Welcome to 13 Questions, a series aimed at bringing a human face to notable figures in the world of startups, hardware, and tech. Ever wonder how your favorite designer learned to love tech? Curious what’s on your favorite VC’s bucket list? Want to see the person behind the media hype? 13 Questions is here.
Rob Coneybeer a founder and managing director of Shasta Ventures where he invests in a variety of startups but leans towards hardware companies. Rob was an early investor in among others, Nest and SayNow. He’s also a car guy and hosted a series of interviews for TechCrunch that were shot inside of his Subaru BRZ. But what’s his favorite driving song or first car? What was his first investment or who influenced him the most?
1) Is your primary device Android or iOS?
2) What’s your favorite mispronunciation of your name?
There are so many ways to mis-pronounce my name, that I don’t have a favorite. Connie-beer is the right way.
3) What’s your favorite Rodney Dangerfield movie?
I’ve never been a Rodney Dangerfield fan, but if I was forced to pick one to watch, I’d pick Caddyshack.
4) What’s your go-to driving song?
“She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult.
5) What was your first car?
A brand new 1992 gray Honda Civic DX 2-door hatchback. It had a 5-speed manual, 92 horsepower, and no air conditioning. I fried the clutch within 9 months.
6) Who is your childhood hero?
Batman. He didn’t have any special superpowers, but he was smart, ran a big successful company, and used lots of technology (cool cars, planes, boats, and weapons) to fight the bad guys.
7) What technological advancement do you most admire?
The jet airplane. Although everyone complains about air travel, it gets cheaper and cheaper and more accessible every year. It’s still shocking to me that you can get in a plane, have a few drinks, fall asleep, and wake up halfway around the world 12 hours later.
8) When are you most likely to ignore an email?
WHEN THE SUBJECT LINE IS IN ALL CAPS
9) Which company does the most to push along the industry?
Google. Google has had plenty of failed bets, but GoogleX is more audacious and impressive than anything since the heyday of Bell Labs. Most importantly, Android was a huge bet that kept Google relevant in the mobile world – and – pushed Apple to innovate faster than they would have otherwise. In fact, I don’t think Apple would have built the iPhone ecosystem into the juggernaut it is today without existential competition from Google’s Android.
10) What was your first investment?
Everest Design Automation, when I was an associate at NEA. They built a specialized type of semiconductor design software too. It was acquired about 12 months after I led NEA’s investment for about a 2.5x return.
11) What do you consider your biggest missed opportunity in life?
I wish I had made the time to learn a foreign language. I admire people who can speak multiple languages.
12) Who was, or currently is, the biggest influence on your life?
Probably my parents, because I moved over ten times before I turned 18. I was born in Texas, lived there for one week, and then moved to Florida. I also lived in Georgia, Ohio, Massachusetts (twice), Connecticut (twice), Pennsylvania (twice), and Saudi Arabia before I even went to college. In fact, I went to three different high schools In those days, social media didn’t exist, and phone calls were extremely expensive, so every move meant a completely brand new set of friends and relationships. I had to learn from an early age how to deal with change.
13) What gadget or technology item do you plan on purchasing next?
I just pre-ordered an Eero WiFi router. I can’t wait for it to arrive – I have four separate WiFi networks around my house, and coverage is still spotty.
Editor’s note: For some reason I only gave Rob 12 question to answer. Whoops.