Posts from February 2004

Linked In Becomes Plaxo (Cont)

Reid Hoffman read my post. Reid is the founder and CEO of LinkedIn and a good guy. He wrote this to me today, “we do have some serious anti-spam features coming… About 6 weeks. Anyway that I can try to get you to hold on?”.

All it took was his email. That’s customer service of the highest form. When a CEO promises help to his customers, you have to give him some slack.

And so I am waiting. In the meantime, I am going to ignore all these LinkedIn requests I am getting from people I can’t remember meeting and don’t know who they are.

Blogging has some nice side benefits. I’ve complained out loud twice about technology products/services on my blog. First was my Postini rant last fall. The second one was the LinkedIn post. Both elicted emails directly from the CEO with a solution. I’m a happy customer of Postini now and I have every expectation that Reid will make me happy in six weeks too.

#VC & Technology

Van The Man

At the risk of being called an old fart, I have to say that I really like the new Van Morrison album, What’s Wrong With This Picture.

I haven’t bought a Van Morrison album in years, but my wife bought it and its been on my playlist for weeks. I’ve been hearing Once In A Blue Moon on the radio a fair amount, but I also really like the whole album. As the guy writing one of the Amazon Customer Reviews says, “turn down the lights, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy.” If you like Van, get this album.

#My Music

Permission Marketing

I remember the day I heard these words come out of the mouth of Seth Godin. It was 1996 and I was investing in his company, Yoyodyne. I loved the empowerment that those words implied. It was now going to be up to me to determine when and if marketers could talk to me!

Well it hasn’t exactly happened as fast as I wanted it to. Along the way, we got spam, the ultimate in non-permission marketing. But slowly and surely this concept is taking hold. Jeff Jarvis quotes Jim Stengel, Global Marketing Officer at P&G (that’s a big deal) as saying, “All marketing should be permission marketing.” Amen.

#VC & Technology

Isabel Engeman (1907-2004)

My grandmother passed away around noon today. She had lived long enough and it was time to go. That was the way Izzy always was. When she made up her mind, that’s how it was going to be.

As I think about her life, I can’t help but think that Izzy was born before the first Model-T rolled off the assembly line and she lived long enough to have her grandson remember her on a blog. I know that people all over the world will read this. And that is an amazing thing. It might not have made her too happy, but it makes me feel better.

I’ll miss you Izzy.

#Random Posts


When i wrote about offshoring last week, i got some advice from readers – “don’t ignore the suffering of those who lose their jobs”. It was good advice.

Well, my friend David Kirkpatrick got a lot more hate mail when he wrote about offshoring two weeks ago. In David’s most recent column, he shares with us some of the most violent hate mail. It’s worth reading. These people are angry.

Their anger and the pandering that the democratic candidates are now doing on this subject doesn’t change my view on free trade and the free flow of jobs across national borders one bit. I think its good for the economy and its inevitable in the long run. As David points out in his column:

The economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who wrote “In Defense of Globalization,” replied to Kerry on the New York Times op-ed page last Sunday. “In a world economy,” he wrote, “firms that forgo cheaper suppliers of services are doomed to lose markets, and hence production. And companies that die out, of course, do not employ people.” A similar point was made in a recent interview by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founder and senior minister, speaking of the competition between nations, he said, “If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.”

I really don’t know what to say to these people who are out of work. But I do know that my companies that outsource some stuff to India and Russia also are hiring people in skills that aren’t easily outsourced like sales, sales engineering, account management, system design, marketing, and business development.

I’d like to see these unemployed people’s anger channeled in a productive way so that they can find new work. It may not be the same work, but working is a lot better than sitting at home fuming.

#VC & Technology

New Music (Continued)

If you loved 80s synth-pop like Pet Shop Boys, Depech Mode, New Order, OMD, then go out and buy Give Up from The Postal Service. If you buy music on iTunes, get it here.

This album is really great. I learned about it on Jason Kottke’s blog. He’s got a bunch of recommendations up there now. Based on his tips on Broken Social Scene and The Postal Service, I’ll probably go buy all of them.

#My Music

A Great Blog

Remember 1996? The dawn of the Internet age in NYC? I do. The people who covered that moment best were Tom Watson and Jason Chervokas with their @NY email newsletter. It was great.

Sadly, when they sold it to Alan Meckler and left, it lost the attitude and punch and provocative thought. I miss that daily read.

But they are still around and Tom recently started a blog called Tom Watson: My Dirty Life and Times.

Where else can you read about the Ramones, iTunes, Howard Dean, A-Rod, and Social Networking?

I’ve added Tom to my blogroll. Tom’s back on my daily read list. And I am glad about that.

#VC & Technology