Jesse Draper Silicon Valley roots

Friday, January 18, 2013
In Silicon Valley, Jesse Draper's lineage is almost unparalleled. Her father is Tim Draper, a partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson on Menlo Park's Sand Hill Road, a corridor known as the center of West Coast tech investment. Her grandfather and great-grandfather were venture capitalists, too.
Jesse Draper Silicon Valley roots
But the 28-year-old is famous in her own right, for "The Valley Girl Show," a Web TV show she created that started its fifth season this month ( Draper, no stranger to the camera, briefly played a character on a Nickelodeon series (produced by her aunt Polly Draper of "Thirtysomething" fame). "The Valley Girl Show" combines informative chats with a dash of irreverence, drawing on a culture in which tech workers try not to take themselves too seriously.
In earlier seasons, Draper is the first to admit, the show was a bit rough around the edges. Some of her guests - Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems; Barry Schuler, former chairman of AOL Interactive Services; and Heidi Roizen, a former vice president at Apple - may have been unprepared for her set, with its bright pink walls, couches and chairs, and the floral leis they were asked to wear while being interviewed.
Draper is seen bounding around the Stanford campus in a pink tutu, while a voice-over proclaims "Valley Girl!" in a tone that is meant to be a spoof on the vapid, ditzy Southern California Valley Girl stereotype.
Today, the show is more polished, and Draper has expanded her pool of interviewees to include not only the founders of the latest innovative companies (Hosain Rahman of Jawbone, Sabeer Bhatia of Hotmail and Tony Hsieh of Zappos) but also other famous figures, such as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, and former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
In 2013, her 40 new episodes will focus on technology and the fashion industry. Each episode runs about 15 minutes and garners 2 million views, thanks to partnerships she has forged with closed-circuit TV screens at airports, hospitals, chain restaurants, Roku and Boxee TV, and may soon be seen on in-flight screens on a major airline.
Draper, no airhead, can claim to be a Valley Girl two times over, splitting her time between Los Angeles and Atherton. Recently, she shared some of her choice hangouts with SFiS Style. They're, like, totally awesome.
Draper's favorite spots
Head Over Heels Boutique, 887 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park. "This is one of my favorite boutiques on the Peninsula. Not only do they have incredible shoes and Parisian fashions, but they have a consignment shop with designer fashions that appear to never have been worn. I regularly find treasures here! Not many people know about that side of it. ... I almost don't want to share."
Cafe Borrone, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. "Have you heard of a 'frosted mocha'? I have never had such a heavenly coffee drink; it's more of a coffee milk shake masterpiece. I usually have a healthy lunch, a frosted mocha and then peruse Kepler's Books next door to pick up some new reading material."
Dutch Goose, 3567 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park. "As far as sports bars go, this is a Silicon Valley favorite and one of the only ones around. All are welcome, from the businessmen to AYSO soccer celebrations to two girls having a glass of wine. I know how to appreciate a good cheeseburger and Dutch Goose knows how to make them with their secret sauce unlike any I've experienced. I have grown up coming here, playing in the arcade and eating deviled eggs."
Prolific Oven & Bakery, 550 Waverley St., Palo Alto. "I'm a chocoholic and was raised on this chocolate cake. I definitely stop by far too often and order their chocolate-on-chocolate cake - usually for a birthday celebration, but do you really need a reason to buy a chocolate cake? I never do."