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, TheRiskmaster.com:
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
An artist’s ambition
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: