhere else. Ron Conway agreed and said that they try to bring their companies to the Valley because it seems startups can move much faster here than anywhere else. He then discussed the importance of immigration reform and his active involvement in FWD.us, which was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

Ron Conway also discussed the tech class war in San Francisco. He noted that while “President Obama is talking about the income inequality gap, San Francisco happens to be the poster child.”There is “not enough affordable housing and that is driving people crazy and the tech industry is being accused of displacing people.”

The elder Conway discussed how he is working with San Francisco mayor Ed Lee on initiatives such as SF Citi. SF Citi is a group that comprises 850 tech companies, which he said probably represents 95 percent of the tech workers. He noted that SF Citi encourages volunteering and that this was his topic at the keynote speech at Techcrunch Disrupt. He discussed Circle the Schools, an initiative in which the principal of a school tells tech volunteer workers what the school needs and ask the techies to fix the problem. He also noted an initiative by Marc Benioff of Salesforce, which is raising $10 million to fight poverty in San Francisco.

Tim Draper spoke about his policy initiatives such as Six Californias. Roizen noted that he was also very involved in the California School Voucher issue, proposition 38. Roizen said he needed 800,000 signatures to get Six Californias on the ballot. Tim Draper said it will be hard to do but he is on schedule. Adam said he supports his father’s Six Californias initiative because it makes “people ask the question of whether change can happen.” He added that in 1849 there were plans to split California into two states and that breaking up California into multiple states had featured on the ballot three times.

Ronny Conway was asked about important lessons he learned from his father. He said that the most important thing he learned was to do the right thing for the entrepreneur, to help them and that following that principle will ensure “it’ll work itself out in the long run.” He also stressed the importance of work ethic, and how applying work ethic to help entrepreneurs is the key to success. He remarked that people are often disappointed by these pieces of advice because of how very basic the advice is.

Adam Draper said he learned from his father to have a “crazy passion for life,” that his father’s passion for life is intoxicating. He said he learned from his father that the only way to change the world is to try crazy things.

One audience member asked the panelists what they thought about crowdfunding. Ron Conway said that “crowdfunding is the way of the future,” noting that SV Angel is an investor in Crowdtilt. He said, “the more ways an entrepreneur can get funded the better.” Tim Draper seconded this sentiment. He said he loves it because it democratizes the whole system, noting that DFJ has backed Angellist and FundersClub.

This post was originally published on thedishdaily.com before it was acquired by The Stanford Daily in summer 2014.

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