Posts from October 2006

Flatiron Street Scene

Originally uploaded by rollmeafatty.

I found this picture on Flickr browsing for something else.

It was taken a block away from Union Square Ventures’ office, just south of the Flatiron Building.

I have always loved the look of this building and I am glad someone captured it so nicely.



From Michael Arrington’s post on Digg acquisition rumors:

One point of controversy was around Digg’s claim of 20 million unique
monthly visitors and steep monthly growth, whereas the Comscore’s most
recent September report shows only 1.3 million monthly unique visitors
and flat growth since April (see chart below). Comscore is notoriously
flaky, and these numbers are for U.S. households only. Comscore is
almost certainly significantly under-reporting Digg traffic.

Michael is one of the best bloggers ever and I read Techcrunch every day. But I think he got this one wrong. Comscore is not "flaky". They are a third party measurement service. They don’t always get everything right. None of the third party measurement services do. But they are the best of the lot in my opinion. Now I am biased as I have been an investor in Comscore since 1999 and have been on the board since then.

I do not think Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and all of the major Internet companies would spend millions of dollars a year on data that is "flaky". Comscore’s data is always being reconciled, debated, improved, dicussed, and analyzed and it gets better and better every year.

Now let’s talk about Digg’s Comscore numbers.

1 – Comscore is a "consumer panel". It measures mainstream web users. It is not a "leading edge" panel and it will almost certainly undercount "geek" services like Delicious and Digg. But it won’t be off by 20x. It probably won’t even be off by 2x.

2 – Comscore counts real viewers in its panel, not cookies. Cookies get deleted by spyware removal software. If you remove your cookies once a week, you’ll look like four users every month to someone using cookies as a basis for UVs. The more sophisicated a user base is, the more likely they use cookie removal. And that results in significant UV overcounting.

3 – If you visit a service from multiple computers, you will be counted as mutiple users by most analytics programs. I suspect a decent subset of Digg’s user base does that.

4 – Comscore has a US panel and a International panel. The 1.3mm monthly uniques is US data. Comscore’s worldwide number for Digg’s UVs in September is 3.1mm.

So let’s look at Digg’s claim that they have 20 million UVs. Do you believe that? As Bryce said in his comments on Techcrunch:

Wow, if 20 million visitors is true – that’s a lot – the entire population of Australia.

YouTube had 20mm unique visitors in September. Do you think that Digg has as many uniques as YouTube? I don’t.

My guess is that Digg has something like 5mm monthly unique visitors worldwide. Not 20mm. The difference probably results from cookie counting, multiple browsers, and a few other factors.

And I’d like to encourage everyone out there to sit down and understand third party measurement services before calling them "flaky". My bet is they are more accurate than internal analytics numbers a lot of the time.

#VC & Technology

What If Wallstrip Really Loved Flash?

Last week Wallstrip covered Adobe and made the point (in their unique way) that Flash is ubiquitous on the web these days.

Wallstrip uses a Flash player (Revver’s) for their show, but what if they actually did the show in Flash?


It's Obvious

I really like what Evan is doing with Obvious Corp.

I know plenty of entrepreneurs who have a number of ideas rattling around in their brain and want to build something where they can operate in parallel instead of in serial.

I don’t have time for a longer and more thoughtful post on this topic right now and I’ve learned my lesson throwing out half baked posts, so I’ll just leave it at that for now and bookmark the thought and come back to it when I have more time.

#VC & Technology

The Firewall

The Republicans have built a firewall. It extends from Virginia, to Tennessee, to Missouri. It winds along the border between the northeast/midwest blue states and the southern red states. And this is the front where the war between progressive and regressive politics is being fought in the fall of 2006.

All we have to do is look at the candidates to see the stark contrasts between these two ideals.

Let’s start in Virginia:


The racist privileged son of a former NFL football coach against a decorated vietman vet, former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, who has opposed the Iraq war from day one and yet watched his son go to Iraq and did nothing to stop him (although he clearly could have) because of his sense of duty, honor, and country. How is this even close?

Now let’s look at Tennessee:


A wealthy real estate investor who continued to do real estate business while he was mayor of Chattanooga (raising considerable questions about his ethics) against the son of a prominent Memphis african american family, Harold Ford Jr, who, if elected, would become the first popularly elected african american Senator from the south in United States history.

Now let’s finish with Missouri:


A beneficiary of Abramoff and DeLay who has raised almost $20mm to date is in a dead heat with a former prosecutor and state treasurer who has raised less than $5mm to date. Why, because Claire is a tough pragmatic honest woman who mixes midwest values with progressive instincts. I’ve given all I can to Claire, but wish I could give more.

Vietman vets, african americans, and mothers against the established white country club boys club.

I sure hope we break this firewall. Because if we don’t I am going to be sick with disgust.


Deal Sizes

Usv_logo_5I wrote another post in my ongoing series on what we look for in deals. This one is about the deal sizes we tend to like and also has the data on the intial deal sizes for all the investments we’ve made so far in our current fund.

It’s on the Union Square Ventures weblog. Go take a look if you are interested.

#VC & Technology

My Bet With Scott (continued)

It took me about three months to build a community for this blog with over 500 members.

I thought Techcrunch would do it in about a day when they put their reader roll on their front page.

Scott thought that it would take three days.

Well it’s been a day and Techcrunch has almost caught up to me.

But a funny thing happened. I had about 450 members yesterday morning. I now have 510 members. I haven’t added 60 members in a single day since the day I put the reader roll on my blog.

One of two things is happening. My post on MyBlogLog yesterday got more people to sign up (certainly a part of it) or the people joining at Techcrunch and elsewhere in the past day are also joining my community.

If the latter is a significant part of why this happened, then it points to the fact that networks of networks are a powerful community building tool.

I am going to dig into this.

#VC & Technology

Is The "Traditional Venture Capital Model" Broken (continued)?

I got a call yesterday from Miguel Helft, the reporter at the New York Times, who wrote the original story about Sevin Rosen that prompted my first post on this topic.

He’s doing a follow-up story on the subject and wanted my perspective. Since I had already provided that (my perspective on his story) to the world on my blog, I was pretty careful in my comments to him. I don’t want to be perceived as taking a shot at one of the great firms in the history of the venture business. I hope my comments come across as properly respectful.

But I do think that one person’s "broken market" is another man’s "land of opportunity". And that’s what I tried to convey, both in my post and my comments to Miquel yesterday.

#VC & Technology

Scott and I Have A Bet

Techcrunch put the MyBlogLog reader roll on their front page today. That’s great.

I love seeing my face on Techcrunch when I go there.

I told Scott Rafer, MyBlogLog’s CEO, that I think Techcrunch will have more than my ~500 community members by tomorrow. Scott thinks it will take three days.

We shall see.

Of course, I’d be happy to lose the bet with Scott if you all want to join my community and keep me ahead of Techcrunch for a couple more days!

#VC & Technology