Friends of Ben: Dan Grossman

Network: Ben Casnocha –> My Blog –> Dan Grossman

Google Search: "Dan Grossman" + Venrock

I usually profile people in my Friends of Ben series who I’ve known for awhile, but this time, like I did with Colin Wiel, I couldn’t wait to toot Dan’s horn.

Dan Grossman is a principal at Venrock Associates, a Menlo Park and New York based VC firm. He’s been reading my blog and I started reading his and last week he emailed me asking if I wanted to get together when he was in town. I was on the fence — I’m trying to cut back on things as I focus on my writing and travel. I ultimately set up a time to meet with Dan yesterday evening.

We had a simply awesome conversation. Stellar conversations take two to tango and Dan and we had a connection that really fired me up. We started with business. He has some cool entrepreneurial ideas and is ready to dive back in to start-up mode. Then we moved to publishing and writing. Then foreign policy and politics. Dan’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and knows his stuff. Since we both adore The Atlantic (and other similar publications), we could both cite articles without unnecessary explanation. We finished up discussing civic engagement and productivity and personal improvement. 1.5 hours later I left for my next dinner with tons of energy (and I had a great dinner too with my friend Trevor).

The theory behind the Silicon Valley Junto is when business people come together to talk about non-business things, the conversation is rich since we all can speak the "same" language. This was true last night — both being steeped in business, we could allude to business texts and concepts to explain non-business points. For example, the UN is to the U.S. what the Board of Directors is to a CEO (both are tools). Or, can we extend Jim Collins’ Level Five leadership to churches or governments?

I love when people bring their A game to life, business, and conversations. I love people who can bring to bear an intellectual presence and a likable interpersonal style.

Dan — I’m excited you’re moving to SF from the Least Coast and I look forward to hanging with you again soon!

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