Social Scene: Khosla to Give Away Half of Fortune, Kvamme Moving to Columbus (Huh?), Bussgang Hangs with SEAL Team 6, More

In this week’s Social Scene, Eric Schmidt is building fancy new digs for his personal VC firm; Joanna Rees has convinced Reid Hoffman, Marc Pincus and others to back her bid to be mayor of San Francisco; Vinod Khosla says he will donate half of his fortune to charity; Mark Kvamme is moving to Ohio (seriously!); Jeff Bussgang hangs with the famed SEAL Team 6, Robert Simon, Eric Wright and Katja Gehrt all have birthdays coming up, and more.

Schmidt in building mode

Onetime Google CEO Eric Schmidt is building out the “entire top floor” of a building in downtown Palo Alto, Calif., for his personal investment firm, Tomorrow Ventures, reports Peter Delevett of the San Jose Mecury News.

Delevett spoke to a commercial real estate broker who speculated

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Entrepreneur Twitter Drama Highlights the Price of Speaking Freely

Last month, entrepreneur Matt Mireles (pictured) published a tweet, asking: “Why is TechStars NYC run by a non-entrepreneur?”

The “non-entrepreneur” in question is 29-year-old David Tisch, whose grandfather built Loews into a Fortune 100 company that operates hotel chains, and whose family’s largess has helped bankroll numerous institutions, including the Tisch Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Since 2007, the young Tisch has been seed-funding startups with his brothers. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also started two Internet companies, both of which were shuttered in less than a year’s time.

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Chris Dixon on Arugula-Eating Liberals, the Downside of Destination Sites and the Future of Hunch

Yesterday, I wrote up part of my recent interview with Chris Dixon, an active seed-stage investor and the CEO of Hunch, a year-old consumer Web application company that Dixon formed with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.

Hunch is a giant recommendation engine that aims to help users make up their minds, be it about a camera or what favors to serve at a Palm Springs party. Right now, a registered user base of roughly 200,000 people contribute most of the questions; they also populate the answers, a la Wikipedia. (In fact, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales joined Hunch’s board of directors in December.)

Hunch also relies heavily on proprietary algorithms that gets smarter over time, so that ideally, when someone arrives at Hunch with a question in mind, they’re served answers by users with similar preferences to their own.

Dixon, 38, thinks Hunch can be as big a leader in search technology as Google and Amazon someday, once it gets over some initial kinks, like making it easier for people to find and understand the service. The second part of my interview with Dixon follows:

Chris Dixon: The Ultimate Founder’s Founder

Chris Dixon, 38, may be the ultimate founder’s founder.

He’s running his second startup, Hunch, after selling his first company, SiteAdvisor, for $74 million dollars four years ago. He’s an active angel investor in nascent startups and co-founded the $40 million seed-stage fund, Founder Collective, last year. He’s a champion of the early-stage scene in New York, where he lives and works. And Dixon, who’s as connected as they come on both coasts, is a prolific blogger who writes in plain English about the challenges of entrepreneurship, technology and venture capital.

I talked with Dixon this afternoon about how he juggles his life as an investor with that of running a company that aims to be as big as Google and Amazon some day — once it works out some kinks.

What follows is Dixon on investing. Tomorrow, I’ll post our conversation about Hunch, which Dixon launched last year with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake:

Recently, there was a widely read post by a New York entrepreneur who argued persuasively that New York is still a tough place to launch a startup — unless you’re “Chris Dixon or anyone else who’s already built a successful company and had a real exit under their belt.” Do you agree? Disagree?

I do think there should be more seed investors, which is partly why we formed Founder Collective last year, a fund that’s location agnostic but mainly focused on New York area startups. There’s no lack of money in New York; there are plenty of rich people. But there hasn’t been the kind of smart money, if you will, that understands how to help a company get to the next stage and raise VC after seed money. You’re starting to see more of that — New York is improving — but I’m not in radical disagreement with him.

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