Posts from May 2004

Phone > Email > Blogs

Brad Feld instigated this post with his “Why Blog” piece.

When I got into the venture capital business in the mid 80s, the only way i could network effectively was to go to events, conferences, trade shows, etc and then work the phones incessantly.

Then in the early 90s, email hit the scene. Suddenly, everyone had an email address. And my ability to network grew by an order of magnitude. I could “touch” hundreds of people every day, ask what they were up to, hear about new deals, etc. It suddenly became a lot easier to be a venture capitalist.

I think blogging is the next quantum leap in networking. Today I can “touch” 1000 people a day with the things i am thinking about, deals i am seeing, technologies that interest me, and i hear back from at least 20 or 30 of them via comments or email. That is making my job a lot easier again.

Brad’s partner says that “NOT everyone deserves a printing press”. I disagree. Everyone deserves one, but not everyone will use it effectively. Hopefully, I am not in the latter category.

#VC & Technology

Van Lear Rose

van_lear_roseIf you like country music, get this album.

If you like the White Stripes, get this album.

If you are like me and like country music and the White Stripes, get this album now.

The Gotham Gal found this album on Amazon and I am sure glad she did.

The songs are great and were all written by Loretta Lynn. The almbum was produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. Jack also plays plenty of his signature guitar on this album. But in the end, this is a classic country music album showcasing the incredible talents of a 70-year old coal miner’s daughter, Loretta Lynn.

#My Music

Blam (continued)

I’ve gotten lots of comments on my posts on Blam (blog spam/comment spam). After reading all of them, it seems the most successful approach is the image that you have to retype to be able to comment. We’ve all seen these. They use them at ticketing sites, domain registration sites, etc to get around the bot problem. It seems that this works real well to stop comment spam too.

I’ve sent an email to TypePad suggesting they add that tool. I’ll let you know what I hear back.

#VC & Technology

Dodgeball

A guy I know in the venture business used to say, “The first time i hear about something, i ignore it. The second time, i go look at it. The third time, i invest in it.”

That’s a gross oversimplification to be sure. But there is something so true about hearing about interesting things from multiple sources being a validation point.

That happened this morning to me with Dodgeball.

On Friday, my partner Brad and I had lunch with Clay Shirkey. We were talking about how hard it is to develop for the wireless phone platform because it is controlled by a few large companies who have no interest in opening up their systems. He mentioned a cool product that a bunch of his students had developed called Dodgeball which takes social networking concepts mobile.

This morning while i was blogging about SixApart, i went to Joi Ito’s blog. There it was, Dodgeball again. So I am taking notice. I might even try it out.

#VC & Technology

Movable Type vs. TypePad

It’s a coming of age for the blogging industry. We’ve got a full-blow business model issue developing at SixApart, the developer of both Movable Type and TypePad.

Jeff Jarvis has a good description of the issue up at Buzzmachine.

Jeff’s recommending that SixApart divest one of the businesses to resolve the conflict. That’s surely a solution, but it might be sub-optimal for the Company and its shareholders.

I agree completely with Jeff that competing with your customers is very problematic. SixApart needs to resolve that issue one way or the other.

But I don’t agree that a company can’t be in both the software and services business. It’s hard to do both well, particularly in a young company. But i’ve seen some that have been able to pull that off. And there’s a big benefit if you can. It would seem to me that much of the technology between Movable Type and TypePad is shared. And certainly the developing standards like TypeKey and TrackBack are more valuable if they are shared between both product and service.

So I would argue that the shareholders and customers of SixApart would benefit if the two offerings are kept under one roof, assuming the customer conflict is resolved.

One approach that SixApart could take is to just come out and say that they aren’t going to license the MovableType software enhancements going forward (starting with 3.0) to blog hosting service providers. That’s their perogative. If that’s what they are intending with their new pricing scheme for 3.0, then they should just come out and say it and life would be a lot easier.

There is a huge customer base for Movable Type outside of blog hosting service providers and they could easily service that customer base without the customer conflict issues.

That would be my recommendation if I was an investor and board member of SixApart. But I am not, this guy is.

#VC & Technology

A Ghost Is Born (Continued)

a_ghost_is_bornI’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Wilco’s new album, A Ghost Is Born.

It will be released on June 22nd, but you can do like I did and pre-order it at Amazon.

Then I heard that Wilco is playing at Irving Plaza on June 8th.

So I figured I’d better get a preview of the new album before the show.

Which was easy enough to do on the Internet. I don’t really know why music labels wait to release an album if you can get it online for free. I’d rather pay Amazon or iTunes and get it legally, but the waiting thing is just nuts.

Anyway, the album has some highpoints, but all in all will not likely be as commercially successful as the amazing Summer Teeth and the popular Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

It seems the band has decided to lose the electronic experimentation. And i think they’ve been listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix. The distorted guitar solos on At Least That’s What You Said and Spiders (Kidsmoke) will make for great live music, but will in all liklihood be a turnoff to the mainstream listener. Spiders is over 10 minutes long and I am not sure many will get past the third song before taking it off the CD player.

But I’m a Wilco fan and I like the album. I particularly like the first song, At Least That Is What You Said, and the tenth song, Theologians.

The only bummer is the Irving Plaza show sold out in an hour this afternoon and I was at a baseball game with Josh. So I’ve got to scrounge up some tickets.

#My Music

Comment Spam

I am adding Comment Spam to my Internet Axis of Evil.

I just had to spend 20 minutes deleting porn comments from my blog and blocking the IP addresses from commenting again. I think that was a pretty futile effort becuase whomever generated all this porn spam did it from a different IP address for everyone of them.

There has to be a better solution.

First, TypePad should make it a lot easier to block a commenter right from the offending comment. I’ve sent in a feature request already to them.

Second, someone needs to build a tool to identify and block this stuff. John Batelle links to one idea of how to do this and the comments are all good.

I am going to check out TypeKey, but I don’t want to force commenters to register.

This shared blacklist of bad comment spammers is a great idea. I’d gladly participate.

#VC & Technology