Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Garden Party part three: Bill Draper, the godfather of Silicon Valley's oldest VC dynasty

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 16, 2005

. . . slams Bush administration over United Nations policy

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

Draper.jpgBill Draper is a towering figure in the Silicon Valley VC community, and one of the most successful practitioners of this art.

He looked tanned and vital; and was eloquent on what makes Silicon Valley unique, and why the Bush policy towards the UN --where he served as head of the United Nations Development Programme-- is wrong.

He shared one of his secrets to finding succesful startups:

look for enthusiastic, passionate founders that will follow their dream no matter what, they just know it's going to happen. "When we see that, we follow their dream too," he said.

He also spoke about Silicon Valley's tolerance of failure (a subject that I've long regarded as Silicon Valley's secret sauce, and the reason why trying to replicate it by building a business park around a university won't work.)

Mr. Draper said that those who failed in their ventures deserve almost as much credit for establishing the American dream as those who succeeded, because they tried. That's the important thing: to have tried. (Silicon Valley punishes those that don't take risks, IMHO)

He said that his son, Tim (a very successful VC), missed out on a very early investment in Internet media giant Yahoo, ignoring pater's recommendation. "He could have had Yahoo, but lost out; he was too cheap, as usual."

Mr. Draper, a Republican, spoke about his time serving at the UN; and said that the Bush administration had the wrong policy towards the organization.

A gentleman of the old kind, he finished speaking by tipping his hat towards the ladies in noting that it was good to see SDForum celebrating their achievements.

Next: Larry Sonsini leads valley lovefest for Carly Fiorina . . .

Previous post: McNealy's tips for creating room at the top

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