Great Meetup Last Night

About a hundred readers of this blog gathered last night in the cafeteria of Washington Irving High School just off of Union Square in Manhattan to meet each other and celebrate the generosity of this community in the recent Donors Choose Bloggers Challenge.

It was a great moment for me. I got to meet many readers who I know by name but not in person. Putting a face to a name is a wonderful thing. I also got to meet Sarah Bunting, whose blog, Tomato Nation, raised $315,000 for Donors Choose in October. Talk about "blog stars". I've got a lot to learn from Sarah.

And I got to meet a bunch of teachers. One woman teaches middle schoolers in the Bronx with special needs. A couple others teach music in a middle school in southern brooklyn. A third teaches pre-K in the East Village. I met several others as well. 

I am telling you that these people (all women) are doing god's work. And it made my day to meet them and know that we all did something to help them.

It may have been the first meetup I've done with all of you, but it won't be the last. Thanks to everyone who showed up. I know we were competing with the Yankees but I got home in time to see them put the Phils away and I suspect most everyone else did too.

#VC & Technology#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. ErikSchwartz

    Who are the Yankees?

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      They are a bit like Sheffield Wednesday, I think, Erik … a sleeping giant that has woken up!

    2. fredwilson

      I told everyone that would listen that Jay-Z gave em back their mojo before game two

      1. ErikSchwartz

        Seriously. Terrific event. Important cause.Thanks.PS The Red Sox will sign Matsui and win the World Series next year.

      2. Satish Mummareddy

        Thank God the Yankees won. My wife still blames me for the Yankees losing to the RedSox in 2004. She met me in person for the first time on the day the Yankees lost the first game after being up 3-0. She didn’t watch baseball for a couple of years after that.Just followed scored online 🙂 And if they lost his year i might have been searching for a divorce lawyer. 😛

        1. ShanaC


      3. kidmercury

        the phillies really blew an opportunity in taking the mojo back by not trying to get some of the folks jay-z beefs with to open for them. jay-z beefs with everyone, that’s his marketing strategy, the phils really could have used it against him. oh well, next year.

        1. ShanaC

          Explain that to a phillies fan. While sitting next to him.

        2. fredwilson

          Good point

        3. William Mougayar

          We should have piped in Kid via video conference. A meetup without him is not the same. I really wanted to meet you, not Fred 🙂

          1. fredwilson

            I think there’s a lot of us who feel that way william

          2. William Mougayar

            You may have to organize a repeat event!

  2. William Mougayar

    It was a great meetup. I met additional new faces, but the highlight for me was to learn more about the Donors Choose organization- I was very impressed by their dedication and vision.

    1. Mark Essel

      Great to meet up in person William. Glad to hear things are rolling along well for eqentia and looking forward to seeing where you aim that discovery portal.

      1. William Mougayar

        Mark- Thanks for your support! And meeting you was another highlight as well.

  3. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Sounds great, Fred. Would have been great to have been there. We all have a lot to learn from such altruistic initiatives. As you may recall, Helen (my wife) is a teacher so this is a subject especially close to my heart.We cannot wait for/expect ‘government’ to manage and support education – we all need to be far more proactive in this domain. It’s too important. Well done, everyone – especially Sarah!

    1. Mark Essel

      It was jaw dropping to realize how much she raised. I felt a little embarassed our blog community only raised a tenth. Can’t help but feel competitive when it comes to great activities like empowering teachers 🙂

  4. ADstruc

    Great to meet you and get a chance to catch up last night, Fred. It was an amazing event to be a part of and I look forward to future ones.I’ll keep you posted on ADstruc’s progress.All the best,

  5. awaldstein

    Fred–great meetup. The process of being able to donate efficiently, get a personal response from the teachers and then meet these folks seems like that way it should be. Just felt right.As well, for many of us who are at the cutting edge of tech, finding out that many of the children in these classes didn’t even have computers at home, connects me personally to the process. Thnx.

    1. Mark Essel

      Oh darnit I missed saying hi Arnold. That’s it next time I’m hopping on a chair and saying hi to everyone 🙂

      1. awaldstein

        Next time Mark. Or just come on down to NY anytime.

    2. William Mougayar

      Hey Arnold, Nice meeting you too, and putting a real face between those sunglasses…

      1. awaldstein


  6. Farhan Lalji

    Wish I could have been there but the trip from Switzerland’s a bit much.As the husband of a teacher (like Carl) more than happy to help out the cause. See you in Paris!

  7. JenC

    Great meet-up – so good to get “real time” with the DonorsChoose group – wonderful, intelligent and dedicated people. Definitely helps keep my overall view in perspective. And might I also add – though I enjoy a cheesesteak from Pat’s every now and then, I much prefer the Yankees!

  8. Keenan

    There is power in community and blogging/social media are increasing the velocity of creating community every day. We are in amazing times. It’s exciting to see.Congrats on a successful effort Fred.

  9. andyswan

    One thing I think that would make DonorsChoose exponentially more valuable:Turn some of the projects into “experiments” using new technologies (supplied by donors) and methodologies (that the teacher is passionate about). The teacher could then publish their experience and recommendations to other teachers through the DonorsChoose network…..thus allowing other teachers to “piggyback” on the most successful ideas and donors to continue funding EFFECTIVE projects/technologies.Just thinking there is a lot of power to create real CHANGE in the network they are creating. Assuming the government schools allow them to stray off course from the top priority of self-esteem boosting 😉

    1. Mark Essel

      Great idea Andy. That clause at the end is what we have to change, self esteem should develop naturally from honest learning. Not peddled in a charlatan manner to kids.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      Before doing that, someone ought to collect and centralize the results of all of the previous educational experiments over the last several decades, so people don’t try the same things and expect different results. There’s a rich history of failure following educational experiments over the years.

      1. andyswan

        Good point.

  10. Chris Robison

    Thanks for hosting the meetup Fred. While many of us are from the Internet/high tech space, it was great to meet people from other industries with a different set of interests and perspectives. I’d love to see more events that bring together this type of diverse group, linked though a similar entry point — DonorsChoose and you in this case.

  11. andreaitis

    Thanks also to Elaine for coordinating on the Donors Choose side. Loved meeting her — her energy and enthusiasm is completely contagious. I’m glad we could all help make a difference.

  12. ErikSchwartz

    I met a bunch of folks who read regularly, have really interesting things to say, but never comment. Don’t be shy, join the fray!

  13. Jeff Judge

    You should do meetups in other cities – like Chicago 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      I know. That’s what I am going to try to do. When I travel, I never make time to stick around and meetup. I’ve got a wife and kids that I want to get back to. So its a challenge

      1. ShanaC

        You love them and are committed to them. That’s a good thing. From what I hear, and what I see, being on the road is already hard. Having that torch for them is good. Keeps people honest.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Fred gets the joy of rediscovering them (<– from before your time, Shana, I know).

          1. ShanaC

            Dave this is the worst possible time. I’m in an absolute panic. One of the peices I posted on Fred’s daughter’s blog, Art Dova, on facebook, may or may not be violating their terms of service. It’s starting to be treated as spamland, except it reallt is a peice ofI invited people from my dorm/university with the login ([email protected])and the password(psswrd) Someone gave me the advice of inviting my friends randomly, and to push it further and invite randomness randomly. Andf people are randomly using it too. So I have no idea what is going on. It’s a piece of Net.Art with a completely expansive asyncronous collective mind. The people who have logged in (and new people keep coming forward every day) have a variety of reactions from awesome, control, hate, fear, and non-understanding (which is really good for art.)It is descendent from things like this:http://www.0100101110101101…and…Except trying to harness social networks. I might try other stuff, but right now I may be legally at stake. I have no clue what is going on. What do I do?

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Sorry, wish I could help you, but I clicked on the links and still don’t quite understand what your project is and what the problem with it is. Besides, I’m not a lawyer. I’d consult one if you think you need one. That’s one area I don’t skimp on. E.g., with my new venture I made sure to hire a lawyer familiar both with the relevant IT and securities issues.If your project is a not-for-profit art project, maybe there are lawyers who work with artists on a pro bono basis, I don’t know.

          3. ShanaC

            The EFF and probably a friend of a freing of mine. Marks also wieghing in on the “is this art and what do you do” People ha e really strong reactions to contemporary art, one of which is yours. Internet art is fairly new. And I’m being very radical in that field too. And a little headstrong. so uhh yeah, hopefully it should be ok. But uhh yeah (world, if you see this, artists are complexly wierd creatures that bang at stuff until it works, it works, and then it goes sort of wrong)

    2. ShanaC

      There are enough people here that we could self-organise, you know. Just because Fred happens to exist in New York and some of us exist in other cities, doesn’t mean the other city people can’t get together and do our own thing. It actually might be a good thing long term to see who is where as people move around the country. Webspaces might be more central meeting points, and we organize to re-inforce those commitments. So mini-meetups. So that we know what’s what.

  14. Mark Essel

    I wish we all wore giant labels, “Hey I’m Mark Essel.”I felt like I may have known so many there by name, but ended up only talking to those I was able to recognize.

    1. fredwilson

      I hear you. But I veto’d that. I don’t like badges. But erik’s idea that we wear our disqus avatar instead is awesome

      1. Mark Essel

        We forgot a group picture, that would have been nice!

        1. fredwilson

          Yup. Live and learn

      2. kidmercury

        lol yeah i’m definitely down for wearing our avatars

  15. stephaniefisher

    Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Fred Wilson,, and all of the donors. I am one of the teachers whose class recieved goods donated through this blog. It was great to meet the people who made this all possible! I hope to do more work with everyone in the future.Sincere Gratitude,Stephanie Fisher

    1. fredwilson

      I think the gratitude should be for the work you do with the kids

  16. JimHirshfield

    I was surprised to meet people from the Caribbean, Toronto, and California at the event. It was a nice mashup of backgrounds (tech, edu, finance) and a unique vibe in contrast to all the tech meetups out there.

  17. Dan Goldin

    I had a great time. I met a lot of interesting people and I’m glad that the teachers were able to make it out!

  18. sdbunting

    Thanks for having me, Fred — great to meet you (and all of YOU) at last, and I appreciate your many kind words about Tomato Nation and its readers. Looking forward to the next meet-up.

  19. ShanaC

    Sorry I missed it- but at least I met some new people down here.

  20. Jamie Lin

    Great event. Thanks, Fred.

  21. Nick Giglia

    It was a great event. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet so many exciting people and to contribute to the worthy cause that is DonorsChoose. There is an incredible community of people reading this blog, and it felt great to be a small part of that.Fred, it was a pleasure to meet you in person. I’m glad you liked the phrase on my card.

    1. fredwilson

      I love the attitude you express on your card

  22. kirklove

    I sense too much glee in “put the Phils away” statement, still, very great meeting you, Fred. ; )Thanks for the event.Kid, I feel your pain. Go Birds.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m not a yankee fan but as a met fan, any pain the phils feel fees good to me

  23. Angela

    Hi Fred,I think that it is nice that you help out start-up technology companies. I’m trying to get the word out to VC’s like you, about a new website called Conektinc at It matches VCs with entrepreneurs. If you are interested, you can enter in your e-mail address at the link I provided to receive a notice of the launch of this new site. Thank you!

  24. robsanchez

    Thank you for putting together the meetup. It was great meeting you – nice to meet the man behind the advice and conversations. I loved having a chance to talk with the teachers and learned a lot about ESL and special ed classrooms.

  25. George A.

    nice post. not the forum, but who did you guys tick off at techcrunch. tough article on pincus/zygna.

    1. kidmercury

      yeah that was brutal. i mean hard to argue with that video.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s just mike being mike