I woke up this morning to see venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and Mike Arrington are focusing on Ron Conway’s importance to the start-up ecosystem. Ron is an angel investor whom I have known forever — there is hardly a start-up that hasn’t met him at some point or the other. I first met Ron in the early days of Google. However, it was during the heyday of Red Herring I really got to hang with him, especially in Tahoe. He was, as he is, still the same — jovial, generous and ever smiling.
While others might focus on Ron’s start-up chops, my most vivid memory has nothing to do with start-ups or his investments. In fact, it had nothing to do with tech. Instead, it is about his charities. When I was hospitalized after my heart attack, upon recovery I saw the image of Ron on one of the walls of the UCSF Hospital. For a minute I thought I was hallucinating. My friend Pooj said I was not. We had a laugh about it — agreeing that there is but one Ron and he is everywhere. Ron is one of the biggest supporters of UCSF and has helped establish what is one of the premier cardiac facilities on the West Coast. In many ways that facility and its magnificent doctors are the reason I live to write this post today. Forget everything else, Ron has taught me the meaning of giving back. It is not how much, but how willing you are. I have a modest goal — to raise $50,000 for UCSF this year. We are well on our way. We have had help from friends like Hooman Khalili at Alice.FM — who helped raise the profile on my tiny cause. Since then he has gotten me involved with other projects at UCSF — and I am a better for it.
To sum up Ron, I quote Peyton Conrad March.
“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
UCSF, like many of our esteemed institutions, needs our support, and I was hoping that you would join me in helping raise funds for the hospital. My target is pretty modest: Help them raise $50,000 in 2010.
Make the check to: UCSF Foundation. In the notes area of the check, write “OM/Cardiovascular Research Initiative.”
Mail the check to: UCSF Foundation, UCSF Box 0248, San Francisco, CA 94143-0248. ATTN: Kevin McAteer, Director of Development
If you have time, please take a moment and learn more about heart and vascular diseases, how to prevent them, and how to figure out if you have a problem. Visit the UCSF web site.