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Just Who Was That V.C. Ron Conway Was Screaming at Yesterday?
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy David Paul Morris/Bloomberg—Getty Images | June 10, 2014
In this corner, Chamath Palihapitiya!
Yesterday's cage match between VC Ron Conway and ex-Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya may have generate plenty of smoke, but not much light—until now. Palihapitiya sat down with Fortune to explain what the argument between the investors was really all about, and to elucidiate his vision for a better San Francisco. Here are the highlights.
He wants to create special entrepreneurial zones: "San Francisco should establish a handful of special economic zones. The Tenderloin, SOMA and a bunch of these areas. In these special economic zones, you’d create subsidized rents and maybe some tax incentives for tech startups, and also for the supporting infrastructure like restaurants and hotels. In return, the startups would give 1% of their equity [...] When these companies go public, the Equality Fund liquidates that stock and allocates the money to [affordable housing, public K-12 schools, and community health projects]."
He wants more companies to look like Salesforce: "What companies like Yelp and Salesforce are doing is amazing. But for every company like that, there are many that choose to instead just focus on their product or service."
He thinks SF's tech company will be worth trillions: "In the next 30 years, my suspicion is that San Francisco will have built new companies worth $1 trillion of cumulative value."
He has the rags-to-riches story down cold: "I grew up on welfare. My mom was a housekeeper. We lived above a laundromat and didn’t have a car. But look at where I am. I think there are so many people with the potential to do that, or 100 times better, and we’re robbing them of their social mobility."
He's willing to extend Ron Conway half an olive branch: "I think what people like Ron Conway have done is good, but you shouldn’t get upset when someone says you have to do more."