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DETROIT — Legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper is worried about America running out of heroes. And he’s not talking about Superman or the Hulk.

“We’ve gotten to be chicken,” he said today at Techonomy Detroit. “We have a law for everything … too many laws.”

That’s probably not news to many entrepreneurs who have struggled with business regulation for years, but it came as a particular shock to Draper as he was building Draper University. Trying to place an elevator shaft, he learned that there were two conflicting laws about where he could or could not place it — and he was guaranteed to be in violation of one of them.

It was also something he learned when creating MeVC, an early crowdfunding-style investment vehicle that, he says, was regulated out of existence.

“I think we should just sunset all the laws and just move forward,” said Draper to general applause and laughter.

That break-all-the-rules attitude is one reason Draper Fisher Jervetson looks for disruptive investments. Spacex, which spends $30 million to lift the same amount of cargo to space as costs NASA $400 million, and Tesla are two examples he shared.

And it also plays into his philosophy about entrepreneurs as heroes — a theme Steve Case also preached on in his morning session at Techonomy.

“The world is having troubles,” Draper said. “The world needs more heroes.”

And to entrepreneurs in the Detroit audience and beyond: “The world needs you.”

But it would also help, he suggested, if governments would get out of the way.

Image credit: John Koetsier


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