Have you recovered from the campaign?
Mostly. November and December were very tough.
Were you surprised with how ugly the race became?
It’s politics. I knew what I was getting into. But it’s still hurtful. It’s tough on you, tough on the family. It’s not an easy thing. I knew what it was intellectually, but emotionally it was harder than you think.
Do you think you’ll run for public office again?
I doubt it.
Gov. Jerry Brown is being credited with reducing the California budget deficit. What would you have done differently?
My approach was to reduce spending, reduce size of government, reform pensions, and reform a lot of programs that had gotten to be so expensive. I would not have raised taxes.
You have a new job with Kleiner Perkins, the venture-capital firm.
My job is to help with digital investments and also coach and mentor CEOs and founders because very few people have scaled companies the way I did at eBay, from $7 million to nearly $8 billion in revenues, and 30 employees to 15,000.
You took some heat when you were at eBay for buying Skype in 2005 for $3 billion. This week Microsoft bought it for $8 billion. Do you feel vindicated?
I always had great confidence in the Skype acquisition. It was incredible technology that changed everything about the way we communicate with each other. That’s what leadership is: you do what you think is in the best interest of the company and shareholders, and sometimes it takes a little while for the entire story to be told. I was pleased for what it sold for. Sometimes in life you don’t get recognition easily.
Is it worth $8 billion?
Do you shop on eBay?
All the time. I bought books recently. Sometimes I buy clothes.
You supported Mitt Romney in 2008.
I am supporting him again and hard at work on the Romney campaign.
Will Barack Obama be harder to beat after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden?
I congratulate President Obama on that decision. Boy, that took some guts, and he deserves credit. It’s always hard to beat an incumbent president. I think this election will turn on the economy and jobs.