The AVC Reader Census

We (Nathan and me) added a new widget to this blog yesterday. It’s on the right sidebar above the Flickr photo widget. The purpose of this widget is to answer a few questions about the people who read this blog.

If you wish, you can take the survey right here on this post.

Powered by

This census/survey is powered by Hunch which is an interesting decision/recommendations service based in NYC. I mentioned the service last week in my post about selecting a hotel to stay in.

We’ve already got some data coming in about what this readership looks like. Here is a screenshot of the first few data points. Click on that link to see them all.

Reader survey screenshot
The sample size is still too small to make any conclusions. I’ll post again in a week or two when we have some real data.

Should be interesting and relevant to Kid Mercury’s thoughts on blog stars and blog communities.


Comments (Archived):

  1. hallson

    Since these hunch surveys are probably going to be popping up all over the web, it would be really cool if one could just transfer the results from one site to another, instead of having to fill it out again. Obviously, this assumes your are logged into Hunch when you do it.

    1. fredwilson

      good suggestioni bet chris dixon will be by here at one point today and will read this

    2. Mark Essel

      I’d prefer Hunch get smarter and learn from my natural social media usage. Of course, that’s one helluva different problem. I believe it’s worth working on.

      1. andyswan

        Mark that’s what Google does. But as twitter and facebook have demonstrated, people prefer voluntarily giving up ALL of the information about themselves, rather than having some of it “spied on”. “Don’t judge me!…..but here’s what I think and do all day!”

        1. Mark Essel

          Hmm, you’ve got a point there Andy. I was blinded by my own need for lazy input channels that help me discover what I’m really interested in. Will continue learning, you can see what the speedy hacker Tyler is up to at Next up is swapping the ads there out for real time search. It’s an opt in setup, and should be completely transparent (we’ll be working in some less than transparent pattern matching though). Why should Google & Facebook have all the fun with data.You can find others conversing about the same topics as you are in real time. It’s a form of structure to real time conversations. Maybe check out their profile tags to see what they talk about.

        2. ShanaC

          that Judgement is so important. It is actually a form of self judgement in the brain. So I have discovered recently. It’s a form of self control versus other control. Making art is very weird. Though now I need to write to Howard Lindzon… someone put him into the art party, and I have no idea what to tell him, because it wasn’t me.

      2. kidmercury

        i agree. i also like the human recommendation engine approach some companies are working on (less automated), which i think is simpler and perhaps more feasible until some tech whiz creates the killer app to learn from social media usage, as you suggest.although i participated in the AVC reader hunch poll as a “peer pressure” type of thing — everyone else in the community was doing it, fred the resident blog star said it was cool, so i got curious and wanted to see how i stacked up. i made it through the first 25 questions, although i feel like if you are going to ask me 25 questions, i should get some type of reward at the end. now i just feel like an outcast for being a vegetarian πŸ™‚

        1. ShanaC

          I respect your vegetarianism. The new question, how do we get to you really awesome vegetarian recipes?

        2. fredwilson

          I may join you kidIf I’m allowed to eat a steak once a quarter

          1. kidmercury

            it’s worth it boss! i recommend vegetarianism to everyone, i think at least for me it makes me feel more mentally alert and healthier. i prefer to focus my doom and gloom on 9/11 but if you want some bad news on this subject netflix has some great documentaries on the meat manufacturing process here in the US.although i should note i eat seafood every few months, which some of my hardcore vegetarian friends diss me for and say wipes away all my vegetarian street cred. damn.

  2. andrewparker

    How is it possible that only 13% of your readers prefer Sci-Fi? I feel like most technologists lean sci-fi. Case and point: the majority of USV’s investment thesis is inspired by Snow Crash πŸ˜‰

    1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

      Yeah but I think most of us also read (smart) business books and other non fiction, which is my case. Love SF, but haven’t read an SF book in years, whereas I frequently read books on things like business, international relations, economics, etc.

      1. andrewparker

        Business/Non-Fiction books are like broccoli to me. I read them, but theydon’t taste good to my brain. Sci-Fi is pure candy.One caveat: 95% of SciFi is horrible… simply unreadable. The last 5% ofSciFi is so good it completely makes up for the other 95% and makes it myfavorite genre.

        1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

          I take your point about SF, but I would say the same thing is true aboutnon-fiction, with the same ratio (more like 99/1 for business but that’s atopic for another day).

        2. fredwilson

          A fantastic curation oppty

        3. Mark Essel

          The hard part is finding the perfect 5% for you. The netflix answer and related music suggestions algorithms could help with enough data. There needs to be a set of heurisitics that Sci fi fans can help build. How did Pandora start with their suggestion engine?Sounds fun

        4. daryn

          Everyone’s always surprised that I have little to no interest in Sci-Fi. This was especially true when I started coding – but fortunately the jolt soda, cheetos, and first-person shooters stereotype has faded a little since then :)I do hear everyone rave about Snow Crash and Neil Stephenson’s other books, and I did enjoy Neuromancer in high school, so maybe I need to give it another chance. What are the first 3 sci-fi books I should read?

          1. andrewparker

            I’ve been googling for the past 15 minutes trying to find a great google thread between @bfeld and a bunch of his followers about the 3 best sci fi books (which he coined the holy trinity). Cant find it so ill paraphrase. Snow crash and neuromancer were automatic, but there was much debate over the third… Some said Dune, others were any Dick (so prolific that they can’t choose), any Arthur c Clark (similar problem). If you can find the thread, there are great ideas there.Any way, start with snow crash.Andrew

          2. daryn

            Thanks! Snow Crash it is, and I’ll keep an eye out for that @bfeld thread.

          3. ShanaC

            I read it, it ended up being very useful towards of all things, my BA. On top of that, My BA thesis advisor had me reread N. Stephenson’s “In the Beginning there Was Command Line” more fully, plus I read the annonntated version by the /. community. Read Correctly, It works alongside people like Mark B. Hansen who wrote, Bodies in Code, or Mcluhan.Yes, I maintain a weird reading list for someone who makes facebook profiles….

        5. ShanaC

          Agreed. It’s also what you have to give to kids when they don’t have anything else to read that ages appropriate. (From experience)

      2. JLM

        I only read business books from guys who live in BIG houses.While Warren Buffett’s feet were made of the same clay as everyone else in the recent downturn, his annual letters to shareholders are some pretty damn good reading. And while he does not live in a BIG house, his wallet does.Why do all those know it all economists live in such ratty houses? LOL

    2. fredwilson

      Small sample size andrew. Just wait

    3. Mark Essel

      Recently I’ve been getting my sci-fi or fantasy fix from netflix. My reading is dominated by blogs, articles, tech books, and inspiration goodies.

      1. andrewparker

        What’s the best sci-fi movie you’ve seen lately? My netflix queue is lighton sci-fi right now.

        1. Mark Essel

          It’s goofy but enjoyable fantasy. Based on the sword of truth, it’s a season called the Seeker of truth I think. My fiancΓ© and I enjoyed Heroes, and of course how could I forget the awesomeness of Doctor Who! The new versions are incredible as long as you aren’t offended by Deus ex machina (sonic screwdriver).

          1. leahculver

            Legend of the Seeker! I also highly recommend this show. I has the feel of a good fantasy novel and doesn’t take itself too seriously. For a while every episode was on Hulu (talk about knowing your demographic?) but sadly no longer.Also Flash Forward is airing now (and on Hulu), which I think is a pretty good sci-fi/mystery show.

          2. Mark Essel

            Thanks so much for the name correction Leah. Glad to hear another fan chime in.

  3. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    “Your most uncommon answers were: * European * Politically conservative * Shop at high-end retailers * Wear cologne/perfume daily”Not shocked about the first two (only 8% conservatives here!), but the latter two are a bit surprising.

    1. atkinsonr

      Not really, clearly you must be French πŸ˜‰

  4. ErikSchwartz

    I am one of the rural few.

    1. fredwilson

      Everyone is a minority in something

      1. andyswan

        Combine hunch with disqus. Once we determine the “minorities” in this “community”, we could institute a never-ending string of “comment justice” provisions to “level the playing field” among disqus users who do not have the “traditional advantages” of the urban, mac-loving world traveling elites that dominate this blog.

        1. JLM

          A bad idea held by a majority is still not a good idea.

        2. fredwilson

          Your opinion of this community will never be the same!

  5. ilan peer

    Fun πŸ™‚ (you made me like hunch again) most uncommon answers were:Asian (Israel is in Asia?)PC person (hell yeah!)Moderate travellers (where do you people travel all the time?)

    1. fredwilson

      It is fun. Game like elements should be incorporated into almost all web services

      1. kidmercury

        yes, gaming will be ubiquitous, which is one of the leading reasons i love all this internet stuff so much. costs nothing to start a business and you play games all day. lol, you can’t beat that!!!

    2. ShanaC

      Israel. I was offered a free couch after graduation, actually if I wanted to find a job there.

  6. DonRyan

    I’m a rural PC user. A dying breed.

  7. stakent

    Your most uncommon answers were: * Vegetarian * European * Drive a sedan * Shop at discount/mass merchantsIt is strange, but it was fun.

  8. andyswan

    The AVC community’s propensity towards dogs seems to be its only saving grace.Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Saturday. That means I’m going to put my wife, my 2 kids and my dog into one of our two SUV’s drive from our suburban home to our rural home, where we will immediately begin grilling extraordinarily fresh chunks of beef, consuming bourbon and firing semi-automatic assault rifles at pumpkins down-range while discussing our forthcoming enslavement by the statist elites.That, or I’ll plan world domination via my next startup all day and cap it off with bourbon and bar-food with the greatest mix of hippies and fascist entrepreneurs in the South.

    1. Mark Essel

      hahahahahah.oh that comment was so much better than the survey. But without the survey would never have seen the light of day.

    2. Aaron Klein

      LOL. Right there with you, Andy. I was surprised how often I was in the 10% and 15% of the AVC community, yet I still find it incredibly valuable and hope I’m able to throw out some thoughts that are equally valuable to others.

    3. JLM

      The real common denominator seems to be the bourbon. Look @ Garrison Brothers Texas bourbon — the only bourbon distillery in the Lone Star State. Bottling to start in 2011.Hey, it’s Saturday — how about the football? You gotta have some culture!

    4. fredwilson


  9. Tom Labus

    Can the answers be opened up to allow for nuance?

  10. Mark Collier

    The survEy worked well on an iPhone until the end hen the “see predictions about yourself” link wasn’t functional.Also the disqus login UI wasn’t visible on iPhone. It’s an iPhone world and you have a nice Css for it, but some of the content and tools break down.

    1. DavidCohen

      i had the same problem on the iphone. frustrating to take the whole survey then not be able to see any results. on the plus side, the user experience was strong until it stopped working. πŸ˜‰

  11. awaldstein

    If ‘Uncommon’ =’Interesting’ and having cats is the most ‘Uncommon’ thing about me, I’m in trouble πŸ˜‰

    1. Mark Essel

      I guess we’re a more similar hunch bunch than I suspected. But how much can a survey capture about who we are. It’s like tasting a rain drop and knowing the ocean. Surveys are too narrow to uncover the interesting stuff :)I didn’t see a question asking about sulferless wines, but I if I had a question in that area I would come to you. I no longer drink, but the survey didn’t ask why?

      1. awaldstein

        I was being facetious of course, but your point is well taken. Surveys are by definition reductions of ourselves to enable data driven conclusions. I’ve been thinking a lot about the science and art roles in online data driven marketing campaigns that touches on similar points of interest.Funny comment on the wines. I see you are being subjected to my constant stream of wine tasting notes on my blog and my new interest in the ‘Living Wine’ movement.

        1. Mark Essel

          I very much enjoy your winestream ;). You have great passion and appreciation of wine, that makes it fascinating to me. I’m an inspiration junky, it helps me understand how we all work a little better.Personal behaviorial psychology, I never would have suspected I had such a strong interest in this topic. Not only does it relate strongly to building something of value, but is bound to what drives us. That motive force is critical to creation.

          1. awaldstein

            Thnx Mark. Wine drives me to taste, to travel and as a common interest across people and cultures.’The motive force is critical to creation’, hmm, I will see what meaning I can tease out of this poetry. And I mean this as a serious compliment!

          2. JLM

            On the heels of 9-11, I owned the largest catering company in central TX. Talk about bad timing! It was purely an investment — a very, very, very bad investment which I just sold a year ago.Other than meeting and spending quality time with lots of interesting people (every Presidential candidate for the last two cycles, etc.), going to lots and lots of parties, supporting lots of very worthy charities in their gala fundraisers, the introduction to wine and learning from people who really knew what they were talking about was almost worth the small fortune I lost in tuition. It was their expertise that made it such a memorable experience.The wine tastings — oh, the wine tastings!You could almost track the globalization of the world’s economy by the next country whose wines became drinkable!Is there any great country that does not have great wine?

          3. awaldstein

            “Is there any great country that does not have great wine?”I’m not biting on this one as there is no non-contentious retort. Certainly it is easier to argue the ‘greatness’ of the ‘gewurztraminer’ varietal’ than it is to argue the ‘greatness’ of countries. I love London and the UK but hey, I’ve never recommended a wine from there. Is there one;)

          4. JLM

            Exception noted and acknowledged but hey London doesn’t even have good food! LOL

          5. fredwilson

            When washington sent adams to london and replaced him with jefferson in paris, adam’s first letter to jefferson was ‘send me the forty cases of claret’Nuff said

          6. awaldstein


          7. kidmercury

            damn JLM you’re chillin’ with presidents, with michael jordan…..i gotta get your gig!!! πŸ˜€

    2. JLM

      Cats — taste like chicken? Sorry.

      1. awaldstein

        Sam my cat is listening in horror.

        1. JLM

          My apologies, way out of line. Buy Sammy a mouse on me!

          1. awaldstein


  12. guinness416

    Thanks for completing the census! Your most uncommon answers were: * Wear makeup everyday * Prefer dramatic novels * Know 4 or more languages * FemaleIt’s a boyzone ’round here!

    1. brooksjordan

      Thus your participation is that much more important. πŸ™‚

    2. ShanaC

      Yes and it is awkward for those of us who are not guys guys. I don’t play golf. I don’t think I ever will. I do wear makeup, though not very often (maybe once every 2 weeks, I’m a student, and I know how to get away with very little) (though I love collecting makeup and shoes and stockings)And if I thought about it, I like reading dramatic novels when I am not reading non-fiction. Not highly dramatic, but like Haruki Murkami dramatic. I’ve mentioned in the past that I really admired Fred’s wife. It’s really logical, because occasionally when I stop by I see that I cook similar food, hsave read or will read similar book, and tend to like her taste in shopping (though if I had to hedge, I probably would veer a little more towards his daughters, who I don’t read…but I’m 23 and that’s sort of logical)I’m female baby.

    3. fredwilson


  13. Aaron Klein

    The amazing part is that after the census was done, Hunch got 45/47 things right on the predictions about me thing. Nice job, cdixon.

    1. fredwilson


  14. leahculver

    I’m female but otherwise not helping differentiate your urban globe-trotting tasty-meat-eating demographic.

    1. fredwilson

      Can your bring along some other carnivorous women? We need more of you here

  15. Spencer Fry

    Neat survey service. I only wish they gave you an indicator of how many questions you had left to answer before Question 25.

  16. JenC

    Hmmm. And so few of the men wear make-up? FemalePrefer mystery novels (this was tough – I actually read everything I can get my hands on)Shop at high-end retailersWear cologne/perfume daily.A fantastic tool – have been reviewing the data and thinking of all the different ways to apply to my client’s marketing initiatives – this could add another layer of depth over our typical target analysis – love it.

  17. bramcohen

    There’s no ‘minivan’ option for cars.

    1. fredwilson

      I know. That’s why I skipped that question myself. That’s how I roll, sadly

  18. Eric Friedman

    Just filled this out – results are getting very interesting. Great way to slice up reader demographic data and see who is reading AVC. I wonder how many lurkers are filling this out – folks who never comment but are happy to click through a decision tree.

  19. ShanaC

    It ended up being that it calls me out for being a student (umm yeah I’m an undergraduate)and for a rough financial situation (technically that is true, I have stafford loans, because I am a undergraduate student)The only other thing it called me out is for being moderately well graced at understanding technology. I answered it that way because It is a poorly worded question. There are definitely people here, and where I am, who understand it better. I definitely know certain things better than others. And there are definitely others who know much less (into the field of know nothing)A) am I comparing myself to someoneB)what kind of tech are we talking about here- is it the fact that my before my cellphone broke (damn you improprer soldering), I couldn’t figure out what the wordpress plugin didn’t work, but I could figure out what things needed to be checked? Is it that I wrote my first javascript thingy- where does that count in a scalar system?In the end this question just irritated me. Has to be said.

  20. JimHirshfield

    Evidently there are 7 other vegans out there that read this blog. Who are you???

  21. chefbikram

    i just added some estrogen to the results. πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      Thank you!

  22. rosshill

    What’s scary is how many answers you answer before you get sick of it… I made it to the 25 mark!!

    1. fredwilson

      That’s what I like about hunch. Its game like. Most surveys suck

  23. Prokofy

    92% Male (n=573)8% Female (n=49)Fred, you need an affirmative action plan at this point.Um, I guess what you do is pick a mommy-blog topic and then tweet it.or — just a thought! — you don’t tell one of your tiny percentage of female readers that you don’t understand why they stop by here at all if they don’t believe you lol.

    1. fredwilson

      You call me a liar, I get pissed

      1. Prokofy

        Well, get pissed, Fred, but you’re simply wrong.I didn’t call you a liar.I said *I didn’t believe what you were saying*.and I don’t. Throwing a fit and telling me you’re pissed doesn’t persuade me any further.I need investigative journalism on your surprising claims that people who give everything away make a living. It really is an untested theory, realized by only a tiny handful of people who happen to make their living on the lecture circuit (Doctorow, Andersen) and I’d like to see how much truth there is for everybody else, even in this subset of people who are rock stars able to sign to a label.It’s very important to prove your claims by journalism, not by propaganda, and back them up by reason, not by telling people you are pissed.

  24. samstewartnz

    Interesting to see a snapshot of the AVC community. The only thing I would say to Hunch is that Oceania =/= Australian.

  25. im2b_dl

    Fred fyi – you got the highlight wrong on hunch users and twitter use. As far as the male stuff goes…that is the industry demographic it seems for VC/Investment/technology overlap isn’t it. Seems unless you change the field (and you might as well might try to increase NFL viewership of women …tough)… or you have to open up your discussion outside the subject of technological architecture as the basis of investment…or technological architecture and an interest with a larger women’s demographic).It kind of cuts to what I say all the time.. sure things like Twitter and Facebook (which interestingly I see facebook much more the women’s medium and twitter mens’ ..surely for the long form and short form versions of their communication)… but the question you should see coming out of those men and women numbers in your survey is …facebook and twitter’s success’ were created in a higher educated, specific male dominated culture… how much more successful would they have been had they taken in information, ideas and views that were not “inside baseball” created. I think your blog numbers show that perhaps the “math of success” might be more successful if the technology and investments weren’t so overwhlemingly tunnel visioned on the inside baseball crowd… Twitter facebook other technologies all created by a population as culturally diverse as it seems is limited by it’s ladder and power structures…along with it’s social hierarchy.imho

    1. im2b_dl

      I should say not so much how much more successful they would be…but how much quicker more efficiently and solidly would they have been adopted… and how much more secure would they be had they been structured for a population larger than ones based of the norms and values of such a small demographic…and I also think the Urban vs. suburban vs. rural numbers… speak volumes to cultural soundness and usefulness

  26. Mike McGrath

    I wonder if VC’s could use this to gauge entrepreneurial potential?


    What a relief. I am weird. Which is quite normal here. Old, Wants to give back, Drive a sports car (manual, by the way), oh and weirdest distinction (drum roll) a woman who wears make-up ;p

  28. maverickny

    Loved this idea so thought I would try it out on my own blog which has a very different population of people. It sounded really easy so I created the widget for the blog, posted it and got over 100 people to click on the link and participate today (no mean feat for a small niche blog).It’s returning big fat zeros though; did you have to do anything other than add the widget code?

    1. fredwilson

      I will alert hunch for you

    2. chris dixon

      Hey Sally, this is Chris Dixon from Hunch. Happy to try to track this down. Can you hunchmail me (chris) or just let me know the URL of your blog. The stats should be at<your url=””>/thx!

  29. fredwilson

    Let’s see if they make it actionable and if they do, whether it is useful