When News Corp. holds its next shareholder meeting on Oct. 21, it will mark an end of an era for Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The 79-year-old will relinquish his last corporate board seat—a sea change for a man who says he once held 14 directorships.
But he’s got plenty to keep him busy.
These days, Perkins spends much of his time sailing, scuba diving and piloting his submarine, which is called Dr. No, and is named after the James Bond movie and novel.
Perkins told Reuters VC reporter Sarah McBride that he has spent part of the summer in the Pacific island nation of Palau, practicing deep dives with the sub, which can descend as far as 400 feet below the surface.
Next summer, he plans to take Dr. No to the Tonga Channel and dive alongside humpback whales to examine their habits on the ocean floor. While most whale-friendly parts of the ocean are too deep for such studies, the Tonga Channel is just 300 feet, making it ideal for his project, he says.
He sees his biggest challenge is avoiding irritating the whales and meeting an end worthy of the novel “Moby Dick.”
“I don’t want to get sunk like Ahab,” he says.
Foundry Dudes Make Spoof Video
We like the guys at the Foundry Group, because they don’t take themselves too seriously.
That became even more evident last month when the Boulder, Colo.-based firm released a video called “I’m a VC.” In the style of SNL’s Digital Shorts, the film helps to promote a new book from Partners Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson called, “Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.”
The video and the credits go for nearly 6 minutes, making it longer than most spoofs online, but any VC insider will love watching Foundry GPs Mendelson, Feld, Ryan McIntyre and Seth Levine dance around on the street and in the shower while wearing funny suits and wigs as they rap about term sheets, NDAs (they don’t sign them) and business plans started with dogs.
Former VCJ contributor Dan Primack makes a couple of appearances, including one when he’s pitching Feld at a urinal the idea for Primack Venture Capital.
When asked about the video, Mendelson, who wrote and directed the film, first said, “No comment,” but then he quipped, “We think this is our competitive advantage. How many other VCs can dress this well?”
The film is easy to find online, including YouTube. Just search for “I’m a VC.”
And tell us what your favorite part is.
Onetime VC Joanna Rees Sees Little Traction in SF Mayoral RaceJoanna Rees has been riding buses and knocking on doors to drum up support for her campaign to become the next mayor of San Francisco, and she’s been doing it in her Chanel pumps, according to newspaper reports.
It’s easy to laugh at the image, but the onetime venture capitalist, who reportedly shuttered the San Francisco office of her firm VSP Capital in May, is clearly taking her run at the office seriously.
In February, she opened a campaign office seven blocks from her home in San Francisco’s Richmond District. She hired top-notch Democratic strategist Ace Smith, who is credited with securing wins for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. And Rees has attracted many well-heeled donors, raising $365,000 so far from Zynga founder Mark Pincus, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and Brook Byers of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among about 950 other private donors. (She has raised an additional $470,000 in public financing.)
However, the San Francisco Chronicle, which profiled Rees in late August, reported that the 49-year-old “is barely registering a blip in polls.” And “Ms. Rees cannot win if most voters do not know she exists.”
The election is in November and features a crowded field of at least 11 serious contenders.