Tim Draper is an extremely successful venture capital investor, having co-founded Draper Associates, the Draper Venture Network and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), and backed successful companies like Skype, Baidu, Tesla, Hotmail, Overture, Cruise Automation, and Parametric Technology. Tim is a regular fixture on a notable lists; having ranked at #46 on the Most Outstanding Harvard Alumni list, #7 on the Forbes Midas List and #98 on Worth Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People in Finance in 2014. Tim ideated ‘viral marketing’ when he proposed the concept as a way of spreading an internet product through web-based email. One of the things about Tim Draper that urged me to want to get in touch with him was his support and commitment to young entrepreneurs all around the world. He created Bizworld.org for young children to understand entrepreneurship, and Draper University for entrepreneurs to prepare themselves for success.He regularly speaks at entrepreneurial conferences, on TV and on radio. I was honoured that Tim agreed to make time for our interview in his extremely busy schedule. Here is my interview with the inspirational, Tim Draper…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
That’s a tough one. I work to progress and transform society by supporting and creating entrepreneurs.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. My Mom suggested I read it, and my teacher didn’t approve.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a baseball player.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
He would be surprised that I am still alive!
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
I won’t be leaving education, but the book is The Startup Game by William Draper, my Dad. It continues to inspire me, his optimism is catching.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I read a lot of books in the Summer. I have a hard time picking them up if I don’t have time to finish them. I read in fits and starts throughout the rest of the year.
Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem by Michael Rothschild. No question. It helped me understand that economies are alive and that progress can leap to new plateaus. I continue to drive so that we can reach those new plateaus.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
Yes. My wife recommended two books, Dune by Frank Herbert and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. My Mother also recommended many classics to me along the way: Summer of ’42 by Herman Raucher, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and many, many others. She was afraid I wouldn’t like reading because I was so into math.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction, specifically Science Fiction. It stretches me to think beyond my own world.
Do you think reading is important?
Of course! It builds values and a deeper understanding of the human mind.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I read both. Digital books are more convenient though.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
I don’t think the law should impose that on anyone. But if they start banning books, we should leave the country.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
Fun with Dick and Jane. That book taught me to read.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Yes, I have 16 Books that are recommended or required at Draper University. They include:
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’ll be reading more SciFi, more on Bitcoin and more on California Government and on other governments and how they work.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?