Techcrunch TV Interview

I’m doing an interview today with Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch. It is the first episode of a new show on TechcrunchTV called Ask A VC. Sarah blogged about it early this week.

The interview is taking place at 2pm eastern today. I don’t know if it will be broadcast live or delayed. But it will appear on TechcrunchTV sometime today. Once it airs, I will embed it here in this post.

If you have questions you want Sarah to ask me, you can email them to her at askavc(at)techcrunch(dot)com.

Here is the interview:

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. kagilandam

    Why to ask through techcrunch when we have AVC direct line? :-)Have a great time.BTW, there were comments about your hair-cut … have you done something about it? (hope Sarah does not ask the same thing to you).

    1. fredwilson

      i wear my hair a bit differently but honestly its not something i care very much abouti would rather be bald because then i wouldn’t have to fuss with it

      1. Alex Murphy

        There is a solution for that ……Can’t say that I would recommend it, but I know how you feel.

        1. Yulian

          there is also probably an app for that

      2. Tereza

        Honestly?DO NOT do anything extreme unless you market-test it first.If you hit a vulnerable moment, DM me and I’ll talk you off the ledge. Although I can’t imagine it would be faster than Gotham Gal’s own intervention.Some people pull off a great Mr. Clean. The risk to you is it brings the focus under the eyes.Stick to the boyish look and thank your lucky stars you have a choice.But here’s the coolest thing. Starting Monday, when we launch Honestly Now’s beta, your friends and I can give you that advice *privately*. Won’t that be nice?

        1. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

          Indeed it will. I can’t wait. I have talked it up to some peeps and honestly, it is a great idea whose time has come. Didja reach out on that partner I suggested?

        2. RichardF

          that’s great news Tereza, good fortune!

        3. Aaron Klein

          Do all AVC fans get free access to the beta? 😉

          1. Tereza

            The site is free to users and will remain free to basic level users. There will be a premium service for pros.Rather than tech geeks (whom we LOVE!!), we are seeding the original 50 invitations with some of the biggest names in lifestyle and fashion, plus some incredible up-and-comers.They are our “Fab 50” and the anchor of this premium community. I wish I could tell you who but I can’t yet (but OMG!!! AMAZING!!!).I had to miss Startup Weekend’s launch last night… it was NYC Fashion’s Night Out and I was hoofing it around town for meetings with these untouchables to secure participation. Excellent night..the word is out and they want IN.I am one of the Fab 50. So Aaron and Dave, please DM me (@terezan) if you want in. As we stabilize the Fashionista set I will LOVE to bring you in as one of my personal peeps. 🙂

          2. ShanaC

            I love you for just realizing that!!! Thank you god, technology for the non-tech geeks!!!

          3. ShanaC

            If you include Anna Wintour I will go <3

          4. Matt A. Myers

            I’ve always wanted someone to do this. Best of luck!

          5. fredwilson

            i met you and Tereza the same night

        4. Dave Pinsen

          What’s the link for Honestly Now, Tereza, and how can someone apply for access to the beta if they’re interested?

      3. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

        I was going to say “check your wig before the camera rolls”…but thought maybe people would not get the funny in that…but, since you brought it up, seriously, check your wig! If your hair is bad, that is all anyone will talk about! ;>) Make us kids proud!

        1. Tereza

          Also because it’s 2pm you’ll be coming from lunch.Make sure you don’t have any spinach in your teeth.That would be soooooo embarrassing!

      4. Mark Essel

        Seth Godin’s got a slick hairstyle. It’s served him well.

      5. Prokofy

        I’m glad you have a different hair style. It’s one of the things that helps you be an independent thinker.Your hair style reminds me of Guy Debord or a French intellectual in the 1960s. Did you ever spend any time on the Left Bank, Fred?

  2. baba12

    Will you SMILE cuz you will be on candid TV, i.e. do you think you may shed light into the mysterious deal making process and bring bout more transparency to the world of VC .Wish you the best to have a good conversation. I am guessing Sarah is no Charlie Rose in that she lets the interviewee speak more than she speaks .

  3. Tereza

    How has Gotham Gal influenced you, as an investor?

    1. fredwilson

      she keeps me more humble than i would otherwise be

      1. Tereza

        Save it for the camera, Fred.:-)

  4. RichardF

    Do you think Disqus has raised the level of the comments on Techcrunch? 😉

    1. fredwilson

      i do, very much so

      1. RichardF

        they need some serious filtering/ability to follow features on Disqus now. MG Siegler wrote an article yesterday on Android (in which I thought he made some good points) and it received over 900 comments I didn’t know where to start so didn’t bother.

        1. Mark Essel

          Disqus does have an api, opportunity for relevance businesses to save the day?Hunch, Datasift, my6sense, and Google.

          1. RichardF

            I think Daniel admitted that the api is not much use at the moment Mark

    2. Tereza

      Quantity, or quality?Critical distinction!

      1. RichardF

        well I was talking about quality but Fred’s answer may have been diplomatically about quantity!

  5. Mark Essel

    If we had questions we’d have asked you here and gotten awesome answers from the community 🙂

  6. awaldstein

    NYC as a unique VC investment climate can’t be discussed enough.One rule of interviews and marketing in general…never think that the most critical messages or ideas have been heard by everyone…they never have.

    1. fredwilson

      so true

    2. Tereza

      It’s the old saw:Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, then tell ’em what you told ’em.Very effective.

      1. awaldstein

        Certainly…Can’t make too many points. Pick the most important, make it interesting and make it clear.Big thing for TV or radio interviews…forget about the people who already know you (no matter how large that group is)…you are talking to everyone else who don’t know anything and are about to discover you and your message.

        1. Tereza

          Yes! KISS! (keep it simple, stupid)

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I like prefer the other KISS … Keep It Simple, Silly

          2. Tereza

            Another one I like is “Keep It Simple, Sistah”

      2. Prokofy

        well, the nuns taught it to us a little differently:say what you’re going to saysay itsay what you’ve said

        1. Tereza

          The guy who taught me learned it from Jesuit priests!

          1. Prokofy

            Say, don’t tell, is an old adage, is my point.

        2. fredwilson

          i went to catholic school when i was youngi had an allergic reaction to the nunsthey kicked me out of that school

          1. Prokofy

            Well, everyone is welcome at Catholic school, Fred, but you’re Jewish, it seems perhaps not the school for you? I think people today appreciate Catholic school as the poor man’s private school (i.e. about $4000-6000 a year for elementary and middle school).I didn’t do well with nuns, some of them were mean to me, they would pull us by the ear or rap our knuckles or send us out in the hallway. I spent a lot of 5th grade with my desk out in the hallway, waiting for Mother Superior to come and scold me. Even so, I think Catholic school has better education and it has reformed in our time.

          2. fredwilson

            I was raised a catholic and we raised our children as JewsI myself am a doubter when it comes to religionI see how faith comforts those around me and I have a great appreciation for faithBut I don’t have it myself

          3. Matt A. Myers

            My mother was being raised to BE a nun! She rebelled by excelling in school on her own (not supported by her family), and lead to earning a Phd in psychology; She couldn’t believe how people could believe in certain things so rigidly. She’s been an educator for over 40 years.

          4. ShanaC

            I feel like there is a backstory to that.

  7. Tereza

    What are your most electric topics on AVC? What’s generated the most comments?A Top 10 list would be interesting. Or even just general commentary on that.

  8. Mark Essel

    What are your plans for after this fund? I assume another fund, but I’m more interested in the just caught the Dave’s arguing super angel versus traditional vc funds. First time I listened to Dave McClure, he’s a sharp guy, will keep an eye on his fund and businesses he backs.

  9. William Mougayar

    If you had only one wish for the VC industry- what would it be? (something needed but isn’t being done)

    1. William Mougayar

      Fred, You answered this question by wishing there were “no VC assholes.” I like that answer- but could you elaborate on what constitutes a VC asshole in your opinion. What are asshole signs to watch for?

      1. fredwilson

        Assholes are like pornHard to define but you know one when you encounter one

        1. William Mougayar

          I thought there were specific things you wished some VC’s shouldn’t be doing.

      2. Tereza

        My take on assholes:Do they ask what you’re trying to achieve? Do they express that they care to know?Do they make an attempt to come halfway, trying to align what you want and what they want? Do they offer some way to help — an introduction, an idea, a smile….Or is it “all about me”?Are they jerky and disrespectful?Do they not listen? Do they not make eye contact?Do they do something very different from what they told you they’d do? Do they lie?Or…on the other side of the coin….do they follow up? Do they send you a note with info saying “Saw this and thought of you?”These may not be universa. But they are the specific things that matter to me and separate the wheat from the chaff.

        1. William Mougayar

          Tereza, These are good points, but rather obvious ones. I was curious to find out what was going on in Fred’s mind when he said that. Was hoping to hear what he considers some VC’s are doing that should be purged.

  10. Tereza

    A very light DISQUS day.Fertile ground for backhanded compliments before Fred goes on camera in front of 100’s of 1000’s.FUN!!Here are a couple to get us rolling.– The camera adds 10 lbs. You sure you’re OK with that, Fred? Just checkin’.– The great thing about the camera is, only Sarah knows you have bad breath.

    1. Aaron Klein

      Ha! Here’s a feature Disqus needs. I should be able to star my favorite commenters and always have their comments at the top when I look at a post.That way I would have seen this one right away. Priceless! 🙂

      1. Tereza

        Glad someone noticed. 🙂

      2. CJ

        Or star commenters and always have their comments sent to me via email. Both actually, I think.

  11. Tom Krieglstein

    1) What’s a week in the life of a VC looks like?2) What industries are most untapped by VCs right now? Why?3) You blog a lot. What do other VCs think about that?

  12. Mike

    How has the blog directly impacted the deal flow at USV? Any examples of deals finding you through the blog (I feel like I should know this btw)?Looking forward to the interview.

  13. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

    You know, I watched that Howard interview the other day and did not make a comment but, yikes…if this is via web, I hope you have a better set than you had for that interview. It needed some work.Nothing fancy, maybe just a plant, a picture of the family, a flag, tchotchkes from portfolio companies? You have time. Somebody, make it happen!Here’s my question, “Have you had coffee with Kelley yet?” ;>)) I kid, I kid…see you soon.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      And if Fred wants to meet you for coffee he can Tungle you. Interesting, I hadn’t heard of Tungle.Just spent a few minutes over on your blog, and I’m curious about something: let’s say Fred — or another VC — agrees to meet you for coffee. What are hoping might develop from that? Are you looking for job leads? For someone to invest in a business of yours?On a relatively slow day (so far) in the comments here, maybe it would be worth broadcasting a little elevator pitch by way of answering this comment. Maybe there are commenters here with whom it might be mutually beneficial for you to connect.

      1. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

        Ahhh, Dave, now you are delving into the art of the deal. A relationship (no matter what kind) usually begins with something benign like coffee (or, in this case lunch, as luck would have it) because when you first meet someone you have to figure out if you like each other enough to hang around together, and if you do, how much hanging makes sense. If not that changes the ask. And there so much more to say about my strategy to get what I need out of this city, and at this time in my life…But as luck would have it, I have no time to delve today. I shall be off to Women 2.0 Founder Friday (Central Bar 109 E 9th St.) and then to Start Up Weekend (412 Broadway). I will visit this process in my new blog post, in the works, and to be published just after my refresh on my site…next week. Notice will be sent via the feedburner ENewsletter subscription just above my twitter feed on my site. Jeez, people,sign up already! You know you want to. ;>) Have a great weekend. Vamos Rafa!

        1. Dave Pinsen

          My approach would be a little different. I typically assume that successful individuals are – pressed for time – focused on certain areas of interest, and – not in the market for new pals.So my instinct would be to approach one if I have something he or she might find to be of interest and actionable.”And there so much more to say about my strategy to get what I need out of this city, and at this time in my life…”Instead of elaborating on what you need in that new blog post, why not elaborate on what others need and how you can provide a solution for them?

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I didn’t mean to ‘Like’ the post (you can’t unlike it?), but I understand the frustration with your comment.It looks like Kelley’s seeking out opportunities, wanting to hear what’s new and fresh, and possibly isn’t prepared yet to post solutions she might be offering – if in fact she is offering any.Right now she’s catching people’s attention, and doing a good job of it. 🙂

          2. Dave Pinsen

            I’ve read your comment a couple of times and I don’t quite understand all of it. Some questions: 1) Did you give Fred’s post a “like” or did you give one to my comment? 2) You say you regret giving the “like” now. Why? Why did you give it a like in the first place? 3) Whose “frustration” are you referring to in your second sentence?Regarding your last sentence, catching people’s attention is one thing; getting results is another. I wish Kelley the best of luck, but this discussion reminds me a little of a post from my old blog on the limitations of extreme job hunting.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            1) Your comment2) I accidentally hit the ‘Like’ when I was trying to hit reply. No regret, just stating it and pointing out the inability to un-‘Like’ something in hopes a Disqus folk will see. :)3) I guess it was my own frustration and projecting it assuming you were frustrated. That frustration is related to where people are seeking to learn more, network and such, but that I’m not personally comfortable sharing my ideas with most people because a) it’ll be a waste of time with most people (unless like you say if he or she might find to be of interest and actionable), b) my ideas and such aren’t evolved or ready enough to show what I want overall, and c) ideas are far too often stolen. Yes, execution matters but if someone else has money and resources that you don’t to create the execution that you may know how to lead and manage for years to come, then you’ll still potentially get royally fucked. I understand too that things could be executed smarter and cheaper with the right people, but that doesn’t necessarily stop others from doing the same if they have the right resources. Anyway..I understand what you’re saying. Many people are passive networkers, like you mentioned where you would only approach them if you thought they’d be interested. If they say something that you see of value, like a service you could use, then you’ll contact them but you might not necessarily put the effort in otherwise.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            Matt,We’re mostly talking about different things. You’re saying you’d be reluctant to mention a specific idea in reaching out to someone like Fred. I get your concern, but I think it would be pointless to come to someone like Fred with just an idea anyway. I think he (and most VCs or angels) would want to see a prototype at least. It’s a different situation if you are at the sketch-on-a-napkin stage and are approaching peers about collaborating on making a prototype. There, your concerns about someone else running with your idea are more warranted, but unless you are able to do everything yourself, this is a risk you have to take at a some point, after taking suitable precautions. I wouldn’t call what I described in my previous post “passive networking”. I wouldn’t call it networking at all. And it’s certainly not passive. The salient point anyway isn’t passive versus active but respect and appropriateness. There’s a difference in how I’d approach a prominent, highly-successful person such as Fred and how I’d approach someone closer to my end of the totem pole. The difference is that the closer someone is to my end of the totem pole, the more appropriate I think it would be to invite them to meet for coffee or lunch for a general chat. The higher up someone is on the totem pole, the more I would want to be respectful of the person’s time and only ask to meet them if I have something that is relevant to them and actionable. As I wrote above, top-of-the-totem-pole individuals tend to be pressed for time, focused on specific areas of interest, and not in the market for new pals.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            It does seem we are talking about different things. I entirely agree with you though.P.S. I meant to Like your above reply. 🙂

          6. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

            Good Morning Dave,Thanks for your generous insight. I am always humbled by the efforts made here to encourage or otherwise share in the community. After re-reading my post I realized how my comment was interpreted by you, and possibly others in this community.The comment pulled out and highlighted really should have wrapped into the second paragraph, and what I meant to communicate was that I had no time yesterday (or this morning for that matter) to delve into my strategy for getting what I want out of this city and at this time in my life.I look forward to other spirited conversations as events unfold…but until time allows I will refrain from further dissection of my goals and objectives. I have learned the lesson to not post here too quickly so will close now with my mantra for the season that is the US Open: Vamos Rafa!

          7. Dave Pinsen

            I’m still not entirely clear on this but best of luck to you, Kelley, and enjoy the tennis.

    2. fredwilson

      That’s not a set. That is my home office. I guess I need to ask the Gotham gal to help me spruce it up

      1. ShanaC

        Paint the shelves a color. That’s a start

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I thought she meant the TechCrunch set. I didn’t see anything wrong with your office space… everything would be a distraction from work, mind you a plant could be nice. :)P.S. You have to water plants … they sometimes don’t fare so well under my ownership – I currently don’t own any for that reason, but I love them. 😛

        1. ShanaC

          get a cactus

  14. Thomas Stone

    Hopefully not too late, but would love to know your opinion on ‘crowdfunding’ (applying Kiva, Zopa model to venture funding, the likes of GrowVC, Profounder) and whether it has a serious role to play or is it more of a passing trend (or fad)…

  15. Prokofy

    This show should be very interesting.I sent a question but I realize it won’t get through the queue.Dear Fred,Are you worried at all that most of the companies you are investing in are not (yet) profitable, and it’s not clear that they have a business model — except selling the baring of our souls in increasing intrusion of privacy? Won’t there be an inevitable backlash? Look at Myspace.Prokofy Neva

    1. Mark Essel

      While it’s true in the American pastime of TV is in decline being displaced by more interactive web or Internet based offerings, these new services (Twitter, Facebook, Zynga) are converting that leisure time into capital.It wouldn’t surprise me if a company like twitter eventually went public as a profitable broadcast channel.Questioning the value of entertainment companies, advertisers and marketers is reasonable but they can all be highly lucrative business models.

    2. fredwilson

      About half of our portfolio is profitable now. None were when we invested. The rest will either get there or go under. There is no substitute for profits

      1. Prokofy

        Well, that’s interesting! Can you say which ones?

  16. William Mougayar

    It’s 3PM now. You’ve probably finished the interview.How was it? Any first impressions for your loyal followers?

  17. David Semeria

    Hey Frederico! If I close one eye and squint with the other you’re totally Kevin Spacey.

  18. Dale Allyn

    Just an FYI: The video is up on TechcrunchTV now.

  19. Prokofy

    Fred, you did good. And that sharp retort about “no !@#@!$” — that was priceless!

  20. RichardF

    Nice interview, it’s good to see you are coming around to thinking about investing in products for the average person.Do you have a particularly special set up for video interview?

    1. CJ

      If Zynga, Etsy and Twitter aren’t for the ‘average person’, what products are?

  21. Ken O'Berry

    I loved the notion of building solutions that target the needs of real people. Far too many startups right now are 20-somethings building services for 20-somethings. And while some amazing things are being created by those groups, there’s enormous opportunity and potentially a more direct path to profit by addressing the needs of those who’ve seen their 30th birthday – some of us do so annually 🙂

  22. aanwar

    You are a VC Rockstar.

  23. ShanaC

    A followup: Has your web multiple for valuation changed over time?

  24. Toshi O.

    Fred – the video is down!It’s also down on TechCrunch.Noooo – what to do now?

  25. paramendra

    Fred, so very proud of you. You are the first VC to show up on Ask A VC. That confirms some of my suspicions.

  26. Jon Beltran de Heredia

    Great interview Fred, thanks! One note, mainly to Sarah Lacy & TechCrunch: it would be still more awesome if you weren’t distorting Fred’s aspect ratio so badly. It hurts!