Posts from June 2007

We Needed That

  mets versus oakland 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

Not the best seats or the best photo, but that was our vantage last night thanks to the gang at Alacra.

And Josh and I and our friends Steve and Max saw a gem of a game from Tom Glavine who got himself out of a bad streak with 8+ innings of great pitching.

We also saw Sean Green wake up from his injury related slumber. And we saw Beltran belt one over the wall too.

The best moment of the night was watching Glavine (who was 2 for 3 bringing his average this year to .333) try to get home from first on Jose Reyes’ deep shot over the center fielder’s glove. Reyes got to third before Glavine got home and he was tagged out.

Playoff quality ball was back at Shea last night. It’s been an awful stretch for us Mets fans and let’s hope this is the beginning of some better times. It sure felt like a breakout game.


Another Discovery

This time on Radio Paradise, the greatest indie radio station, which may unfortunately go out of business soon.

I was listening to their 128 kpbs stream and heard this song, called The Leaver’s Dance, by a band called The Veils. Kind of a Coldplay thing working in that song. But I liked it.

So I went, where else?, to the Hype Machine and did a search for more of their music. I listened to the search results and eventually came to this song, called Jesus For The Jugular.

That did it for me. The two most recent records are in my Rhapsody Library now and will go into heavy rotation. Hope you like them too.

Thanks to Obvious and Radio Free Chicago for the mp3 streams.

#VC & Technology

Why Is Nick Denton So "Old School"?

I have a lot of respect for Nick. He’s built a great media business in Gawker Media using blogs as the platform. Valleywag is one of my "must reads" every day. My girls tell me that Jezebel, Gawker’s new women’s gossip blog, is fantastic. If you don’t read Lifehacker, you should. I could go on and on. Nick is a brilliant media mogul in the age of the Internet.

But he’s got a few blind spots. He’s stuck in the old media mindset at times. Take comments. He wouldn’t have comments on his blogs for years. Didn’t want to "sully them" with user generated comment. Now he’s got comments, but they require registration. It’s like Nick doesn’t really want to be new media. He wants to be old media on a new media platform. Forget the conversation, I just want to talk to you and you should listen.

He showed his stripes again yesterday on Valleywag when he took a swipe at his competitor Federated Media (and me by association) in his critique of the "People Ready" campaign that Microsoft is running on this blog and many other Federated blogs.

Nick says:

One would have thought that tech opinion-leaders as influential as Om Malik and Paul Kedrosky would ration their credibility more carefully, and reserve it for companies and products for which they felt real enthusiasm.

Maybe we (Om, Paul, and the rest of us) were just excited to participate in an ad campaign that wasn’t just mindless banners Nick. Maybe we wanted to try to bring "the conversation" into the banner. Maybe I really did mean this when I wrote it:

I am in the venture capital business which is all about building relationships
with people. And yet many venture firms aren’t “people ready”. That’s why
venture capitalists as a group have a reputation as being arrogant, aloof,
hard to reach, and hard to talk to. I’ve been struggling with how to build a
“people ready” venture capital firm for years. I learned the venture business
from some great people who taught me to always respond to every deal that
comes in, say no as quickly and nicely as possible, and be attentive and
gracious in every meeting. But even that is not enough. We’ve used blogging to
make ourselves and our business, Union Square Ventures, even more “people
ready”. And it’s been a success in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Nick sent me an email yesterday asking about the campaign. I should have known something was up when I saw this subject line:

did you really write "people-ready" just to get Microsoft sponsorship?

I told him yes I did and that I didn’t really think about it. It seemed like a neat idea and still does.

Bottom line is that I am all for any form of advertising that takes some risks, makes the medium a bit more interactive, extends the conversation.

Blogging doesn’t play by traditional media rules. That’s why it’s great. Blog advertising shouldn’t play by traditional media rules either. I am proud to be a participant in this campaign and think it makes me even more credible.

#VC & Technology

Programming My iPod

There are no new insights in this post. Just ideas that I’ve been talking about non-stop for years. But I can’t help myself.

I have ~5000 songs on my iPod from about 300 artists. Talk about abundance.

Each and every song is there for a reason. I value them all.

But in a world where content is so abundant, you need someone to program it for you.

That’s the "discovery/navigation layer" I’ve been talking about lately.

Yesterday coming back from LI, Jessica took my iPod and created an "on the go" playlist of 61 songs from 35 different artists. I published it as an iMix and I’ll embed the playlist here as soon as apple puts the iMix up in iTunes.

It’s a fantastic playlist. We listened all the way home from LI yesterday. And I had it on for my bike ride this morning.

The playlist contains nothing new. All my songs which have been on my iPod for months/years. But programmed by someone else. I love it.

UPDATE: Here’s the iMix. It’s not the whole playlist because a bunch of the songs are not available in iTunes. None of the live Stones songs from the Brussels Affair bootleg that Andy gave me made it. The Beatles didn’t make it. Nor did Ben Lee. All the Eels songs from Blinking Lights were left off. And so on and so forth. iMix has it’s limitations, but the 44 songs that did make it are great. You can get the iMix here.

#My Music#VC & Technology

In Love With The Curve

I am blogging this while we are driving back from long island. The gotham gal does the driving in our family so I am not breaking any laws of man or nature

One week into Curvedom and I am loving it. The best blackberry I’ve ever owned and I’ve had at least a half dozen since my pager style device in 1998

The camera is the thing that I’ve wanted so badly and now have. I’ve been shooting and emailing to flickr all week. If you want to see the quaity, check out my flickr badge on the right sidebar. Its not 7MP quality like I get on my Canon, but convenience trumps quality in my world.

I will be photoblogging a lot more from now on. I always have my blackberry on me. I don’t always have my canon ob me

The form factor is also great. Super light. Great feel. I know many people think it feels flimsy. I think it feels thin and I like that

The thumbwheel took me all of a couple days to grok. Its as good and maybe better than the scrollwheel.

The software is basically the same that I’ve come to love. The blackberry makes sense to me like no other phone interface I’ve ever used

There’s one drawback. Battery life. I charge my blackberry every night. Always have. Its like brushing my teeth. I can’t sleep right if my blackberry’s not charging at night

But a nightly charge isn’t enough for the curve if you broswe the web and take lots of photos on a daily basis. I am not sure if its the camera or the browsing that kills the battery but I know that I have to charge intraday to be sure of making it to bedtime. And that’s not so great

Bottom line is I love the phone and give it a 4.5/5. If they fix the battery life issue the phone is perfect

I’ve had a bunch of questions on how I got an unlocked AT&T Curve. Apparently you can’t get them in the AT&T stores. I just googled ‘unlocked curve’ and found a bunch of stores selling them on the web. I can’t recall the name of the store I went with But it started with mobile (duh)

Unlocked phones are the wave of the future. I don’t want my carrier and my phone connected in any way. Carrier is dial tone. Phone is functionlity. That’s the way it should be and will be some day

Long Curve Short iPhone

#VC & Technology

Don't Do That

I am catching up on my reading after a wonderful day off to celebrate 20 years of marriage and reading that Yahoo! is talking to News Corp about a business combination of MySpace and Yahoo! that would result in News Corp owning 25% of the merged entity.

And I’ve got The Rollings Stones greatest live record, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, on the turntable and Mick is shouting:

Oh dont do that, oh dont do that, oh dont do that

And that’s what I want to tell Jerry Yang and the Yahoo! board. Don’t do that!

MySpace is a tired social network that may have a ton of traffic but it has peaked. It doesn’t have mojo anymore.

Like AOL in 1999, it will take years before people realize it.

MySpace isn’t worth 25% of the combined company.

Facebook, yes, MySpace no.

[i am not saying Facebook is worth $12bn, just that a business combo with Facebook would be great for Yahoo!]

#VC & Technology

Wesabe Joins The Union Square Ventures Portfolio

Somehow Techcrunch figured it out and ran the story this morning. It caught us a bit unprepared, but Brad quickly put together a blog post explaining why and how we made this investment and it’s up on the Union Square Ventures weblog now.

I shared my thoughts on Wesabe last month on this blog when I called it Delicious For Money. We think it’s a big opportunity and look forward to working with the Wesabe team to make managing everday finances easier.

#VC & Technology

20 Years And Going Strong

20 years ago, June 20th, 1987, The Gotham Gal and I tied the knot. Not being a Jew, I had a few problems with the traditional jewish wedding ceremony, most noticeably my inability to smash the glass on the first try. Thankfully, that was not an omen.

Our marriage has not missed the mark and we’ve got a lot to show for it. Most of all that it’s still going strong after 20 years.

I am taking the rest of the day off from blogging and work to celebrate with the family.

Happy Anniversary Joanne.

#Random Posts

Quitting The Party

I am so tempted to do what Mayor Mike did yesterday. Quit the party. I’ve been a registered Dem for at least 20 years. But this year I am so sick of both parties and partisan politics, that I am almost done. All it will take is another crappy Presidential nominee from the Dems and it will be over. And it sure looks like that’s where we are headed.

Now Mayor Mike’s another thing entirely. I know everyone thinks he’s got no shot at the White House in 2008. So what. He’s what I long for in a candidate. Pragmatic, action oriented, driven to make a difference, and centrist. If he runs, he’s got my vote, my support, and whatever else I can give him.