Posts from October 2007 (continued)

I’ve written a few posts over the past week talking about my new tumblog,

Qian asked the following question in a comment to one of those posts:

Fred, is going to be a superset of this site?  If so, I’ll change the feed in my RSS reader.

I haven’t been entirely clear about what’s on So let me change that.

On you will find the following:

1) all the posts from this blog, delivered via feedburner with feedflare including links to the comments with the number of comments in them. there will also be a feedburner ad every three posts, just like my feed. if you read this blog via feed, it will be exactly the same as that experience.

2) all my twitters in reverse chronological order, treated just like they are posts

3) flickr photos that I choose to highlight with a tumblr tag

4) delicious links that I choose to highlight with a linkroll tag

5) songs in heavy rotation via my feed

6) posts I write on the Union Square Ventures weblog

7) posts I write on the Newcritics weblog

8) the occasional video, photo, link, chat, or quote that I post directly to tumblr

Is that a "superset" of this site? Well that’s a good question. My twitters are displayed in the twitter badge, but only the most recent one. My flickr photos are in the flickr badge, but not in large format as a post the way they are shown at My delicious links marked with the tag linkroll are shown in the delicious widget on my blog but not right in the post stream in reverse chronological order. My widget is nice, but doesn’t link out to each and every song as it gets to a certain threshold in my listening history. I try to link out to the posts I write on the Union Square Ventures blog and the Newcritics blog, but those are links, not full posts. The occasional tumblog post will not be on this blog.

So the bottom line is you can get most of the content on on this blog. But if you want a true "lifestream" in reverse chronological order, then is the one for you.

#VC & Technology

Liveblogging A Startup

Charlie O’Donnell and his partner Alex are doing something that is quite brave. They are liveblogging their startup, Path 101. I am sure there is some stuff that they aren’t blogging, but when you are posting your monday meeting agendas, you are putting it out there.

Many of you probably know that Charlie was an analyst at Union Square Ventures from early 2005 to the summer of 2006. He was blogging before we hired him, in fact his blog was one of the many reasons we hired him. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I will be participating in the seed financing of Path 101. Charlie’s a special person and anyone who knows him will agree.

There are a lot of advantages to liveblogging a startup. It lets the world know what you are up to and prepares them for what you will deliver. In the case of Path 101, its described on their blog as:

Think of us as "" When you arrive at a big job board,
it asks you what you want to do and a lot of people simply don’t
know–from college kids to experienced professionals in career
transition. We’re all about career discovery and we’re going to provide
a community powered set of services around figuring out your
opportunity set and where you belong–from peer advice to personality
testing and collaborative filtering around career path data.

Yesterday, they posted what they need from LinkedIn’s new platform and API. That’s smart. Surely someone at LinkedIn is going to read that post. And maybe they’ll get some other people reading it and linking to it saying "yeah, we want that too". And it will help LinkedIn make their platform and API better and also build community support for the features they want.

I am adding Path 101’s blog to my blogroll and regular reading list. This is going to be interesting.

#VC & Technology

Shout Out Louds - Bowery Ballroom

  ShoutOutLouds – Bowery Ballroom 050 
  Originally uploaded by sak335.

Jessica, Emily, and I went over to the Bowery Ballroom (my favorite venue in NYC) to see the Shout Out Louds last night. It was problematic from the start. I knew it was going to be a late night and we lost The Gotham Gal, Josh, and Susan before we even left home.

It was a good thing Josh bailed because we had a bad scene with the bouncer who had no interest letting a couple high schoolers into an 18+ show. I don’t get the 18+ thing. It can’t be about drinking because the drinking age is 21 in NYC. After the bad scene, I was able to negotiate our way in, but it wasn’t good.

Even though we didn’t show up until 10:30 to show up, we waited through the second warmup act and the set change. Finally the band came on at 11:15. I knew we weren’t going to see the whole show which is a damn shame.

Because the Shout Out Louds are great fun live. We stayed until 11:45, I got the girls to bed by midnight, and they are going to hate me when I wake them up for school today.

But they walked out of the show singing Impossible with me. That’s what the Shout Out Louds do to you. They make you sing their songs.

Jessica was plotting all the way home about getting into the show tonite at the Music Hall in Williamsburg. If you are looking to see a great band in NYC tonite, you might want to join her and her friends. I wish I could.

Here’s a Baeble Music video of Please Please Please from the Spiegeltent show in NYC this summer. I heard they came on after midnight that night. Ugh.

#My Music#NYC

The comment links are working again at Thanks feedburner!

I am starting to publish stuff there that won’t be on this blog

Mostly links, twitters, photos, quick hits

Check it out and let me know what you think

#VC & Technology

Thumbnotes on the Treadmill

Its cold and rainy outside. No bike ride for me this morning. So I am inside on the eliptical trainer To relieve the boredom I am going to try another stream of consciousness post

1) The Facebook beauty contest ended as suspected with Microsoft investing a lot of money for a small stake and locking down the ad relationship. I stand by my comment I made on this when the news of discussions first broke that the valuation of this deal is irrelevant.

2) Nokia can buy companies like Navteq and Enpocket but they won’t make Nokia a web services company as long as the vast majority of its revenues come from selling hardware.  Apple is also a hardware company. On the other hand, RIMM is not.

3) IMAP/gmail is a big deal I am going to switch from outlook/exchange to gmail soon. When will there be an IMAP client for gmail/gcal that does over the air sync on my blackberry?  Or do I Have to wait for the gphone?

4) Seeing my facebook and twitter friends aggregated on my flock sidebar is a revelation of the highest order. I have one social network, but its broken into a bunch of silos right now. Its time to aggregate it up.

5) Neko Case is amazing. But I like her work with New Pornographers better than her solo work

6) Someone needs to do this chart. For any given band, plot records sold (per release) versus tickets sold (per tour). Do that over the course of the past ten years. Lefsetz says that Spoon only sold 3,800 cds this week and 150k to date. I bet they draw more than 3,800 per week touring. Its not that Spoon doesn’t have a rabid fan base, its that their fans will pay for something that is scarce and won’t pay for something that is not

7) Public market investing is largely about picking the right names and trading them well. Its about deciding whether or not to play the hand that is dealt. Private market investing is much more about how you play the hand.

8) Parenting teenagers is hard. Not reacting/overreacting is half the battle.

9) I hate working out indoors

[posted by email to typepad, apologies for spelling, grammar, typos, and the absence of links]

#My Music#Random Posts#stocks#VC & Technology

The New Pornographers at Webster

Sometime late in the summer, Steven Johnson said to me, "what do you think of the New Pornographers’ new record?". I said, "I didn’t know they had a new record out". He told me that I had to get it and listen, that it was really good, probably better than Twin Cinema which I loved.

The same week, I asked my sister in law what she was listening to. She told me she was obsessed by a song on the New Pornographers’ new record, called Adventures in Solitude.

You all know me and can guess what happened next. I listened on Rhapsody, got hooked, and bought the record, called Challengers, on Amazon’s mp3 store (my first purchase from Amazon mp3).

In the past month, I don’t think a day has gone by in our house that we haven’t listened to Challengers. It’s in permanent rotation right now.  And I’ve been blogging about this record too.

Which leads me to the point of this story. Some people involved with the band reached out to me after reading my posts on this blog. They didn’t ask me to take down the music. They invited me to be their guests at the show last night. And when I told them our entire family were big fans, they invited the whole family.

We went, of course, and the show was great. I honestly had no idea how big this band is. Four singers, something like ten members in all, all sorts of cool instruments.

It helps to see a band live. Of course, I’ve noticed the dual vocals in their songs. But seeing Carl Newman and Neko Case up there singing together, song after song, is a revelation. I like the band even more this morning.

Here’s a taste of the band’s live sound.

My Rights Versus Yours – New Pornographers – Live on Minnesota Public Radio

Thanks to Ashen Fluff for the mp3s in this post

#My Music#NYC

High Valuation Blues

My Covestor portfolio is down about 5% in the past month. More proof that I am a terrible public market investor.

And despite that pathetic performance, my portfolio is one of the top followed portfolios on Covestor with 45 followers.

My portfolio is currently filled with energy and precious metal bets, reflecting my serious concerns over the dollar, our oil dependency, and asset inflation. I’ve been asked why it doesn’t include web/technology investments since that’s what I spend my time thinking about and investing in.

Well I’d like to put some money into Google or Amazon, two companies who seem to be doing most things right and are helping to build the web of the future. But Google trades at >50x earnings and Amazon trades at about 140x earnings. There’s not room for much error at those valuations.

I did add Google to my portfolio this morning which will bring some much needed tech to my collection of losing bets on oil and precious metals. I feel that Google is one of the best values in web/tech among all the public market stocks I looked at this morning. I think Google might do close to $10bn in EBITDA next year (calendar year 2008) and if so, it is trading at about 20x forward EBITDA. I tried to find another web/tech stock with that kind of valuation multiple and could not. If you know of a similar value out there, I am all ears.



Back in the summer, Union Square Ventures invested in a small financing for Tumblr along with some of our friends.

We didn’t blog about it because David Karp, the almost one man band behind Tumblr, has something new coming soon and he ideally wanted to announce everything to the world on the same day. Unfortunately when you make filings with the SEC, they get disclosed to the public and word leaks out. Which is what happened last week.

So what is Tumblr? It’s the next logical step in the blogging phenomenon. It allows you to blog quickly, easily, from your phone or your computer, it encourages reblogging and pulling content in from twitter, typepad, wordpress, blogger, flickr, delicious,, etc, etc.

I have a tumblog at which you may want to read instead of this one. You’ll get the same content there (or more) than you get on this blog.

Here are some more tumblogs that I like:

Bijan Sabet

Jakob Lodwick
Kevin Rose
Andrew Parker

And to highlight how much Andrew likes Tumblr, we asked him to write the Union Square Ventures blog post announcing the financing. Clearly it’s a bit anti-climactic since everyone found out about this deal last week. But Andrew does a great job explaining why we like Tumblr so much and I suggest you all go read it and leave us a comment.

#VC & Technology

Auto Smartlinks

If you read this blog regularly, you certainly should have noticed the little blue square icons next to certain words on this blog. There’s one in the prior post on The Eels.


That little blue square next to the link to The Eels is called a "smart link". If you click on the little icon this is what you’ll get.


Smartlinks "explode" the link and give the reader access to a host of additional services on the item that’s been linked to (in this case the band The Eels).

To date, the way this worked is that the blogger had to embed a special link each and every time they wanted to offer a smart link. Not that many people did that although I certainly did as often as I thought of it.

Today, Adaptive Blue is launching "auto smartlinks" which means you don’t need to do a lot of work to get smart links on your blog.

Here’s what you need to do. First, you put some script on your blog. Here’s the link to get the code. In many cases, you can do a 1-click install.

Then every time you link out to Amazon, Yahoo Finance, IMDB,, and a number of other web services, that link will automatically become a smartlink.

Give it a try on your blog and let me know what you think. Adaptive Blue is a Union Square Ventures portfolio company and I’ll be sure to relay your thoughts to Alex Iskold (actually I won’t have to because Alex reads this blog).

#VC & Technology