The owner of the Golden State
Warriors basketball team likes to plan
his visits—unless he’s in Italy.
[ FELLO W TRAVELER ]
Joe Lacob found a way to mix busi- ness and pleasure. as a longtime partner in the venture-capital firm of Kleiner Perkins caufield & Byers, Lacob has been a familiar name to
the financial heavy hitters of the San Francisco Bay area. He’s also a Northern california
resident and passionate basketball fan.
in November of 2010, Lacob purchased
the Golden State warriors of the NBa, along
with business partner Peter Guber. Since
then, they’ve helped turn the perennially
downtrodden warriors into a playoff team.
Lacob frequently finds himself in the air: as
warriors cEo, a member of the NBa’s Board
of Governors or competition committee, a
representative of Kleiner Perkins, a charitable
board member or simply a guy on vacation.
“certain business travel, when you go to
a place that isn’t your favorite and you’ve got
to be in and out overnight, that’s not fun,”
Lacob says. “that’s hard on your body. But
i’m at that stage in life where most of the
places i travel, even for business, are rather
enjoyable, because i enjoy what i’m doing.”
JWM | Do you exercise on the road?
JL | i bring my exercise gear, but i tend not
to do it. i find that with the time change and
dinners and meetings, i’m very busy when
i’m traveling. But i do a lot of walking, which
makes the exercise gear not as necessary.
JWM | Do you golf in exotic places?
JL | ah, i should have said that. my favorite
travel is for golf. i’ve organized a trip for 15
years now with eight guys. it’s roughly the
same eight, with a few variations. we travel
anywhere in the world that has great golf:
Scotland, ireland, England, France, Sweden.
i’ve been to australia and New Zealand for
golf. it’s one of my favorite things to do in the
world. Usually, we move around every two or
three days. this year, though, we were based
out of London, and we just took buses—or
one day a helicopter—to all the best courses.
JWM | What is your favorite destination?
JL | my favorite country in the world to travel
to is italy. i’ve just always loved it. i’ve been
there a lot—for business and pleasure. and
for whatever reason, i seem to be drawn to
italy. Especially Florence and tuscany, but
everywhere. i enjoy eating there a lot.
JWM | When in Italy, do you research your
meals, or is it more spontaneous?
JL | i feel like in italy you can pretty much
not plan your trip—pop into any place by the
roadside and have a really good meal. i’ll never
forget traveling with Nicole, my fiancée. She
had not been to italy. and we were in Lucca,
which is this great town between the cinque
terre and tuscany, and we just randomly
walked through town that day and sat down
at this place for lunch. and it was so great, the
people were so friendly, the food was so good.
JWM | Name a place you’ve never been that
you’d like to see.
JL | my number-one place to go is israel. i’ve
traveled through parts of the middle East, and
incredibly, because i’m jewish, i’ve never been
to israel. it seems there has always been some
unrest there when i was thinking about it, or
something else going on that made me not
want to. there’s always been a reason.
JWM | Are you recognized when you travel?
JL | in the Bay area, i’m pretty visible and i
get recognized a lot—surprisingly so. i always
wonder: why would they recognize me? But
people do. Now when i travel, it’s happened
as far away as London, where people come up
to me and say they know me from the warriors. that didn’t happen when i was traveling
in the world of venture capital. —Phil Barber