Tim Draper is sitting. This is not his natural state. An entire half of his 6-foot-4-inch hulking body cannot express itself. But he’s willing to be immobilized at Los Angeles’s BLD restaurant for breakfast—vegan, and actually his second breakfast since he already had cereal because, come on, it’s 9 a.m.—to promote his big idea. It’s really just one of his many big ideas, but this one requires some serious salesmanship. Draper wants to divide California into six “startup” states that will compete for citizens and businesses. It’s early March, and he says he’s willing to spend millions to get the 807,615 signatures required so his initiative can be on the California ballot by fall. It’s not going to be easy since the interested parties, as of this morning, are roughly the two of us.
A billionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist who hit it big funding Hotmail, Skype, Tesla Motors, and Chinese search engine Baidu, Draper has gone from Democrat to Republican to Libertarian to Draperist; the Draper party (of one) believes that government’s problem is that it lacks competition. “I’ve met every governor since Reagan and they’re all great people. And I’ve met lots of state employees and they’re all great people. So I came to the conclusion that California is ungovernable,” he says.