I Told You So

I don't like to say "I told you so." It's not nice.

But I feel it a lot. And my greatest I Told You So moments are with my kids.

Yesterday I saw that my oldest daughter is moving her photoblog to Tumblr. When she first set up her photoblog on Blogger, it killed me. I said, "why not Tumblr?" She said, "I like the way Blogger looks." Now she is moving to Tumblr. Yesss.

This past weekend my son and I were on the couch in the family rooom watching football. He picked up his iPhone and checked his Twitter. Big smile. I tried so hard to get my kids to use Twitter. But it was always "Facebook is better for me dad."  But the football players Josh loves aren't on Facebook, they are on Twitter. So he uses Twitter to follow them. Yess.

For years I tried to get my girls to shop on Etsy. They just didn't get it. Then last spring my daughter came home from college and told me that she was "addicted to Etsy." Turns out that she thinks Etsy is the best vintage store on the web. Yesss.

I care a lot about what my kids do. Because they are my best panel/focus group. We've made a bunch of investments in companies they don't use and don't understand. But over time they have adopted many of them. Of course, some of that may have to do with my incessant advocacy of the services we invest in. But I think that actually hurts me in the short run. Most teenagers don't want to be associated with stuff their parents like.

But I am proud to say that my kids have come around to many of the services we invest in over time. And when it happens, I am so tempted to say "I told you so." But I don't. I just bite my lip and smile. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    If I was the person who pitched you at Twitter, Etsy or Tumblr, I’d say “I told you so” too!

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, i hope Jack, Ev, Biz, David, and Rob see this post

    2. fredwilson

      upon reflection, the funny thing about those three companies is they never pitched uswe asked to invest in all three of those companies and thankfully they said yes

      1. LIAD

        very telling comment.could you have wanted them more because you were doing the chasing rather than the other way round.

        1. fredwilson

          for sure

        2. Matt A. Myers

          That’s great news! For me and Fred! No more ridiculously long newbie emails to write or for Fred to read from me… 8| πŸ˜›

      2. Julien

        Ver interesting. I understand you may not want to tell which companies you’ve tried to invest in but couldn’t, but I wonder what kind of signal you’re giving to these entrepreneurs and others in similar situations? I hope these offers were actually subject to some terms?

      3. Tereza

        Great examples to back up my theory that The Rules for Girls, the dating book, applies to fundraising.The guy is always way more into it when he did the asking.This is a natural dynamic.Push is not so effective. Need to create a Pull.What’s true for dating is true for fundraising is true for marketing is true for event tickets is true for toddlers fighting over a toy…Create scarcity.

        1. LIAD

          i think its more primal than that.men need to hunt. its the excitement of the chase.

          1. Tereza

            Absolutely true.So what do you do? You set up a situation where they hunt you.Then everyone’s a winner!Loved the story about your dad, BTW.

      4. Mark Essel

        I was under the impression Jack came to you from Jeffrey Bussgang’s TC article. Interesting to hear the opposite was the way it actually happened.

        1. fredwilson

          I called Ev. He invited me to come talk to him and jack

  2. Dan Lewis

    Fred:Can you share some times when your children could have pulled an “I Told You So!” on you, regarding one of your investments (or passes on investment)?

    1. fredwilson

      i can’t think of one off the top of my head but i am going for a bike ride and will ponder that questionit’s a good one

    2. kjcart

      Vans sneakers put me through college. I showed my dad an interest in wanting to learn about the stock market, he said fine, argued with me about most of my picks but at the end of the day I just picked the companies that made all the products everyone was buying. I finished school debt free (yeah the parents helped a bit, thanks mom & dad) but it was my picks, despite my fathers objections, that made everyone $$$. So as a child that was my I told you so moment to my parents (well, one of many).

  3. JimHirshfield

    “I am so tempted. But I don’t. I just bite my lip and smile.” I think you just did. πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson

      i guess you are right jim

  4. jonsteinberg

    Fred-As we discussed, I think many VCs tend to use their kids too much as a panel, or trust their views as more than 1 or 2 data points. There was a NY Times article on this a year or two back. I’ve seen good deals killed because “my kids don’t like/use it.” It’s ridiculous.When I was at Disney, we had a saying, “You can only use yourself as a data point once in a conversation.”

    1. Tereza

      Jon that’s an astute observation.It’s very common practice in VC. But any marketer worth their salt, it would never fly.I guess that’s where “let’s do an MVP and see if it gets traction” comes into play. The MVP has become the market research.But even that might be an overinvestment. And I feel at times that a lot of startups are under-researched to the extreme.I think there is an opportunity for more robust and democratized, cheaply and quickly delivered market research for entrepreneurs. And then more research as they go.

      1. ShanaC

        thank you for saying that aloud

  5. Philip J. Cortes

    Fred – do you always find investment opportunities before your kids do, or have there been a few startups that popped up on your radar thanks to your kids? Do you think that might change over time, ie…do you think more ideas may come to you from your kids over time?

    1. Noah Fleming

      Great question. Would love to hear the answer. I doubt there’s much getting under Fred’s radar…but maybe….

    2. fredwilson

      My daughter turned me on to chatroulette but we did not invest

  6. Noah Fleming

    Face it Fred, you’re a trendsetter.My younger cousins (19,20ish) are all addicted to Etsy. They spread the gospel of Etsy like an out-of-control wildfire.Your kids may not acknowledge you as the trendsetter yet, but someday they will. Turning 30 this year, I now realize my dad is the coolest guy I know.

    1. Tereza

      Biologically, it’s pretty much impossible, at 20, to think your parents are cool.Oh, wait, there’s one documented exception to that.Her name is Gotham Gal.

  7. LIAD

    luckily you didn’t invest in adult friend finder

    1. fredwilson

      very funny

    2. sachmo


  8. CliffElam

    Interesting – how old are your kids? I ask because we don’t let our kids do social networking or chat or twitter. We’re not luddites, but we set an arbitrary age of 16 for that stuff. Email at 12 (school) and cellphones as soon as they won’t lose them or at least can buy the next Tracfone. We also have a no-TV during the week policy. So maybe we are actually just trying to stem the spinning mills.Yeah, I know, nothing to do with VC’s or tech, just an interesting parent question – our friends are all over the map on this.-XCPS – I don’t feel like I was particularly harmed by usenet, FIDO, or any of the other places I hung out electronically, but we worry about our kids being swallowed by ephemeral electronics and missing, you know, books.

    1. fredwilson

      We let our kids do what they want when they want within reason and with fulldisclosure to us. We know if they are sexually active so we can make surethey are safe and protected. We don’t judge them or dictate to them. We dotell them when we started doing things and suggest to them what is anappropriate age and what is notI believe an open and honest relationship with kids is best

  9. Henry Yates

    I don’t think focus groups (or your kids) are a very good way of figuring out if a new service like Twitter or Etsy will take off. A lot of people find it hard to visualise how a service will work for them until they actually use it. In 2005 we ran some focus groups for a student social network we were launching (Facebook was not yet in the UK) – all the students used MSN Messenger and did not see how a social network would improve their experience. If the product is in a totally new space I think the majority of people need to engage with it before the light goes on.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Andy Swan recommended a book about businesses creating totally new spaces. It’s called “The Blue Ocean Strategy”. The idea of the book is that by creating those new spaces a business can make competitors irrelevant.

    2. fredwilson

      I agree henry. Having a visionary founder show you the future is way betterthan a focus group

  10. kagilandam

    They must have thought “Poor old guy let him have his moment” … after reading this article they will be ROFL πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      They don’t read this blog

      1. kagilandam

        I was reminded of something that happened 30+ years ago…that is why i made the comment.Once we did that to my father. Me and my elder bro and dad went for T-shirt shopping . My father was insisting on a plain color T-shirt and we did not want … we had a big argument and we left without buying. Then me and my bro came up with “satisfying the poor old guy”. We made a deal with the shop guy saying we will take the two T-shirts and come and replace later the one’s we liked… because the T’s were bought for wearing on a specific festival date… we knew he will forgive us on the festive day and won’t get angry.The whole thing worked as we planned…we got want we wanted…father was happy we listened to his words on the day….but laughed at our intelligent handling the situation.Then onwards he never influenced our cloth buying … only gives the money and says keep it within the budget.

  11. LIAD

    My Father founded a clothing company back in the 80’s. It started in London’s Soho and become uber-fashionable. It was street fashion, specifically military surplus. All customised and exclusive to us. Celebrities, pop stars, models and the fashion press loved it. It was a regular haunt for A-listers.I grew up working in the Soho store, after school, weekends, holidays etc. Countless memories of rock stars coming in and asking my Dad what he thought they should wear at their stadium gig the next day or stylists asking his advice on what they should put a band in for their video shoot etc.Was always hard to swallow how my Dad was a fashion trendsetter in London and had leverage and sometimes dictated what these stars would wear. Remember Bon-Jovi coming in on Saturday, my Dad putting an outfit together for him and then seeing him wear it at the concert I attended the next day at Wembley Stadium – with 80,000 other people. Really mind-blowing stuff for a 14 year old.Point is, I could never take my father’s fashion advice, as a point of principle, even though thousands of others did. Over time the “rebelliousness” wained and maturity increased and I could begin to see his skills for what they were.Cant count the number of times he had ‘i told you so’ etched on his face but wouldn’t actually verbalise it.Seems similar to what your kids feel when you bring home a new web app.

    1. kagilandam

      Your father must have been a fashion hero … how come you could not recognize it? It is strange …

      1. LIAD

        same reason it’s hard for Fred’s kids to automatically embrace what he advocates – even though ‘millions’ of others do.Parent-Children relationships are complicated. – my dad wasn’t a fashion hero. he just knew his niche better than anyone and said things like he saw them. He didn’t buy into celebrity culture and treated everyone the same. the celebrities got shouted at for making a mess or taking too much time just as much as everyone else. he ran his shop like a benevolent dictator – just without the benevolent bit.people (surprisingly) respected him for it.

        1. kagilandam

          That is not surprising LIAD … if he was malleable … he as a creator would have killed his creativity for the crowd. (creators like musicians, painters, poets, scientists … are all known to be arrogant when it comes to their field).People like Bon-Jovi (donno how many others) coming to someone’s door step and asking for tips … I think you are too humble to call your dad a hero… I would.

      2. Mark Essel

        Identity is first expressed by strongly diverging from one’s parents opinion.Later on identity is expressed by trying to prove how unique one’s perspective is.Eventually, we come to recognize the correlations to our parents, loved ones and friends and are glad for their imprint on who we are.

      3. Foo


    2. Ed Freyfogle

      On a similar note, one idea I’ve been pondering lately is whether consumer internet will, like consumer goods, fragment into many brands (probably owned by a few big companies who have the technical skill required) for exactly this reason – you don’t want to be on the social network your parents are on. Just as you don’t want to wear their clothes, drink their alcohol, do their things, etc, etc. Or at least you don’t want to always/solely interact with the brands your parents interact with.There must be an angle to be played with a single platform, many brand strategy to embrace the natural human desire to be “different”.

    3. JLM

      What an incredible insight. Your Dad “dressed” Bon-Jovi? Very cool.

    4. Dave Pinsen

      Sounds like you had a more interesting upbringing than most. Did your Dad dress The Smiths? How about The Cult?

    5. ShanaC

      I feel like I should as to meet your daed. There are real days when I can’t dress myself, but I think I dress too preppy for him…

    6. Peter Beddows

      “I told you Dad, this is not just a passing fad!” Words I did say to my father before he passed away.I remember back in the day in the Midlands, England – before Reg Calvert, of Screaming Lord Sutch fame amongst other things, commandeered for a Pirate Radio station the old retired light-ship that was moored outside the 12 mile limit in the Thames Estuary (the 2009 Pirate Radio movie is fictional and built around the idea of a North Sea tanker but the Thames Light-ship pirate radio station was very real) – my three “mates” and I looked for some distinctive clothing to use as our band “brand”. Not being aware of Liad’s dad and his store because this was before the ’80’s, we chose the heavy leather sleeveless jackets that the Brewery Dray delivery guys wore in those times and we called ourselves …. “The Brewers”, duh! Still have one of our publicity photos somewhere.Ah, those were the days and what a thrill having that experience was albeit challenging at times as we rushed from gig to gig around the country in a modified VW bus – especially so for being someone who had had classical choral and violin music training: Mon Dieu! What a different scene the early rock and roll scene was in the UK. One of my “talents” was singing covers of Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly (I wore glasses; what can I tell you!) but, like the Beatles after us, we also wrote much of our own stuff.My “I told you so” moment, however, came so much later. My parents threw increasingly “hysterical” fits – my perceptions of reality then as a late teen going on into early twenties – as we were making a name for ourselves around the UK because they were convinced this “fad” that would never last. I guess my contemporaries Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, members of The Moody Blues, amongst others from that time in the UK who are still doing gigs around the world today never got to hear or pay attention to my Dad’s more and more urgently expressed words in his increasing anxiety that anyone doing this “game” was “throwing away their future” and would be doomed to face a very hard life in the long run.In retrospect, it is hardly surprising that my father was so concerned. He was a double-degreed engineer: Double because, during the depression he could not get a job with the first engineering degree so he went back to university to get another engineering degree. On top of that, he grew up during WWI and was an officer in the UK navy in WWII, and, in his lifetime, was a serial entrepreneur with a number of failures before finally succumbing to enter corporate life. But the hardships of his youth through the times before entering corporate life with the aftermath of the depression and war-times always playing in his mind in regard to the challenges of securing a stable living to support his family naturally led to extending grave concern for his children and their future. I did eventually hear him loudly and clearly; his fear became my fear so I finally quit music and reluctantly went back to college. Many many years later, now living in the US and with parents now visiting me and my family here around the time that the Stones did another American tour and Rod Stewart released another hit album, I wistfully but gently said to my Dad “I told you so! I wish I had never quit.” To this day, I still miss the thrill of being on stage entertaining crowds with our music.Of course, it begs the question of whether or not we would have ever reached the levels of success accomplished by The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Stones or The Moody Blues. We did not sign up with Brian Epstein. Nonetheless, I have wonderful memories of my participation in those times during which we met Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane, The Big Bopper, Chubby Checker, Four Tops and many more and having regrets do not make for any peace of mind.Both of my parents have passed away but I still miss them very much and hold them both in love and admiration in my heart.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Great story, Liad. And of course just shared this with my 15 y.o. — who actually “got it” — well, in theory. Will it translate into our present — probably not.

      1. Peter Beddows

        Agreed: Liad’s post is a great story that also stirred up memories.I was hesitant about exposing, as an adjunct to Liad’s post, my own reversely related history yet the memories of that “I told you so” to my own Father and the experiences leading up to that moment were poignantly refreshed as I read Liad’s post: It so clearly reminded me of my own experiences during the early days of rock and roll in the UK and the issues that arose in the family because of my involvement then.In another connection, one of my cousins, then a fashion designer, also opened a boutique in Soho but likewise, that was also back in the ’60s.

    8. fredwilson

      Great story!

  12. panterosa,

    Sounds like the nicest version of ‘I Told you so’ is ‘welcome’.

  13. andyswan

    As we speak, Albert and Brad are holding an intense meeting:”Obviously he can’t live with everybody….but we’ve got to find a way to get Fred annoying every 18-32 year old into technology submission!””Brilliant!”

  14. akharris

    I’m waiting for the post where Fred discovers his kids hacking away on Mongo…

    1. fredwilson

      It may happen with josh

  15. Keenan

    I HEAR YA FRED!!!My wife and I go through this all the time.I will adopt something new, and she will pooh, pooh it. I’ll try to convince her, share why she would benefit etc. to no avail. Then months later, I will see here using it.Facebook and status updates is the biggest example for us. (still can’t get her on Twitter)She used to berate me for my Twitter updates. I mean berate! She thought is was the most asinine waste of time.”Why does any one care what your doing?” she would say. Or, “I don’t need to waste my time telling people what I had for breakfast”. Now, she updates her Facebook page more than I update Twitter. She’s on it all the time.Now, the “I told you so,” that doesn’t go over too well. πŸ™‚

    1. Tereza

      HahahaKeenan I’m with you — it’s tough to be morally superior, ain’t it? :-)As tempting as it is, indeed it’s better to keep our I Told You So’s to ourselves!

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I have almost the same exact story with my husband, Keenan, except the gender is reversed of course.I’ve had to withhold my “told you so’s” — except for the time when he finally switched over his email from AOL. I couldn’t hold that one back.

      1. Aaron Klein

        The first time I read this, I thought you were saying Keenan was your husband.I’m like “dude was on AOL? No way.” πŸ˜‰

        1. Donna Brewington White

          He’s cute but probably could be my son…or at least younger brother. ;-)And AOL never! haha

          1. Aaron Klein

            Oh no way…you look way too young for that to be true. πŸ™‚

    3. fredwilson

      Bite your lip and smile

    4. Aaron Klein

      My wife is the “normal of normals” and told me vehemently, NEVER buy me one of those big fat phones. I don’t need something beeping at me constantly.When I went to the BlackBerry, I told her to try my old iPhone for a week. On Day 2, she told me I could pry it from her cold, dead fingers.Of course, now she’s backpedaling a bit…she turned off push e-mail and most of the alerts and beeps that it makes to get more peace back into her life. But she still won’t go without the convenience of having it there for her when she wants it…

  16. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    “I am so tempted to say “I told you so.” But I don’t. I just bite my lip and smile.”And then blog about it for the entire world to see. :PI used to do that with my wife and tweet about it; boy, have I learned from that mistake. ;)I can’t wait to have kids and help them discover the internet and have them help me discover new things on the internet. The more time goes, the more I think an Android tablet and the Khan Academy will be better schooling for them than any of the fancy private schools I went to.Great post Fred, love it.

  17. Dan T

    I think this is “I told you so” 2.0.Public and social. Seems far more satisfying. Every parent should have this kind of outlet πŸ™‚

  18. Guillermo Ramos Venturatis.com

    “Most teenagers don’t want to be associated with stuff their parents like.”The correlation between this phrase and the explanation on why large companies like Google donΒ΄t always succeed in new products is high. A user (teenager) love to run off road: nothing old but new, even old is a better one. Discovering new things, not linking yourself to “old” propositions and feeling free is a must for any user (teenager).

  19. John Frankel

    I hope your kids don’t read your blog.

    1. Mark Essel

      I hope they do one day.

    2. fredwilson

      They don’t

  20. ErikSchwartz

    Does this make them more likely to try new stuff you recommend?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I think self-discovery is an important part of someone liking something – especially as Fred mentioned for teenage rebellions!

    2. fredwilson


  21. Adrian Scott

    Hilarious, that’s great when you can pre-empt the kids in what’ll be cool next…

  22. David Semeria

    Peter Lynch always used to follow his wife and daughters when they went to the mall.That’s how he used to discover many consumer plays 12 months before the Street.

  23. awaldstein

    Funny…in fashion and art (to some degree), new innovation often comes from the street and watching new generations self adoption of style which then gets turned into fashion and art and trends and business. Never thought about whether this was true for technology adoption. This post raises that discussion.

    1. fredwilson

      Its happening and its happening here in NYC

  24. Matt A. Myers

    Everyone on this blog will use one of my products some day…(setting up an “I Told You So” moment!)

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Actually, it’s more a @preditterOr is it #preditterEither way…haha

  25. aarondelcohen

    One of my all time favorite posts. I didn’t use any of these services when you invested either. We are all part of your flock Fred. πŸ™‚

  26. RichardF

    “I told you so” – the great unsaid between any teenager and their parents. Parents try hard not say it, kids can hear them saying it anyway.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      So true. Hey, what’s with the new avatar?

      1. RichardF

        It’s a temporary change in honour of Europe’s glorious victory in the Ryder cup πŸ˜‰

  27. Dexter819

    Etsy is a great idea implemented in a bad way, such as how users find things and how it places and showcases the items. It’s a great investment for you I’m sure. But also a good dosage of anecdotal confirmation bias too from your post.

    1. fredwilson

      They are fixing discoveryI am super excited about the new Etsy

  28. William Mougayar

    Knowing the customer segmentation is key to any product’s success. The new generation is definitely part of that segmentation, and meshing work, family and market research is fun indeed.

  29. Gerald Buckley

    Let’s turn the coin over… What are THE KIDS’ “I told you so moments.” for mom & dad? Bands? Tech? Restaurants? A little quiet corner in Greece? C’mon… we know your discovery engines are broad and always on. πŸ˜‰

  30. JLM

    Your post is an insightful commentary on parenting, technology adoption and what happens when Dad knows more than the kids about something. But it is even something more than that.I never went through the typical rebellious stage wherein I came to “hate” my parents probably because I was so busy and then went to a military college.But I was always impressed by how much my Father knew about his profession (soldiering) and how brilliant my Mother was about life-wisdom. I was a very lucky kid.My Mother died several years ago and I miss her immeasurably. You only really begin to become an adult when your Mom dies and your are truly alone in the world. Mom’s are champions.A month or so ago, I went to Italy and tracked one of the areas that my Father had fought in during WWII — he’s 92 now and his mind is as sharp as a tack. He still invests his own money and handles his affairs brilliantly.I had a conversation with him last weekend and we spoke of his experiences in WWII and having walked the ground — hellish country to fight in replete with mountains, rolling terrain and tons of rivers to cross — and visited the American cemetery just north of Florence (Fiorenza) and seeing the graves of some of his men there, I felt a close spiritual connection unlike anything I had ever experienced before.I asked him — WTF, Dad, that must have been a hell of an experience cause that is some God awful terrain. I found myself speaking to a young Infantry officer, scared out of his wits, who was reliving one of the most marking experiences of his life. The most marking experience of his life.He made me feel like I was there — trying to fight through a little mountain pass or cross a river in the face of German resistance. He had great professional respect for the German Army and soldiers. I felt his frustration of not really knowing what the hell to do and still having to do something.It was a spiritual moment. I have never been prouder of my Father and I have never had a deeper gaze into his soul.We are all links in a chain whether it is a sudden appreciation that maybe Dad does really know something or an appreciation for the experiences which bubble through our blood and DNA.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      The Last Psychiatrist (in a post about military suicides, incidentally), offered this quote, which a commenter attributed to Marcel Proust, about losing one’s mother: Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will [eventually] enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power … that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.

      1. Tereza

        Um….Dave and JLM….did you HAVE to make me cry?Sitting in a Starbucks, in a town I really don’t want to be in, game-day uniform on. And, thankfully, some very large sunglasses.Just got a No…just like my mom used to do, day-in, day-out. And trying to psych myself up to walk in and likely get another. I don’t know how she did it.I’m also reminded that I hate beautiful Octobers because 6 years ago October became a very, very bad month.I am tough. She was 100x tougher. The weird part is I know she would have absolutely zero sympathy for me. LOL. That’s probably why I really wish she were here.She’d say, Are you kidding me? Get over it. Take a walk around the block in the fresh air, go fix your makeup because your mascara’s running, and get out there and show them you’re better than that.Anyway I guess I just solved my own problem. On the lookout for a spot to build my mojo back up.Dave — yes — on your suggestion, I’ll move this party from ‘bucks to Philz. Something tells me they serve up some great mojo at Philz. πŸ™‚

        1. JLM

          When I ask my Father if he thinks my generation could have fought and won WWII, he always says — the sons of tigers are tigers.I never really knew what that meant until recently. Not sure I really know what it means.But I do know this — the daughters of tigresses are tigresses.Go get ’em, Tigeress!

          1. Dave Pinsen

            It’s not just the sons themselves; to win a war on that scale today would require a sense of patriotism/nationalism/acceptance of shared sacrifice that hasn’t been tested since then — and frankly, in comparison to the wartime experience of the Brits, not to mention that of the Russians — wasn’t tested all that much then.

          2. JLM

            I agree completely on your observations in regard to the Russians.I am a very serious student of the Eastern front and have been amazed to learn how bad the Russians had it.I have come to understand the huge differences between the sentiments and burdens of the “people” and their “leaders”.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege.

          4. JLM

            I did not particularly like his book on the last days of Berlin but his book on Stalingrad was much better. I love Max Hastings.

          5. ErikSchwartz

            You might also like Harrison Salisbury The 900 Days about the siege of Leningrad.The Russians lost 3 times the people in that one episode (mostly civilians) than the Americans lost in the entire war.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            JLM, what better person than you to call T a tigress!And she is.

          7. Memory Foam Mattress

            their is a said in China “A tiger father will not beget a dog son”and another one is “dragon born dragon,chicken born chicken,mouse”son can make hole”

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Sorry, I don’t think either of our comments had much to do with Fred’s post, but I just read that quote on TLP’s blog last night and figured I’d take advantage of JLM’s opening to share it.Glad to hear you’re going to check out Philz — let me know what you think of it.Then put your helmet back on and get back in there. πŸ™‚

          1. Tereza

            Don’t apologize!! It was great!Onward and upward!

          2. Donna Brewington White

            You. Go. Girl.JLM has already called you a Tigress.Doesn’t get much better than that.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            That, and JLM bringing up the topic of war in this thread, reminds me of these lines from the poem Strange Meeting by the great WWI poet Wilfred Owen,They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress.None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.

          4. Donna Brewington White


        3. fredwilson

          You are bad ass TerezaThat’s the highest compliment I’ve ever gotten from my kidsI’m passing it on to youI write about entrepreneurshipYou live it

          1. Tereza

            Hey guys — seriously, thanks so much. That was awesome.What could be better than being a tigress or a badass? Not much I can think of.That was a really interesting moment that I’ve been reflecting on a bit (prompted in part by coach Jerry)I believe that when people give and get feedback, it is a sacred space. One has to be real, and has to be respectful. And there are times when that does not happen.We talk about “community” on the web. And I’ve called my company a “community” as well.But in fact, that’s a somewhat generic and imprecise term. What every single person yearns for from time to time is a boost to their confidence — so they can get back on the horse.Years ago I had to deliver my second eulogy in 8 months. I looked in the mirror and wanted to ask Mom if what I had on looked good, since I was getting in front of a few hundred people. But I couldn’t. And felt profoundly alone. It was a deep, dark place.I’ve since learned in my research that 50% of American marriages end in divorce. The average age of a woman at divorce is 32. 67% of Americans are overweight or obese.A lot of lonely people stand in front of the mirror, totally unsure sure how they’re going to get out the door.What I learned this week, is that I’m in the confidence business.And I feel really good about that.

      2. Jared McKiernan

        TLP is the best.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          TLP FTW.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        You’ve done it again! You are a veritable fountainhead! This one will be added to my treasure trove. Haven’t yet lost a mother. But if it is anything as horrible as losing a father then I dread the day. And as much as I adored my Dad, I know that it will be an entirely different experience to lose my Mom.Yet, in the case with my Dad, when the waves became further and further apart, there was a time when the pain subsided (it never goes away completely) and something remarkable took its place.I get what it is that this piece of prose is trying to convey.

    2. David Semeria

      That is a quality post, JLM. Very moving.

    3. Leake Mark

      Great contribution — reminded me of my father who worked sonar on a British frigate in the convoys in the Atlantic in WWII protecting merchant shipping between the UK and the US. He never said much about it but he enlisted when he turned 18 and served for 3 years. Always have been incredibly proud of that. Thanks for sharing.

  31. atryon

    Fred – I would argue it is truly a testament to the quality of the services you mentioned. Their pull was strong enough to pull your kids right over the “but Dad thinks it’s cool” mountain and embrace them. Way to go Twitter / Tumblr / Etsy.

  32. Andrew

    It would be interesting for you to write a post on what factors lead to adoption with the segment of the market that your raising?You touched on them briefly above, but it would be great to see a deeper analysis.How does one get adoption for a startup service by users in middle school and high school?

  33. Scott

    Just wait until they setup auto-attendants and automated SMS replies with twilio instead of having real conversations with Mom and Dad πŸ˜‰

    1. fredwilson


  34. Mark Essel

    So let them discover your portfolio on their own and they won’t just be your investments, they’ll be your kids favorite companies. Good marketing lesson today.Now back to better understanding how Max Ogden replicated the Diaspora API with CouchDB. I’ve been trying something like it with media sharing for a few weeks now :D. Better for me to see what issues he’s having and help out. Anyone can have their own social sharing servers (needs polishing time).

  35. jkrums

    I don’t think it’s just teenagers or kids, that this applies to. I find that many people like to find a service themselves. They know what works for them and if it doesn’t anymore, then they will look for an upgrade. You can leave them suggestions but for them to fully switch/adopt they have to find a utility for their way of using it. The perfect example is your son who now is able to tweet with his favorite football players. I bet when you were telling him to use Twitter, they weren’t even on there. So for him it wouldn’t have been of any value. It seems to always work out in the end, and your pestering I’m sure made them a bit stubborn to even try.

  36. ShanaC

    Actually, I want to know what happens when different pieces of a family specializes in different things and therefore everyone has a different idea about the future.I’m a Shana.My dad sell refurbed vidoeconferencing equipment and a lot of specialized services around it. And some cutting edge stuff if you absolutely need it around teleconferencing and telepresence. He also does networking.My mom is a programmer. She runs her own little consulting business in programming. (sidepoint, she hates social media, she’s also really brilliant ant programming, she wrote one of the systems that helps hospitals charge the maximum amount possible for any drug. before that, it would be like russian roulette of billing on their end. Tylenol didn’t have a fixed price)There is no possible way that if you gave all of us a product, considering we all see different parts of the computing industry, that we all would think the same way. Especially if it involved video. I already know that i disagree vehemently with my father about how people will use everyday videoconferencing. And this is a problem, because it matter how it will impact it’s long term growth in corporate environments. Meanwhile we have an added voice rolling her eyes at both of us…That’s going to be interesting 10 years from now….Though I can tell you when I was like 12 I promised I would never work in an industry requiring computing…both my parents are a little insane from it…I think it’s a little bit of a work life balance thing that needs to be taught to me….

  37. Guest

    kids have there own personalitythey will not always do what you tell them to do.Regards .www.maxgen.yolasite.com . .

  38. Rex Hammock

    While I agree with the person who said, “don’t use your kids as data points,” let me suggest this: Listen to them. I’m informed by my children’s use of media and technology, even when they don’t listen to my suggestions — and they are similar in age to Fred’s.However, there’s an important point in Fred’s post that is being overlooked in the fact the kids have now seen the light: That Twitter, Esty and Tumblr aren’t top-of-mind or, frankly, that popular with kids in high school and college.I fear that an entire generation of “neo-traditionalists” have emerged: kids from 14-24 or so whose entire internet experience is informed by — dominated by — Facebook.Just as that generation had liberated themselves from AOL and a life centered on IM, Facebook became their universe.

    1. fredwilson

      RexYou are so right. You can’t follow your kids blindly but you must observeand listen to them. Its less about what they do and more about why they doitAnd Facebook, while it is huge and central on the web, is not taking overthe world. I see it in my kids. They are moving out, not away, but out. Theyare using many more services than Facebook and I understand why

      1. Rex Hammock

        I hope you are correct, Fred. When I’m asked by college-age (or younger) students about “how to get into journalism or writing or media,” I point them to examples of people in their early 20s who have used Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube and blogs to express themselves and engage (or entertain or delight or intrigue) others — and in so doing, have gotten their foot in the door of some of the most “hard-to-get-into” doors there are: from cool startups to venerable traditional media big-cos. Facebook is fine for “social graphing” (is that a term?), but it’s not where the revolution is taking place.

  39. vruz

    that makes total sense. they are probably good decent kids, not the crazy early adopter kind :-)when they don’t like a product, it probably means the product is still not quite there yet.it’s difficult not to take it personal, especially after all the huge effort behind those products.but yes, it’s great to have some actual users and make periodic field tests.family will hardly ever be the most representative sample group, but family have a huge advantage in such tests (at least with kids) you will know that they are telling you the pure unadulterated truth.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Good insight about them not being “early adopters.”

  40. howardlindzon

    my kid likes candy….the dentist says YESSSSSSSSSS

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Our dentist sends us coupons for Baskin Robbins. What’s up with that?

      1. Aaron Klein

        brand loyalty + demand generation ftw!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          maybe it’s a strategic alliance…

    2. vruz

      some of us are our kids’ kids…:-)

    3. fredwilson


  41. paramendra

    Blogger continues to be my favorite social media platform. πŸ™‚ And I am an avid user of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr.

  42. MikeSchinkel

    “And when it happens, I am so tempted to say “I told you so.” But I don’t. I just bite my lip and smile.”Unless they read your blog, that is. πŸ˜‰

  43. Renato

    I get a lot of impedance from my 13yr daughter whenever I suggest apps and services. Yesterday she went a step further: “dad, you’re too techie for me”. This was just 2 days after she got a 4g iPod touch.As I understand, there are two things going on here:a. “herd mentality”: they prefer to do just like their peers. being too techie might set them apart from the group.b. they have a first rate sensor for detecting “parent manipulation”. seems to me that she does not wnat *me* to influence what is on *her* ipod.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes on both cases. That is my challenge too

  44. Shurtleff

    On an equal level of satisfaction is when your kids replay your words to you, usually with arms crossed…

  45. Gary Sharma

    Its interesting when you mentioned that “they are my best panel/focus group”. As a consumer internet VC, that may well be the ultimate litmus test for the startups you invest in.

  46. Joshua Lee Mullineaux

    Just purchased my first item from etsy.com after reading this post. If Fred can convince his kids to use his portfolio companies, anything is possible….

  47. Leo Berg

    The fact your children use the products & services of your portfolio companies makes you a “cool” dad, whether or not they want to admit it, yet.