Tim Draper is one of the most prominent VC's in the world, founding DFJ (now Threshold), Draper Associates, and the Draper Venture Network, a global network of VC funds. Tim’s investments include Twitter, Tesla, SpaceX, Tumblr, Coinbase, Patreon, Box, Robinhood, Skype, and Cruise.
Tim is regularly featured on major networks and has been honored as the World Entrepreneurship Forum’s “Entrepreneur of the World,” at one point ranking #7 on the Forbes Midas List. Tim received his BS from Stanford in electrical engineering and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
On morning workouts. I wake up at 6 and immediately get in a 45-minute workout, either hoops, elliptical, or swimming. I really like unheated pools for swimming, which makes the workout terrifying and invigorating. In terms of motivating myself to work out every morning, it’s just become a habit, and I know I’ll be grumpy if I don’t work out. On weekend mornings, I’ll dive into email catch up.
On accelerated learning curves. Build awareness of the industry and companies around you. They might be your competition, but they might also be your partner, your customer, or your next great feature. When I was first starting out, I built awareness in the VC industry because I was willing to get out there and speak.
Marketing is the art of trying a lot of different things. It’s hard work. I was actually the first VC to ever advertise with Upside magazine. I networked into the industry by meeting 4 new people every day to start. Now, of course, it’s many more than that.
On investment criteria. The two core founder traits I look for are love and drive for what they’re doing. To get to the root of love for their business, I ask them why they’re doing it. If they don’t burst out of their chairs, they aren’t into it enough. In terms of advice, I tell founders to make it so that your customers love you so much that they become your sales force.
On taking time off. I really don’t take days off. I’m on a mission. If I had a mission statement, it’s to spread VC and entrepreneurship around the world. It’s evolved from there, but my evolved mission is still in development. In terms of disconnecting, I might catch the sun once in a while, but I’m only offline when I fly. And when the day is done, I feel good about my progress and sleep like a baby.
On his keystone habits. Exercise in the morning! And just do what you say you will do. Also, consistently think about what long-term effects result from your decisions. When prioritizing short and long-term decisions, long-term choices always win out. They’re almost always the harder path.
On Sci-Fi before bed. It varies because I often go through time change. I try my best to always think, “What time is it here?” Never, “What time is it back home.” Before going to sleep, I read a lot of Sci-Fi and a variety of classics. Of course, I also recommend my own book The Startup Hero.
— Tim Draper