Editing Myself

I wrote a post this morning. I spent a good thirty minutues on it. I put all the links into it and a few images too.  And then decided not to publish it. I did that last week. And the week before. I am starting to edit myself more than I used to.

I have all of these posts saved. I got great personal value from writing them. They helped me process what I think and why I think it. But they are for my eyes only.

One on hand, it bothers me that I have thoughts and opinions that I am not willing to share publicly. On the other hand, in the early days of this blog I wrote some things that were harmful in some way to the companies we invest in and others who I don't want to impact negatively. I've learned that there are times that I really have to keep my opinions to myself.

Those of you who read this blog are probably wondering what I think about some of the top issues of the day on Techmeme and Hacker News. I have strong views on some of them. But if I don't post about them, it probably means I am choosing to keep my thoughts to myself.

I do the same thing in my public appearances. Though it may seem that I am candid and honest in what I say publicly, that is not totally true. I edit myself on stage and when I talk to the media even more than when I write here at AVC.

The mere fact that I am writing this tells you how much this bothers me. Transparency is a mantra for me. It has served me incredibly well, particularly over the past decade. But like everything else, there are limits.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. A3Munier

    limits are here to be broken, aren’t they? “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

  2. kagilandam

    Yes. There are limits.No body can be 100% transparent and YES again … there are limits. Accepting that i am not 100% transparent is the best % you can do as being transparent.On a lighter note …One of the media person asked the Prime Minister of IndiaMedia: You are telling you run a transparent government but you are not giving details PM: We give details to the extent possible …How much transparency you want…. do you want me to come naked to the Parliament?

    1. fredwilson

      that’s very funny

      1. Kenyan

        I love this Indian PM quote!Fred Wilson, I think of you as a sort of Spiderman character, in that you obviously have a big audience, giving your opinions great power. Deciding when to say something and when not to is your real-life version of the cheesy Spiderman quote: “With great power comes great responsibility”.Question is, can you swing through the streets of Manhattan like an insect? 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          No. Andrew Parker can though

          1. peter

            you mean peter? peter parker?

  3. CJ

    It’s the gift and the curse Fred. Do you say what’s on your mind, damn the consequences? Or do you restrain your opinion to prevent causing harm or discomfort to someone else? When your opinion influences many, as yours does, it just makes that decision so much harder and yet that much more important. No easy answers, it’s natural to regret having to edit but it’s also natural to know that you’ll regret that less than a misplaced word or three that causes unintended negative consequences.

  4. ErikSchwartz

    I have always assumed you edit yourself. As soon as one realizes that there are consequences to statements you can’t help yourself.You want unedited brain to mouth, hang out with my 6 year old.

    1. fredwilson

      i’d like to hang out with your six year oldi am sure he could teach me a few things

      1. Micvvs40

        There’s no doubt.

  5. LIAD

    All of us self-edit. But not all self-edits are created equal.Keeping shtum for personal gain can be a selfish act, one of taking. Whereas keeping shtum as not to upset or offend others can be a compassionate act, one of giving.Transparency in and of itself is neither positive nor negative it’s neutral. The context is what gives it meaning.I see self-editing over time as a bell-curve. When young we say what we feel whenever we want to without any care or consideration for others. As maturity hits we realise our words, thoughts and actions can have negative effects on ourselves and others and we temper things accordingly. As we get older, towards the latter years of life, we once again begin to say what we feel with increasing disregard for potential negative effects on ourselves and others. – As I get older I am more prepared to voice my opinions at the expense of alienating myself and possibly others. With the advent of twitter and the instant unfollow-feedback mentality. Pushing send on a tweet knowing that people may jump-ship as a result yet knowing that I’m being true to myself and my opinions is invigorating. I want to make a difference more than I care about pissing people off.”Better to be hated for who you are, than loved for who you are not”

    1. fredwilson

      retweeting is an interesting issue for mei saw a few tweets yesterday that i loved and wanted to retweet but i didn’tthat’s a killer

      1. Mark Essel

        You my friend, are in need of an anonymous pseudonym.

        1. BmoreWire

          Poor Richard

        2. fredwilson

          That would be cool for a week or so but ultimately unfulfillingLike vegetarianism

          1. LIAD

            And celibacy

          2. fredwilson

            Exactly. An even better example

          3. Mark Essel

            Hahah, zing! Take that tofu ribs

          4. Tereza

            Now you’re talkin’ a language I understand.All sizzle no steak.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Fred,Completely off-topic, but figured you’d find this interesting: Another example of Neal Stephenson’s future tech from Snow Crash has become reality: http://www.ecouterre.com/in

          6. fredwilson

            the gift that keeps giving

          7. Gidz


          8. Dave12


          9. Tereza

            Nice! Looks particularly flattering on an underweight model.

          10. kenberger

            or using the new windows phone (as i have)

          11. Raj

            Vegetarian4life! Very fulfilling actually.Taught me self-discipline and compassion amongst other things.

        3. Kenyan

          I would @PeterParker. POWER!!!…..RESPONSIBILITY!!……Jokes aside. Thank goodness for people like fredwilson who actually think about what they say.

        4. Kenyan

          Woops….meant to say “I would use @PeterParker as my pseudonym”It’s not the most amazing post i ever made…..but the typo bugged me all the same!!

        5. ErikSchwartz

          If he had one, would we know?

          1. Mark Essel

            I was thinking that he may and we wouldn’t, and he’d never admit to it because then the chase would be on to out it, hehe.

      2. Dave Pinsen

        It would be nice if you could forward a tweet to certain followers of yours (as you can with an e-mail), instead of the all-or-nothing dichotomy of retweeting. It would also reduce the noise of Twitter and increase the relevance of the tweets a user sees.

        1. Mark Essel

          Directed one to many correspondence, subsets of our networks separated by topics of their choosing.In fact to take your fine idea one step further, I could tag a message (doesn’t require a twitter origin) and folks that follow me could subscribe to a set of tags I generally use – tech , startups, finance, music, Panda love, whatever. That was part of the idea behind opengard.in which we ran into resource problems completing.

          1. Aaron Klein

            I think Twitter needs an advanced feature for public and private sub-feeds as well. In the future, I want my appliances or home security system to be able to feed to Twitter, but they shouldn’t disrupt my followers or require their own account. I might also want to provide a sub-feed of detailed location data only to people I allow, etc. Lots of room for innovation here.

    2. kagilandam

      Loved the bell curve analogy … obsoletely true and i have seen practically with my dad and my son behave the same way (my dad was 83 and my son was 4).But practically when in a position one cannot stick to your last quote … even if you want to follow the quote … the position won’t allow you to.

      1. LIAD

        Not saying you’re wrong but it definitely calls into question taking a position where you can’t be yourself.

        1. Mark Essel

          You’re still yourself, just more conflicted. Your fiduciary and other responsibilities trump your philosophical instincts.

    3. JLM

      This reminds me of when I was getting out of business school. I was a bit older than most of my classmates as I had served in the Army for 6 years. Which would not be particularly remarkable these days.I was in with some very, very bright people but most had a case of terminal youth — not all, but many. They would finally out grow it.One time I told a guy he should apply to be the Chairman of a Fortune 5 company right away because he was eminently qualified as he knew everything. I mean everything!He actually thought I was serious.But you know, when you get out of B-school, you really do know everything and then 30 years later you realize you know next to nothing.

      1. Tereza

        Great comment, although I can’t let it go without saying — that ‘know everything’ sentiment is a bit more a male one than a female one.I say this, mind you, not entirely sure that this ‘female’ humility is necessarily a good thing either….

  6. David Semeria

    Here are my thoughts on the issue:

    1. kagilandam

      here are my replies to your thoughts:

      1. David Semeria

        A post and comments composed entirely of anti-matter…Perhaps the universe will explode.

        1. kagilandam

          that is one of the best physics explanation i have heard for posts and comments.Should I delete my anti-anti-matter to prevent universe from exploding? 🙂

    2. andyswan

      I love Seinfeld too!

  7. John Frankel

    “Although one has freedom to swing one’s fist in the air, that freedom ends when someone’s chin is in the way. Similarly, though one has freedom to say what one wants, that freedom may be limited when someone else’s reputation or privacy is “in the way”.”

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great way to think about it

      1. John A Arkansawyer

        Down that line of reasoning, we can find ethical justification for telling a falsehood when someone else’s privacy is being violated by someone telling an inappropriate truth.

    2. Tereza

      My husband says that often and I agree totally.The way he says it is — your right to swing your arm ends at my face.

  8. Miriam Tuerk

    Perhaps it is because those thoughts are in the ‘problem’ category still lacking a solution. once you have the solution, better able to post with thoughts and reflection. perhaps a facebook group or a forum in which you can post questions around topics whereby you have strong thoughts and want to interact, but thru questions rather than conclusions? love your blog by the way.

  9. Tachelledaniels

    Its okay to keep your thoughts to yourself from time to time–their yours!

  10. RichardF

    It’s a difficult line to walk down because you do a great job marketing your portfolio companies but at the same time it is nice to see some counter balance to that.

  11. akharris

    I think it’s also an issue of finding an audience that’s playing by the same rules as you are. If everyone around you is totally transparent and understands the rules around how and why, then self editing unnecessary.But that’s not the world in which any of us interact. You have to self edit because too many people read what you write without context, and are likely all too willing to distort what you might say, or take offense where none is necessary.I once had a two hour argument about this with one of my closest friends while driving back from Boston. We decided that total transparency would be nice for the world in theory, but could never be properly implemented. You know, like communism.

  12. leahculver

    I’ve adopted a policy of trying to say only positive things online (“if you can’t say anything nice…”). It’s a simple rule that’s easy for me to follow and nobody can ever fault me later for saying something nice.However, I’m naturally a grump so after adopting this policy I’ve blogged/tweeted a lot less.

    1. akharris

      I think that should depend on the community with which you’re interacting. I’d rather get honest feedback on my company or my blog than just nice things. However, if I was putting up my niece’s painting of a house out of familial pride, I’d probably just want to hear how awesome she is.

    2. fredwilson

      I’m headed to that same place and not entirely happy about it

      1. Mark Essel

        As Leah suggests you could spin the original content by focusing purely on the thing that’s worth fighting for. Describe why you believe so, decoupled from events which inspired your first draft.

      2. Tereza

        You are idealistic about the ethos of Open. And that is fine.Huge opportunity around capturing the goodness and delight that comes from “Open”, without the hurtful backlash.If I were an investor I’d be thinking about that.

      3. Alex Murphy

        Something that is in between only nice and sharing your negative point of view is to try to ask questions that readers answer for themselves, therefore they are coming up with their opinions instead of you giving it to them directly.

        1. Tereza

          Alex I”m only picking up your point now and I think it’s worth calling out as particularly astute.People talk and proclaim too much. Empty praise, caustic ad hominem critiques (I don’t mean here at AVC, I mean our society in general). And absolutely not enough questions.Questions are where it’s all at.And the more questions we ask, the better we get at asking questions. Especially the open-ended ones.It’s amazing how much you learn, how quickly, when you ask questions of real people.I recommend every college student should spend some time interning as a reporter and or a market researcher. When you have to have your feet on the street talking to real live people you learn so much about them….and yourself.

      4. Ethan Bauley

        Fred I am struggling with the same self-editing issue…agree w/ Leah that “only say nice things” is a good rule of thumb. Ever since I started at HP it’s virtually impossible for me to say anything even mildly provocative in public about the tech or media business.I think this is part of a trend where the dynamics at work in traditional media organizations or celebrities are writ small for social media publishers.In our cases, I’d offer that the op-ed page (blog) is compromised by the interests of the parent company (day job).Another example I’ve seen: random non-showbiz person gains a lot of visibility (e.g. a high Twitter follower count), then begins acting with all the pretension of a Cliche Hollywood Celebrity.Anyways, this all explains why I rarely comment here anymore 😉 Hope you are wellEthan

        1. fredwilson

          we miss you ethan but we also totally understandcome back to startupland someday!

    3. Mark Essel

      No nerd rage?No hippy anti-establish geek rants?Where’s the fun in the internet then. A bunch of smiles, where the only insults are inferred by a lack of gushing approval. I admit to backing off of reddit because there was no holding back some of the negativity from that feedback source. Prefer the HackerNews vibe which is critical but a little more polite.

    4. Tereza

      I agree and actually feel comfortable with it.Actually my spin on that is, “Praise publicly, critique privately”.Whether the critique is public or private, it’s key to keep critique specific and actionable.And when you are forced into the discipline of that it actually helps get to the heart of the issue really quickly.Also I tend to find that 80% of people’s complaints are emotional venting. They need to get it out. Then focus on the last bit, the facts. That’s where you can actually get something accomplished.Use a scalpel, not a chainsaw.

      1. JLM

        There is nothing in the world that makes my blood boil like a waste of talent. I can forgive any performance if a person does not have the talent but it really disappoints me when I can see the obvious talent and see it fail to be applied.You are perfectly right that you should always deliver praise in writing and publicly. One of my greatest delights is to catch someone doing something wonderful and writing a little white paper or memo blathering on about how wonderful that was.I always make it a point to praise someone and to give them some money and always extravagantly more than the situation calls for with the idea that it falls under the category of advertising. I did this just today and gave a guy a $500 merit award for something he thought up and did. My CFO was apoplectic about it which just made it that much more fun.I wrote a 5-page little monograph complete with pictures and praised this person to high heaven.Well, really, I was just using this example to get everybody else to try to do the same promotional thing he had done. I think it will work.

        1. Tereza

          Fun how this works for parenting too.I’ve read and re-read Jane Nelsen’s classic, Positive Discipline, multiple times. Yelling does not work! It just gets your subjects to hate you and then you waste all this time managing that dynamic.When you give your critique in the form of: ‘Psst…..here’s my little secret for what you need to do next (or what you need to fix). Do it. You will be really glad you did.’Two benefits: (1) they’re more likely to actually do it, because they feel like they got something special from you, and (2) if they see anything weird/off-base, they’re likely to come back to you and say, ‘Pssst…..guess what I just heard/saw/think might be an upcoming problem.’Voila, you’ve opening up the channel to info your competitors may not have.The other meta-benefit is that if the subject doesn’t follow my suggestion, I have the info I need to know they’re, er….mildly stupid. Because many managers don’t trade in this public/private thing, so when an employee hits one that does, it’s a good gig. If they don’t recognize that, it’s their loss. They need to be astute enough to know that while I’m delivering it in a nice statement, they have one chance to do it. It’s not optional.I don’t rack my brain about does this person respect me or not. It’s not their job to respect me. It’s my job to earn their respect. That happens when they take my suggestions, see they work, and therefore come back to the well for more. The desired dynamic is lots of independent, smart, great judgment, and use my insight to take them to the next level. BTW this is one of the reasons why it pays to hire people who are better than you.I think there’s a blog post to be written about the key parenting books, and what they teach about business. Been meaning to do that one.Parenting, and of course, exotic animal training.It’s all the same lessons.

        2. TechnoFund

          JLM,As a disabled veteran of the 82nd Airborne I would also like to say that nothing boils my blood more than a waste of talent: namely mine.I was just released from service. I am back in college on the GI bill. Although I am receiving free college I think of it as a waste of time. While some days I am able to rationalize my staying here to get another notch on the social belt (first it was Army and now the B.S. degree) I am not content. While I can not explain it in words I feel as if I am meant for so much more and that I am wasting my time here.While I understand the opportunity that college provides I no longer wish to be forced to do assignments. For a while I have been able to trick myself into liking it, but lying to myself everyday eventually breaks me down. It is odd that while I love to learn (I read voraciously) – and learn quickly! – one would think that college would be the best place to be. It is not. I feel myself wasting time dreading to do assignments.I have thousands of business ideas. At this point I don’t really care which works and which doesn’t, or even which one I go after. I just want the experience of going at it and making something of myself. Learning the ropes. Taking the risks.I read a book entitled: “The 33 Strategies of War” by Robert Green. In this book he talks about “Death Ground”, which is equivalent to burning your return vessels while on enemy land. Either fight your way out or be killed. I want to apply this to my life. I want to sell everything I own and move to a random city and start over. I am so unmotivated in the traditional setting that I want to make life hard so that I have goals to achieve and deadlines to meet. I want that Death Ground.Just wondering if you have ever experienced this ‘fight or die’ phenomenon, not only in the Army but also in the business world. Sometimes I wonder if basking in creativity creates ideas and businesses or if being scared shitless does. I think I like being scared shitless to be honest.Take care:[email protected]

        3. TechnoFund

          I just realized how horrible the spacing came out to be. Truly not my fault!

    5. vruz

      I believe that if you can’t say anything nice and you don’t say anything, you are basically being dishonest, cynical or disingenuous by omission.I wear my heart on a sleeve on certain matters of life and death, and not on others in which I appreciate the benefits of restraint and moderation.That being said, I believe that you just can’t always, always be nice to everybody all the time.

  13. JimHirshfield

    Well…you call this a community. Why not throw the issues up on the wall and have the community down here discuss it. You can open the conversation on GoogleTV and the major networks, what @markpinc has to say about a connected world, what’s up with Obama hanging out with Jobs, online privacy, or why is it that Tropicana OJ now comes in 59 ounces instead of 64 ounces at a higher price – without expressing an opinion.Don’t get me wrong, we wanna hear your opinion. But it’s not required.

    1. fredwilson

      You obviously have mind reading powers. Or maybe my typepad login :)That’s great advice Jim. I wasn’t sure about this post but your commentmakes me happy I wrote it

    2. JLM

      I think Jobs meeting w/ Pres Obama is very interesting. I wonder what they talk about. Two cultists?

  14. Wells Baum

    I think self-conscious writing will thwart your thinking.But you operate in a world where everything you say is open to the competition.Even if you just talked music and family matters I would read your blog.You keep the Internet interesting.People respect you for that.

    1. fredwilson

      Fredwilson.fm has been exceptional as of late if I say so myself

    2. Donna Brewington White

      “I think self-conscious writing will thwart your thinking.”Write it all! Just don’t publish it all!”You keep the Internet interesting. People respect you for that.”So true!

  15. jeffyablon

    Fred. Dude.I almost stopped there <holds for=”” laugh=””> (editing joke).Listen: what you’re saying sounds so conflicted it made me feel for you. Seriously. Now onto bigger things: do yourself a favor and on this one get over yourself. Verboria and transparency aren’t the same thing.I agree with the idea of transparency, and I suspect that underneath whatever filters we each bring to the conversation organically we would find that our feelings and opinions on that subject are exactly identical.But without editing, self-imposed or otherwise, your words would just be noise. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how successful.popular or anything. Pure noise. You don’t want to be a noise maker. Embrace the issue.My partners and I at http://thefacelift.co (thus far looking like the unlaunched service that it is if you happen over there) are struggling with this. On the one hand we believe that a social network needs context (THIS social network has you and your EDITED words AS the context). On the other, editing is hard. Not “oh man, that’s hard”, but by nature when you edit you presume that you know how to present your words in a particular context and that you’ve figured out what the right context is to begin with.Fred, AVC’s context is you and your thoughts. If the thoughts you give us are just raw spew you’ll become boring pretty fast. Or sound like Gary Vaynerchuk, who is one smart dude but edits himself not at all thereby chasing away a large portion of his audience (I watched this happen the other day. F-Bombs in public? REALLY?).Like I said. Get over yourself. Which in context gets edited to mean “give yourself a break”.

    1. fredwilson

      you sound like the gotham gal which is a good thing!

  16. Keenan

    I struggle with this big time. I’ve been known to err on the wrong side far too often.That being said, I believe that what I don’t say can never make a difference. To me it’s all about making a differenceI never say things to be mean. I don’t attack. I don’t express anything publicly that can hurt an individual I like, respect or support or any individual at that matter.That being said, I do express my opinions when and if I believe it can HELP. Regardless of it’s provocative nature. “Help” defined as providing more to the conversation than currently exists. Help as defined by adding a new perspective, new point of view. Help as defined by challenging conventional wisdom or a destructive perspective.My personal self-censoring boundaries are determined by whether or not what I have to say can or will help, NOT by whether or not people will be upset. I’ve found this is a fine line that is difficult to walk, as the things that bring the most change, are also the most provocative.For as many times as I have opened my mouth or penned an opinion and been hailed for what I expressed, I have equally missed an opportunity to “keep it to myself” and made things worse.It takes courage to NOT self-censor. Finding the line is personal. For me, if my opening my mouth can make a difference it’s worth the risk.Leaders and true change agents are never afraid to say what others won’t.Great post today Fred!

    1. Mark Essel

      Strategic broadcasting by optimizing perceived social benefit. I like it.

      1. Prokofy

        AKA “propaganda”

        1. Mark Essel

          Or a prudent use of limited resources, ie one’s lifetime.By social benefit I don’t mean strictly self serving, I’m referring to benefitting society. You do something that anyone else deems worthwhile and you get paid.Propaganda would be broadcasting a lie, I see Keenan’s example as self marketing.

    2. David Semeria

      Fred is at the intersection of many diverse interests: his own, in premus, but also his fund’s, his LP’s, his portfolio companies’, and – why not? – his readers’ interests too.What I *think* he is saying is the free space between these groups, where he can talk freely, is getting smaller and smaller.I would just say it’s one of the many prices of success.

      1. fredwilson

        that is it in a nutshell davidit is exactly how i feel

        1. vruz

          I feel your pain.

        2. Prokofy

          Then…social media is not so revolutionary. Then…this ‘betterworld” jazz that you and some of the other idealists have talked about is fake. Then…transparency is fake. It’s just the same old, same old. I don’t mind that it is. But you said it would be different.

          1. David Semeria

            …and you want your money back.

        3. Kenyan

          restricted answer you gave there Fred.Are you holding something back? Only giving out positive feedback now? ;-)Loving this thread. Would love to know where you are all from. I believe that culture plays a big part in the response to Fred’s dilemma.

  17. Rafi Kronzon

    “One man’s transparency is another’s humiliation” – Gerry Adams

  18. Mark Essel

    You shouldn’t suffer too much about self editing. Jot it down, release it in your memoires a decade or so from now. There’s never a topic that goes undiscussed on the web these days, if you don’t chime in someone else undoubtedly will.This morning I ranted about the open web vs. “direct connectivity” referred to by Mark Pincus and approved of by Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Sometimes it feels good to be unaffiliated and mostly broke, I’m rich in my freedom to speak. I won’t trade that one in unless my wife censors me, after all she cooks dinner and I’d prefer shutting up to starving :).

    1. fredwilson

      I’m gonna go read your rant. It might be very similar to some things I’vewritten recently and not published

      1. Dan Sweet

        Totally feel you on today’s topic today Fred. I’m trying to blog more, but I’m finding there are an awful lot of things that it isn’t a good idea for a finance guy to talk about.I did write a pretty good rant about Enterprise IT a week or two back though: http://afinanceguy.com/dan-…(fingers crossed my email keeps working)

  19. seaneby

    Congratulations, you have started a diary, of sorts.

    1. fredwilson

      The unpublished works of a vcI like the sound of that

      1. Matt A. Myers

        To be released in a book 10-20 years from now? 🙂

        1. Alex Murphy

          The title: “Unwritten”

      2. Aaron Klein

        If you were a paranoid ex-special forces soldier, you’d tell all of your business contacts that these posts are set to auto-publish if the web doesn’t hear from you every three days… 😉

  20. riemannzeta

    I think about “transparency” in transactional terms — i.e., it takes both a transmitter and receiver of information for a transaction to close. If the transmitter is distorting the signal, then there’s a problem. But sometimes the receiver isn’t working properly. In such a case, it behooves the transmitter to take that into account, if possible, before broadcasting a signal. And the bigger the broadcast, the more signal processing is necessary.I share your pain, Fred. Especially since I know the more controversial opinions are the most likely to put me in touch with the people who I share something with in terms of vision. But it’s not worth losing the people who I still might have something to learn from. And that is a lesson that comes over time.

  21. Florian Feder

    Too bad that you have to edit your public thoughts, but that is of course understandable. Just look at the disclaimer at the end cdixon’s latest blog entry. You guys have tons of conflicts of interest in the industry, so the free expression of your thoughts could hurt you economically.There’s something though that I’ve noticed, which is even worse than staying quite on an issue: Endless nodding. As nice as they sound, comments or posts that simply agree with the author are useless. Dialectic needs opposing views in order to be effective. Think Socratic dialogue.

  22. jeffyablon

    Fred, I felt so strongly about it that I re-wrote my comment here as today’s post at my blog:http://answerguy.com/2010/1

  23. William Mougayar

    I wonder if there was a tipping point for this confession to your readers.Because you are quite transparent already, you’re in a difficult positions:You’re privvy to lots of information others would kill for. Start-ups tell you all. You are influential. You say things and people will discuss it for days.You’re vested in several interests, so some wonder if your comments are biased by that.You’re obsessed by making the right investments, and keeping your track record. You play nice, but others don’t. Many are jaleous of you.It’s tough being Fred Wilson 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      Not that hard really. My problems are ones that most would wish for. I amblessedThe tipping point was staring at a kick ass blog post that will never seethe light of day

      1. William Mougayar

        What prompted the kick ass blog to start with?

        1. fredwilson

          Can’t say without being too transparent

  24. howardlindzon

    i bid $5,000 on the AVC posts from the dark side.ok and I will trhow in 10 percent of the upside.No diamonds.

    1. Mark Essel

      I’m trying to relate your blog to this situation. You appear to speak so freely on a broad range of topics, while you wear a cloak of constant deception protecting you from anyone who would complain: “oh that, I wasn’t serious”.Have you ever been conflicted in a post or video Howard and deep sixed it?

  25. AR

    Tyler Cowen has some gimmicks that might help you let off steam once in a while. He kept a secret blog (supposedly actually not that hard to find) which he eventually used as a premium for people who bought his book.http://www.marginalrevoluti…Tyler also sometimes blogs the opposite of what he thinks, under the pseudonym of his “evil twin Tyrone.”http://www.google.com/searc…I would like to read a post from Fred’s evil twin.

  26. rachelsklar

    There is nothing wrong with editing yourself – framing, contextualizing, placing emphasis on what your audience is interested in, keeping the conversation on track, highlighting what is important here and now – that’s a skill, and an added value for an audience. A form of curation, really. As an editor I know that not everything needs to be said – what is more important is showcasing the important points clearly, without distractions. Everything we say is a choice, the choice of saying A over B within the limited time/space we have. The value of being a good self-editor is critical in this process. It’s a skill more people could stand to work on.All that said, I’d hit up @howardlinzon to see those dark side posts.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Fred’s talking about a different kind of editing — censuring, essentially, rather than “framing, contextualizing, placing emphasis on what your audience is interested in…”

  27. Senith @ MBA tutor

    100% transparency is truly difficult! Mark Twain said something like this:We all have free speech – only if we dont care about all possible repercussions – which can happen only in our graves!

    1. Tereza

      I agree completely.In fact I can say from experience. There are things I’ve learned about my parents since they died that never, ever would have come out while they were alive.And I’m glad they didn’t.Optics and repercussions can take on a life of their own.Some of it is stuff I absolutely couldn’t have handled when I was younger.

  28. rbrke

    How can I know what I think till I see what I say? E. M. ForsterEditing is oneself, in my opinion, is a healthy thing. It served Lincoln well. All his unsent letters were found in his desk after his death.Not sure how this works in modern day time. Will someone find yours in your draft folder?

    1. fredwilson

      I’d like to go read Lincoln’s unsent letters

  29. Jon Knight

    Even a house of glass needs an underlying support system. I’ve designed quite a few houses and usually, the parts that support the structure are hidden from view.

  30. sachmo

    It is funny that you write this, I’m always surprised that you share as much as you do.Because of this blog, I’ve made it a goal of mine to get blogging in the near future on a regular basis…I don’t know that anyone is entitled to the musings of your brain, and its not something that should bother you too much IMHO. *Everyone* holds something back in a particular context.If I had to guess I would figure that some of these opinions / thoughts / musings are somewhat ‘tactical’ in nature.The larger picture though – the current state of the overall startup environment, things like the founders visa, startup cities, VCs / angels / superangels – you share quite freely.And of particular interest to me, your general beliefs about the best practices for a startup – culture, finding a mentor, structuring the business, accounting, using meetup groups and hackerspaces, blogging – these are posts of real value to budding entrepreneurs.I’ll bet that the reason why it bothers you is that you wrote a real zinger this morning, and its frustrating not to show that writing to people. Just a thought, but show it to your partners, I’m sure they’ll have something interesting to say.

    1. fredwilson

      Good advice

  31. Donna Brewington White

    This is pretty transparent, Fred.It’s posts like this that underscore all your other posts and help create this unique community and your overall “public” persona which you have used to do a lot of good. I appreciate that while you have celebrity status, you have not fallen into celebrity culture — where there are some who seem to think that they can and maybe should say anything they please. That is an abuse of power and is downright selfish and immature.Sometimes I wonder if one of greatest powers might be the power of self-restraint. I think this is different than cowardice — which is really more about self-protection and comes from fear. The former comes from a place of strength — knowing what you are packing and choosing not to use it. But knowing that you could if necessary or beneficial.You are one of the forerunners in creating an online identity and even “brand” and what you’ve shared from your experiences (including mistakes) has been very helpful. Personally, I appreciate being an “unknown” because it gives me the freedom to find my voice. You have been a great encouragement in this arena.However, I must admit that it is refreshing for me to sometimes hear you say things that I disagree with. Actually, helps me to trust you more. Lastly:Transparency is a means, not an end.

  32. JordanCooper_NYC

    I hear you and do this as well, but generally when I don’t publish I am disappointed in myself. I like pushing the limits of public and exposing myself and my thoughts despite the inherent risks of doing so. Sometimes I will abstract an idea, remove names, or even edit out a sentence, but I think there is a challenge in expressing an opinion or a view within the confines of what’s appropriate but without putting the post on ice…It’s harder, but I’m betting if you sat down with that post again, through the lens of “must be fit to publish” you could communicate the concept without triggering the adverse effects that you fear…and if not, sometimes it’s okay to say “fuck it, i’m publishing anyway”…readers and the market will view your voice in it’s entirety, as opposed to a specific post or instance. Not every post you write has to be positive or even neutral impact to your goals and interests, some can be adverse if they come with truth and honesty

  33. elkim27

    Thanks for sharing what you’re willing/unwilling to share (apologies if this sounds insincere, but I do really appreciate it).

  34. paramendra

    I wish that were not so.

  35. Morgan Warstler

    You haven’t self-edited, you just haven’t published yet.There’s a lot of literature that suggests that WHO you are, your personality, is actually determined extensively by the things you say out loud. Religion. cults, mac users… they all use the same mechanisms of getting people to go on record precisely because it causes / re-enforces the belief.Action causes belief, not the other way around. I’m 100% SURE this occurs in your investments – once you put money down, damn it – you are positive! or at least more positive than yesterday. Same thing with all purchases.Anyhoo, something unpublished is just an investment you are not ready to make. It probably means something.

    1. fredwilson

      i like that concept about who you are is what you say outloudgonna think about that some

      1. Prokofy

        While you’re thinking, watch this video (hat tip to @1938 media)http://vimeo.com/16024237

  36. Tereza

    Best post about nothing I’ve read in a long time.But seriously, I’ve been wrestling with this one myself. I’ve always been a “heart on my sleeve” kind of person and often that’s served me well but sometimes it doesn’t.I’ve also been wrestling with it daily because I’ve designed my product for Honestly Now to deal with privacy needs that don’t exist earlier in life. And I find that people who don’t have the privacy needs sometimes have trouble understanding that other people do need it. It can become a religious discussion. Younger people who test my product don’t understand and can be dismissive of a number of our design choices. So be it; they’re not my target.There are generational differences in privacy, and indeed the world is getting more open. BUT openness is not an absolute, and oversimplification is dangerous. Needs emerge with lifestage and career stage that didn’t exist during earlier. Until they happen to you, it’s hard to ‘get it’.I call it the “bikini on the beach” phenomenon. There is an age when a gal can strut down the beach in a bikini, and everyone is pleased. If that picture lands on Facebook, no problem!A day comes when I’m not comfortable wearing that bikini in public anymore, and certainly don’t want anyone taking a picture of it, and damn well don’t want anyone posting it on Facebook. Stretch marks, scars, natural weight gain. No thank you.Funny how that’s pretty much exactly the same time that I have kids, whose pictures it may or may not be appropriate or safe to post in public. We are responsible for other people besides just ourselves. We may be *more* open and honest to the people in our inner circle we know and trust. But we’re more wary of strangers than when we were younger, because we know strangers can be cruel.Health issues are a useful proxy for this discussion. I have 5 friends my age who have or have had cancer. Each handled privacy completely differently. Do they post it publicly on Facebook? On one hand, they want support of their friends….but do they need support of 1200 friends? Are they opening themselves up to workplace discrimination? Do they check into chemo on Foursquare? What if they haven’t told their young kids? When people hear the C word, they tend to treat you completely differently — like the walking dead. The women in particular have wished to keep it very private. It’s really personal, and really complex.Apply this example to the business world. Lots of the most interesting issues and questions are highly complex, not reduceable to soundbytes. The risk of misinterpretation and distortion comes into play. Not everyone can handle the truth; or has patience/time to respect the nuances of a situation. And frankly, strategic advantage comes from sorting it through differently from everyone else. And of course, there’s always the pesky problem of market signaling.So, like the young go-go “my life is open” entrepreneur who’d wince at me walking down the beach with my stretch marks, I say — please hand me my sarong. I’m proud of my scars; but I save them for the people I trust.Consumers are really confused about privacy. There is huge opportunity to help people understand their own needs for it, and solve for it. Long privacy policies of fine print suck.Privacy, and dealing with the complexity of privacy, is big business.

    1. JLM

      Not to bee too ghoulish but can you actually believe that some politician has not run on the platform of curing breast and prostate cancer?I would like to run for President with a single plank in my platform — no more money for Defense until there is a cure for breast and prostate cancer!I actually believe that the cure exists but that the necessary bits of data are locked in two different computers behind an impenetrable fire wall.Cancer is a MFer that should have war made upon it with the same vigor that we engage in any kind of war. We should get angry and pissed off and vengeful and eliminate it within 10 years.Isn’t it odd that in all the too-ing and fro-ing of healthcare, nobody ever spoke a word about wiping out cancer.No more aircraft carriers or jet planes until we have a cure for breast and prostate cancer!

      1. Tereza

        JLM I couldn’t agree with you more. We need a bold dream like that.What a great vision that can cut across party lines.We should build an anti-cancer economy.I could stand behind that.

      2. kagilandam

        I may not be an expert on cancer … but with my limited knowledge on radio-diagnosis of cancer and MS (multiple-sclerosis a dangerous brain disease affecting mostly (i repeat mostly) whites especially northern European origin … no body has any clue why such a selectivity … ) i can say the following….The problem with cancer is “scientists and doctors” are clueless on cancer even after fighting against it for decades. The only way (currently known) is to cut and throw that part either with a real knife or with gamma-knife (radiation) … sometimes it even calls for cutting the entire organ it is in (removal of entire breast, a part of the lung, part of brain etc.,etc.,).As far as i know cancer is a mutated part of human … normally mutation brings up better characteristics of the current system. And i strongly believe that is reason we still are not able to do anything seriously against it … As Einstein says (may not be exact wordings) “it is almost impossible to solve a problem from outside the system that we live in”.I am not saying “we should not put more effort to crack those MFers ” but what i am saying is people across the globe are breaking their heads but in vein …Fighting against incurable diseases is the only field the whole world is united in taking the war … all countries may not put the same effort and money … but every single country in the world is at least bringing some data relevant to crack those.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        “Cancer is a MFer that should have war made upon it with the same vigor that we engage in any kind of war.”We have. We spend lots of money and many years getting grudging, incremental results. So it’s pretty similar to the way we fight wars these days, no?”Isn’t it odd that in all the too-ing and fro-ing of healthcare, nobody ever spoke a word about wiping out cancer.”Didn’t Nixon declare war on cancer?

  37. Tereza

    We could have a field day brainstorming what we think the “Missing Posts” are.FUN!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      But we’d have to do it in haiku.Kill two birds with one stone (you know, Field Day/Poetry Day)Further down I suggested tongue-in-cheek “TechCrunch Day at AVC”———————————————What would Fred post if…he could be Mike Arringtonfor a single day

  38. Randall Bennett

    Self editing is tough. I think too much self editing turns you into a politician, devoid of actual meaning and instead becoming a simple parrot. That being said, the fact that you’re willing to admit to self editing is something that’s amazingly refreshing.I’ve been incredibly fortunate enough to have gone to a few YC dinners, and hearing someone’s unvarnished take on an issue is extremely helpful from a knowledge standpoint, but there are too many people who want to take advantage of a situation to simply be able to share that without the threat of community alienation.My solution: AVC the book… comes out in 5 years. By then, you should have enough posts that you’ve edited from the past few years that it’ll still be interesting to read, and hopefully the biz implications will have passed. Not sure it’s the right answer, but it’s a starting point.

  39. EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Someone who says everything he thinks without any filter sounds, to me, like a sociopath. Even if we aspire to be as transparent as possible, we’re always going to edit ourselves for various reasons good and bad: kindness, diplomacy, fear, secretiveness, audience, context, and many others. And the word aspirational is key: we will inevitably fall short of perfection, but we can never get closer if we don’t aspire and try.I think it is helpful to have some rules to check ourselves before we communicate and, after we communicate (or don’t), to determine if we’re living up to our aspirations. For talking to people one-on-one, someone once told me that they judge whether a comment is true, helpful and kind, and it should be at least 2 of 3 to say it. Perhaps you can come up with a similar sort of rule for your postings.

  40. Vuxes

    Whoo, thanks so much for this post! I’ve been doing this too (in fact just rewrote a whole 1000+ words post down to a few sentences) and it’s just good to know it’s the “right” thing to do for the reader, client and own reputation.

  41. Denimrsmith

    Definitely a personal conflict and one that affects most of us on a daily basis. But where would we be without positive and negative stimulation, suffering, change and the change agents?Bully’s don’t self edit, the bullied do. And we tell kids to stand up to bullies. From a million feet above, how has self editing done any of us any justice over the history of this world we share (fiduciary duties aside)? Death by a hundred million paper cuts, from a deck of cards, that we’ve used to build the foundation and façade of our unrealistic reality. I believe if we all took the filter off the fire hose we would see that we’re all more alike than not and the benefits of an open world (forget open web) could be mind blowing.- maybe we would lose faith in 1000 year old fairy tales.- maybe we would put our faith in science and collectively and intelligently evolve our species at a greater rate for a greater good (ie what if Darwin self edited?)- maybe we would live in a real meritocracy – maybe we could love, gawd forbid, who we love- maybe it would leave a bad taste in our mouths at first, but maybe showing how the sausage is made would create more vegetarians (literally and figuratively) – maybe we’d all be safer knowing we’re surrounded by transparent self regulation- maybe sex wouldn’t be taboo- maybe we could enjoy a puff off of a burning leaf every so often (talk about no filter)- maybe we would treat children like growing and evolving human species and not just cute toys to care for and play with and market to- maybe politics and politicians wouldn’t be a front or image/ ego play (ok, not likely)- maybe we would realize that what we all have in common is this moment, this very present.- maybe I’m just a dreamer, but maybe I’m not the only one- and finally, maybe there would be more yesbe’s and nobe’s and less maybe’s The benefits of weak ties vs. strong ties notwithstanding, self editing makes no ties with anything but the anchor that it creates in your mind.Drink the truth serum and shout from the rooftops and free yourself, Fred. What you say can change and benefit the world more than 1000x return on an investment. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tweets will never hurt me (unless you follow Justin Beiber and he tweets out your phone #). So Fred, will you take the first plunge into the cold lake and see who follows? It will not just be refreshing to you, but to all who choose to follow in your wake.

  42. Alex Murphy

    There is a lot of discussion about being transparent and transparency. I think that this comes from the place which is people don’t like getting only part of the information necessary to make a decision. There are many examples in business, politics, religion, and all of the other subjects that we shouldn’t discuss here or probably anywhere else.I think the term transparency should be Translucentcy. Nobody should be expected to share everything.More to the point though, the real key in this debate about how much to share is really how much should you not hide.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      “…the real key in this debate about how much to share is really how much should you not hide.”Pondering this. Interesting and thoughtful distinction.

  43. sachmo

    Random thought, but total transparency is what the panopticon was based upon:http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…To me, facebook actually started to feel like a panopticon (if that makes any sense), and managing the right amount of privacy was such a chore.Also the culture of share everything among 20 something year olds, as Tereza mentions, made it more difficult to be selective with what information I posted. In the end, I decided to just quit the service altogether because it seemed like more of a hassle than anything else.Anyway, my point is that in all things there is a balance to be achieved, in this case between transparency and privacy.

    1. Alex Murphy

      This is one of the reasons I really like this blog. What an interesting bit from History that I had never heard of before.

    2. ShanaC

      The panopticon is a total fail though. It’s meant to spook you, more than help you. Freedom comes with the ability to know you are, in fact, not being watched

  44. Nikhil Nirmel

    Fred – It seems your write a lot about topics and events du jour. I would love to hear more of your general thoughts that transcend what people are talking about. By definition, there is plenty of commentary about what people are talking about. I come here for fresh ideas on things I wasn’t thinking about.

  45. Donna Brewington White

    So “TechCrunch Day” at AVC — you offer a “guest post” as your alter-ego and say whatever you want and we have at it.

  46. M Salmon

    We are a technology Start-up Offering Free Wireless Urban Internet for everyone.. Our mision is to connect people who need this and everyone else. http://www.vipitel.blogspot.com We need to grow Help us

  47. Peter Yared

    This is of tremendous value to your portfolio. If you are seeing something that runs counter to what one of your companies is doing, get on them about, have them reset, and then post about the transition as a case in point on the trend. Not wanting to hit “Post” is a serious sign that you got to have a serious conversation with the CEO, and it will be for the better for the company.

  48. mdudas

    I’m hopeful that one of the posts you held back would have expressed your disappointment in one of your biggest investment wins to date (Zynga) using the patent system in the worst possible way: http://techcrunch.com/2010/…. I know you’ve stated that you support portfolio companies filing patents for defensive reasons (http://www.avc.com/a_vc/200…, but at some point, you need to draw a principled line like Google did in China. I’ve seen you defend them about a number of other things that are controversial, but this one is just really hard to understand.

    1. fredwilson

      i’m not going to comment on that but i will say that we don’t control our portfolio companies

      1. mdudas

        Fair enough, I can appreciate that. Sounds a bit less supportive than your comments during the “ScamVille” episode.

  49. Jan Schultink

    Maybe the guideline should be to hit “publish” when you think a post has a good chance to impact the issue you disagree with. You have become a respected voice, you write balanced arguments, and you can mobilize a community. I am very glad that many people in history stood up for their beliefs and weren’t shy to share it. (The issues at hand though might have been a bit bigger than the top ranks in Techmeme today…).If the post is “just” a rant about something/someone, count to 10 and save to the archive…I always look up to editorials in magazines like The Economist, a razor sharp opinion, but no one has hard feelings after reading them: professional, balanced.

  50. Donna Brewington White

    “I spent a good thirty minutes on it.”Very impressed that you could write a complete post with links and images in 30 minutes.

  51. chris dixon

    I have one rule: no dissing startups (because it’s hard enough being a startup…). Being candid has gotten me in trouble a few times but generally is a good thing I think. Once you become big time like you maybe that changes 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      i wish i could be as honest with my opinions as you are Chrisyour tweets yesterday were fantastic

  52. Harry DeMott

    I’ve been reading and commenting here for about a year or so – probably about par for the course among the commenters I see here.It seems to me that the Fred who comments here is Fred the VC, who spends a lot of time discussing issues and themes in tech.Occasionally, we see a little more of Fred the person – talking about family or politics, but mostly it is Fred the VC.So in terms of self editing – I think much of it is done every day simply by the nature of this blog. If you want Fred’s music – head over to one of his other sites and you’ll get that.I think that is kind of like real life here. If I as a reader and commenter (and occasional investor in vc stuff) has breakfast with Fred, I see VC Fred with a touch of the personal.If my friend has dinner with Fred and his wife – it’s likely a different framework and a different sort of conversation.So everyone self edits somewhat – based on the context you are dealing with them.So today Fred has exercised some self editing. If it is something personal – I don’t doubt it – the forum is probably not the right one. If it is a VC related topic – well then I’m sure there is a good reason – and the writing itself was likely cathartic.Everyone in VC land has to work with each other to some degree – particularly VC’s for whom reputation means so much both from the founders as well as the other investors. So writing something that is obviously negative about one of these groups is not going to help VC Fred in the least. Pissing off a potential acquiror of a company doesn’t help USV’s LP’s. Airing out dirty laundry about a company that just won’t listen does nothing to strengthen Fred’s ability to convince the next company that he is a really good guy – and pro founder – even though all indications seem to show that he is.There’s lots of political reasons to do things in business – and biting your tongue is often one of them – even though it doesn’t feel very good.

    1. fredwilson


    2. karen_e

      I’ve been reading and commenting here since 2003: incredible but true. We who’ve been around for awhile “grew up” (as it were) with Fred championing transparency *on the web*. So to read about his change of practice is definitely interesting to the long-time readers, and I’m sure that’s why he wrote the post. I give talks in Boston about social media and I my talk is changing, too.On a related note, I am haunted by David Brooks’ recent piece about friendship, and the comments it inspired. Too many of us have no time for friendship because we’re managing our wide and shallow networks. Of course, the proper term for a Facebook friend is in most cases an *acquaintance*. I’ve started to use that term more often in hopes of reminding myself of the importance of true friendship.

  53. MassMan

    So being opaque leaves you at an advantage. Failing to say what’s on your mind, sins of omission and misrepresentation leads you to fame, profits and career advancement, while refusing to game the system as instructed puts you at a disadvantage. Nice. I’m sure all of your sycophantic suck-ups will lavish praise on you for posting this.What does this say about our society? Well, take a look around. Do you think things are going in the right direction? How did other societies make out when their citizenry collectively bit their tongues? We over share the silly parts of life but when it comes down to things that really matter we clam up. One starts to see where all the anger is coming from and pretty soon that pot is going to boil over.Transparency is binary. You are or you’re not. Fred, whether you like it or not, you are considered a leader, so lead. If not you, who?How’s that for transperancy? I’m not even using my own name! Lead me to the promised land.MassMan (an aspiring transparent)

    1. Donna Brewington White

      The restraint that Fred exercised IS a part of leading. Leaders choose their battles, they sacrifice their whims, they make painful choices. Someone may be a situational leader without doing those things but not over the long haul…the exceptions to this are tragic. Anyway, I’m glad you’re back, MM.

      1. MassMan

        Thanks for the reply. It’s good to be back.As far as Fred’s transparency (or lack thereof) is concerned, I can’t disagree more. Calling it like it is IS what separates the wheat from the chaff. Seriously, who would you rather have leading you, Barney Frank or Winston Churchill? Both are extremely intelligent politicians. The big difference between the two is Winston was willing to say things that were politically unpopular but true. Things that desperately needed to be discussed and debated for the common good. Barney, on the other hand, was and is willing to look the other way on crucially important issues as long as it served his political need. Our society has chosen Barney’s approach to life. People refuse to discuss the issues, let alone debate them, for fear of offending someone’s feelings.I’m a lifelong Democrat but I can’t help but cheer on people like Gov. Chris Christie. He’s making a stand on issues he believes in and that’s a rare thing in modern-day American politics. For most politicians and business leaders it’s propaganda, bogus balance sheets, toothless facsimiles of “reform” presented as “real reform,” and endless frauds, embezzlements, lies, misrepresentations, omissions, etc., all of which have come to fruition in the due course of time.MassMan

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Agree with most if not all of what you are saying in this last reply. BTW, love Churchill!Just not sure that it applies to Fred deciding not to publish that post.

    2. ShanaC

      a) welcome backb) only sort of agree- reason being no one person interprets language the same as another. Human language is full of emotional nuance. Without a connection (a needed one) things said will be taken in the wrong context. I agree with the many that opening yourself up doesn’t mean that others have the right to expose those personal feelings on the subject. Not everyone needs the same openness to have a message understood.

  54. Matt A. Myers

    You can’t make everyone happy. Being transparent and honest is nice – but it can make you worry. I have trouble with this internally, it causes some sort of cognitive dissonance – I like to share and flow with my thoughts.Sharing has a purpose though too, if only to get something off your chest or to hear alternate opinions on it (or to have your own opinions reenforced). Sometimes just typing it out is enough therapy. Sometimes writing it out is enough therapy (you by-pass certain parts of your brain when typing and so it’s not as releasing… *2 cents*)So, if something’s a reoccurring thought or theme in your mind, you might want to find at least one person to talk to about it.

  55. JLM

    Remember, it IS a full moon tonight, so be kind to yourself.Restraint, in all things, is an acquired taste and one that is often not ever truly fully acquired. And, maybe like absinthe, should never really be drunk too deeply.I am a huge fan of restraint in much the same way that I was a huge fan of say, Winston Churchill — wonderful to watch but very difficult to be measured an equal. Impossible really. So, restraint — for some — certainly me — almost impossible.Picking one’s spots and times to say or do something is the dark side of that same mirror.While I am a huge fan of restraint, never personally ever having fully mastered the concept, I think you can safely take the position, as it relates to AVC, of a great host throwing open his mind and life and business to gather a well read and opinionated group of thinkers taking comfort that once you have introduced the topic, you have neither control nor responsibility for whatever wild direction it may take.Much like serving your guests a really fine wine and then relying upon their sense of propriety to somehow discipline their appetites. Knowing that when they act to excess, the fun really begins.No party is really a party until something is broken, somebody tells somebody else to go fuck themselves or a fight breaks out. And, hell, that’s just at the country club! LOLTransparenency — nobody really is transparent. Because there is some little corner of your mind which is just yours in which your greatest fears and greatest pleasures keep each other company until you call them forward for a quick chat.What is cultivated in that dark little corner — both good and bad. mind you — is what ultimately gives rise to daring to challenge life which is after all just about confronting one’s fears to get to one’s pleasures.If you don’t have that unsettled, de-militarized zone in your mind then you really are crazy.So, let loose and let the feathers hit the fan, saloneuse!

  56. Steven Kane

    “You don’t have to explain what you don’t say.” -Sam Rayburn

  57. Eran Galperin

    What is the saying, “Discretion is the better part of valor”? knowing when to say nothing is just as important as getting your voice out there. In my opinion, being responsible with your words is more important than transparency.

    1. Jedd

      That’s exactly what I was thinking; and that is indeed the saying.

  58. baba12

    Diplomacy is when you tell a person to go to hell and they look forward to the visit.If you stay honest and true to yourself then you will always manage to remain above board. Those are the two rules my dad always lived by and I strive every day to do the same. It is hard at times but it is worth it to remain honest to oneself always.Keeps me out of trouble and I sleep well.Enjoy …

  59. Joanne Miller

    I really love your words. Thank you.Transparency is not completely possible, unless we turn ourselves into … something unbecoming. We have different faces for different audiences, as appropriate. The display of a more intimate brand, be it a person or a business, has benefits. But I’m not having the same conversation with my grandmother that I’m having with a client … that’s an extreme example but I do have grandmothers and clients on my personal Facebook page-they read the same status message … I am not saying you can’t mix worlds or be more transparent overall, but image has something to do with presentation and most of us tailor each presentation for each audience. This is smart communication. Isn’t some opacity necessary ?I counsel clients to leverage customers new need to dialog. I encourage it. I tell them it deepens relationships. I tell them to show some gritty underbelly. Authentic engagement builds trust. What brand is all about.Not long ago I struggled with leaving comments on public blogs. Many of my comments made me consider who might not appreciate my passion for environmental issues, or my love of a good shortbread recipe. I wondered if I should use a pen name when speaking critically or assertively about something. I did just that. So that would be the opposite of transparency. And it served a purpose. As a test if nothing else.I began writing about transparency in this context. I explore the difficulty knowing how to best organize and publish various topics of interest, or opacity. My work is currently on a blog, which I use as a playground for ideas. It’s open for anyone, but no one goes there but me … and I have some draft pages and posts that allow me to work on things at my pace, whether or not I intend to make the material public. As you said, a great tool to work things out. My blogs provide a creative medium, an intellectual and therapeutic outlet.Thanks again. I write a lot of things. They die unread. Not just blog posts but entire blogs and their followers. I appreciate your sharing true experience.Looking forward to more …

  60. JESSICA BIEL dresses

    As yours does, it just makes that decision so much harder and yet that much more important. No easy answers, it’s natural to regret having to edit but it’s also natural to know that you’ll regret that less than a misplaced word or three that causes unintended negative consequences.

  61. Roger Toennis

    “Picking your spots” is a technique for focusing on being effective versus focusing on “being right”. It’s a sign of advanced emotional maturity(EQ).

  62. jsepoch

    There is huge difference between candor and full transparency. If you put yourself out there publicly you’ll struggle with the balance between the two. I see some of the followers of this blog feel this admission is somehow a lack of leadership or your self editing is for your own self interest. No one is open and honest all the time. Often times it’s hurtful and counter productive.If a friend told you he was engaged to the woman he was dating but you personally didn’t like her would you share that with him? When your wife purchased some item she loved but you didn’t would you tell her? If a company you invested in was having internal issues that could impact it’s perception and stability in the marketplace should you post about the details?You were not talking about misleading but rather the limits to your openness. We are all gatekeepers for our individual truths and transparencies. Absolute transparency is a dangerous weapon especially those with a voice of influence. It must be yielded with care and caution, if not, unnecessary pain may be inflicted upon yourself and others.For those readers who believe anything other than sharing all your inner thoughts regardless of the consequences of your words is a cop out or lacks leadership should stop reading. You’ve chosen to share much of your knowledge, experience and insight with a community. This is a mutually beneficial relationship. However we all remain on a need to know basis even those that are the greatest sharers among us.

  63. Donna Brewington White

    removed comment to its proper place…opera mini fail

  64. Prokofy

    I think you could be monetarizing this, Fred. You could make one of those expensive newsletters like the famous gurus put out that costs like $5000 a year. And you could make signing an NDA part of it. And you could take all those posts you “wrote for the drawer” and put them in that letter and make some dough with it.I couldn’t afford that fee and I never sign NDAs like that but I could edit the newsletter for you for a small fee.

  65. Sebastian Wain

    “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” – Gabriel Garcia MarquezI don’t really know the source behind this post, it’s obvious that the public life has many constraints and you need to balance different interests. BUT have you tried to post your daily “incompatible” opinions on another blog/tweet under a pseudonym?

  66. Jose Paul Martin

    Fred, I see you’ve reached a stage of being hit by the cons of crowdsourcing… blogs are excellent medium for sharing thoughts, getting feedback on those thoughts, and hence improving your thought process (and writing). They have good search engine juice as well. Then there are private circulation newsletters. And you probably recall ppl like Jason C going back to that model over blogs. Mainly because he wanted to know who he is interacting with and wanted the freedom to express himself. Trolls and useless comments are part of the blogging process. And that includes attacks by non-community Apple fanboys who just want to attack a rant, with total intolerance.Do keep sharing your great thoughts… transparency can be a bit of pain – but it brings out the best in each of us.

  67. ShanaC

    You know, I’m late to this post-If editing yourself allows you a sense of human normalcy, I think you should be doing more of it. I think in internetland we often forget that it flattens who we are. And it is good to know that underneath, we are more. Take the space.

  68. mattb2518

    I completely agree that there are limits to what makes sense to publish on a blog. The bigger Return Path gets, the more I find myself censoring myself as well, sometimes for internal confidentiality reasons, sometimes for competitive reasons. But as you note, there’s a lot of value in just writing the post and crystallizing your thinking on a particular topic.


    I respect your honesty!-Anshulhttp://ideas8bottom.blogspo…