A Shorter Post Than I Planned

I just spent a half hour composing a longish thoughtful post on the art of saying no in the venture capital business. It was inspired by Brad Feld's post on the same topic a few days ago. However, when I hit save, Typepad forced me to re-login and after I did that, my post was gone. So I can't get back that half hour today and that post is gone for good. Maybe I'll try to do it again another day.

But in the interim, please do go read Brad's post. I agree with what he has to say about saying no. It's a big part of the VC business and doing it right is critically important.

And while you are at it, please also go read my partner Albert's post on a conversation we had at lunch yesterday (at the Shake Shack). We got to talking about mobile app development and why Android to date has missed an opportunity that Apple gave them and everyone else.

I'll be back tomorrow with something more than a couple links

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. ceonyc

    I’m surprised you don’t use an app for posting. I’m on Windows Live Writer.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t use an app for anything anymore. Firefox is my OSI usually save in draft mode but didn’t today

      1. ceonyc

        Fair enough… but the score remains…Lost Fred Posts 1Lost Charlie Posts 0:)Losing a post is the most frustrating thing ever. It’s like in school when I wrote papers w/o saving and then Windows crashed. You try to rewrite what you had, but you can’t… you really need to go for a run and then start all over.

        1. fredwilson

          Yeah, in blogging you don’t have to do it again

      2. Sethop

        In that case it sounds like you need our Firefox Addon; Lazarus Form Recovery. Recently added to the Mozilla Recommended List! http://lazarus.interclue.com

        1. Alex

          I’ll throw in another vote for Windows Live Writer. It stores the draft copies of your blog posts both locally (by default) and on the server (if you tell it to publish a draft), so you can write with a flaky internet connection and not lose any of your posts. It also handles posting a link to the blog post to Twitter for you. So far, I’ve been very pleased with it, since I do most of my blogging on the Boston commuter rail, where the wifi is definitely a bit flaky.It’s funny how “there’s an app for that!” is such a big selling point on the iPhone, but “you don’t need to install an app!” is such a big draw for the Firefox-is-my-OS movement on full-size computers. I wonder what the driver is….

        2. fredwilson

          It sounds like I do

          1. Jim "Genuine" Turner

            I swore by Live Writer and then moved to Mac. I’m still saddened but have been using Qumana on an interim and it works but its no Live Writer.

  2. Flo Pötscher

    Sorry to hear you lost the time. Since things like this happened too often to me as well I’m now a deep believer in ctrl+a ctrl+c submit. Worst case you can at least paste the major part of the text

    1. fredwilson

      I usually save a draft. I didn’t today. Ugh

      1. ShanaC

        Lazarus Plugin for Firefox- saves form data such as posts. (I haven’t tested out on sensitive data though. It might be saving credit card numbers, etc., If that is the case, you might want to be careful with it, or alternatively, use it on separate version of Firefox that is the Fred Wilson only version)

        1. Sethop

          Hey Shana, thanks for mentioning our product. Just FYI, Lazarus strongly encrypts all data before storing it locally on disk, using 2048 bit RSA + 256bit AES. You can set a password so that only you can unencrypt the data when you want to restore a form,.set it to delete all form data over a certain age, and disable it on particular domains from the status bar icon.

          1. ShanaC

            Thanks for the information- I’ll be sure to pass it on, especially since Lazarus has saved my petite behind here a number of times.

  3. Mark Essel

    Same thing happened to me on typepad while on my iphone a couple of months back. There was this moment of sadness (information lost to the void, oh no!). Then I snapped out of it realizing my thoughts and sharing are endless as long as I’m still kicking.Coincidence, hostmonster died (my host) this morning while I was posting to my wordpress blog. The good news I saved the 1000words or so before it died (I hope at least).I sent you a twitter message from Mike Chelen: http://twitter.com/VictusFa…Apparently firefox has a groovy addon that captures your typing. I haven’t tried it yet since I just moved over to chrome 95% of the time.

    1. Sethop

      That would be ours, I think: Lazarus Form Recovery. http://lazarus.interclue.com – we’re planning on doing a Chrome version, but I can’t give you an ETA.

      1. Mark Essel

        Groovy Sethop, great to hear. The fact that it’s in the works by a company who’s done it before is comforting to say the least.I’m using the word groovy too often. Insert cool sounding positive affirmation of your choice 😉

        1. Sethop

          You’re most welcome. As to positive affirmations, I’m partial to “awesome”, “fantabulous”, or “we’d like to invest in your company” 😉

    2. fredwilson

      I wasn’t that upset either. I did not write war and peace this morning

  4. OurielOhayon

    i agree Fred. This is a tough part and a recurring one.i wrote on that sometimes agohttp://ouriel.typepad.com/m…http://ouriel.typepad.com/m…and also how entrepreneurs should prepare to a VC Nohttp://ouriel.typepad.com/m…

    1. fredwilson

      Nice posts!

  5. David Noël

    re: Android – Just today, my friend Ted and his team at The Conultation Group (EMEA office) conducted a social media research about the Google Android titled: “Surviving in iPhones territory”. Maybe that’s something you’d want to look at:http://www.tcgemea.com/Home

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. I’ll check that out. Thanks

  6. Merijn Terheggen

    Also, going back to the previous page using the back button ‘should’ usually bring back the filled out form…

    1. fredwilson

      I know. I tried that. Didn’t work this morning

      1. Sethop

        Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Eventually I got fed up with the times when it didn’t; Lazarus was the eventual result. Turned out to be a bit more work than we expected (doesn’t it always?), but we eventually worked through the edge cases to the point where we could say “never lose anything you type into a web form again”, and it does seem to have made a bunch of people pretty happy.

  7. Vladimir Vukicevic

    Maybe the Internet gods were trying to send you a message.

    1. fredwilson

      It worked

  8. kidmercury

    damn boss sorry to hear typepad put the smackdown on you. looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how VCs can best diss entrepreneurs some other day.

    1. fredwilson

      How dippy VCs diss entrepreneurs apparently

  9. Lance

    Same thing just happened to me. Really annoying for a paid service to behave that way.

    1. fredwilson

      Its a bug I think cause its never happened to me before (almost six years of typepad use)

  10. rajjr_tx

    I think it’s humane to say no, but it can be frustrating. Why humane? Like a child who hangs on to the hope that ‘maybe’ actually means yes when mom or dad says maybe we’ll go get some ice cream, I feel similarly when I’m not overtly told no. I don’t think that’s unreasonable or odd. I think we believe so intently in what we’re doing that we attribute that childish hope to an answer that’s not really yes. In doing so, we can waste a lot of time and energy chasing after interest that doesn’t really exist.Tell me NO if there is no interest and I’ll move on. It would be nice if you would tell me why no, but that’s another comment.

  11. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Re: ‘No’ – Binary decision-making/communication is good.

  12. Tom Krieglstein

    I’m on Typepad as well and use the ScribeFire FF addon. I really like it and have yet to lose any of my posts. Plus it lets me easily post between various blogs we run.That’s my 2cents.ps. ScribeFire please make my check payable to Tom Krieglstein 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Scribefire also supports zemanta. So if I was going to use a client, it would be scribefire

  13. GeekMBA360

    Sorry to hear that you lost the article. Why not use a offline, desktop editor? I use Microsoft Live Writer — it’s surprisingly good.

    1. fredwilson

      Surprisingly good?? Because most sw from microsoft is not?

  14. Avia Aharon
  15. Jon Michael Miles

    On yesterdays post about exit markets – Matt Taibbi has an article in Rolling Stone that is probably of note. If the ecology of exit markets has been spoiled with the seeding of deep distrust by average investors then perhaps there is a deeper problem. Interested in your thoughts on this..http://www.boingboing.net/2

    1. fredwilson

      jon, that’s a long article. but it’s an interesting topic. i’ve printed it out and will read it this weekend and let you know what i think.

  16. Keenan

    I’m still processing “longish, thoughtful post” and half hour. I’m clearly doing something wrong. My quick and short posts take a half hour. My “longish, thoughtful posts” take an hour plus.Give up the secret Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      It could be that my idea of long and thoughtful is your idea of short and quick. But we’ll never know because that post evaporated into the ether

      1. Keenan


    2. ShanaC

      Word count and Flesch-Kincaid reading level rarely tell you anything. Also, something I have noticed, it takes a lot of practice, even when you work with a writing system (which I try to do), to come out with something cohesive. This blog is almost six years old and is maintaining a steady community of readers. I would say, with complements, that the learning curve at that point to create a post should have flattened.

  17. Raanan Bar-Cohen

    @fredwilson and @OurielOhayon – I cringe every time I read about a lost post — that should never happen.On the WordPress platform, we’ve had an auto-save feature (defaults to save every 1 minute but can be tweaked) for over 3 years now. Couple that with post revisions (http://bit.ly/enCCe), and those two features have literally “saved” me countless times when I’ve walked away from a laptop with a dwindling battery, or had a rare Firefox browser crash.

  18. Jim "Genuine" Turner

    Classic example of why you should move to WordPress and the autosave feature. I have relied on it more than once. Working on the art of no myself at the moment.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m not gonna move to WP.

  19. Jared Goralnick

    While I would also agree to Windows Live Writer (possibly the best blogging software out there), the type of posts that you write wouldn’t benefit as much from its UI. If you used a lot of images or embeds then it offers more value with its automated resizing, preview features, and such. You might like its running word count, but there are plenty of apps that do that.A good “insurance” application that I recommend to my colleagues and employees is TimeSnapper–it takes a screenshot of everything you do in intervals you choose, encrypted and searchable. Then when things like this happen (which happen in much less public ways than when one loses a blog post), one need merely fire up TimeSnapper’s player and see exactly what you’d written or drawn or whatever at that time. It even has OCR to grab the text back. I can’t tell you how many times that’s helped when I’d forgotten an address and was offline or closed a Basecamp window before hitting submit, etc. On a weekly basis it saves my butt.Anyhow, that’s my quick thought. Look forward to more pithy thoughts tomorrow!

    1. fredwilson

      Wow. TimeSnapper seems very cool

  20. TamiMForman

    Oh man, that is the worst, worst thing. It’s happened to me in Word, TypePad, WordPress … and probably dozens of other programs I’ve chosen to forget about. I feel your pain.

  21. maverickny

    I lost a few posts on Typepad too, and always long ones at that (@#$!) so started looking for other alternatives.The latest thing that is working well for me is Posterous. You set up a Posterous page very easily and then send via Gmail the post either as text with links, audio, or YouTube embed etc to Posterous and that auto posts to your blog, Facebook or Twitter etc if set up as a lifestream. Gmail tends to autosave drafts so there is less risk of losing a long post.You can even record an audio on the iPhone voice app and mail it to Posterous/blog just like that. Very cool.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. Tumblr works that way too. I post many of tumblr posts via email

  22. ShanaC

    May I put a followup pithy statement “It may be terrifying- but it never hurts to just ask a question- the worst you can get is no or no answer.”

  23. James O'Connor

    Fred, I just read Brad’s post on ‘saying no.’ In my life and occupation, I don’t have to say ‘no’ anywhere near to 10-50 times a day though I could certainly see how when you have something that so many people desire (i.e. funding), that could happen. I hope you do re-write the post in the not too distant future. I’d be interested to get another VC’s perspective on how and when you say ‘no.’ Namely, I’m wondering if you also find that you make up your mind to say ‘no’ to something in 60 seconds or if there’s another approach which you take.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll get to it. These posts come to me, I write them, and then I move on. Its an effort to go back and rewrite something. But I will do that

  24. paramendra

    A VC like you probably says no to more than 99% of the pitches that come your way. Most of them are probably bogus ideas that will not, should not see the light of day, probably. Many are good ideas that are not in your vision zone. Quite a few are great ideas whose execution you have doubts about. A handful are great ideas that you will beat yourself up on later because you should have said yes, but you said no. Ultimately you have only so much time and money to invest. And you can handle only so many startups at a time.How to say no?(1) All the best, but I am not interested. (2) This might be attractive to some other VC, but it is not to me. (3) You will likely do well, but your startup does not fall in my vision zone. Sorry.(4) I just don’t have the bandwidth for yet another startup right now, but let’s stay in touch. (5) No, thanks. (6) I am probably wrong in saying no, but I am saying it. I just don’t have the bandwidth to take you on board. (7) Go get a job. Entrepreneurship is not for you, I don’t think so. (8) My current portfolio is keeping me plenty busy. (9) Let’s wait out the Great Recession, shall we? (10) No.

    1. fredwilson

      Nice list. I’ve used a few of those for sure

  25. patmoore

    Fred meet Lazarus. Lazarus meet Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      I got it and I now feel protected