Memo to friends of Roelof Botha, and startup founders looking for funding from the Sequoia Capital venture capitalist: no condolences, please, on the recent death of P.W. Botha, the last hardline leader of white South Africa.
Yes, one might indeed want to suck up to Roelof (just pronounce it Rolf; he doesn't mind). He's Sand Hill Road's up-and-comer, since the sale of Youtube, the online video sharing service, to Google. And Roelof is indeed the grandson of an apartheid-era South African politician.
But his grandfather was Roelof "Pik" Botha, the good Botha, a relatively liberal foreign minister of the time, who is still alive and well; he is unrelated to P.W., who was a stubborn bigot. Since Botha's death, Roelof has been plagued by sympathetic but ill-informed emails. This, in the annals of clunky networking, ranks alongside a note to Andy Bechtolsheim, Silicon Valley's best-known German immigrant, on Hitler's birthday.