Blogging and Venture Capital

I came across this interview I did at Wharton a few years ago. They asked me how blogging has impacted the way we do the venture capital business. I don’t think many people have seen this since the total views on YouTube are only 34 right now. I think it’s a pretty good explanation of how this blog is a critical part of how I work. It is only 3 minutes long.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. ShanaC

    Has your perspective changed about how the sum total of relationships here have developed, especially as it seems a secondary community developed?

    1. Donna Brewington White

      “…as it seems a secondary community developed”you mean like you and me?perhaps, we are an AVC subculture

      1. ShanaC

        Yes. There are tons of secondary actives going on as far as I can tell-which makes the blog more impactive- however less so on Fred per say.

        1. Pete

          I think Disqus could be doing a ton more in this area. We have a community of people here who come to AVC every day, and Fred provides a discussion prompt. But what else is everyone reading, writing, thinking, and commenting on? Does there need to be a bottleneck to this community’s interaction, i.e., AVC content? There is a high value discussion/social network waiting to happen, and Disqus is best positioned to enable it (rather than twitter, say.)

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Fascinating. How so?

          2. Pete

            Disqus is like a purpose-built Facebook Connect for blog comments. Except there’s no network on the backend. You and I both have Disqus accounts, but we aren’t connected in any other way except for on the AVC blog. Why is that? We both come here every day, so we must have something in common. We probably read other Disqus-enabled blogs in common, and think about some of the same issues.Disqus knows that you and I have exchanged comments, Disqus knows when we “Like” each others comments… So why doesn’t Disqus help surface new content and relationships based on this network of connections? Why not facilitate community interaction outside the context of an originating blog, such as AVC?Seems like an opportunity that is far more interactive and interesting than what you get on twitter, or facebook, or certainly on linkedin.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Again, really intriguing. You said earlier that Disqus was better positioned to enable the “high value discussion/social network waiting to happen” — and you said it was better positioned to do this than Twitter. Seems like when Google Buzz came out, some were thinking this would be a platform to enable something like this to happen. Haven’t kept track of how this has developed, or if it has.Anyway, even though I am personally getting maxed out on social networking tools, something like what you are describing that captures what I am already doing anyway, has a strong benefit vs. cost (i.e., effort) and is from a trustworthy source like Disqus…well seems like you are on to something…

          4. ShanaC

            I think a ton of people are getting worn out.

          5. Pete

            I turned Buzz off about 2 days after I turned it on. It seemed like they wanted to be the aggregator of social feeds and then provide a social layer across everything… which I found confusing, and not very useful.Agreed, social networking is exhausting. Maybe social network isn’t the right term for what I’m envisioning. More like a service that enables a community of ideas and discussion, with anyone, anywhere on the internet. The evolution of blogging, maybe?It seems like a natural progression: blogs were first about publishing. Now they’re about community. The next step would be to free the community itself from the blogs, and elevate discussion and comments to equal status with the blog posts themselves. That’s what is happening in this very thread… As I write this, I can’t even remember what Fred posted on originally. This discussion has my interest, and the fact that it’s on AVC should be irrelevant to you, me, and anyone else who cares about this topic.

          6. Tereza

            I really dig that vision.I see a recommendation engine: “It seems you frequently Like Donna’s comments. Would you like to connect on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter?” (or…we noticed you frequently interact with Donna. Click here to follow her on Twitter…”

          7. Pete

            I like that idea. And Disqus could provide network functionality too. Such as a Disqus service that lets me know when Donna posts something on her blog. Or a link to a 3rd party blog I’ve never heard of, after she makes a comment on that blog’s most recent post. Or sometimes there are interesting conversations going in comments that have nothing to do with the original post… could Disqus surface these digressions in an intelligent manner?There could be some filtering based on tags or likes or keywords… if I tend to interact with content and people on the topic of “sales” or “VC”, then perhaps Disqus could narrow down recommendations based on my interest.There’s a leap here, but: Disqus knows WHAT I care about, Twitter knows WHO I care about. Knowing WHAT I care about is more useful in making relevant recommendations. Signal to noise could be much, much higher than Twitter. Enable a community around content, not on a network of connections, and beyond a specific blog.

          8. Douglas Crets

            So something like Zemanta, but outside the frame of the blog, or the editingwindow? Like a live Zemanta for the informal network… Interesting.

          9. Pete

            Yes, something like that. Something that allows community to come alive, and attract others to it, out of the context of curated blogs. Like, this conversation… there are a few of us who are going back and forth right now. There may have been more people in this exchange, except for the fact that Fred changed the channel on us. He directed his community to the next topic of the day, and everyone is talking about that now. Everyone is talking about Angels and liquidity, or whatever spin-offs are happening in that thread.So even if the CEO of Disqus, Fred, and President Obama showed up in this thread, and we all started discussing this idea, nobody else in the AVC community would know about it. And the reason: because this conversation happens to be attached to a specific post that is both “outdated” and unrelated. It shouldn’t be that way.

          10. Douglas Crets

            I’m imagining, because I think visually, a kind of graphic web ofconversation that would play as an interface on your screen. Perhaps, tunedto your specs, it would pop up, cover the whole screen and say, “Thesekeyword chats are happening now in these hubs or nodes of the network.” Andjust for fun, rather than seeing them as a list, you could see them as aliteral graphic web, where you could trace where one thread started, andwhere the corresponding threads are in the disparate chatter. That kind ofthing really intrigues me. Rather like you are charting air traffic, butsemantically.I’d love to develop something like that if I had any skills. For me, visualtracking works better than anything else, besides, watching video to learn.

          11. Pete

            If there was an API, a developer could build just that.Your comment about Zemanta got me thinking, though…. there’s no reason Disqus has to be the one who does this. In fact, maybe it would be better if they didn’t.Any developers out there want to kick this around with me? (and unfortunately, because this product doesn’t exist yet, no one will see this thread…. !)

          12. Douglas Crets

            Fred? We have an idea…. LOL

          13. Donna Brewington White

            You may have to develop it a bit further first. Haha! But, funny — we have done some of what Fred was describing in the initial post…sort of. (Notice I said “post” and not “blog.” See I’ve been paying attention.)

          14. Donna Brewington White

            So when can we have this??? The more you describe it, the more I like it.

          15. ShanaC

            I think one of the larger problems in social networking that you are bringing up (and many others are trying to) is how do we connect to others in a wider network. It is extremely hard to figure out who has resources and connection because it often is 3 or 4 degrees away. Like, how do I know who knows what I like to wear here, etc. That could eventually be surfaced in the comments, especially as time goes on (and disqus gets more implanted) I could find I have more commonalities with some or others, or have the power to introduce others to other communities they may be interested in.

          16. Douglas Crets

            This is not meant to sound flip, but I think there is no need to activelyconnect others in a wider network. I think that information needs, socialneeds and other needs are not constant, so connections do not need to beconstant. I think that people find the people they need to find when theyneed them. The question may be more about making sure one has access whenone needs it. But it seems to me that search does this, and having a kind ofwider commenting system like Disqus actually makes it less difficult to findpeople. Perhaps I am also misunderstanding your point, and I would like tounderstand it more, but I find the idea of “loose” networks to be moreinteresting than having a tight and always on network.

  2. rod

    Using your blog for this type of discourse is terrific. As a VC you get to see more ideas and you get to know more entrepreneurs and you get to know them better. From an entrepreneur’s prospective it’s even better. Regardless of geography, or who we know, we get a certain level of mentorship, no matter how small. More importantly, we get the ability to run ideas by the sharpest minds in the industry. It’s a win-win.

  3. aminTorres

    Fred, is it fare to say that some of your views In this video from a few years ago have shifted?I would love to have the opportunity some day to sit in front of you and share details about the thingsI am working on. I actually like the approach on this video better than the sense I get after reading your blog for the last year. This is what I mean:My sense now is that I am hesitant to email you because it feels to me that you and USV are actually more included to invest on something more developed, a few hundred users if not a few thousands of users. etc,etc. So I feel that at this point you guys are tougher to get behind anyone to back them. (Due to a number of reasons) So overall, I feel that I want to get there before I miss my chance to get your support, should I ever get a chance to pitch you something.In this video however you seem more candid, I like that Fred, After watching this I feel I can be more casual about my project and you seem more willingly to do a second meeting. (Even if you don’t back me right away) I get the sense thatyou will be more willingly to have me come back a month or two later to kind of cheek on things. So Is this assessment right? or do you feel not much really has changed?

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t think much has changed in the past year

  4. Pete

    An interesting dynamic is that the evaluation goes both ways. There are some VCs whose blogging attitude and tone reveal arrogance or negativity, to the point where I would never partner with them. Blogs lay the writer bare, for better or worse. In your case Fred, it works very well, and the community here is a testament to the positive culture you’ve created.

    1. Mark Essel

      “Blogs lay the writer bare” I spent a post writing about blog posts as lenses to our minds. They’re the modern equivalent of social journals. Live journal opened up my eyes to collaborative idea sharing many moons ago. Alas, I deleted the account long ago.

      1. Douglas Crets

        I also like the idea that doing a blog allows you to think outloud. Forsomeone like me, who has to talk to people to learn, and who has to seethings that are tangible. It really does help me to write things down.

        1. JLM

          Almost every form of writing provides the opportunity to organize and refine your thoughts resulting in better ideas.

          1. awaldstein

            Agreed JLM. Also I find that writing it down makes you focus on communicating not just thinking.Most people don’t realize that what they say is not important. What is heard is what matters.

          2. JLM

            One of the single most important challenges w/ management is the necessity to ensure that what was said is what was heard.I engage in the “brief back” in which I ask folks to tell me what I said.I return the favor by saying — now this is what I heard you say.BTW, this comes right out of Ranger School and the 5-paragraph field order. Brief your patrol, then have them brief you back.

  5. David Semeria

    He’s a question you’re more used to asking than answering….Will it scale?

    1. fredwilson

      Yes and noThe conversations can scaleThe number investments we make doesn’t scale as well

      1. Alex Murphy

        Though that means you get to make more of a selection along the way, picking only the best opportunities.Recruiting is the same way. If you can know the person for a long time before making an offer, you are much better off. Sometimes (maybe most times) it is doesn’t work out that way but that is the ideal way for it to work.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Excellent point about recruiting, Alex. Next best is recruiting through relationships. However, I’m here to tell you that a similar effect can be achieved through highly skillful recruiting and assessment — when the relational alternatives aren’t available.(I promise this is not a commercial.)

          1. awaldstein

            Might mention Donna that for marketing, sales and technical leads in companies I work with, the resume is quickly becoming secondary, if not irrelevant, in the face of the candidate’s online presence.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Which is another take on the “relational” element — don’t you think?I’m still seeing a lot of resume dependence — its a hard wean for some…on the other hand I now get frustrated if I can’t find someone online…There are still several fields in which people seem to be less visible online. I’m working on one of those searches now.

          3. awaldstein

            Yes, I agree Donna.I honestly can’t think of many (if any) vocations that don’t require communications skills, a network of resources and the ability to address customer or vendor or co-worker relations.If you are in marketing or sales where you will be discovering and communicating a company’s brand, the only way to truly understand the goal and master the tools is to have done it yourself…usually for yourself.If you are building architecture or platform, your network of peers to sort through the ever changing landscape of tech evolutions, seems essential.Most everyone shows up with a resume. What I recommend to hiring managers is to ask for an email and a URL. What you get will tell a story.For those looking, I’m a big believer in Tumblr. Easy, rich, personal format to communicate your interests, your ability to understand networking and savvy in the interpersonal online world. In some ways, like a personal Facebook wall for a broader audience.I’m helping a client define and guiding the recruitment of a team and been thinking about this a lot lately.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            This is really helpful, Arnold. I’m learning something here. Excellent idea about Tumblr. Just peeked at your Tumblog. Cool.You seem to have great insight into recruitment & hiring. May have to pick your brain sometime.Have been having lots of “squishy” (hehe) thoughts about the relationship between recruiting and marketing, and also how recruiting needs to become more a part of a company’s natural processes rather than this foreign thing that they do. The hiring USV did earlier this year inspired me.Social media creates room for so much of what we do in business to become more relational, organic and humanized.

          5. awaldstein

            Glad this spurred some thinking.Recruiting is a natural part of building successful companies and has too often been viewed as an appendage to the process, rather than integral to success. You should write on this…the recruiting industry could use a forward thinking voice.I’m no expert but I’ve built a lot of teams, some quite large, and we all learn if we keep our eyes open.Community is not a new idea…but the access to such powerful tools for building connections and community has changed everything in business…and in life as well. I see you found the piece I did on my mom…thanks for the read.

          6. Rocky Agrawal

            Funny you mention that. I just had a recruiter call me out because he didn’t like the fact that I didn’t capitalize each word of the titles on my resume. e.g. “VP, product” vs. “VP, Product”. (It’s just the way I was taught and is consistent on the resume.)I don’t think he looked at my social media presence at all. My blog and Twitter links are front and center.

          7. awaldstein

            I can’t speak for your recruiter but I really liked your blog…especially the emphasis on social and mobile.I was engaged, so will prospective employers. If your recruiter is not getting it, there are many others.My sense is that forward thinking and socially astute recruiters, like Donna are the minority. But I think the smart companies are working with folks who get it.

          8. Rocky Agrawal

            I sure hope so. Thanks for the feedback!

        2. Tereza

          Since at early stage they essentially are investing in a person(s) and an idea, isn’t it essentially recruiting?Honestly I see them as almost exactly the same thing.If you create new businesses, people have for years similarly gone to companies and ‘pitched’ ‘jobs’ — e.g. — ‘you need to create this business, here’s why, and i’m the one to do it for you.’. And the good, mover/shaker jobs that matter, are ever increasingly this.Seems super-similar to VC pitching. Except now, esp in consumer web, you have to bootstrap it to a certain audience lever first. That wasn’t possible in the past. Now it is.

  6. Darren Herman

    I actually made one of my teams watch this video about 6 months ago… 🙂

  7. Mark Essel

    I’m convinced of “get 50-100k regular users first” to any consumer web application before approaching VC class investors. Angels will take a long shot before a market, VCs just can’t make as many bets. But they can support their bets much better in the long term.When I’ve proven to myself that a market is attracted to my project, it makes the process of pitching more natural. I like having an ace up my sleeve. Market proof means there’s not necessarily a need for other people’s money. VC bloggers like yourself, Brad Feld, and Mark Suster have given some incredible advice to readers on how to move forward. The hard part is really listening, and merging some of those ideas with my own.

    1. Douglas Crets

      But doesn’t it also vary from industry to industry? What do you think is an acceptable traffic level for a media company focused on the education reform, and education technology space?

      1. Mark Essel

        The specifics will be directly correlated to your user level * customer conversion fraction * value earned per customer.If you’re advising 2-3 hedge fund investors you don’t need many users to make a garbage truck of money. If you’re hosting a site for folks without any purchasing power (see average unemployed American for an example) you’ll need to convert and produce value for many more people.

  8. andyswan

    Pretty bold to claim that blogging is critical to the way you work while simultaneously forcing your readers to watch a video to find out why./antivideorantfromguythatblogstwicepermonth

    1. fredwilson

      Videoblogging ftw!

      1. andyswan

        Did we finally bury the term “vlog”?

        1. Mark Essel

          God dammit you brought it up again 🙂 I had purged that sucker from my mind.Hold on while I b-log, p-log and ublog about how I hate vlog as a term.web log -> blogso video log should become olog or maybe eolog

          1. Douglas Crets

            Can someone also delineate, once and for all, that blog is the platform andBLOG POST is the article you write on the blog? I am so unnerved sometimesby people who refer to a single post as a blog. LOL

          2. ShanaC

            Can we also kill the word platform? I keep thinking the technology underneath is the platform. Exactly how is facebook or a blog a platform- you don’t “build” on top of it. You do activities with it to create an atmosphere. It’s closer to decorating than to building.It’s one of those jargon pet peeves.

          3. Douglas Crets

            Well, I don’t agree that platform is a bad term, but I do understand yourbeing miffed by it. I think there has to be found a suitable word for howactually, you do use a blog to build a community, a readership, a space forlaunching into endeavors. Is that not a “platform” in a more cultural senseof the word? Not so much in the technical use of the term.D

          4. ShanaC

            Not sure. Some people use blogs for totally extraneous reasons that have nothing to do with that. Same thing with facebook, twitter, whatever. When you turn these things into business too much, you often forget there is a world of people who could care less and don’t think that way. Bridging that divide with terminology is important to me, and using platform is not an obvious way of explain back to them what they are doing.

          5. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

            Interesting point. I like framework for the stuff that sits at the “application layer” and application for the code that executes the task on that framework. Though I am not sure anyone ever references the OSI model anymore, and I am pretty sure it is not important. I always thought of the platform as topology related. But I guess that is always going to be ethernet now isn’t it? And cloud computing…I still think of that as a frame relay network. It is funny, what was once old, is new again.

        2. ShanaC

          I second this. It is an ugly sounding word, up there with the word “squishy”

          1. awaldstein

            Sorry, I’m a big fan of ‘squishy’ as the category for loose reasoning.

          2. ShanaC

            It’s just an ewwwy sounding word, up there with Moist.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            oh the turns these comment take…so what if we get a new visitor — we don’t want them to think Fred is running a loose organization here — nor a moist, squishy, vlog platform…

          4. ShanaC

            ooooo

          5. awaldstein

            I’ll stand by ‘squishy’ but you can bury the other 😉

      2. Satish Mummareddy

        Totally unrelated:I was at Twilio today morning for a startup waffles event they hosted. Cool set of people. Spoke with Evan for a bit.And I managed a sneak out with a Twilio t-shirt.

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t have a twilio t-shirt!i need to fix that

  9. kagilandam

    Walk my talk and talk my walk…even after these many years. Good one.

  10. kirklove

    A video on a blog about blogging. Very Meta, Fred.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Not as meta as a comment on a blog about a video on that blog about blogging — or a comment on that comment, for that matter.

      1. Alex Murphy

        Or a reply on the comment …

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Sure.________________________________

  11. FictiveCameron

    What I really love from this video is the bit about finding the best thinkers in a given category. That is a great way to think about investing, but it is also a great way to think about entrepreneurship. The goal of the entrepreneur is not to have the best idea. Ideas have their time. They just sort of appear in the ether and a number of folks mysteriously get access to them.The goal of the entrepreneur is to be the best thinker with respect to that idea. If you don’t feel that you can become that then maybe it’s not the right idea for you.

  12. awaldstein

    AVC is also an open idea community for the industry at large.Works to place the entrepreneur’s ideas not just in front your investment lens but in front of the broader thought spectrum of a global think tank as well.Kinda magic that it works…

  13. John Ndege

    The AVC blog has worked really well on what you set out to do. Even if its difficult to get a meeting with you the blog makes you seem more open and approachable. This will make people more likley to want to do business with you. Plus, I am sure you would enjoy blogging even if very few people were reading it. Its a win win.

  14. Eric Greenberg

    Funny you should post this; I just watched this video on Tuesday on the advice of my colleague Peter (whom I believe is the person interviewing you).My recent experience commenting on another blog post in AVC really confirms exactly what you are talking about here.Thanks,Eric

    1. Mark Essel

      Hah. Small world, and creepy coincidencesdo doo do doo – the twilight zone

  15. RJ Johnston

    It’s all about relationships, build them where ever, however you can. Thanks for the forum!

    1. ShanaC

      No, thank you, if it weren’t for everyone, there would be no community.

  16. Jeremy Campbell

    Do you find your conversation length with entrepreneurs getting shorter now before you make an investment due to the fact that the startup world appears to be moving faster, and more investors are out there in the market looking for deals?

  17. Donna Brewington White

    This VC blogging probably has a catalytic effect beyond the value it has for your particular firms. While the vast number of people that read your, Mark’s and Ben’s (et al) blogs will never represent an investment opportunity, you do help to spur on the entrepreneurial community and those of us who have a passion for seeing entrepreneurs succeed. I wonder how many sparks have been ignited at AVC, or how many people have been inspired and maybe even validated through the AVC community. The “entrepreneurial spirit” can be a lonely thing. Maybe the reason I’m taking this tack is that my imagination was recently captured by a nonprofit organization – New Profit – that is like a VC for social entrepreneurism. What struck me is that their mission is twofold. In addition to focusing portfolio investments on “innovative nonprofit organizations”, they also “pursue a range of strategies designed to help build an environment in which all social entrepreneur-led organizations may realize their full potential for social impact.” Love that!I’m not suggesting that VC firms can afford to have this sort of two-fold and fully altruistic mission. But, I think that these blogs are helping to create a similar effect — at least to some extent. Some of you actually do want to “give” something to the entrepreneurial community. And when that’s the case, it does show.

  18. Fred T

    Blogging is definitely interactive most especially if you have lots of networks and correspondents. Once used as a personal introspection of daily activities, the blogging phenomenon has evolved as another great channel of keeping customers abreast of the latest events in startups and the industry.

  19. Donna Brewington White

    deleted…

  20. Tereza

    Clearly there are both quantity, quality and speed advantages.Quantity: You simply can talk to many, all at once. As you suggest, many more than if they were sequential one-on-one meetings…highly inefficient.Quality: The ability to interact in snippets over a timespan; really among the most effective ways to get to know anyone is over time, over a variety of conversations and circumstances. Just a single pitch could leave you with a one-trick pony. May be OK in the short-term but not likely to withstand the test of time as the business evolves and the unexpected inevitably starts to happen. In addition, seeing how someone expresses/communicates in a very public forum….that’s got to tell you a lot.Speed: When seeking market knowledge, where else can you so quickly get a comprehensive view of who’s in the consideration set, for an opportunity or concept you’re thinking about. We saw it with the family CRM question, or the printer.These advantages compound to Fred considerably as size of network and quality of engagement increases.I wonder how much daily posting plays into it; I suspect a significant role.

    1. RichardF

      Tha family crm question was an excellent example, really useful for me as a reader as well.

  21. Sunil Kanderi

    I’ll play the devil’s advocate.Does it scale for the Entrepreneur though? Having to read and diligently comment at 10 different VC blogs in order to build a relationship with each of the VC’s he is interested in ?IMHO, an entrepreneur’s time is better spent building and iterating his product rather than courting the individual VC’s on their blogs. Just a contrary thought.

    1. Josh Kramer

      Fred – I partially agree with Sunil, perhaps because I need some coaching on being in the entrepreneur role here. My day job is providing services to both startups and larger corporate clients in digital media & online retail. I spend most of my time either with clients or running around with my team making sure we deliver on our client commitments. My day starts much earlier than 9am and certainly doesn’t end at 5. I imagine this is very similar to most startup CEOs, and people running product companies have to also find time to evolve their product platforms and ideate/innovate on occasion too. After all, revenue & customers first, right?I read AVC and around 10 other VC blogs – many of which blog only a few days a week, I think it would be fewer if not. I usually read these blogs on my phone during short pockets of idle time in my day or when one of my young children is doing something like catapulting themselves into my lap repeatedly, rendering me useless to my work anyway. While I very often have thoughts I think could add meaningfully to the discussion, and I wish I could convey all of those thoughts in comments on the blogs (or even sometimes in an email), I simply don’t have the time to make the comments a high enough priority that I find time to post them, almost ever.You might say thats fine and when a need for VC relationships/funding becomes a more immediate need I will raise the priority of engaging on these blogs, except I am a religious believer in your approach to building relationships and learning about each other over time – VC to entrepreneur, and I love the blogging medium as a very non-disruptive asynchronous tool for doing that. I wish I had more time to do it and I am in awe of those who manage a similar schedule and still find time to join these discussions as some of the more vocal participants do.I would love suggestions/tips/coaching on the topic and perhaps even a broader dialog on the topic. Would also love to hear how Fred views this conflict and how he suggests we reconcile it, since I’m sure its not the first time this is coming up in conversation…

      1. fredwilson

        we need a better way for you to leave a short thought on your mobile duringthose short bits of time when you can engagedisqus is working on thisit is a critical problem to be solved

  22. Shatuga

    I am curious to see whether or not would-be startups would air their best ideas here for feedback. Isn’t part of the catch the idea? And simple ideas spread so quickly and so easily. It seems important to me to be a bit protective of powerful ideas, and to release them in the proper context with the mechanism in place to capitalize on them once they’re out there.Otherwise, some faster rabbit (and there’s always a faster rabbit) is going to move out ahead.

  23. daryn

    Love this, Fred. 3:10 well spent.Engaging in this blog’s community has been a great experience, and I know that many of the people I’ve gotten to know here are well on their way to doing big things. I only wish I had as much intelligent opinion to share as they do.As far as blogging and telling my story, well, I’ve been doing that for years, and it has been a great outlet to get thoughts and memories out on “paper”. Hopefully anyone who is interested can get to know me regardless of our proximity, and feel comfortable reaching out, and I sincerely hope I one day get to meet all my online acquaintances in person.

  24. Chris Frost

    Fred you have done an amazing job of creating two way dialogue with entrepreneurs.

  25. AlexBangash

    Hi Fred, this is great insight about your investment advantage.I have often pondered how you and USV have excelled, when other have floundered. I think you have done so in a way that cannot be easily replicated.With larger funds and less capital requirements at the earliest stage, traditional VC’s have drifted away from early stage entrepreneurs. You have been able to get closer. Most VC’s have curbed conversations at the earliest stage, your dialogues have multiplied.It is also interesting to note that there have been three primary responses by VC’s to fewer conversations:Invest in a large number of deals to then double down on those that will achieve product market fit (Super Angel/Micro VC)Wait until there is irrefutable traction or revenue, then invest in late B. (The Traditional/former Top Tier)Invest in earlier funds structures like Y-combinator.What is most ironic is that all the other responses challenge some of the basic tenets of early stage VC investing (not take board seats, not invest early, or invest in another fund). Remarkably, by blogging, you are able to invest at the earliest stage without those compromises.

  26. JLM

    You are an articulate chap and express your thoughts in a calm and organized manner.What you are saying is the classic “marketing funnel” applied over a continuum of time which ensures that the wide mouth of the funnel is exposed to the market in a thoughtful and calm manner thereby attracting a greater cross section of potential entrepreneurs and deals.When everybody is fishing in the same pond, the guy w/ his hook wet for the longest period of time is likely to catch more fish.As you note, you are investing in people at the earliest stage of any investment before a product can be fully defined, created, refined and tested by the market.Your greater exposure to the marketplace over a longer period of time can only improve your batting average as it eliminates a greater portion of the 1/3 of the portfolio which is going to turn to crap. It is easier to identify crap than it is genius.

    1. fredwilson

      welcome back JLMwe missed you around here

      1. JLM

        Thanks, good to be back. I missed all of ya’ll. I had one of those legendary once in a lifetime vacations w/ my beloved and with no distractions. I am going to have to learn Italian. God, I love Italy.

        1. fredwilson

          me toospent 10 days there in Julyamazing country

  27. akharris

    My favorite part of the video might be the music.It’s just so edgy.

    1. fredwilson

      god awful if you ask me

  28. Will Foster

    Talk to your VC… Have a relationship beyond the Pitch with your VC… Sage Advice!

  29. Jan Schultink

    Sizing up a person electronically/remotely will become as important a skill as a seasoned “old economy” manager’s talent to pick the right people based on a positive gut feel after a 10 minute face-to-face chat.