Bloggers Block

After a great run the past month, I've hit a bit of an inspiration gulf. So I'd like you all to help me out of it. I'm soliciting blog post suggestions in the comments. I want everyone to go into the comments and vote up the best ones by liking them. Then I'll take the best five or ten and use them in the coming weeks.


#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. hungrygardener

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on opportunity and obstacles for technology start ups in emerging markets — particularly, the opportunity for start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa, but also Latin American and Asian markets

    1. Jorge Guzman

      I’d also like to hear about emerging markets. Every so often there seems to be hype about them but it seems investments are still done local. Will that ever change? Say, would AVC ever consider investing in Latin America and why?

  2. Mark Daher

    How about writing more about your encounters with emerging market entrepreneurs, interesting ideas that are happening elsewhere, and the challenges those entrepreneurs face because they are not in the US.

  3. Dan Lewis

    I’d like to know more about how your children’s use of technology informs your investing thesis.

    1. Tereza

      Or….how often your children’s opinions on technology kills a potential investment

  4. kgutteridge

    How will mobile change the face of internet services? especially in countries where mobile because a persons first or primary experience of the internet, do billing models need to change?Would love to hear your thoughts!

  5. RichardF

    I’d like to see a post on how much funding is required to scale a web business, from when you see it at early stage VC.Given your experience with Twitter, Tumblr and Disqus etc you must have some broad brush figures that tell you how much funding is required (and where it is deployed) to get from the point where a company has enough users to prove traction to the multi million user mark.

    1. Steve Poland

      And typical first 25 hires with costs, and other fixed/var costs.

  6. Laurent Courtines

    I’m particularly interested in how one becomes a VC. What are the core needs? Is it just a matter of intelligence and curiousity. I know you had an some sort of engineering background coupled with an MBA, but is that all?

    1. Steve Poland

      Fred — what due diligence do you guys do on markets, competition, teams? What financial projections do you do these days, given a lot of startups don’t have a revenue model early on [tumblr, twitter, 4sq]?

  7. andyswan

    x reasons I would say YES to your meeting requestThe risks and benefits of husband/wife teams (Lazerow, etc)How a product becomes a platformWhy I’m offering Andy Swan a blank check investmentHow I decide to pass on funding a losing investment (down-round NO)Core dream team of a bootstrapped startupHow pappy van winkle bourbon changed my lifeProgress on the cone of silence

    1. lazerow

      i vote this down. big, big, big vote down!

      1. andyswan

        The always feared but rarely utilized Laz-veto. Killer.

        1. lazerow

          hope you’re well swannie!

    2. fredwilson

      That’s eight in one. How are we gonna know which one if this gets liked alot?

      1. andyswan

        The old Chinese Proverb: In list of eight, choose the fourth and prosper.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I laughed out so loud.. 🙂

          1. Francis Pedraza

            ditto. busted up.

      2. Steve Poland

        How a product becomes a platform. Twitter, 4sq, etc.

        1. markslater

          …..and why you should not eat your young…..

    3. kidmercury

      my vote is for why andy swan gets offered a blank check investment

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Anyway who votes it up will get $100k added to amount for their own startup! Who’s in???

  8. CliffElam

    Tell us about something you saw that was intensely interesting but was not something you’d invest in. And why.Heck, the top end of the deadpool in your office has to be something more interesting that yet another Groupon clone.Assuming that it was something structural (you’re not in the medical device market, whatever) and not team related (the CEO was a jerk) then I would think that would fall into the “any publicity is good publicity” bucket.-XC

  9. lazerow

    Wld be interested to hear your current stance on the secondary markets that seem to be under attack by the SEC.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve written a bunch about that including this recent post…but given the events of this week, i think i’ll keep my mouth shut on this for nowthat’s not how i would want to play it but it is how i should play it

  10. Guest

    has any of the companies that you have invested in failed ? and if so why ? and more details about that.

    1. fredwilson

      I prefer it when the companies do the post mortems themselves

      1. NS47

        I digress, but still think it’s a relevant question.A failed portfolio company is essentially a collective failure of both the founding team and the investors. Having equity in the company, makes it that much more personal for a VC. Seeing value in the idea/potential in the team, and investing time, effort and $$ in the company for over a period of years, how helpless is a VC in these situations ?In this day and age, shouldn’t we have technology to identify 2 or more failing music-related portfolios (from same/different VC’s), establish a joint venture, pivot and hope for a new lease of life. We all know sum is always greater than the parts. This synergy will be a win-win for all.No good VC invests in dip-shit companies, so for a good VC firm to gamble with a company, it should have seen some real value in it. It would be a shame to see this value die a silent death.This is a waste and am wondering how this is being addressed, even as more and more companies get funded in this climate and more and more will fail.

        1. Steve Poland

          +1. good points 6tiers. “A failed portfolio company is essentially a collective failure of both the founding team and the investors.”

  11. reece

    – importance of strong corporate culture in early stage startups (and maintaining it when growing)- and on that thread, how to hire diversity into a strong culture- AVC Knicks prediction

    1. fredwilson

      Melo and Amar’e pull a Dwayne Wade and get Chris Paul to NYC. By then yourCelts will be in a nursing home and NY will fight it out with Miami for theremainder of the decade

      1. reece

        haha…prediction: Knicks fail to build a TEAM, the Celtics will pick up their wily veterans and give them a real shot at a ring. ;)one star does not a team make.—————sent wirelessly

        1. fredwilson

          melo slammed the win home last nightjosh and i high fived each otherthe melo era has arrived and we are all in

          1. reece

            …and now the Knicks are THREE games above .500! ;)seriously though – happy for you guys.this rivalry will get fun again.

      2. Satish Mummareddy

        Now with the Nets dealing for Deron Williams, the Knicks might not even be the best team in the Tri-state area. 🙂

      3. Keenan

        Go Celtics!

      4. BradDorchinecz

        Don’t count out the Bulls!

    2. Nick Grossman

      +1 to anecdotes getting at managing corporate culture (success stories like the Etsy post and maybe flops/missed opportunities as well). I also like the diversity / strong culture angle.

      1. reece

        thanks. such overlooked want to build a strong team but you need to bring in diversity.can’t just hire ‘yes men’… or women. ;)—————sent wirelessly

  12. shan

    Fred you’re awesome at blogging and at your pace, you’re entitled to a blogger’s block. :-)I’d love to see you feature posts from key people in the companies you have invested in. Not just CEOs and such, but also key engineers, key legal folks, etc. That would take some burden off you and would give us valuable insights from people running startups

    1. fredwilson

      Great suggestion. I’ve done that a bit and its been great. It takes somework to do it well

      1. David Edelman

        Get an intern just for that project. It would be a remarkable opportunity for an aspiring entrepreneur to engage a-list performers.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I think Mixergy recently sent out a blast enlisting people to do something similar.

      2. Joe Lazarus

        +1 for more guest blogger posts. Maybe you could frame those posts as email interviews. You email someone interesting and ask them if they want to be a guest blogger on AVC for a particular topic. If yes, you send them 1-3 questions by email. You post the questions and their responses plus any commentary you want to add.Some examples: CTO of Twitter on scaling a website, someone from Etsy marketing on building communities, Gotham Gal on balancing work, life, and marriage.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      This could even be an added post for double-post days! DP day of the week! ;)AVC could start working its way to being the next Mashable..

    3. chrispa

      I agree – that would be great. As an entrepreneur, I find it very helpful to read about other startups. +1

    4. Chris Lamprecht

      That’s a cool idea.

    5. nithyadas

      I’m doing something similar to this with a Founder Fridays series on the Founders Toolbox – a series of interviews with successful members of the start-up community (founders, investors, etc.). Many of my interviews are still in the hopper…I love the idea of delving into a company further than just the management level.

  13. Tom Labus

    Some comments on the Enterprise side of the social media, web apps and mobile. These are the sweet spot of your investment criteria and will be full blown in Enterprise use in 2-5 years.

  14. paulj

    As you are creating new fund/s, I would be interested to know more about the process you and your team use to create a strategy (i.e. organizing set of principles/framework) for what you want to invest in over the next 5+ years? (or perhaps you can take us through how you did this for your current fund and portfolio).

  15. Raj

    VC cliche of the week!

    1. fredwilson

      i ran out of gas on that oneit was the first great thing to happen on AVC

      1. Raj

        The VC cliche posts were always insightful.Btw, your best posts are always stream of consciousness in nature.

  16. kimsia

    I liked Brian Puckett’s comment.However, I am very partialtowards Asian markets and dealing with multi languagestowards SaaS startupsHence, SaaS startups in Asian markets or based in Asia targeting users via more than 1 language

  17. Dan Epstein

    I’d like to see more “lessons learned” from failures and/or mistakes, both from you, as well as founders. I know it can be hard to write about it, especially if fresh, but I think it can be a great source of insight. For example, Marc Hedlund’s post on “Why Wesabe lost to Mint.”

  18. Judah

    I would be interested in your advice to young professionals that are just starting out, either in startups or as part of a more established company. I got several degrees (math, chemistry, political science), then I ended up in something totally different (tech: cloud hosting). Sometimes I feel lost and I look to blogs like yours for tidbits of wisdom that can inform my decisions and career. Your thoughts on that would be much appreciated.

    1. Cartercasner

      I would really enjoy a blog about your early career.

      1. Stefano Bernardi

        +1 over here

  19. awaldstein

    Board creation and dynamics. Lots of posts about funding, less about board dynamics and compensation of ‘experts or advisory’ board members.

    1. Steve Poland

      What happens in a board meeting?

  20. awaldstein

    Marketing. An oft-ignored topic. To my memory never been addressed straight on.

    1. ShanaC

      I actually want to see this, in light of realizing that both apple and microsoft started out with buying long stretches of cheesy advertising time

    2. Mike

      Yep. Call it, “How to Attract Your First 1000 Customers” and every startup founder will read it, share it, like it, etc…

      1. J.R. Sedivy

        I agree with further refining the the marketing suggestion to “First 1000 Customers” or better yet, “How To Attract Customer #1”. There is much philosophical advice out there in the marketing books, but little practical “in the trenches” type advice.

        1. Michael Yap

          Expanding on John, “How to attract marquee customer #1”

    3. David Markowitz

      What are the cost-effective acquisition strategies found across the USV portfolio, from B2C and B2B, sites and apps

      1. Dlord

        Love this idea and would get a lot out of it! Needs more likes!!

    4. Harvest Creative

      Somewhat along these lines….I’d love to hear your thoughts on the role branding, marketing strategy and company culture play in the success of a company. Additionally, I’d be curious to hear at what point in a company’s growth and maturity you feel it necessary to bring in experts internally or externally to provide documentation, planning and guidance for the brand, marketing and culture.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Great suggestion, Arnold. This is such a critical topic that it is surprising how little airplay it gets in the startup blogosphere.Often, when I read mention of marketing, some limited aspect of marketing (advertising, marketing communications, branding, etc.) is being treated as though THAT is marketing. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but it does seem as though a broader understanding of marketing (and therefore greater emphasis) would be beneficial to a lot of startup founders.Maybe, with that, some advice on when to use “push” marketing strategies and when to use “pull” strategies.Speaking of definitions of marketing, the AMA definition is a little stiff but at least encompasses a broader view:Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

      1. awaldstein

        Hi DonnaTo me, marketing bridges the gap between what a company sells and what the customer believes they bought…and creates the channels to connect them.I agree that most blogs reduce this to endless tactical lists on one hand or stratospheric level phases of little help on the other. Perplexity is an apt description of how most feel in the face of defining, understanding and moving forward to build a market.It just ain’t simple. And there isn’t any one roadmap or right answer. Communicating the potential value of brand and the ways to build one is neither science nor art, but ongoing iterations of the intersection of both.The number of ‘likes’ above makes me think that there is indeed pent up interest.Every startup (every company) continually bangs into the often uncomfortable situation of ‘now I’ve built it’, how do i find early enthusiasts, community and hopefully a market. And how do I get to that magic moment when the market’s pull is the tide of growth.That’s why I suggested it.Fredland will be a hard audience for this and will chew this topic up and find the flaw in every hypothesis, the corner case for every rule, and at the end, affirm that each new product changes the rules but there are endless pieces of information worth sharing.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Yeah, I think you struck a nerve.Have noted the dearth of discussion on this topic and was glad to see the suggestion.I know who has my vote for a guest post. But this may be more of a MBA Monday series rather than a one-off.I hear you on the hard audience Fredland represents for a topic like this. But, oh, what fun!

    6. Dr. Gunn

      Please include “why you shouldn’t hire a PR firm or set up a marketing department right off the bat”. No one understands the market and your product as well as you do, so you are the only one who can make the right, passionate pitch to the right people. Trying to outsource too early this will only lead to distraction. Once you’ve iterated over a couple monetization strategies and understand what you’ll be doing, then bring those folks on, otherwise you’re just wasting each others time.

      1. Tiffany

        Not all startups know how to market. How to market and sell products is the second most popular question I am asked at events. Many programmers I have talked with would rather hire someone else than talk to customers. Our last project, the founder rarely if ever spoke directly to consumers his choice not to interact.

        1. Dr. Gunn

          I understand some would rather not speak to people, but what I said above remains true. Hence my suggestion for a session on why you as a founder and your early stage employees should be the ones speaking to people, not some outsourced group that won’t understand what you want them to do, because you don’t understand yourself. It’s just a waste of both parties time and energy to outsource PR or hire marketing staff too early.

    7. Tereza

      Yeah he’s been avoiding Marketing like the plague.

      1. RichardF

        lol….but not for much longer, the Emperors of Rome knew they had to keep the crowd’s pleased in the Colosseum

        1. Matt A. Myers

          This could be a great theme for above t-shirt thought..

          1. RichardF

            we need to keep a list of AVC slogans

      2. Matt A. Myers

        This could make a great t-shirt.

    8. SeanMEverett

      I think we’re trying to answer the wrong question. A great startup will test the market before any idea is ever executed. Things like Mechanical Turk questionnaires, starbucks trolling, and street “sweeping” are all things that should be done prior to designing or developing anything. If you find people love the idea, then you’ve already got a built in market. Then it’s just a matter of focusing on the “superfan” cohort and investing into that with everything you got. Groupon now spends millions on adwords because they found what works for their main cohort/target customer. The ROI will always be positive so keep investing until it isn’t. Then do SEO, some shock and awe marketing, put on your smoking jacket and let it do what it do like Snoop Dogg.

  21. ussuri

    It will be interesting to hear your thoughts regarding start-ups internal positioning re: engineering vs business drivers. We’ve been discussing a lot (offline) whether it is important for an internet-related start-up to declare itself a technology company or a media/financial services/etc. company.For example, Yahoo officially declared several years ago to not be a technology company, but a media company. On the other hand, Google and Facebook are very much engineer-driven, internally. Twitter, it seemed, had a lot of uncertainty in its first several years when they were paying less attention to technology, while since the company started to re-define itself as a platform (a very much technological positioning) its future started to clear.So is it healthy for companies in the Internet and mobile space (e.g. social buying gigs such as GroupOn) consider themselves in the media, or retail, or whatever, industry, or should they think of themselves at least 50% in the technology space?

    1. fredwilson

      they should see themselves as tech companies that monetize with a media model

  22. Colin Devroe

    I tried to dig through your archives a bit and find posts dealing with the worst deals you’ve been a part of and what you learned from them but I’m having trouble finding any.So, unless you’ve already written on the subject, I’d suggest you let us know in full detail some of the deals you’ve done that A) You knew were a mistake from the beginning but did the deal anyway for some reason, and/or B) You thought were sure-things only to turn out poorly and what you learned from both types of experiences.

    1. fredwilson

      UBO and Starmediai think i have posted on Starmediagood suggestionno pain, no gain

      1. jarid

        On a similar note, the rise and fall of Kozmo would be interesting to us old-timers…

  23. Nick Grossman

    What are the most interesting, and currently under-explored sectors for “networks of scale”?

  24. Ellen

    I do a lot of work in evaluating new opportunities before investing in their development. I usually do this for large companies, but have also had success with start-ups. When talking to VC’s about inocroprating these methods into their due diligence processes, they often tell me that they do it already. Honestly, I have yet to see it. Can you talk about what VC’s do in this area, beyond a “gut check”?

    1. fredwilson

      we don’t do much work before we investit is mostly gut

  25. Jamie Lin

    How about some thoughts on WikiLeaks

    1. fredwilson

      what an amazing topic. i don’t know what to say to be honest. i love the transparency. but i also do worry about the collateral damage.

      1. Jamie Lin

        Is there a better way to do this? When we talk about how Twitter and the likes are helping to increase transparency for nearly everything, aren’t we also assuming most people should accept the decrease of personal privacy as a collateral damage?

      2. Prokofy

        Well, read this article by David Rieff if you have time, and think about this thesis:…Here are the nut graphs of what he is saying:”At first glance, Wikileaks would seem to be far from this world of business innovation. And yet it isn’t. To the contrary, what Wikileaks does is exactly what a disruptive product does: As with nanotechnology, it supersedes the way information is made available to the general public; and, as with open source software, it challenges the idea of what the public can know and how it can know it.In the former case, Wikileaks breaks the established transmission network of office holders and diplomats leaking some information to trusted journalists and pundits, who then transmit it to the public. And, in the latter, it insists that there is simply no such thing as proprietary information, which in the context of diplomacy means it does not acknowledge the state’s right to keep secrets. Here, the state is like Microsoft, with its closed-source technology, while Wikileaks is the open-source alternative.And, again as with open-source software, there is no going back. Julian Assange may go to prison in Sweden, or even be extradited to the United States, and, though it is far less likely, Wikileaks itself may be shut down. But, for better or worse, the Wikileaks model is here to stay. For, as it turns out, the web is not just a place for shopping, or searching for pornographic images, or finding virtual communities of like-minded people, it is the new bloody crossroads of our politics.”

  26. LIAD

    1. How to keep it real once you’ve made serious dough2. Your vision of digital life in 20203. Your favourite character in Sesame Street and why.

    1. kidmercury

      lol yes definitely

    2. fredwilson

      cookie monster because his voice is so cool

      1. Guest

        I figured FAKE GRIMLOCK would chime in on that… Then again, maybe it’s just inside my head that his writing style sounds a lot like cookie monster.

        1. RichardF


        2. fredwilson

          yeah, that’s how i read him too

  27. JimHirshfield

    Tell us your thoughts on start-up speed pitch competitions. I’m not talking about Seedcamp and the nurtured, mentored events. Do the fleeting “expert panel” events really help entrepreneurs?

  28. baba12

    Blocks are good, it means you are thinking and the neurons are firing in a sequence you are not comfortable with.As for ideas that may help you fire the neurons in sequence:=I wonder if reaching certain milestones, be it financial goals for self, or having turned fifty, seeing your kids get into college etc, do you feel that you have reached a point in your life where you feel fully accomplished?I read your blog post as I think you to be principled and that you do the right thing always even if it is detrimental to you in any way or form. So without much ado would you think about writing about your growing years, what shaped you to be principled and going forward do you see wiki leaks playing a role in getting fairer terms and deals for VC’s and entrepreneurs?

    1. ShanaC

      I get blocks often, it takes a ton of effort to get out of them (and I am always glad for it)

  29. Phil McK.

    There are a couple things that would be interesting to read your views on:Company vs. Feature: Can or should a company be built around on what would normally be considered single features on established sites?In the eyes of an investor, is pushing out a solid beta product with a non-typical startup team (ie. distributed or otherwise) comparable / better / or worse than taking time to create a more standard startup team while working on more theoretical and early stage development?

  30. ShanaC

    I would like to see the followinga post in response to this article that appeared in New York Time’s Magazine…A post about how you think your individual behavior has changed from the webA post about the future of nettiquetteA post about how advertising companies and tech companies are finding commmon ground as tech companies become more like media companies and what to watch out for.A post about a technology you thought would never catch on, that didA post about the coolest piece of tech you’ve seen than has nothing to do with being an internet VC.I can think of more later.Also, if it helps, everyone goes to writer’s block. There was a famous letter to Eva Hesse from Sol Lewitt when she had artists’s block. It is always worth a read at times like this

    1. Roland Haddad

      I like the article you posted from NY times. I think the list of profound losses we will feel will get longer with time as technology transforms into smaller, better, different. This is life, we will miss those things but next generations wont. They will grow up seeing them in the distant past, i.e. no reminiscence. I open my laptop every day for a little bit of magic. Love it!

    2. awaldstein

      you should write the post for fact we all should

      1. ShanaC

        I’m actually thinking about it…It is just a hugely overwhelming subject

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Poor Virginia Heffernan: She’s all confused, worried, and distraught! She knows the Internet is good but feels that something might be wrong so tries and tries to find something!But that’s what the NYT is about and for whom it’s for, right? :-)!!Well, Virginia, you’re right: There is something wrong, for, say, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and even much of old media, but not for you!In your list with “Craigslist is just like the classifieds in the old New York Herald-Tribune or The Village Voice”, you omitted that Google is just like the subject index of a library card catalog but with sorting by a crude measure of overall popularity!For film and vinyl records, relax: Some years ago I got a sack of Nikon camera equipment. Well, it still has fantastic optics and quite competitive resolution. I get scans just at Sam’s Club, and they are quite nice, but for some bucks it’s possible to get some really high resolution scans. Actually, all things considered, can still stay with film.E.g., as of 2008, Dalsa’s best CCD chip for photography had 48 million pixels and could store about 55,000 electrons per pixel (one Ampere is one Avogadro’s number of electrons per second, and that’s about6.02214179 * 10^23electrons so that 55,000 ain’t a whole lot which means that the pixels are ‘finely grained’ with maybe some noise?).When consider all the details about how Dalsa handles color, it boils down to an image of about 3000 x 4000 color pixels, and that doesn’t blow away good film in a 35 mm camera.For MP3, f’get about it: If you don’t like it, then just get a WAV file with no compression at all.Let’s see: Some music where we might care about quality is Renata Scotto singing “Un Bel Di” from Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ (tear your heart out type music), and the MP3 version is100 * 11,281,849 / 49,735,276 = 22.7%of the WAV version. Maybe I can hear the difference!Wait, there’s more!Renée Fleming…Maria Callas…Wipe your tears?Tough not to like the Internet!For digital losing some of the music, on a CD and in a WAV file, they have 44,100 digital samples per second for the left channel and similarly for the right channel. Then by the ‘canonical theorem of interpolation theory’ and/or Nyquist sampling, those samples can be perfect for any signal below 20,000 Hz. The proof is a cute application of Fourier theory via pictures that I learned applying the fast Fourier transform to sonar signals — it works; trust me on this one! While your dog might notice 20,000 Hz, nearly no human will.For more on how high 20,000 Hz is for music, an open E string on violin has frequency440 * ( 3 / 2 ) = 660Hz, and about the highest want to try to play on the E string is two octaves above that for4 * 660 = 2,640Hz. So, include some overtones, and are still well within 20,000 Hz.Relax, and enjoy the Internet!

      1. ShanaC

        I do enjoy the internet, though you are right about sampling issues.Also, just as a general note – Prefer german operas and french romantic to Italian opera. That and I have been dying over Arvo Parte…

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Schoenberg? I pretty well stopped a little short of that with, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff!French romantic opera? Saw Massenet’s ‘Manon’ at the Met once — young, little Manon should have stayed on the carriage!For his ‘Thaïs’, sure like…which is Nigel Kennedy’s exceptionally lyrical (‘seamless’) performance of the “Méditation”.For German opera, still tough to beat ‘Die Zauberflöte’! I saw it at Indiana University and at Lincoln Center, have it on CD, etc. Mozart actually makes it possible to sing in German!Poor Beethoven: His versions of his “Leonore” overture are so good people ignore the rest of ‘Fidelio’!The best of Wagner is terrific music.I’ll blame it on you; you just got me to find…Otto Klemperer playing the “Prelude” to Act I of ‘Lohengrin’. There the still images are unbelievable. I could go for the strawberry blond! Wish the girls in my high school dressed like that!As long as we are in ‘Lohengrin’, there’s the famous part, also very nice, “Treulich geführt” with some video of the opera at:…More that is good includes the overtures to ‘Der fliegende Holländer’, ‘Tannhäuser’, ‘Die Walküre’, ‘Parsifal’, various other pieces.E.g., I can like the “Liebestod” from ‘Tristan und Isolde’ as by Birgit Nilsson at…It sounds like ‘modern music’, but I’d have to study the score to see what he is really doing with the keys and harmonies. In some of the motifs in ‘The Ring’ he sounds at least quite different if not really ‘modern’, but when actually look at the music it’s simple: In part he avoids the tonic in clever ways.Don’t have to be just poor King Ludwig to like the best of Wagner’s music. Tough to see how anyone could be so good at music yet such a wack job at so much else.For German opera, have to count Mahler’s favorite cello player Franz Schmidt, his ‘Notre Dame’, and its ‘Intermezzo’…which is really nice even if don’t hear the rest of the opera!About as far as I go in German opera is the Richard Strauss ‘Der Rosenkavalier’. I have the DVD of the performance by Carlos Kleiber with Barbara Bonney as Sophie. Yes the package cover has a photograph of one of the best moments, the presentation of the rose and the subsequent duet. Beyond belief.Yes, someone ripped the scene as…The sound is okay but the video is much less good than on the DVD.That duet got me to write my crucial, core software, easily! My part of the work’s all been easy: If it weren’t for a lot of really bad documentation for system administration, I’d a lot closer to a yacht and a Sophie by now! Some of those points I got cleared up earlier this week, with a lot of Google searching starting with a lot of clues, running carefully thought out experiments, was like uncovering secret manuscripts in a labyrinth.Strauss also knew how to write singable German especially for the female voice.Although not opera, but close, some people might see their courtship, career, and marriage depicted in the Richard Strauss ‘Ein Heldenleben’. The girl is a riot and makes him try really hard!Now you have a nice ‘play-list’!Really, for opera, mostly I like just the Italians!Whatever, the Internet is amazing: Wonder if Kleinrock had any idea what he was starting. So much about computing and the Internet are examples of, anyone predicting such things even five years in advance would have been called wacko.

  31. NS

    From your funding record, is it almost always someone in their late teens or early twenties who start companies and get funded ? 🙂 Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  32. Bill Davenport

    A while back I read (I forget if it was here or maybe on Silicon Alley Insider) that you wouldn’t invest in Groupon or Pandora given their lack of user engagement. I thought that was a really interesting perspective given that they also have large networks which has been another key consideration for UV.A couple things that would be interesting followups. Provide some interesting examples of notable user engagement that you’ve seen, things outside the norm. Potentially look at how a company can move from just having a network in to having a more engaged community. I can think of a few ways that Pandora for example could drive engagement. Maybe look at the value of a company being engaged with their customers vs. engagement between customers.Also, any new or emerging themes that are on your radar but perhaps not too investable yet. But that might be the secret sauce not to give away.Thanks for the posts!

    1. Tereza

      Or how ’bout the opposite….engaged, but not fully networked yet?

  33. Guillermo Ramos

    How a Vc adds value to:a) LPsb) Portfolio CosLooking at VC returns: is VC sustainable? What needs to be changed?

  34. Bruno

    Continuing with your M&A series, here’s a most intriguing post made by the guys from 37signals named “What happens after Yahoo! acquires you.” I’ve known their position about selling to big companies and I know they advocate bootstraping, but such a strong blow against Yahoo! cannot go unnoticed.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve written the same thing on this blog many times

  35. Mike Kijewski

    You’ve said that USV focuses on investments in the application layer of the web that involves large numbers of engaged users. It seems that this type of application tends to focus on the consumer market. Can you talk about when and if you think these kinds of applications will start to make real headway into enterprise settings (Salesforce excluded, obviously)?

    1. fredwilson

      great questionnot sure i have the answers but it is on my mind

      1. David Meiselman

        Related to that Fred, curious about your thoughts on opportunities for startups where consumerization of IT is spreading in the enterprise…how can the big enterprises be helped along to embrace all those awesome things that are possible for the consumer on the web, but pose such challenges for enterprise computing environments…

  36. msuster

    I’m not sure if I’ve seen this one in the past from you – but how about a post on your partners: who they are, how you guys work together & a bit more about how you guys reach decisions on deals?I know this is something I’ve thought about writing about. People assume that since my partners don’t actively blog that they’re somehow less active, which obviously isn’t true. Might be fun to get a human face / perspective on the partnership of USV.

    1. Steve Poland

      Agreed. What kind of deals / sectors interest them? What investments have they led?

    2. Austin Clements

      While we’re waiting on that one from Fred it would be interesting for you to do the same over @ Both Sides. Would love to hear about each persons role in the decision making process at GRP. Maybe even a This Week in VC roundtable.Fred, understanding the dynamics between VC partners is something startups rarely get any insight into. I would love to see this post.

  37. msuster

    I’d also love to hear your thoughts on “YouTube as a platform” – it’s any area I’m spending a ton of time on at the moment and I’m surprised how little coverage it gets relative to the importance & growth of this as a platform.

    1. falicon

      OK – now I also want to read a post from you on “YouTube as a platform”! I’ve backed into this thought a lot lately too and so it’s interesting to see it start to bubble up in some other peoples minds…

    2. paramendra

      Mark, maybe that is a post for YOU! I’d love to read.

  38. Martin De Saulles

    Not a question specific to VCs but I’d be interested in the tools/systems you use to communicate and share information across the USV companies and with your colleagues. Is it mainly email/telephone or do you use any web services? How (if at all) has this changed for you over the last 5 years?

    1. fredwilson

      we are working on itthis is a post for @gcsf to write

  39. Joseph Flaherty

    A few months ago in an interview you made a comment about being interested in start ups that were less focused on the tech savvy, largely costal communities and more on the broader population that might still be using Hotmail.I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on that. I’m constantly amazed when I hear revenue numbers for MagicJack, Ganz/Webkinz, Club Penguin, and a bunch of other companies that have brought tech successfully to the masses. Do you see potential in “Red State” Startups? Would you fund a large, engaged community focused around guns?

    1. fredwilson

      yes to the second to last questionno to the last onei won’t invest in something i don’t personally believe in

  40. Harvest Creative

    How your team places a specific monetary value on traffic and/or to a business with no revenue in order to place an investment.

  41. David Haber

    I’d love to see a post on data visualization. Google just release Hans Rosling’s Gapminder software in a full-public release. It’d be neat to hear how you think we’re going to make sense of the massive amount of data we’re producing going forward.

    1. Bob

      +1, visualization of terabytes of data will become an ever expanding niche. As user generated content grows every increasing amounts of mining and visualization tools will be required, a big growth area possibly esp the enterprise.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Have to be careful with the idea that there is a lot of value in ‘visualizing’ data and in particular, terabytes of data. When you can find a particular case where such visualization has value, okay. Otherwise usually doubt the value and for two reasons:(1) Purpose. The purpose of analyzing data is usually valuable new information, meaning, something ‘actionable’.Generally just a picture, that is, ‘visualization’, can be useful but is still nearly always stuck as preliminary, conjectural “exploratory data analysis” and not the final, valuable “confirmatory data analysis” (J. Tukey).E.g., maybe do a lot of data analysis and conclude that, if run ads according to targeting technique (A), then our unbiased estimate of the revenue next month will be $1.1 million and, for (B), $1.9 million. Then an unbiased estimate of the expected difference of $0.8 million. With the law of large numbers, such an estimate will soon show up at the bank.That is, looking at pictures rarely results in more than a definite maybe, a conjecture to be pursued, or a hypothesis to be tested while something more definite can give results in the bank.(2) Sampling. Usually don’t need terabytes of data. E.g., here is a die. Is it fair? In principle could roll it infinitely many times and check. But if roll it enough times to get terabytes of data, then will also get a good check. Actually, if roll it just, say, 10,000 times and do a hypothesis test, say, just chi-squared, then could still do a very good test. So, generally don’t need all the data and, instead, need just a reasonably large sample.Typically the accuracy of a result goes down as one over the square root of the number of samples so that 100 times as many samples gives just one more significant digit in the result. So sampling nearly never needs or benefits strongly from terabytes of data.

    2. jarid

      Speaking of Google visualizations, check out this cool video of Global Android Activations, Oct ’08 – Jan ’11

  42. Steve Poland

    Revisit “taste neighbors”. Anyone closer to this?

  43. David Haber

    Also – your Anti-portfolio would be interesting (in the same vein as Bessemers).i.e. the ones that got away.

    1. fredwilson

      the ones we wanted and lost or the ones we said no to and wish we hadn’t?

      1. feddkraft

        the second

      2. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

        the first

      3. David Haber

        Both would be interesting. But I think most people refer to the ones that they had the chance to invest in but didn’t for whatever reason and now wish they had.

      4. Tim

        Wish you had said yes to

      5. MikeSchinkel

        First. No Second. No…. ahhhhhh! ‘-)

  44. John Rorick

    Paul Graham and others have made it clear (even yourself I believe in your archives) on the limited success they see for the part-time entrepreneur who often falls outside of the classic “20-something sans family coder”. I would welcome more insights and profiles (maybe guest posts) on those that evolved a business on the sidelines while committed to their day jobs and the approaches that are taken to maintain commitment and execute a vision.I personally feel that there would be even more new businesses started and risks taken if there were larger resources for those in the mid-career stage of life, and who seek the right outlets for their new business vision. And to be clear, I am 1000% projecting right now, so you can feel free to simply send me a DM on the topic instead. 😉

    1. Antony Evans

      The world is way to competitive for someone who is only going part time on a big idea. If you are going to to it get behind it 100%, otherwise someone else is going to get out there and kick your butt…

  45. Dan Sweet

    Differences between CFO and VP Finance and when is which the right choice? What qualifications/prior experience to look for in each?

  46. Dan Sweet

    Differences between CFO and VP Finance and when is which the right choice? What qualifications/prior experience to look for in each?

    1. fredwilson

      i think i may have posted on this before. i will look for it and if i find it i will post a link here

      1. Dan Sweet

        It came up in the comments once and you said it would be a good post topic to do. If it happened though I missed it and a link would be great.

      2. Dan Sweet

        It came up in the comments once and you said it would be a good post topic to do. If it happened though I missed it and a link would be great.

  47. Steve Poland

    Bob Gurley and Max Levchin recently said the next big company will be the one that nails the missing “interest graph”. See…Facebook has “likes”, but I don’t think they have made it encouraging/rewarding for users to use likes. What are your thoughts on the “interest graph”?

    1. fredwilson


      1. markslater


      2. Steve Poland

        This article has some interesting data to support your claim of Twitter having the “interest graph”:…I feel like the interest graph isn’t nailed yet. I’m working on it with MyFavorites. Launching on iphone/android/web for SXSW to surface what’s hot — parties, panels, bbq, other startups. Basically adding some gaming mechanics to get people to tell what their favorites are for everything. Invites:

  48. Daniel Morris

    SXSW InteractiveHI Fred,I was curious if you will be attending SXSW this year or if you ever have in the past and what are your thoughts about this event from an exposure and investing stand point.

    1. fredwilson

      nope. i’ve never been to SXSWi don’t like crowdsthey are not great places to find nuggets of gold

      1. paramendra

        This is a blog post for me. I am in tune with this feeling. But I do hope to crash the party one of these years.

      2. Daniel Morris

        I don’t mean to sound defensive but I notice something slightly contradictory to your above statement. Foursquare had it’s major debut in March 2009 at SXSW. Isn’t it true that Union Square invested in Foursquare somewhere around September 2009? So is it just coincidence that Foursquare happened to be at SXSW? Surely, if your firm deemed it a good investment, there must be something about SXSW that lures good companies seeking exposure. Could you expand on why it is not the right place to find attractive start ups?

        1. fredwilson

          great questioni think SXSW is a great place for companies to launch (at least it was, itmay be too crowded now)but we were following and using both foursquare and twitter before theybroke out at SXSWwe didn’t need to be there to see them in actionwe did notice the impact SXSW had on thembut we invested in both in the summer, months after SXSWwe like to build long relationships with companies and be able to investwhen it is obvious they are gaining tractiongoing to a crowded festival with every other VC in the planet is not my ideaof how best to do that

  49. GlennKelman

    What about thesis-based investing? I’ve wondered if VCs’ investment theses are just after-the-fact rationalizations. When you see a product and team that you love, don’t you always invest in it, regardless of how it squares with your thesis?A second interesting topic might be about saying no. I talked to one VC recently who said he was getting out of the business because he was tired of saying no over and over again. It takes an emotional toll.A third topic might be what happens when a big incumbent comes into a startup’s space: Facebook for example challenging Foursquare or Disqus.Last, it would be interesting to see how you deliver negative feedback to CEOs and founders, in a way that they’ll actually listen to. Entrepreneurs are by nature stubborn people…

    1. fredwilson

      wow, for awesome topics Glennfirst like i’ve given so far

  50. Will C

    I’d like to understand how the best valley startups generate that vital early buzz around a product, in the right circles (the tech press, tech mavens, popular bloggers, etc.) Simply having a great product is surely the biggest driver, but what other strategems are employed? What PR firms or other 3rd parties are retained? To what extent do VCs help with this?As a case study – what about Ubercab? It’s really just a limo service, so how did it get so much hype?

    1. Tereza

      And/or — some great case studies of building buzz when the core market is absolutely NOT tech press, tech mavens, etc.

  51. Ed

    I’d like to hear you discuss the need for more (and better) communication from platforms (or any start up) to consumers/users. Despite all the new media available, many significant companies have horrendous communications (including comms platforms themselves).It’s an overlooked discussion, and I believe it has a tremendous impact on userunderstanding, positioning, and even long term survival.

  52. Jonathan Nation

    More for people who want to move into angle/VC roleBecause it is easier (or you could post on this too) write on investing in local businesses..similar lines:Similarities and differences in investing as a VC and in local businesses.

  53. dblockdotorg

    How does one get started being an angel?Why is it a bad idea to give 50K$ of your own dollars to a tech startup? Why is it a bad idea to take 50K$ from people who aren’t investing in 10 tech startups? What are better alternatives in the startup world for someone who has 50K$ of their own money to spend.

  54. falicon

    Few thoughts:1. How about a “day in the life”…breakdown your typical schedule, the things you spend your time on each day (meetings, playing with product, reading, research, etc. etc.)2. How about picking a random new project that someone is trying to get you to you play with…and exposing your process for ‘trying it out’ from first look to say a week or so inside the app…and of course I have lots of projects to let you do this with if you’re having trouble picking one to do it for (but my thinking is you’ve got a backlog of a million or so services you’ve been meaning to give a try) =D3. How about breaking down the various places you share stuff…why you do it there vs. somewhere else and what tools you use to do it all.4. You’ve mentioned email overload a bunch…how about an in-depth analysis of just what this means to you? (ie. how many new emails a day on average, how many do you really see/read on average, how many unique people are they from vs. stronger contacts, etc. etc. etc.)5. How about a breakdown of the investments you are actually on the board of…and why you chose those to be so actively involved in vs. others Union Square is invested in…….I could come up with more…but 5 feels like a good round number of suggestions =D

  55. JLM

    Care, feeding and grooming of Boards of Directors from a seasoned CEO with a few scars.

    1. Tereza

      Anyone in particular, JLM? 🙂

      1. JLM

        Yeah, I can think of a few! Haha. Hope you are well.

        1. Tereza

          Workin’ my ass off, my friend.Oh, and at the moment, “on vacation” with the kids. HA!That’s a euphemism for ‘working double and triple shifts’.

  56. JLM

    The after party hangover relationship with VCs after the check clears and you have to work w/ the SOBs. How to communicate effectively and to develop a relationship with Board members.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Yes, the VCs really liked their taste of the sausage and invested to produce more sausage.After the first few Board meetings, they began to understand how the sausage was made and upchucked!So, the company worked 24 x 7 on some new sausage, and at the next Board meeting they REALLY liked the new sausage. But by two Board meetings later they had learned a little about how that sausage was made, upchucked again, ran from the company, and shut it down.So much for making really good sausage!How to keep the Board members the heck out of the kitchen?

      1. JLM

        I never mind Board members in the kitchen as long as it is not their first time and as long as they actually know something about cooking. I love interaction with thoughtful people who know what they are talking about. I love input.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I like ‘input’, too, e.g., here, and I may have to take your advice, but I’m from uneasy up to terrified.I hope at least to be able to trust in ‘greed’: They want to get rich, too, and, thus, should be happy with the quality of the sausage and willing to forget about some of how it’s made.

    2. fredwilson

      it’s like a marriageboth sides have to want it to workyou have to talk about stuff you don’t want to talk about

      1. paramendra

        “….you have to talk about stuff you don’t want to talk about…” Hmmm.I read somewhere once, if you can’t talk about a relationship, it does not exist.

    3. sbmiller5

      along these lines, I’ve seen posts on how to run good board meetings, but would be interested in what a good board packet looks like in your opinion.

      1. JLM

        Send me an e-mail address and I will send you a copy of our standard Board agenda.I think a couple of the most important things about Board meetings are:Have a perfectly standard comprehensive meeting agenda but pick carefully what things you actually discuss at each Board meeting. Part of the communication mechanism is what a Board member can read or be informed about without actually having to discuss it as a group. This way when something does need to be discussed, there is no scramble to add it to the agenda, you just go from info to discuss.Budget time for each discussion topic and ensure there is a time keeper.Budget general discussion time. An education topic.Get the Board package out a week ahead of time even if it is not complete and supplement info during the week between the Board package being sent and the actual meeting date.Make all other committee meetings on the same day — audit committee, independent directors meeting, comp committee, etc.Make a written Board meeting admin memo with the “rules” laid out in writing — attendance policy, timely start, read the material, no lap tops/cell phones, when breaks are to be held, parking lot issues, brainstorming, etc.I kick anyone off a Board who misses two meetings a year unless they are having open heart surgery on the date of the actual meeting.

        1. sbmiller5

          Thanks! [email protected] – I’m most interested in what the actual packet looks like…do you have an outline or an old one I could see?

  57. JLM

    How the current economic crisis in the US is going to impact the entrepreneurial space in America. Good, bad, indifferent?

    1. fredwilson

      i’m hoping indifferent

  58. Jeremy Black

    Not sure if you’d want to go too deep into it, but, metrics.There are a few others that have spoken at length about traction/churn etc. I’d really like to see someone talk about metrics from a more financial perspective. Think Phil Libin’s discussion of metrics, but as someone else suggested in the comments more of a focus on scaling, cost of user acquisition, cost per user for a platform like Tumblr etc.Just giving examples, I know you can’t speak directly to the numbers at portfolio companies.

    1. fredwilson

      great topicour secret is three things:thesis, metrics, gut

  59. JLM

    Is Wisconsin going to become Egypt?

    1. Tereza


      1. johnmccarthy


    2. fredwilson

      it isn’t going to pretty when americans have their entitlements taken awaybut i see no other way to get to breakeven

    3. Dave W Baldwin

      If I may on that one… finding out those Senators who fled being referred to as the ‘fab whatever’ ticked me off. You have people in the line of fire protesting for freedom (at least a stab at it) and you have the mamby pambies over here who want to act like their just brave and so on.I know you aren’t implying the Wisconsin folks are on the brave level as Libya…just had to get it out.

  60. JLM

    When do you personally get off the merry go round and why?

    1. Mark Essel

      I’m a little curious as to what Fred will work on after the current fund. I assume he starts another fund with his partners, that’s what he loves doing.

      1. Prokofy

        I think it’s time for Fred to get into funding some non-profit organizations or some of those entrepreneurial self-financing operations that are a cross between NGOs and small business.And not just the typically politically-correct ones that his peers like Craig Newmark might fund, but something personally interesting to him, a start-up maybe, or something small that does good work that he could leverage.I have some idea if anyone wants to email [email protected]‘ve often seen people in business reach a point in middle or late age where the game of business becomes wearisome and they like engaging with the more serious world of the nonprofit.

        1. Mark Essel

          Given Fred’s strengths, I suspect he would be a strong judge/investor of nonprofit efforts that have consistent and measurable impact on remedying (not solving) social problems. Hacking ingrained social structures to the benefit of people in need is serious business.

    2. fredwilson

      i ask myself that question a loti find parts of this business really grindingi hate saying no twenty to thirty times a dayit sucks the life out of you to be so damn negative all the time

      1. Prokofy

        Oh, I don’t find that at all. Saying no is invigorating. Finding the negative is elucidating.You need to see the bright side of negativity, Fred!

  61. Mike

    How about a first hand account of a business that was created largely through the knowledge gained here at I know a guy with this story who just received seed funding.

    1. fredwilson

      i’d have to solicit a guest post, right?

      1. Mike

        Your call. I can send you the draft and let you can decide what to do with it (guest post, a piece of a larger story involving the power of blogs such as this, etc…).If you’re interested, just let me know where to send it (@mike_ivey).

      2. paramendra

        That would be many posts.

      3. markslater

        i’m in – The idea behind GETABL is in large part a direct consequence of the guidance and my participation here.we just beginning the financing process now.It goes without saying that i think its a homerun

  62. kidmercury

    topic ideas: 9/11 being an inside job, what’s going to happen if/when egypt/libya comes to USA, will US debt problem ever get solved if so how, why are bubbles bad (are they?) if so what should we do to fix the problem

    1. kidmercury

      also, oil is about to hit $100 today. a good time to speak about free energy technology that has been suppressed. only the truth can set us free.

    2. fredwilson

      i heard a good line last nightthe US is like GM, we’ve got a spending problem

  63. Tony_Alva

    Your retrospective thoughts on the digital broadcast radio space would be a good one…

    1. fredwilson

      i’m not going to write publicly about that tony because it is still in playbut i’d be happy to do this over a beer with youi suspect we’ll be in violent agreement

  64. leigh

    How about best/innovative marketing approaches you’ve seen from a start up that was trying to get noticed but didn’t have $$ resources. 🙂

    1. leigh

      oh i see someone already posted something similar — (scanning abilities not what they used to be)ok how about this instead bc i like your personal posts as well – watched an interview with the fellow who wrote the book Philanthrocapatalism talking about a new wave to philanthropists treating it as social business vs.non-profit etc (ie Warren Buffet, Bill Clinton etc.). Love to hear your persona thoughts/approaches to philanthropy

  65. kidmercury

    you are the cal ripken jr of blogging, but perhaps a blog break would help you.

    1. Steve Poland

      Don’t feed that kind of idea into his mind 😉

    2. Tereza

      or juice!that’s us.

    3. fredwilson

      it would

      1. RichardF

        Sounds like you need to head to the slopes for the week Fred. Switch off the phone, leave the blog alone and get some mountain air.

        1. fredwilson

          too cold. i think a beach would be better

  66. paramendra

    (1) Tell your personal story in stages. (2) Tell the story of your major investments. How did you spot the opportunities? How did you work the deals?

  67. Michal Mocny

    I have a great product idea and a prototype which has gotten some initial users excited, and am considering pitching my idea to Angels/VC.What I would like to know is, with startup funding, how much of that goes directly towards the founder(s) personal expenses? What personal burn rate (“salary”) are they expected to accept?Obviously, lower burn gives longer runway, but with two children is it too late for me?

    1. RichardF

      it’s never too late

      1. Michal Mocny

        Always an optimist, I like it 🙂

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I hope you are right. 😉

        1. RichardF

          you know it Donna. It’s not over until I’m nailed in and buried 6ft under

          1. Donna Brewington White

            and remember what JLM says, even then get a second opinion…

          2. RichardF

            lol…I missed that

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I think any reasonable VC if interested would be willing to account for your current life conditions, re: children – so long as your expenses are reasonable. 🙂

    3. Steve Poland

      If you can get into Y Combinator, you have a $150k additional coming from SV Angel / Yuri. I think that move is going to see a lot of 30/40-somethings starting businesses [even with the families in place].

    4. Mike

      Fred has written about this before and said that is not unreasonable to ask for a salary at a startup. That being said (if you’re pre-revenue and inexperienced) just remember that it is difficult to raise money so the less you need for personal expenses the better.You might consider raising more if at all possible (i.e. you need $100k to prototype for 3-6 months plus $25k in expenses; so raise $125k). Then the question is are you willing to give up more equity now to live a little more comfortably?

    5. Tereza

      if it’s too late for you, it’s too late for me too. 🙂

      1. Donna Brewington White

        …and twice as late for me. ;-)I’m sticking with Richard on this one.

  68. Paul

    I’d like to see a post in work/life balance, how you andColleagues manage it, and how folks working at te companies you back manage.This topic has always interested me as someone who is a developer and also a professional musician.Can’t seem to use facebook to login to disqus on my iPhone, weird.

    1. Tereza

      Usually I find those most interesting when it includes a preamble like, “Well, I used to really suck at work/life balance and here are some embarrassing examples from my past when I really got it wrong” and then share what you do today instead.Show the transformation.It’s a bit boring when it’s all Stepford-perfect.Also re: time management it’s hard to find an average day — it’s somewhat unattainable and not very representative. Too variable. But an average week — what you manage to get done over a week is probably quite representative.

    2. fredwilson

      to be brutally honest, i would not be able to create work life balance without my wifeshe is the hammer that i need

      1. paramendra

        This would be a great, great post.

  69. Jim Wang

    How about a series for individuals looking to make small investments in private companies? How to read term sheets, cap tables, and whatnot as a private investor? (I know you’ve written about some of these issues, like cap tables, in the past from different perspectives – looking for one directed at individuals) Maybe call it the private placement series or something?Thanks!

    1. Jennifer McFadden

      There are a couple of great books on term sheets out there that might help you…”Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation” by Andrew Metrick”Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur” by Berkery (and, yes, the title is ridiculously stupid, but the book is actually pretty informative)

    2. fredwilson

      you should read brad feld’s term sheet series…

  70. Asef Anwarzai

    How to get into the VC game!!

  71. CJ

    I’d like a post on time management – I think that it’s phenomenal the way you manage time and get more done in a week than most people get done in a month and still do it well in all aspects of your life, wife, kids, blogging, investing, interviews, boards, exercise, travel, etc… That’s one of the things I admire about you the most and assume it to also be one of the hardest things you do.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Super-like this one. A while ago, read one of Fred’s bios for a conference that I think included a sample daily schedule and was in absolute shock over how much he gets done! Astounding!

      1. paramendra

        Yep, a post on Fred’s productivity tips for knowledge workers. His use of has to be near the top of the list.

  72. Elia Freedman

    First there was the Valley for start-ups. Now NYC has made tremendous strides in becoming a start-up haven. How did NYC do it and how can other cities do the same, from your perspective?

  73. Boris Fowler

    I think it would interesting to read and write about how entrepreneurship and education are so closely related.For example, the Kauffman Foundation has research saying that there is a smaller percentage of students graduating into entrepreneurship now that there are thousands of programs for entrepreneurship.Also, I would like to know your thoughts on how we can improve the education system.

  74. Chris Waldron

    Business development and how to get deals done.-Things to be cautious of-Unique examples of great BD deals-Guest posts from your portfolio co’s on deals-How to structure deals

  75. Karthik Ramakrishnan

    How to use SEO/SEM effectively to build a consumer web business. Some of your Etsy experience will come in handy :-)Karthik Ramakrishnan

  76. Keenan

    I hate when I have Bloggers block. It’s the hardest part of blogging. This approach has bailed me out of a few bouts with bloggers block. The community comes up with some great ideas.I have my vote mouse in hand!

  77. sigmaalgebra

    Why do users get ‘engaged’ with Internet social media?Examples of where they have and have not with guesses, thoughts, explanations, etc. about why.Maybe a guest post from someone with some relevant background and no professional conflicts that keep them from explaining.Then comments can add detail, explanations, etc.

    1. Tereza

      I think you need to do some demographic segmentation here.The reasons can vary vastly, depending on who.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Well, let’s see! :-)!!Here Fred had “blogger’s block”, maybe could say partly took ‘a day off’, and got, as I type this, 263 comments which seems to be relatively high. So Fred’s users were relatively ‘engaged’! Or, he did one of his best days and maybe didn’t take a “day off”!And we got a super bowl ‘engagement’ winner right away. May I have the envelope, please? And the winner is, with, as I type this, 64 likes,”awaldstein, Business advisor. Wine aficionado. New Yorker.Marketing. An oft-ignored topic. To my memory never been addressed straight on.”Definitely deserves 750 ml of Beaune to Dijon grape juice! Apparently Beethoven agreed and wrote a piano sonata…for him! :-)!!So, for my question “Why do users get ‘engaged'” and your “demographic segmentation” ‘partitioning’ for more focus (I see that you appreciate that the more finely we partition the better we can ‘focus’ and thus approximate and ‘explain’!), it appears that the mostly men of Fredland had a competition!So one reason users can become engaged is to participate in a competition!I mean, just who would ever guess that people who like the competitive world of business could be ‘engaged’ in a competition! :-)!!Some of my rough guesses for why users become ‘engaged’, in addition to male competition:(1) Membership. As usual for human behavior, may go back to E. Fromm, in this case, to his statement that people have anxiety from their realization that they are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society and, thus, seek security with one approach being membership in groups.There people can also seek acceptance and approval. So, they can like honors, ‘likes’, ‘friends’, ‘followers’, ‘karma points’, ‘promotions’, etc. ‘Promotions’ can be to moderator, ‘mayor’, etc.(2) Romance. It’s no secret that one of the stronger drives of people is romance in various respects. So, at some ‘social media’ sites, people can use the site to check people out for ‘common interests’, maybe working with Myhrvold’s cookbook, playing half of the Kreutzer sonata, how best to tie a yacht at a dock, and then meeting them in person! “Your yacht or mine?”Ah, the force that built Newport 110 years ago! So, this is not nearly new!Apparently eHarmony doesn’t yet have that problem completely solved!(3) Career Connections. Gee, try a ‘soft sell’! Don’t just send in a resume listing languages, algorithms, frameworks, IDEs, and middle-ware or send in a ‘foil deck’ outlining how to own the world. Instead, use the Web site to establish ‘genuine, sincere’ interests! So, be as indirect as some designing Southern Belle at a ‘cotillion’! “Win with honest trifles in order to deceive in deepest consequence”? Wouldn’t be the first time!So, maybe someone could organize a lower West Side ‘meetup’ of people in Fredland with more than 20 points? Bring business cards, resumes, foil decks, and URLs?Disqus parties? Twitter, Zynga, Facebook parties? Too late for Linkedin, Delicious, Digg?Gee, there already is!(4) Social Climbing. Can ‘follow’ and maybe connect with the rich and famous and hope that something rubs off?An alternative to following celebrities via the tabloids?(5) See Ourselves As Others See Us. It’s tough to teach writing; in school it is rare for a student to have a good writer seriously critique their work. But on the Internet actually can notice some ‘reactions’. In high school and college, can’t just walk into each of the ‘A-list’ parties, but on the Internet there can be more chance, that is, until something like Hacker News gets to be as bad as Reddit!Why do I sense that the ‘social Internet’ is trying to take us back to high school with pecking orders from the football quarterback and the head cheerleader, down? Then here the head Fredland cheerleader should expect a call from A. Waldstein? Where are the Fredland cheerleaders? I mean, the only reason I connect with Fredland is finally to see the Fredland cheerleaders jumping around in short red plaid skirts! :-)!!If I’ve explained any significant fraction of why people get ‘engaged’ with social media, then, the current pre-money evaluations of Facebook aside, the ‘social graph’ looks about as meaningful as lunch in ‘Mean Girls’ which leads to the current guesses that the ‘interest graph’ will be bigger than the ‘social graph’ which suggests another thread topic: The ‘interest graph’!Back to reality: Had to conclude that the standard SQL statement ATTACH doesn’t work very well with SQL Server 2008 because ATTACH ignores too many details about the ‘ownership role’, user creation, user ‘permissions’, user to login ‘mapping’, table ‘statistics’, SQL Server version compatibility, etc. Little things like that! Bummer. So, just recreate the database; I can do that; off to do that.

        1. Tereza

          In my very first job, a sage gentleman took me under his wing. He was a Mad Man type. A situation occurred that had, in his words, my “tits in a ringer”. One of those really tricky political things that happens sometimes.What he told me was this: “I’m gonna tell you a secret, and never forget it. People love it when you ask for help. So don’t be afraid to ask.”This stuck with me and has served me well. In fact I’m not entirely sure I’ve used it enough.But I am absolutely certain that there is a human compulsion to respond when people ask us things.And to not answer is actually quite’s a useful dynamic!Well done, Fred.

          1. Tereza

            Siggie are you asking me to respond to that comment from today?Long comment, not a lot of time. But a quick response would be:If the guy you describe managed to correctly by himself nail steps A-H the first time, then he is one of those utterly exceptional situations.Indeed, steps A-H comprise what Steve Blank calls Customer Development. Much of the foundational work here falls within the skillset of classical Marketing and Market-based Strategy (not Advertising — which I do believe is what Fred meant, to back Seth up).Product/Market fit requires market understanding. Some people are better at this than others.There’s also a classic tension — and I am intensely familiar with this being the daughter of an Engineer and a Salesperson.The Engineer has a vision for the product. Sometimes this means that he believe he knows what the customer should want (even if the customer does not want it yet).The Sales/Customer-focused person talks to customers, asks “what do you want?”, and then wants to build specifically for that. In the former, you risk missing the boat entirely (and this happens often). BUT, you may hit the ball out of the park in a transformational way. In the latter, you may make money sooner, but the change you’re bringing to the market may by more incremental. It also may be hard to transition from service, to a replicable/scalable product.Ideally, these two sides move hand in hand. But there is a syntax issue.I think the market-focused people here would say that “marketing” covers that whole customer-development side of the equation.I think the ‘anti-marketing’ camp is really against throwing large dollars in low-ROI advertising dollars to “create demand”.BTW, I always thought “demand creation” was a hysterical term. I’d never heard of it before the tech/VC milieu. You can’t create demand. You can mine it, define it, wake it up, stir it up, unleash it.But customers own their demand. We can only wish to understand it, anticipate it, meet their demand, and ultimately, greatly exceed their expectations and delight them.You have to respect the customer. When you don’t, they smell it. Hard to build a business when you don’t keep your finger ruthlessly on the pulse of your customers.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Oops! I put my post as a reply to Arnold and what hoping for responses from Arnold, Andy, and/or Seth!They were speaking in generalities and there having some semantic difficulties, so I thought that an example would add some clarity.But your answer? Exceptionally responsive — thanks.I’ve heard about the “classic tension”, have seen it only indirectly, and have zero sympathy with it. I would expect that the Joe in my scenario and all involved in all such situations would try hard to have the customers’ problem and the solution, including any core technical parts, do as you said, “move hand in hand”.In national security, there are plenty of examples of quite technical work “hand in hand” with the most practical needs.For the Joe character, he’s an entrepreneur which means all that early work, all of it, in whatever variety, is just his job.The technology is supposed to be an advantage, hopefully a big one.I agree with you on customer demand and advertising. There is the Sequoia remark:”A huge market with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.”Still I believe that for the Joe scenario Fred’s ideas should help and might be necessary.If Arnold, Andy, and/or Seth want to be more clear on ‘marketing’ for the topical scenario, then that would also be helpful.Thanks again.

        2. Tereza

          In my very first job, a sage gentleman took me under his wing. He was a Mad Man type. A situation occurred that had, in his words, my “tits in a ringer”. One of those really tricky political things that happens sometimes.What he told me was this: “I’m gonna tell you a secret, and never forget it. People love it when you ask for help. So don’t be afraid to ask.”This stuck with me and has served me well. In fact I’m not entirely sure I’ve used it enough.But I am absolutely certain that there is a human compulsion to respond when people ask us things.And to not answer is actually quite’s a useful dynamic!Well done, Fred.

  78. sigmaalgebra

    What’s the present and near future of Internet advertising?Then, considering some broad principles, what might be the longer term future of Internet advertising?Maybe a guest post from someone with some relevant background and no professional conflicts that keep them from explaining.Then comments can add detail, explanations, etc.

  79. Benn Gurton

    How to get out of ‘the mess’? Advice you give startups in your portfolio to get out of this phase of the startup lifecycle. Stories of how some have succeeded/failed.

    1. fredwilson

      great question

  80. sigmaalgebra

    Challenges in ‘organizational behavior’ in startups from 2 to 2000 people.Could have typical challenges and how they were or were not met.Maybe a guest post from someone with some relevant background and no professional conflicts that keep them from explaining.Then comments can add detail, explanations, etc.

  81. maxniederhofer

    1. I’ve always thought VC wasn’t tech-enabled enough. Describe your ideal “VC Dashboard”. I previously tweeted about this (!/maxni….- network: a sort of personal but firm-wide CRM tool to see whom you haven’t spoken to in a while despite them being interesting and potentially doing something new and cool- dealflow: e.g. logging job changes of entrepreneurs I rate on LinkedIn (to see if they’re starting something new), being alerted to e.g Github repos that are getting a lot of followers, tracking Crunchbase for new startups being listed- market: track financings (SEC?) and exits (crunchbase, CapitalIQ, others)- competition: deduce investment hypotheses of other firms by tracking their portfolios- portfolio: monitor updates from portfolio companies, board packs in one place, etc.I think just the dealflow one would be interesting.2. Talk about your evolving investment hypotheses3. Do a series of interviews (Wilson on Video!)

    1. fredwilson

      i’m awful at this stuffsimple answer, do whatever i don’t do

      1. maxniederhofer

        Every VC I’ve ever met is awful at this stuff.The point was more: if you had a wishlist for tech-enabling the VC job, what would be on it. Not that I’d want to build that company. VCs are probably the worst customers, right after startups.

  82. Kevin

    How “Thinking Like a Start-up” can actually disguise real problems, e.g., consistently poor cash flow management, and create habits that keep a company from growing.

  83. sigmaalgebra

    People want ‘more’, and automation is one of the best ways to deliver it. Hardware from Moore’s law, operating systems, middle-ware, open source software, optical fibers, the Internet, and the cloud offer historically astounding price/performance.Now how better can ‘more’ be delivered?What bottlenecks do VCs see?Maybe a guest post from someone with some relevant background and no professional conflicts that keep them from explaining.Then comments can add detail, explanations, etc.

    1. Tereza

      People don’t just want more. They want better. More and only more delivers diminishing returns. Too much and you have to unbutton that top button of your jeans and it ain’t pretty.People want to laugh, escape, be pleased, and want to please others. They want to feel safe. And yet they want to discover and experience some thrill.People hate being ignored, disrespected. You see how primal this instinct is when your kid is learning how to do a headstand and wants you to watch 117 attempts. Like it or not, we all yearn for attention — and need to feel like someone, somewhere, is watching, and cares.We need to feel needed.We fear being alone, and we fear being destitute. We fear sickness, aging and especially death.Really, Siggy, it all breaks down to the Seven Deadly Sins and Mazlow’s hierarchy. Technology just cleverly delivers new kinds of antidotes to the stuff we’ve always needed. A lot more than just ‘more’.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Thanks for your nice response! You included a lot of detail!Once again I tried to be succinct and blew it!What you listed that people want is fully appropriate; it’s a good list!I was trying to say nearly everything you said but somewhat ‘more’!Now I can’t find it even on Google, but supposedly an angry US labor leader was asked what he wanted, and his famous, angry, one word answer was, “More”. I was alluding to that answer, partly in jest, and now for an obscure allusion seems to be worst than anything in English literature awash in obscure allusions! I just hoisted myself on my own petard! Ouch!Quote, allusion, one word or not, for just one word, “more” is still okay: Why? We can get an explanation in just two points:First we need a ‘prerequisite’! As we know, in the economy we essentially reduce everything to just one scale — money. Heck, some economic theory people got famous for arguing that this single measure was appropriate, inevitable, dropped out of some Lagrange multiplier math, etc. Of course, as we all know well, the one scale is not ‘fully appropriate’, but for this ‘prerequisite’ I only need to assume roughly appropriate and/or just see its role in practice.Second, it fairly easy to see that for the rest of what people want, including all or nearly all you listed, in practice the main bottleneck is just money. So in practice “more” money is close to both necessary and sufficient for all that can be done for the objectives you listed and ‘more’!Yes, there have been “poor, little rich girls”, but I doubt that they would have been happier as poor little poor girls! If so, then money did about all that could be done for them.So, to try to apply my explanation, I consider your:”People want to laugh, escape, be pleased, and want to please others. They want to feel safe. And yet they want to discover and experience some thrill.”Right. So, let’s consider the family of Joe and his wife Virginia and their children William, Mary, and Robert. Joe works 80 hours a week; Virginia works 30; their checkbook is never far from empty, and their children could use more attention, guidance, encouragement, success, security, pleasure, laughter, thrills, etc.Now let’s add a number, money, ‘more’ money, with some number of commas, to the family checkbook:Then Joe can take some time off, help Virginia in the house, and notice their children again.They can get a new car that will be functional, comfortable, pleasing, and reliable. Then they can go shopping for some new vacation duds and use the car to take the family on a vacation.Maybe they pack up in NY and drive south to the Maryland Eastern Shore and enjoy a seafood dinner and the other tourist areas. It’s an escape, and they have some laughs. They walk barefoot in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s a thrill.They continue to DC and spend several days. On the Mall they go for each of the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, the WWII and the Viet Nam, and the four biggies, Museum of History, Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art (thank you Mr. Mellon) and the East Wing, National Air and Space Museum, plus the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. They drop by the office of their Congressman, get tickets, and attend the House, the Senate, and a committee hearing. Before heading back to their car parked in the basement of the Air and Space Museum, they strain their necks at the columns, marble, and spiral stairs in the Supreme Court building. Short of time, they omit the Library of Congress. One night they take in an opera at the Kennedy Center and another night they take in a French restaurant.They continue to Orlando and spend some days at Disneyland and at the Kennedy Center and Cape Canaveral.Back home, the father cuts back to 40 hours a week and Virginia gives up her 30 hour a week job.One evening, they invite over a financial planning consultant who sets them up with medical insurance, life insurance, an annuity for Joe and Virginia, all the education the three children might need or want, and a nest egg for each. Joe just writes the checks, puts the stack of papers in a safety deposit box, puts up a basketball goal, and challenges all three children at hoops.Since Robert was doing poorly in French, he gets some tutoring that works well. Robert gets praise and approval from everyone concerned and gets more confident and enthusiastic about school.Joe now has the time and energy for some exercise and gets his belt down to 34 inches. Virginia loses 15 pounds.A computer geek comes over and leaves with the house full of wireless, printers, a family server, a family IP router, desktops, laptops, and smart phones, stacks of software and logons, and 100 Mbps Internet.Mary gets some new clothes, gives a nice party, and gets a river of instant messages and tweets.Everyone gets trips to the dentist, and the total is more than for the car.They get a new house better on room, convenience, comfort, and attractiveness. Joe gets a study and a new car. Virginia gets a room for her computing and her activities helping the children, running the house, keeping up with the relatives, and being active helping people in the community.Each of the children gets their own room with plenty of space for their school, computer, and other interests.There’s a nice living room for guests, a family room for very relaxed living, with a floor even dog accidents don’t hurt, and a large back porch with a grill and good for parties. The two older children get and share a car.Virginia and Mary work on decorating the house, party menus, and Internet communities.Joe, Robert, and William all get caught up on computers, and Joe starts working for himself.The family is active, successful, supportive, cohesive, ambitious, adventurous, and optimistic. There is a strong sense of home with some traditions. Everyone knows that they are loved even when they are wrong, and whenever they stumble all the other hands lift them back up right away. There’s encouragement, accomplishment, praise, acceptance, approval, membership in groups, emotional security, financial security, productivity, and happiness.The key was just that big number put into the family checkbook.So, for “more”, the main need is just more money.So, how to get more money?The main bottleneck is just ‘economic productivity’.At this point, the main way to get more such productivity is just automation via computing.For the change in the family of Joe and Virginia, we’re talking a factor of something over 20 times more productivity per hour of work. That is, they were working 110 hours a week but now are back to 40. And their gross income needs to be, say, $800 K a year instead of $80 K. We’re talking a LOT of increase in productivity.How to do that? Broadly, we need to have computers doing the work. For those three new cars for the family, we need computers doing the design, managing the supply chain, making the parts, assembling the pieces, etc. The same for that new house and nearly all the contents and for nearly all the consumer products the family buys.How to do that? First-cut we need a big hierarchy with people managing the computers, managing the computers, …, managing the computers doing the work. First-cut, that’s where we’re going.That’s what I was driving at and meant by “more”.

  84. James L. Ward

    1. Methods of scalability into multiple locations in a start-up where culture is key2. Merger arbitrage..I realize this is a huge subject but for the non-fin guy what, how, examples and your experience

  85. matthughes

    From the recent MBA Tuesday post:Monetization should be native and improve the experience for users.Would be interested in more on this topic…

    1. Tereza

      Yeah and i think there needs to be some more explanation on what “native” really means. Feels a bit in-the-eye-of-the-beholder.

      1. fredwilson

        it’s like pornography. hard to describe but i know it when i see it

        1. Tereza

          If it’s so important, I think we have to challenge ourselves to define this better.Or maybe we could have an AVC-slam where name and describe examples in the following categories:1. REALLY NATIVE: ex1, ex 22. Seriously NOT NATIVE: ex33. NOT NATIVE, but THINKS it’s native: ex4

          1. fredwilson

            sounds like a meetup

          2. Tereza

            awww geez I absolutely do not have time to plan a meetup.if someone wants to take the lead i’m long as it’s a tues/wed/thurs eve.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. fredwilson

            i eat our dogfood so it will be on meetup

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          6. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            REALLY NATIVE: Craigslist, search ads, SaaS, marketplacesReally NOT native: can’t think of examples right now, maybe because those tend to die quickly?Not native but THINKS it is: Twitter advertising. 😛

          7. Tereza

            LOLHey has anyone tried to get their Disqus comments sponsored?Is lead gen native?Comment written by Tereza…..and brought to you by Huggies Unscented Organic Wipes. Disposable freshness!

          8. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            You’re right, lead-gen is one of the trickier ones. It CAN be native, butthat’s rare.

          9. Tereza




  86. Shyam Subramanyan

    Distribution. Zynga did it with Facebook. Are there still opportunities for startups with Twitter, Facebook,Tumblr, WordPress etc?

    1. fredwilson


      1. Prokofy

        Well, but how to phrase this.Are there any other ideas about other stuff that is tech, but not all that Facebook gunk, you know, not just chat and photos and games but you know, other kinds of things?Widgets.That do other things.

  87. elliewheeler

    Inspired by a class on Boards of Directors, it would be great to understand how you think about and grapple with inevitable conflicts of interest as a board member and investor in a particular company. As there are several rounds of funding and incentives for exits and/or investments in expansion may start to diverge, how do you manage these conflicts? Any specific examples of “best for the company to do X, but best for the fund to do Y, so we did X…”?Also very interested in how the dynamics of investor-backed boards change as a company approaches IPO and has different needs.

    1. fredwilson

      great question. it’s a blog post for sure. but here’s my simple answeralways put the interests of the company first

  88. Miquel Puchol

    How about fraud in startups? Things to look out for, structures to minimize the likelyhood of it taking place, indicators, what to do if you discover fraud, etc. I’ve personally experienced it, and it’s something I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to endure – yet, it’s very seldom discussed, talked about or considered in talks, panels, conferences, etc.From a VC point of view, IMHO this is a topic that should be particularly addressed, as it directly affects the money you put into a startup.

  89. Mwiya

    Do you watch t.v.? If so what are your favourite shows? Fringe…the new V? Or are you a bloomberg buff? What do you think is the future of new media?

    1. fredwilson

      nope, other than live sports

  90. spencerbryan

    In my opinion, the next “phenomenon” that will change the way we live – mobile payments. It seems with all major handset manufacturers implanting NFC chips into new smartphones, the potential is mind-boggling.Of course, the question of how banks, retailers, and carriers will peacefully coexist in this new world is probably the biggest obstacle. Also, the adoption of a singular platform (i.e. the magnetic strip) and the logistics behind this process seem daunting.What opportunities are you seeing in the USV sweet spot? What will have to transpire in the US so that things take hold like they already have in Japan?

  91. Guest

    Non-tech angel investment. You sometimes allude to your and Gotham Gal’s investments in local businesses. Any community could benefit from this and many AVC readers might get intangible benefits from working with local entrepreneurs, if we took a deliberate approach.

  92. jim_carini

    Wow, what a response. How about a piece on crowdsourcing blog ideas.

    1. fredwilson

      tom sawyer would be proud of me

  93. Renee

    I’d like to see something quantitative. For example, can you explain why Weibo is fully valued at $2bln, but Twitter has an $8-10bln valuation?Or: why hasn’t family-targeted social networking taken off?

    1. fredwilson

      valuations are largely noise until there is a payday

      1. Renee

        isn’t that circular?

  94. Kyle Comeau

    Professional vs. Personal Investing ie convincing partners vs. convincing the gotham galBATNA / NegotiationNFL Collective Bargaining Agreement

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t feel equipped to post on the last onethe other two are great suggestions

  95. xackr

    I would be interested to see if you can connect the dots from Foursquare to Presidential Overthrow in Egypt. I think I could if you put Facebook Clone Locations somewhere in the line. Which I guess I’m saying has the Internet reached the point of acceleration that it can now influence large monolithic systems in very, very small time frames. And what would the next app be that capitalizes on that?

    1. fredwilson

      great questioni’m not sure i’m up to the taskthis is something steven johnson should write

      1. Judah

        So cool to know that you know and read Steven Johnson.

    2. Prokofy

      Oh, dear me.Let’s start over on this one.Let’s connect some other dots, ok? You know, dots in what we like to call “the real world”. It’s not online. It’s that place where you go to get story ideas for your blog, you know?So, here goes:o much of Egypt’s food is subsidizedo we pay for a lot of ito food prices have risen dramatically (floods, earthquakes various factors)o terrible forest fires, drought in Russia last summer, had to stop grain exportso Russian embargo on wheat exports to Egypt worsened situationo people began to panic without supplies and prices shooting up — no pitaso lots of other complex stuff…http://www.businessinsider….Um, unless “the Kremlin” and “the State Department” are some Four-Square checkins I haven’t heard of, Four Square is totally irrelevant here.You guys, geez. It’s like the “hacktivists” who think that we should have some check-ins for the clean water supplies in Haiti, so people can tweet where the clean water is.o fall of oil prices in recessiono

      1. xackr

        First, nice Second Life Avatar.Second, I never said it was the “only” dot. Just one of them.Third, I think it would be awesome if everyone could check-in when they find something cool like clean water or a great reuben and tweet about it.I got the idea from Star Trek: Next Generation and I don’t apologize for any of it.

  96. NS47

    How important is diversity in good decision making ?

  97. Tom Labus

    Do you think about what you’ll do after being a major VC?Do you think the whole process will become boring at some point?

  98. Sean Wilkins

    What are your thoughts on the value, or necessity, of an MBA within the tech and venture worlds to be successful as an entrepreneur or venture analyst?I’ve been researching MBAs lately, and questioning the ROI of an MBA against on the job learning in the same two years.I’ve noticed a theme in the last year or so, that business leaders, like yourself and Seth Godin as primary examples, have top tier MBAs, but strongly support the on the job alternatives.

    1. Rick

      I am currently in a MBA program and weighed “on the job” vs. academic experience before starting my program.One thing to remember is that you get a lot of exposure to the various business functions in a MBA program as opposed to when you are working. For example, if you are in a finance role at a company, you will probably not have a lot of exposure to HR or Marketing issues.

  99. raycote

    Interested in what do you see emerging as the top five social-graph-functions sticky enough and practical enough to be distilled, integrated and ultimately absorbed transparently into the stream of daily mass culture? With the emphasis on how they will be simplified and integrated for mass-culture adoption.

  100. Rustic

    I would like to know if you have seen any product company which had great potential but could not succeed and instead went bust. If you could put down the biggest reasons or mistakes it made in strategy or execution due to which it could not capitalize on its potential, that would be great.Would be a great lesson for any new exciting product start-up of what not to do and what it should focus on.

  101. Chantal

    There is always talk about the search for the next Facebook, what would you advise the startup who knew they have the next big thing do? From a startup point of view it is almost impossible to inform the right people, especially if they are not based in the USA. Seed capital is generally the problem so a prototype and testing is not always possible.

  102. Steve Poland

    Will you ever go into politics?

    1. fredwilson

      nopethe perfect answer because if it is true, then fineif it is a lie, then i’ll be a great politician

      1. paramendra

        Somebody asked Larry Ellison that question and he said, my children have said they are going to leave me if I go into politics.

  103. ryan singer

    I understand creative blocks. Sometimes we exhaust some ideas that we thought were important and reached near empty. But if you stop and breathe a bit, there is something that’s important tugging on your pant leg. maybe it’s at home.. maybe it’s music. food?! who knows, nonetheless, you’ll be hit over the head with it and it will be great!

  104. Cvasquez26

    Write about how success to a career requires pivoting career paths just like entrepreneurs pivot business models.

  105. Dean

    Any thoughts on opportunities and issues in US education markets, especially beyond the traditional higher-ed for-profits?

    1. fredwilson

      hack educationi’ve blogged a fair bit about thisit is a passion of mine

  106. Anu Nigam

    I’d like to hear you write about- what you do when you have a big exit or close a company? Any special thing you do afterwards with the entrepreneurs, partners, your family or by your self (aka. scream into a pillow)- how you come up with your investment thesis?- the statistics about how many times you bet on an raw team vs. experienced team. idea vs. one with traction. Some more data is always good for people to see. Also, has this changed over time.

    1. fredwilson

      good questions

  107. digivish

    How about a post on “How to find investors that are as passionate about building companies as the entrepreneurs”

    1. fredwilson

      stop by usv

  108. Steve Poland

    Buffalo, NY or the other smaller “old” cities.. we lack the pools of engineering talent, but do you think a Facebook / Twitter / etc could happen out of one of these cities? MyYearbook is nearly 100 people and are in a town in PA.

  109. Amar

    What is the ecosystem needed to make a potential entrepreneur successful?There is a lot of focus on what is takes to be an entrepreneur, but very little emphasis on the fact that every successful entrepreneur surrounds him/her with the right people to combat their blind spots. I think there is a vast group of people who are the right fit to help a company go from 3 person to 50 person. But no one is talking to them directly and helping them give shape to what this role/life style/culture look like?

  110. jfccohen

    What impact the valuation of an Angel round (first round of investing) has on future valuations and rounds with Venture Capitalists. What is the best way to raise money when you get started to set yourself up for fundraising success in the future?

  111. Scott Schwaitzberg

    what might be a fertile topic is the double edged sword of lowering barriers to organizing offered by social and other online tools: On the one hand, the incredible events in the middle east – dramatically accelerating what was at least a 10 years + journey in Poland and other Eastern European Countries.On the other, how have these same tools played a role in the rise of hate groups in the US as described by SPLC (summary here:

  112. vruz

    here’s an idea: podcast more!there must have been great moments in entrepreneurship that you have witnessed in your career that many of us can learn about if you periodically skype a few of your past entrepreneurs, throw a few questions to them for 5 minutes, and make a podcast out of that.quick template:- hey John, tell us who you are, and which company you founded?- which problem were you trying to solve- on hindsight, do you feel you succeeded? – what were your strengths? what were your weaknesses?- what did you get right? what did you get wrong?- what’s next?I don’t mean that you steal the show from Dixon and TechCrunch, I don’t think this is exactly the same thing, entrepreneurs may have more to learn from the past than from current peers in the market.cheers!

    1. Tereza

      When I get around to watching podcasts, I enjoy them. But they’re tougher to consume and comment on when in motion.But then again # of comments may not be the key metric…

      1. vruz

        maybe not on video but audio, to be listened to on your phone/mobile device.they can be posted as a blog post too, and commented here the same way wecomment on anything else.I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to crowdsource a transcription too. (thereby itbecoming a regular text post soon after the podcast becomes available)

        1. Tereza

          Yeah that’s happened — a member does a quick transcription at some point in the day.Nice if the transcript can be early. Spurs more discussion.I do like audio too.Actually video commenting back would be really fun!

    2. paramendra

      I’d say video blog weekly.

  113. Neil Braithwaite

    How to project revenue for a new internet start-up.While this is one of the main ingredients most VC’s want to see in a business plan, it is by far the biggest problem for most entrepreneurs.

  114. Mwiya

    Have you considered have round-table interviews with entrepreneurs from some of your portfolio companies perhaps? Sort of like founders stories on tech crunch. It would be a great way for some of your followers to learn a lot both from you as well as the entrepreneur’s whom you either admire or in who’s companies you have invested. I’d definitely watch that even if you did it once in a very long while. An interview of them sharing their experiences in starting up and running new ventures, scaling their services…some of the frustration they had etc. You’ve definitely written loads of great posts on strategy, M&A issues, customer development etc…this sort of thing would be great to add too.

  115. Craig Ormiston

    How do you and your peers overcome procrastination?

    1. fredwilson

      we wait it out 🙂

  116. Guest

    I would like to see how the ratio is between “FAITH” and “FACT” when it comes to investing into an innovation. I mean VC’s are more or less forced to IMAGINE the “what if” senario in the same way as the founders. Is there any formular or a method two messure these to factors?

    1. fredwilson

      not that i’ve found

  117. Hass Murphy

    Do you think there is room for start ups in the Mobile Pay space or are the big players like Google and Apple going to control it tightly. Does Facebook have an initiative in this area? Are the credit companies going to get leap frogged by this new technology or will they be partners? ( Remember the Record Industry’s blinders to the Internet) Will the wireless providers want a cut? How successful has Starbuck’s experiment with it’s mobile pay been.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t knowwhat do you think?

      1. Liz Barnum

        I’m not too optimistic about there being room for startups in a core Mobile Payments app/platform considering everything Google and Apple are doing in this space. Both have been hiring tons of people with expertise in this area, and the mobile payments ecosystem (devices, carriers, merchant POS terminals, issuing banks, credit cards) has not been able to partner up for years despite Nokia having NFC chips in devices for ages. It seems an industry visionary (Google or Apple) is needed to get the wheels in motion. Once they solidify partnerships there, they will likely control the core technology surrounding their respective operating systems (eg, include a standard mobile payment app on future OS), thus giving them control of what could be a huge opportunity in mobile ads since mobile payments can close the data loop on ads leading to brick & mortar purchases.However, that doesn’t mean there are not opportunities in enabling technologies on the marketing/business analytics side that can monetize mobile payments (e.g., something allowing retailers to better serve customers with this new source of transaction data). Or even a way to integrate check-ins on foursquare or facebook with a transaction to get more mainstream users checking in places. There are also opportunities in the loyalty space.

  118. Mark Essel

    What’s driving you bonkers (besides email, sounds like priority inbox did the trick), rant, argue, shake down the idea and put it out there

    1. fredwilson

      reading 300 comments at once!

      1. Mark Essel

        you asked for it today :)worst case you can shift to posting only when you absolutely need to, that will shrink comment email.I’ve debated writing less, but I still need more practice and polish. Daily posting helps that.

      2. Mark Essel

        you asked for it today :)worst case you can shift to posting only when you absolutely need to, that will shrink comment email.I’ve debated writing less, but I still need more practice and polish. Daily posting helps that.

  119. Mark Essel

    I’m interested in how you perceive the shifting nature of value for businesses world wide. Will companies that have a longer term vision or a more dedicated view of personal value grow larger than historically cut and dry companies? If so why, if not, why not?

  120. Boris Fowler

    How about creative and outside of the classroom education?Many people might want to know how they can achieve real world experience while in college.Or, how can innovators and entrepreneurs play a role in improving education in America?

  121. kidmercury

    also, would love to get your thoughts on some of the latest big beefs in technology:google vs facebook regarding contact merging on nexus s. whose side you on?apple vs publishing industry. a problem? how to flip the script and embarrass apple? i believe devleopers need to find a way to walk away. some type of unionizing seems like the key to me. i don’t think it is reasonable to expect consumers to walk away, as the temptation of paying a several hundred dollar premium for rounded corners so you can be exactly like everyone else is apparently just too much to resist.

    1. fredwilson

      i’m on the side of developers

  122. Danny Strelitz

    how about hosting guest blog posts? – By entrepreneurs?

  123. Bob

    Where do the social and moral boundaries lie within social networking , is there a time and place to step in to the fray and remove a user rights for a stance on a subject from a management point of view. A recent example was a user promoting size zero recently.

  124. LukeG

    What does a successful transition look & feel like for founders evolving from growing a product to growing a company?

    1. fredwilson

      great suggestion

  125. Nik Souris

    Great application of crowd-sourcing and lean customer development with this use of a post! What seems to be a growing topic is “start-up” education. I’d be keen to get your take on all the startup programs surfacing around the world. Weekend Startups, Startup institutes, etc. p.s. When stifled or in times of writer’s block – i turn to my handy deck of Creative Whack Pack cards.

  126. aanwar

    Good thing you asked, i am not sure if our readers remember, but sometime last year you were going to write a post about saying no in the vc business but you accidentally deleted it or something like and you said you will go back to it someday. You mentioned this last year.

  127. Amund

    It would be interesting to read your perspective on bootstrapping, e.g. with the title something: “This is how I – a venture capitalist – would bootstrap a company”

  128. fuck disqus

    You: “I’m going to prove all these people wrong… It’s a chip on my shoulder and I still carry it… He [Brad] had the same chip on his shoulder as I had on mine…” (minute 6:00-6:30 of your Techcrunch interview with Chris Dixon (…What role do you think a chip on the shoulder plays in entrepreneurial success? Are the most successful people (in and out of business) those with some kind of a chip on the shoulder?

    1. fredwilson

      many have itit is something i look for and invest in

  129. Morgan Warstler

    Ok, this is my bugaboo, but I’ll still stick it out there:Set MBA Mondays aside and for the next year do “EDU Tuesdays” or more broadly “GOV Tuesdays”——-Right now there’s a giant danger of the next wave of start up fuel (Hacking Education and GOV2.0) being professionalized – start ups being pushed out because they aren’t industrial enough for these Very Important Things.It is $1TRILLION in spending that needs cut to $250B. If we keep 1/5 of the savings, that’s $150B in annual revenue. What’s that worth to overall valuations in the sector.GOV/EDU is desperately in need of massive productivity gains – new technology – and both are really best solved for with 1000’s of startups solving for 1000’s of different problems.And we’re about to lose it. The GOOGMSFTIBMORCL + KSTREET crowd smells boondoggle.And that is our BOON to doggle!If you go at it 52 time this next year, banging away on “Hi, ho, SMBs are the way to go” – a different philosophy will take hold online, we’ll snatch the crown jewels right out of their hands.Education and government aren’t that complicated, we shouldn’t let people pretend the YCombinator crowd isn’t the best way to modernize them.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. good suggestions

    2. sigmaalgebra

      I nearly posted on education in this thread but set aside my draft.But I can give a partial response to you:There’s a ‘hidden agenda’: Change all of education, especially with inputs of much more money, with the main goal of getting the worst students able to read an essay, write a paragraph, and calculate( 3 / 5 ) / ( 7 / 9 )by the time they are 18.I set this agenda aside, at least temporarily.But there is more we can do, relatively easily: It will help a lot in some powerful ways and might serve as an ‘entering wedge’, base, and example for more.Yes, the idea is an example of ‘dis-intermediating’ education — that is, cut out nearly all the K-12 teaching and teachers and most of the same in college.Here’s powerful, blunt fact: For reasonably good students in a reasonably good environment, essentially everything in K-12 and at least the first two years of college is simple and easy and can be accomplished with much less time and effort by the student and no more than a tiny fraction of the current cost. So, get better results and save time, money, and effort for nearly all concerned. What’s not to like?Actually, in many ways, people already know this: (1) At the best schools, from the junior year through Ph.D., the students are expected largely to learn on their own and do. (2) Professors? Throughout their careers, they learn on their own, commonly more quickly than as students and from less good materials. (3) Outside of academics, in many careers all across the US, people are expected to learn a lot on their own and do. E.g., your auto mechanic needs to learn the new systems on the new cars; your CPA needs to learn the new tax laws; a general contractor needs to learn about new building materials and techniques; and the software part of the US computer industry, from the beginning, has been based almost entirely on people teaching themselves programming.Yes, for the education we are considering here, as in McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”, the “medium” should be the Internet.There are two parts needed; in nearly all of academic learning, there are two main parts: (1) There are the literal and explicit parts, the details, the trees that are presented with precision in the better texts. (2) There are the intuitive parts, the ‘synthesis’ of the whole, the view of the forest that makes the trees obvious and makes promising extensions and applications relatively clear, but typically not in the books and not presented well in teaching.So, for each of the major subjects, develop course materials that do well on both (1) and (2). For (1), can do well with just PDF files. For (2), can do very well, nearly always much better than at present, with graphics, video animation, and well written and polished lectures from experts.Then have some well designed, respected, accepted tests.In this way, good students can do in weeks what takes months or years now — literally.I can mention two big chuckholes in the road:(1) Expertise. First, for K-12, it is just essential to make sure nothing from K-12 is used in preparing the materials. For those people, they don’t know what they need to know, and what they do know is mostly harmful. E.g., I looked at some materials in optimization, probability, and statistics from a K-12 team in North Carolina and had to upchuck — wildly incompetent material. They were worse than the C students in my classes. AP calculus? The people who wrote that didn’t understand calculus — I do; they don’t.(2) Video, etc. There has been a nearly unbroken pattern that essentially everything that passes through a video camera has to be the work of actors, writers, directors, producers, and executives from low grade parts of Hollywood or TV with their usual goal of light entertainment with no real content and using the techniques of formula fiction. The situation is so bad it’s “the medium is the message” again but where the medium with the higher potential has a sharply lower quality message. It’s essential just to get rid of that nonsense — all of it.In all of K-12 teaching on video, I’ve seen just one good example: Andrew Gleason (long at Harvard, solved one of Hilbert’s problems) and Tom Apostol (long at Cal Tech) did a lecture on high school plane geometry — clear, deep, brilliant, elegant.I just looked for it on YouTUBE and didn’t see it. But I did see:yourteacher.comIt’s just about (1), the literal and explicit parts, there is pedestrian and pedantic, and not about (2), the intuitive parts, but does show how easy it is to do a decent job with just simple teaching about (1): Get a white board, some markers, a nice teacher, and a video camera, do a little PC video editing, and go for it!What I said about (1), expertise, remains — they need more. E.g., the video atyourteacher.comjust taught a simple ‘fact’ about chords in circles but ignored proving that fact and, generally, ignored the whole ‘directed graph’ that really is the logical content, structure, and glory of the subject. Bummer.For (2), video, they don’t let Hollywood ruin the content, but they don’t do well on the intuitive part either.To be more clear on (2) video and (2) the intuitive part, with graphics, animation, and video, subjects from math, chemistry, physics, biology, history, geology, computer programming, and more can be made to just jump off the screen with fantastically clear, intuitive views of ‘the forest’ that make all the trees nearly obvious.Gee, with good materials, a good student could watch TV for a week or so and learn, say, everything in the tenth grade much better than now! In a few months, do grades 7-12, then do it all again as review, take the tests, graduate, and get on with college! Zip through the first two years of college, and then get on with more challenging parts of education.Yes, not all students could be successful with such learning, but many could, and they would do well for themselves and also demonstrate for everyone just how poor the old K-12 system is thus helping improve that system.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        If I might suggest, you may want to simplify your position a little. Actually there are simple truths that no one wants to acknowledge regarding education and this leads to a problem that won’t go away.We can make it better, just not doing so setting up straw men and spending time drawing up and/or innovating the tools that allow the system to do way more with less.Hang in there.

  130. Christina Cacioppo

    Startup hiring strategies and tips you’ve seen work well in the past. Would also be interesting to hear how hiring for early-stage tech in NYC has changed over the past ~decade, if you think it has.

  131. Donna Brewington White

    Marriage and the Entrepreneur. What should an entrepreneur should look for in a spouse, how to combine a successful venture with a successful marriage, etc.I think you’d get really interesting comments with helpful advice.If someone already suggested this then count this as a like.

    1. fredwilson

      you need someone who is strong, and not afraid to speak their mind

  132. Conrad Ross Schulman

    TOPIC:”How one platform user differs from the next. How does the facebook application user differ from the ios user? How different are the users using mobile apps than facebook apps? Where do web apps users fit in? What are the similarities between these users and what are the differences?

  133. Jim Mermis

    I really enjoy reading about how people work…what tools they use, what’s their office look like (home-office, office-office, mobile-office, all of the above)…how they organize their work, etc…

    1. fredwilson

      i am disorganized. i am embarrassed to be honest how much of a mess my desk is

      1. paramendra

        I can’t work, be creative unless my desk is disorganized. So don’t fight it. It is like some people are not morning people, bad idea to fight it.


    I’d like to see a post about the most common “breaking points” that companies encounter as they grow.

  135. William Mougayar

    The five companies/ideas you would invest in, but can’t seem to find now.


    Also, would be nice to see a post about how its important to hire the “right” people and not just anybody with a body. What mixture makes up a good team diversity. As well as a piece on identifying problem hires from above and when to take action and when to try to fix.

  137. William Mougayar

    What’s different between ’99/’00 and now, in terms of frothiness/over-valuations, etc…

    1. fredwilson

      good suggestion

  138. Jennifer McFadden

    I’m curious about alternative means to support start-ups. I’m working with Jarvis on the incubator at the CUNY J School and am trying to brainstorm alternative ways that investors, universities, companies, private/public partnerships can help provide new ventures with additional runway. For instance, the Milner/Conway/Y Combinator $150K, no cap, convertible note provides one alternative. It reduces the time that founders need to spend focusing on fundraising. What else is out there? If you break down the 1st and 2nd year expenses for the typical start-up, where are there other areas where support can be provided? You’ve seen the operating expenses of hundreds of early- and mid-stage ventures. Where are the major pain points across the ventures? What can be done to relieve these pain points–either by applying $$ or labor (free or paid)? Can you create a pool that subsidizes the salaries paid to start-up employees to create more of an incentive for them to join the venture at an earlier stage (particularly engineers) without diluting the founder’s equity? How does this impact motivation (both for the team members and the founders)? Can you aggregate biz dev, marketing, sales or other functions across several related start-ups to reduce costs? How can you tap into the group of “wantrepreneurs” and give them valuable experience in an existing start-up w/o taking advantage of them or creating a time suck for the founders (Catchafire for start-ups, for instance)? How can you pool the resources available across the city to make the ecosystem more stable and self-sustaining?Basically, what are the levers that you can pull to reduce the risks and increase probability of success for NY-based start-ups? What other ideas–however random–can be tossed around?There are a couple of thoughts here (search for or http://www.dailypunchbowl.c…{and, excuse the sarcastic writing style…it’s my nature and the post was meant to be a funny reply to Cody Brown}

  139. Sebastian Wain

    I don’t know.But Covestor intrigues me, I don’t know why there isn’t enough disruption on the finance arena.

    1. fredwilson

      totally agree

  140. graubart

    How about something on Second Mover advantage?I like to be the second player into a market; you can learn a lot from the first and they’ve laid the groundwork in terms of educating the market, defining the needs, etc.But, there are cases where first-mover can stake out and hold their position.I’d be interested in your thoughts on what the characteristics of a market, an ecosystem, etc, where the first mover has a real advantage vs. those where the second or third market entrant has the edge.

    1. Tereza

      That would be a good one!

    2. fredwilson

      we like to invest in the category creator not the second moveri just don’t like copycatsthey may be better investments but i need to look at myself in the mirror in the morning

      1. Gareth Ochse

        That’s how I’ve always felt as an entrepreneur…create the solution, dont copy it…

      2. graubart

        Thanks, Fred.Wasn’t thinking of copycats, but more those who’ve built on what’s come before. Foursquare learned from Brightkite and Dodgeball. Many technologies launched before the market was ready or before the technology was fully baked (semantic technologies, search).I admire creators but also give credit to those who see a concept that may not resonate, but identify aspects of that which may be relevant for a different market or application.

      3. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        Google wasn’t the first search engine, Facebook the first social network… Ain’t nothng wrong w building a better mousetrap.

  141. Alex Calic

    1. More on your thesis-based investing process in terms of what it is, companies you see in the space, areas that you don’t see being addressed, who/what influences this.2. Marketing tales from the front lines of your portfolio companies on how they got their first 100 customers/ 100,000 users3. Companies/trends you think are interesting outside of the web services sector.

  142. Donna Brewington White

    Well, this oughtta keep you busy for a while!

    1. ChantalJanssen

      Topics of discussion for at least the next 2 years…

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Haha — yep!

    2. fredwilson

      holy shityou get what you ask for

      1. Donna Brewington White

        and you’re surprised?

  143. Donna Brewington White

    You and others have done posts on what to look for in a founder/CEO, but what about in hiring for other roles in a startup?What are the characteristics that a CEO needs to look for in hiring a team? What priorities?Should the priority be on creating culture or establishing competency? Where do you make trade-offs? Or do you?Edited to add:Also, there is the topic of hiring out of larger companies into startups. There are lots of people in larger companies who can succeed and will thrive in a startup but you have to be able to recognize them. Some people really can’t successfully make the jump even though they like the “idea” of a startup. But there are those who can and they bring a wealth of experience.Also, there should be a “startup survivor guide” for someone making the leap from corporate.Maybe not every person with entrepreneurial drive will start a company, but they may be great as part of a startup team. There are many entrepreneurial types being held hostage by corporate America. I have a burden for seeing them set free. 😉

  144. Donna Brewington White

    BTW, for some reason — don’t know why — I actually love that you have blogger’s block.I love even more that you turned your blogger’s block into one of your most active posts.You truly do have a gift, Fred.And, I bet you throw great parties.Which may not be that much different from being a successful VC.

    1. Tereza

      Questions are powerful, Donna!When someone asks for help, we can’t help but give it.It is a core human instinct.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        …yet, when someone like Fred asks, it’s even more compelling. Pure genius, if you ask me.

        1. Tereza


        2. Tereza


      2. Donna Brewington White

        Honestly now, Tereza?

    2. fredwilson

      the gotham gal throws great parties with a little help from me

  145. Michael Frischkorn

    Simple: is the Web really dead? How about the perspective and the future of business models based on lean forward search, web first architecture compared to lean backward discovery, mobile first models.

  146. Jeff Clavier

    1) Don’t force it Fred, take a break until creative juices flow back in.2) Monitor Techmeme and see if there is anything that makes you want to jump in.Hope all is well.

    1. fredwilson

      techmeme has become all about stuff i could care less abouti read it 2-3x a day and it fails to inspire mehacker news is a lot better but geekyi need a new muse

      1. Prokofy

        TechCrunch doesn’t do it for you? Or is it all old hat by the time you read it there? It’s always interesting to me.You know, there’s also just following Scoble — again. I know, I know. But you’d be surprised.

  147. mcenedella

    I’d give a -1 on the guest bloggers idea. i can see other people’s ideas elsewhere, i come here for 100% genuine Wilson. :)My questions / blog post suggestions:1) If you *had* to be CEO of a public company, which would it be? why? would you succeed?2) Jim Rogers traveled around the world in “Investment Biker” and invested in countries that he thought were good prospects. If you had to do the same, which countries would you be long? Which short?3) Is entrepreneurialism teachable in an academic setting or not? Can somebody be taught to be an entrepreneur in school?4) Some of your CEOs have quirky leadership styles, others have more classic leadership / OB outlooks on how to lead. How do you manage them differently as a Board member? What would you say your outlook, as an investor, is on those different leadership styles and how they impact ultimate return (i.e., is one better for certain industries / plays / marketplaces and the other better for others?)5) You’re a huge music fan (I keep picking up great artists from your station – I thank you so much for Tor / Sufjan Stevens!!). If one of your kids was going into the music biz, and you could be fantasy manager of their band, how would you maximize the *business* success of the band given the lay of the land in the music biz here in the 2010s?I’ll enjoy reading any of your answers!

    1. fredwilson

      that’s useful feedback on the guest postssome great topics in herethanks

  148. Mark Gannon

    You’ve had some interesting perspective on how government policy (e.g. carried interest and net neutrality) impacts your business how about your views on ACTA? It seems like IP policy and laws have just as much impact on your business, but I can’t recall seeing anything.Thanks,

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve written a lot about patentsi thin they are terrible for innovation, particularly in software

      1. feddkraft

        i searched the page for the word ‘software’, because i’m a software maker, and found this comment.i should read about patents more, as i found that investors don’t very much like software these days (preferring consumer or (less) SaaS businesses) – maybe it is because of possible patents argues with bigger companies?.. but if we will have a patent, would this attitude change (in terms of financing, calling it unfair advantage)?

      2. Mark Gannon

        The stuff on patents has been great. But I was wondering about Copyright, the other intellectual property. There has been a lot stuff on Boing Boing (… and elsewhere about the Obama administration’s Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Besides the content, they’ve gotten a lot of flak for negotiating in secret.

  149. calabs

    You mentioned earlier that you thought your job was creative. I’d like to understand how.My understanding of the VC role in the macro-economy is as a broker between those who need a high-risk/high-reward portion of a much larger portfolio and those who need capital to start a business. VCs have various “value-adds” that they put on top of this bask brokering role: knowing a particular industry or sub-industry adds value to both investor and start-up by adding a voice of knowledge to help the business navigate the legal, financial, marketing and basic business hurdles. Other VCs might do little more than pass money from one hand to the other, and perhaps give unasked for advice that always seems to be tinged with naked, money-driven self-interest. I’d like to understand the difference.The reason this is so interesting to me is not just because it may affect me if I shop for a VC. But also because it points to an important question about the value (and moral hazards) of indirect investment in general, and indirect investment in startups in particular.

  150. Tim Ogilvie

    The USV anti-portfolio (i.e. deals/trends you passed on that turned out bigger than anticipated).

  151. Druce

    Will throw a couple out:You have an intriguing perspective on big data and privacy, and live a lot in public. But there are limits, where are they and where do you think we will end up? It’s a bit of a land grab right now to monetize individuals’ data, social graphs, preference graphs, and get people used to the idea that certain ventures can own those graphs, But I think bad actors can drive out good, and there will be regs like ‘right to be forgotten’ to keep everyone honest. Also there’ s the ‘worlds collide’ impedance mismatch issue where social networks don’t line up right with real world networks – – and social networks need to get better about letting people manage what they share.industry structure – factors that determine where you should invest in the value chain and who ends up getting most of the value created.It’s OK to take some breaks, solicit guest posts LOL.Can always do more nuts-and-bolts lifehacker type things about how you use products from your portfolio and elsewhere.(I was intrigued by SIP post, am trying Google Voice via Gizmo5 with Nexus S ( see ) works OK but it’s a little laggy, tried but found their choice of phones a bit lacking, might try but ends up costing more than copper LOL. Beautiful to converge mobile and land line, and makes sense for the PBX to migrate to the cloud but maybe not quite there yet)

    1. fredwilson

      great stuff druceyou up for a guest post?

      1. Druce

        Would love to volunteer something on a financial/economic topic sometime. The different business cycle theories and current deficit / easy money situation would be a big challenge and stir up some discussion. You certainly set a high bar for making complex topics clear.Off to Asia for about 4 weeks, will blog something about it and pass along, maybe can be edited into something relevant/useful.(apologies if this is a dupe, reply didn’t show up after about 45 mins)

      2. Druce

        Would love to volunteer something on a financial/economic topic sometime. The different business cycle theories and current deficit / easy money situation would be a big challenge and stir up some discussion. You certainly set a high bar for making complex topics clear. Off to Asia for about 4 weeks, will blog something about it and pass along, maybe can be edited into something relevant/useful.

      3. Druce

        Would love to volunteer something on a financial/economic topic sometime. The different business cycle theories and current deficit / easy money situation would be a big challenge and stir up some discussion. You certainly set a high bar for making complex topics clear. Off to Asia for about 4 weeks, will blog something about it and pass along, maybe can be edited into something relevant/useful.

  152. Jimmy

    One of my favorite posts I’ve read on AVC is the one about Geocities and Flatiron Partners lessons. I’d love to hear more about investing in the “gold rush” 90’s.

  153. Allen X Romero

    can’t remember if you or someone else talked about this recently. start-up chemistry. i.e. a well functioning 3 person team vs a 20 person team riddled with politics or bad chemistry, etc.

  154. hangtime79

    How about a discussion around the technology NFC (Near Field Communications).

    1. fredwilson

      that’s one i have my eye onit’s a big deal in my opinion

      1. Prakash

        Saw a couple of cool demos at the MWC at Barcelona earlier this month. In 12 months its going to be a big deal.

  155. Pete Meehan

    Why is it that sometimes a VC will reply to an email from an entrepreneur — (Fred did to me); and why sometimes for all the visibility of another populist VC (often mentioned here, but I won’t mention) who chooses not respond to emails?It’s all a bit bewildering. Everyone likes to get an answer. Well I do…Yes, I know, a VC probably doesn’t have time to consider everything that hits his/her desk, but from the entrepreneur’s point of view, when you reach out to one of the popular figures that spends a good portion of his time blogging, you sort of somehow expect that he’s highly communicative and will at least respond with a “Thanks for giving me a look at this idea. Let me get back to you if I have further interest.”Do entrepreneurs deserve to get feedback from VC & Angels? Or should we be ignored if it doesn’t raise interest? What’s fair?

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t respond to every email. it’s a bit random. i do my best which is not good enough for my standards

    2. paramendra

      Can’t expect a reply to every email you send out just like you don’t reply to every email you get.

  156. BradDorchinecz

    How about the role of ‘gut feel’ vs. hard core analysis in deciding whether to back a startup or not.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t know how to do the latteri take the easy way

  157. jpwoodland

    Would love for you to expand your views on how the various social media/social graphs will interoperate in the future.What role do VC’s play in ‘professionalizing the firm,’ i.e. helping a portfolio company grow to be larger than the founder?In thinking about a recent Chris Dixon post where he stated “Predicting the future of the Internet is easy: anything it hasn’t yet dramatically transformed, it will.” What are those things you think are ripe for the internet to transform next and will USV pursue any of them?Or you could just take a well deserved break…What are some of the opportunities USV passed on that went on to become great companies?

  158. CollegeHippo

    I would like to see a blog on some advice to newcomers or first time entrepreneurs as to what should they have achieved before they actually start looking for funding .Lot of times we have heard ‘traction’ but that hold different meaning for different folks.

  159. Venkatesh

    For an entreprenuer, one of the challenges is forming the initial team. I have seen and hear many startups failing, due to bad teams. Can you share your experience on how form and build teams, the initial team (after the 1st investment, usually angel) and scale up

  160. marfi

    Why don’t you stop blogging and start curating instead? There is already a LOT of information published online and it doubles at lightning speed. For a people like you with such an expertise it will make tons of sense to put individual grains of wisdom and useful information into a meaningful curated awesomeness.Let me know how you feel about it, and I can set you up as one of our first streamer pilots, for more check the still under development

    1. fredwilson

      i do bothhere’s where i curate

      1. marfi

        That is more of a random postings with random types of media – songs, videos, pics.What I meant was… you have your blog, and you have many ideas and stuff that you read that can become blogposts, but they are not yet ready – you can share them in a channel, lets call it – “Future Postings”.Then you have your MBA Mondays with all the context from you and the participants – this can go under the “MBA Mondays” stream.Then you have the news from your companies, which can go under “My Investments” (just an example)This will be a nice online property and would require very little to maintain, plus it will be focused, this is what I meant by curation – handpicking on awesome information by people you can trust.A quick example of my words will be the “Mission Statement” stream I’ve set up yesterday while craftting, well, some Mission Statements:

  161. Tereza

    What are the screen rules in the Wilson household?No cell phone at the table? Any no-screen time? Does homework have to be done before the video games/TV/etc. goes on?Or at what age were there rules and when did they fly out the window?How do you keep family members maintaining eye contact?

    1. fredwilson

      we don’t have many rules in our homeget As, do your homeworktreat people with honesty, dignity, and respecttell the truthlook people in the eye and give a good handshake, hug, or kissthat’s about it

  162. Tereza

    If your son were handed $X of funny money to invest in tech startups, what would that portfolio look like?

    1. fredwilson

      he was

  163. Emil

    What was your biggest lost oportunity? Why you failed to see the potential?

  164. Max Kanter

    What young people (<21) can do learn entrepreneurial skills.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      As a mom who hopes to raise at least a couple of entrepreneurs, I like this question.

  165. Prakash

    My suggestions for Posts:#1 What would Fred do if he was made the CEO of Nokia#2 What would Fred do if he was made the CEO of Microsoft#3 What would Fred do if he was made the CEO of Blackberry

    1. fredwilson

      i am not CEO materiali can’t manage or operate a corner store

      1. paramendra

        “I don’t know direction.”- Amitabh Bachchan

  166. Jules Maltz

    Thanks Fred. My favorite post of yours was Competing to Win Deals.…I’d love to hear more advice for younger folks starting out in VC. What have you learned about how to be a good Board member? How have you best sourced investments? What were the lessons you learned operating in different partnerships? etc.I love the MBA Mondays, but would love to go to the next level and learn more specific lessons around the venture job. Thanks as always!!

  167. howardlindzon

    top 5 worst investments…what went wrong…timing, investing error, management, market, ego….

    1. fredwilson

      this is a list i have made so many timesit is in the form of worthless stock certs behind my desk

  168. howardlindzon

    top 5 entrepreneurs you have backed and what made them great…even one from a losing deal

    1. fredwilson

      i hate lists howard. i am afraid of hurting the people who don’t make the listmaybe i should just start a series instead of a list

      1. paramendra

        This would be great.

  169. Volnado

    Blog Post Suggestion : What you would tell one of your kids if when they get older they come to you one day and tell you they want to become entrepreneurs?If you need inspiration come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, or Jazzfest. It could be a family musical adventure.

    1. fredwilson

      a big hug, a kiss, and a lifeline

  170. Pau Aliagas

    I’d like you to summarise the funding rounds and explain a little all thise vocabulary. I’m not from the US and I get a little lost when you talk about pre-money, funding series, etcTnaks for your work, I appreciate it

  171. Koby

    Hi Fred,First, needless to mention how inspiring and useful are your blog posts. THANK YOU!Lately I see the bloom of browser extensions. More and more new startups base their solution on browser extension (mainly Chrome and FF but no IE :)What do you think about this industry and where it’s going from here?Best,Koby

    1. fredwilson

      it is very hard to build a company on browser extensions…

  172. Oisín Ó Murchú

    How would you rebuild a country? Specifically, Ireland. Can the principles, guidelines and thoughts you express be scaled up to that level?

  173. Iyinoluwa E Aboyeji

    Would love to hear more about your vision for the education sector.

  174. Ben Longstaff

    When a fund is coming to the end of its life how do fund managers try to drive exits in companies that are not ready for an exit / what happens to a company that has taken investment after a fund reaches the end of its life span but hasn’t achieved an exit?

  175. iamronen

    how about taking some to rest and let renewed inspiration come to you?

    1. fredwilson

      i’m doing that 🙂

      1. iamronen

        almost … but in this post you are also trying to solve or move away from it … so … 🙂

  176. Dave W Baldwin

    From my side, discussing the current up and comers (true disruptive tech) moving things forward over the next 3-5 is where it is at.Your posts on the different angles of financial are priceless, though I’m sure you may feel you’re rehashing. Maybe do a link to a former in something you are writing about current.

  177. Francisco Morales

    Maybe it’s different in the US, but in Europe it’s difficult to attract angels investors when your startup is B2B oriented.So this is my proposal: How to attract angel investor when you’re B2B oriented?

  178. Josslossboss

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on how to propel the business over the first big traffic hurdle: growing from 50k users to 500k users.Not just marketing/distribution, but user experience, core offering, super users, etcHow to start to grow the network of connect users to be LARGE.

  179. jdelvat

    Hi Fred,I’ve seen some videos of you and Eric Ries at Seedcamp.What’s your take on Lean Startups?

    1. paramendra

      Looks like you missed out on the drama last summer.

        1. paramendra


  180. Paul

    Hi Fred – this is shameless self promotion. I work with a start-up called ConnectedN in Toronto. We help professionals (VCs, Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants) find inspiration to blog / tweet about on the web. Our platform sends you an extremely customized RSS every morning and then time effectively coordinates your participation via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Blogs and other forms of communications. Please check us out at or sent me an email. Nonetheless, good luck!

  181. David Miller

    What about the leadership qualities you look for in the Sr. Team and why. Or, related to that, the qualities that the Team must have and the qualities that they don’t have to have initially (that, presumably) you’ll help them obtain).

  182. Carl Rahn Griffith


  183. Phil Botana


  184. markslater

    Awkward moments meeting AVC stalkers face to face.there have to be a few of those?

  185. pparrot

    I’d like to read some posts about open source.Is it attractive to VCs?What are the barriers to entry?Monetization includes support, but what prevents another group to fork and provide better support? Problems with forks from both sides. For example, “Boxee was originally a fork of the free and open source XBMC media center software which Boxee now uses as an application framework” (wikipedia). What happened to the main XBMC developers?

  186. Guest

    Where can a european innovative entrepreneur with an insane idea meet a VC like Fred Wilson?

    1. Josslossboss


      1. Guest

        Thank You!

  187. Oo Nwoye - @OoTheNigerian

    Hi Fred,I would like your thoughts on music startups. Do you think that there is any future in starting one? Do you think that there is a better model that has not been explored? Do you think the labels will ever ‘get it’?

    1. fredwilson

      no,yes, no

  188. Scott

    AVC-I’d love some thoughts on the value and growing differences in incubators.Scott S>Dogma

  189. Terry J Leach

    I’d like to see some post about your views on the Internet operating system stack and various business models you think might arise from it over the next few years.

  190. RJ Johnston

    How about a post on methods of raising capital for a direct investment fund or start/run a firm such as USV. Another post, same theme, this time for an incubator.

  191. Prokofy

    I’d love for you to explain more and opine more about the secondary stock market of shares in companies like Facebook. It seems so surreal, so untethered to real business, and such a bubble. Also so unjust, as these platforms get such a free ride and are so unaccountable to the publicThere’s this discussion on TechCrunch to inspire you if you like.

  192. Arek Skuza

    I am startup CEO and we are working on photo recognition technology which we use in mobile commerce. All startups build technology and users group. Some startups’ value is user collection, some other focus on technology. In our case both items are equally important as technology is used in the process of mobile commerce. So, my idea for post is: what is important for VC: technology, users or both. Let’s say somebody builds excellent technology, codes, algorithms and have no big users’ collection. How do you evaluate this kind of business, or technology (f.i scaling problem exists) is weak but users collection is great. How do VC look at this 2 parts?. Thank you.

  193. Ashwin Ramasamy

    I am a bit late here..I thought I wouldn’t read anything for a day and I see a 440 comments post, asking for engagement!Fred, do you have any thoughts for all those entrepreneurs and hackers who are building on their ideas for the US market, but could not relocate there (immigration issues/cost etc). I think a YC+ a bridge company that helps by operating as a very involved local office for international start-ups, would go a long way in creating a parallel & distributed alternative to valley.

  194. Todd_Andelin

    “Jack drank rot gut & made haikus of birds tweetling on his porch rail at dawn-“Allen Ginsberg 1969, elegy to Jack Kerouac

  195. Peter

    Sorry for being late but I’d love to throw another topic out there. I’m a law student entering a startup practice in Boston next year. I spent a few years in public accounting focusing on technology/life sciences companies prior to law school and so am very cognizant of the fact that I’m often going to be viewed as “hired help.”I enjoy your blog and try to read everything I can get my hands on to make sure I understand the mindset of both the VCs and the entrepreneurs I’ll be working with, but I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on where a lawyer can add value to the process from your perspective, as well as that of the entrepreneur.Thanks.

  196. kidmercury

    oh snap

  197. fredwilson

    has “jumped the shark” jumped the shark?

  198. fredwilson

    i’d love thatjoshua is a special personi have great fondness for him

  199. fredwilson

    founder friendly and moving founders out of the CEO job are not mutuallyexclusivebut the latter needs to be done very carefully if you want to retain afounder friendly label