Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States

  Obama Listens 
  Originally uploaded by sumrow.

Wow. This is bigger than I thought it was going to be for me. The first african american president is certainly a huge deal for so many reasons but Obama did not dwell on that fact last night and neither will I.

We have gone from one of the most ideological, secretive, and phony administrations ever to something completely different. As many have pointed out, the expectations are so high for Obama that there is no way he can meet them. And he won’t.

But here is what we can look for, and I believe get, from his administration.

1) A world class management team. I remember the first debate I ever watched Obama participate in. He was asked whether he was a "strong operatating executive." He replied that he was not "the COO", that he was more like "the CEO". And then he went on to talk about surrounding yourself with the best people you can find and then letting them do their job. He did that with his campaign which was a masterful thing to watch, he did that with his VP pick (in stark contrast to the Palin fiasco), and I expect he’ll build a killer cabinet and a killer administration (look for some picks from across the aisle).

2) Honesty. He said this last night and I am sure he will live up to it:

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

3) A steady hand. I have never seen a cooler customer in a position of such responsibility. Obama has an incredibly calm demeanor. He will be a steady hand, he will make well vetted decisions, and I expect more of them will be right than wrong.

4) Diplomacy. Thank god we’ve slayed the ridiculous notion that you can’t talk to bad people who do bad things. I expect that Obama will spend a lot of time meeting and working with our friends overseas and at least talking to our enemies. I expect to see a lot of diplomatic progress under his leadership.

5) Fairness. The republicans call it "redistributing wealth" and I can totally understand why people go nuts over Obama’s tax policy. But we are going to get fairness in tax policy where the people who make most of the money like my family will pay the highest taxes. My bet is we’ll go back to where we were under Clinton and that’s fine with me and should be fine with everyone, but it won’t be.

6) Leadership. Our country is in a mess, much of it self inflicted. More than anything else, we need a charismatic leader who can inspire us to face the facts, make the sacrifices, take the losses, pull up our boots, and get on with it. I believe Barack Obama can and will do that.

I guess that’s why this was bigger for me than I thought it would be. Like everyone else, I am dying for a leader we can believe in and get in line behind and follow. We’ve got one now.


Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    i was walking through bangkok during the voting, tv’s in electronic shops and noodle stalls all turned to the american election, and all were rooting for obama …. the world loves america, and are very happy to see some light put back into the ideal that the country stands for in the eyes of that world …and jesse jackson, say what you will, when i saw the tears in his eyes, mine filled up too …obama has wide awareness and a deep consciousness … we don’t get that often in politics … we as citizens need to widen our own … and will, i trusti am sure he has a long list, and that it is prioritized … i hope it includes cuba and south america too, but will leave that up to his administrationwe are in for a ride anyway these next couple of years .. happy to have someone who knows the value of inspiration and truth as the guiding symbol of what will actually be our journey of personal change and transformation …thanks for your post,gregory lent

    1. markslater

      “the world loves america” – that unfortunately could not be further from the truth. What your seeing is the world being ready to give america another chance. Dont get ahead of yourself, much repair work needs to be done,, but the world has greater faith in this great country’s change in direction after last night.

      1. gregorylent

        as someone who has not lived in america for 12 years i will say that you are mistaken. disappointed, yes, angry, yes .. like you or i at a loved family member who is misbehaving … but the love is there, you should see the light in the eyes of taxi drivers or whomever when i (often reluctantly) say where i am from ..i offer the world’s favoring obama as further proof that there is love … it is like that loved family member finally got his act together and went to college … no barriers to expressing the pre-existing love anymoreand yes, an eff of a lot of work is needed, and some brains, and learning how to respect and love even our “enemies”

        1. ZoeF

          Your sentiments are beautiful and I think you are correct…the world does love America, or what she stands for at least.It takes a huge sigh of relief to know that there is some small chance of our picking ourselves out of the mire Bush led us brazenly and recklessly into.I have many friends around the world (yay internet!) and read many papers from cities I will never set foot in. It seems to me the sentiment is largely similar to this note which I received this morning from a Danish friend, which read in part:”…such a major relief, even here, I can’t begin to tell youthing is, people WANT to like the USpeople relate to the American dream, etc, and want to see it succeed”That’s it. They WANT to love us and it has been near impossible for the last 8 years..It’s a good day to be an American.At last.

          1. dylanc

            I echo your friends comments Zoe, the world is watching and for the first time in a long time very hopeful, at least here in Australia.There must have been two dozen people in my office standing around a TV watching Obama’s speech, most with tears in their eyes. I was talking to a workmate who said that he hadn’t seen anything like it since Nixon’s resignation in 74, where a dozen or so people tuned into the radio broadcast.Fred, well said as usual.

    2. terra210

      I too noticed Jesse Jackson. I thought of how hard he worked to achieve the moment Obama brought into being. Jackson was a divided man, and his time was not right to achieve what Obama achieved; for good reasons. He became full of anger and disappointment. Of course there was perhaps petty jealousy in him last night; he is human. But he also had worked his entire life to achieve a moment of ascension that he was now witnessing. His tears were also tears of “the long road”. Obama appeared after much of the fight had been won. This is always the way. An opening appeared for him, because we were in the darkest of times. Without Bush, there would likely have been no Obama presidency. We needed the light and leadership. It is good.

      1. fredwilson

        So true

      2. ebrittwebb

        I couldn’t agree more. I, too, am filled with hope and inspiration for the years ahead, and grateful for the many sacrifices that it has taken to get to this point.

  2. zachlandes

    Well said, Fred. Two points I’d like to comment on. First of all, as regards foreign policy:I absolutely agree with you, and Barack Obama, re: sitting down with the bad guys. When you refuse to talk to your adversaries, you don’t contribute to change – you take yourself out of the game. And second, regarding redistribution of wealth: as a postgraduate at the London School of Economics in economic history, one of my interests has been the effect of income inequality (and convergence) on economic growth. If one reads any number of great economic historians, e.g. Sokoloff, one sees that there is significant cause to believe that income inequality has historically stunted economic growth. Is it not better for everyone, in the long run, to have a strong economy? History suggests that keeping the lower and middle classes either lower or middle has a negative effect on growth. There is not only the interest of social welfare and natural rights, but economic reasons to support Obama’s tax policies. This is truly change we can believe in.

    1. James Case

      You realize that Jesse was crying not out of joy, but disappointment that it wasn’t him standing up there 🙂

      1. Rory

        unfortunately I suspect that is the actual truth.

    2. Paul Lightfoot

      I completely agree with this point. Most business people should understand that it is better to have a smaller piece of a bigger pie. And, the economy pie is not a zero sum game. Get the lower and middle classes to a higher standard of living and the entire economy will grow more for everyone. Since the rich benefit the most, this is better for the righ.

  3. John Pollock

    I would also add modernity – no trivial thing in a complex world moving faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. The use of his network – the sheer financial and people power he unleashed – makes him the first leader who will have truly hands-on experience of the power of connectivity. (Remember Bill Clinton’s 2 emails in 8 years or Tony Blair’s first text message, after he left power?) This stuff is important, and a – if not the – vital new ingredient we can deploy in effecting change: Obama gets that. And for all his many virtues, McCain did not.

    1. fredwilson

      Right. My favorite part of his speech last night is when he so eloquently described the internet and then looked forward 100 years and wondered what we can make happen in that time frame.Thanks for adding modernity to the list

  4. Paul

    Fantastic assessment Fred. We’re all very excited about this move. Most South Africans are thinking that he’ll come over and save Africa. I think he has greater task saving America and that is going to take all of his time.

  5. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Fred – Words cannot even explain how happy I am that Obama has won, not only because he’s one of the smartest people I’ve observed or the fact he’s already reached across the aisle with the votes he’s garnered, but also because of the cultural barriers he has begun to shatter. I woke up with tears in my eyes. Here is my post: A Vote for Brown, Brains, and Change. http://www.entrepremusings….

    1. fredwilson

      Great post and great title

  6. thomasl824

    There is the relief that we all feel that that this adminstration is now finished and we can begin to go to work in earnest. It will take years (like the New Deal) to find the right ways out of this economic and world mess that we find oursleves in today. But do I feel that we can do this, this morning we can do anything.

  7. Farhan Lalji

    It was a great campaign, executed with brilliance. He’s set the bar high and I, like everyone else I believe, hope he clears it. But a lot depends on who he chooses to surround him.He needs a lot more than just a great operations guy. Basketball analogy – would Micheal have won titles without Pippen or Phil Jackson? Not sure. Just like those great Bull teams, Obama can play the Jordan role but he needs superstars for the Secretary of state, treasury secretary, chief of staff roles. Any names Fred? Bloomberg? Hilary? Buffet?

    1. Rory

      very true…he needs an experienced team around him.

  8. steveplace

    You need to get him (not his staff) on Twitter. Would be great to have that sort of line to the President.

    1. Druce

      that would be cool… a twitter ‘send to the President’ … and then put a scrolling feed on a billboard in times square

  9. wood83

    Fred – Well said.Last night was a moment of great importance, regardless of political affiliation. Like you, I maintain great worry about what’s to come but there were unmistakable positives.My main hope is that President-Elect Obama does enough in his first term in office to satisfy the droves of new/youth voters he finally drew into the process. It’s far too easy for us to become jaded by the process, and I would hate to see a new generation FINALLY get engaged only to be let down by their own mountainous expectations.Here are my thoughts on last night if you’re so inclined:

  10. whitneymcn

    I expect to be disappointed–probably many times–in the coming four years, but I voted for the chance to be disappointed by, rather than outraged by, my President. I voted for hope.

    1. Cliff

      Well Said

    2. fredwilson

      That made me laugh Whitney

  11. rah33ls

    Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove, Guantanamo,…torture etc……….all removed at one stroke!**wipes tear from eye**

    1. markslater

      and the muslim world pauses for a brief moment………

  12. lee

    am I the only one round here to remember Jimmy Carter? I really hope Obama doesn’t go the same way…

    1. Tom Gorn

      I must admit I had this same thought running through my head last night listening to Obama’s speech; the man is a talented speaker and I’ll grant can be inspirational, but there is no substance or track record to justify the Messianic fervor afforded him. As Carter provved, his contributions as a humanitarian and diplomat were mainly felt outside of the Presidency, and perhaps that is the path that Obama should have pursued; we have competitors and enemies in this world that are unabashedly seeking to eat our lunch, and I’m not sure that an apologist President is the way to go. I truly hope that Obama lives up to his potential, but that is all we have now elected into office is raw potential, who by the way has already sullied his integrity through the Rev. Wright affair and also his flip flop on the issue of taking puclic funds to fund his election, which ultimately is what gave him the horsepower to beat McCain. All this election proved was that people wanted revenge on Bush and the Republicans, which is too bad as in the process we rejected a candidate who actually has demonstrated character, faced our enemies, and lived a life of service for his country and whom I was proud to vote for. When I think of Obama, the term “Fake it till you make it” comes to mind…I certainly hope he can live up to his potential. God Bless America!

      1. Jim

        Like you, Tom, I voted for the other guy. But the other guy lost and now it’s time to give Obama a chance. As McCain said several times…it’s not about the presidency, it’s about our country (my paraphrase). I believe there is a lot of good in Barrack Obama. I disagree with him on almost every political position he has taken…but maybe it was just more promised to gain the White House (as nearly every politician before him has done). Now maybe he will move to the center and do some good for our country.Obama is an intelligent man who, even as a democrat, has shown that he believes in personal responsibility and the strength of the individual. I’m holding out hope that he will lead more like Bill Clinton rather than Jimmy Carter. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  13. lucaf

    There’s one more thing that we’ll be getting from an Obama administration, even while it’s not in office yet: a wave of uplifting optimism that we can get out of the doldrums we’re stuck in, both domestically and internationally.Anybody who listened to his speech last night and did not feel that sentiment must had forgotten his meds…

  14. rah33ls

    If the World could vote:Barack Obama 87.3% (758,041 votes)John McCain 12.7% (110,103 votes)http://iftheworldcouldvote….

  15. andyswan

    Good post. Fairness should be measured in opportunity, not results. There is work to do on the former, let’s not misguide our focus onto the latter.

  16. Kenosha_Kid

    Fred, I generally agree (except for the Biden pick… let’s be honest), but here is the risk:Obama has been in politics the equivalent of a high leverage business in a bubble. The high leverage in his case is the almost universal media support, and the resulting popular hopes and dreams that have elevated him to his current status. Like many things in a bubble, substance has not been there to match the image and perception. Now comes the moment of truth, and if he fails to deliver on hopes and dreams that have leveraged his position to-date, both the popular and media support will reverse and pop. Believe me when I say I hope this does not happen, because the bitterness and reaction that will then ensue will dwarf any Bush resentment in the past several years.Another related point is this… For the past several decades the Democratic party has essentially been the party of protest. As such, its role has been largely to point to faults in the established order and argue for “change.” The party is now, for the first time in a long time, the establishment… without doubt. In a difficult time for the nation, the momentum of protest will serve the protest party well, and in this case has carried its candidate like high leverage in a bubble, or rising multiples in a bull market. (Every investor is a genius in a bull market.) But just like in a bull market or a credit bubble, when the party ends, substance becomes more critical than ever, and without it the consequences can be catastrophic.Let’s see how it all plays out… the challenges will be huge, on many levels. And for the sake of our nation I wish this new administration the absolute best, and sincerely hope that your instinct proves correct.

    1. Derek

      because the bitterness and reaction that will then ensue will dwarf any Bush resentment in the past several years.Nothing could come close. Oh, Obama may lose in four years, but Bush set a new standard for bitterness. Certainly much worse than his father, Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson.And he did it in spite of having a reset button on public opinion (triggered by 9/11), He went from 90% positive to 70% negative. That’s a remarkable achievement.

    2. fredwilson

      Clinton was not a protest presidency and I think Obama will pull talent from that administrationYou are right about the downside riskBut I am a VC, possibly one of the most optimistic breeds around 🙂

  17. dean

    “My bet is we’ll go back to where we were under Clinton”heh

  18. Jeff O'Connor

    I, for one, am glad to see the era of willful ignorance and outright contempt for the truth is over for the time being. From abstinence-only sex education to the “personhood” of zygotes; from dismissing the science of the greenhouse effect to silencing NASA, the CDC, and any other government agency that didn’t toe the party line – Bush has seriously jeopardized America’s ability to compete in science and industry. We’re in big trouble, and I for one am grateful Americans had the good sense to pick a president who *is* an intellectual elitist (hey – we all can’t be editor of the Harvard Law Review, now can we?) instead of a beer-and-pretzels aficionado.Yes, the Democrats have an agenda. Yes, they’re partisans. Welcome to the real-life world of politics. But this time around, the numbers will shape the policy and not vice-versa!Welcome back, America!

    1. antje wilsch

      I’m with Jeff!!

  19. Guest

    Congratulations America. When President elect Obama, wakes up today, will he be asking George how someone can leave the place in such a mess, or will Barack be counting his blessings.Last night America voted for ‘world change’. Is now is the time for all Americans to remove the weight of expectation from Barack’s shoulders and let him do his job, so you can do yours?

  20. Ross Carlson

    I’ve got to disagree with you on one point, and that’s his tax policy. It is NOT fair for you to pay more than your “share” into the system, everyone should be paying the same into the system. The only “fair” tax is a flat tax (or more specifically use only taxes such as sales tax) and no matter how you slice it taxing the wealthy more is redistribution of wealth. I do however very much agree with some sort of cut off level for taxes (if you’re making 10k a year I’m fine with you paying no taxes) – I don’t know what the level really should be but a graduated tax system is in no way fair.Other than that I’m thrilled to have voted democrat for the first time in my life (and yes I’m admitting that I voted for Captain Stupid twice). He’s an amazing man and I think he’ll do great things for our country.

    1. Nate

      Like Ross I agree with Fred except about Fair Taxes.”Fairness” isn’t a useful word, because everyone has their own definition of “fair”. Fairness is even harder to define when you consider how insanely complicated U.S. taxes are. We already have progressive taxation, but capital gains are treated differently, corporate income taxes are separate, health and other benefits are real compensation but not taxed as such, there are homeowner tax incentives, deductions, etc, etc…I’d say the only truly “fair” tax scheme would be a flat rate income tax with no loopholes, no deductions, no distorted incentives. Bonus: we’d save the enormous costs of tax preparation and compliance.

      1. fredwilson

        I’d love to see that as long as income below a certain level was exemptIts not going to happen though because it would mean, among other things, eliminating the deuctibility of interest on debt which would have huge economic impact and it would also mean charitable gifts would become more expensive

    2. Adam

      I’ve personally never understood how people claim tax rates are unfair at all – they are exactly the same for everyone! The first $50,000 of everyone’s income is taxed the same. The next $50,000 is taxed the same as everyone else’s next $50,000. And so on and so on.The question then should be, should tax rates increase on dollars you earn over and above a certain amount? Its not like people make the same amount of money their whole lives anyway, and personally if I start making more to the point where my tax rate on additional income actually goes up, I’ll still have more take-home than I would if I were earning less.As well, as anyone reading this board knows, most people who are in the top bracket also are likely taking in capital gains as well, and those are taxed at a very low rate (relative to income tax). So even if you didn’t want to accept that the income tax policy is the exact same for everyone, you still would lose the argument that the policy is unfair towards those who earn more, since when you factor in rate on ALL income, you’ll probably find plenty of people in the top 1% of earners paying the lowest effective tax rate of all taxpayers, with the exception of those in the lowest, tax-free income range.My general hope though is that the conversation shift away from what’s “fair” to what makes the most sense for the government to raise enough money to cover its costs while also making the country a favorable place to invest. I for one would prefer that if taxes are going to be extracted from me that they come disproportionately when i have more money I view as disposable, rather than money I view as indispensable.If the tax rate were 40% for the level just above where you are now, would you turn down that raise? No. You might ask for stock options instead, but you also wouldn’t turn down that raise if that was what you were offered. You are still better off.

      1. Brian

        Ummm .. Most people that make under $50k do not pay any income taxes between all the tax credits and deductions.47 mililon people in this country do not pay any income taxes. Is that fair?If you want to make this a place where people invest, let people keep more of what they earn and support a strong rule of law. It works everywhere it is tried.And please do not say “but people pay payroll taxes”. Payroll taxes are to pay for social security and medicare and nothing else. Payroll taxes are the equivalent of pension deductions not taxes to pay for federal spending.

  21. pedalpete

    On Point #1 about building a world-class managment team, not only does Obama understand his needs here AND is willing to reach ‘across the aisle’, but more importantly, I think he is able to inspire the best and brightest your country has to offer, and that may be the most important thing in the next few years.Well done America!

  22. ChrisB

    I voted for hope, for great intellect, for an ethos that can provide leadership and a fresh look at the world. Fred, you chose to not go into the topic of race (and I believe that Obama avoiding the enormity of this was wise and presidential fo him), but I do think that it bears some discussion.It should be recognized, I think, that for America to popularly elect a man born of a Kenyan father and white mother with the name Barack Hussien Obama is a real turning point. And I think of this, and hope that we build upon this, at a personal level and not as a concept. There is an opportunity for a different level of connection and relatedness now between black and white in this country. Yesterday I could pass by a black man or woman walking down the street and we could both have thought, if we did at all, that neither has much in common with the other (and certainly there are big differences in our traditions, experience, opportunities, etc, but we are all fundamentally human). Today, there is a difference.Today, we have in common a vote for Obama. And this is clearly different than a common vote for Clintion or Gore, because I beleive that that black citizen in America feels a much different level of connection to and ownership of an Obama presidency. And rightfully so. And here is the thing….I also (a white male nearing 40, working in investment banking) feel a different level of connection and ownership to an Obama presidency. This connection and ownership shared in common across race, ethnicity, etc should be used as a foundation to build upon a fundamental realization that we all have more in common than not. And this type of connectedness enables us and empowers us to think and achieve in all sorts of ways that we may have been cut off from in the past…..less of me vs. you, more of looking at a stranger and thinking that I am he and he is me, more compassion and desire to understand/relate to another person. This is powerful stuff.I sincerely hope that we can all build upon this, take some level of action to cement this new found connectivity and let it empower our communities. And I most sincerely hope that Obama fulfills the promise to utlize this energy, to look at solutions to problems from a non-partisan/human sensibility, and to tell us all the truth along the way. If we can combine this type of leadership with a real acceptance of personal responsibility and connectivity in this country, then wow that is a place in which I am happy to raise my children.Best,Chris

    1. fredwilson

      I agree Chris and the title of my post was purposefulSarah Silverman, in her funny video, called it a “shitty fucking name”But I think it’s a wonderful name; expressive, colorful, and globalAnd I am so proud to have a president who carries it off with pride

  23. Peter Fleckenstein

    Fred,Congratulations to President Elect Obama. Yes this is a historic moment for America and my hope, although I did not vote for him, comes from our founding fathers -The right to Life, Liberty and the PURSUIT of Happiness.The founding fathers were prescient in there words above. It does not say government will be the vehicle to Life, Liberty or my happiness. Those are my rights and government has no business in telling me how to go about that.Mr. Obama has a tall order in front of him. He has no mandate from the American people as 57 million had voted for his opponent. Remember that it was Obama who said last night – We are not red or blue, we are Americans.We know that Mr. Obama can run an unbelievable campaign. We know that he can out spend his opponent by a factor of 10.What we have no idea about is how he is going to actually lead the country. He has yet to prove, through actual experience, what he can do to affect the lives of all Americans. It has been proven that big government does not and cannot provide for individuals what they can provide for themselves in such a better way.As has always been the case, the tax policy has been one in which the better off of our great country pay for the overwhelming majority of taxes. So if that’s a definition of fairness then it has been achieved long ago.As I sit here and watch Speaker Pelosi offer up immediately a new “stimulus” package – I only hear the words “More Spending”. I offer to President Elect Obama the advice that you and many other VCs have given to your portfolio companies -Cut your spending dramatically. Operate a lean and execution focused business. Make sure that you have at least 18 months of runway in these tough economic times.Through out my life Presidents have come and gone. Representatives and Senators have come and gone. However, in my life, it is I who have made the difference. No President, no politician, and no government program has ever done for me what I can do so much better, efficiently, and compassionately.My thoughts and prayers are for the American people. Each American has the rights that our forefathers so eloquently stated. It is the President’s and Congress’ job to get out of the way and make sure those rights remain unfettered.

    1. Brian

      Amen.I hope Obama governs like Clinton between 1994 and 2000 (without the pardons). I am not a huge Clinton fan, but I think he was an okay President.I fear Obama will be rolled by Pelosi and Reid to create a New New Deal that will lengthen the recession and cause another stock crash like the Old New Deal. Even worse, I fear Obama agrees with Pelosi and Reid.Free trade and the right to work have been the cornerstone of productivity gains over the last 15 years. Whatever Obama thinks on taxes, I hope he does not mess up free trade and the right to work.

    2. Druce

      Efficient and compassionate as you may be as an individual, like it or not, there are certain things we have to create as a group, like a sound security and economic policy. The present Administration did not exactly set a high bar. And Bush’s ‘mandate’ was apparently sufficient to disregard the Constitution and even his own GOP-controlled Congress.

      1. Peter Fleckenstein

        druce,You forgot the part that I can do better for myself than any government can even hope to do or create for me. Now I do agree with you that the government has to provide for a sound security and defense for all Americans. President Bush has upheld his oath to protect and defend America – Since 9/11 there has not been one single attack on American soil. The bar has been set VERY high indeed for every succeeding President on protecting America.As for economic policy? Yes Congress needs to ensure that laws and programs that they enact do not have extreme adverse affects on individual Americans. For example:The creation of the Community Reinvestment Act by Democrats.The creation of Fannie and Freddie by Democrats and run by DemocratsThe strengthening of the CRA by the Clinton Administration.The blocking of increased oversight (Proposed by Sen. McCain) on Fannie and Freddie by Democrats.For government programs we have but to look at the creation of the Dept of Energy and Dept of Education to see what a complete and total failure big government is. Created by Democrat Administrations these two Departments have consistently contributed to the proof that big government can and should stay out of what individuals and private business can do so much better by a factor of 100.The Department of Energy has proved repeatedly that it has not offered any significant value for the American people in eliminating our dependence on foreign energy providers.The Department of Education has shown that it has absolutely no positive effect on the education of our children. What the Dept. Of Ed. can show us is how to put our children in the lowest of rankings compared to the education of children throughout the rest of the world.Time and time again it has been proven that big government and big spending has been the catalyst for failure and delivering no value to the American people.One last thing druce – In case you didn’t hear, you’re candidate won, so it’s time to stop the tired “Blame Bush” diatribe. It’s Barack Obama’s watch now. He promised A LOT of things to the American people. I’m interested but not dependent on what he does. We’ll see if his talk and discourse are congruent with his actions.

  24. Mark

    Honesty?He said he would not vote for the FISA bill….he lied.He said he would accept public financing…he lied.

  25. preetam

    Hi Fred, Thank you for articulating these reasonably universal sentiments so well. I’d some similar thoughts, albeit differently phrased, which I’d jotted down yesterday(pre-election) on our blog. (….I don’t think that all will be fixed either, under Obama. First, he’s not god, and second, there’s way too much baggage(er..damage.). But I do believe that we will, under him, lay the foundation for a renewed sense of vigor in the world, starting with America.He’s going to be the king we see in him.Cheers.

    1. Peter Fleckenstein

      preetam,Last time I checked, America was a democracy and not a monarchy or dictatorship. Obama is no more a king than I am a female.If you are looking for a King then alas, I think you will be sorely let down.

      1. preetam

        hahaha……it was meant to be rhetorical…metaphorical….:)

        1. Peter Fleckenstein

          Rhetorical or metaphorical – which one? They are different words with different meanings.

          1. preetam

            both…do u need me to clarify why it was meant to be both??

          2. Peter Fleckenstein

            No thank you. I understand completely. Your rhetorical use of themetaphorical word king when talking about Sen. Obama is indeed just that.Exaggeration of a word applied to someone where it is not literallyapplicable to.Thanks – just wanted to understand where you were coming from.

  26. Chachi

    Obama attended Harvard – there is nothing “black” about him.

    1. Adam

      black people aren’t allowed to go to harvard or other top schools? oh, right, they are dumb…forgot that part.

      1. Adam

        sorry, i meant “black” people

  27. Just a Girl

    thanks so much for posting this. I was for McCain and after the election all I wanted to know was WHAT do people see in Barack Obama. Not in a bad way, I just really wanted to know! Thanks 😉

  28. Josh

    1) Depends on who you consider “world class.” I think my definition may differ.2) He lied about taking public financing. This is a horrible precedent for not being truthful.3) You mistake being steady for having no clue. He is the most inexperienced president to be elected in modern history. He is clueless.4) People who believe Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth, openly, do NOT deserve a meeting with the President of the United States…especially without precondition. You are assuming all people are as honest as the people in America…totally not the case. Frankly, there is no one happier today than Al-Queda.5) …ahem…the “Fairness” doctrine would be a huge limit on freedom of speech. Not exactly “fair.” Also, Fred, the Federal Treasury accepts cash,check, or money order. If you are so excited to pay more taxes you could have been doing so for a long time. I think I know how to spend my money better than Obama does. BTW, the wealthy already pay WAY too much of the federal taxes in this country. The top 1% earn 21% of the nations income, yet pay 40% of all federal income taxes. If you wanted to make it “fairer” you would be decreasing taxes on the wealthy.6) I have a hard time following a man who calls an anti-american racist minister his “spiritual guide.” If Rev. Wright sets foot in the Whitehouse it will be a disgrace!

    1. RobinSeidner

      Thanks for your thoughts Fred. I am so sick of the fear-mongering and devisiveness. The great thing about his acceptance speech last night was how little he talked about himself – instead, focusing on us, the people. It was inspiring. If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on what it was like to volunteer with the campaign, you can go here: a staunch supporter of Israel, I take offense at Josh’s comments — most Jews in this country do too, as we voted overwhelmingly for Obama. The Bush administration has been the most ineffective at helping settle things down in the Middle East, and has created an even greater environment for terrorism and mistrust.Having conversations with our enemies is the best way to eliminate divisions. Armed posturing does nothing but stoke bad tempers and bad decision-making.

    2. Tom Gorn

      Well said Josh and I agree on all points…however, whether deserved or not, he is going to be the President, so let’s hope he earns it and that his more redeeming qualities find their way consistently to the fore, or at least that he is smart enough to get and listen to the right advice. There does seem to be some precedent for his ability to attract talent; how Colin Powell supported him I can’t quite digest yet, but he’s the type of person it would be nice to get back into government. There is also a chance that Joe Biden may follow in Gore’s footsteps and invent something useful like the Internet…it could be just like the ’90s all over again! 😉

      1. Mark

        Get Powell back in gov’t? the same Powell that lied to the UN about WMD?

        1. Tom Gorn

          My comment about Powell was intended with more than a little sarcasm, but he certainly garners a wide range of opinions. I think there are still many people (granted probably Republicans) who would have preferred him to be the first black President rather than Obama. Then let’s take the Democrats, who certainly embraced his endorsment of Obama even though they vilified him as a liar just a few short years ago for his role in the Iraq situation…this is the same kind of political expediency which overlooked Obama’s questionable lack of integrity on more than one issue.

      2. fredwilson

        I am happy to see McCain supporters weighing in on this postI feel like Bush ignored his detractors and I sure hope Obama doesn’t make the same mistakeThis was one of my favorite quotes from last night”And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.”

        1. Ted

          I would love to believe Obama when he says he is our president, too, but I am hesistant to believe until I see some proof. This was an election against George Bush, not for Obama. Sure this board is filled with Obama fans, but he would not have won without the support of those who were upset with Bush (other than the far left filled with hatred).Let’s not forget that there are 56m+ Americans that deserve to be listened to. Talk about fairness, hope, love, change, etc… all you want, but the rubber hits the road in 2009 and I for one am not going to let Obama have a 4 year run-way before we see results. He is the one that set high expectations; its his job to meet and exceed them. That’s a CEO responsibility.

  29. JimB

    Fred:I think that one additional think that he brings to the table is his being the first technology savvy president! Just look at how he used the Internet during the campaign! I remember reading a post by Marc Andreesen in early 2007 where he and I believe Brad Feld went and spent an hour and a half talking with him.…Also, early in 2007 he hired Chris Hughes, Facebook Co-Founder, who ran his social network and provided insight to his web strategy. He surrounded himself with some real notables. I assume he will do the same with Cabinet and Administration picks.I just hope that the Secret Service doesn’t complete limit his technology use. Well maybe twitter is out but can you give up your 1.1 million Facebook friends? I’m really looking forward to the next four years.

  30. peter

    this is perfect post fred!!! I’m not American but very proud for you guys

  31. Paul Lightfoot

    Fred, thanks for your post. Sorry I bothered you so much on Obama’s behalf during the primaries. I hope I played a small part in building your support for The Other One. Gobama!

  32. terra210

    If all he accomplishes is to stop the use of fear, to manipulate the citizens of the US, it will be enough. He understands humility, and yet is strong. His speech inspires hope among the hopeless and in those with the world in front of them. He doesn’t have to do a lot, just enough. Bush did so much destruction, with very little effort. I found it meaningful in his call to Obama last night, his comments included, “enjoy yourself”. Bush, the party animal; the tail who wagged the dog into hell.A well reasoned post; thank-you.

  33. Derek Skaletsky

    Great points, Fred. Well said. For me, this election was about the American brand. I feel like we have a lot of work to do to rebuild it — and I think Obama is absolutely the right person to do this. Won’t hog the comment section, but my thoughts are here:

  34. dfriedman

    Your family already pays most of the taxes. I think you need to revisit the tax schedules. Why would you think someone earning less than you pays more than you in taxes?Unless you are implying here that you are cheating on your taxes. Which, given their complexity, is of course something relatively easy to do. Kudos to you if you found a way to do it.

  35. sigmaalgebra

    Someone to solve all our problems? “Someone to watch over me”? Might be nice. But, from River City, “I’m reticent. Yes, I’m reticent.”.Before screaming “Oh, oh, oh Obama!” and singing, “I’m so excited”, how about a little ‘due diligence’; not a lot, just a little might suffice:How about electric power? We want more power for economic growth, to replace some uses of oil and natural gas, and for plug-in cars. As at…”Together, coal and nuclear energy provide almost 70 percent of supply. Natural gas supplies 21.5 percent; hydro-power, 5.8 percent; oil, 1.6 percent; and renewable and other sources, 3.2 percent.”Natural gas is mostly for peak loads. Since we have no economically reasonable means of storing electric power, wind, solar, tides, etc., are not good for either peak loads or base loads. So, for base loads, and trying to save on oil and natural gas, until we can discover some new major rivers, we are back to coal and nuclear.For Obama, in an interview with San Francisco Chronicle, 1/17/2008, at…where my transcript in part is:A. “We have to figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gasses and carbon and how can we sequester that carbon and capture it. If we can’t, then, you know, we’re still going to be working on alternatives. But, uh, it”Q. “Alternatives including coal?”A. “Look, look, let me describe sort of my overall policy: What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is more, that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody else’s out there. I was the first to call for 100% auction on the cap and trade system which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gasses was emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out being presented, whatever power plants are being built, they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are placed, that are imposed every year. So, if someone wants to build a coal fire plant, they can, it’s just it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, and bio-diesel, and other alternative energy approaches.”So, any new coal plants will have to capture the CO2 or go bankrupt. And electric bills will rise by “billions of dollars” to be invested in “solar, wind, and bio-diesel, and other alternative energy approaches.”.Capture CO2? Last time I checked, the atomic weight of carbon was 12 and, oxygen, 16 so that each 12 tons of carbon burned will generate 12 + 16 + 16 = 44 tons of CO2, as a gas, that must be ‘captured’ and ‘sequestered’. Used to grow algae that emits gasoline? Maybe, someday. What is needed to believe that such ‘sequestering’ is economically reasonable soon? Should be sufficient to be ignorant, a fool, a charlatan, smoking funny stuff, an enemy of the US. If that’s the full list of what is sufficient, then at least one of those list items is necessary.For nuclear fission he says:”The thing, with respect to nuclear, right now we don’t know how to store nuclear waste wisely, we don’t know how to deal with, uh, some of the safety issues that remain and so it’s wildly expensive to pursue nuclear energy.”On handling “nuclear waste”, at…can get a Nuclear Waste 101 that makes things more clear than just listening to ‘China Syndrome’ ignorant neurotic hysterics. Net, the handling is not such a tough problem, partly because the highly radioactive isotopes decay so quickly the whole radiation level is down to background level surprisingly quickly. Or, if it has a half life of 10,000,000 years, then it’s not very dangerous. If it has a half life of 30 days, then come back in 300 days and the radiation level is down by a factor of 1024. I know; I know: This is highly advanced stuff, maybe even as high as, maybe, the eighth grade. Gee, can’t expect people to understand far out eighth grade stuff. SO UNfair.Also, on cost, might get some details: At…is 2007 Cost in Cents Per KWh nuclear 1.76 coal 2.47 gas 6.78 petroleum 10.26So much for “wildly expensive to pursue nuclear energy.”. We also see why natural gas is used only for peak loads. We also see why we should try to use electric power to replace oil and natural gas.I know; I know: It’s cruel, so CRUEL, to bring out numbers in response to adjectives. SO CRUEL. In discussions of political issues, it should be unfair to use numbers, right? I mean, Obama didn’t use any numbers. Or, who in NYC or in business ever thinks of numbers? I mean, they are just ‘numbers’, right, and don’t mean anything?But the “alternative energy approaches” are not nearly ready to be used for significant quantities of energy with good reliability and at comparable costs.So where is Obama going to spend the “billions”? Deploy wind, solar, tides, etc. before they are ready? I HOPE not. That would be called “government waste”. On research? Okay, but the US DoE, NSF, etc. have been supporting research, including on energy, for decades. Billions more for research? Where? Do we have some unfunded research proposals that have done well with peer-review? Could we get an executive summary on how those billions will be used? I know; I know: I’m being cruel, SO cruel. Gee, maybe on my next revision of executive summary foils, I’ll just say “Yes We Can!” and claim to make “billions”. VCs, don’t wait! Rush to send your money now before we can’t accept any more!So, we will pay more for the electric energy we have and get no new supplies of energy. Hmm.So, his energy thinking promises to be a disaster for the US economy.That’s “change” that’s a disaster and not “change we can believe in”, hopeless and not “hope”, no we can’t instead of “yes we can”, and creating huge conflicts instead of “bringing people together”. It’s not smart, intelligent, from the best and the brightest and is, in a four letter word, dumb. In two longer words it’s economic suicide. Or, it’s dysfunctionally self-destructive. Or, it ain’t good. Bummer.We are hoping that he will do a ‘flip-flop’, was lying, was uninformed, or what?Or, maybe we’ll just accept that he is a high level, visionary thinker, CEO type who leaves the details to subordinates. Like Bush left the details on the Iraqi occupation to Rumsfeld, Bremer, Sanchez, and Casey while thousands of common criminals, gang leaders, angry Sunnis and Shiites, Iranians, and Al Qaeda operatives saw the opportunity, cost us the lives of about 4000 US soldiers and about $10 billion a month until Petraeus spent a year getting smart on classic counterinsurgency, took over, and turned it around?Better to have a CEO who really knows what’s going on — G. Moore, W. Gates, L. Ellison, F. Smith, T. Watson than some stuffed suit who delegates to whomever.Clearly you don’t like the results from when Bush didn’t understand the details and left them to others. So, why are you so eager to like Obama as he clearly doesn’t know the details, when Barak the Plumber connects the toilet output to the drinking water input? I’m not giving Barak the Plumber a passing grade on the sniff test.I predict that after four years of Obama, we will be ready for some adult supervision in the White House again. McCain will be too old, but we might try Romney, Petraeus, Paulson?

  36. Harry

    WOW is right. Your comments are “spot on.”I believe we have voted for a President who will unite us and the world and lead us out of troubled times. The current President, G W Bush did not create the negativity in the world, he accelerated the inevitable as a result of years of greed and shame that we now witness in an Iraqi and Afgan war and a world-wide financial meltdown.I don’t look forward to the tough times ahead in this dark tunnel. I do look forward to Obama’s presidency to lead the way out of this “darkness.” I think he will be asking all of us to help and I will be the first to volunteer.

  37. Roger Toennis

    “Calming The Worst Fears of the Conservative Citizen”…From newsweek article this week…”When Democrats rush up to me at events and insist that we live in the worst of political times, that a creeping fascism is closing its grip around our throats, I may mention the internment of Japanese Americans under FDR, the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams, or a hundred years of lynching under several dozen administrations as having been possibly worse, and suggest that we all take a deep breath.”- Barack Obama (2008)There is no greater feeling of comfort that an American can have than the one you experience when you realize that the person who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is possessed of powerful amounts of intellect, wisdom and charisma that is directed through, and balanced by, a lens composed of equally powerful amounts of humility, empathy and appreciation for history.After having read both of Barack Obama’s books, and after having watched him closely for 2 years, it seems appropriate to me to feel the above-mentioned level of comfort. I encourage all my friends, family and fellow citizens who count themselves as thoughtful conservatives to give consideration to the possibility that they may be able to lay aside their worst fears of “Liberal’s gone wild”.In place of those fears I would respectfully suggest that my fellow citizens reflect on an extraordinary truth that has nothing to do with the politics of left versus right. Indulge yourself in a moment of civic pride in the ability of the leaders of our great republic to once again, peacefully and efficiently, transition the control of the most powerful nation on earth into the hands of a political adversary who has been fairly elected by the people.This peaceful transition of power is the essence of the “Shining City on a Hill” that is the United States of America. Sleep peacefully knowing that the experiment in freedom and justice that was launched on a steamy summer day in Constitution Hall in Philadelphia in 1776, remains alive and well.Roger ToennisNovember 5, 2008

  38. surya narayan singh

    Congratulations Mr President elect.

  39. Dustin

    I came to your site via a Tweet. I, too, am proud that we have sought to elect a President who not only gives us hope but who also expects us to participate and be a part of this process. I look forward to seeing how he does because he has been left with a very big mess to clean up.On another note, I am very impressed by the people who have added their comments to this post. I have been to many sites in the past few days and this seems to be the only one where people who disagree do not allow the conversation to disintegrate into racial and political slurs. Nice to see intelligent conversation where both sides can defend their points wo resorting to base insults. Nice work!

    1. fredwilson

      That’s something I take great pride inThis community is really special

  40. KareAnderson

    FredI found you via Brad Feld via Ben Casnocha looong ago.After working on the Obama campaign 1/4 tim for 8 months i absolutely agree. From the inside, we were divided in sub-group, each with a clear and single goal, led by one of us who’d been taught to facilitate, introduced to each other by the relevant talents we brought to the task.Our meetings by phone, email and in-person were so ego-free, and goal directed that an ease and warmth emerged over time. I participated in 3 groups and led a 4th. We got to meet again on the 3rd in Chicago – such a rich and special time. Then to Grant park…. then back for more talk and celebration. His leadership was congruent, structured, first things first-oriented and we were supported in being the same.It just goes to show you that when you pick the right people (a la Marcus Buckingham) for the task, set ot the supportive structure, have a top goal and believers, you deepen belief raise the bar of expectations for “us.”We became happier and higher-performing together than any of us anticipated in the beginning. With so many dire conditions, his approach to being a ceo for our country seems right for the times.

  41. Guest

    Great blog, great comments! Fred’s post was very good, with the exception that he didn’t list “intellect”; this would be on top of my list, actually. The comments (with one exception) are fantastic, this is a remarkable community here…

  42. SS

    Yeeaah. We won. The people won! Nice work voting everyone. The popular vote was strangely close, given the wake of terror left by Bushco.

  43. Fahad Khan

    Re: 5)–If most rich people are fine with higher taxes on them (you and George Soros, for example), then, I wonder, who are those who lobby for the opposite.

  44. kristina

    Obama has yet to be on a lot of pressure. He’ll deal not only with local but global matters. America needs him – a leader with an outlook towards international COOPERATION rather than international DOMINATION. BTW, There’s this survey about the current economic downturn and I think it’s helpful to get involved.….Thanks!

  45. royeowens

    Fred,Always appreciate your insights and thoughtful positions. As a republican my candidate obviously came up a bit short on this one, but I strongly believe that all of us, regardless of political affiliation must respect and support our president. As an entrepreneur (technology, software), I too am eternally optimistic and I do have a great deal of hope for our country and for President elect Obama. Of course, being an entrepreneur and investor I have significant concerns regarding Obama’s tax policy plans, especially what may happen with the capital gains tax.I am also very interested in seeing how Obama handles the leadership aspects of being President. He is obviously very charismatic and was able to motivate his campaign team. Will his abilities continue to mature under the pressure of being President of the United States? I hope so, and I hope the team he puts together is genuinely committed to a balanced approach to policy – not republican, not democratic, but balanced, what is best for our county. I know McCain took a lot of flack regarding Palin, but I think those critisisms are mostly unfair. Yes, she is an outsider, but the experience comments do not hold water. Just look at Obama, in terms of experience, he is the most unexperienced person to ever be elected.That being said, I am a proud American and support our new President to be, Obama, and hope we can all work towards less politics and more about what our country was founded on.

    1. fredwilson

      RoyLook for cap gains on startups to be eliminated entirelyThat’s been obama’s position since he started his campaignI don’t agree with it, but it’s his position

  46. John Pollock

    Thanks for your comment, Fred, to which I’d add one more thought: groundedness.This idea began as a result of finding a YouTube clip, supposedly of a young Barack Obama, dancing away (… prior to heading to an Al Green gig. This is a President I can easily imagine dancing his socks off with his wife (and/or kids) behind closed doors in the White House with a kind of glee. Somehow I couldn’t see any of the Bush/Clinton dynasts doing the same. (In the Clintons case, ‘the project’ was far too serious: so we got reports of them reading in bed).I suspect the Obama clan have a more real hinterland, a serious and important chunk of their lives that really isn’t about politics at all, but about living well. So the image of Michelle and Barack jumping up and down on their White House bed or grooving to the Reverend Al Green at high volume on their ipod – this, somehow, I expect to be part of what this man will bring to the Presidency, too…

    1. fredwilson

      I sure hope so. I want to see george clinton in the white house!

  47. fredwilson

    Thanks for the complimentThe most naïve person there isIt¹s good to be the best at something

  48. Will

    Wow, you really are the most naive person there is. You know his cabinet is made up of Clinton staffers? He even kept Bush’s secretary of defense. Also, what makes you think he can do anything? He’s the president. He can make speeches, sign bills and start wars. That’s about it.Have fun watching another politician take an ego trip.