🗳️Issue #19: The Politician from Phillips Hall
The businessman, philanthropist, and politician who ran his first campaign while still living on Claremont's campus
💬 Welcome to issue #19 of Between the Lines
Hello to November, and hello to our 19th issue of Between the Lines! 😲 We’re kicking November off with a bang, so read on to hear about this week’s Claremonsters, including an interview with the one and only David Dreier who coined the Claremonster term for us!
Also, Miles spent this past weekend in Oaxaca, Mexico for Day of the Dead and won’t stop talking my ear off about it. I guess it was super great or something like that. So, I for one am ready to stop editing this article, ship this piece with him, eat my leftover candy, and not think too hard about what I missed down south. Happy November! 💀 🍭 🍫 🍬
~ Josh (& Miles)
👤 Community Spotlight: David Dreier
David Dreier is a CMC and CGU graduate, and the very first legacy alumnus to graduate from CMC. His father was in the CMC class of ’52. He is a businessman, philanthropist, and politician who served for over 30 years as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. David was one of the youngest members ever to be elected to Congress, the youngest chairman of the House of Rules Committee, and after his time in Congress, he served on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board under President Obama. He’s also an award-winning filmmaker and partner or advisor in several start-up businesses including eMed, taskmaverick, and CalypsoAI. He serves on numerous boards including Caltech, CMC, James Madison’s Montpelier, and the Los Angeles Mission Foundation. David is also the creative genius behind the term “Claremonster’’ for us 😉 and was happy to sit down and share some thoughts with BTL.
David, in 1978 you ran for the House of Representatives out of Phillips Hall at CMC in legendary fashion. While you ultimately didn’t win the seat until two years later in 1980, I’m sure there are some fun stories here. What is your favorite memory from running this campaign out of your dorm at Claremont? What was the most important learning you took from this campaign to your 1980 win?
Actually, I didn’t technically run the campaign out of Phillips Hall. I think that would have been illegal. I was, however, living in Phillips Hall when I first ran for Congress as a complete unknown. To be honest, I’m not sure that I really wanted to run until I got into it. I did always, and still do, enjoy engaging in discussions about my basic belief in the free market, less government taxation and regulation, a strong cost-effective defense, and personal freedom. I had also gotten to know Ronald Reagan over the years after arriving from my home in Kansas City and beginning as a CMC freshman. I was able to spend several Christmases with the Reagans. It was Reagan and others, including CMC’s founding President George C. S. Benson, who first encouraged me to run for Congress.
Determined, as I still am today, to save the world, I heeded their advice and took the plunge. At 24, it was a fascinating experience. My campaign manager said that every morning when shaving, I needed to look in the mirror and ask — “what am I going to do today to win this race?” So, in a raucous primary, we won the nomination campaigning hard and embracing Proposition 13 which capped property taxes at 1%. That issue was controversial among the political elite, but it felt like the right thing to do and it carried overwhelmingly. We ran a spirited campaign, won the primary election, and then narrowly lost in November’s General Election. Losing was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It spurred me on, making it all the more exhilarating to win two years later along with Ronald Reagan. Funnily enough, I actually just this week returned from Washington and the 40th reunion of the congressional class elected with Reagan.
There’s a pattern here where you served in roles at an unusually young age, and running for office at a young age is highly risky and entrepreneurial. You’ve served in Congress as well as invested in private companies. Do you find any similarities between innovation in politics and innovation in the private sector? What, if anything, can entrepreneurs learn from politicians, and vice versa?
In my opinion, being entrepreneurial and innovative in virtually everything is good whether it’s promoting ideas, good public policy, or a business venture. Innovation and entrepreneurship should never be restricted to the private sector. Political leaders should learn from young entrepreneurs how to move more quickly and adapt and adjust — never forgetting that law-making is to be a slow and messy process. Entrepreneurs, however, should learn from politicos about the importance of coalition building and thoughtful deliberation. There’s a balance to strike between the two.
Is there someone or something, in particular, you would be interested in having people reach out to you about?
Any ideas about our effort to build a memorial on the National Mall to remember fallen journalists and the importance of the first amendment are needed. It’s a current passion for me. I’d encourage people to learn about us and join the effort at fallenjournalists.org!
🚨Claremonster Call-Out: Jeffrey Stein
Jeffrey Stein is yet another Claremonster! He’s a CMC and Stanford GSB grad, a 4x founder, the previous co-founder of Orbital Insight, a geospatial analytics company backed by Sequoia and GV, and is already working on his next act in fintech start-up - Deep Discovery.
The team at Deep Discovery has built a new SaaS know-your-customer (KYC) solution for some of the world’s most sophisticated customers by discovering signals of financial crime within opaque networks that otherwise go undetected by leading advanced machine-learning tools. The company’s insight is to treat KYC as a network analytics and ML problem, unlike other players in the field who approach it as a simple search problem. They have already built a global knowledge graph of 1.2 billion entities and a proprietary network-based customer risk rating model. Their findings can be incredibly fascinating, and they recently detected signals of Russian oligarch money laundering through Silicon Valley!
If you’re interested in learning more about Deep Discovery, feel free to reach out to Jeffrey here!
💼 Who’s Hiring?:
Casaplaya Software, founded by HMC grad Aely Aronoff, is a Newport Beach, California startup that is on a mission to bridge the gap between traditional finance and crypto by unlocking safe and accessible crypto investments for the next generation of investors. Aely is hiring for several roles and if you’re interested in learning more or applying for a role, community members should send their resumes here to apply. Aely is also always open to conversations with folks who want to learn more about the company or chat about crypto and entrepreneurship. Reach out to Aely directly here. Fun Fact: during undergrad at Mudd, Aely honed his leadership skills by co-founding the Prank Club at Mudd!
Looking for someone with 2+ years of experience in software engineering with proficiency in Python, excited about contributing to all parts of a new platform built from the ground up.
Jeeves is building international fintech infrastructure from scratch; this includes a global switching layer across countries and the ability to manage and run all your company spends. This Miami-based start-up has raised over $190M so far in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz, CRV, Y Combinator, and Tencent. Matthieu Hafemeister (CMC) is the Head of Growth and is starting to hire people to work closely with him and the rest of the Jeeves team 🦁 🚀.
Business Operations Lead - Remote (to work closely with Matthieu)
Partnership Lead - Remote (first hire on the partnerships team)
The Kleiner Perkins Fellows Program connects students with opportunities to work with innovative companies. They are searching for the next group of aspiring tech leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers. In other words, they’re looking for Claremont students! 👀 Kickstart your impact here:
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🗣️ Conversations on the interwebz:
This week’s top read 🔥
Alan Ohnsman 🚶🏼♂️🚲🚌🚄 @alanohnsmanGoogle backs robot delivery unicorn Nuro’s $600 Million funding round 🤖 🚚📦🍕via @forbes https://t.co/RXNMS8Ao7K
Everything else you need to know….📖
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🍽️ BTL Snacks:
⚙️ Machine Bio - the $200K winner of the BioTools Innovator accelerator….. CMC and Keck graduates, David Marash & Alexander Hilbert have been busy with Machine Bio!
🦄 Unicorn stocks you should think twice about….. PO Professor Gary Smith shares how Airbnb, Snap, Lyft, and Uber are just a handful of debt-ridden unicorn stocks on life support - what goes up might just come down
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