Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

By Jeff Elder

Examiner staff writer

Venture capitalists are notorious for sniffing out startups in SoMa, not hanging with hip-hop stars. So imagine my surprise when legendary VC Ben Horowitz told me Thursday night about his good friend Kanye West giving him tips. For instance? Kanye told Horowitz that gym clothes were becoming an actual high fashion trend way back in 2014. Let the record show that a year later NPR announced “The Sweatpant Moves Out Of The Gym.” Two years later Fashionista announced “the trend has now trickled up to the couture runways.”

Horowitz, cofounder of top tech investment firm Andreessen Horowitz, is on the board at San Francisco powerhouse tech companies Lyft, Medium, Databricks and Okta, and his firm is an investor in too many companies to list, including Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Airbnb and Stripe.

If it surprises you that Horowitz is pals with one of the kings of hip-hop, be informed that Horowitz is an avid fan of new rap, quotes lyrics in conversation and his blog, and stays up to date. His fave new albums are Baby Keem’s “The Melodic Blue,” which came out a week ago, and Nas’ “King’s Disease II,” which came out last month.

Sheepishly raise your hand if you, like myself, haven’t listened to either of those, and had no idea middle-aged investors could be so hip…

If that’s not enough high tech society with a view, let’s drop into Shack15, the impossibly stylish meeting place on the second floor of the Ferry Building, where the red-hot cryptocurrency company Braintrust got started. Longtime biz journalist Cory Johnson is doing his weekday podcast, “The Drill Down,” from the space, where beautiful people lounge on Scandinavian furniture (and not from Ikea). Agnieszka Pilat, an artist working with technology and robotics themes, is the first artist-in-residence at the private club. Her show opens later this month at Modernism in The City. If you’re reading this and getting good ol’ S.F. outrage over elitism, thinking, “Why can’t I go to any of these cool tech society events, huh?” You can! Here’s more on the art opening Go to…

You see engagements happen (“AGNES WILL YOU MARRY ME?) on the Oracle Park scoreboard all the time. What about the other end of the circle of marital life? That happened at Wednesday night’s game against the Padres. The “HAPPY DIVORCE MAX” message friends bought for a newly eligible guy went nuts on the Twitter feed of Carmen Kiew — a Twitter brand strategist and a co-host of the Giants postgame show “Summer Sundays” on NBC Sports Bay Area. The pic (shown here) got more than 5.5 million impressions. “Apparently it’s a very relatable message,” Kiew quipped. Been there…

People took notice of the best scoreboard message ever at Oracle Park. 
Carmen Kiew

People took notice of the best scoreboard message ever at Oracle Park. Courtesy Carmen Kiew

Another techie tapped by the White House! Congrats are in order for Jed Kolko, the S.F.-based chief economist for the jobs site, for being nominated by President Biden for an under secretary role at the Commerce Department…

If you feel like San Francisco workers came back to the office a little in July, then mostly went home again in August, you’re right. Data from Robin, a company that helps schedule and manage remote work, shows workers in The City came back at a greater rate than other tech hubs in July and retreated more than others last month.Meanwhile, tech companies keep growing, Robin found, and are keeping companies at home more than other industries. Heard this one? Three tech workers walk into a bar. Just kidding, they stayed home…

San Francisco employees’ return to the workplace reversed during the summer. (Courtesy Robin)

San Francisco employees’ return to the workplace reversed during the summer. (Courtesy Robin)

Berkeley’s vegan pet food startup Wild Earth is on a roll (made without eggs or milk). Featured on the ABC elevator pitch show “Shark Tank,” Wild Earth just picked up more funding from one of the show’s stars, billionaire Mark Cuban. “It’s great for my dog. Great for the planet. Great as an investment,” Cuban told me in an email. Wild Earth also counts S.F. VCs BABEL Ventures and At One Ventures as investors, as well as tech legend Peter Thiel. (True he never chats with the local press, unlike Ben Horowitz?)…

I hear the S.F. Voting Commission will be discussing for the first time piloting an open-source voting system during the November 2022 election at its meeting on Wednesday. That’s been a long time in coming. The software is used in Mississippi, approved by the California Secretary of State, and backed up by paper ballots, supporters say…

I took a ride in a Waymo electric Jaguar the other day. They are all over the western side of The City these days. Cool to watch them maneuver through traffic, turning on their own blinkers. Much more on all of that soon. I’d like to take one of the AI-mobiles to one of the remaining Giants games with fan fave ex-Giant Hunter Pence. The Giants are using tech in all kinds of cool ways. More on that soon, too…

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