Follow us:

Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 27, 2009 at 1:25 PM

WTIA: Draper says best time ever to start business

Venture capitalist Tim Draper gave entrepreneurs a pep talk, mixed with some politics, at the WTIA Fast Pitch Forum today.

Draper, founder and managing director of Silicon Valley venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, called for less regulation and protectionism and more bold entrepreneurs. His hit investments include Hotmail, Skype, Baidu and Overture and he’s credited with introducing the concept of viral marketing via Web email to advance Hotmail and Yahoo Mail.

He also regaled the Bell Harbor crowd of 150 with the “Riskmaster” song he performs at tech events.

“This is an opportunity, it’s an opportunity to change the way you do things, change the way your customers do things, change your teams — these are great opportunities for you as entrepreneurs,” he said.

“This is the best time ever to start business — people need jobs, existing companies are reeling, fewer startup competitors there are new technologies.”

Among the flamebait Draper offered were “good” and “bad” terms to listen for on the radio and TV. A good term, for instance, is “business solution” and a bad one is “government intervention.”

Draper said “Let losers die” is a good term, bailout is a bad one, drawing applause, and “freedom” is good while “regulation” is bad.

Then he said “free trade” is a good term, while bad terms include “patriotism, protection and poverty.”

Explaining the patriotism bit, he said he considered himself a patriot but “sometimes you have to look at the world as a whole” and the term can be used to counter free trade.

“By being a patriot sometimes it’s us against them, but what that doesn’t recognize is the economic value of having a win-win situation where we’re all working together and we’re working together a lot more,” he said.

I just wish someone would come up with a new term for “win win situation.”

Here are a few verses of Riskmaster, the full version of which is at his Web site,

Invested all his mattress money

Divorced his prom queen hometown honey

Scraping up his alimony

Friends think he’s a little funny

Needs a world class CEO

Just another million or so

Get him to some real cash flow

So tears and sweat can IPO

For 15 years he’s been out gunned

Bankers demanding blood refund

Company’s looking moribund

Even Draper will not fund

He is the Riskmaster

Lives fast drives faster

Skakes on the edge of disaster

He is the Riskmaster

He’s got a mission

Company vision

An artist’s ambition

Gut intuition

Fearless and a free emloyee

No guarntee for the corporate escapee

Team fights on against the trend

Had to lay off his best friend

Called a recession seems like depression

Chapter seven, is this the end

But then a salesman shouts we got it

The company’s gonna show a profit

To think the papers rang quixotic

The sky has opened astronautic

If you can’t get enough, here’s a video clip of him performing the number earlier, although you may want to wait for the version with Carlos Santana that Draper said will come to YouTube in a few weeks:

Comments | More in | Topics: entrepreneurs, tim draper, VC


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►