The Gotham Gal asked me this morning "how does it feel to be 50?" I said "it feels good. another accomplishment."

It's only a few waking hours into my 50s but so far it feels great. I've never been more content with my place in the world, never felt better, and never had so much I want to do.

A friend gave me a book about turning 50, I've been trying to read it, but it's filled with all these "getting old" jokes and they aren't making me laugh. They don't resonate with me.

What does resonate with me is friends and family. The past week has been fantastic in that regard. This weekend my mom, dad, and brothers and their families are spending the weekend with us. Good times with friends and family at the end of the summer has always marked my birthday and this year has been particularly great in that way.

I'm going to start celebrating turning 50 by going out and getting the makings of breakfast with my brother. But before I do that, let me take one more moment to encourage everyone out there to consider a contribution to the Fifty For Fifty campaign we are doing via Donors Choose. We are getting really close, we passed $43,000 yesterday. Please consider contributing if you haven't done so yet.

#hacking education#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt A. Myers

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Have a great year. ūüôā

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Matthew

  2. RichardF

    Happy Birthday Fred – have a fantastic day with the family, they are the most treasured moments in life.

    1. fredwilson

      did that. stayed offline all day after writing this post

  3. DonRyan

    Happy Birthday, Fred. I’ve loved being along for the past several years. Here’s to many more.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      thanks don

  4. bijan

    Happy birthday my friend.Love the attitude.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Bijan. i think attitude is a lot why i feel the way i do

  5. awaldstein

    Happy Bday Fred…and enjoy!I’m cracking a bottle of amazing InFlorescense Blanc de Noirs Champagne ( ) this afternoon and I’ll certainly raise a glass to you.

    1. JLM

      I went to your Tumblr.  Wow.  Well played.  I would come over to wash the glasses to get a dram of the stuff you drink.  Most impressive.

      1. awaldstein

        When you are in NY, you have an open invitation to taste JLM.There are very few great champagne producers who treat champagne as wine, with a sense of terroir and character rather than a blended, industrial, approach.Cool stuff…so bright. So crisp and fresh. And with no dosage as far as i can find out. Remarkable.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          So, it’s from Pinot Noir?

          1. awaldstein

            Yes, 100% Pinot Noir. 

          2. Donna Brewington White

            My favorite — as you might recall from the mini meetup at¬†Anfora! ¬†Although the substitute the guy came up with was MORE than acceptable.

        2. JLM

          So am I going to have to wash the glasses?

          1. awaldstein

            Not even if you insist JLM ūüėČ

    2. fredwilson

      ooh.  how was it?

      1. awaldstein

        Quite wonderful. Crisp. Floral. Rich. Felt just right. Satiated a non-wine geeky crowd.Drank the ’09. Just found some ’08s so will compare maybe tonight.Remarkable for around $60 bottle.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Made the same mistake two mornings in a row — first w/ your Tumblr and now here! ¬†Not even 10:00 a.m. and am craving champagne. ¬†Stop it! ¬†

          1. JLM

            Hey, that’s why they invented brunch — an excuse to drink earlier on a Sunday.

          2. Donna Brewington White


          3. awaldstein

            Donna…rest assured. I will not stop!

          4. Donna Brewington White


  6. Guest

    Happy Birthday Fred!  Sounds like you have a great weekend ahead.  Enjoy every minute.      

    1. fredwilson


  7. Vineeth Kariappa

    I hope I get up as early as you when I am 50. Happy Birthday, have a gr8 year.

    1. fredwilson

      i get up earlier every year i get older

  8. gregorylent

    the higher the consciousness the less the importance of the age of the body. 

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve heard that from others. it sounds right

  9. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Happy birthday!  I keep waiting for the time when all the getting old jokes begin to make sense and it has not happened yet!  I found four classrooms in our local community that are seeking funds via Donors Choose and I have been trying to get the word out and around and so far, outside of my own contribution I have not been able to entice anyone else to contribute.So, I guess locally my Klout score should be zero!

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for your support and interest in donors choose

  10. Dave W Baldwin

    Happy Birthday!¬† It’s nice how those getting old jokes don’t apply to 50 anymore.

    1. fredwilson


  11. JimHirshfield

    Happy birthday dude. 50 is the new 30.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe so

  12. kirklove

    Happy Birthday. All the best to you and yours.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks kirk. are you getting excited for your big change that’s coming?

      1. kirklove

        Very much so. She’s almost out of private beta. Four more weeks. ūüėČ

  13. Rob Ganjon

    Happy Birthday Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      thanks rob

  14. andyswan


    1. fredwilson

      sadly no. my brothers would have enjoyed that

    2. DonRyan

      I recently made the acquaintance of Pappy VanWinkle based on your recommendation. It was every bit as good as advertised. 

  15. William Mougayar

    Best wishes for being half a century young. I turned that corner 2 years ago, and it all feels the same. As long as you’ve got your health, nothing else matters more.¬†Enjoy the celebrations with friends and family, and thanks for sharing that moment with us.¬†Shall we head over to your Tumblr to see a pic of the birthday cake?

    1. fredwilson

      i didn’t take a picture of it. but it was amazing

  16. saranyan

    Happy fifty :).

    1. fredwilson

      thank you

  17. EmilSt

    It’s great sharing this moments and feelings. And very meaningful way to celebrate with Donors Choose. Happy Birthday and have a great weekend!

    1. fredwilson

      thank emil

  18. Pramod Dikshith

    Happy Birthday Fred…You have been great for the entrepreneurial community.. Wishing you to live longer and contribute more and guide youngsters like me..

    1. fredwilson

      thanks pramod

  19. Robert Thuston

    Nice, congrats on turning the big five-oh (as the book title indicates). ¬†Keep blogging til you are 100. ¬†I assume blogging adds to your contentment level.Also, one of the things I’ve often debated with myself is the validity of Maslow’s Hierarchy. ¬†I’ve often thought it was bull shite to say you have to reach one level before hitting the next… but the concept of levels grows on me… whether this model or another one.

    1. MartinEdic

      The Buddhists would tell you that virtually nothing in life is hierarchal- that’s an organizing device created by humans. In the world of the present everything is happening at once!

      1. Robert Thuston

        so even needs are not seen by Buddhists as cumulative (or hierarchical), ehhhh?I think it’s interesting to explore needs (and the fulfillment of them) as though they’re “adjacent doors”… you focus on one, and it leads to another. I think the Maslow hierarchy helps understand, not necessarily define. The entrepreneur that focuses all his time on creating an amazing product, maybe should be focusing his time on creating a network of friends and users. The VC that focuses on trying to gain respect from others, may be better spending his time finding a network he or she can offer value, yada, yada, yada…Bottom line, Fred’s in a damn good place, and it is appreciated. Happy 50th.

        1. JLM

          Funny thing about needs is that when faced with adversity, real adversity, we really do not need very much.I spent a lot of money and a couple of years in therapy — good kind of disciplined self-discovery and just a smidgen of PTSS — to learn that I only have one real want — not need — to float in the Atlantic Ocean off Wrightsville Beach looking for the next big wave at 5:00 PM with the sun shining.Life is quite simple really.

          1. fredwilson

            i did that yesterday

          2. JLM

            And it was spiritual, no?  Yes.

          3. Robert Thuston

            JLM, it’s easy to say you don’t need something when you already have it. ¬†Through this blog, its evident you have belonging, respect from others, creativity and spontaneity (all identified in Maslow’s Hierarchy). ¬†I call bullshit on all you need is a beach and a wave. Sometimes to get to your “want”, it matters where you’ve been. ¬†As for “real adversity”, your needs become much simpler. ¬†I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004 (ME>GA, 5 months, 2,173 miles, 14 states). ¬†Sometimes I didn’t have enough food, and sometimes I’d miss a shelter and press on 10 or so miles to the next one, sometimes at night and in the rain. But when I did get food and/or to safety, I could not have been more fulfilled at that time.

          4. JLM

            No argument on what you say.I indicated it was a “want” not a need.Of course, on some days, when the wind is just right and out of the west lifting those waves just a bit, when the sun is warm on your skin, when the sky is azure blue, the water is clear — CRYSTAL — you WANT that wave, you NEED that wave, you would trade your car for that wave.You hiked the AT north to south. ¬†Wow! ¬†I have put together a number of sections but not the whole thing. ¬†That is an awesome physical and spiritual accomplishment. ¬†A world class accomplishment which separates you from all the talkers. ¬†You, my friend, are a doer.I know exactly where you live when you talk about that next meal after an arduous undertaking.The best burger I ever ate was at the Ft Benning O Club after finishng Ranger school. ¬†I had lost about 20 lbs I did not have to lose in those days. ¬†I was drunk on my second thimble of beer.That burger — was proof there is a God.

          5. JLM

            When you come to Texas, I will buy you a chicken fried steak to honor your accomplishments and to fill that AT belly.And this is a damn good CFS.This is a world peace, balance the budget, make dogs love cats, Middle East peace chicken fried steak.

          6. Robert Thuston

            JLM, always good to hear your thoughts. ¬†My older brother is a Green Beret in Iraq right now. ¬†His wife has their first child on the way in October as well and we’re hoping for him to be back by then.He’s trained at Fort Benning before, and I’ve got great respect for him and Rangers such as yourself. ¬†I visit Austin every so often. ¬†I live in Birmingham. ¬†That sounds like a damn good chicken fried steak, and I hope to take you up on the offer in the future.

          7. JLM

            Any time. ¬†Tell your brother we will be drinking to his safety. ¬†And it will take a lot to make that happen.Lawnmower. ¬†You ever drink Lawnmower?Chicken fried steak and Lawnmower really could make world peace.If I ever have a “beer summit” — Lawnmower.Come on down.

          8. Robert Thuston

            Count me in for a lawnmower.  Never had one, and I enjoy most beers, especially the ones you can drink 3 or 5 of without it wearing on your pallet.

    2. fredwilson

      blogging has helped immensely. that and yoga

    3. JamesHRH

      Robert – I think you will find that the link is serial between the physical and either of the next two levels, not all three ( not an expert here, FYI ).The idea is that people will not focus on the belonging levels or the being levels if they are not safe or they are starving.The next question is the breadth of need at the esteem level. How much belonging do you want or need? It varies, based on personality and family culture.

      1. Robert Thuston

        You make a good point, and it touches on what I debate about with myself. Question being, do you need to fulfill “belonging” (as small a need as that may be) before you gain confidence, respect of others, and a sense of achievement.I find it a relevant discussion for entrepreneurs, because many entrepreneurs are soloists in a sense, and working to disrupt the status quo (this often naturally puts them outside the circle). ¬†Some may even have a disdain for the status quo in pursuit of change. ¬†So, should an entrepreneur start his project to disrupt the status quo, or develop a belonging amongst similar thinking people? ¬†And as you mention, the connection may be serial, as I’ve considered before. ¬†I’m still working on my own path… so time will tell.

        1. JamesHRH

          Robert:An investor friend I know once said that mos entrepreneurs end up starting their own company ‘ because they are socially unable to work in another.’ Don’t know if that is your answer, but your comments resonated for me. I have always believed that my sense of belonging is to my family and to something that is of the highest standards. If I had found that along the way, I think I would be there, workwise, but I didn’t. So, I am going to build what I want to belong to…..

          1. Robert Thuston

            Well said. ¬†“build what i want to belong to” represents much of where I am now.

  20. BradDorchinecz

    You are only as old as you feel. Have a good one!

    1. fredwilson


  21. leigh

    The only thing that sucks about getting old is that our bodies don’t follow our great young attitudes (or so my hubbie who is 16 yrs older than me tells me ;)Happy happy bday!

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve been lucky in that regardyoga helps a lot

  22. Tereza

    Happy birthday!You have a large and flourishing family, marriage, two parents, great kids, resources and good health.  These are great blessings.  And you use what you have for the greater good.This is a wonderful place to be.  Savor it.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I just realized I’m going to have to stop Liking all of your comments to help knock you out of 4th place — same with everyone else above me! ūüėČ

    2. JLM

      Well said and with genuine reverence and generosity.

      1. Tereza

        Hey JLM thank you.Sorry to hear about your shih-tzu’s eye. (Sorry folks I’m responding to sth he wrote Friday) Caregiving is one of life’s massive rollercoasters. You are a good mother to that dear dog. And I totally get that feeling of being a disappointment when they trusted you. I remember when my first daughter came home from the hospital, and it was my husband’s first day off to work. Naturally I was utterly sleep deprived — hadn’t fully gotten used to that yet. I was sitting in a chair breastfeeding my baby, she came off to doze, and I was feeling hot and lightheaded so leaned back to try to let down the windowshade with one hand. Stupid. Well she rolled down my legs and landed on the hardwood floor. Clunk. Waaahhhh! I grabbed her up thankful she was crying and not listless I looked her straight in the eyes and I swear her eyes said to me, “I entrusted you with my care, and you did THIS to me?!?”. I never felt like such a disappointment.I came to learn that every parent does something like this sooner or later. Part of cutting your teeth as a parent. I also learned to appreciate loud kids’ wails.

        1. Mark Essel

          It’s that first fall that prepares us for the less than pleasant days ahead.Hey if mom or pop can drop me, what will strangers do?

    3. fredwilson

      i did. stayed off the net all day after writing that post.

      1. Tereza

        It was a gorgeous day. Hope it was awesome.

  23. Tom Labus

    Enjoy the beautiful day.Happy Birthday and many more to come.

    1. fredwilson

      it was an incredibly beautiful day

  24. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    Happy birthday, Fred.¬†I turned 25 two weeks ago and, though it might seem silly to you, and it feels weird. A quarter century. My life is not at all what I thought it would be.But I often think of this quote by Douglas Adams (he of¬†Hitchhiker’s¬†Guide fame): “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

    1. ShanaC

      I’m your age, and I feel the same way. ¬†If I knew I would have turned into the me that exists now, I would have laughed…

    2. fredwilson


  25. William Mougayar

    Just a thought re: 50/50 challenge. Since deadline is approaching, why not start tweeting those that have contributed starting next week, as that will get some twitter exposure and contribute to further donations? 

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t want to reward the late donors over the early oneseveryone is going to get a shoutout at the end

  26. Gregory Magarshak

    I remember reading an interview with Julia Roberts when she turned 30. Asked how she felt, she said it was like a gift for getting through her 20s ūüôā I like that!

    1. fredwilson

      well she had a nutty 20s

  27. Obi

    Our fifties are an amazing opportunity. I was inspired by Jaki Scarcello’s book Fifty and Fabulous which reinforced the idea that the time after fifty is when we begin to harvest the fruits of our life. Age jokes are just sad.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe i should put down the book i have and pick that one up

  28. Guest

    Happy Birthday – As my father says: “It’s getting there that counts”

  29. daryn

    Happy birthday Fred!¬†I like the 5 and 10 year birthdays as milestones to reflect from and upon. ¬†It’s not about getting old, it’s just about tracking time. I have one of these birthday next month, and thinking about 2001 and 2006, it’s amazing how much my/the world has changed, yet how much has stayed the same.Also, AVC turns 8 this year! I’m curious where we’ll be in 2013, but if nothing else, I’m sure we’ll be smiling at this quote from post #1:I read blogs a lot. And i think they are great. So i am starting a blog. I have no idea if i’ll write a lot in my blog or rarely. I hope its a lot, because i have a lot to say. But we’ll see about that.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Thanks so much for sharing this excerpt from Fred’s first post. ¬†Love it!

    2. JLM

      What a great history lesson. ¬†This is easily — easily — the best group of folks on the Internet. ¬†The civility, wisdom and comity are a lesson that one wishes the Congress could learn.Fred’s Folks

      1. AnneWilliams41

        ,I just paíd $20.82 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from,

    3. fredwilson

      it has been a lot. thanks for going back and fishing that out daryn

  30. Emi Gal

    Happy Birthday Fred! When my dad turned 60, I called and wished him “happy 60th, dad”. He said he’s actually 30, on each leg. I guess that makes you 25.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks emi

  31. Fernando Gutierrez

    Happy birthday! I hope the next 50 are as at least as fulfilling as those behind you

    1. fredwilson

      i’m planning on it

  32. paramendra

    Happy Birthday. 

    1. fredwilson

      thank you

  33. sigmaalgebra

    “Youth is such a wonderful time of life.¬† Too bad it’s wasted on young people.”Would you really want to be younger if it meant having to give up what you’ve learned and accomplished since then?

    1. fredwilson

      i wouldn’t trade anything

  34. Jan Schultink

    Congratulations.My 68-year old mother is my example how aging is different today. I hope to have her energy and mental sharpness in 26 years from now.

    1. awaldstein

      Life is 25 years longer they say. The goal is to put those years in the middle of life.¬†That’s my motto.

      1. fredwilson

        that’s a good one arnold

  35. MartinEdic

    Happy Birthday Fred. I’ve been in my fifities for a little while now and it’s great. I’ve never felt hampered by my experience and have worked with two start-ups where I was a the ‘old guy’ but it never made any difference to my co-workers once they got to know me. It’s all in the attitude and yours is great. Enjoy.

    1. fredwilson

      young startups need “old guys and gals”

    2. JLM

      Rochester, NY — I spent a week there one night << famous Harry Chapin line about another upstate NY city, Watertown, NYI built a corp HQ for Mobil Chem in Macedon and lived in Fairport through the snowiest winter on record. ¬†The size of the lake effect snowflakes still inspires fear in me.But the Genesee Cream Ale and the red hots got me through the night.One of my coolest memories was taking batting practice w/ the Rochester Red Wings.¬†I thought I could hit a curve ball in the day and I had an intro. ¬†I took batting practice for a week or so and was making solid contact and putting the ball in play deep.They asked me if I was ready to try the real stuff. ¬†Then the hammer dropped and they threw the ball hard, tight and fast. ¬†85 mph in those days. ¬†I never put wood on it and my fascination w/ baseball was ceremoniously laid to rest.I just could not “see” the ball. ¬†I could find the fast balls if they promised to obey and not move about but those wicked naughty curveballs would have none of it and that was all she wrote.

  36. Jean-Claude Homawoo

    Happy Birthday Fred.  A whole generation of your readers, followers and various entrepreneurs will look to you as a bellwether for how to remain relevant in their 40s and 50s.

    1. fredwilson

      that would be a wonderful thing

  37. Avi Deitcher

    Happy Birthday Fred! As the old Jewish saying goes, “until 120 years,” and may each of your next 70 be even more productive than the best of your first 50.Avi

    1. fredwilson

      another 70 would be nice

  38. Donna Brewington White

    Well, this is an improvement.  A year or two ago on your birthday you said that you felt old!Happy Birthday, Fred!Know that you are loved and appreciated near and far!If time is currency, then it seems that you have invested well with your 50 years.  BTW, that book was published over 10 years ago.  A lot about how we view and experience age has changed since then.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ll have to go back and read that post where i said i felt old and see what has changed

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Hey Fred — This is the post where you introduced the idea:…But it was this comment/reply that I was thinking of — made in the “Doubling Down” post of August 9, 2009 but referring to the other:DBW: [excerpt] BTW, Happy Birthday and PLEASE do not say that 48 is old. (I’m mixing comments here for sake of efficiency – that was a different post.)FW: I call em as I see em (or feel em in this case)Anyway, your change in perspective in two short years is encouraging because I have a birthday this month and for the first time ever am feeling older. But no worries — it won’t last long! My Pollyanna optimism is sickening at times but it does tend to keep me young.

  39. Donna Brewington White

    Does anyone know if the Donors Choose campaign runs through the end of the month?

    1. fredwilson

      yup. the month of august

  40. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    ¬†I am forced to remember this “human being is a prisoner of situation” … what situation made you to plead for this stupid last 7K?

    1. Jim

      You are wise man Fred to be at a place where you can ignore comments like this one! Kudos you you.

      1. fredwilson

        i just took the day off. i responded politely as my mom taught me to do

        1. DonRyan

          Your momma did a good job. 

    2. JLM

      I may have to go back and authenticate that charm school diploma, my friend. ¬†On a guy’s birthday?Bad manners speaks to your upbringing. ¬†You dishonor your parents.Funny thing, I know you are a better person than that. ¬†Or alternatively, you may just be overdue for a thrashing.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        when i comment… talk about me you idiot … did i bring your parents into any of my comments?????? …. where r u from MARS?…¬†if you zero’ed that 7K … now only 4K … then let us have a talk.Let us talk something¬†polite¬†and nice … what i was commenting about is … people¬†getting¬†trapped intro social life. Just now i returned from a movie in Kannada … i dont even understand much of that language though it is one of the language of this earth … like english … the movie is callled JOGIEE and it talks about a guy who comes to BLR … I think you should watch that .¬†Every human being is a social animal.I could not understand that why avc cannot afford that 7K … why is he pleading from the community.That is what i wanted to know.

        1. JLM

          No, you are absolutely right I should not have spoken of your parents. ¬†Please accept my apology. ¬†Your conduct does that sufficiently and it was only piling on to add to the dishonor.Again, my most sincere apology.I should have only commented about you but I am afraid I would have been tempted to have said something like you were a “boorish little insect to have said something so churlish on a man’s birthday” but I fear that would have been offensive and I would not want to do that.So I will retire from the fray.God speed and good will to you, friend.

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            hmmm…. I think I like you my dear¬†friend.

        2. TanyaMonteiro

          hey Kasi, there was no pleading in the ask. two very different ways. you raise valid points about us social animals only, we all choose to support or not, another important human talent.

        3. fredwilson

          i can afford it of courseand i kicked off the campaign with a contribution as i mentioned in my first post on the topicbut i am envisioning this as a community effort

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            Yes precisely. u can…. and i know that.You are made to plead by this community right? and this is supposed to be the tribe of the century and cannot support your initiative for a simple 50K…sure there are insects in this community like me … but hey as long as u live in this world … u r supposed to live with insects….Don’t live in this virtual world … live with your beloveds. Hope you had a wonderful time with your brother…that worth more than the 50K.Happy Birthday Fred.

          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            Congrats Fred on reaching the goal. I underestimated your persistence and my bad on having negative experience with social efforts through friends.

          3. fredwilson

            no worries Kasieveryone is allowed to have their say here

    3. fredwilson

      the goal of raising $50k for classrooms and now its only $4k

  41. Manshu

    Happy birthday Fred – your blog has been of immense value to me – thank you very much. God less.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks manshu

  42. Scott Barnett

    Happy Birthday Fred!I turn 45 next week and have been thinking about what I’d like to accomplish by 50. ¬†Then I thought about what I’ve already accomplished (wife, kids, volunteering, friendship) and that felt really good. ¬†I can see why you feel *great*. ¬†Enjoy!

    1. fredwilson

      you can do a lot in five yearsi love the bill gates quote”people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years’



    1. ShanaC

      Happy arbitrary division of time moment to you, Fake Grimlock… (a day is an arbitrary division of time…)



    2. fredwilson


  44. ShanaC

    Happy getting to a place of being comfortable in your own skin day  (aka Happy Birthday)

    1. fredwilson

      thanks shana

  45. dbollmer

    Happy BIrthday. I get to cross that threshold later this year.

    1. fredwilson

      so far, it’s been pretty easy

  46. Kevin Friedman

    Happy Birthday Fred! Thank you for creating such a welcoming and helpful AVC community. Just gave my gift to the “Fifty For Fifty campaign”… better late than never! ūüôā

    1. fredwilson

      thanks kevin

  47. Emeri Gent [Em]

    I was speaking to a 90 year old who talked about how much “runway” he had left and how that leads him to count his blessings.¬† In a blessed world I have 40 years to wait before I become 90, so the key to 50 is that its not how relatively young one is or how old one is – but whether mind, spirit and body surpass chronological time.¬† That is why I advocate folks stop thinking about career paths and start thinking about life paths.¬† Enjoy the milestones but bless the day, everyday is a birthday.¬† Have a great 50th Birthday Fred.[Em]”Emeri Gent” @thoughtspaces:twitter

    1. JLM

      My 93 year old Father — still easily the smartest and wisest man I have ever met — said something funny. ¬†I asked him when he first felt old and he said — hmmm, when I was 75, no when I was 85, last week.His mind is so alert and his critical thinking so sharp that I truly love speaking to him because I always learn something.Of late, he has taken to saying to me when I depart —“…this may be last time I see you…” which has brought tears to my eyes.I told my sister about that and she says “he’s just playing you” so you come to see him more frequently.I think he is. ¬†He’s that clever.

      1. fredwilson

        he’s playing out at age 93. gives new meaning to your “well played” saying

      2. Emeri Gent [Em]

        JLM, The values I draw about what is “old” is informed more by someone like Johnny Cash, whose swansong was a poignant rendition of a Nine Inch Nails cover.¬† Old is not our age, it is our human condition.Hurt by Johnny Cash…The sad part of the modern age today is the 60’s fixation of the worship of youth culture that is now branded and infused into the thinking prevalent in our age.¬† A part of advocating life path over career path is a respect for elders and strengthening of core relationship, whether that be home, village, school or craft. ¬†The way I look at, the word old has become “cold”, and it needs to become “bold”.¬† We are generally afraid of dying more than we are courageous about living.¬† A part of courage is knowing that the people we love most share the same contract we all get at birth.¬† I think what you really should be most proud of is that you are loving son. ¬†You can see by the intensity of the images and expression, that Johnny Cash wanted to express something beyond words, his empire of dirt compared to what is most important in life.¬† What you shared with me here in this public place is most cleanest part of a human heart that is imaginable and I am honoured that you can be see clear and true. ¬†I think the opposite is really true in this case, your father knows that he is lucky to have you, for you, as I see it, have given each other the most precious thing possible, a lifetime of love. ¬†Regards[Em]”emeri gent”@thoughtspaces

        1. JLM

          Thank you for a wonderful and thought provoking insight. ¬†Thank you.Your statement that “We are generally afraid of dying more than we are courageous about living”¬†is a world class thought. ¬†World class.Funny thing is that having cheated death on more than a few occasions, I am not looking to pal around with it but if it shows up, it is game on. ¬†I will not go quietly. ¬†And if it wins the first round, we going “best out of three”.The courage of life is just that — the willingness to take the first step when scared. ¬†Courage is not absence of fear but rather the ability to keep going when fear would otherwise paralyze you.My father says a very quizzical thing when we discuss the future of the US — “the sons of tigers are tigers”. ¬†I can never figure out exactly what he means but I think he means we can solve our problems if we would just “tiger up”.I cannot imagine a world without that guy in it. ¬†It brings tears to my eyes.

          1. Emeri Gent [Em]

            JLM, I wanted to add one more response triggered by your authentic spirit.¬† One of the key things that strengthen me is realizing how much of a spiritual imprint of my parents I have, because of the way my parents raised me. ¬†My parents are still both alive today which is a blessing, and may they enjoy long and prosperous lives, but that spiritual imprint that I gained from them is the gift of their parenting, and it is a gift that will be with resident within me for the span of my life.Long after they are finally gone, they will continue to reside in me in ways I cannot even imagine today.¬† The continuity of a relationship is IMHO that which is already within you, and which probably was a central part of your DNA when you faced the personal challenges you talk of – we never face these challenges alone but sometimes we don’t know where we got our strength from and think we are alone.The sorrow we think of now we do not need to contemplate, for the solace is that which we are, for the good grace of having special people in our lives. ¬†The two things that I know about our parents is that firstly, a loving parent does not want to bring hurt to their child.¬† That is more the reason we need to remain strong, for it honours our parents desire to see the best and most resilient in us. ¬†The other thing I know is that it is not a forgone conclusion, is that we will outlive our parents – and that the greatest grief of all, which is that of a parent who loses a child, if we even think about unimaginable loss, that is a profound unimaginable loss. ¬†One of the gifts we don’t have to imagine is that spiritual imprint we already have acquired.¬† It isn’t just the spiritual imprint of our parents but of our ancestors.¬† If you think about it, that is the fundamental transformation of our age today – a gift our parents generally only marginally had, that we and the generations ahead are witness to a history that has become local and most accessible, if not personal.We live in an age which is very different from our ancestors, for they came from either oral traditions or at least ones which passed the torch from one generation to another.¬† We are that much more fortunate, yet that much more ignorant in comparison – the fortune being that this very conversation we are having are pathways of personal history passing in the journeys of emerging social media.¬† ¬†They are also journeys which make our personal history, a new type of historical record.¬† Our historical record resides in our home and not a social network.¬† We do a great job of the latter, we need to focus more of our attention on the former.That we talk about our fathers and not the great kings of our age is the wonder of our age, and that should itself be another fortress of strength in a world that often can and does prey on our weakness or fears. ¬†Our family histories are not just recorded by genealogy today, but if crafted and curated with care, become domains of history that are unique to our individual families.¬† From that emerges an intelligent village – but lets not jump a step, lets simply deal with what is emerging now.My thoughts go out to the parents who did not have loving children, my thoughts go out to the children who didn’t have loving guardians and most of all, the people whose love has gone unrequited because life circumstances meant that they never were able to enjoy the blessings both of us have enjoyed. ¬†It is this greater whole, this more unified dimension of humanity which is one more way of informing the value of the spiritual imprint our parents have given to us, that imprint which is uniquely ours and is our profound inheritance.How we honour our loved ones is our individual choice, but the future is ever emergent – because we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, but the gift that will keep on giving is that which we we have already been given. ¬†So long as that light within us keeps on shining, we can face upto tomorrow’s challenges because we are not alone, never alone.¬† We have that spiritual imprint within us whether it be father imprinting that to the heart of a son, or a wife that tended so deeply, that her husband is an embodiment of that love.It is easy for our imagination to remind us what we stand to lose or how vulnerable we will be when we so lose, but that spiritual imprint which we have quietly inherited and bequeathed, is something we don’t put much thought to. It is the very force within us that can guide our imagination.¬† Then we bless what we gained and have a gained a lot and our imagination is that much more richer to contribute towards a collective future. ¬†Thank you for your thoughtfulness, that inspired me to share my thoughts on this across a bridge that joins our valuable experiences.[Em]”emeri gent” @thoughtspaces

          2. JLM

            Thank you for sharing and baring your soul. ¬†I agree w/ everything you sayThe “wisdom of the campfire” is both lost and found in our ability to not only remember and document through technology but to glean new meanings as time passes.Not only do families have such a spiritual trail of breadcrumbs, but so do nations.The American dream is real and to have it marginalized is to lose a great spirit. ¬†This is why the war against the top 1% is not gaining traction and is unworthy of our thinkers — these folks are often simply the winners in the American Dream sweepstakes.We need more winners not punitive actions.Followers do not like leaders who stoop to humanize themselves, they want leaders who say such positive and perhaps outlandish things that they say — hey, I want to be a member of that tribe!Winston Churchhill single handedly talked Hitler out of invading England when all the calculus pointed to some low hanging fruit.Again, thanks for your deep and insightful thoughts. ¬†They inspire me.Speaking of the wisdom of the campfire, here’s a picture of my 10th Annual Christmas Sockhop which I ran out to 24 years before crashing.

        2. Robert Thuston

          Such a wonderful video. ¬†I heard that Trent Reznor, who wrote the song, cried when he saw it. ¬†A friend and I used to watch this video in college, and revel in the expression of mortality and meaning of it.I haven’t seen it in a while, and I’m glad you shared it. ¬†Just yesterday my 93 year old grandfather passed away. ¬†He was the kind of person that got up every day to live even at 93. ¬†He constantly built walking sticks, tied flies, kept bonsais, played golf, cooked dinner, played bridge, and told war stories.

          1. JLM

            I am so sorry to hear about your Grandfather.  Blessings to you and him and his. Words fail.

          2. Emeri Gent [Em]

            Thanks JLM for the picture.¬† The spirit of Elvis, pretty good shot if you ask me.¬† It reminds me of someone I came across in California, his name is Jamis MacNiven, he runs a neat little restaurant that local Sand Hill VC’s visit.He sent me his book a long time ago, but I still get a chuckle out of reading it, I’ve linked it for you belowJamis MacNiven – Breakfast at Bucks…Which also reminds me of the importance of having a sense of humour.¬† As it happens, when I went to have a haircut today, there was a 92 year old german who brought his grand-kids with him.¬† He showed a lot of spirit, though I had to manage him when he started to show he had lost none of his libido for the opposite sex.¬† Kudos to him anyway to be that cheerful and of good heart, he even told me about his dad who lived to 104.¬† The only people who are really dead in this world are the one’s who have not lived.¬† Certainly not a problem for this particular 92 year old I met earlier today.¬†Thanks for the conversation JLM, it has been soundly refreshing and I have taken away much from it.¬† BTW stop by Mark Essel’s Victus Spiritus blog when you have a moment.¬† Mark is taking a breather from it, but his last blog can do with an injection of a spirit such as yours.Regards[Em]¬†

          3. Robert Thuston

            Thanks JLM.  Funeral was yesterday.  Packed house with lots of caring people.  Robert 

          4. Emeri Gent [Em]

            My condolences Robert on the passing of your grandfather, I think you have reiterated something that has struck me, is that there is something greater than the wisdom of the crowd, which is the wisdom of the ages.Even in the short description you have managed to bring him to life for me and I could well imagine what a wonderful person he must have been.¬† You share one great thing then with JLM, it is your great fortune to know him. ¬†As far as the Johnny Cash video is concerned, what punctuates for me is the final line, “I will keep myself, I will find a way” – I focus on the authenticity than the mortality because Cash is already immortal in this video – and he talks to his immortal self by saying that “you are someone else, I am still right here” – watch what Johnny Cash expresses with his hands as he sings that line.¬† Trent Reznor has his reasons to focus on what he focused on because he shares the fate of image & celebrity vs who Trent Reznor really is, of course that is going to bring him to tears, he has also lived the “the image of Johnny Cash” vs. “I will keep myself, I will find a way”.So what is “old” in the Johnny Cash video but all the stuff he didn’t need or which transpired into meaningless stuff.¬† Cash grieved for his image while boldly expressing that while this video is being shot he is a living entity and not an actor or artist in that moment.¬† So what is “new”, to die to things that are unnecessary and bring birth and life to things that are distinctly us.¬† This is a video about life not death.I am pleased that you got to know your grandfather Robert, my family had already emigrated and my grandparents passed away without any opportunity for me to know them.¬† I know they would have made a great difference in my life but what is not to be is not to be.¬† It brings absolute joy to my heart that you knew your grandfather as you did and that time did not take away but added to your relationship.Again, it does not lessen the loss, for that is the greatest irony of love isn’t it, it only hurts to lose someone, when you have a tonne of it.My condolences once again Robert to the loss of what surely is your wonderful grandfather.Regards[Em]

          5. Robert Thuston

            Emeri,  thanks for the thoughtful words and sharing your thoughts on the video.  The funeral went well yesterday.  Packed house.  Robert

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Apparently, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, JLM.

  48. JLM

    Been there done that. ¬†Turns out 50 is the one that focuses your attention — momentarily — on looking into the abyss and realizing, hey the damn thing is only 2′ deep. ¬†Takes a few months to get over it.Do something really stupid ON PURPOSE because otherwise you will do something really stupid by accident. ¬†I learned how to fly an airplane. ¬†It was great.Here’s the big secret — remember when you first thought — “…damn, if I had known this stuff when I was in high school…” ¬†— that’s what the journey is like between 50 and 60.You got money in the bank, you got wisdom in the tank and you got lead in the pencil.Enjoy, cause it only gets better and you deserve it. ¬†Always remember from whence you have come. ¬†First Holy Communion and I broke my collar bone riding bareback that afternoon. ¬†The journey is the thing!Happy birthday, Fred, you are the genuine article.

    1. fredwilson

      the photo comment being perfected by JLM!

      1. Vinod Ramasami

        And here I am..thinking that I am growing old at 30 ..Happy birthday Fred…Thanks for all the blogs

    2. Dan T

      you’re making me look forward to 50 at 47 ūüôā

  49. Bala

    Happy Birthday Fred!

    1. fredwilson


  50. TanyaMonteiro

    Happy Birthday to you Fred. Your blog and how you are in the world has and continues to be very valuable to me, thank you! Have a really super time celebrating today,

    1. fredwilson

      thanks tanya

  51. Ivan Vecchiato

    A nice day to spend with your family. Enjoy it.Happy birthday Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Ivan

  52. William Mougayar

    Quite impressive that you have replied to each and every comment on this post. Makes everyone feels special and wanted here.Giving back has so many meanings.

    1. fredwilson

      it was intentional

      1. William Mougayar

        Duly noted…and appreciated.

  53. Denim Smith

    Happy Birthday Fred!¬† And congratulations to you and Gotham Gal on the great DonorsChoose traction – fantastic idea.¬† I’m wondering if there is an MBA Monday’s post on the advice the 50 year old you would give to the 20/30 year old you – as well as the advice you think the 20/30 year old you would give the 50 year old you?Have a wonderful day with your family and friends.

    1. fredwilson

      i will think about that onethanks denim

  54. jason wright

    I’ve read that after 50 the blog count declines.Sunday – where’s the next post?¬†

    1. fredwilson

      took the day offback with MBA Mondays this morning

  55. Rohan

    Joining the chorus – Happy birthday Fred! ūüôā¬†

    1. fredwilson

      thanks rohan

  56. Gene


    1. fredwilson

      thank you gene

  57. K_Berger

    Happy 50th.  May you and your family share many more productive, successful and wonderful years together.  Thanks for your insights and the forum to share with each other.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Ken

  58. JamesHRH

    Happy Birthday Fred!I love your response to The Gotham Gal’s query!Accomplishment is a wonderfully flexible and fulfilling way to measure your days! My maternal grandmother lived to 104 and one of her daily habits was to ask herself, at the end of each day, ‘what have I accomplished?’It strikes me as a great third leg to your Bill Gates quote: if you measure the day, you will amaze yourself in a decade…..I can only assume that the quality, breadth and passion of the posts ( to a simple ‘made it to 50’ post ) is deeply satisfying.All the best.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks James

  59. RacerRick

    $46,000 awesome.  Congrats and happy birthday.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Rickit appears that we are going to reach our $50,000 goal. that makes me very happy

  60. charlessmith

    Happy (Belated) Birthday Fred!  Sounds like the perfect celebration,Best,Charles

  61. Jeff Judge

    Happy birthday Fred! Thanks for all your advice via this blog and giving so much back.

    1. fredwilson

      thank you Jeff

  62. FlavioGomes

    Happy Birthday.

  63. fredwilson

    thanks charlie. it was incredible weather yesterday