From E*Trade To Twitter

Yesterday I sold the gold and silver stocks in my E*Trade account. Gold worked for me, silver did not, but I wanted to rotate out of commodities and into tech.

Around mid-day, the following updates appeared in my twitter stream:


Here’s how this happened. Covestor, a Union Square Ventures portfolio company, tracks my E*Trade account and collects all the buy and sell activity in my portfolio. They just added the option to automatically post all trades to Twitter. So I turned that option on yesterday morning (settings, import/export for those of you who use Covestor).

I just put a couple market orders in today to complete the rotation out of commodities and into tech so those that follow me on twitter will see updates when those orders are filled.

I love how all these web services are getting stitched together by us (the users). It’s the foundation of the web we are building, an open and connected web controlled by the end users.

This makes five out of the past ten blog posts where I have mentioned one of our portfolio companies. Apparently it’s gotten out of hand:

Fred – There’s 4 posts about your portfolio companies in the last
3 days… I hate to say it but this blog is starting to feel like a
bunch of advertising for companies you invest in. If I wanted to read
about pinch media,, return path and disqus every day I could
to go their company blogs.

I’ll try to cut down the advertisements and get back to the regularly scheduled programming, but there are some exciting things going on in our portfolio that are the result of ideas expressed on this blog every day. My work and this blog are one and the same. So the ads will continue, but I do take the point.

#stocks#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dan Cornish

    Fred,Don’t listen to the commenters complaining about your posts about your portfolio companies. I really like the fact that you dig your companies and actually use their products. This kind of behavior defines a truly involved and committed investor. I do not see the same level of enthusiasm in other blogs. It is clear you get the same kick out of finding something new and cool that I do. Keep being yourself.

  2. Zach

    Portfolio company or not, if you are genuinely interested in the subject matter you are posting about – and it appears as though you are – the posts will be interesting. Keep on keeping on…

  3. Christian Cadeo

    Don’t stop because I would’ve never known about this company.

  4. lazerow

    If readers don’t like reading about your babies, then they can go somewhere else. It would be one thing if you had a handful of crap sandwiches in your portfolio. But given the caliber of companies, I’d imagine it would be hard to write coherently and authoritatively on the emerging tech scene without mentioning the companies often. And the fact that they are leading companies in each of their markets (social games, commenting, peer-to-peer commerce, online advertising, location-based services, etc.) and that you know them so well based on your insider status means they often serve as real-world examples of what you’re trying to point out (i.e. web services coming together because of user demand).

    1. fredwilson

      We’ll have a few crap sandwiches before we are done Mike. But I appreciatethe sentiment and of course, I agree.

  5. qwang

    Now Twitter is a data-hub importing feed activity from elsewhere? Very Friendfeed like…

    1. fredwilson

      But easier for me to follow

    2. George

      No, it’s the other way round. Twitter is not “importing” (as in aggregating). Covester is rather “exporting” to Twitter via Twitter’s API. There are even third-party services (like TwitterFeed) that can push any RSS feed into a Twitter account, via the same API.

    3. qwang

      Gotcha. Is there any reason to implement the “Twitter push” method, which is a application specific API, instead of just publishing to a feed and letting any aggregators import it? The latter seems much simpler to me…

  6. MartinEdic

    Actually I think you should be writing about your companies- as long as you’re being a constructive critic when needed. The upgrades to Disqus are a good example. I didn’t actually realize my comments on my blog were not being indexed as my content until they fixed the problem. It is also not clear to me whether I need to update the WordPress plugin to take advantage of the improvements. And I never received any communication from Disqus regarding the changes/upgrade. I think you need to straddle the line between insider/investor and user a little more carefully. Like it or not, you are an authority as long as you keep publicly blogging- which I certainly hope you do!

  7. vishalsood

    This is really exciting times really. I did not know about this. I would try it out. Meanwhile, as long as you say something meaningful I don’t mind the advertising bit. It is not like saying please see the site it is exciting. It is more like, they are doing something great.

  8. tim

    You are a VC – i expect that you would pimp your companies. Otherwise what type of VC would you be? I would expect any VC backed company I work for to be championed by those that provide the funding (at least publicly).I love how all these web services are getting stitched together by us (the users). It’s the foundation of the web we are building, an open and connected web controlled by the end users.As a security guy – this scares me to know end. I chose to not use Covestor because of what I saw as inadequate controls. What you see “getting stiched” together – I see as a disaster waiting to happen. And end user control is an illusion. You have no control over your data once you allow other systems and companies have access to it.

  9. Simon Veingard

    Tim, I am one of the co-founders of Covestor and responsible for our operations. Given the nature of our business, security and privacy are a major priority for us. We have worked with leading security experts to architect our controls and spend significant time managing security. I’d personally be keen to learn of your concerns and would be grateful if you can get in touch directly – you can find my contact details here –…Simon

  10. brooksjordan

    Actually, I feel just the opposite.When you talk about what your portfolio companies are doing it serves as real-life examples of everything else you/us are talking about.Take Disqus for example. If you think comments are a key part of the Web conversation (which they are), what could be better than to know that Disqus is adding one’s comments directly to the WordPress database. That feels like real progress, and it’s something I want to know.

  11. howardlindzon

    i am biased buut its genius…its the true new form of transparency qand tracking that would make the yutz’s on TV and message boards accountable if they wanted to have a real following.

  12. aweissman

    Pimp away, it’s who you are, your companies are interesting at a minimum, no shame in doing so I would even add do more – there is a bunch of USV stuff I obviously know about but tons I dont. Keep at it.

  13. Christopher Herbert

    To add to the chorus: pimp away, Fred!I wish I could blog about my job, and the best part about A VC is your openness about your life–all aspects of it. I believe that the Internet is going to enable a revolution in personal creativity, freedom, and fulfillment. And it will be rooted in the increased sharing of information that brings communities together and allows new ones to form.Last year, I started a new job in management consulting. My firm has strict values around privacy (for good reason), but it often leaves me feeling constricted and stifled. I w

  14. Christopher

    Heh,Cool, Back on June 20th on my social interaction blog, I wrote that this would be a good idea… Well done Covestor… :)http://socialinteraction.wo…Christopher

    1. fredwilson

      They probably read your blog!

      1. Christopher

        I am slowly learning the power of sharing ideas through blogs and other like tools (twitter) rather than holding them back. What I am finding is it’s especially gratifying when the ideas become a conversation.It’s been (and still is) a learning experience coming from a world or NDAs and “Don’t Spill The Beans” but I like it.

        1. fredwilson

          Me too

  15. ppearlman

    rationale for getting longe tech?(of course write wtf u want…)

    1. fredwilson

      Its what I know for the most part and I think ntdoy is cheap

        1. fredwilson

          I am not that smart, but from your mouth to god’s ears!

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    Warhammer gold, as the currency in the Warhammer world, plays an important role in the economic system. The experience plays take in game kinda depends on how much Warhammer gold they have. To amateur players, they do not have much time to play the game, not even farming Warhammer online gold. So most of Warhammer players would like to purchase Warhammer gold.