Posts from July 2005

MP3 of the Week

While this song isn’t new, it’s new to me.

In the early 60s, a boxer named Davey Moore was killed in the ring.

Bob Dylan was aghast that such a thing could happen and wrote a protest song about the death which he played live a couple weeks later.

It was not released on a Dylan record until the Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 came out in the mid 90s.

This is a powerful song.

And its my MP3 of the Week.

Morning Becomes Eclectic Podcast

The best radio show in the country just started a podcast.

They are not podcasting their entire show which would be cool but the file size might be prohibitive.

Instead they are podcasting the live performances that have been a staple of the morning drive time show in LA for years.

I added it to iTunes and to my podcast list.

Here’s the details on the show.

And here’s the feed url –

Positively 10th Street

Our weekly show is up now.

This show features songs contributed by the kids yesterday at visiting day.

And some good disussion and reviews from of our trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley last week.

Song List:
Mr. Brightside – The Killers – From Josh
California – Phantom Planet – From Joanne
Mid November – Jonathan Rice – From Jessica
Who Killed Davey Moore? – Bob Dylan – From Fred
Welcome To My Life – Simple Plan – From Emily

Listen Live Here.

To listen in iTunes or on your iPod, get iTunes v 4.9, then select Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast, and then enter this into the box:

Visiting Day

  Squirt Gun 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

Visiting Day is often a tough day for parents and kids. 

It can be an emotional roller coaster ride.

But yesterday was our seventh and its gotten easier and easier.

This was probably our best visiting day yet.

It was a beautiful day in the Catskills.

We just hung out with the kids, had a picnic lunch, relaxed, got caught up with each other, and then headed home.

Oh My

Brad and my favorite Flatiron lunch spot was Andrews Coffee Shop which shut down last month.

It was a sad moment for everyone.

Now I know why.


Thanks to whomever sent the Curbed post to for:fredwilson.

In Defense of Free

Stewart Brand’s famous qoute "Information wants to be free" has been the rallying cry of the open source software movement for years.

And I basically think Stewart was right.

So how do you reconcile the desire for free code and data with capitalism and its derivative – venture capitalism?

That is a question that we have been struggling with for the past ten years and it is a question that Brad and I have spent countless hours analyzing and debating.

Our mentiors and guiding lights are people like Bob Young of Red Hat and Craig Newmark of CraigsList who have shown that free software and data can co-exist with the profit motive.

Red Hat is so instructive.  It’s business model was making free software, specifically Linux, available to enterprise customers.  It made money packaging and providing support.  The code was free, the expertise on how to use the free code was not.

CraigsList is even more instructive.  Craig built an open utility – a classifieds listing service in San Francisco that anyone could use for free.  And he lovingly cultivated it into a community that had values and feelings. And people used it and got results.  He has kept it mostly free with the exception of certain categories, Jobs to start, and soon Real Estate, where a paid model turned out to be a benefit to the community.

That last point, that a paid model can actually be beneficial, is really interesting and needs to be better understood.  But this post is intended to be the beginning of this discussion, so I’ll move on.

What about Google?  They give away an incredibly powerful Internet search service every day millions of times a day.  They get paid by advertisers who also get to run their text ads for free.  The only time an advertiser pays is when the ad is clicked on.  Free to use, pay for performance.  It doesn’t sound that different from the Red Hat model, does it?

And take Flickr.  It’s the best photo site on the Internet by a long shot.  And its free.  For about a day.  My friend Mark Ghuniem said something to me last month which I have used a lot since then.  Mark said, "it took me about a day to turn pro on Flickr".  Turn pro means becoming a paying customer.

You can get a really great free experience uploading and sharing photos on Flickr. But if you are like many of us who love taking and sharing photos, you’ll turn pro in about a day.

So I was working with one of our portfolio companies earlier this month.  They have an enterprise software/service that customers pay for.  But there are huge network effects in the deployment of their service.  The more users they have, the more value accrues to each user.  They are thinking about the role of free code and data in their business.  And well they should.

Because free is a great way to make money.  You just have to know how you are going to get paid for being free.

Grapes, Grapes, Grapes

Img_0682I had business out in the Bay Area this week so the Gotham Gal flew out and we are in Napa for a couple days before heading back to the east coast to see our kids at visiting day.

Napa is a wonderful place. There are grapes everywhere.  This vista from Silverado Trail in Rutherford shows that Napa is really just a sea of grapes.

This isn’t our first trip to Napa and I surely hope its not the last.

Every time we come up here, we are smitten with the place.  It has a magical quality to it.

Img_0688Everything in Napa revolves around grapes and wine.

We spent the day yesteday driving around enjoying the beautiful scenery and visiting wineries and doing a picnic lunch.

Basically, that’s what you do in Napa.

We learned a little bit more about grapes, wine, and winemaking which is always interesting.
And we drank wine.
Img_0667Our favorite winery on this visit was Del Dotto.

We did their cave tour and tasting which we highly recommend.

Their caves are one of three original hand carved caves in Napa.

And there are barrels and barrels of wine in them to be sampled.

The two things we loved about Del Dotto was the quality of the wine (excellent) and the education we got on the impact that the barrel has on the taste of the wine.

Img_0662Dave Del Dotto, who we bumped into in the caves, likes to experiment with different barrels.  He changes the location of the oak (French vs American and even by the forest), the toasting, various tricks to increase the amount of wood surface, etc.

And its really fun to taste from all these different barrels and see how it impacts the wine.

Dave’s motto (which I am going to bastardize because I can’t remember it exactly) is that "the wine is the reduction sauce and the barrel is the spice rack."

Going on the Del Dotto tour is a great way to experience that.

It’s back to NYC today, but we loved Napa and hope to be back soon.