Holy Moses. David Hornik kicked off the Late Night with David Hornik panel by doing the Gangnam Style dance with Ben Parr. It was oddly titillating. So the panelists included Amy Errett from Maveron, Adam Nash from Greylock, Dan Scholnick from Trinity Ventures, Bryan Goldberg of Bleacher Report, and Jeff Smith of Smule (the lone gentile).
Hornik started by bringing up Amy Errett from Maveron, who is also the chairperson of Glide.
David: I think this job is sufficiently challenging without adding another job.
Amy: This year we’ll service 3.5 million meals—we serve the homeless, help the people that no one else wants to help, we have a free health clinic. What I do at Glide is soul-soothing. Warren Buffett’s wife was a big supporter of Glide—it’s the only non-profit where he donates a lunch. The first year it went for $600,000, the next year it was $1 million, this year it went for $3.5 million.
David: So do you get to spend time with him at all?
Amy: Not at all.
David: I’m curious—there’s been a whole lot of discussion about women in venture capital, that women are underrepresented…so, you’ve got all that going for you. And there are like, no gays in venture capital. Do you get pitched by all the gays because they think you’ll relate to them?
Amy: Yes, Patrick Chung and I get all the gays. Anyone who has a gay business is told, ‘you need to see Amy or Patrick Chung—because they’re gay.’ I mean, I’m not just going to invest in them because they’re gay—I’m trying to make money.
David: When I joined the venture business, being short was a minority. Like if you were not six feet tall, you were not part of the firm. And then I came along, and it was like a revolution! So I literally paved the path for you. I think that Dan Schonick needs to come up on stage. How tall are you Dan?
Dan: I’m 5’5.
David: One inch taller than me! Your wife’s company is called Schmendrick’s bagels. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a decent bagel in San Francisco. You’ve either had a Schmendrick’s bagel or you’re lying. Those bagels—are they yours or hers?
Dan: They’re our bagels.
David: Honestly, these are the greatest bagels that exist. Now Dan, being the marketing genius he is, you sell them at some coffee shop.
Dan: On Wednesday and Friday, we sell them at Fay’s, and then we incorporate delivery during the week in Menlo Park.
David: Sand Hill Road, right? Again, not to take all credit for your success, but there were no Jews on Sand Hill Road before I joined venture capital. I broke that taboo so now you have a clientele on Sand Hill Road. We got these bagels delivered to our office once and my partner had a hissy fit—he said these bagels are horrible. There was a revolt from our staff who loved the bagels and my partner who hated the bagels. We literally have two sets of bagels on Mondays. We have one set of bagels labeled ‘for so-and-so’ and another set labeled for everyone else. I’m not lying—it’s the stupidest things in the history of time. Speaking of stupid, you’ve described to me your breakfast, and it involves the most disgusting coffee drink…
Dan: First of all, I would argue this is not disgusting. I blend a cup of coffee with half a stick of butter and a teaspoon of MCT oil, which is pure saturated fat. (Reporter's note: mother of God...)
David: That’s disgusting…
Dan: When you eat a lot of fatty foods, it’s very satiating—so if you have a cup of coffee with half a stick of butter, you don’t get hungry again until one o’clock, and it puts your body into fat-burning mode instead of fat-storing mode.
David: Or you could try jogging…
Dan: The neurons in your brain need a lot of saturated fat—that’s what they’re constructed out of. There are studies showing people with diets high in saturated fat have higher IQs.
Amy: Is the butter melted or unmelted before you do it?
Dan: It’s unmelted grass-fed butter. I use a Magic Bullet.
David: Continuing our festival of Jews, let’s get Bryan Goldberg up here.
Bryan: I hope you didn’t miss Earth’s 5700th birthday. It was last week.
David: So you’re the founder and CEO of Bleacher Report.
Bryan: I'm the founder, but not the CEO. We hired a grown-up--we're one of those companies. He was the competition and he’s great.
David: Was he forced upon you by evil venture capitalists?
Bryan: No regrets. We’re happy, we sold it, great guy, it worked out well.
David: You started this company with your buddies from junior high. That’s the stupidest idea ever…
Bryan: We’ve been arguing for 20 years now, over things like which celebrity would win in a fight, and then we started this company and argued over what kind of platform it should be. We were those B+ students who could’ve done better, but we got it together.
David: All right, should we bring out the fourth and final Jew? Adam Nash of Greylock! Jeff Smith is sitting there thinking ‘what am I gonna talk about?’ Unlike myself and Scholnick, you seem to work out a bit. So Adam and I had this awesome exchange, we were in London talking about T-shirt—there was this program, Silicon Valley goes to the UK—where we go to the UK and we teach those poor people who used to own our country how to run a company, which they’re really bad at. Adam and I were on a bus and talking about T-shirts and then you ended up writing a blog post about it.
Adam: My parents were both doctors, I was the only person in the family who did anything technical. My parents were always saying ‘are you really going to wear a T-shirt to work? Is this really how you’re going to dress?’ T-shirts are weird in the Valley—you could be handing out $100 bills and people are like ‘yeah, whatever,’ but you hand out T-shirts—and people are lining up, they claw over each other.
David: Dan, do you wear any of your companies’ T-shirts or is that beneath you?
Dan: I always wear my New Relic T-shirt when I fly.
David: The other thing we talk about a lot is Lego. You sort of became the Lego king…
Adam: I’m a big believer that a lot of technology culture is based on—what would happen if you gave eight-year-old boys lots and lots of money? They would build giant Lego sculptures. I convinced our head of corporate at LinkedIn that we should have a giant Lego sculpture in our lobby. It was kind of a stick-it to Google.
David: Okay, we should definitely bring out Jeff Smith. So you founded Smule—you and a researcher pal of yours. What happens is, you start this company, it goes public or you sell it, you make a bunch of money, and then you think, ‘now what do I do? Now that I’ve sold this company, I have more money than I reasonably should’ve made.’ Goldberg went to Vegas and wasted it all. You went back to school to get your Ph.D.
Jeff: I just always had a lot of guilt for my mother. My siblings all have graduate degrees. It was just so I don’t feel guilty.
David: You are a concert pianist.
Jeff: Yes, there are gay pianists, Jewish pianists, and there are bad pianists, so I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to switch teams or convert. So we actually went to August Capital twice or thrice, and we were told no.
David: It’s a shame that we never funded you. Please come back again with an idea that is not quite so terrible. Any parting thoughts?
Jeff: Why raise any money, guys? Go out and start a business and generate some cash, and you’ll own it all. Why practice venture worship?
David: I’m sorry I asked…
Adam: I would say build the company you want. I wasn’t a founder at LinkedIn, but I was able to help build the company that we want it.
David: Yes, in the end, if it’s not fun, don’t do it. I firmly believe it. I thank you all for coming.