Our very own Kid Mercury has built a learning community (and game) called Fredsquare. The following is a guest post he has written to introduce all of you to it. I hope you’ll visit Fredsquare, play the game, and learn a bit about startups too.

I am sure the Kid will love to get your feedback on Fredsquare in the comments too.


FredSquare is an application I’ve hacked together for the AVC community. Its mission statement is to help startups learn. Here’s how it works:

  • Articles and videos from around the web that help startups learn are imported the site.
  • Comments on AVC tagged #fs are also imported. If you’re leaving a comment that you think helps advance the FredSquare mission – help startups learn – please feel free to tag it #fs.
  • Imported content, #fs tagged comments, and original content contributed by FredSquare members is curated and organized to create FredSquare University. I like to think of it as “Wikipedia for startups”: an encyclopedia-style reference source that we can use to continue learning, so that we can build the best startups possible.
  • Those with the Bouncer Badge are responsible for curating content and building FredSquare University. (Currently this is just me, though hopefully we can grow to more Bouncers in time when it is warranted). The more content of yours that Bouncers add to our University, the more Badges you’ll earn. Each Badge is assigned a numerical value, and the sum of your Badges is your FredScore. Boosting your FredScore will unlock privileges as our game develops (right to launch your own storefront and accept FredBucks, discounts on other stores, etc – but all that comes later, once the community has some more engagement).
  • While building an educational resource is the paramount goal, effectively serving our mission goes beyond creating an encyclopedia – for learning is an interactive endeavor, and we humans tend to learn most by doing. And so, the game mechanics of FredSquare also reward founders for building their startup. Here are some Badges founders can earn for engaging in activities that most startups need to do to as part of their path towards sustainable success:

  • Slide Deck (for publishing a slide deck)
  • Video Pitch (for creating a video pitch)
  • Engaged Users (for reaching 10,000+ authentic registered members)
  • Disruptive Strategy (for having a strategy that fits the framework of disruptive theory
  • Click here for a full list of badges.

    Remember that earning Badges boosts one’s FredScore. As our game develops, I’d like for FredScore to serve as a reputation metric of sorts. I hope that it can be used to identify startups getting traction that may be worthy of investment – either via crowdsourcing, should the legislative environment allow that, or by bringing qualified startups to the attention of accredited investors – like Fred. I believe that FredScore, in conjunction with private groups and discussion forums on FredSquare, will provide us with a richer environment for startups to network with each other — and thus to learn how to build great startups by doing the work involved.   

    Money, Governance, and Copyright

    The creation and management of FredSquare is part of my larger objective of building learning-centric communities with game mechanics for blog stars that will include a P2P economy (i.e. users buy and sell with each other using Fredbucks – sellers must have a high enough FredScore). InformedTrades is a more developed prototype if you are looking for another example. Anyway, as game operator, I will impose a tax on all transactions once our economy develops, and will retain a portion of revenue via virtual goods and affiliate marketing. The goal is to share the majority of revenue with the community via FredBucks (which, in time, will be able to redeemed for a variety services that help startups grow – i.e. hosting, video production, web design, outsourced software development, etc), as well as with Fred’s favorite charity, Donor’s Choose. At present there are just banners on FredSquare, and 100% of all banner revenue is being donated to Donor’s Choose. A large percentage of virtual gift revenue will be donated to Donor’s Choose as well.

    Fred appears to be down with giving me leeway to run this. But while I’m running things, if Fred tells me to do or not do something, I will obey, so long as the order does not violate any law imposed by the US Federal government or the state of Florida, USA. The goal is certainly to channel the brand of Fred and the spirit he has engendered here. I find it extremely unlikely this will be a cause for concern but I do find it worthwhile to clarify as much as possible at the outset.  

    All original content published on FredSquare is CC-BY licensed. Consistent with the spirit of Fred, FredSquare operates on that side of the business model debate pertaining to copyright, under the belief that such a policy will generate the most opportunity for all. If you do not find this agreeable, publishing original content on FredSquare or tagging your comments on AVC with #fs may not be for you.  

    Anyway, the first step is to build the community and get an economy going, then we can all argue about sharing money later. 🙂

    By now the time has come for me to end this introduction to FredSquare, and for you to make a choice: you can ignore this blog post and tell yourself that there is no hope for society; government sucks, corporations suck, the economy sucks, most startups fail, your mom doesn’t love you, etc. Or you can enlist as a citizen of FredSquare, share your knowledge and build your startup, and be a part of creating the startup utopia that sets us free.      

    #Games#hacking education#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

    Comments (Archived):

    1. David Semeria

      I knew it! Fredsquare was an inside job:-)Big props for this Kiddo, and the very best of luck!

    2. Rohan

      Where is 9/11 was an inside job???Was this kidmercury or some imposter?

      1. kidmercury

        you mentioned it first — so i did my job! 🙂 eventually maybe i will add a course on political history to fredsquare university, although i have to think of the right angle, so that i can be sure it is related to building a startup rather than just some political rantings…..

        1. Alex Murphy

          You could put into the category of sh*t you have to watch out for from the Govt.  On a serious note though, you may consider creating different nodes / categories / portals etc.  One such area would be “Politics, Govt, and your Start up.”  Recently proposed legislation on SOPA and Protect IP would be natural topics here.  Patent law as well.  World currency too. 😉

          1. kidmercury

            ah good idea — studying the need to protect one’s self from govt, how govt can interfere. that would be worthwhile i think!definitely will organize things better as more courses are added…..the topics you mentioned certainly need to be included  

            1. Alex Murphy

              A big need is to bring in how gov’t can help too.  Its not perfect, and it can a lot of time, but the Gov’t gives out grants all the time.  If you are into education or healthcare as an example, there is a lot of money out there.

            2. kidmercury

              that’s very true! i focus a lot on the energy sector these days and that is one area where government really is needed, i think. anywhere where there are environmental concerns you have a commons type scenario which is a great place for government to legitimately come in and help create a deal that advances society as a whole (i.e. helps us find the best way to share our collective environment). #fs

    3. Rohan

      Very interesting..I’d appreciate a few calls to action. Practically.. what are we supposed to do? 1. Tag any start up learning comments with #fs 2. Submit any interesting articles related to start up learning?A simple list of next steps would help me greatly. Great work, kid! And all the best with this! :)Nice to see AVC giving rise to a whole start up ecosystem –, Fredsquare etc 🙂

    4. Rohan

      My previous comment disappeared..–So, the next steps are – 1. Sign up..2. Submit any comments by adding the #tag3. Submit any videos/articles on the web(and earn badges etc?)Or is there a lot more?Good job, Kid! Alll the best!

      1. William Mougayar

        I approved it now. It went to spam by error.

      2. kidmercury

        you can also setup your own blog, and use it to share your startup wisdom or document your startup journey (if you are a founder) by earning badges — so there is an opportunity for founders to publicize their startup as well 

        1. Rohan

          Hmm. I’m still not fully clear. I’ll send you an email to get signed up anyway.. and let’s see if I get clear gradually..

    5. awaldstein

      Congrats Kid! Best of luck with this. An inspired idea.avc has always been an incubator of ideas and products and friendships. Productizing the conversations themselves into contextual chunks of shareable knowledge is a bold leap that feels right.#fs

    6. Ela Madej

      Haha, I don’t love the design but I love the name 😉 Maybe our designer could help make it prettier IF it does turn out that people do find value in it will start using it? Let me know @KidMercury:disqus  @FredWilson:disqus. In such case I’ll be happy to contribute!One piece of feedback  – the explanation is far too long for me to read right now, maybe you should work on simplifying the copy / message?  🙂 But absolutely <3 the name!

      1. Rohan

        Agree on the explanation. I’m also looking for the next steps.. 

      2. kidmercury

        yes, i knew the explanation would be too verbose — i hope the graphic helps? basically people share content to build a “wikipedia for startups” and you get badges and fredbucks, which can be used to buy stuff to build your startup. yes i know the design sucks…..much of the underlying code sucks too…..hopefully it is good enough? definitely we can look to hire from within the community, and will even pay designers/developers with honest money fredbucks like instead of the funny money used in the real world…..

        1. Ela Madej

          Right, makes sense! Count me in when you’re ready for redesign 🙂 If I happen not to hear about it from the app / community itself, feel free to send me a reminder at [email protected] (same with development –  ruby / rails / frontend). Good luck!

        2. Alex Murphy

          Seems to me that the point of version 1 should not be about pretty or to have great code; rather it is to see if people give a shit.  Answer = they do.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        I’m with you on the name.  Freaking brilliant.It’s so Kid, for one.  MVP!P = personality (thanks to @fakegrimlock:disqus )

    7. John Revay

      Hi Kid & Fred,I will be sure to check out the Fred2 Thank you for doing this.  I recently started to listen to MBA mondays on sound cloud (I wish fred narrated these him self vs the hired voice talent ….) There is a lot of great content squirreled away on avc…I was thinking of suggesting to Fred that he think about adding a resource type tab on the AVC site where he (or others) could post tools for start-ups similar to the library on Y Combinator – they list good sample legal docs, term sheets etc. my sense is that it would be great if fred would post sample “usv approved” docs if he has not already – I have not search the avc archives on this yet.Another type of resource might be a way for people to post if they need help on a project re: naming a company, questions about architecture/stack, or other type of assistance.But as I type this – what I am suggesting might be getting away from what fred whats the avc site to accomplish re: “musings of a VC in NYC”Kid – good luck I will be certain to check out the site & thank you for doing this.

      1. fredwilson

        i can’t do the voice on the audio MBA Mondays. it’s too big of a time commitment for me.

        1. John Revay

          Hi @fredwilson,Too bad you can’t do the voice on MBA Monday, I have found some youtube recordings of you (NYU Poly, NYC Lean Startup meetup, few others), and so I tend to visualize/try hearing your voice as I listen to the MBA Monday Series. So far there seems to have been two voices…and both seem to have a British accent. It is funny the way they pronounce or say certain terms re; “entrepreneur” or when they read amounts you wrote w/ #K re; 25K – they say 25K vs. just saying “twenty five thousand”Re: Not having enough time to do the voice – (I don’t mean to challenge you on this as I very much appreciate the time you already invest in the blog- thank you) …but it seems to me that doing your own recordings would be in –line , natural progression from self publishing on the web re: blog. I’m not suggesting that weekly you go to a professional recording studio and do the recording …but rather just buy a good quality usb mic something like a $99/ blue snowball, and hit the soundcloud red RECORD button. You can ad lib from the original post as you see fit. – Just a thought – I will continue to read the series each Monday…and get caught-up on the archives via sound cloud as I work out stationary bike on trainer.Minor feedback on soundcloud – I listen to these recordings on a iphone, and I have yet to find a way to que all of the posts in order so that you can listen to them in the order that they were published- as you know some of the weekly topics are part of broader topics that span multiple weeks or build on prior week’s post. It seems like on sound cloud they get grouped in a certain order so I find myself always fast forwarder >> or << to get to the proper post.Thanks for doing these – these are very informative even on topics that I already know or show know.- posted via

    8. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Kid, I could just give you a big ol’ hug!  Just the other day referred to my thought of technology making work and  jobs obsolete and he referred to that as a “Utopian Fantasy”Then you create a way for people to earn “Fredbucks” by sharing information!  I can’t wait till the  titans of tech begin playing your “Start Up Ville”  to earn coins.You need to add credit card and paypal to your game because it won’t be long till a bunch from Facebook will be competing with bunch from Google to “win” at “Startup Ville”It won’t be long before your game can generate enough income to morph into a VC fund!I also want to let you know that you sealed the deal in regards to my thoughts of creating a “community” of big and tall folks to sell t shirts too.  By gamifying the community, by rewarding sharing, you create the ideal win win situation.  Traction comes when people share to earn badges…..

      1. kidmercury

        thanks — glad we share the same vision! that is one of the things i find most exciting about this, i really think it can help startups get funded and save money, which benefits startups at the seed round the most; this helps startups get going and also gives investors like fred a wider pool to draw from. buying fredbucks is coming soon, although i will seed the economy by giving out fredbucks at first, and allowing them to be redeemed in the fredstore for products/services to help you build your startup. and of course all the VC shirts that always come up in discussions here — fredwear! 

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          I have watched “the web” from a manufacturer’s/ecommerce perspective for 15 years and I studied, tested and experimented; all of which were nothing more than doing what everyone else was doing.The reality is that you have to figure out the direction of where things are headed and get their first.People want to play games, they want to be rewarded and recognized, they want to be a part of something.Once you figure that out, then you realize that social media, community, and gamification are the future of ecommerce.Tie the virtual community with the real, via meetups and pop up shops and all of the sudden you are no longer in a dog eat dog world but rather in a world of your own…Thanks to all the experimentation and “playing” I have done over the years I know what all my numbers are. The only question mark, is the fact that by creating/engaging an audience and getting them to participate, how much return can I expect from suggestive/impulse buys and the return on going to a consumer centric model.When you know that 87% of your consumers buy from you again, and they purchase on average 12 blank shirts a year (purchasing on average 2 times a year) the idea of creating your own social media platform that involves community becomes a really viable idea.

        2. Rohan

          #fred-overdose man…:)

        3. Bruce Wayne

          Very interesting project…We are doing some things like this here but will be pushing things a bit further….Our primary goal is to return value (Including Monetary Value) to the Community and to the Common Wealth. The app is in an alpha but the current features and services are usable. We are cleaning up and adding new things on a daily basis. 

      2. andyswan

        I am fully aware that technology destroys individual jobs as well as creates new ones.  I did not call that Utopian Fantasy, I called Mark’s proposed society Utopian Fantasy.What I did was ask you exactly what kind of economic thinking we SHOULD be using in order to save the economy as you alluded to in your comment.I got no response.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Here’s something to think about on that topic: We could use an industrial policy, the goal of which is to attract and retain heavy industry to the US. Not a panacea, but the alternative hasn’t worked well in terms of creating jobs. Two reasons why Carl (and others) are too quick to buy into the notion of a “post-industrial” economy:1) It’s not true. We’re still dependent on heavy industry. The question is where that industry, and it’s jobs, will be.  2) Attempts to replace industrial jobs with those in software, health care, etc., haven’t worked too well. To illustrate that, consider what seems to be cited as the best example for this model, Pittsburgh. Recently, the FT had an article about Pittsburgh’s relative success in creating jobs in health care, software, etc. (e.g., Google recently opened a shop there): “‘Steel City’ Pittsburgh develops a softer side”. The article notes that Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate is 2 points below the national average, but it buries the lede.It’s not until the 12th paragraph that it mentions that Pittsburgh’s population is less than half what it was 33 years ago. In other words, the biggest driver in reducing Pittsburgh’s unemployment after most of its heavy industry left was reducing its population by more than half.Seems like it would be tough to scale that model nationally.

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Dave, I use the concept of “Post Industrial” a little different than you do.  In an “Industrial” period, which I am very familiar with in an industry that is very labor intensive (to the point that labor costs are actually on a piece work basis) I understand that “wealth” in the traditional (Adam Smith) sense of the word is derived from labor.I know exactly how many units by operation someone working at 100% efficiency can produce and exactly what I will pay on a per piece basis.I even know that the first hour and the last two and a half hours of an eight hour day will result in a 37% reduction in productivity.Now, in a post industrial society, the cost and value of labor is a totally different metric.  No longer is the cost of a product determined by raw materials + labor + overhead.When Zynga gives a 20% discount to buying crowns for Castleville exactly what does that discount cost them?  In raw materials?  In labor?Does that discount actually “cost” them anything?Its like comparing “inventory” of shirts, of an actual product that is manufactured to lines of code.

            1. Dave Pinsen

              Wealth isn’t derived solely from labor: if it were, your workers wouldn’t need you or your set-up (machines, factory, orders, etc.). I see your point about the marginal cost of digital products approaching zero, but I think that’s tangential to the issue of jobs.What you seem to be groping toward — and where you might be on more solid ground — is in this question: if the bar for remunerative work in our economy is raised to the point where many citizens don’t have the chops to do those jobs, what happens to those citizens?More generally, though, this isn’t just about technology. The question is what to do about excess workers, and the oversupply of them can also be caused by non-technological factors (e.g., immigration).Ideology and emotion can trump arithmetic here though.

            2. kidmercury

              they have to learn. human demand is infinite, so there will always be a demand for products/services — and labor. the only caveat would be if everythign is free, although that requires free energy, which is still far from public reach. chronic unemployment is primarily a product of flawed monetary policy and irrational trade barriers.  #fs

            3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              Dave,In an industrial economy wealth is derived from labor. I open a plant and provide machines and I can pay my employees more for 8 hours worth of work, than they can earn producing the same goods in their home (that’s the benefits of division of labor and mass production).At one time technology involved creating machines that produced goods better and or faster so that labor costs became less and less a factor in cost.But that is all “manufacturing” or industrial economics and the reality is we are way beyond that point as a society.Yes, we have to ask ourselves what about the percentage of our population that has been made redundant. Immigration is not only one cause of oversupply but so is our birth rate (which is why during recessions birth rates always drop).Yes, ideology, emotion, and illogic will trump arithmetic just about anytime! :)I knew a long time ago that “old economy” jobs were a thing of the past; I am not attempting to fight the future and I have no desire to go back to any “good old days” I know that tech, the web, and social media is the future and that’s why I am trying to “reinvent” my company to fit the new reality; I have already told numerous employees that in three years their jobs and their skill sets will no longer be needed and they need to develop new skill sets for our new organizational chart.You just cannot determine the “value” of a programmer or a community manager the same way you can engineer a sewing machine operator.

            4. LE

              “if the bar for remunerative work in our economy is raised to the point where many citizens don’t have the chops to do those jobs, what happens to those citizens? “I think what we end up seeing is that people get paid more than the job is worth for whatever job they can do. Like a sanitation worker in NYC earning pay (w/o overtime) of 56,000 to 58,000 per year.…

          2. LE

            “12th paragraph that it mentions that Pittsburgh’s population is less than half what it was 33 years ago”You quoted the article correctly which said  ” its population stands at 305,000, less than half of the 660,000 who lived there in 1979″Unfortunately from what I can find the article isn’t correct. Gut feel, something didn’t seem right about that number:1) Pittsburgh population 1960 census 604,3321980 census 423,938 (30 years)2010 census 305,704This data is available in many places obviously, here is the quickest and probably most reliable after…2) The above figures are for the city, the decline in the metro area was actually less percentage wise.

        2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          Actually, you got a response, but I could not tie it to the conversation so it got posted separately.When you talk about “using” an economic thinking, you are talking not so much theory but rather an ideology.I don’t think our economy needs “saving” as much as it needs to accomodate the reality of a post industrial and globalized economic future; in other words we need to think real time and future focused.Capitalism works just fine as a starting point for me! But I know that Adam Smith coined the term “capitalism” on the logic of supply and demand in a book titled “The Wealth of NATIONS”It wasn’t titled “The Wealth of Individuals in a globalized world where Nations are irrelevant.”Yes, government spending creates jobs and wealth, just ask the military industrial complex; so Keynes WAS right, but he WAS right and is no longer correct because now government economic stimulus creates 1.4 jobs overseas for every job it creates domestically. If China or India suffers a recession then they need to let the USA stimulate their economy but they cannot stimulate our economy and that is the false premise of NAFTA.For the last 30 years we have followed the thinking called “supply side economics” along with the antiquated belief that rising labor costs spur inflation.So, that thinking has led to the current reality where we find that to maintain our standard of living we have replaced rising labor costs with easy credit. I wonder how much of our wealth and our national GDP is derived from debt (one person’s debt is another’s asset).The trouble right now is that we are using theories that hark back to the days of Henry Ford, when he realized that if he paid his employees more they could then afford to buy his cars and he would become even more wealthy; where his focus was on producing and selling cars that were sold on a cash basis in a very limited geographic area (with quotas and tariffs to protect his market) to now where production is off shored to benefit from lower labor costs (and in turn a lower standard of living) and sold in a higher standard of living market but where that standard of living is not supported by higher wages but rather by easy credit.Then as far as technology goes, Facebook claims to have 3,000+ employees (… to generate upwards of 500 to 900 million dollars in revenue a year. An apparel (American Apparel) company would have 15,000 employees to generate 500 million dollars in revenue annually.Yes, those 3,000 facebook employees and the company as a whole creates lots of jobs, but following that logic then the 15,000 employees of American Apparel create 5 times the amount of jobs that facebook does.That is the economic reality of industrial vs post industrial….

          1. kidmercury

            economist eric janszen ( has concluded that starting in 2007 the US economy needed $5 of debt to increase GDP by $1…..he has a whole bunch of articles and videos elaborating more on this, but it illustrates the point at acquiring more debt as a plan to become more prosperous is not going to work. #fs

            1. fredwilson

              i agree with that. we have to innovate out of this downturn not borrow our way out of it.

            2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              The reality is within the next 3 to five years you will have some sort of massive debt write off or write down.- posted via

          2. andyswan

            Gov’t spending doesn’t create weatlh….it redistributes it.  Every dollar from the Military complex comes directly out of the pocket of US citizens via taxes, debt or inflation.  Jobs are created and destroyed constantly and the process creates efficiencies and wealth that benefit both the individuals responsible and society as a whole.  And yes…the gap between those that create those transformations and those that do not will rise, as will the real wealth of even the poorest.There is nothing new in economics other than more and more proof that corporatism , socialism, communism and any other isms other than free-market capitalism will work in the long run.  The principles of economics are as static as those of physics.Wealth creation should be the primary goal of any business or society (economically speaking) as it is wealth that creates “jobs” and higher standards of living. Anything else is a distraction and bound to backfire, especially if implemented via the barrel of a gun by men who are beholden only to the volume of votes that they can receive.  

            1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              Okay Andy, you like people who shoot straight so I will…This little stump speech reminds me of a Red Lobster Commercial on television. While watching one I get a really awesome desire to race to Red Lobster and partake of what appears to be the most delicious seafood…Then I remind myself that the commercial does not represent anything I have ever had at Red Lobster.First off, capitalism is a “ism” and you have to include feudalism in your list of “isms” then you have to accept the fact that all of these “isms” are joined at the hip and thus what makes one TOTALLY different than the other or is the difference one of degrees?Second, economic activity, all economic activity, is the result of exchange. If the creation of wealth is the outcome of economic activity then wealth creation is “redistribution.” If I buy a stock at a low price and sell it at a high price then the person who buys that stock from me has less wealth (dollars) and I have more; thus all wealth comes from somebodies pocket.Actually, there is a whole lot new to economics, and there are a whole lot of things we do not totally understand; and free markets are a prime example. The reality is that capitalism has flourished and been successful for all these years not because of free markets; there have been tariffs, banning of imports, import substitutions, and duties since the early years of industrial revolution and the development of capitalism. In fact Milton Friedman, the father of the concept of “free markets” was Keynesian who always supported the idea of government providing unemployment insurance, jobs for the unemployed, and motivation to increase economic expansion.Friedrich Hayek, another great believer in free markets also made one of the best arguments for the idea of nationalizing healthcare. All of which were “new” economic ideas in the last 30 years.The trouble is the concept of “free markets” has always been a theory not a reality.Our economy has never enjoyed the benefits of “free markets” as it has over the course of the last 20 years and taxes have never been lower; we have also seen a dramatic increase in wealth creation and wealth concentration but “society” has not benefited because our poverty rate has dramatically increased, our job creation has dramatically decreased, and our standard of living (subtract personal debt from personal assets) has dropped.Of course, it all depends on your definition of “society.” If you mean the world then you thesis is correct; because we have created a tremendous amount of wealth for a few and we have created jobs in China and India while also increasing their standard of living.But, if by “society” you mean The United States Of America, then your thesis is incorrect.So, what do you do with the 25 to 30% of Americans who have to suffer as we transition from a national society to an international society? Or what do we do as we transition from a world of nation states to a one world nation because just as the evolution of capitalism from feudalism saw the demise of Kingdoms and the divine rights of Kings, free markets will eventually see the demise of nation states.So, what do we do during this period of transition? I mean we watched Twitter and Facebook topple some pretty big despots in the last year what makes you think that the concept of nation states isn’t all that far behind?

            2. andyswan

              ” all wealth comes from somebodies pocket.”Could not be further from the truth.  In fact, I’m not sure how to converse with someone that thinks this way. In order to believe this, you MUST believe……..that the total wealth of the world is static…therefore the wealth we enjoy today is EXACTLY the same as it was in 1400 A.D….that an invention cannot have a profound impact on the wealth of the entire world.  (digitization of documents)….. that a process that creates efficiency cannot create wealth for all of society  (refrigeration)…..that wealth cannot be destroyed (war)I just don’t get it.  You base all of your economic thinking on a premise so flawed that it crumbles under even the most basic of questioning.If all wealth creation is “merely distribution”….then why is Joe-lower class of 2012 living a life so much longer, with so much ease, compared to his ancestors of merely 8 generations back?p.s. and yes… “society” is the world….anyone thinking any differently is in denial and has been since the 1200’s.

            3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              Nothing I said stated that wealth was static or that the total wealth of the world was the same as 1400. Obviously, with inflation, easy credit, credit cards and open markets, as just four examples of numerous ones, wealth is not static nor does it total the same amount as it did in 1400 AD; but at the same time that does not mean wealth springs from some black hole or grows from trees.Then if by “society” you mean “..the world…anyone thinking any differently is an denial and has been since the 1200’s” then why the hell did we fight the revolutionary war?If the world is one big ol’ society then lets turn everything over to the United Nations and do away with Nation States!!!To share a compliment with you, I would say that, having a conversation with you is a waste of time, because to do so you must believe:That the digitization of documents did not have an adverse affect on woods men or paper mills. If so then technology is not disruptive.That refrigeration did not impact what we eat and where we purchased our food; alas putting local farmers and food vendors out of business.That the advent of the automobile did not put a lot of buggy makers out of business.None of these events saw a redistribution of wealth nor in a disruption of the status quo. Sure I get it.In fact your idea that war destroys wealth is a good one, because yes, WWII destroyed a tremendous amount of wealth in Europe but the resultant loss of an industrial base coupled with the pent up demand in the United States allowed the US to become the wealthiest country in the world and an economic powerhouse because we had no competition to supply demand in Europe and Asia and thanks to the Marshall Plan we were able to exploit this vacuum.Your argument is basically a “bait and switch” argument, you want say, “look at all the benefits of wealth to a society” on a macro level or a world level, so then you can avoid the micro level of nation states and or individuals.

            4. andyswan

              Carl, sorry…but when you say “all wealth comes from somebodies pocket” you ARE saying that wealth is static.  And that is a non-starter.It doesn’t come from a black hole…it comes from the mind and labor of men.  Wealth is created when men implement new ideas, innovations, inventions, etc.  Furthermore, all of your examples below I AGREE with.  Wealth creation is commonly associated with the destruction of current processes and yes, the demand for current skillsets and labor.And that’s a GOOD thing…..unless you’d rather have rooms full of typists and farms full of oxen.And no— facing the fact that the world = society does NOT mean that I believe that all men should be under the rule of one government. Quite a leap. I also believe the USA is society….but I much prefer local governmental control to federal.

            5. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              Andy,Don’t apologize, you gave me a lot to think about last night! I spent over two hours wondering what it was I was not understanding.You view wealth as an ideal type; its creativity and innovation or the sum total of a societies ability to envision a future.30 years ago I would have argued just as you did; but I would have taken it further and argued that individuals create, achieve, and work because they can, and that money was actually not a motivation but rather an afterthought…..thus before you know it you are a Marxist, quoting Ayn Rand as well as Karl Marx.As Howard Roark states in The Fountainhead, “You must love the doing.”But with a little real life experience, like 30 years of it (I guess that makes me a slow learner) I realize that ability, creativity, innovation are not the basis of success in our society but rather money is; thus we worship getting along, not rocking the boat, networking, sucking up, and knowing how to play golf.The trouble with ideal types is that they are just that, ideals. In reality we see wealth as money and or assets that can readily be turned into money. Wealth as money, and wealth as ideas and passion are two totally separate things and it could be argued that they are mutually exclusive.I do like a world where ideas and hard work are rewarded, and are respected but that is not the world we live in.You do need to reformulate your ideas about government. Ideally, government is to act as the means by which a society expresses its values and beliefs; its how “we the people” come together and become a society and define our society. It should not be about “control” nor should it be viewed as an alien concept that we “come under the rule of….” Government does not conquer the human spirit but should free the human spirit.Thus, if you prefer a local government then in fact you prefer to define society as a local entity rather than something that is worldwide. How one defines society is by default how one defines government.I realized last night how you could draw the conclusion of wealth that you do. The reality is in the start up world your concept of wealth is exactly what makes the big bucks.But what is lacking in that concept is the connection between wealth creation and job creation. The technology today creates far fewer jobs and makes far many redundant.Then you also have the issue of the capitalist concept of supply and demand. If you look at Facebook, who exactly is their market or their consumer? Its not the user but rather the advertisers. The users are nothing more than a commodity from which Facebook creates an audience from, and that audience is what they market and sell access to to advertisers. In reality that is not all that much different than the economic model of our healthcare system; the patient is not the consumer in that marketplace and the reality is while all of us gripe about the cost of health insurance we also need to realize that doctors are going bankrupt:…Thus, it might behoove us to look at our premises in regards to wealth, economic systems, and technology, and our values.

      3. Bruce Wayne

        CarlI have been doing a bit of work on a community first platform that will be taking things a bit further. Indeed one we have lofty goals returning monetary value to the “Community” and also of creating technology and services that allow for “Community” empowerment. The app is in alpha but all of the current services are usable. We are cleaning up and adding new features on a daily basis 

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          Bruce, Thanks for the link!I have played around on your link (I am a little slow at figuring things out) so give me some time to understand the concept- posted via

          1. Bruce Wayne

            Carl thanks so much for taking time to take a look. We are cleaning the site up and adding features as quickly as we can

    9. William Mougayar

      It looks like a very well thought out product. And it meshes well with the AVC and startups communities theme. Congratulations on launching it after all the hard work you must have put into it.Can this be applied to other blog communities too? It could be white-labelled and re-packaged as a product. But I would have a more basic version. The premise to extend the community into a continuous string of knowledge learnings is a great one. (Just curious why did you use a bulletin board software as the underlying platform)

      1. kidmercury

        yes, the goal is certainly to create a white label type of thing, although i focus more on customizing game play and community moderation so not quite like a white label, mass market thing. i used underlying bulletin board because it was cheap and something i could actually execute on being just one person with horrible coding skills. definitely other technologies would be fancier and yield a better user experience in that regard, but bulletin boards are cheap, good enough in my opinion, and open source so that no one can pull the plug and so there is an ecosystem of developers i can call upon when needed without having to hire a full-timer. 

        1. William Mougayar

          Cool. Thanks for the clarifications. I registered and will be using it. – posted via



        1. fredwilson


        2. William Mougayar

          @engagio also listening 🙂 v1 with Searching your own comments already there. Have you tried it? And it tells you who is in your conversations. Search for Comments or People. – posted via

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    10. Miljenko Hatlak

      This is really great stuff.I instantly jumped to and found something to watch this Saturday afternoon (CET). So while writing this comment I also watch “The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads Corporations to Failure”. 

      1. kidmercury

        michael raynor, author of the strategy paradox, is really a brilliant guy. his latest book, the innovator’s manifesto, is one of the best business books i’ve read in a long time. i feel as though he is continuing to pioneer disruptive theory and make more advancements that will be in MBA curriculums in the years to come.  #fs

    11. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Kid,Rather than give you a “like” or a “+1” let me give you my highest honor:  Three Songs!People Get Ready: Change Is Gonna Come: Up The Funk:

      1. William Mougayar

        I could only load the first link.

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          Ah, William,I have just pulled out my Doo Wop CD’s to use as examples of what a well managed start up should SOUND like! your start up doesn’t have the harmony and doesn’t come together like Doo Wop then you will fail!

          1. William Mougayar

            The Velvets! ^2 You’re a class act. Keep’em coming. Thx – posted via

            1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

              Thanks! Oh, and great way to remind me that I have to get busy on using…. :)Guess that means I have to put Google + on the back burner

    12. Brad

      Fred has cemented his place in the “Superstar” stratosphere.I will check this out.By the way, the ski resorts in Utah just got dumped on.

      1. awaldstein

        Good on the snow and hoping it extends to Colorado as I’m Aspen bound soon.

      2. RichardF

        That’s pure torture brad 🙂

        1. Brad

          They were forecasting an inch in the valley, but my front yard has about 7 inches. The resorts got at least twice that. It is good and heavy snow which may create a base.

          1. Alex Murphy

            have fun!

          2. fredwilson

            they didn’t get enough snow in park city to open up all the lifts at the canyons. and i don’t see any snow in the 5-day forecast. 

            1. Brad

              Looks like the Park City area did not benefit from the latest storm, it all went in to the Cottonwood Canyons (snowbird, alta, brighton and solitude). It has been a weak winter, and people around here are getting excited about even a little snow.

    13. Mark Essel

      “Registration denied, this forum runs an active policy of not allowing spammers. Please contact us via the “Contact Us” page link if you believe this is in error”NooooTried a few times with different links it.Fredsquare is having technical difficulties.

      1. ShanaC

        it happens

      2. Nick Tomaino

        I got the same error message! What gives?

      3. William Mougayar

        If there is a bug, Mark will find it 🙂

    14. ShanaC

      Yay for good ideas, boo for the name.But you all knew I would say that….

      1. Rohan

        I agree.I’m not a fan of the name, either. Makes Fred look a bit narcissistic IMO..

      2. Dale Allyn

        Yep, I agree, too. Love Fred and Kid, but not the name. Seems an awkward spin on Foursquare, and that brings location in to it, etc. 

    15. JimHirshfield

      Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.#fs

      1. JimHirshfield

        That worked. My comment above is now on

    16. RichardF

      Congrats kid on getting your vision out there. I will check it out

    17. ErikSchwartz

      Good luck Kid, seems fun.There are ads for silver bars 🙂

      1. kidmercury

        that is terrible adsense, hopefully we can sell banners direct to more relevant advertisers in time

    18. Cynthia Schames

      That’s really fantastic!  Goes hand in glove with #codeyear.I also totally agree about community first, money squabbles later. (Though to be fair, neither you nor I are eating ramen).

      1. fredwilson


    19. kidmercury

      there were some registration problems, you can email info [at] fredsquare [dot] com and i’ll take care of it for you or you can try to register again as i think i’ve solved the problem. sorry for the troubles — thanks for your patience! 

    20. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

      Love it.

    21. markslater

      nice one – i’m down to help any way i or we can

    22. mike gilfillan

      Great idea!  Didn’t expect this to come from the skeptical Kid, but cool — I’ll contribute.  Look forward to helping others as I work on my 3rd startup.

    23. Dale Allyn

      Good luck! Kid. These things (startups) aren’t trivial, and launching your project into the wild so that everyone can love it or hate it is a big step. Congratulations! 

    24. Scott G.

      Although I doubt it’s intentional, it’s unfortunate that 4 out of 5 women are at the bottom of the heap in the fredsquare logo.  And of the 19 people, only 5 are women (or least depicted as women with skirts).  Subtle comment on the gender ratio in the software field?Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into simple logo.  #fs

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Alert @changetheratio:twitter ! 

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Actually, it’s @changetheinterpretation:disqus  !

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Notice that the bottom row is is not the “bottom of the heap”, but rather where the strength lies.  I take it you were never a cheerleader.

        1. andyswan

          I just wanna know why we’re worried about the gender inequality when the much more glaring offense is that 100% of the characters in this logo are black.

          1. Donna Brewington White

             Well, some are actually more charcoal gray. 

      3. jason wright

        If something’s at the bottom of the heap wasn’t it therefore there first, before more crap got piled on top?

    25. andyswan

      I don’t get it.  Well…actually I get the curation of quality startup content idea…but the rest is confusingWe’re building a “startup utopia that sets us free”… does it set us free?  From what constraints?Through an alternate fiat currency of Fredbucks?  That is already considering a tax-structure and regulations?And my startup needs to register with this new entity, play along with its rules, etc…in order to earn this currency?  From who?  To what end?Kid, I’m a fan…and I want this to work.  But I’m lost.

      1. kidmercury

        how it sets us free will become more apparent in time if it grows. the more immediate practical benefits are:1. wikipedia-style learning resource for startups 2. networking beyond comments with AVC community3. publicize your startup and earn badges for doing soif enough people do that i’ll seed the economy with fredbucks, which they can use to buy stuff to build their startup from other AVC members (i.e. designers, developers, web hosting, marketers, etc). i’m confident people will find that monetary system to be much better (won’t be fiat, unless fred orders otherwise) but first the community has to be built — then comes the commerce

        1. andyswan

          Fair enough.  I like most of that.  Especially content-curation.I’m not sure how Fredbucks come into play yet unless they’re simply fiat currency intended to substitute for $, presumably with some exchange rate.  For example…JoeCommentor’s design expertise would have barter-value to me regardless of his acceptance of FredBucks, no?p.s.  Are FredBucks backed by the full faith and credit of Fred?

          1. kidmercury

            at first fredbucks will be like money you get for contributing. the real value in contributing should be social reputation — fredbucks is just the icing on the cake. you’ll be able to redeem fredbucks in a number of ways:1. i’ll setup affiliate deals with approved merchants. i’ll buy from them at the affiliate discount and resell to you, accepting your fredbucks in exchange. i take a small cut so it still ends up being a discount to you. fredbucks constitutes a way of sharing affiliate revenue with active contributors. 2. approved members who have a high enough fredscore (the exact score is yet to be determined and depends on how the community grows) can also sell their services to you via fredbucks. so this is P2P commerce using our own currency. i enforce and take a small intermediary fee. you can interact with joecommentor outside of the fredbucks system; in some instances it may be to your advantage to do so. but i think you’ll see that using fredbucks willl prove to be less expensive while also helping you build your credibility in fredsquare. at least, that is the plan! :)the costs of running fredsquare are extremely low — just one person’s time, and i doubt it will get much higher (not trying to build a huge scale thing here like twitter or google, the focus is on niche and a local community) — so the intermediary fee is going to be very low as well. when you think of how crappy the design is and how it’s built on crappy open source code, remember the low intermediary fee that such crappiness enables :). my plan is to peg fredbucks to a basket of goods, the most important one of which will be gold. there will also be a stabilization fund established so that the value of fredbucks can be propped up even when the fluctuating value of the currency drops. the currency is  a one way street in that it cannot be converted into USD or any other legal tender. however, an exchange rate will be tracked and published, and prices in the fredstore will fluctuate based on the market-to-market value of the basket of goods that fredbucks are pegged to. you can see for a more developed example (although some things will be slightly different as i am using updated technology and have learned from some mistakes).  that is my plan at the moment, though what happens in public markets is a big factor, and of course fred retains permanent veto rights to any policy i plan to implement. #fs

            1. @mikeriddell62

              Complementary currency/Groupon/timebank cross over. What you’re missing is a cause.

            2. kidmercury

              The cause is the easiest part of all- – salvation from the tyranny of nation state currencies. But that comes later because not enough people believe that yet, but they will soon enough

          2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            I hope Fredbucks are so popular that the next time I go to NYC that I can pay for my dinner at my favorite restaurant in NYC with Fredbucks.Rolfs:

    26. Aaron Klein

      The end of the post appears to be missing. ;)Congrats kid…and heaven knows fredbucks are already a more stable currency than the USD.

    27. andyidsinga

      thats really interesting Kid – congratulations.I was just strolling around the “university” area …looks like a *lot* of work went into seeding that – very cool. 

    28. Alex Murphy

      How are you funding?  Is this just a project or will it evolve into a real gig?  Have you thought about kickstarter?

      1. kidmercury

        the costs of running fredsquare are extraordinarily low — i spent about $500 overall (and i would say only about $100 of original costs, as $400 was on software that i already had lying around for other projects that were previously abandoned). the biggest cost was my time, although when you are fortunate enough to be an entrepreneur there is no difference between work and play :)if we can get the community growing, i’ll seed fredbucks and the fredstore with some of my own money (not much, less than $1,000, but something just to set the foundation and get the ball rolling). i’d like to get accredited investors to sponsor this in some way, in exchange for using fredsquare to as a scouting tool. but P2P funding is another option, as is P2P commerce. probably a mix of all these will work best. if the community can grow, i do want to build the fredbook — a computer like the one fred uses and designed specifically to interact with the fredsquare community. this is something i think might be very well-suited towards kickstarter. #fs  

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “although when you are fortunate enough to be an entrepreneur there is no difference between work and play”That quote was tumblr-worthy, Kid, not to mention tweetable.

    29. Nik Souris

      Love it, except for maybe the name – probably just the branding/marketing kool-aid I have had over the years.  Perhaps version 2.0 can leverage the FS and go with FirstSquare or FoundersSquare 

      1. LE

        Kid choose a good name. Not only that but he smartly secured the domain name for the site, in .com, on 10/31/2011 10/11/2011 almost 3 months before launch. The names you mentioned aren’t available in .com.  That’s a non-starter.Also, by including “fred” in the domain he gets an immediate pr boost and memorability.  Lesson: Don’t name startup before securing or optioning the domain in .comLesson: Involve, tie in, and pay respect to an important or connected person who will add credibility to your venture.#fs

        1. jason wright

          “Lesson: Don’t name startup before securing or optioning the domain in .com.”That’s the very first lesson for a startup at web kindergarten. Lesson two is the trademark application.

      2. Conrad Ross Schulman

        Fredsquare generates a mere 1,000 local monthly searches and a mere 1,600 global monthly searches. *data via google keyword traffic estimatorFoundersquare generates 2,400 LMS and 2,900 GMSFirstsquare generates 14,800 LMS and 33,100 GMSFirstsquare & Foundersquare do generate more searches..but not by a lotOnce Fredbucks skyrocket in value, Kid mercury will have enough cash to buy a SWEET domain name generating millions of LMS AND GMS!! #lets go kid! #fs

    30. Bruce Wayne

      Great Stuff !!!! We are also building a “Community” first platform here that will be taking this kind of idea a bit further. We are in alpha but the current set of services is usable and we are cleaning up and adding to the app daily.

    31. Otto

      Good stuff Kid Mercury. Really like the idea of game/community/wiki mix. Question, do you have to be registered in order for the #fs tag to work?

      1. kidmercury

        no, although if you register you can get credit in the form of badges and fredbucks. 

    32. Donna Brewington White

      “FredSquare is an application I’ve hacked together for the AVC community.”You had me at “hacked.”Well, actually, when you first mentioned the idea months ago.  Congratulations, Kid.  I’m cheering for you and Fredsquare.And I’ve signed up.  Not sure how outliers fit into this, but trust me I will find a way.  Fredsquare for startups…and the people who love them (for all the right reasons).

      1. kidmercury

        certainly….outliers can learn, contribute to learning (i believe you work in recruiting — startups definitely need to learn about that) — and eventually, buy/sell services (i.e. find startups that can hire your recruiting services if you so desire — provided you boost you qualify via a sufficient fredscore!). 

        1. Donna Brewington White

          You’re on!

      2. Trish Burgess-Curran

        I am totally with you Donna.  I’m also a bit of an outlier in this community but I am in!  I’ll look for ways to contribute to FredSquare and I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot.Thank you Kid!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Key word Trish — “contribute”

    33. Conrad Ross Schulman

      Kid Mercury is really doing something cool here…its a great start!!Please follow Freds advise and make a simple & minimal web application…Rails please?

      1. kidmercury

        a simplified android app for tablets/smartphones is in the queue, just want to get some traction first…..

        1. Conrad Ross Schulman

          Nice…Fred + Android = You can’t go wrong!From personal experience, I would first focus on optimizing your current web application into a more user-centric experience that is both minimal looking and rich in features.This community is a great source of knowledge & feedback.AWESOME JOB

        2. falicon

          check into phonegap…prob. the easiest way to get a MVP mobile out there right now…I highly recommend it for this type of stuff for sure…

    34. Conrad Ross Schulman

      FredSquare is beyond innovative and exactly what this community needs #fs

    35. Donna Brewington White

      BTW, please don’t change the name.It is right for all the right reasons.Fredville…well that would have been another story.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Well, if the name stays as is, then Kid will need to leverage “Freducate” and “Freducation”!  😉

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Ouch! 😉

          1. Dale Allyn

            What? You don’t like “Come for the Freducation, stay for the Fredship”?;P

            1. Donna Brewington White

              You are so messing with me, but I appreciate the attention. ;D(Even though I am TRYING to work so that I can go play with my family at Magic Mountain later.)

            2. Dale Allyn

              Who better to mess with?!! :DNow get your work done, so that you can go have some fun!

        2. kidmercury

          if fredsquare gains traction fred’s parents really deserve some serious credit. imagine if they named him bartholomew, or guillermo…….none of this would be possible!

          1. Dale Allyn

            It’s providence! Embrace it!

          2. Alex Murphy

            I think that Guillermo Wilson would have been happy with Gsquare.

        3. Alex Murphy

          Annual get togethers to be held in FredVegas at FredPalace.

          1. Dale Allyn

            But the “FredVegas Strip” scares me a little. 😉

    36. jason wright

      Dave Morin of Path said in a recent interview with Jason Calacanis that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones most willing to have repeated “hard conversations” with the team, investors, customers, et.c (the unpleasant conversations that most people naturally tend to want to shy away from to avoid stress and confrontation) – I don’t like the name, I don’t like the look, and the idea is confusing me. There’s too much to take in – I’m stupid, I need a simple proposition, like most people…Top marks for taking action and producing. I hope V2 will nail it. Go get ’em tiger. 

      1. kidmercury

        the look is terrible, no doubt. craigslist is my hero. as for simplifying it, how about “wikipedia for startups”? maybe that can help suck people in, and then they can absorb the other elements…..  

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. kidmercury

            yes, i think that is appropriate for them, but i look at social/information networks as peers…i.e. blogs, facebook, reddit, stackoverflow, ning, socialgo, bulletin boards, drupal installs…..i also am skeptical of the “give me your email and i’ll give you something back” approach; i prefer “here’s a whole bunch of stuff, give me your email and you’ll get a richer experience” style. at least, that is based on how i like stuff; i almost never trade my email unless i have a very clear idea of what i am getting. i think the codeyear approach is less obvious, because it requires that you trust them. but it worked for them — so maybe i’m wrong!       

            1. Dale Allyn

              Kid, I “liked” FG’s comment because I felt the same (if I understood his point correctly). The landing page needn’t request the e-mail, but give a clean space to very succinctly define what’s available and the mission. Then take the user where they need to go. The sign-up option can come in any of several points along the way. Just my 2¢. 🙂

            2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. jason wright

          I’m thinking about it.

    37. Guestgeuest

      what about the fredcondom? the first fully transparent condom that hands you 5 million dollars for your seed (dark joke…i kno)

    38. kidmercury

      also one other thing i wanted to mention in case the disqus folks are reading this. 1. i am importing comments by grabbing the rss feed and filtering it for the #fs tag, in case you didnt know.2. if you made a modification for vbulletin 4.1.x that allowed people to easily register and carry over their disqus identity i think you have set the stage for launching your own CMS based on a forked version of an open source product (like how amzn forked android to create kindle) that you can market to your blog stars, profiting by helping them build their own P2P economy. if you are interested in this idea at all let me know, i am in san francisco and would be happy to help you execute this. 

      1. Alex Murphy

        that is a good idea!

    39. matthughes

      Nicely done @kidmercury:disqus I like the ^2 caption on the logo.I signed up. Looking forward to seeing where this goes…

    40. freds4hb

      Excited for this, but maybe my Fred bias is showing, my name is Fred, my business partner’s  name is Fred, and we’re @2Frededmonster so,, yeah,, I guess I’ve got a bias built in for this one! Cool!

      1. fredwilson

        what do you call your company?

        1. freds4hb

          Doh! I left out a “d” @2frededmonster:disqus (we got to hang out with your buddy Brad last Tuesday). (haven’t really launched yet).

    41. Robert Thuston

      I see FredSquare as place where 500 start ups are building their products, and VCs, people that want to be hired by startups, and advisers come to gauge the status and credibility of different teams and ideas.I like to think of it as creating a “pull” network that centers on entrepreneurs.  To create a network, where entrepreneurs can pull advice, capital, and people looking to be hired to their companies.

      1. kidmercury

        YES! exactly a pull network. if we can pull it off i think it will really make the whole process of building a startup much easier for entrepreneurs and enrich the whole startup economy.  

        1. Ronnie Rendel

          B”H  Speaking of “500 Startups” – kidmercury: there is great content by Dave McClure ( that is required material for StartupU.  I didn’t find where to suggest content for FredSquare, so I’m doing it here…Gosh, I wish this grows traction, been waiting for something like this for a long time.  #fs

          1. kidmercury

            do you know where that content is — do they have it published or linked to online? i went to but did not see anything there. i’ll try reaching out to mcclure. regarding where to publish on fredsquare, there is a dropdown menu called “forums, blogs, groups” in the navigation — you’ll see the option to post a thread or blog entry there (registration as a member required).thanks for the heads up, ronnie! 

    42. Jen Berrent

      I think the idea of a curated site of start-up content is great, but the key will be having multiple perspectives.  I work with a lot of first-time founders and nothing gets them up to speed on an issue quicker than providing analysis from different sources.  They get to see how the same topic is tackled (even if not in conflict).  I have been trying to create my own library but this will be way better (I can only read and organize so much).

      1. fredwilson


    43. muratcannoyan

      Very cool idea! Best of luck with it!

    44. reece

      good stuff Kid!



      1. kidmercury

        seems to be a recurring criticism…..probably some truth to it. in my previous experience what has drawn people in is the search for information; they find some stuff in the university (perhaps via search) then the snoop around, X% jump on board, Y% become super active members, etc. i think once the ability to save money comes in that will draw some more people in.though to address your points:1. use by sharing content that helps startups learn2. earn badges and fredbucks for doing so, as well as networking opportunities 

        1. fredwilson

          i think the design issues come from the use of the bulletin board software as the underlying platform

          1. kidmercury

            definitely…..i’ve seen some people do really transformative things that makes it look more unique, but that is well beyond my design skills….hopefully this is good enough to gain some usage

    46. Robert Thuston

      To beginners… so, you’ve got an idea: WHERE SHOULD YOU START?I asked myself that question for a long time (about a year), and hopefully you won’t ask it as long as I have.  There are some longterm things that are necessary like building relationships, and building a strong knowledge of entrepreneurship, but that shouldn’t stop you from starting today.  Here’s what I’ve done:I bought a website a few months ago, and built a shitty video that got me no hits on a service I wanted people to sign up for (so that didn’t work).  In attempt to make a better video, I called the chair of a graphics design program at the local university, and asked if their was anyone he knew who could help me with a video.  “We have this student that just created a well received animation video for the university that I could put you in touch with.  He’ll cost $30 per hour and can usually finish a video in 30 to 40 hours ($800 to $1200)”.  So I hired him.  Typical graphics designers in Alabama work for about $65/hour I’ve found.I then had a conversation with a friend that’s a graphic designer to build a logo.  He said it’d cost me $500.  I knew he was really good, and I wanted him to do the logo, so I said, “Look, is there anyway we can make it $200, and you spend less time with it.”  He said I’d need to do all the research on ‘profile of typical user’ as well as research on images that come to my mind for the service.  I said ‘no problem’.I then called up the Chair of the Computer Science Department at another University, and asked how I could find a student interested in working on the side for about 10hrs a week on a project.  “He sent out my request to the students, and I got 2 resumes via email”.  I called the one I found the most interesting.  He was the founder and president of the Hockey team at the university, and said he had some other friends (one a graphics designer) who might be willing to work on the project for an hourly wage as well.  I thought the hockey team showed an entrepreneurial spirit, and I hired him at $15/hr.I have enough money to fund 3 students working 10hrs/week on the project for about one year.  If the project gains traction, and I need additional resources, I plan on keeping angel investors, friends, and family in the loop.  Also, I set up a meeting with a start up lawyer next week to file for a C-corporation in Delaware (which was recommended in Brad Feld’s book Do More Faster).If I get traction on the idea, and people really like the service, I’ll have to figure out how to transition to a scalable model of the service.  I’ll likely need Venture Capital at that point, and need to hire a few full time employees/ legitimate tech cofounder(s).If the idea doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I’m invested enough in the vision of the idea not to worry too much about using most of my own money on this.  It would hurt more not to do it than to do it and mess up.This is how I’m starting.  You should get started too.#fs

      1. fredwilson

        i love this. post it somewhere. this is so right.

      2. falicon

        I love the spirit and the thriftiness…but I would offer up one major bit of caution/advice…99% of the time, a nice logo, fancy graphics, a clean video…they are what can take a niche audience over the hurdle and into mainstream…but they are NOT what can take an idea out of a head and into reality.Start with ugly…pour everything into functionality and solving a need/problem for a user…success on this front is easily measured as you grab user by user in the initial days, monitor retention, and obsess over early feedback…if at this point, the largest complaints you get are on the level “I love it, but it’s so ugly”…then spend some money on design and image…until then, just focus on getting to the “I love it”.Do everything as manual as possible to prove out the idea…even if it’s just to service a group of 1-10 people…automate as you figure out process…scale as you automate…If you need to, spend $50-100 buying your first group of users…but don’t go crazy buying customers until you’ve got a working formula/process that converts every dollar you spend on buying a customer into $2 in sales (even better if it converts to $2 profit)….and keep in mind that even IF you do all these things, it’s an up-hill battle…it’s going to take time and money…but more important it’s going to take passion…never lose that passion and win or lose, you’ll have the best adventure of your life (and even in a loss you’ll fail forward making your next adventure all that more likely to succeed)…

        1. kidmercury

          outstanding advice — basically dropped the blueprint here!

          1. falicon

            Thanks!  Now if I could just follow it better myself…always so much easier to give advice than to follow or live by it myself… 😉

        2. Robert Thuston

          Kevin, your comment really strikes me. The priorities you laid out make sense, and right now I’m holding the activities I spoke of on an equal scale.I plan to continue what I’m doing, but think of it in terms of the priorities you noted.  Thanks much for the input.  I plan to put it to good use.

          1. falicon

            Thanks! I’ve spent the first 37 years of my life failing forward…but have been loving every minute of it so far.  I wish you luck in your journey as well…and def. add me to the list of people to alert when you are ready to share what you are working on with the world! 🙂

            1. Robert Thuston

              Definitely add you to the beta users.

    47. LIAD

      The idea is honourable and I hope it does well.I think an endeavour like this requires custom tech. Not sure off the shelf forum software has what it takes.For me, the whole branding thing is too sycophantish. I think this would see better success having Fred’s input and blessing but not being intrinsically linked to him in the way it currently is.

      1. fredwilson

        i agree with all of that feedback

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I am one who loves the name for initial branding and gaining traction — but I can see that further down the road the name/branding may be limiting…maybe.The current name gives the product some heritage going in and the sense that it is an extension of this community, in a way that even AVCsquare would not.    Personally, I don’t see this as sycophantic given the history involved.  If this were initially being launched to the universe at large, then a different approach…a different appeal…and a much less enthusiastic reception.  The birth from this community is key.   

    48. kidmercury

      here’s my take, 156 comments in…..1. lots of people not down with the fred integration…..i saw it was a way to try to plug it into this community and leverage the brand of an already popular and trusted blogger, but that doesn’t seem to be as effective as i hoped and there seems to be a disconnect in what i intended to communicate and what was interpreted. i don’t think it would be prudent to rebrand it at this point (and i still like the branding and the corresponding rationale) though i’ll have to re-think marketing plans a bit and place a greater emphasis beyond 2. lots of interface criticisms, which is certainly a legit critique, though hopefully the interface is good enough — i do find the cost/benefit trade-off in using open source stuff here to be very favorable. guess we’ll find out in time, though this is one area where i’m happy to be contrarian and disagree with everyone.  3. the #fs tag got some adoption, i hope folks don’t forget about it and continue to use it as it is the easiest way to get started, but unfortunately i think that is a likely possibility. 4. curation and continuing to build fredsquare university will be recurring and most important work, though the next innovation i’ll add will be seeding the economy with fredbucks and the fredstore. thanks for the feedback — please keep it coming! 

      1. jason wright

        Can the 10 letters of ‘Fred Wilson’ be rearranged to form a new site name? Might be a nice game to kick off the site with.Instead of ‘square’ how about ‘share’?  ____share. Why is it ‘square’?Just thoughts.

        1. kidmercury

          hmm, fredshare may have been better….donna brewington white suggested fredville which if i could go back in time i certainly would use….fredsquare was a reference to the game mechanics of foursquare….i originally wanted fredland but that was taken and did not want to pay the premium of buying an already registered name, if possible at all……though ultimately i don’t think the name is too important in my opinion, so long as it is easy to say and communicates the connection to fred and this community

    49. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Kid – Interesting , I’m in – I guess there will be trade off between time invested and impact – so  Klout should be saying  fs will be “coming soon” soon !.I think it would be great if you could list some testable hypotheses a la eric ries so that i’fs, as a venture of sorts can be self-referential (its often a  great way to learn / teach._So I will go take a look

    50. Pedro Sorrentino

      This is just awesome. Congratulations. I hope I can learn and maybe teach something there also. Thanks for doing this.

    51. csertoglu

      My first #fs contribution:…

    52. Nick Kellet

      This sounds like fun. 

    53. @mikeriddell62

      So you’re building a virtual currency a la Bitcoin and FB credits (which accounted for 12% of last years revenues).You should check out the virtual currency that’s taking place in the Uk called WiganPlus. it’s issued to people who contribute to real communities (as opposed to virtual though it can work there too) in terms of the time they give to volunteering to good causes. Time is converted into points and allocated to that persons ‘bank’ account. Big Business can trade spare capacity or excess inventory for points at no cost to themselves and end up getting exposure, additional sales, evidence of time they’ve given to community, tax break (charitable status). The municipal authority are contemplating accepting the points instead of local taxes, and using the platform to personalise the social and health care. Transport providers can personalise their service and the smartcard doubles up as a pre-paid card that uses points to reward.

    54. kidmercury

      lol 🙂