Turning Ten

Ten years ago today I set up a TypePad account and started writing online. That first post was not much, other than the start of a habit that has transformed my life and my career.

The early years were all over the place. I would write about the music I was listening to, the places I was visiting, my family, and increasingly my work. Some of you were there at the start and when I see you show up in the comments now it brings a smile to my face. You know who you are and I am most appreciative of your commitment. Regular readers are the lifeblood of a blog and a blogger.

Early on I learned about trolls and haters. They stung and it hurt. But fortunately I had my brother Ted, who went by the name Jackson, and our friend Pat, who went by the name of TonyAlva. They defended me so I didn't have to defend myself. And Ted became the first bouncer at AVC, kicking off the bar motif that has colored this community ever since.

By the third year of AVC, I had decided to focus my posts around the three topics of technology, startups, and venture capital investing. I still occasionally post about music and politics but most everything else gone by the wayside.

As the years went on the audience grew which has been incredibly satisfying. I became obsessed with my stats. I had every free visitor tracking tag I knew of on AVC. And then I got into widgets and put all sorts of crap on the right rail. The page got so heavy that it would take a minute or more to fully load. Matt at Feedburner helped me build fastavc.com which still exists.

But that period of experimentation, blog as petri dish, taught me that I should try everything that was new on the web and AVC became the place we tried that stuff out. I was learning so much at that time. Playing with new stuff on AVC became my primary approach to investing and led to investments like FeedBurner, Twitter, Tumblr, Disqus, Zemanta, Outside.in and SoundCloud.

The addition of Disqus to AVC during Y Combinator Demo Day in August 2007 took us to a new phase. After seeing Daniel demo Disqus on AVC on stage I asked him for the one feature I had been asking TypePad for – the ability to reply directly to a comment notification email and have that reply posted in real time in the comment thread. Daniel and his cofounder Jason said they could do that and before the weekend was over it was working at AVC. I never went back to TypePad comments and we became a full fledged community. The average post at AVC now gets 150-200 comments and we push 1,000 every once in a while. You are now as much a part of AVC as I am. If you aren't wading into the contents here from time to time you are missing out on a lot of great stuff.

I met Nathan through AVC and he became our designer. We did a redesign four years ago (I think) that greatly simplified the look and feel, got rid of the widgets, and sped up the page loads. It is the same design we use today and I still think it looks great. Thanks Nathan.

Over the past few years we've added some regular themed posts, MBA Mondays, Video of the Week, and Feature/Fun Fridays. I think all of these ideas came from you originally. These regular themed posts give a pace and routine to the week which helps me a lot. I suspect it works for you too.

Donna noticed that I've gotten a bit sentimental in my recent posts. It wasn't conscious to me until she mentioned it but she is right. AVC is ten years old and Brad and I formed USV and went out onto the road for a year raising our first fund around the same time in 2003. Bill Gates says people overestimate what can be done in a year but underestimate what can be done in a decade. And we have done a lot in the ten years of AVC.

The past ten years have been the most productive of my career (so far). Brad and I have built USV into one of the top VC firms in the world. We have been joined by three incredible partners; Albert, John, and Andy. We have been fortunate to be able to work with some of the most talented entrepreneurs in tech and we have been involved at the formative stages of some of the most iconic companies of today's Internet. I don't think any of that would have happened without AVC.

I will close this already longer than usual post with a shoutout to the Gotham Gal, who opened her TypePad account about ten days after I did. Blogging has been as transformative for her as it has been for me. As I said in that opening post, I love my work but I love my family more than my work. It would take a superhero to put up with me and put me in my place. She does both and is the reason that all of this has been possible.

So happy tenth anniversary AVC. Its been a great run.