23 Things About John Lilly

Asa Mathat | All Things Digital

John Lilly doesn’t just have impeccable taste in television — he’s also been continually involved in the best of start-up culture. From 2008 to 2010, he was CEO of Mozilla, after also serving as its COO. Two years ago, he jumped the aisle and became a venture partner at Greylock Partners. Here, he totally ups the ante on our Ten Things feature by answering 23 of our questions:

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
“Bosom Buddies.” Look it up. I’ll wait.

What qualities do you like in a person?
Curiosity, integrity, and a desire to make things better.

What qualities do you dislike?
Complacency, unwillingness to learn and change and get better.

Name one thing you will regret never having done (if you never do it).
I can’t think of anything, really — I don’t tend to think much about regret.

What’s the single most important issue in the world today?
Inequality of income and information. The gap between the haves and have-nots, the informed and the disconnected.

Do you still buy CDs or rent DVDs?
Nope, all online digital, all the time. Movies and TV shows online and (gasp) over the air.

What would you be doing if you were not in your current job?
Probably something like my last job at Mozilla. Or starting up. Or teaching. Or making something new. There are a lot of amazing things to be involved in.

What is your greatest achievement to date?
I’m proud of the work we did at Mozilla to change the way that the Web developed.

Android, iPhone or BlackBerry?
Well, all of them. Except BlackBerry. Do people still use those?

If you could meet any historical or fictional person, who would it be?
Long list. I’d love to meet Haruki Murakami and Cormac McCarthy. And Dr. Horrible. And Bob Loblaw. Moe Szyslak. But especially Sterling Archer.

What site/app do you check first when you wake up?
Mail. Then Twitter. Then Google Reader, if I make it that far without getting sidetracked.

What was the last thing you fixed?
I changed a bunch of the electrical switches in our house.

What was your first computer?
Sinclair Z-80. It came in a kit we had to put together.

What was your biggest mistake?
Long list. Probably changing my own electrical switches is not in my hall of fame of greatest decisions ever, though.

Do you have a dog or cat or other pet?

What’s your favorite mode of transportation?
Anything that isn’t United Airlines.

What was the last book you read?
“Wool,” by Hugh Howey.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.
I like watching “The Voice.” And listening to Maroon 5, for that matter. Embarrassing.

What was your biggest most recent purchase?
We just bought a house in Palo Alto.

Whom do you idolize?
My wife, who’s helping me fill this out, says that obviously she’s the answer to this particular question. My 7-year-old son thinks it might be him. Too close to call.

What do you drive/ride?
My favorite ride right now is my new Spot bike. Love riding it around town with my family.

Who was your biggest influence growing up?
After my parents, I was really lucky to have some unbelievable teachers in high school. It’s going to sound a little nerdy, but marching band in my Texas high school was a tremendous life experience for me all along the way. It taught me a ton about how to lead and how to follow, and a million other things. And in an (incredibly) even nerdier vein, my Latin, math and physics teachers in high school really changed and enriched my life.

Describe an ideal day.
We’ve got a brand-new baby in the house now, so an ideal day starts by sleeping in until 5:30 am (!) and spending a little time with my wife and sons, getting a run in if I can. Getting to connect with a few entrepreneurs/designers/makers who are building awesome things, and helping where I can. Hearing about a way someone is thinking about changing the world. Dinner with family and friends. A little time to read to my kids. A little time to read for myself before bed.

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