Putting 2012 To Bed

I'm typing this on my phone as our plane is starting to descend into the NY metro area. We will land at JFK within the hour.

I've wanted to write a year end post for days. I actually wrote one and stored it as a draft. But it comes across as a whiny complaint about the shitty year that 2012 was. And it was in many ways a shitty year for me. But the reason I couldn't publish that post is it didn't capture the greater picture that 2012 represents for me.

I moved every year as a kid. Throw away the old. Start with the new. That is etched indelibly in my psyche.

My venture investing career has three phases all roughly 6-8 years long. The first, at Euclid, was software to internet. The second, at Flatiron was internet to bubble. And the third, at USV, has been web 2 to mobile. I have always used a new firm to denote a new investment phase for me. Throw away the old. Start with the new.

And I feel that 2012 is the next demarcation year for me but this time I have to do it in an existing firm with an existing portfolio. That is new for me and I don't have a model for how to do it.

It was reported a few weeks ago that I had not made a single new investment in 2012. That is true. In fact, I have not made a single new investment since the summer of 2011. Fortunately my partners have picked up the slack and we have made a dozen or so terrific new investments at USV during that period.

I have been working on a new investment and I hope it will close in early 2013. So it is likely my 18 month dry spell will end soon. And I am going to treat that dry spell like a new start. I don't want to invest in the same stuff today that I invested in five years ago. I want to do new things, learn new lessons, and share them with you.

The funny thing about 2012 is that our firm made more money in 2012 than ever, with some huge carry producing events. And yet I think of it as a wasted year professionally. I don't like harvesting, I like planting the seeds, and helping them grow into fully flowered plants. That's where I get joy from my job.

So as I put 2012 to bed and think about 2013, I am happy to see this past year enter the history books. I didn't get much joy from it. And I am looking forward to doing new stuff in 2013, learning new things, and working with new people.

Happy new year everyone.