The New AVC, Same As The Old AVC

Almost five years ago, I started this blog and had no idea where it would lead. It’s been a rousing success by most measures.  This morning, the AVC blog was #20 on Techmeme’s leaderboard, in the rarified company of journalists and bloggers I have read and looked up to for years. It’s still one of the top 1000 blogs worldwide as measured by Technorati in terms of incoming links. And it gets over 100,000 unique visitors to the web page and feed each month. But most importantly, it has built a community of regular readers and participants, many of whom I have never met but consider friends and advisors.

So I felt it was time AVC looked like a proper blog. When I kicked off this adventure in social media, I just picked one of the standard typepad templates and ran with it. The look has not changed much in the past five years. A couple years ago, with the help of the team at FM, I widened the center column and added dynamic width sizing and made it readable on most mobile browsers (something valleywag has still not managed to do). And I (without FM’s help) went on a widget binge that cluttered up the sidebars and led many to call this the most ugly blog out there. The result was apparently effective but very homegrown and not particularly polished.

There were two other problems. First, when I set this up, I had no idea it would become a serious thing. I picked a typepad URL ( and went with it. Big mistake. I’ve wanted my own domain for years but the one I wanted ( was not available. So I just keep going with the URL.

And, the page load times on this blog have been horrible. I’ve cleaned up my widget habit lately and that has improved things. And a while back, I set my center column to load first which has helped a lot. At least you didn’t have to wait for the content, which is what everyone comes here for. But the slow page loads hurt the loading of the comments which come from disqus. All in all, the page load time has become a serious issue. We tell our portfolio companies to focus on super fast page loads and yet my blog is the slowest one out there. That’s not right.

So this summer, I decided to do something about all of this. First, I noticed that was no longer active. So I engaged my friend (and blog reader) Marty Schwimmer to obtain it for me. Marty is really good at this stuff and he got for me last month. It was not cheap but it was absolutely worth it to me. From now on, when you want to visit this blog, just type into your browser and you’ll come here. It’s long overdue and I am very happy about it.

Second, I engaged Nathan Bowers, someone I met through this blog, to re-design it for me. We talked a bit about what I wanted and he sketched out a design. I liked it and he did the rest. It was really just one rev with a few minor tweaks.  I really like the result. I hope you do too.

We really wanted the look and feel to be familiar. The goal was to keep it similar enough to the old design that people would not feel like they landed in the wrong place. We got rid of the left sidebar completely. That messes up mobile browsers big time and I have come to dislike left sidebars. We also put mobile browser detection into the template and are rendering the page for specific mobile browsers when we detect them. We’ve tested the new AVC on iPhone, blackberry, windows mobile, and a few others. If it doesn’t work on your mobile browser, please let me know in the comments. It’s important to me that we get this right.

We’ve moved everything else (except one thing which I’ll get to next) into the right column. Search is at the top right (it’s where I always go to search in Firefox so it makes sense to me that it’s there). Navigation is next, then a bit about me, then the two ways to get this blog delivered to you (RSS and email). I really like the way Nathan did the RSS and email stuff. Very simple and elegant. Then some stats because I love stats and I am sure some of you do too.  And finally the widgets. We kept four of them; FM ads because they generate good money to charity, twitter because I blog a lot of short things you might care about there, mybloglog because this blog is a community and it’s important to me to know who has been here, and flickr because it’s always on your lists for the widget to keep and because it was the first widget to make this blog. That’s it and I hope to keep it that lean going forward.

There is one more “widget” on this blog in the footer. That black band at the bottom plays music. It replaces the tumblr widget that has been on the upper right of the blog. Click on it and you will hear my music posts on tumblr in reverse chronological order. We currently cannot pop this player off the page but that is coming soon. If you post music to tumblr and want this player on your blog, leave me a comment and I’ll get you the javascript you need.

That’s really it. Comments are still powered by disqus and you. The content is still powered by me and nobody else. It’s the new AVC, same as the old AVC.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Shripriya

    Very nice. Congratulations!How did you solve the problem of google juice, old links etc?

    1. fredwilson

      i domain mapped on typepad and stayed there. so now this blog works on both and avc.blogs.comthe latter is where my google juice is but i believe it will slowly move over to and at some point i will not be reliant on typepad for my google rank

      1. Mike Montano

        The duplicate content could negatively affect your page rank.Why not 301 redirect all your pages on to so both your readers and Google’s bots know the new address?

        1. fredwilson

          We’ll work on getting the SEO right. Thanks for the suggestion

  2. willwhutson

    congrats Fred! looks great.

  3. dskwared

    I’m still not a fan of the Olive, but at least I can stop thinking “man that’s a default typepad template, wtf” every time I read. =)

  4. jedc_mercury

    Congratulations. It’s great to see you with a proper domain name!

  5. davidporter

    Looks fresh, Fred – good call!

  6. Geoff

    It looks great (although I usually only read you in my reader!) and seems very fast – need to speed up my blog now!

  7. Joe Lazarus

    Lookin good. Congrats on the new design and awesome 3-letter domain name… those are hard to come by.

  8. Geoff

    After posting my last comment, the comment part of the page went all screwy, with lots of overwriting etc – it cleared up after a short while!

  9. Bill DAlessandro

    Fred, nice work on the redesign – it’s about time you got a proper URL.One thing you might want to be aware of this that is blocked by my (and likely others) work internet filters as “Computers/Internet;Spyware/Malware Sources”. I imagine this is likely because of whatever content resided at the URL before you obtained it.Not sure what you can do to fix things, but I thought you should know.Also, something struck me while making this comment. I wasn’t able to see the new design in my browser, but I could read the post in my RSS reader because it’s hosted at Feedburner. I pulled out my Blackberry and checked out the site on the mobile browser. Then I headed over to the Disqus page for this post to leave a comment. That’s 3 different ways I interacted with your blog without visiting in my browser.Pretty cool.

    1. fredwilson

      can you access it via i will work on getting it out of the malware lists but i don’t have a clue where to start on that

      1. Bill DAlessandro

        I am still able to acces it via the old URL, but some images linked from the other domain don’t come through. Do you plan to leave the blog live at both addresses? If so, isn’t that less than optimal to have Google juice, ad impressions, etc spread over two sites?As far as brand of web filter – I’m not sure. My guess is Websense, though our blocked site page is not branded. Websense is pretty widely installed, especially across investment banks (including my employer last summer) so I think a lot of potential or existing interested readers my be blocked.Bill

    2. fredwilson

      bill – can you tell me what brand of malware filter you use at work?

  10. Steven Kane

    looks awesome fred – congrats on very exciting relaunch – and more impressively, on so many years and posts of such consistently high quality and (even more rare) honesty

  11. pamslim

    Looks great Fred.I am going to engage Nathan in my own “ugly Typepad template” overhaul very soon! I feel the same way — what started on a whim grew past my expectations, and it is time to make it look professional. Although I admit, I am going to leave Typepad altogether and go to WordPress. 🙂

  12. Nick Molnar

    Looks great. I usually read the site via RSS, but at least when I visit directly it’ll load quickly.How many widgets have you cut off in the last year?How many do you miss?

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve dumped a bunch and miss them all in some ways, but i am a reformed man. content/comments first, speed second, everything else a distant third

  13. rick gregory

    congrats on the domain. And I very much like the design – clean, elegant and new but still AVC. The Streampad footer is quite cool too…

    1. fredwilson

      i love the streampad footer. i am listening to it now 🙂

  14. Hulk Hogan

    1000 times better. Load time was less than 4 seconds versus 10 seconds previously………”many of whom I have never met but consider friends and advisors.”Fred, this is why you have a people that follow you. You treat people with respect!

    1. Nate

      Actually the page still loads slowly, there’s no way around that with all the 3rd party scripts, widgets, images, flash, and data that pulls in with every page view.The key is putting all the external scripts at the very bottom of the HTML document so the page can render enough content to be readable while the rest of it loads. Moving the Twitter widget script to the bottom was a huge win, especially when Twitter’s having a slow day.Fun stats: With an empty cache the homepage is 694.4K in total and makes 99(!) HTTP requests. Even with a primed cache it’s 282.0K and 84 HTTP requests. Ouch. I wonder why more 3rd parties don’t set long expiry headers (I’m looking at you Feedburner).

      1. fredwilson

        wow! that’s a beast. you did a great job making it feel snappy

  15. Eben Thurston

    Great work Nathan and Fred.I checked out Nathan’s site and I love his design principles. Couldn’t agree more: * Goal Driven Design: Name the two most important things your blog needs to do for you. Design accordingly. * Do the simplest thing that works. * Launch, measure, tweak, repeat. * 90% of good web design is whitespace, contrast, and generous font sizes. * 90% of good Search Engine Optimization is in your <title>, URL, and writing.

  16. Aaron Brazell

    Good lookin, Fred. A fresh look is like getting a bath after a week of camping – you feel all refreshed and tingly. Will keep reading the excellent content powered by you.

  17. Brent Brookler

    Looks great Fred! I enjoy reading your blog and hope to someday meet you. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts to all.

  18. kenberger

    Domain name squatting: whadya pay?? Kidding- I don’t expect the answer to be stated here.This is 1 topic that is arguably essential for a startup, and yet not well-publicly discussed. A url for your first-choice name of your company can do a lot towards making or breaking you. But most startups can’t pay the gatekeeper.Our society is so geared around “first come, first served”. Apartments are grabbed via waiting lists, coveted concert tickets, new Nikes and new iPhones are all obtained via waiting in lines and getting there first, etc. And since a real value is generally attached, the rich (or motivated enough) can buy a place in line for all of the above. It’s so ingrained in our heads that it’s assumed.But somehow I’ve never thought it correct that this should apply to domains. Yet it does, largely because it would be impossible to police and allocate based on merit who gets whose domain. I watched people grab up domain names back in ’94 knowing that they could soon enough sell and, etc, for big premiums. But I passed (likely on $millions) simply because i wouldn’t want to admit that my money was made via a “I was here first!” strategy.

    1. gregorylent

      i respect your attitude towards domain name squatting … even lower in the food chain is the creative misspellings guys.. lol

    2. josh guttman

      Kennyboy – a lot of money has been made by employing the “i was here first” strategy, not just with domain names but in countless other businesses. I don’t see any inherent problem with that. Do you feel the same way about guys who bought up wireless spectrum early or got the rights to build the first casino in Macau?

      1. kenberger

        I think the domain name thing is different.If you have a genuine need for a particular domain and don’t wind up using it, or your business goes under, that’s one thing. But deliberately shoving yourself in front of someone else as a forced gatekeeper for something obvious that you won’t personally need seems something else, eg getting,, etcAnd while I agree that “i was here first” is often a key part of success, it’s just lame when it’s the only thing you’ve got. You can argue that in land speculation (assuming the buyer makes no improvements), or in wireless spectrum, it *is* all you got. But since the impact there is to the market at large rather than a particular company or individual, seems like less of a victim situation.How would you like it if I had nabbed soley so I could expect you to need to pay me for it? (Happens all the time, especially w/ celebrity names). might be a bit of a different story (inside joke!)I also feel like it’s still lame even if it is more of a generic name (like, which does make it less of the personal victim example.I’ve always felt that there really should be a meritorious method to allocate domain names. Unfortunately, it would never be realistic to happen, so the market-driven way takes over.

        1. fredwilson

          I am sympathetic to your views on this one ken

  19. bijan

    Congrats on the url and the new design. It’s fantastic.but more importantly, thanks for the great content.

  20. joewheeler

    Fred, new design looks great.One thing I noticed is that I can’t see the right column at all browsing with my iPhone.Since mobile Safari renders full web pages, is it possible to distinguish that in the template when it’s applied so that the entire page loads? I’m guessing Nathan can answer that.It’s good to see that is now in proper hands. Congrats.

    1. daryn

      Looks great. I actually prefer the iPhone view as it is (without the right column) as it is nice and clean and focused on the main content, which is most relevant when viewing from a phone.

      1. joewheeler

        Totally agree that posts = focus, but I like the options that I have with my iPhone of choosing what content is most relevant to me. In this case a photo or tweet might grab my attention…

      2. Nate

        Definitely try bookmarking to your iPhone “home screen”. It’s so cool how iPhone automatically makes the normal square image we provided into a glossy iPhonicon. Speaking of which, would be a *sweet* URL, someone grab it fast! 🙂

    2. Nate

      Omitting the right column on iPhone was at Fred’s request, which I think works. I’d like to add back a link to the RSS feed because I’ve just discovered that browsing RSS with iPhone Safari opens up a beautifully formatted and fast loading headline/summary view. In a pinch, you could just name a link to the RSS “iPhone friendly” or whatever instead of sweating an iPhone stylesheet.One downside to mobile safari being so great is that it actually processes and renders a lot of Javascript sidebar items, even though they’re hidden with CSS. So you take the hit but don’t see the benefit. There’s only so much you can do though because AFAIK TypePad doesn’t offer mobile subdomains (like say where you could have truly mobile optimized content.It was a challenge getting things to look good and test them on mobile platforms, it’s just so time/money intensive, like the bad old days of browser wars, but with more factions. At least Opera and Apple make it easy for you to test, Apple especially with their free SDK iPhone emulator.I’m always shocked at how bad the Blackberry’s built in browser is. They really need to step up, mobile Safari is seriously game changing.

      1. fredwilson

        i agree with all of this nathan and you should feel free to add back a link to the rss feed if you think that would help the people who read feeds on the iphone

      2. joewheeler

        Thanks for the info. The design and performance are great. Your last point is true if BB ever wants to push out of the US corp market they have to make OS changes.

  21. Dan Kantor

    The new design looks great. I’d love to see a post in a week or so about your pageviews. I imagine they will be higher since the site is so much faster. Great job guys!

  22. ryanspoon

    Looks great – big improvement… minus the bowflex ad in third column =)

    1. fredwilson

      yup, i need to push federated media to get us some better ads

  23. gregorylent

    like new jeans, i want to muss it up a bit. the old version had a roadhouse funkiness that was part of the charm. this will work, spill some coffee on it, fold it a few times, perfect.

  24. ginevra

    looks fantastic! congrats – (and let me know if there’s anything we at TypePad can help with.)

    1. Nate

      Now that you mention it…We don’t want *both* and to render duplicate content, we want the old “” links to go away but fully redirect. It’s basic good SEO. Can TypePad do proper 301 redirects?Feature request: As I mentioned in an earlier comment, it would be really cool if TypePad offered “mobile” subdomains, for example You could offer them as an upsell with some cool themes that would look good in iPhone, Blackberry, and other mobile browsers. TypePad would be fixing a major customer pain point (cross browser mobile testing? NOT FUN) and it would be a marketing win too.

      1. ginevra

        Hi Nathan:I saw a bit about your frustration with TypePad – I’d be happy to talk with you about these issues and more, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll get you on with the folks who do. you can also reach me at ginevra AT sixapart DOT com, and we can talk about how best to address the feature requests/redirects.

    2. fredwilson

      ginerva – we have a problem with the way domain mapping works. we had to hack something to get to work in addition to it has to do with using cname to do the domain mapping. can you send me an email (contact link at the top) and I’ll share the details with youthanks!fred

  25. Jeff

    Sweet! I like the new design, especially the font size increase. much better for the eyes 🙂

  26. steps

    Congrats on the new blog design and 3 letter home.I always learn something new when I stop in here.

  27. RacerRick

    Looks great. I assume it’s still typepad so the old URLs will work with the new design?Now all you need to do is hire a few writers and raise a little VC cash!

    1. fredwilson

      very funny

  28. Darren Herman

    Great art direction Fred! Much easier to read/follow.When will design make it’s way into RSS feeds?

  29. Willan Johnson

    Nice design, though I must admit the old design had a chaotic / disorganized feel that made it feel very authentic. Most importantly, over the years you have become a must read for entrepreneurs – congrats and thanks.

  30. Jon Chamberlin

    Nice design Fred.It’s a real shame about design characteristics not making it through RSS. Here you are with a blog, you’ve devoted a lot of time on it and have seen it grow enormously over the past 5 years. Your design has become a part of your brand-same could be said for Seth’s blog and a ton of others.Then you have RSS readers, which make reading all your feeds super easy. But in the end a part of your brand is completely lost. There was a time I would subscribe to a blog, read it for a couple months, then come across it through some other channel and have no idea I was already a subscriber.The talk of blogging being dead has surfaced again. Maybe it’s not blogging or the blogger, maybe it’s the RSS reader. Oddly enough it’s the same tool that makes blogs easier that may be killing it. Any who, there’s a lot of room for improvement-both for the blogger and subscriber.

    1. Nate

      As a designer it’s sacrilege to say so, but I think it’s fine that the design doesn’t come through in RSS feeds. Fred’s brand isn’t transmitted via design, it lives in his voice. Remember, he built a hugely successful blog even with an off the shelf TypePad template and overly-busy sidebars.Even as a sometime SEO consultant, I tell people to worry about writing *far* more than they worry about SEO. It’s good to have a great design and solid SEO, but they’re both irrelevant unless you can apply them to a core of great content.Anyway, anything bloggers lose in brand recognition because of RSS they more than make up for by making it easy for readers to keep up with them. And hey, you can always just add more inline images about yourself to posts right? Maybe someone should write a plugin to insert branded images into feeds.As for blogging being dead, please. A few A-listers dramatically through in the towel and we’re supposed to care? The important story is: Free Instantaneous Searchable Worldwide Publishing For All. How great is that?

      1. fredwilson

        Its fucking awesome and getting easier every dayTumblr and posterous are leading the way to blogging that my mom can doevery dayfred

    2. fredwilson

      as many people know, i don’t read in RSS. there are a lot reasons for that, but certainly the loss of brand identity is one of them. when i talk to people, i want to see their faces

  31. MRK

    Looks good and seems quicker, though I usually just read the feed in Google Reader. Great work though chaps! Also like Nathan’s site too – subscribed.

  32. Micah Baldwin

    Fred, wonderful new look, its great to “just get to the content,” given that is always the best part of your blog.And, BTW, nice integration of the Lijit widget right into your search box! 🙂 Its greatly appreciated.We have been doing that with some WordPress blogs, its great to see it working on TypePad.

  33. howardlindzon

    just subscribed. Interesting content.

    1. fredwilson

      you still read blogs howard?

  34. jer979

    After a “teaser” like that, who couldn’t check out the new look? Solid, you’ve done it well.

  35. Tom

    FredI noticed you have taken the sitemeter tag off of the main page. If you are going to use it as a tool it needs to be on all of your pages. Right now it is capturing visitors only to the stats page.I think the new look is very clean and crisp. Great job.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the tip

  36. agawley

    sweet . looks good. really like the new clean layout. is most of your advertising cpm? i wonder what it does for ctrs?

    1. fredwilson

      It’s pretty much all cpmWhen the ads are relevant, the ctrs are good

      1. agawley

        But is there any difference in CTR between the old layout and the new one?the ads are a lot further from the action in the new version.

        1. fredwilson

          I’ll see about that

  37. kidmercury

    congrats on AVC 2.0!

  38. fakedjs

    I like the new website, much cleaner. My current site setup is like your old one. How much did this redesign cost you – as much as Thanks.

    1. fredwilson

      Not close. It was a bargain because nathan is really talented

      1. fakedjs

        The best in recommending old an new music.– Thanks for listening to

  39. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Looks great! I’ve been meaning to upgrade my blog design too, but that’s been low on the priority list. Fortunately, I own my own domain so we won’t have any redirect issues and it’s on WordPress.

  40. Tony_Alva

    Well done! Still my first visit in the morning. Even looks good on my crappy Motorola Q w/Win Mobile. Counting the days to iPhone purchase!!!

  41. amsall

    Congratulations, Fred.Cool, lean fast and beautiful. I’ll certainly take a leaf from you for my upcoming blog!

  42. MartinEdic

    If anything I’m finding this to be slower which I didn’t think was possible. I’d find out what Seth Godin is doing with his- its fast. Oh yeah, no comments which is unfortunate.

  43. Terence Pua

    Nice re-launch of A VC. One request: remove “: A VC” under the post title in HTML. Easier to post to Hacker News without it. Congrats.

    1. fredwilson

      We’ll consider this request.ThanksFred

      1. Terence Pua

        Looks like you made the change. Thanks.

  44. sippey

    Fred — looks great! Congrats!

  45. iankennedy

    Congrats on the redesign and glad MyBlogLog made the cut!

  46. David Cancel

    Looks absolutely fabulous. Congrats.PS. The great picture of you with your family shows that your priorities are properly aligned.Cheers,;dc

    1. fredwilson

      That picture was on the top left in the old design and we debated whether to keep it or put it on the about pageMy wife, as usual, made the final call and it was the right one

  47. DonRyan

    Very nice look and page load. Great job.

  48. grifranks

    i like the images here

  49. josh guttman

    Kennyboy – a lot of money has been made by employing the “i was here first” strategy, not just with domain names but in countless other businesses. I don’t see any inherent problem with that. Do you feel the same way about guys who bought up wireless spectrum early or got the rights to build the first casino in Macau?

  50. josh guttman

    Fred – love the new design…long overdue!! What publishing platform are you using now? Not to insult any of my friends at SixApart, but I’ve moved all my stuff over to WordPress and have never looked back:)

    1. fredwilson

      I am still on typepad and won’t even think about moving until I’ve migrated my google juice from to

      1. josh guttman

        i can’t speak to typepad, but this was super-easy on wordpress when we moved the Sphere blog from to For that matter we also mapped just to be sure we cracked the code.

  51. Emil Sotirov

    Late… but happy to join the chorus of congratulations.And… as I’m of the “undesign” school of design… looking forward to natural degradation and graceful aging to resurface with time.

  52. Stephen McKay

    Fred,Your new blog format is AWESOME!Keep the olive green too. Everyone is into “branding”, and It’s your trademark of sorts!Love it!Steve

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks steve. Its good to hear that from a longtime loyal reader

  53. simon

    congrats fred

  54. Mark Collier

    The new design looks great, particularly on the iphone. I’m actually reading your blog more often now on the iphone.This inspired me to find a solution for my wordpress blog to the iphone formatting problem, and I just installed this:…So far, so good. I’d love to see more solutions like this, and would suggest that Matt & Tony over at Automattic add a similar option for users.P.S. The new login flow for disqus is MUCH improved.

  55. Alex

    You could have announced the new RSS url in old feed! I thought you had not post anything since August 4 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      This is a screwupThere is no new RSS URLWe just messed up feedburner with a redirect issueIt should be fixed now