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Long-time angel investor Ron Conway (pictured, right), a special partner at Baselines Ventures, talked with Vator.tv founder Bambi Francisco at EconSM Thursday. Biggest regret? Passing over Salesforce.com. Most disappointing investment? Napster. Biggest surprise? Digg. Then there are a few others you might have heard of — Facebook, Twitter, Google.
Some more highlights from the conversation, after the jump.
— Twitter: Conway isn’t concerned that Twitter isn’t making money yet. “If you look at some of the greatest companies that have ever come out of Silicon Valley — Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Facebook — (these are) examples of companies that focused on critical mass before they worried about monetization.” He also does not think that Twitter will sell itself. “I think Twitter could be the next Facebook or Google in size — market size and potential. Why not stay an independent company?”
— Digg: Conway thinks Digg is an IPO candidate, once the recession is over. “I think Digg is growing at a good enough rate,” he said.
— IPO market: The IPO market is a year away from recovery, Conway said. “It would be great if six months from now we have some good M&A activity which then (leads) into an IPO market.” One sector he thinks will be active in M&A: media companies, since the Internet sector is “their future.”
— Investment strategy: “I look at teams first and ideas second,” Conway says. “When an entrepreneur starts a company, the idea they have morphs radically.” He talked about meeting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto five years ago. “He told me exactly where Facebook was going to be today and why he thought he was going to be able to get 250 million users. He was very confident. That’s what makes a great entrepreneur. They can explain to you why (their) company is going to be great even though they are plowing completely new ground.”