The story of how a young programmer named Aaron Swartz convinced celebrated academic Lawrence Lessig that no political progress could be made without first reforming campaign finance is now part of Silicon Valley lore. In May, Lessig launched a radical initiative to address the issue: MAYDAY, a SuperPAC that secured funding from two Silicon Valley billionaires in order to curtail the influence of big money.
Union Square Ventures chief Fred Wilson has some big notches on his bedpost: Tumblr, Twitter, and Zynga (cough). But if you look at USV's portfolio page, you'll see a lot of chaff. Bad ideas that will probably go nowhere. This is the case with most VC firms. But unlike most investors, Wilson actually tries to chase down laughable ideas. Suddenly it all makes sense.