A 2011 Retrospective On The AVC Community

This isn't really my blog anymore. I still get to decide what the topic of the day is. But the conversation here at AVC is what makes this place special. So, here are the highlights of 2011 (based on disqus and google analytics from Jan 1 to Dec 31):

– Most liked comment: Seth Godin calling bullshit on my marketing post with the line that "marketing /= advertising". That was liked 208 times, 2.5x the second most liked comment this past year.

– Most repied to comment: Andy Swan asking the OWS crowd "What is the negative effect on you when another man earns much more money than you do?  Why do you care?  Why do you not applaud his success?" Andy is the Howard Roark of this community and thank god we have one.

– Most active thread: No surprise there. Occupying My Mind with 990 comments. I'm tempted to re-open the comment thread and post 1o more comments.

– Most liked community member: No surprise there either. Our very own robot dinosaur. Don't ever change grimster.

– Most popular community other than AVC: Mark Suster's blog followed by Gotham Gal's blog.

It was a great year here at AVC. 4.2mm visits, 58,000 comments, and untold insights, friendships, and chuckles.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Happy New Year to you and yours! Keep on bloggin’

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Jim

  2. awaldstein

    Happy New Year to everyone.True, no one owns a community but every great community has a great leader.Job well done Fred. Thanks for doing this!

    1. Dave Pinsen

      +1Writing a widely-read blog is an achievement in itself. Having an active community emerge from that is another achievement. But I don’t know of another blog where the community has spread out into real life as much as this one has. That’s a different level.

      1. William Mougayar

        Indeed. We missed you at the Nov 9th after Donors Choose AVC gathering. You would have seen 30-35 AVC’ers in real…in a bar…as if we knew each other, but many had met for the first time there.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          So, so true.  And the part about missing @daveinhackensack:disqus especially.Although I’ve seen him in a bar before.  Just as intense as here on AVC.  Just as fun.  Well, maybe more fun.

        2. Aaron Klein

          One of the highlights of my year…

          1. ShanaC


          2. William Mougayar

            Next year we’ll do the same & better.

          3. Mark Essel

            AVC conference?

          4. William Mougayar

            Seems like a big project…I think we just wanna drink together 🙂 Dunno…

          5. panterosa,

            It was a really fun evening. Why wait another year?

          6. William Mougayar

            Good point.

        3. John Revay

          I just joined the AVC community/blog after attending the Donors Choose AVC November event (did not make it to the after event that night).Since that night – I have very much enjoy reading the blog and related comments.  Especially enjoy the wide range of topics/interest expressed and discussed. It is a great platform for discussing a wide variety of important topics.I hope it becomes an annual event – while raising some money for good causes.  Happy to all!

          1. William Mougayar

            Hopefully, we’ll do that.

      2. fredwilson

        You all get credit for that last part

      3. awaldstein

        Well said Dave.Well read is one thing. Conversations and engagement another. Having the first doesn’t guarantee the later by any means.There does seem to be a connection between engagement and friendship and real life connections. For me on avc, I know this is true.

      4. ShanaC

        And I am thankful for it.  

  3. gregorylent

    amazing how humanizing community is .. the comments here are so far beyond the youtube, techcrunch non-communitiesthanks for making the space

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. It takes humans to humanize. Can’t be done by machines.

      1. vruz

         alternatively, robot dinosaurs 🙂

  4. denmeade

    thank you for getting such interesting conversations started. i hope 2012 is a wonderful year for your family. 

  5. Elia Freedman

    Happy new years, Fred and avc community. Thanks for making this happen here, Fred. It is honor to be an active member.

  6. another cultural landslide

    As a noob, we thank you for your insights & this space, Fred. We’ll always be reading. And maybe commenting if we have something useful to say. 😉 Happy new year!

    1. fredwilson

      Useful is not a requirement for engaging here. Just an opinion.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Let us decide whether or not it’s useful. Be brave.  😉

      1. another cultural landslide

        Wow. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement! We shall endeavor to at least be entertaining. Or something like that…

    3. andyidsinga

      ive been blathering here for a little while now ..you’re welcome to sit here in the back of the room with me whenever you have less useful things to say 🙂 🙂

  7. aminTorres

    Happy New Years Fred.One of my new years resolution is to comment more on AVC. 🙂

  8. matthughes

    The AVC community is terrific.Thanks for the inspiration and insight.Happy New Year –

  9. Jesse Bouman

    Happy New Year everyone. This is my favorite online community, I learn more here than probably anywhere else. Thank you Fred and everyone for your insights. 

  10. Dave Pinsen

    Happy New Year everyone. 

  11. Dennis Buizert

    Thank you for providing this great community. It was my first full year here and learned a lot. I learned about startups, music, movies, marketing, investIng and more. I got the chance to meet you in a busy schedule during a busy time of the year.I will send a follow up email later during next week about the topic regarding the internship stuff wr talked about during the meeting. Thanks for that opportunity.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      You’ve been a great addition, Dennis.

      1. Dennis Buizert

        Thank you some much! Hope THIS year will increase mu involvement more. Its 2012 for me now!



    1. William Mougayar

      You beat @JLM:disqus who was 2nd most liked 🙂

      1. awaldstein

        Have a great one William!

    2. ShanaC


  13. William Mougayar

    And what’s even more special about these comments? The fact that they are implicit links between people. It’s about the conversation, but also about the relationships that are formed as a result of these conversations. AVC has given me more than I give it. This is a model online community. If they were giving Oscars, it would get one.Happy New Year to all, and may all your Startup dreams come true.

    1. fredwilson

      I’d skip the festivities. I might send a robot dinosaur to accept for me 😉

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I expect that some sort of “award system” similar to the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Clio, etc. will develop around social media.  Surprised that it hasn’t already unless I’ve missed something.

    3. Jon Olick

      Good insights there! Relationship management could be one area for disqus to pursue further.

      1. William Mougayar

        Jon, Can u pls email me ? We have a solution for that & working closely with the Disqus API. William AT Engag.io

  14. Donna Brewington White

    I love the humility, Fred.  And yes in a sense we’ve taken over which is part of the fun of this community and what makes it a community. But, like it or not, this community is built around you.You could go MIA for about a week and we’d keep it going.  Much longer than that, then I’m not so sure.It has been a great year at AVC.  Another great year.  The best may very well be yet to come.  In fact, I’d bet on it.

    1. William Mougayar

      “You could go MIA for about a week and we’d keep it going”. Very true. I think one day Fred posted something like “nothing to report”, and there were a good 60 comments following that. The problem with AVC is it’s addictive. 

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I started writing my comment when there were five comments — Fred must have just posted.  Restarted my computer and came back — there were 27 comments.  In a few minutes. 

      2. andyidsinga

        “nothing to report”, and there would be 60 comments.lol .. so true 🙂

        1. Donna Brewington White

          This actually happened!This isn’t the actual post @wmoug:disqus was referring to — but here is one when Fred wrote three sentences announcing that he was taking the “Day Off” and there were 146 comments!http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201… I love this community!P.S.  Would try to find the other one but off to see War Horse with the husband and kiddos.  How my NYE celebrations have changed. ;-)Edit: “another one” = the post William initially referenced

          1. andyidsinga

            doh … i probably read title in rss and skipped it.happy ny DBW!we’re doing our yearly tradition and having General Tso over for dinner 🙂

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks, Andy. Happy New Year to you as well. Had to look up General Tso.  🙂  Will have to add this to the list of recipes to try, along with @Tereza:disqus ‘s Paprika Chicken I keep reading about.What a well-rounded group.  You can come here to learn about betas as well as recipes.

      3. Mark Essel


  15. DonRyan

    Happy New Year Fred and to the AVC community. This forum continues to be a wealth of riches on a variety of topics. Here’s to a great 2012.

  16. Dale Allyn

    Fred, this is a great year-end post. Thank you for doing it this way. I’m not a fan a typical retrospective year-end stuff, as is done by the big networks and such, but this is charming and endearing to me. You entertain a great community here which provides knowledge, feedback and fellowship. It’s greatly enhanced by the diverse perspectives which are allowed to flourish and commingle. AVC is a special resource. Thank you, Fred, and all of the participants here. Happy 2012 to all!

  17. Donna Brewington White

    Part 2 of comment due to user generated computer failure:One of the true indications that this is a community is that saying thank you to Fred alone for a great year is not sufficient.Thank you, Fred.  Thank you AVC community.Happy New Year!

    1. laurie kalmanson


  18. mdudas

    Thanks for another great year Fred –  I love tuning into your posts and readers’ comments every morning. Your blog played a large part in causing me to move to NYC more than 4 years ago to join USV portfolio company TargetSpot and has been a constant source of insight, conversation and stellar debate since. Cheers to a great 2012!

  19. Rohan

    Making the decision to comment turned out to be THE highest impact decision I’ve made this year.It’s changed the way I look at my life online..So many great people, so many great blogs.. Thank you, guys, for accepting me and many other newbies with open arms this year. 🙂 Big hug to you all .. and looking forward to meeting you in real life. 🙂

  20. ShanaC

    Thanks all.  I’m a happier and healthier person who doesn’t only listen to classical music because of this blog.  And I am pursuing my dreams.  So big thanks to everyone :)Happy new year and see you all in 2012.  And may next year be really awesome for the people here.

    1. fredwilson

      Never stop pursuing your dreams shana

      1. ShanaC


    2. Donna Brewington White

      “And I am pursuing my dreams.”I’d like a front row seat, please.

    3. Ryan Tanaka

      “I’m a happier and healthier person who doesn’t only listen to classical music because of this blog.”Yes we need more people like you — the medium has a lot of power but it’s in need of more forward-thinking people.

      1. ShanaC

        Nah, I’d prefer there be only one me, gets confusing to have multiple mes around :-p. Seriously, though, you need to make exiting and entering a community safe. That allows you to be forward thinking- posted via http://engag.io

  21. LE

    I’d like to thank you for the time you devote to keeping on top of this blog as you have mentioned in the past that you read all the comments.By my calculations, taking an average of 30 seconds per comment (just for reading), 58,000 comments required 483 hours of your time or about 10 working weeks (58000*30/(60*60)).  Not including the time to reply, think or anything else.  And of course not including @sigmaalgebra:disqus comments. And obviously you spend much more time than that.I would also like to thank all the usual suspects who comment frequently, provide familiarity and keep the structure and cohesiveness as well as civility of the community. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that reading the blog has become quite an addiction.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t know about the 30 seconds per comment. I sometimes skim. Particularly long ones.

      1. Ryan Tanaka

        I’m always surprised at how fast you’re able to post while keeping the quality of ideas really high.  It’s hard for me to keep up with all the posts and discussions happening since they’re done so quickly and often.Speed is something I’m trying to work on — might take a while for a long-winded academic like me, though.

        1. JamesHRH

          Don ‘t measure yourself against Fred. Special input set up on him.

    2. Mark Essel

      Bonus points for bringing up Sigma’s well thought but sometimes lengthy comments ;)It’s those anomalous comments which can take me hours to fully digest and research (when time allows).

  22. Tom Labus

    Thanks Fred for creating and maintaining this wonderful community.Thanks everyone for all your great insights across a range of topics.I hope that 2012 is a great year for all.

  23. Judd Morgenstern

    Had a thought the other day that just solidified after reading this post: conversations make the content perpetually relevant. Apart from AVC, I can’t think of any sites where I revisit old posts and find new content.That kinda makes this the gift that keeps on giving :)Thanks Fred! Happy New Year all!

  24. AVCoholic

    Happy new year to everyone! May 2012 be the greatest year yet!

  25. ErikSchwartz

    Happy New Year fellow AVC’ers!

  26. LE

    Just scanned the marketing post you referred to in which Godin got the most likes. In a comment you said:”i could have done better by sending my post to seth to edit before posting”Assuming that you don’t normally do this, like Coca Cola, don’t mess with the formula.  Any imperfections and resulting community corrections and opinions are what add to the attraction of the blog. 

    1. andyidsinga

      i still remember seeing that reponse from Seth Godin and thinking to myself “ohh dang this is gonna be good” …and it was epic!

    2. fredwilson

      yup. the posts here are never edited or screened. just written and published.

  27. JLM

    Happy New Year to all!  Be safe out there.  2012 IS going  to be a great year, no doubt about it.Thanks to the salon in its entirety for a year long feast of well seasoned education, expertly marinated intelligent discussion and delicious friendship.  With just the right pinch of spice.Thanks to our host for the countless hours of framing the debate, keeping the fire going and providing such keen intimate insights into an arcane business — the brotherhood of VC.Enjoy yourself and celebrate your life tonight.Going to see Willie tonight, what the hell else?Happy New Year on Earth as it is in Texas!

    1. Aaron Klein

      Happy New Year, JLM…if there were “AVC Awards” there is no doubt that you’d get the Wit and Wisdom trophy.

      1. JLM

        Same to you Aaron.  I admire your work in Africa, that is the real deal.New Years gets here first, so I will pass it along.Happy New Year and hope that 2012 is the best ever.

        1. tyronerubin

          @aaronklein:disqus where in Africa?

          1. Rohan

            Ethiopia Tyrone 🙂

          2. tyronerubin

            cool much to North for me.But if you ever down in South Africa.let me know

      2. andyidsinga

        i second that! cant say how many times i’ve skimmed the post and then searched the comments for “jlm” ..then gone back and read the post 🙂

    2. Rohan

      You are awesome JLM! Thanks for your amazing comments! 🙂 Always look forward to your thoughtful notes! 😀

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Willie Nelson!  Whenever I have to take a road trip, his CD goes with.  Ditto to all the comments responding to you below.  You are a gem, JLM. Truly. 

  28. Mark

    And my best to all of you and yours

  29. Austin Clements

    Great success with the blog and associated community. Any resolutions for next year Fred? Gotta have goals right?

    1. fredwilson

      yup. i’m going to get back to coding.

      1. William Mougayar

        I’ll fund you… Reversing roles 🙂

      2. Mark Essel

        Languages to look at:CoffeeScript with any Javascript (client or server side)http://coffeescript.org/Ruby is fantastic for more than just Rails (a potent tool) – this year I put together a simple cross platform c/c++ project builder in less than 100 lines of code using Ruby with cmakehttp://tryruby.org/levels/1…You can’t go wrong with Python. It’s a wonderful language that has so many applications and interfaces it’s useful everywhere.http://docs.python-guide.or…start with a beginner tutorial to warm up http://www.learnpython.org/These three languages have changed the way I think. I keep trying to find ways to use them in my professional work each week (it’s tough because most of my development work is in c++ to leverage existing libraries, and matlab for quick analysis/visualization).

        1. fredwilson

          I’m thinking JavaScript. What do you know about node.js?

          1. reece

            we’re using node and my team loves it. one guy in particularhe can probably give you some solid pointers on how to get started… maybe even do some code review if you want it

          2. LE

            I’m not sure that the question can be fairly answered without knowing what your expectations are or reason for “going back to coding”.It’s obvious that you aren’t doing this so you can write production code but for some other reason.  Advice that is good for one person in one situation is not the same for another person obviously and certainly without knowing the specifics.  And people are always biased toward their particular need or preferences with this stuff.I remember asking an experienced skier years ago where I should go skiing. Their answer was something like “go where the conditions are the best”.  But as someone starting out that’s not really what you want. And even an experienced skier with a family is different than a single person for that matter as far as which resort to visit. Edit: My bias would be for you to learn a server side language essentially some LAMP type thing.

      3. LE

        A great idea by the way. More exciting, fulfilling and challenging than anything else. Provides a tremendous high. Something you can do every day and never get tired of. One bit of advice – set yourself up with two large monitors and resist the temptation to jump ahead before you learn the basics of whatever language you decide on.

        1. fredwilson


  30. reece

    such a fun community hereall stellar peoplehappy 012 all

    1. tyronerubin

      hey @reecepacheco:disqus nice to see a celebhttp://www.bloomberg.com/tv…and entrepreneur in the trencheshttp://shelby.tv/commenting here.Keep us all posted on how things are going?stunning product btw!

      1. reece

        thanks Tyrone, but i’m no celebrity…and i’ve been here (AVC) for years

        1. tyronerubin

          yip know that seen u here commenting before.was kidding around about the celeb thing

          1. reece

            figured as much 😉

        2. LE

          Reminded me of:”Does he really live here? I though he just flew in for games” from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”:http://www.youtube.com/watc

  31. Derickh

    Where can I read Andy Swam comment and reactions?

  32. bfeld

    Happy New Year to you and everyone else out here. It’s a pleasure to be a small part of the community.

    1. tyronerubin

      feld.com is my daily read along with avc.com just saying.looking forward to another amazing book in 2012, I think??sure from my many comments on your blog you know what a huge fan I am of your first two incredible bookshttp://www.amazon.com/Brad-…And I say that with the utmost seriousness.Do More Faster is that amazing high impact, with tons of short insights by brilliant people, read. Venture Deal’s is a bible for any entrepreneur.

      1. bfeld

        Thanks Tyrone! I’m working on three books right now:1. Startup Communities2. Startup Marriage3. Startup Boards

        1. tyronerubin

          Sounds exciting. Dont want to ask a rough date for these, but cant help myself. 

          1. bfeld

            Startup Communities: Getting close to having a first draft done. I wanted to be done by 12/31/11 but it didn’t happen. I’m self-publishing all books going forward so this one is targeted for Q1 (end of Feb / end of March). Startup Marriage: End of 2012Startup Boards: Sometime in 2012

          2. tyronerubin

            @bfeld:disqus thanks for the details.Your first two books understandably didnt have audio versions.Hoping you will consider the case with your next books.Thanks!

          3. bfeld

            Actually, Venture Deals should have one now and I’m pretty sure Do More Faster will soon. I don’t have control over that for these (it’s in Wiley – the publisher’s – hands) and was one of my frustrations. So yes – there will be audio versions!

          4. Mark Essel

            Glad to see your expertise make into long form. Will make it easier for folks to dig into specific topics with great detail.

          5. bfeld

            Thanks – the long form books are a lot of work, but I really love writing so it’s fun.

          6. tyronerubin

            @bfeld:disqus yip Venture Deal’s does.What a surprise, had kinda given up on an audiobook, busy downloading my copy now.http://www.audible.com/pd/r…Cant wait for the Do More Faster one.and the 3 next books you have lined up of course.Thanks!

          7. bfeld


        2. William Mougayar

          That’s a great line-up Brad. Have you chosen an e-book platform and will it be free or paid? 

  33. Nick Grossman

    Happy new year all.  As a quieter person among the community here, it’s worth saying that reading this blog and connecting w/ the community in the comments (I didn’t realize you all were here for the first 5 years or so, as I was reading rss on the subway) is pretty much the first thing I do every day.  Thank you all for making this a really great place to hang out.  See you in 2012.

  34. Ryan Tanaka

    I jumped in just a few months ago but was surprised to see the diversity in opinions here, which made me want to keep up with the discussions happening.  (Since becoming interested in the latter, I’ve been having trouble finding people who want to talk about music and entrepreneurship at the same time, unfortunately.)  Hope you’ll continue to keep it up.Happy new years!

  35. David Semeria

    My very best wishes to Fred and all my other friends here. Here’s hoping 2012 delivers big time…

    1. awaldstein

      Have a great new year’s David!2012 will be stellar.

      1. David Semeria

        Let’s make the tables bounce, as the Italians say..

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Those Italians sure know how to say things.

  36. andyidsinga

    awesome year end post Fred!Best to to everyone in 2012!Happy new year!ps: call a cab / be a designated driver / walk / go by dog sled / drink lots of water / careful with the carbs / may the force be with you / don’t be hosers / be hosers

  37. Aaron Klein

    What an amazing year with amazing people.The power of community to make ideas better, to drive learning, to broaden our perspectives is simply unparalleled.And few communities are better than AVC at doing that across every spectrum of tech.Happy New Year, everyone! Stay hungry, stay foolish.

    1. awaldstein

      Enjoy and best of luck in the new year Aaron!

  38. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    I haven’t been a member of the AVC community all that long, but I do want to thank all of you the opportunity to share…Tonight (like right NOW) I am having a social gathering (quite diverse) and I have to thank Arnold Waldstein for his blog because I used his expert opinion for putting together our wines this evening, and I also have to thank Tereza and Gotham Gal for the recipe for Paprika Chicken, which is one of the items being served this evening….(I apologize for not providing links but I do not have a clue how to do that!)I am hosting a record playing social event, where everyone who has vinyl albums is bringing their favorite one and I started off with my salute to NYC with Joe Jackson, Night and Day from 1982.My wife wouldn’t let me have incense, candles, lava lamps, and black light posters but I hope to steer the conversation to a discussion of “old vs new” in relation to the internet and social media, as I have an equal number of 20 somethings and 50 somethings…..I think vinyl records are a great way to start the conversation…..now, back to the party!Happy New Years! 

    1. William Mougayar

      I hope you had a good celebration Carl. It was nice meeting you over here. Happy New year!

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Happy New Years to you William and everyone else at AVC!Within this community this will sound absurd, but I got to meet, in the flesh, my first SV start up techie!I have neighbors who are young college professors and they moved here last year from California and we worked together on the Christmas project at which time they mentioned that they had family coming to visit for New Years and they wanted to know where they should take them to celebrate; so I said, “Come to my house!”Had to do some real quick thinking because I normally don’t celebrate New Years (What? Have a party to celebrate changing calendars?)It was really awesome to get the perspective of various demographics on topics such as community, social media, and what they think of the internet. I now have a clearer grasp of exactly what a community built around a niche product needs to encompass….Tereza’s Paprika Chicken is just out of this world and if Arnold ever recommends a wine buy it because it will be awesome!This afternoon the SV couple get to feast on a mish mash of southern New Years traditions and the education will continue….I believe that we saw the hurdling of the “great divide”: I think some older small business owners came away with a better understanding of social media and the concept of using communities to expand their business and I think I sold at least three younger couples on the joy of 2 Channel stereo and vinyl records…..The conversation truly gave new meaning to the concept of welcoming in the New Year!

        1. William Mougayar

          That’s a great story. Thanks a lot for sharing. I have yet to try Tereza’s Paprika Chicken recipe, but have it on my new year resolutions list 🙂 Cheers!

        2. Mark Essel

          Epic new years party Carl, fantastic way to kick off the calendar swap.

  39. Jon Olick

    I believe what Andy Swan said is called “Trolling” 🙂

    1. Aaron Klein

      Disagree. Firmly.Which is what makes this such a great community. 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      it would be trolling if he hadn’t taken the time to build credibility with this community

  40. Rayhan Rafiq Omar

    Happy New Year Fred and all!

  41. daryn

    Happy New Year to you, Fred, and to all of the AVC community!Hope to see you all in 2012.

  42. John Revay

    It is great that you took the time to publish stats (# of visit, comments etc.) – If you have quick access to 2010 amounts – it might be worth a quick edit showing comparisons.Side Note – ad space – I would think given the demographics of the AVC community base…and frequency of visits – I think you could generate some cash and donate to your favorite charity  ( I spent some time looking through the archives for 2010 stats…I did not quickly see a corresponding post from 12/31/10…I did read a few posts about widget > and donating ad revenue to charity – worth considering again?  No need to reply

  43. JamesHRH

    AVC a stimulating addition to my working life in 2011.Health, Family Happiness & Work You Love are my New Years Wishes to AVCers one & all.Barkeep – well played. Have one on my tab.

  44. Jan Schultink

    Happy New Year to all from Tel Aviv (January 1st is a regular work day here, still have to get used to it…)

  45. Tracey Jackson

    Happy New Year Fred ~ while I’m not an active member, I am learning a lot from you and your gang.Your skills and alacrity for interaction with your members are a big part of what makes this such a vibrant site!

    1. William Mougayar

      Very much so. You hit the nail on the head. That’s a very important factor.

  46. Emeri Gent [Em]

    I’d say that is a well deserved recognition of what the AVC community has achieved.  Not that I am particularly interactive member of it, but when I perchance do drop in, I do find from a purely external perspective, that it has really has developed its own character and that what a community is, a coming together of people that make a place.  A great community always contains a core of regulars who bring familiarity to the place and fresh injection of new faces that ensure that the flow of thought here never becomes one dimensional or rigid.  That itself says a lot in terms of the core of this community.I don’t think Fred Wilson is being modest here about his own contributions, it takes two to tango, so I can well see why he should be proud of the daily assembly of great minds and the web of relationships which intersect people who maintain blogs of their own.  So may 2012 be kind, generous and fruitful and hats off to the people who make AVC what it is – as Fred rightly says – YOU.[Em]

    1. Mark Essel

      Thanks for enriching the pages here with your perspective Em. I don’t get a chance to converse with you often enough now that I’ve become a irregular blogger :().

      1. Emeri Gent [Em]

        My regards to you Mark also.  I used to think in terms of the universe but as I listen to quantum physicists, I am quite fascinated with some of their ideas about living in a multiverse.  That makes me wonder whether there is a difference between a universal attitude and a multiverse attitude.Today in Web 2.0 is the development of a universal conversation, but it is seemingly limited to conversations as we wish to know them or follow a pattern that forms a virtual governance.  U2 have a song called “Whose going to ride your wild horses?” – and that is a really good personally informing question, because there is a clear answer.  No one should.Web 3.0 is about semantic technology and the importance of semantics isn’t the technology but semantics itself, which means the study of meaning.  If relevancy dictates that a Web 2.0 approach is the shared mannerism, that is a collective choice, but I have the want to anticipate what the next generation of unknown technologies will enable us to do and try adopt a mindset relevant to that emerging future.In mannerisms we can be the product of todays virtual market, but in meaning we can be whatever we want to be, with the caveat that this is a maverick approach and so long as we don’t lose our own mind and sense of wholeness on the way.  I think the quickest way that I can think of personally lose my mind is to simply follow what others do.  IMHO the future I embrace is not about a road less traveled, this future is a journey on a pathless discovery.  So as 2012 approaches, I hope above all hopes that I maintain the ability to both seek meaning and sidestep mannerism.  A multiverse has no center, it is above all, a different type of appreciation and that appreciation is informed by accepting the unknown.  Accepting that the unknown does not mean we can run roughshod on the meaning of humanity.  It is not a way, so we all are adults and not children of a virtual world, and we each need to find what moves us and we each need to find our own way.  If that “own way” is collective, then there is nothing wrong with seeking safety in numbers, but it is wrong if it should ever extinguish the individual.If I write something and it is in a book, then I either need to read the book and stop writing or I need to find the book as to what I am thinking, either way I am convinced that there is nothing that I think that won’t be found somewhere else or that has not been done before, and that in part is what the Book of Ecclesiastes is all about.  The other part of it is what we believe in.  All I think we can do is reproduce our better angel in the name of learning and converse in the name of awareness.When we gain a following, it is a universe, when we are free it is a multiverse – that the distinction is one that I make and since quantum physicists do not even make such a distinction, it is mainly this virtual chutzpah that spurs me on. :-)[Em]

        1. Mark Essel

          Destiny or autonomy?

          1. the thoughtspaces

            Mark Essel, that is indeed a fantastic question, though I would prefer it to be rhetorical i.e. “autonomy and destiny?” because they are related to each other, for the “OR” stands in relation to “Black OR White”, but the “AND” has an infinitely more powerful yield. Your question isn’t black or white.This is a question that will be answered through our practice, that is why it is a personal question that should guide our DNA, rather than an outward question which simply adds one more preoccupation for our mind.  In other words, IMHO this self-directed rhetorical question should govern how we live our lives.  Steve Jobs best answered the destiny question when in his commencement speech he spoke of connecting the dots backwards.  The mere fact that we have been given this facility to ponder, think, question, revise, create, order and reorder, that is, for me, sufficient autonomy – and in my opinion that is more than enough freedom than we humans deserve.   The moment we are not satisfied with this autonomy, we play G-d with the universe and the universe always has the last laugh, even the molecules and atoms are laughing at such arrogance when we as mankind get ahead of ourselves.The only way I can look at the destiny and autonomy question is to reinforce a basic realization about the bookends of existence.  When we are born we are born with an incompetence of life – then we start breathing, eating, poopin’ and crying and the quest for autonomy begins.  Then as human beings we form this living self which we can best call our character, then destiny forms this quest for autonomy; and destiny is the shaping of this character for better or for worse.  Then we die.  We are therefore born with an incompetence of life and we die with an incompetence of death.  In between there is all that other stuff.None of us escape that destiny, but most of us can shape the stories, myths, legends and legacies of those that have come before us, and then allow that to alter the course of destiny.  Is our destiny collective ruination?  Is our destiny a brand new awakening of the human spirit?  No single course determines that destiny until we, as Jobs so wisely said, connect the dots backwards.  In that regard it is a wonderful question to ask of oneself through the daily set of breaths we take that form each new day – it is an unfinished work of our own life, which is for the most part a contribution to tomorrow.  My prescribed autonomy is simple to elucidate, it is to enjoy this given life and make the most of it.  That form of autonomy will at the least inform my destiny (whatever that is), then one day as wrinkly old farts, we might look back on it all and chart the course we led – and if we do at best we are a couple of lucky of buggers, who made it from start, all the way to an honourable finish.Now, my destiny is not to become a philosopher but to use whatever sembelance of grace, virtue and love that I have been given to shape a life that was meaningful.  Meaning I therefore propose is the AND between the rhetorical question “autonomy AND destiny?” – but for the question “Destiny or Autonomy” – why split it, why divide this world further – the only natural division there is, is the one in our cells as they divided to form our life – but once it is formed, it is what we multiply in our life that counts, not what we divide.My toast Mark, to autonomy AND destiny – may it never become destiny or autonomy :-)RegardsM.

          2. Mark Essel

            In carefully retracing your original comment on multiverses and universes, I think a more appropriate remark, and question would be “Gravity or Autonomy?”OR connects two entities and is significant to me because it implies a decision and preference (even in blended choices). AND presumes unlimited opportunity, which sadly none of us have or more superficial experiences with several alternatives. We must make choices, although those decisions may very well include a blending of possibilities.Please pardon any implication that you should lean either towards Destiny or Autonomy :). My first impression from reading your comment was that question.

          3. Emeri Gent [Em]

            I must as it happens, deal with the OR question of Destiny, if only because it leaves an unfilled space in the wall of my thoughts. There are plenty of people who will for one or another reason ignore or not fulfill their destiny.  In most cases I would say they may have done so for the simple reason of abandoning autonomy.  If you have ever seen the No Excuses presentation on PBS by Wayne Dyer, you may witness the “excuse” as the predominate surrender of autonomy.What I have not addressed in my own life is where autonomy exists within it.  I am not addressing here meat and bones autonomy that is purely an inward decay of existence lived for lesser reasons.  That form of autonomy is the autonomy of selfishness and self-seeking.I would rather look at my own existence and ask myself what are the four autonomous regions that I should work with.  I am sure there are a myriad number of autonomous regions in one’s life that one can be autonomous about, but I have picked four for my own personal edification :Autonomy of Thought (leading to Freedom)Autonomy of Emergence (leading to Appreciation)Autonomy of Creation (leading to Relationship)Autonomy of Environment (leading to Transformation)THOUGHTAutonomy of thought is not freedom of thought but freedom from thought.  That is why Viktor Ovurmind was created. I must achieve “Victory Over Mind” (the v.o.M. here is my mind not anyone else’s).  Will I spend the rest of my life drowning in ideas and thoughts?EMERGENCEAutonomy of emergence is my capacity to be open to surprise and delight.  That is why Emeri Gent was created.  I must learn how to emerge in such capacity for self-organizing discovery.  CREATIONAutonomy of creation is the rediscovery of my child-like nature, to be a witness to the relationship people have with their passions, and how I should appreciate that.  That wasn’t the origins of Mark Zorro but creative intent has made it so.ENVIRONMENTAutonomy of Environment recognizes that I do not sit in isolation to physical and practical realities.  These include the capacity to transform with non-monetary rewards, as well acknowledging the realities of resource.  “Rupy Yuan” is a neat way of describing that.I quite like this adaptation of the ideas I play for today, especially that in so doing I created the acronym F.A.R.T.  (see above).Having contemplated all this, is there a destiny to any of it.  That depends on the scale of destiny and the strength of realizable vision.  For my mother it is enough that her destiny is to create a great home.  She achieved that destiny – at any point, for any reason, it could have all disappeared in a moment, but it survived, it was realized.  All such atoms of similiar destiny are the foundation stone of civilization.  Some of us are capable of scaling destiny at the level of global reach and realization.  To each person I then assume, destiny is accorded to their realized purpose and/or potential.It is a bit foolish of talking about unrealized destiny, other than it seems we clear that we all have the capacity to realize it in the grand scheme of things, and lose it in the myriad little and meaningless things that are destined to remain little and meaningless things.  I have no idea about destiny, but I can’t see destiny in absence of an autonomous region – regions that are of our capability, not as geography.I think I am done now or at least have gone as far as I personally want to regarding this marvelous idea of relating autonomy with destiny. At least it inspired me to explore this . . .[Em]

          4. Mark Essel

            Bookmarking this and compass thinker comments for careful reading time.

          5. Mark Essel

            Destiny allows a myriad of choice in its realization. Automomy and excuses are at odds with each other. These are important morsels of conditional knowledge for me.And F.A.R.T. brings new meaning to the explorative badges you wear. Who would have thought such a serious topic could be so fun. This is by far the best fart joke I have ever read. Do you have a shareable page where each of your avatars current purposes are described. I’ve seen them, but it helps to add context when I see a particular voice.

      2. Emeri Gent [Em]

        Re: “Do you have a shareable page where each of your avatars current purposes are described. I’ve seen them, but it helps to add context when I see a particular voice.”I will send you an email.  I have once tried a shareable page online but it does not really serve me well, since it is extremely limiting to put a definition around an emergent process.  Will discuss with you offline. Totally, totally agree with you however on the “fun” part :-)RegardsM.

  47. tyronerubin

    thanks and all the best to everyone. Good people make the world a better place.And on a daily basis feel the goodness in this community.

  48. mikenolan99

    Happy new year! …but these early morning posts are killing us folks west of the Mississippi – we have to wake up pretty early to get into the first 100 comments!

  49. Eugenio Duarte

    Wow!Great numbers.Fred, I discovered your blog in 2011. I have learned a lot from you. I am Internet entrepreneur doing business in Latin America and, your insights have help me to move forward faster.Thank you

  50. maverickny

    A very happy new year to you Fred and everyone in the AVC community.I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a great year – keep up the good work!

  51. Brandon Marker

    Cheers. I am glad to start being more of a part of this community. It is something special and almost intimidating to start breaking into–but very worth it. You have a special blog here.

  52. William Mougayar

    I wanted to say something to all those who are new or don’t leave many comments here because they might feel intimidated by the fact that on any given day the threads are often dominated by regulars. We were all newbies at some point. And you don’t have to be smarter than the next commenter. We all say dumb, boring things all of time in addition to some good stuff. If you think you’re benefiting by reading the post & comments- you’ll benefit x100 more once you start engaging in conversations with other commenters and end-up developing real relationships out of these conversations. Believe me, it works. We’re all a bunch of nice people here.

    1. Mark Essel

      And William’s a perfect example of thoughtful and intelligent folks who contribute to making AVC a marvelous place to be.

      1. William Mougayar

        Hey Mark & Michele…Happy New Year to both of you! It’s been great knowing you. 

    2. Ruth BT

      Thanks William – and after 2 years reading everyday I’d believe that!Thank you to all of you for the passion and energy you bring  – I have learnt so much from this community. Sometimes I feel as if I live an another planet  – being on the bottom of the world in a small town doing my Mom thing and then sometimes I’m at the table wanting to butt in and say my bit.My resolution for 2012? To Engage.May 2012 be brilliant for you all. Thanks to Fred for providing the platform!

      1. leigh

        i remember being really self-conscious the first time i posted — now my goal is to be MORE self-conscious 😉

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Leigh!  There you are!  Happy New Year!

          1. leigh

            Thanks D… You too!!!! 🙂

        2. William Mougayar

          Where have you been? Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!

          1. leigh

            hey — In Asia visiting my brother for 3 weeks. Very sketchy Internet access. I have no idea how he runs a business here. Would drive me nuts (is driving me nuts). But place is too incredible and it’s fun going around with him bc he’s lived here for 25 yrs 🙂

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Hi Ruth — Welcome to the commenting realm — it is a different dimension of AVC.What first drew you to AVC?  What continues to draw you?

        1. Ruth BT

          Hi Donna, I love the topics that come up here. MBA Mondays got me first but then I just kinda got sucked in! I love using technology to make businesses more efficient and reading AVC has certainly broadened my perspective. Every day I learn new stuff here that I can actually use.Honestly without sounding too corny, it was also you! I enjoyed reading your comments as you seemed to also come from a slightly different place and have a thoughtful point of view.In response to Leigh below – yes – soooo self conscious but that is a good thing!

          1. Donna Brewington White

            I know what you mean, Ruth, about your perspective being broadened. I feel as though my thinking has been rewired in some ways from my time spent at AVC. Technology has become familiar terrain and of course I love the community.Also, I am completely floored by your words about my comments. Thank you for sharing this with me. Many times I have had to take a deep breath before hitting that submit comment button.See you around.

  53. FlavioGomes

    This place is one of my favorites. Happy new year

  54. skysurfer172

    Now that the late night haze has lifted, I’ll say Happy New Year to all of AVC from a daily reader, infrequent commenter and someone who tries to leverage the bright, insightful and most excellent thought-provoking content this online destination provides into his life and work on a daily basis.A happy, healthy and profitable 2012 to all!

  55. Mark Essel

    Each year at AVC has been my best year yet. Let’s keep that streak going into 2012 and beyond.My curiosity is rewarded with each visit, and as much as I learn I’m continually humbled by the intelligence, wisdom and wit I encounter here daily. I haven’t had as much time as I had in years past to read all the comments, but I make sure to sift through the comments deeply a couple of times a week to stay connected to what’s happening within AVC, the super organism.Happy New Year too all my friends here, old and new!

  56. LE

    I just created a linkedin group for any AVC readers interested (surprised to find that there wasn’t one already).http://www.linkedin.com/gro…If the link doesn’t work you can search “avc.com” under groups in the upper right hand corner when logged into linkedin.

    1. Mark Essel

      This will come in handy, goes well with AVC twitter lists and Google+ circles.Shana has a twitter list: http://twitter.com/#!/shana…I have a few folks on a Google+ circle but it by no means complete.

  57. RichardF

    Happy new year to everyone here.I wish you all health and happiness for 2012.

  58. William Mougayar

    Is there a bulk “Like” feature? 

  59. tgodin

    Happy New Year.   I am a regular reader but infrequent commenter.  However, the community certainly made a positive impact on my life in 2011.   Thanks to JLM and Donna for steering me to two books that I would not have read otherwise.  Also, had a great chat with Tereza when she was visiting DC.  

  60. Otto

    Happy New Year everyone, including those of you whose feathers I ruffled the other day. AVC is my favorite blog because the community is rock star and Fred is very punk rock. If I could send you all a case of my favorite Oregon craft beer, I would.

    1. fredwilson

      oooh, such a compliment. thank you.

  61. Ro Gupta

    What was also great to see about the AVC community last year was that it finished strong, even during holiday months. Overall monthly Disqus activity and activity per person was about 75% higher in the last quarter vs. the first three quarters of 2011.Btw, for anyone interested in the most active topics across all of Disqus in 2011, check out: http://blog.disqus.com/post….

  62. Tom_Nocera

    Wishing you an especially joyful 2012.

  63. Yule Heibel

    Wow…! Congrats, Fred and all the AVC regulars – and Happy New Year 2012!

  64. K_Berger

    Thanks Fred and everyone else.  Wishing everyone success and happiness in 2012.

  65. panterosa,

    AVC is a place where in equal measure there are high standards, frank discussions, intense curiosity, balanced with tolerance and openness, warmth and support. It is the best of school and the best of family in a self emergent system which continues evolution.Thanks Fred for keeping the tone just right, even when you are annoyed, because that tone has drawn such interesting people. I had so much fun meeting the gamut of AVCers this year and hope for more face time as well as time here. Happy New Year.

  66. Kevin Drost

    so glad I found this blog in 2011, thanks for all the insight Fred and the AVC community

  67. Aruni S. Gunasegaram

    Happy New Year to you too Fred and the AVC blog community.  Although I haven’t had the opportunity to comment much this past year, I have read most of your posts.  Here’s to a great new year of creativity, entrepreneurship, and building great companies that empower people internally & externally.

  68. Volnado

    This is the #1 Collective Intelligence Platform in the world for Tech Entrepreneurship. Congrats to Fred and all the contributors. Now can we somehow fix it so if you are a subscriber you get an email right when Fred posts something? I often feel left behind because I mostly come to the site from the emails I get and I just wish they were in real time (and bet there are probably a few others in same boat) because often by the time I get there I have to play catch up with hours of prior posts from other contributors.

    1. fredwilson

      this is coming. it should have happened already. i dropped the ball.

  69. Cam MacRae

    Happy New Year all!(figured I’d come out of vacation exile for a couple of minutes, see ya next week.)

  70. metairiehomesforsale

    avc has made my life so much better! happy new year to everyone! looking forward to this year!

  71. awaldstein

    Back at ya Charlie.Have a great one!

  72. Donna Brewington White

    Charlie, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to meet you as well!  The time was just too short.

  73. ShanaC

    same Charlie – may this upcoming year be a great one for you!!!