You might not know it from looking at his investments, but angel investor Ron Conway is not an avid user of social media. Conway, who has small stakes in Twitter and Facebook, has never tweeted. And he doesn’t have a Facebook account.
Conway is also known for filing his emails the old-fashioned way: by printing them and slipping them into clearly marked manila folders.
However, several weeks ago, someone with way too much time on their hands created a Twitter account with the handle @RonConwayFacts. As of late September, the account had produced less than 20 tweets, but its followers numbered more than 800.
The tweets about Conway are rather “insidery,” but some made us LOL. Among a sampling of the 140-character missives from @RonConwayFacts are:
“Ron Conway can beat @davemcclure in a swearing contest.”
“Every time a bell rings, Ron Conway does an angel round.”
“Ron Conway can hold his iPhone 4 however he wants.”
“Ron Conway once told @ev [Twitter CEO Evan Williams] that 140 was his favorite number, but Ron was totally just f***ing with him.”
“Ron Conway doesn’t tell his grandkids that Santa Claus exists. He tells them that Ron Conway exists.”
“Ron Conway once got his grandkid into Y Combinator just by looking at Paul Graham.”
Zuckerberg Is Everywhere: Big Screen, Mags, Blogs … Even Comics
With more than 500 million users, roughly one out of 14 people on the planet have a Facebook account.
Not every one of them is friends with Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of the social networking site. The billionaire CEO supposedly has less than 1,000 friends in his network. But it’s hard to avoid “Zuck,” as he’s known.
On Oct. 1, the new movie “The Social Network” opens in movie theaters nationwide, and it apparently tells a version of events that stretches the truth a bit. The October issue of Vanity Fair, which came out last month, ranks the 26-year-old on top of its power rankings of the New Establishment. The New Yorker also profiled him last month. Meanwhile, photos of him and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan are all over the blogs.
But the thing that will probably most make him wish there was a “Dislike” button on Facebook is that he’s being fictionalized in a comic book called “Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook,” which is due out in December for $7.
Jerome Maida, the comic’s writer, says he attempted to paint a fair and balanced portrait of the billionaire.
“Rightly or wrongly, Mark dealt harshly with some people on his way to where he is today,” Maida said in a press release. “He left many people feeling betrayed. I try my best to be fair here. No one is totally innocent in this story. I try to represent each of the major players’ point of view.”
Author and tech journalist David Kirkpatrick, who wrote a favorable account of Zuck and the company in “The Facebook Effect,” which came out in June, says that the notion that the co-founder of Facebook has two “sides” like what the comic book portrays, “is simple-minded.”
In regards to Zuck becoming a growing cultural phenom, Kirkpatrick said: “The movie is contributing to Z becoming the celebrity he deserves to be and that Facebook’s growing global presence almost demands that he be.”
Only in LA: VC with Its Own TV News Team
Lots of VCs make an effort to publicize their views on issues affecting the venture industry. But InLab Ventures may be the only one with its own staff of news anchors dedicated to the task.
The Los Angeles-based firm, which has invested in 10 portfolio companies to date from a $6 million fund, recently released a white paper called “Venture Capital 3.0” about what it sees as the problems with the venture model and how to fix them.
To promote the white paper, the firm produced a kind of infomercial featuring Jenn Karlman, a broadcast journalist who is identified as an “Anchor for InLab News” on the firm’s website (http://inlabventures.com). InLab News, the firm says, is a weekly show about industry trends hosted by Karlman and Bob Losure, a former weekend anchor for CNN Headline News.
Rees Makes Mayoral Run Official
, who founded the San Francisco-based early stage venture firm VSP Capital, last month made her political aspirations official when she tossed her hat in the ring to become the next mayor of San Francisco.
Rees, who Forbes dubbed an “alley cat” about a decade ago for breaking into the proverbial old boys club of venture capital, announced her mayoral bid in an email she sent supporters. In it, she identified herself as a “progressive independent.”
“I’m not part of the City Hall crowd, and I intend to put jobs and schools at the top of my agenda,” Rees wrote. “I spent the last two decades building a leading venture capital firm. We have supported over 60 Bay Area businesses and generated thousands of good jobs in the innovation economy.”
The mayoral election is not until Nov. 8, 2011, but for her to succeed, Rees will once again have to break through the male-dominated ranks of politics. Although Dianne Feinstein was the first female mayor of San Francisco more than 30 years ago, this year’s crop of candidates in the city includes just one other female candidate, Wilma Pang.
The rest of the field is dominated by men, including San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Bevan Dufty, Guy Arevalo, Adrian Coventry, Robert “Bobby” Jordan, Harold Craven Miller, Antonio E. Mims and Alexander Mondares, according to the Elections Department.
Given that politics is a rough-and-tumble sport, Rees had better be prepared to answer questions about litigation (now settled) between her and two of her former partners and why limited partners liquidated VSP’s third fund.
On the bright side, of the 32 companies VSP backed with its vintage 1999 fund, 18 have been acquired—including Danger, Doppelganger and Oddpost—one went public and one was acquired in a leveraged buyout, according to the Thomson Reuters database. Five companies in the portfolio are defunct and seven remain active.
VC Who Played Nerd Card Takes Lead
Speaking of VCs in politics, Rick Snyder, co-founder of Ann Arbor-based venture firm Ardesta, is apparently taking the lead in his race to become governor in Michigan.
In late September, two independent polls in the Wolverine State reported that Snyder—who won the primary to be the Republican candidate in August—is widening his lead over his Democratic challenger Virg Bernero. Dare we say it’s a fait accompli weeks before the Nov. 2 election?
A survey by Rasmussen Reports showed Snyder with a 51% to 38% lead over Bernero, while a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling has Snyder leading 52% to 31 percent.
“A double-digit gap and having someone over 50% is a key indicator of some strength in the polls,” notes a confident Snyder spokesman.
You may recall that Snyder kicked off his campaign at the beginning of the year with an emphasis on nerdism. His TV commercial included shots of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the bespectacled Superman alter-ego Clark Kent. Then the ad cut to Snyder talking about his own nerd cred and how he planned to turn things around, saying: “Michigan can’t be fixed. It needs a total reinvention.”