This News Made Me Smile A Mile Wide

Like I do every morning, I logged into Techmeme to find this news:


That’s an image, sorry about that, here’s the link to the WSJ story, but I wanted you all to see how I heard the news.

This is so great on so many levels. Let’s start with the first reason. The new head of the FCC reads this blog. He’s heard me talk about the issues he’ll now make policy on. And he’s heard your views on those issues.

Here’s the second reason. He’s a venture capitalist, at least that’s what he’s been doing for the past couple years.

Here’s the third reason. He’s an internet executive, at least that’s what he did for most of this decade when he helped Barry Diller assemble and build IAC.

Here’s the fourth reason. He’s the guy who talked me into meeting Barack Obama back in 2007 and ultimately supporting Obama. He went to law school with Barack and has known him for 20 years.

Here’s the fifth reason. He’s not new to the FCC, having worked there during the Clinton administration.

Here’s the sixth reason. He knows his way around Washington. Before the FCC, he clerked for Brennan and Souter on the Supreme Court.

Here’s the seventh reason. He’s smart as shit. I suppose you didn’t need me to tell you that given his resume.

Here’s the eigth reason. He’s right on all the issues. But don’t take it from me, here’s a snippet from the WSJ piece:

During the campaign, Mr. Genachowski served as the top technology
adviser to Mr. Obama, putting together a detailed technology and
innovation plan that expressed support for open Internet or "net
neutrality" protections; media-ownership rules that encourage more
diversity; and expansion of affordable broadband access across the

Here’s the ninth reason. He’s one of us (I guess you didn’t need me to tell you that either). He’s even got a Wikipedia entry.

Here’s the tenth and final reason. He’s a super nice, decent, honest guy.

This news, while not unexpected, made my day and made me smile a mile wide. A friend of tech and the Internet and the startup ecosystem running the FCC. Just think about that and smile with me.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. bijan

    You are so right.especially reason #10.very happy for him.

  2. Peter Corbett

    Change has come to Washington, Fred. From the grass roots, all the way to the top it looks like were sync’d up to get some important work done over the coming years!

  3. CJ

    That’s incredible. This is the type of change we need in DC, someone who has an understanding of technology that extends past the era of the VCR and a 14.4kbps modem.

  4. gregorylent

    sounds good .. wonder if the chief of staff and the secretary of state and the party machine, and the machine behind the scenes, will give him any room to do anything useful .. hope so.

  5. Andy Sternberg

    What great news to start Inauguration Week! High fives all around.

  6. fredwilson

    I’ll find out the answers. Julius might even show up and answer them himself!Just yesterday Kid Mercury and I were lamenting that you haven’t been around much lately to provide your unique Jacksonian take on these important issues and now you show up to prove us wrong!

    1. jackson

      If I was working, I’d be all up in your, uh, stuff…….

      1. fredwilson

        Well then I¹ll have to figure out how to help make that happen

  7. howard lindzon

    just ten reasons? not convinced 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I left out the fact that he loved your white rapper act on wallstrip

  8. Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey

    Interesting. I am “thinking about that” given the great resume. And endorsements. Withholding the smile for the moment. Guess it is best to watch and see… wonder if it is his idea to delay the DTV switch, and if he will reverse Martin’s decision to press on.-skiP.S. If there is a shortage of boxes, I know of a lot of old ladies that bought them in a panic, not realizing that they have cable and do not need one.

  9. jackson

    More importantly, what kind of music does he like? How many Thin Lizzy records does he have? Does he still employ a turntable in his home? Smart, Schmart, can he hear the difference between a 128 kbs mp3 and an aac file? This jury is out until the REAL questions get asked.

  10. fredwilson

    Indeed. This is as important, possibly more so, than helping out our old and failing industrial economy

  11. davemc500hats

    awesome. even more psyched to have him running FCC with your endorsement fred 🙂

  12. kidmercury

    hi mr genachowski if you read this a couple quick points1. 9/11 was an inside job, research it if you are not aware already (click my name for more info). CIA agents, congressional representatives, international prime ministers, NYFD, NYPD, victims family members, and many more agree, it is the most important issue in the world today2. please do not bring back the fairness doctrine (will be used to undermine point #1)3. please do not bring us internet 2 or any type of internet regulation in the name of protecting us from terrorists (which are manufactured, see point #1) or in the name of protecting children (parents’ responsibility, not the state’s)4. if you have a chat with obama tell him the deficit spending is going to destroy the dollar and that deficit spending to finance war is unnecessary (see point #1)5. i go for the softball issues, but please answer jackson’s questions elsewhere in this thread, they were some brutal questions he asked but honestly we do need answers

    1. Karen E

      Great points, KM. While we’re on the subject of appointees, how about some actual Arabs advising Obama on the Middle East? Move beyond ludicrousness, Barack! See Roger Cohen’s Dream Team article NYT 1/11.

  13. alex

    Power to the people! With one of us manning the levers of the machine for once – I guess its time to finally try out that “Ludicrous Speed” setting.

  14. gzino

    The FCC voted to open up whitespaces for unlicensed wireless use on the same day Obama was elected. Let’s hope Obama, Genachowski and company work hard to ensure this great spectrum is indeed truly open to all parties and innovation.

    1. Tom Evslin

      Supporting the white spaces/open spectrum experiment is a key test for the new administration and the new chair. As reader Jeff Ski Kinsey pointed out in his comment, recommending postponing the cutover from analog TV and thus delaying the use of both the white spaces and the recently auctioned 700Mhz spectrum is not an auspicious start for the new administration in telecommunications – but that will be trivial if the new chairman can do all that must be done to give us a competitive telecommunications industry and enable us to regain the lead in connectivity and connectivity-based innovation.more at

      1. fredwilson

        Great post tom. Small delay is key.

        1. Tom Evslin

          Thanks, Fred.If he comes even close to meeting your expectations, the delay won’t matter at all in the long run.

  15. chrisco

    The proof of the pudding will be in the eating 🙂 Will he be a puppet for big business, like (some of) his predecessors or will he help tear down the walls, unleash the creative destruction that maintains the status quo?

  16. brooksjordan

    Excellent. Let’s ask not just what he can do for us, but what we can do for him.

    1. fredwilson

      Agreed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the FCC had a blog where they could actually ask us to do stuff for them?

      1. Sknygrydg07

        this is the best idea yet! does he have a twitter account that we can follow?What can you do for us lowly ‘shlubs’ that would really appreciate an FCC blog? You seem to know the guy real well…

        1. fredwilson

          I don¹t know him that well, but the next time I see him or talk to him (noidea when that will be), I¹ll ask for a blog and a twitter account for theFCC

      2. brooksjordan

        Yep, and I think they’re learning a ton about how to do it right on That’s a model that the FCC could build off of, but extend by supporting self-organizing responses to certain issues.

      3. Defcon_5

        YES! The abject secrecy has to be the first to go. It perpetuates the corporate-lobbyist-old DC rut.

  17. Puddick Rabnor

    Smart as shit?I’m sorry about that.

    1. Zopop

      As a french reader, I do not understand this. So “smart as shit” means “very very smart” or “101% stupid” ?

      1. fredwilson

        Its a fredism for ‘really really smart’

      2. MuteDonkey

        Yeah, oddly enough, it means “very smart”. Also, if someone says, “That’s the shit!” it means, “That’s cool!”, but if they say, “That’s shit” it means “That sucks”.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s just me being me

      1. markslater

        in england the F word replace shit.

        1. Guest

          coincidentally, in the past eight years FCCs only function appeared to be controlling the airwaves for the F-word (or Janet Jackson’s wardrobe…)

  18. James Rodmell


  19. MuteDonkey

    Yay! Let’s socialize the internet!! 🙂 Free broadband for everyone!!! =DWhoever said that guns couldn’t solve all of our problems? Isn’t it the threat of violence that allows us to push everyone around while we set up our E-topia? I, for one, welcome our new bureaucratic overlords! Thank god for starry-eyed internet imperialism!!

  20. maxkalehoff

    I don’t personally know Genachowski, but I hear great things about him. I also know Kevin Werbach, and I hope he’s kept heavily involved over the long-term as well.

  21. Charbax

    Here are my suggestions:1. media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity: That sounds awesome. It needs to be in the form of providing everyone with enough bandwidth and new VOD set-top-box standards that will enable a majority of the population not only to have digital TV, but to have full open on-demand access to all Internet videos directly on people’s TV in HD quality. Now sure you can just sit and wait for the industry to bring better set-top-boxes, I think though the Government needs to seriously provide support for this transition from centralized media to decentralized media access for everyone. This includes providing enough bandwidth, caching mechanisms, peering aggreements to support it in HD quality for everyone.2. I do believe it is important to provide router-level filtering of adult-only material from the whole Internet to protect our Children. Simply design a very effective decentralized adult-material reporting and categorization system. And simply make it very easy for registered adults to unlock that Child safely system for their Internet connections. Simple make it so parents can control if that switch is activated on their home Internet connections. This has got nothing to do with blocking of anything else then adult material. Nothing to do with blocking piracy nor terrorist stuff.3. Legalize piracy. Pay artists and sponsorize movie and music making through taxes. Decentralize control on the movie and music industries. That goes with your plan to implement “media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity”.4. Free 700mhz wireless broadband should be deployed nationwide in a record amount of time using very optimized put to use of Network Neutrality. Simply deploy new types of wireless routers which people can install in their homes, connect those routers on peoples ADSL, Cable and Fiber connections. From within people’s homes, using a same international standard like to authenticate users using a browser session, you thus provide the cheapest deloyment of a free to use 700mhz nationwide network. A network built by the people, for the people. This network is thus unlicenced, simply approve the routers so that they all authenticate wireless 700mhz users in the same way. Within th White Spaces system.5. Implement OLPC worldwide. Power consumption of laptops needs to be regulated. Intel uses too much power. We need 1W max power usage for laptops. This will encourage ARM based Linux laptops to become the standard, cheapest laptops should cost below $100, thus this way you fix the digital divide, you limit the power consumption of Internet access terminals and this way you encourage competition in the PC architecture and OS markets, you encourage the optimization of computer resources through cloud computing.

    1. Sknygrydg07

      this sounds like a great ‘utopia’ – but not all people play ‘nice’ in order for these systems to work. You’re proposing balanced and intelligent solutions, but you’re assuming that others have the same definition of ‘fair’ as you do. It’s because of those differences in definition that we are in our current state.Legalize piracy and sponsorize movie and music making through taxes? Tell me when you come back to planet Earth. There’s no way the major media corporations are going to relinquish that revenue, and they have have so much social influence to make your proposal seem like anarchy. The American public won’t agree to any government supported art – look how well our Public Access stations are doing!You’re ideas are best for ‘Brave New World’, but are completely unrealistic for ours.

    2. john duxx

      Pay artists and sponsorize movie and music making through taxes.This concept is insane. Allowing a Federal beaureaucrat to determine which artists deserve payment would be censorship in the extreme. Fortunately, it has no chance whatsoever of being realized.

    3. sidewind69

      or better use or buy cheap but powerfull optimized laptops at around $100, wireless and built well i’ve been providing them locally optimized to a tee with enough priograms to get you started, not really 1 watt but more efficient (p3s) and just as fast if not than new ‘machine’smokers..69

  22. Paul Lightfoot

    fantastic. Congrats Julius!

  23. Jack Reacher

    Ya…the last time the socialist were in control of the White House, they “opened up” the internet. Remember, they made it so that any ole start-up could use Verizon’s or ATT’s fat pipe into everyone’s home. Happy Day’s were JUST ahead. Except the socialists forgot one thing: the big telephone companies were not about to build out those fat pipes and then let some else rap all the rewards. So….don’t you remember?…..the DID NOT BUILD it out. And all the “VCs” went BUST. The market came crashing down.This is what happens when socialists attempt to play Santa. Another very visible example is the current crisis. All started by the same people who decided “everyone” …hehe…meaning ALL VOTERS…deserve a house, even if they could not afford one. Nice move.

    1. fredwilson

      How about the railroad system in the 19th century or interstate highway system in the 20th century? Was it a mistake to build them? Broadband is the 21st century equivalent I think

  24. dhdeans

    Fred, I share your enthusiasm for this appointment. However, there’s so much to do (and undo) from the Kevin Martin legacy. Mr. Genachowski will have a full plate of significant policy issues from day one on the job.

  25. markslater

    why at the router level? its been a long time since i was in networking, but this filtering needs to happen at the premise not in the cloud surely.

  26. I like his resume, but the last two words of #10 mean the most for this country right now.

  27. musigny

    seems like a very good choice. but how does he feel about a la carte pricing for cable operators?

    1. fredwilson

      I don¹t know. I¹ll see if I can find out

  28. justin Behar

    Couldn’t agree more. Outside of Arne Duncan, this is Obama’s best pick yet. Hope he continues in this direction.

  29. libertarian

    Wow! ANOTHER appointee from the Clinton Administration! That’s the change we can believe in!

  30. Bob

    here’s one reason to frown from the article you linked to: “…media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity…”.

  31. john duxx

    Honest fellow? I will trust you on this one, however BHO has a poor track record of associating with persons with honest behavior. It’s the “Chicago way”.

  32. Joe Schmoo

    So he’s great because he’s just like you?he’s great because he’s a venture capitalist… bahahahahaa… that’s like saying, “Lawyers make great congressmen…”

    1. fredwilson

      I listed ten reasonsOne of them is because he¹s been a VCA few others are because he¹s been in the internet tech businessThe rest are not ³he¹s just like me²

  33. John Furrier

    Thanks God we now are going to see some real innovation.. Broadband for everyone and open internet. Big smile here

  34. JayR

    I went to Jewish day school with him. (Julius, hello from Jay Rand if you read the comments).

    1. fredwilson

      now we’re talking.jay, jackson has some questions you might be able to answer about him…

      1. JayR

        Hard to say, Jackson. I left that school in 1973. And one of the missions of that school was to keep us from being exposed to the kind of music that you like.

        1. JayR

          … and that I grew to like. 🙂

  35. Debs

    Fred -thanks for posting! Julius rocks! Smart “gets it” great connector and innovator – good stuff all around!

  36. Druce Vertes

    I seem to remember his goofball writings for the Columbia Spectator… since they must have overlapped I wonder if he’s the only guy who knew Obama back then LOL … sounds like he will make a great pick…

  37. Guest

    Not exactly the same feeling probably, but I too felt something similar when Steven Chu was nominated for Energy Secretary. Imagine that, a supersmart physicist for Energy Secretary!On second thought, though, how pathetic shape this country is, if we have to celebrate that smart people will be in charge? Isn’t this supposed to be the default option?

  38. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Yay! That’s awesome. I’m crossing my fingers that Obama can lead all of this talent he’s assembling and do it well. Managing mediocre performers is different than managing a team of all stars. They still need management and to be held accountable or as we’ve seen even the very smart guys/gals can go wayward.

  39. Candres

    As someone familiar with the kronyism of the previous FCC chair, (although somewhat pleased that he became a bit more pragmatic at the end) I applaud this change! Kevin Martin was married to Dick Cheney’s public affairs advisor and has the dubious honor of being dragged over the coals by William Safire, a very conservative columnist for consolidating media channels to the ‘five families’. “That’s why I march uncomfortably alongside Code Pink Women for Peace, the National Rifle Association, under the banner of localism, competition, and diversity of views.” — William Safire 5/25/2003

  40. Mike

    So your saying that the FLINTSTONES will no longer be running the Internet that Al Gore created. Cool!

  41. kenroy george

    definitely smiling right now.

  42. rc

    I wonder how much more of Obama’s picks are recycled Clintonian administration members. I wonder if this will have an effect on the ‘radical new change’ Obama is supposed to bring to office. I suspect we will see the same policies with a different salesman.

  43. vruz

    it’s awesome news indeed. I hope he’s actually *smarter* than shit.Shit is exactly what we got during the Bush years.

  44. Tom Nocera

    The selection of Julius Genachowski to head the FCC appears to be one of the best decisions made by President-elect Obama, thus far. Thank you, Fred, for sharing your 10 reasons for being pleased with the decision. The enthusiasm you have expressed is contagious and, well, powerful as shit.

  45. Tom_Nocera

    One more point regarding Julius Genachowski’s selection, if I may. (Since it is reported that he reads this blog, and might one day read the comments.)The airwaves belong to the public. Past FCC rule changes regarding local ownership requirements of broadcast licenses for both radio and TV stations must be reviewed and then modified in ways that will bring about a return to local ownership. When it comes to the powerful influence of the broadcast media having the ownership centralized and controlled by a scant handful of very powerful corporate entities does not foster true diversity and limits the public’s choices for information. Therefore, concentrated ownership of broadcast licenses runs contrary to traditional American values. Thanks for having the courage to take action that will result in the return to local ownership of America’s airwaves.