Posts from January 2004


It’s a marketing term, actually. But without technology, segmentation can’t be done efficiently. So segmentation is a technology business. And its going to be a big technology business, if it isn’t already.

Soccer moms. Nascar dads. Gadget geeks. We all know who they are and why marketers want to reach them. And database technology combined with the Internet allows us to reach them more efficiently than ever before. I’ve talked about audience management in a previous post. Audience management is all about looking at your audience in terms of segments of people and then delivering these “segments” to advertisers.

I can think of plenty of examples, but the one I like best tonight comes my friend Seth Godin. Check out all the items the people who like to eat at Applebees restaurant like to buy on Amazon.

#VC & Technology

That Much Vaunted "Value Add"

I was meeting with a limited partner yesterday. These are the people who provide the capital that venture capitalists invest. He told a funny story. Some venture capitalists who he’d been invested with for years had been in to see him and wanted to get better terms because of all the “value add” they provide to their companies. He reluctantly agreed and three years later he showed up to an annual meeting and found that the portfolio was in bad shape. So he said the the venture capitalists, ” guys – now would be a good time to produce some of that much vaunted value add”. That had me falling off my chair.

The fact is that the best venture capitalists do add value to their companies. It’s something I strive to do every day. But it’s hard to do. And it often isn’t enough to make a bad investment into a good one. And I believe that most venture capitalists overstate their “value add”.

So my advice to entrepreneurs is check out the venture capitalists’ claims about how much they help before you sign up with them. That’s what the smart limited partners have been doing for a long time.

#VC & Technology

Why CEOs Fail

Sorry about the obsession with this issue. You probably all think that I’ve got CEO’s failing on me right and left. Actually nothing could be farther than the truth at this moment in time. I’ve seen a lot of failure over the years though and for some reason, I am thinking about it these days.

My good friend Dr. Dana Ardi (remember her column from The Industry Standard?) suggested a good book to me called Why CEOs Fail.

Here are the eleven reasons

Arrogance— you think that you’re right, and everyone else is wrong.
Melodrama— you need to be the center of attention.
Volatility— you’re subject to mood swings.
Excessive Caution— you’re afraid to make decisions.
Habitual Distrust— you focus on the negatives.
Aloofness — you’re disengaged and disconnected.
Mischievousness— you believe that rules are made to be broken.
Eccentricity— you try to be different just for the sake of it.
Passive Resistance— what you say is not what you really believe.
Perfectionism— you get the little things right and the big things wrong.
Eagerness to Please— you try to win the popularity contest.

I haven’t read the book and can’t recommend it, but these reasons ring true to me. I sure spend a lot of time and effort trying to avoid these behaviors myself.

#VC & Technology

Am I Really That Liberal?

Jeff Jarvis was getting slammed a week ago for saying he was a liberal when a lot of people who read his blog thought otherwise.

Well I think I’ve got a different problem, at least according to an AOL/Time Inc service on the web called President Match.

I think I’m a centrist Democrat who sometimes talks like a Republican. But it seems that self perception isn’t reality.

My daughter told me about this President Match thing that said she should vote for Dennis Kucinich.

So I figured that I ought to see who AOL and Time think I should vote for.

I went through the whole thing and it asked a bunch of good questions which I dutifully answered.

And the results are in. I should vote for Kucinich too. After that, Al Sharpton should be my next choice.

And I thought I was a Clark man. He’s #4 on my list, after John Kerry.

Go figure.


Searching My Blog

Several people have told me that they wanted to find an old post but couldn’t easily do that.

So I went and got Google Site Search and put it on my sidebar.

Now you can easily search my blog (or the web).

It’s a great service by a great company. You have to love Google.

#Random Posts

Clark vs. Edwards

I watched both of these guys talk to Bob Dole last night on one of the cable new channels. I can’t remember which it was.

Clark fought with Dole for no reason and came off as an agressive, arrogant, jerk.

Edwards schmoozed with Dole and came across as a likeable, smart, polished professional.

If Clark is going to make it through NH, he’d better change that act in a hurry.

I think Iowa showed that the people of the Democratic party want someone who can beat Bush, but they also want a positive, likeable person.

I don’t think Edwards can beat Bush. I don’t think Kerry can either. But I would love to convince myself otherwise on both of these guys because I’ve met them both and like them and their politics. I think Clark can beat Bush, but not by acting the way he acted last night with Dole.

I hope his handlers saw what I saw and tell him to change his tune – fast.



Well that’s what it’s come down to after the dramatic surge by Kerry and Edwards (and the equally dramatic plunge by Dean). Now its on to NH. It looks like Gephardt is out tomorrow and I think Lieberman will be gone after NH.

What’s going to be interesting is if Clark can weather the post Iowa bounce that Kerry and Edwards are going to get and make a strong showing in NH. If he can, then its a four man race for a while. The next week is going to be interesting.


Things I Write About

I’ve been writing this blog for almost four months now and I decided this morning to go back and look at what I’ve been writing about. I think blogs need to be about something to be relevant. You need to know what you are going to read about when you go to a particular blog. So I am going to figure out what AVC is about.

It turns out that I’ve posted 113 times in almost four months, on average about once a day.

Of those 113 posts, 52 of them have been about my business – Venture Capital and Technology.

25 of the posts have been about Presidential Politics or in a few cases politics in general.

10 posts have been about traveling which I call Blogging On The Road.

10 posts have been about New Music i’ve found that i really like.

And the rest have been Random Posts.

So there you have it, AVC is mostly about Venture Capital and Technology with a healthy dose of Presidential Politics thrown in, peppered by places I travel to and new music I like. And every now and then a random post about something else that i want to blog about.

These are my categories. I’ve indexed my entire blog and you’ll see these five sections on the sidebar to the right.

If you come to my blog to read about Venture Capital and Technology and don’t care about anything else i talk about, just click on that category. If you come to my blog to read about my thoughts on politics, you can do the same thing.

I hope this helps.

#Random Posts