Finding Your Voice

Everyone has something to say, something to contribute, everyone can make a difference. And I believe the Internet is making it easier for all of us to find that voice, use it, and make that difference.

I am supporting evidence item number one in this case. I was 42 years old when I started blogging. I'd always had a lot to say. Just ask my mom about that. But I never really found the place and the way to get it all out. AVC became that thing and now I've got a platform to make a difference. I hope I'm using it well.

I have watched so many people find their voice on the Internet over the years and it warms my heart when they nail it. It happens all the time in the blog comments here at AVC. I'm not going to name names but you all know the stories and who they are.

It's also happened to the Gotham Gal. When she started blogging she was in the process of moving from being a full time mom back to the working world. And she wasn't sure how to make that transition. It was a struggle. Through her blog she has become a champion of the idea that you can be a mom and an impactful person in the world at the same time. She has also become a champion of women and women entrepreneurs. She has found her voice and her job. This blurb from her blog yesterday was proof postitive for me:

Be strong, be fierce and be tough.  Like raising money from someone who starts to hit on them or say how cute they are.  Come back with a sharp comeback or tell them to go fuck themselves and leave the room.  You wouldn't want their money anyway.

That's how she has always been in person. She gave me a piece of her mind the first time I met her. And she's been doing that to me it ever since. I love her for it. And I am absolutely certain that the women (and men) she works with love her for her "fierce" attitude too.

The Gotham Gal blog had a big part in making all of that come together for her. The back to back posts this week telling women to be fierce and how to make macaroons for passover represents a fairly unique media property but that's how she rolls and it's her voice.

Finding your voice doesn't just mean blogging by the way. I'm watching a good friend get involved at a high level in a big time political campaign and I can see how energizing it is for him. I'm watching my partner Brad finding a way to engage in advocacy that he has cared deeply about for years. I'm watching dozens of entrepreneurs start companies with a goal of changing the way the world works for the better.

But blogging can help achieve all of these voice finding exercises. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Blogging/commenting/social media is the talk part. And I encourage everyone out there to leverage the Internet as you find your voice, make an impact, and find your way in this world.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Joe Yevoli

    Very cool post today, Fred.  Finding your voice is not easy.  I struggle with an ‘internal critic’ everyday.  It’s comforting to see you write: “I was 42 years old when I started blogging” means I’ve got some time to find mine!All I’ve wanted to do with my life is help people, which is one of the reasons I’ve started the NYC Tech Blood Drive –…  Maybe running that will be a way to ‘find my voice’.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a perfect example of how to find your voice. and you can use the internet to help you drive the NYC Tech Blood Drive.

      1. Joe Yevoli has been great for that. And, before the next drive we’ll get the Twitter account up and running!

  2. Khalid

    Good Morning Fred,I sent you an email yesterday, and i hope i am gonna get an answer from you.I don’t mean to make any disturbanceIt is just an entrepreneur persistence.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for letting me know. i will go fish it out and reply.

      1. Khalid

        Thank you.The email you replied to is from March 9. The email I mean is from yesterday  April 11 2012.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      and that my friend is called Finding the Voice   and  Making it heard.Good one and good luck Khalid

      1. Khalid

        Thank you Kasi.You know, Fred is a very busy person, and this is the only way to get his attention.

  3. andyswan

    I am happier now that I am bloggin it out again

    1. awaldstein

      Enjoying your posts. A morning pictogram on Tumblr from you gets read daily.

    2. William Mougayar

      What’s the trick for doing it daily? I have been trying to get my daily groove back, but the operational necessities of the business keep pulling me away.

      1. Rohan

        Do it @ 530am. No operational necessities then. Only yawns. 😉

        1. William Mougayar

          But you’re not running a company. You’re working for one, right?

          1. Guest

            I don’t run a company, I’m an independent consultant. But, I find it easy to blog informally. See my blog. I sit down and write that with no outline or rough drafts, etc. I just let the words flow.Writing business related whitepapers or other formal pieces can be difficult. But, it’s important to make sure they are done correclty which just inherently brings with it some difficulty in getting the words to flow.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            finishing college at night, grad school, parenthood and then self-employment changed time for me forever…between midnight and 6:00 can be very productive times…was one of the initial reasons I loved having startups as clients — we were on the same schedule!

          3. William Mougayar

            How many hours of sleep do you get by?

          4. Donna Brewington White

            I am not proud of this and am working on changing but I probably average 4 – 5 hours.

          5. William Mougayar

            Make it 5-then 6-7. Work never ends. It expands and takes the time you allot for it.

        2. K_Berger

          I find 5:30 am to be a great time for getting operational things done, probably for the same reason it is ideal for blogging.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            And a great time to be on

      2. michaelgalpert

        recently i’ve set a bet with 2 separate friends who want to share their thoughts daily. We are competing against and supporting each other to sustain the longest streak.At first the key is not to get hung up on the content. Focus on sharing your thoughts daily in any which form. if you care about quality it will naturally shine over time so dont focus on that just yet.

        1. William Mougayar

          Thanks for your thoughts. That makes sense. I just have to get my groove back.What is the link for your blog? I will check it out.

    3. Alexander Close

      Enjoyin the format, the picture addendum is usually a big “win”.

    4. fredwilson

      you are killing it. andy and i discussed your post today for 10 minutes

  4. Ruth BT

    Loved GG’s post because I am also at the place she was – moving from being just Mommy. I’ve always had a lot to say – about a lot of things. But how to refine this, distill the essence to actually communicate meaningful thoughtful things? I love coming to AVC everyday and hearing you all speak (you all have different voices and accents BTW!). Through your words and discussions I am learning so much about what it means to put it out there and commit to a position. Thanks Fred!

    1. Guest

      “… distill the essence to actually communicate meaningful thoughtful things”I agree. It’s important to be sure you display good content.

  5. Cam MacRae

    It’s a bit dismal that we need to champion the idea that you can be a mom and an impactful person in the world – my hope is that GG and other fierce (in any sense) women are soon able to put to rest any notion to contrary.Edited for clarity (I knew what I meant, dammit).

    1. JamesHRH

      parenting and being an impactful person outside of the home is tough – and its not gender based.hard to have 2 impactful lives going while not dropping the ball on the most important part….

      1. Cam MacRae

        …I reckon raising the odd rug rat into a well adjusted adult is pretty bloody impactful.

        1. Guest

          “…raising the odd rug rat into a well adjusted adult …”But that’s settling for less. Raising a child to become a leader and an inspiration to others is what you should strive to achieve.

    2. kidmercury

      i don’t think it’s that dismal. for two reasons:1. moms ARE impactful people. i would go so far as to say moms are the most impactful people in the world. 2. it does not seem to be an easy job and i’m glad i don’t have to do it! if some superwomen can do a great job at both, more power to them. if the mortals out there decide to focus on one, more power to them as well. 

      1. Cam MacRae

        We agree. Possible my antipodean English has confused the message.

        1. kidmercury

          lol well you def confused me with the word antipodean…..i had to look that up 🙂

          1. Cam MacRae


      2. leigh

        omg hardest job in the world.  

        1. Guest

          Logic dictates that being a father is the hardest job. A mother gets a connection to the child from giving birth. The father does not, he has to build that from scratch.But, I don’t like to look at things that way. I think what’s important is to build the best relationship with the child that you can. If mom or dad works the most then that relationship may be less than the stay at home parent. So what, build the best relationship you can with the circumstances how they are!Don’t look at the negatives. Look at the positives. You have the opportunity to be a great influence in a child’s life. Be the best you can be! If circumstances make that difficult you’re not alone good people around the globe are struggling daily to be the best they can at whatever they are doing.

    3. FlavioGomes

      Being a mom is impactful in itself. I would argue more so than anything else.

      1. Cam MacRae

        Yep. Which is why it’s a shocking indictment on the kind of society we’ve created that this fact needs championing.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      Two points:(1) Motherhood is important. Done well, there’s a lot to it.How much? For one point, some of the parts include emotional, verbal, moral, ethical, psychological, social, mechanical, artistic, rational, mathematical, scientific, technical, literary, political, and athletic development. Did I mention there’s a lot to it?For another point, now by a wide margin one of the best approaches to K-12 education is home schooling, say, through the International Baccalaureate program or something similar. For example, for a child with some special talent and interest, e.g., math (Fefferman now at Princeton), music (say, violin, e.g., http://www.carolinegoulding…C. Goulding), sports, software, etc., home schooling will let them concentrate on their interest without distraction or negative peer pressure. But doing home schooling well is a challenge and should have a mother with a quite good overview of both child development and education. Important? Yes. Trivial? No. Did I mention there’s a lot to it?Broadly, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”.(2) For impacting the world, apparently there is a common theme among many US women that needs some examination:Impacting the world mostly has to mean changing people. Okay, but the first person to change is oneself. For a mother, the next people to change are her children.Then with time, energy, and money left over, she might help change the people in her neighborhood. Once she has done well there she might expand to some aspects of, say, her town, town hall, public schools, public health, etc. As her children grow, she can do a lot for her grandchildren. With all those done well and with more time, energy, and money left over … too rare to consider!Yes, Bill and Melinda Gates are an exception, but so is their $50 billion or so fortune. My take is that the goal is really Melinda’s and the ability is really Bill’s! With the $50 billion, Bill may conclude he doesn’t have anything better to do than to help Melinda with her goal of saving the world!Blunt fact: Broadly the world is a big thing and has to continue on almost entirely based on whatever laws of economics, psychology, sociology, politics, science, natural resources, etc. that are relevant. A mother or any individual has little hope of “impacting” the world beyond just their family and local community.Next, no one is obligated to impact the world. The world will be a better place as people are better, one at a time, starting in the home driven by motherhood, one home with one mother at a time.Or, to perfect the world, clearly it is necessary to perfect the people in it. But having the people perfected is, as far as we know, about all we can do to perfect the world. Further, as far as we know, the best way to perfect people is one at a time, in the home, with good motherhood. Net, to perfect the world, it is essentially both necessary and sufficient to perfect motherhood.Or, it can appear that many women believe that making good changes in their own home is too difficult and a better way is to change the whole world and let that work implement the changes in her own home as a special case. Laughably hopeless.For a person to be determined to take on the whole world and reach out thousands of miles away is essentially a waste.Somehow it has become common for US women to be convinced that they are obligated to save the world or at least the poor people, the whales, the good ozone, the something or other. Why? Maybe some thousands of years ago some women, say, ones who had lost their husbands, got reproductive advantage by some altruistic dedication to the welfare of the tribe, or maybe the orphans in the tribe, or some such. So now it is common for women to go so far as reciprocal responsibility where they dedicate themselves to serving the world and expect that, then, the world will care for them. Maybe 40,000 years ago some tribe did, but now the world nearly never will.In particular, when a woman enters or returns to the world of work, that world, for both men and women, is mostly a generalization of someone serving hamburgers at McDonald’s: Do the work; please a customer who gets to eat the hamburger without the effort of making it; take in the money; and put the money in the family checking account. It’s an economic exchange based mostly on achieving economic productivity via work specialization. The effort is an exchange and not altruism or charity.Maybe a good mother would not serve high saturated fat food to her own children; fine. But at McDonald’s the workers are serving the public, not their own families, and there giving the public what it wants.Then with the money, spend it on more such economic exchanges for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care, recreation, insurance against risk, education, and retirement. Some totally altruistic, reciprocal responsibility effort to save the world as a whole is not nearly the same thing.Why such economic exchanges? Because a person can learn a few of land surveying, excavation, pouring concrete, masonry, framing carpentry, roofing, plumbing, electricity, HVAC, finish carpentry, dry wall, painting, interior decorating, landscaping, parts of manufacturing windows, doors, carpets, furniture, cars, software, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, dermatology, opthalmology, dentistry, and on and on but NOT all of them. So, we specialize and then exchange. The system is not altruistic giving but an economic exchange.For the giving, that’s mostly just within the family and creates bonds that are very valuable, within a family but not across the world.

    5. K_Berger

      Two of the most impactful things you can be are also the ones that tend to get the least respect: Mothers (or parents, if you will) and Teachers. 

  6. awaldstein

    I would take this further.Whether it be blogging or some other form, being successful and feeling comfortable with your own point of view and expression are intertwined.We don’t live in a world dictated by facts as much as by expression and opinion. Finding your voice is not an option.For businesses this is as critical and even more difficult.Finding communications comfort on the social web for businesses is the great gotcha of commerce and community.The connection between entrepreneurs who can self express and the success of their companies to find a market are in many cases closely aligned.

    1. Tom Labus

      There’s a serious clash coming in the business world since holding your tongue is essential for survival.

      1. awaldstein

        Really interested in the gap, especially in small businesses, between how we personally use the social web and how we figure out how to get our businesses to do so effectively.

      2. Aaron Klein

        I’ve decided to try and be a revolutionary on this. Being authentic and real has value too. So when Chris Dixon tweets something snarky about rich people voting for Romney, I just go ahead and reply “oh, I had never pegged you as a Romney voter.”All jokes aside, I’ve been in that kind of environment before and it’s an unhealthy place to be. If I ever work for someone else again, they will know that I have a voice and point of view on politics, solving poverty, education and investing…and I’m not afraid to use it.

        1. Tom Labus


        2. JamesHRH

          Authentic is one thing.Inappropriate is another.Dickhead is a third.And everyone gets to move the lines around to where they like them, so its a tough act to pull off.

          1. Aaron Klein

            Very true. Authentic isn’t cool if it sucks. I hope that my respect for viewpoints other than mine shines through.

  7. Matt A. Myers

    Fred, you are doing/using it well, you are making a difference.For myself, I want to start blogging more regularly so people can ‘hear my voice’ and get a better feel for who I am overall, and can allow for dialogue to open and hear others thoughts so I can contrast it to my own – and learn what I need from it, though I’ve not had enough time quite yet. I feel I’m getting more organized and more productive where I could potentially do a daily post. They’d range from web technology, to health and yoga, to local politics, to my personal life..I very much know my path now. It’s just a matter of getting all of the ducks in a row / aligning what needs aligned, and just keep doing. I enjoy every day more and more. AVC helps make that day, so thank you for all your years of work taking the time to cultivate the community here. Thanks goes out to all of the great people on here too, many who I’ve been fortunate enough to have met (even a few times!), and whom without I’d not be where I am today – nor where I will be tomorrow and a decade from now.Edit: I feel like adding to this. I make comments around the web, and I do have a bunch of draft blog posts written up that I’ll get back to to polish at some point. One thing I’ve been working on more though is finding my real voice, by commenting and talking to people more about what I do, and interacting more with people, even strangers and getting into conversations with them. It’s becoming a fun and enjoyable process finding myself, finding my passions, discovering my path. 🙂

  8. JimHirshfield

    Almost left me speechless ;-)Many inspirational conversations have started here. Looking forward to many more.Thanks for writing and listening.

  9. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I have heard of “Walk the talk and Talk the walk” … do what you say and say what you do… but what you mention sounds different. does it mean the same?

  10. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Love it. It would be fascinating if Joanne and Helen were to meet 😉

  11. Yuck Fou

    Could you blog the next you fuckher so we all know how good she is?

    1. JamesHRH

      Go climb back under your rock, you cretin.

      1. Yuck Fou

        No I really want to know how if she’s a good mommy.

      2. Rohan

        First rule of dealing with losers: Ignore them, we must.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          True, though it’s a strong signal reminding us that people acting without accountability exist, and hopefully is an issue that becomes addressed.The kind of comment above is relatively harmless, though if someone is someone is shouting defamatory things or other more scary things then it would be good to have a net to catch them.. I understand the dangers of having such a system, though that didn’t stop the Patriot Act from happening or what unfolded from it based on law enforcement’s “interpretation” of it all.

          1. Rohan

            There will always be people acting without accountability as long as they have an audience.Just downvote, ignore, move on.We can’t get rid of the morons from the world. We can choose to get rid of them from our lives.

          2. JamesHRH

            Ignore. Shun. Shun w Malice.I am a third rail guy.

  12. Fernando Gutierrez

    GG’s blog is amazing. It’s the only place where I’ve discussed about things like preparing sangria or starting a company and it was always appropriate.

  13. FlavioGomes

    I’m just glad you started this blog. Its delivered a tremendous amount of value to me both personally and professionally. It’s the place on the web where I do the most talking. (that metric also seems to be shared by others here) Its helped me reduce my fear of being frank and honest -finding a voice- in a public forum.Thanks for finding your voice Fred!

    1. Tom Labus

      That people feel comfortable/secure enough at AVC that they can find their voice here is its greatest asset.

  14. Roger Ellman

    Comforting. Always, never faills, have something to say myself! Same condition, different voice!Taking a look askance at things to say: one of several things I “want” people to say and truth be told (which it should be!), I often want to say, is the two words – Thank You.So thank you for writing this.Is that all? No! To make easy work of saying thank you, I created as a fun and warm-thrill-of-pleasure place to do so. Hope you don’t mind me flagrantly mentioning it?

  15. MaryAnn Bekkedahl

    Another wonderful societal impact of the Internet – great points today. What advice would you give to the 20-something’s who’ve ONLY found their voice on the Internet and don’t have the interpersonal communication skills that seemingly are still important in business? I interview so many young people who struggle with real-time f2f communications.

    1. Timothy Meade

      Speaking as a something, that’s one of those a lot of us are still working on. I find that I’m more expressive in writing than has translated into the interpersonal space but I’m constantly being test and challeged on the latter.I’m not sure an online intermediary would help in this situation but I’ve been working off and one on something to make the act of finding a job a social experience, and help people my age and younger come together to that end.

  16. Humberto

    … And we thank you for your voice.I’d say around 20% of your posts are great lessons for my career and an extra 20% more to my personal life – i loved to read you saying on weekedays you finish working around 6-7pm, a while ago. those have an instantaneous impact on methe remaining 60% are great news, little bits of info that my brain will somehow learn to make use of… or not..40% of instant brain-juice is very very good.but i still strugle with blogging as a voice platform. it’s too much time based, you write and it goes away.. kind of like a facebook timeline.. there’s hardly any intelligence beyond the person Fred. I wonder if we’ll ever have something that retains information from post to post – besides links. maybe weighted links or sumly or whatever. i lost my train of thought.thanks for avc.

  17. kidmercury

    i became a kook because of the internet and expressing my inner kook by constantly mentioning 9/11 — by finding people who are happy and smiling and enjoying life and clearly not thinking about 9/11, and reminding them of it — has provided me with great spiritual satisfaction. there is a ted talk from a while back where the guy said the internet is ultimately a spiritual thing and like religion. i totally agree. 9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Let’s make sure we keep it (the internet) secular…

      1. kidmercury

        secularism is just a religion (aka belief system) too… the end of the day everything is based on faith…..or trust, if you prefer another word…….

        1. John Best

          I suspect we’d end up arguing semantics – but whilst secularism is a belief, it’s not a religion.

          1. kidmercury

            sure, however you’d like to phrase it. at the end of the day everything boils down to belief. a higher power, your family, your entrepreneurial vision, stuff you read in a science book…..whatever. the internet is a vehicle for expressing our faith, our beliefs……the more we use this vehicle the stronger our beliefs are likely to be come……will this empower us in a way? i believe it will

          2. John Best

            Agreed.I also agree about the Kook bit. Seeing how someone reacts when they’re off balance is very telling. Say provocative things gets me in trouble sometimes, but the information is always useful.

    2. Alex Murphy

      Kooks make the world go round, keep it up

    3. FlavioGomes

      Kooks have a way of stiring up anxiety and neuroticism in me, but I always find them fascinating. Your contribution on avc has warmed me up to letting that small slice of kookiness in me speak now and then.

  18. LIAD


    1. Matt A. Myers

      Highly tweetable comment

    2. Alex Murphy

      Lion meet Dinosaur.

    3. fredwilson

      nice soundtrack for my post. thanks

  19. John Best

    For me, this touches on the previous stuff about online identity. Expressing yourself online under an alias or otherwise is (given that you won’t meet the majority of people reading your words) the way that you will be known and judged. Finding, and indeed choosing the voice you put out there is not just how your personal brand (not sure I like that term, but I’ll run with it) is seen, its how the silent masses are informed by you and importantly ABOUT you.There is, of course, the flip side of that.Whatever you choose to express is recorded in near perpetuity for public consumption. Negativity is just as indelible as positivity.

  20. Rohan

    For all those who have been thinking/have gotten inspired to think about doing a regular (read: daily or close) blog, the truth, of course, is that the picture is not likely to be as rosy as either Fred or Joanne’s blogs in terms of engagement and impact. Social media is extremely useful if you are already famous in some way, shape or form.That said, the whole experience is a great lesson in building things. Not just great. Fantastic. You build readers/followers one at a time, probably get a fair bit of criticism every time you err (that stings real hard) and you learn that nothing great is built without patience.In my eyes, the greatest learnings/impact is not so much on the world as a whole but on ourselves. Being able to discipline ourselves to sit down every morning and write something of value – that’s life changing. Like meditation. Observation, not old age, brings wisdom after all.In short, you may get started doing it to find your voice. But, it’ll end up doing a lot more than that if you let it. Of course, you can’t be in it to do it for 10,000 page views a day. You do it because you care.. and it’ll show.‘Often we spend all our time thinking how we can change situations instead of letting them change us.’

    1. awaldstein

      Rohan….Need to qualify what you are saying.Sure, communications platforms are always great for those with an existent brand to amplify. But to say that the social web is best utilized by those with fame already is an assumption I don’t share.It is unimaginable to create a company today and not figure out how to use social loops and dynamic engagement to build your early community and market.Sure there is a lot of noise. Sure, brand cuts through it like a knife at times. But the magic of the web is that it’s possible (and necessary) as a platform for anyone to discover that niche and connections.Democratizing communication is the core of what this is about. Finding your voice is the prerequisate personally or corporately to playing on this field successfully.

      1. Rohan

        Hi Arnold, I think we are more or less in agreement and I see where you are coming from.I didn’t say that the social web is ‘best utilized’ by those with fame. I described it as ‘extremely useful’ for the famous and stand by that.There are millions of blogs out there who are still attempting to find their niche and find connection – it’s just not easy and takes years to build a readership unless you get a windfall/lucky break somehow. And it’s easy to look at all the super star bloggers and think it is so. That’s why my note to all who are likely to be inspired by this post to start/restart blogging to look beyond blogging just as a marketing exercise.It could be more than just that.. if you let it.As for the rest, I am completely sold.. hence, the daily blog. 🙂

        1. awaldstein


    2. LE

      the picture is not likely to be as rosy as either Fred or Joanne’s blogs in terms of engagement and impact. Social media is extremely useful if you are already famous in some way, shape or form.One of the things I’ve notice from the people that make comments here is that the older commenters tend to talk about things that happen that they’ve experienced, sprinkled with things they’ve learned, while the younger people tend to ask questions about things they don’t understand or they wished weren’t so ( @shanacarp ) . And of course talk about things they’ve recently learned  ( @rrohan189:disqus   ). (Your blog is also an example of that from what I can tell.) And then of course there is @kidmercury:disqus and @sigmaalgebra:disqus What would make your blog unique is to know what your questions and experience with the world is or what the perspective of your age group is.  That’s one of the reasons I read this blog. I want to hear and learn from all the different perspectives. I think that’s the value you could provide that could be unique to build your audience.

      1. Rohan

        True that. Nice observation LE.I guess it is a natural thing for the youngsters to ask questions and reflect on learnings since there isn’t much in the way of experience. 🙂

        1. Koslow

          Exactly why I’m here. I chime in when I can. 

      2. ShanaC

        Since it still passover – and this is why seders are so smart. Lots of asking and answering of questions and discussions of experience.

      3. Andrew Hoydich

        “That’s one of the reasons I read this blog. I want to hear and learn from all the different perspectives.”So simple and kind of cliche, but so trueFrom day one (which wasn’t very long ago) avc earned my appreciation, respect, and gratitude. There is such a sense of balance here. Avc is a community made up of radically different people that no matter what wish to co-exist. Occasionally I have come across a conversation that gets a little heated but overall no one wishes to dominate anyone else. It’s about accepting the fact that everyone has something to say and that value can be found in it all.

      4. Andrew Hoydich

        hey so i replied to your reply to me, but i couldn’t reply directly to you cuz you were on the last layer of comments, so I don’t know if you are going to get a notification. if you search for this you will find it…one thing that I can’t stand about disqus….To quickly expand on my comment, the reason why I have evil in quotes

  21. laurie kalmanson

    #awesomeblogging: you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to publishfinding an audience: look at the content here, and look at the community

    1. William Mougayar

      Exactly. Every one is a publisher now with a voice.

  22. rikardlinde

    Hey I’m 42 and started blogging actively a couple of weeks ago:-D My voice is in swedish though so I guess I’m the only one here who will enjoy it, heh. Thanks Fred for reminding us about this and for expressing your true self.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      “Swedish”?  GREAT!  Now that we’ve got you here, maybe we can get an answer to the pressing question most of the rest of the world is so eager to have answered: Is the Swedish bikini team really as good as the rest of us imagine?

  23. Brad

    I have often said that the Internet has to hurt the psych industry. There is now a place for everyone to be heard, twitter, fb, blogging, etc. Somewhere someplace people are posting and their voice is being heard and it creates a validation for them. It is good therapy, with an idea exchange that benefits all.

    1. William Mougayar

      Internet publishing as therapy. True.I publish, therefore I exist.

        1. William Mougayar

          That’s a long but interesting read. I have it in my Read Later pile. Thanks!

          1. Dale Allyn

            Yes, William, it is long, but it brings up some interesting points. It’s sort of fascinating to read such perspectives, factor in the “F.O.M.A.” point of view, add our own personal feelings, etc. 

    2. JamesHRH


      1. Brad

        Glad you found the humor in my comment.

        1. JamesHRH

          Its just so true…..I picture a psychiatric convention with people moaning over cocktails about hoe WordPress is putting them out of business…..

  24. William Mougayar

    This is the beginning of the Age of Online Advocacy. The conversational aspect of the social/media/online web is becoming more and more impactful each day.Key Question: Is your online world a reflection of the physical one, or is the physical world becoming more of a reflection of online?I met Fred Wilson, the blogger, the VC, the online persona way before I met him in person. I met several of you the same way. And I have yet to meet several more.Online is a natural way to self-express yourself, and your online image carries itself into the real world.

    1. ShanaC

      I’ve often wondered how much the personalities I’ve met online differ from their real life personas…

      1. FlavioGomes

        I would guess what you are seeing online is a refinement of character because they have the opportunity to think about what’s being said vs f2f where the filters may not react as quickly. Im not suggesting that Refinement is necessarily the better kind in all instances btw.I’d also assume that if a pseudonym is being used you’d see a lot more experimentation and provocateuring and hence popularity.

      2. Guest

        Wouldn’t that depend on the person? Some people aren’t theirself in a public setting. Many people tend to like to go somewhere quiet to talk. It let’s them be theirself.

  25. markslater

    if this blog were hyde park corner, we’d all been standing on our own little soap boxes thanks to your efforts and committment. 

    1. William Mougayar

      And there would groups around each that move around from one to another and sometimes the person in the soap box is also part of the crowd. It’s a convoluted thing.

      1. Timothy Meade

        Turntable for comments?

  26. jimmystone

    Wow! Great post. Thanks to you for making this such an interesting blog and to everyone else for making it inclusive.

  27. Louis Chatriot

    On top of making my voice heard, blogging also helps me organize my thoughts and really understand what I blog about.  Before starting an article, I fell like I exactly know what I want to talk about, and how to talk about it. Then I start writing, and realize that half of what I thought is wrong and that I struggle to write the other half. This definitely helps me think about my projects.

  28. Barry Nolan

    Some months back, somebody linked to a pdf of all your posts.  A sortta Fred Wilson wayback machine.  Your adolescence – halting, unsure, staccato.  Yet two weeks ago, Tony Soprano – “They are dead to me. Dead and gone. I hate them now.” – of the Yahoo! eulogy. Me like me Tony

    1. fredwilson

      i am a work in progress. i hope to always be

  29. testtest

    in a world awash with information it’s easy to get swept along. a buzz felt as one story finishes and another breaks. perpetually jumping.too many facts leave little room for contemplation. it’s the thinking that makes the difference. how does the information fit the current situation? how can ideas be pulled together?without thinking it’s easy to become a parrot: reciting back hot news. i’ve fallen prey to it myself. it creates a lack of understanding with the appearance of problems demand new solutions. a news snippit or meme is unlikely to help in the creation of the most suitable solution. more likely, the factoid forgotten and not compiled down into gut feel.individual facts floating lead to confusion not enlightenment–one seemingly conflicting with another. perhaps it’s the joining of facts that become more important. the narrative created to make sense of the world.taking time to think seems worthwhile: accepting encyclopaedic knowledge may not be the goal after all.

  30. William Mougayar

    This calls for a little poem…It’s called RejoiceRejoiceFind your voiceThe Internet is your friendSocial media is your blendBlog comments are your lifeDiscussions is what you strifeBlog every single dayTo keep your troubles awayTake what you learnedRe-blog it if you yearnedIf you comment every hourYou will feel the powerYour relationships will flowerYou will be on top of a towerOriginal or truthfulFun or youthfulAdvocate, mitigateBut don’t imitateRejoice, RejoiceThe Internet is your voice

    1. Alex Murphy

      You need to add Poet to your bio line.This is great.

      1. William Mougayar

        Ha! It takes inspiration to write a poem, and this community provides it.

    2. testtest

      ubiquity, he whispers to meit means we all have a deviceadding content at little priceemotion crashing upon an electric shorefrozen in timeideas adornedideas made pretty with electric decorthe city of souls population allalways present and not at alla more textured voice each passing daynot just what we sayhow we say. in what waythe formthe shapethe context inthe history of our fellow kinwhat does the very future holda running program from the past we toldonce meek thoughts bundled togetherto create the essence of each forever

      1. William Mougayar

        Nice reply Chris!

        1. JamesHRH

          Really? That’s enough with the Renaissance Man stuff you two.Feel like WC Fields coming on stage after the dog & kid act!

          1. William Mougayar

            We’re all just a big band.

          2. testtest

            i prefer Renaissance Man to homo economicus.i found it a nice way to think about the future–thanks to William for getting that started.the last part is my favourite. thinking about how layers on top of the internet are increasingly executable: the executable web. people have liberated so much, giving individuals voice in different mediums, and yet programmers are the only people who can truly express themselves in executables.

          3. Timothy Meade

            @disqus:chrishuntisI’ve long though what the web is missing is an executable primative.What would happen if we could upload logic into a cloud with a datastore of Google scale?Great poem, seems patterned on something classic but reminds me of Brautigan (invented open source before Stallman’s movement or close to it)

    3. Matt A. Myers

      A smile developed and got wider and wider as I read further!Thank you for giving me a big delightful smile. 🙂

    4. JLM

      Pick your music, dude, and rap it. This is a rap not a poem.Dude!

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s a great idea!

        1. fredwilson

          my son can supply the beats

          1. William Mougayar

            Bring it on.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            And mine can do the vocal.

      2. William Mougayar

        It started with the poem in mind, but it ended like a rap tune.

    5. FlavioGomes

      Is this yours William?

      1. William Mougayar

        You mean- did I write it? Yes, took about 15 mins.

    6. Donna Brewington White

      This is precious, William.Way to put it out there, dude.Maintenant, en Francais.

  31. leigh

    Ah I could write so much here….rant on!I think it’s very intimidating for women to find their voice.  People who know me would be shocked at how hard it was for me when I did my tech startup to start putting my person out there.  I was someone who did the work – who was Sr and an innovator at the Agency i worked for but who didn’t (by choice) raise my personal profile in the community at large (which by the way, i now see as silly).  The first comment I ever made was here at AVC.  I think i spent an hour crafting it and it probably took me even longer to push the post button.  From there my own blog and getting more and more comfortable every day (although i still have days where i think – crap, why did i say that????)So why?  While i think the world is changing I don’t think growing up, women with opinions were particularly valued. They were loud mouths, made people visibly uncomfortable, often considered abrasive and most definitely seen as unsexy. Smart wasn’t something most boys in my high school were looking for and the places of power were considered off limits to me within the context of my own father (the boys learned how to golf as one example and i was not welcomed).To come into a working world it’s hard to know what you should say or how you should act with that as your growing up context.  There are less role models then we would like, and I for one, probably became a bit of a bull in a China shop at first.  Getting older has the double effect of giving yourself more experience but also coming into your own as a person and finding that voice (oh thank gd for my 30’s and now early 40’s).  Realizing where the lines are in the world, and making the conscious choice which of them you give a crap about and which ones you don’t and all the repercussions that come with that.In part because of all of this, I see it as part of my life’s mission to help the next generation of women get there a lot faster then i did.  We need more mentors, more role models and more women who get to the top of the ladder, get the money and the power and use it to allow for platforms of female voices to be heard (and not just the loudest ones).  I’ve always thought the only way to change the ratio is to personally help pave and pay the way for it.  ok rant over.I think…..  

    1. William Mougayar

      And it shouldn’t be harder for women than it is for men. It should be the same.

      1. Guest

        It is the same. Men and women both have the same struggles. Being better today then you were yesterday is just as difficult for men as it is for women.Someone who tries to create problems for you or who do things to keep you down aren’t a friend. But they aren’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem is learning to keep youself focused on your goals and forgetting about hateful people.There is always some obstacle in front of people. Today it’s a hater, next it will be the need to educate yourself on a new topic, or whatever. Don’t focus on the problem focus on a solution.

      2. leigh

        I think my generation was still being brought up by a generation of parents who were either somewhat traditional or as in my mom’s case – someone who was in transition of becoming who she wanted to become or realized she could be. It’s like the evolution of the Internet — those who weren’t brought up with it who go online, and those that never knew life without it where it’s just always there. like air.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I recently tweeted “One thing I appreciate about my parents is they never said my dreams were crazy. Except Dad said I should learn to type just in case.”Then I realized that Dad never suggested that my brothers learn to type.But, then, I realized that he never suggested that I join the Army to help me grow up (which is exactly what he suggested to each of his sons — from three marriages).And now that I live on a computer and the internet and am pretty much paperless, my typing skills give me a slight advantage. The funny thing is the only reason I took Dad’s advice is that I wanted to be a writer.I have to say Dad was right. My first job did involve a typing test. I was a terrible typist then but they liked my smile. I was quickly promoted to a job writing job descriptions and my boss hired someone to type them. (We’re talking many years ago.)And a guy took over my secretarial job.What a world.

          1. leigh

            great story 🙂 you really should come visit toronto some day soon.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I would LOVE that!

      3. JamesHRH

        My wife and I have been discussing Sheryl Sandberg (do not get me started, as I think I have a lot to learn on this one, still).It basically comes down to gender stereotyping. Culturally, NA has many different gender paradigms, when you stop and think about it.Europe & Asia too, I imagine.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      “Women with opinions” have long had likely the greatest value and attractiveness, but it matters how good the opinions are and, thus, likely what the subjects are! A girl likely won’t be much interested in the details of a Lenco transmission, but many boys would mow lawns for a month for the chance at just a glance at the internals of a Lenco! So, when it comes to talking about a Lenco, a girl’s opinion might not count for much!A way for a girl, young woman, or woman to have very highly valued opinions is to understand some of what boys, young men, and men are struggling with, especially with respect to females, and to voice opinions that will help the males.In particular, females totally blow away males on sympathy, empathy, emotional intelligence, emotional sensitivity, and insight into what others are feeling. No contest. Then giving the corresponding “opinions” to males can put the female high above the top of the stack in attractiveness for a large fraction of the most desirable males.E.g., I had some good SAT and GRE math scores, “honors” in math as an undergraduate, and then, as a result, with NSF funding did a summer in math at Vanderbilt. That summer the campus was heavily a culture of football, and soon I was a target of harassment from the football culture (I am 6′ 3″ so large enough for football but have never had much interest in athletics).But, one of the students in the math program was a young woman, plenty good at math, with rock solid social understanding and skills, who had gotten her Bachelor’s at Vanderbilt and knew all the football guys. She was not very pretty, but she understood campus society thoroughly and had been a leader in that society.So, she saw my situation, said a few words to some of the football guys, and got me off the target list.Had I been looking for a wife at the time, she would have been first on the list; considering the many drop dead gorgeous women in Tennessee at the time, I’m showing that opinions can totally blow the doors off even Miss America physical beauty (and one girl I dated, natural blond, perfect face and figure, terrific smile, made most of the Miss America women look like, well, not very good!).More generally, a human female, e.g., viaDeborah Tannen, ‘You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation’, William Morrow and Company, New York, ISBN 0-688-07822-2, awash in information denied to males but at times very useful to males. Then for a female to give a male opinions that communicate that information can be very attractive.For more, Tannen learned fromErving Goffman, ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’, Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, least the author, likely also the book, and for understanding that rather obscure text females have one heck of a long head start on males. E.g., that subject is one that nearly all US girls have worked hard on and done well with while most US boys were not even aware that there was such a subject! The girls are masters at the game, and the boys didn’t even know there was a game! For a female to help a male through that subject would often put her at the top of the list of “can I take you to dinner and a movie Saturday?”.For something really simple, all through K-12 and the SAT Verbal test, on average and in a large fraction of cases, the females blow away the males. When I turned in a term paper in English, I got a B on content and a C on style, at best, without even a clue about what I’d done wrong. One reason I liked math was my proofs were rock solid, and that was enough. A girl my age who would have read my English paper and given me her opinions on what I’d done wrong would have jumped to the top of my most desirable list right away.In particular, in proceeding with a romantic relationship, boys and young men are really fumbling, bumbling lovers in training. Rarely could a young man write a clear essay on what relationship they want and why. The basic lessons are not very complicated, and young women have a great head start on understanding. So, with that understanding she has an opportunity to voice opinions that can provide the best guidance to the relationship and make it good, appropriate, etc.For the top 10% of boys and young men, a girl or young woman with correct weight, appropriate hair, good selection of clothes, with good social skills, and good opinions that can help the boys or young men she knows goes to the top 10% of the top 1% right away.

      1. Guest

        “Women with opinions” have long had likely the greatest value and attractiveness…”Opinions are like assholes, we all have one. What matters most is whether or not someone’s opinion comes from who they are or who they think everyone wants them to be.I like women who are non-aggressive and kind. It shows they are strong and can withstand the world’s propensity to make people hateful. I struggle to be a non-aggressive and highly intelligent person. I work hard to “be me” and keep hate and aggression out of my life.One important point is to be sure we don’t mistake aggression for drive or determination.

      2. JamesHRH

        I like women with commitment. I like men with commitment too.Whatever you do, take it seriously (you can take your role seriously & defend it to be effective, but no taking yourself seriously).Family / not; change the world / just have fun; help others / just make a pile of cash. I am indifferent to the what – that’s your choice, have at it.I care about the How & the Why though.And, please, no crying, trying, shying or whying. Make your choices, roll your dice, enjoy what comes, learn what you can, find your voice, meet the obligations you make.Life is a good gig if you commit to it.PS – commitment is not passion. Passion is a feeling. Commitment is an obligation.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I was responding to leigh’s:> While i think the world is changing I don’t think growing up, women with opinions were particularly valued.US society seems to be struggling with much about what the role of women should be. Broadly it is better if she can make good contributions, as my father said, “be useful as well as ornamental”. She comes fully equipped with a brain, and it is better if makes good use of it. In that case, she will have to think and have opinions.At some traditional, high end, French restaurants, the guy who filled the water glasses could be expected never to say anything, but everyone else from the waiter to the sommelier and the Maitre d’ had and voiced opinions. For a women never to voice opinions has her like the guy who gets the water, and that will nearly always be a big waste.So, I wanted to argue that women should have and voice opinions, that, and especially on some subjects, their opinions should be “particularly valued”.But, opinions or not, life still has some dangers that can get in the way of your “Life is a good gig if you commit to it.”. Your “commitment” and “meet the obligations you make” can defend against some of those dangers.In particular, for some of the dangers, in this thread Cam MacRae wrote> It’s a bit dismal that we need to champion the idea that you can be a mom and an impactful person in the worldand I responded in…saying that motherhood was important and, if done well, does make a mother “impactful” and warned against the dangers of trying to save the world far from one’s own life or home. Elsewhere in the tree under Cam MacRae’s post it appears that Cam MacRae, leigh, kidmercury, and FlavioGomes, and you largely agree with me.But in the influences on US women this save the world goal is relentless, far too commonly from a distraction down to a disaster and a grand case of being irresponsible to “obligations”. I’m emphasizing this issue because it is so common and so often so destructive.In simple terms, there are persistent, pervasive, relentless influences on US women to save the world, to be Madame Curie and Mother Teresa first and wives and mothers no more than second and more likely way down on the list. Motherhood is commonly trivialized, and that’s one of the main reasons for the fact that people of Western European descent are not reproducing fast enough to keep up their numbers and are actually dying out.Trivializing motherhood is a recipe for disaster for a whole society, really, would be one of the most powerful ways for an enemy of the US to cripple the US in less than 100 years. We’ve had about 50 years now.Sure, if a person wants to run off and save the world, then in some cases they should do so. But I’ve seen cases when women followed the save the world goal and then were financially irresponsible for themselves, grossly neglected some “commitments” they had made and some “obligations” they had, e.g., to their family, husband, and children, and generally did little to save the world but created grand disasters for themselves and their families. I’ve seen the US woman save the world goal wreck families and, for the woman herself, be from just a grand disaster up to nearly fatal and actually fatal. This save the world goal is dead serious stuff, and even worse when it consciously and effectively replaces motherhood.Here is an example of how pervasive is this save the world goal: When I was buying toys for my niece, there was a series of movies by American Girl with one about Samantha set in NYC about 100 years ago. A big theme in the movie was that a woman should aspire to marry a man who makes a lot of money, has servants for the housework, adopts children, makes no real, direct contribution to the home, family, or marriage, and devotes her time to various save the world goals. There the woman was flitting around doing the work of other people, not really being responsible for that work, and not being paid for it, while everyone else around her was working hard at their work. So, she was an example of what in this thread I described as reciprocal responsibility where she has no “obligations” but flits around helping other people do their work, has no real work of her own, and has other people doing everything for her except breathe. So, at least the writer, director, and producer thought that such save the world goals and reciprocal responsibility were good things, but I regard them as disastrous.If a woman is alone, then save the world goals are disastrous mostly only for her. In that case, let her be. But if she is not alone, then those goals are also disastrous for those around her to whom she has some “obligations”.I don’t know the sources of the persistent, pervasive, relentless influences on women to neglect motherhood and marriage and pursue being Madame Curie and Mother Teresa and to save the world and be “impactful” far from their home, and I really don’t know why so many women have followed this nonsense, but it’s time to shine strong antiseptic daylight on this enormously destructive, society killing disease.E.g., a lawyer and his wife had five children. His career was going well, and they had a very nice house in the best neighborhood. With five children, they had a lot to be proud and happy about, with each year many nice family celebrations at birthdays, marriages, births, graduations, other accomplishments, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. Suddenly the wife said, “You get all the praise, honors, and prestige. I want a career.”, got a Masters, a divorce, left her home, and got a miserable job. For no good reason she extracted grand defeat from the jaws of magnificent victory. He kept the house and got a young model with a great figure and backhand, but he lost his FAMILY of wife, five children, grandchildren, etc. Disaster.I’ve seen a long list of such examples, of women convincing themselves that their husband, marriage, home, work of motherhood, and children are all worthless and should be thrown away for some outside goals, sometimes literally half way around the world. Who killed US motherhood, the KGB?Net, I regard the goal of motherhood as crucial and, then, for a mother the goal of being “impactful” beyond her home and community as a recipe for being irresponsible to “obligations” and a disaster.

          1. JamesHRH

            It comes down to the theme of this post – finding your authentic voice. Which basically means: know who you are, know the situation you are in, make them reinforce each other.It is just as possible that the woman you refer to was borderline brainwashed on being a mother and that the lawyer husband was a misogynist jackass who treated his family as success checkmark & not an obligation.Either way, their lack of commitment to knowing themselves served as a detriment to people who relied on their obligations.Blending personhood, spouse, & parenthood is a tough set of obligation to nail down, to be sure.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            > It is just as possible that the woman you refer to was borderline brainwashed on being a mother and that the lawyer husband was a misogynist jackass who treated his family as success checkmark & not an obligation.Yes, and as divorce courts concluded long ago, in specific cases it’s essentially impossible for anyone outside the marriage to have a detailed answer to such a question. For a husband with a good career and five children, I don’t see “misogynist jackass” as much of a pattern, but for women I see “I want a career” based on “helping people” far from their home, basically trying to save the world, as a persistent, pervasive, and relentless influence on US women.More generally, for a man to have and support five children, I have to conclude that he wanted the children a lot, a lot more than just a checkmark, and, then, regarded losing them, and his family, as a grand disaster. When I spoke with him, he seemed to regard the divorce as a disaster, in part because his wife didn’t go for something better but, in his words, “a miserable job”.And if he were really a “misogynist jackass”, then he would have little chance of landing the young model with a good figure and backhand; I saw her in her tennis outfit — she was gorgeous with a nice smile and certainly didn’t look like she thought he was a “misogynist jackass”.For a man to be a “misogynist jackass” or just not very respectful of women is sad but should not break up a family where there already is a nice house, plenty of money, five children, and two healthy parents.Or, as kitty cats and puppy dogs have known well for thousands of years, it’s easy enough to please a man. A wife with five of his children should be able to do at least as well as a kitty cat. Human females as young as 18 months are grand masters at eliciting affection, protection, and caretaking from men; a wife with five of his children should be able at least to keep him acting nice.But she was the one who walked out, from her husband, marriage, house, home, children, and whole family context to have a “career”. Here she seemed to be following what I explained as persistent, pervasive, and relentless influences on US women to trivialize motherhood and create disasters. Or she was convinced that having five children was trivial, that a “career” would be much better, and not having a “career” was horrible — we’re talking total civilization sewage and sabotage here. We’re also close to some recent, ugly headlines.In simple terms, he lost his big FAMILY he’d spent decades and a huge fortune and huge fraction of his life building. Losing a family is a huge biggie; doing so because of war, famine, epidemic, or disease is a grand tragedy; doing so because of nothing, just throwing away the family, is rot at the foundations of humanity. Net, I blame his wife and the persistent, pervasive, and relentless influences on US women to trivialize motherhood and create disasters. The KGB should be pleased.I’ve seen a lot of cases of women getting married, wanting not to have children, and trying to use the marriage as a stepping stone to a “career” “helping people” and being independent, autonomous, self-sufficient, and, ASAP, single again hoping finally to be able to save the world.I saw cases where the husbands were terrific and good to excellent providers and very much wanted home, marriage, and family but their wife mostly just wanted OUT. If she had some children anyway, then she could say with great bitterness, “I gave up the best years of my life and my career to do low grade, menial scut work to raise HIS children.”. Soon she walked out, got a divorce, maybe took a job at minimum wage, and moved into a shack.Semi-, pseudo-, quasi-great for her kids: She resented having them and doesn’t want to be there for their birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, graduation, marriage, births, etc. She thinks less of them than a kitty cat.Net, I saw a LOT of wives who just did NOT want to be mothers. They HATED being mothers. So, some astoundingly strong biological and cultural influences were overcome. By what? By an attack on marriage and motherhood, by some persistent, pervasive, and relentless influences on US women that would make the KGB very happy. The problem is literally killing off Western Civilization.I do believe that for Western Civilization motherhood will return, that Darwin will win this one. That is, women, oncs susceptible to the big lie that there is something for them more important than being a wife and mother, will be weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree and die out and what will be left will be women who very much want to be wives and mothers, like it, and are good at it, and, thus, leave us with young women who will bring back marriage and motherhood. With Darwin, a lot of really ugly problems are self-correcting!One lesson is that not all is well with our civilization, and some surface appearances hide some deep, dark, nasty, secret problems. So, as we go forward, we have to know that there are some ugly things in the dark we have to try to detect, avoid, and defend against. Or, the dark side of Darwin is that each generation has a lot of losers who need to be dead limbs on the tree.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      I think the more you care, the more difficult it is to find your voice – to learn how to push through the noise in a delicate way. You’re always so lovely to talk with or just sit with – even if you’re stuck on the phone with WestJet. :)As you mention, the perception of limitations has a very powerful effect on people – such as men allowed to go golfing, whereas you were not. It doesn’t allow your mind to even explore something as a possibility. There mostly being men in the business world and there being less women therefore being talked about is subtle yet equally as potent.Men too have hurdles, mainly we’re mostly raised to not be okay with crying, to be tough, etc.. I know it’s changing, as is women’s involvement in the business world – changing as they both should. There’s a lot of learning that everyone needs to do, and tolerance for learning to be learned at the same time.”The first comment I ever made was here at AVC.”Oh God, I don’t even want to look what mine might be.. I can’t remember anything about it. Cringing.”We need more mentors, more role models and more women who get to the top of the ladder, get the money and the power and use it to allow for platforms of female voices to be heard (and not just the loudest ones).”Awesome – just please promote to squashing any male-bashing that occurs. That’s one thing I think has hurt the feminist movement is some who have a pure hatred for men, when in reality we’re all people – and people can be douchebags / bullies, and people can be understanding / compassionate. It’s easy to direct anger at a specific group, it’s much harder to sit with that anger and learn from it.I think the passion you found, to help pave the way, and pay for it, is exactly how you change things, change the ratio. I found long ago that the negative behaviours of people, the negatives parts of society (that affected me negatively / hurt me) wouldn’t easily change because they are such big holistic issues, low level, and the structures in place are solidly perpetuated by profit-driven models. Thus the only way to change things is change things from the ground up, root movements, education, push for change. Luckily I’ve been able to have the time to discover the depths and see the paths needed, to develop myself further, so I can take on the challenges ahead. Next step is continuously finding supports who will allow me to do what needs to be done.It’s really great once you find the place(s) to direct the passionate energies you innately have, once you have the tools and skills to do so. Life starts to feel fluid and becomes more and more enjoyable.P.S. Super glad we’ve crossed paths! 🙂

      1. Guest

        “That’s one thing I think has hurt the feminist movement is some who have a pure hatred for men…”Those kinds of people are just haters. Today its gender, yesterday its was race, tomorrow it will be the person who cut them off in traffic. They are haters, period. Best thing to do is be nice to them and maybe it will help them become better people.

        1. ShanaC

          Shouldn’t we all dislike the guy who cuts you off in traffic – he’s a safety nuisance!

          1. Guest

            But you’re assuming it was done on purpose.I’m not gonna’ dislike the person I’m just gonna’ move on with my life.

          2. ShanaC

            True, this makes you a slightly better person than me….

          3. Guest

            ShanaCThe Reply link is not showing up with your post. So I have to reply to myself.Thanks for the complement. But, I don’t want to compete against you. I want to be the best I can and you be the best you can. We are two different people who’ve had different lives and comparing us is so complex and difficult that there’s no reason even trying.I would guess that if you could know for sure who cut you off in traffic by accident. You would probably be more apt to let it go.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          I mostly disagree. There will be people who by their DNA are evil, and don’t care of others. However I believe the majority are people who have just had bad experiences that cause them to react a certain way, and never had proper support to get through them and get to the other lighter side of life.

          1. Guest

            Your post is a bit contradictory. You say it’s in their DNA then say it’s because they’ve had bad experiences.I agree slightly with what appears to be you’re overall view. Different people react differently to various experiences. I’m convinced that anyone can change how they behave unless they are mentally ill. A big problem is many people don’t realize they are reacting badly until they have had some time to think about it.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Who you are is a person is roughly 50% nature (DNA), 50% nurture (experiences).

          3. Andrew Hoydich

            There is no “evil” gene. In my opinion, all “evil” deeds committed by people can be understood and the source/couse for that action can be found. You just have to be willing to accept that there may be a rational, comprehendible reason for why people do bad/terrible/horrendous things.This explanation is made possible by the way that I like to see the world, which is as a closed system. Things don’t just “happen”. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. There is always a story and background information that accompanies a situation. Murderers dont murder people because they are evil. They murder people for a reason, however far out, ridiculous, and insane observers may think that reason is.

          4. LE

            In my opinion, all “evil” deeds committed by people can be understood and the source/couse (sic) for that action can be found.My explanation is normally mental illness.  Which many times explains behavior that simply doesn’t make sense rationally by any stretch. Maybe the mental illness just weakens someone enough that they respond to stimuli differently. I know of at least two cases where people were bitten in the face by an otherwise friendly animal without any apparent provocation. I mark things like this off to some kind of brain problem that we are not able to currently understand. The other thing I’ve always felt is that people don’t start off doing evil things right from the start. They work there way up to it and get desensitized to the evil they are committing by starting small and building up their tolerance to the point where it is difficult to tell right from wrong.

          5. Andrew Hoydich

            To quickly expand on my comment, the reason why I have evil in quotes is because from an unbiased 3rd person perspective, “evil” doesn’t exist. Good and bad are relational and abstract concepts that only come into play when there is an emotionally charged situation. One person’s good is another’s bad and vice versa. Morality is what creates good and bad. Think of one “evil” person that does not go against your morals (unless you think of yourself as evil, then other evil people will have the same morals as you). It just isn’t possible. And because morality is subjective at its core, so are the labels ‘good’ and ‘bad’. There is no objective good and objective bad. You might say “helping someone in need is an objectively good thing to do” but in reality, once you zoom out as far as you can, it is human morality that dictates the goodness of the action. There is no dissociated governing body that values actions as good or bad, it is our morality that does it.”The other thing I’ve always felt is that people don’t start off doing evil things right from the start. They work there way up to it and get desensitized to the evil they are committing by starting small and building up their tolerance to the point where it is difficult to tell right from wrong.” I definitely agree with that. All it takes sometimes is the most subtle of experiences/thoughts/feelings to send people down a bad path and then before they know they’ve entered a negative, destructive disposition and their moral compass is completely opposite of the majority’s. Then they play the villian in the story.To respond to your mental illness theory, is unconditional compassion a mental illness? Like there can be times where you think “that person’s jackass behavior does not make sense to me”, there can also be times where they think “that person’s unconditionally loving behavior does not make sense to me.” To employ your theory, I think you have a mental illness because I don’t understand why you would think other people have a mental illness because they act in a way that you don’t agree with/understand. :PIn my opinion, electing mental illness as the reason for unexplainable behavior is the same as blaming an ‘evil’ gene or saying that ‘some people are evil by nature.’ Badda bing badda boom, instantly all of your questions are answered and no further research into the situation has to be done. Why? Because you have subscribed to an answer that is both not provable, but not unprovable. It is not factually based, but you believe that the current evidence supports your theory. Questioning this thoery is rendered useless because a chunk of the theory leans on the fact that we just can’t understand it right now. This might be 100% correct, but it might be 100% wrong. There is no way for us to tell and that’s the beauty of it.

      2. FlavioGomes

        I wrote this on my facebook status a month ago fully expecting a ribbing from some of my “locker room” pals.”You can be masculine, tough and hard as nails….but wrapping that with compassion, understanding and tenderness is the hallmark of a true gentleman.”I was surprised at how many of the fellas…liked it and not one disparaging comment.

        1. leigh


      3. leigh

        super glad we’ve crossed paths too Mathew 🙂

      4. fredwilson

        that first line is truth being told

      5. Ela Madej

        the more you care, the more difficult it gets = > very true about pretty much everything

    4. Guest

      “To come into a working world it’s hard to know what you should say or how you should act…”Be yourself. Don’t let the working world change who you are!

    5. ShanaC

      Sometimes I worry talking to you all if I’ll ever get there. I’m glad to know the women involved are changing.

      1. leigh

        lol why do you say that Shana? Besides, i’m not sure there is a there here. If only Dr. Suess were around – he’d create a book for us to explain it to everyone.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          There is no there. Wise words, woman.I also figured out recently that I will never feel as though I’ve “arrived” until I run out of road. Hey, think I’ll go tweet that.

        2. ShanaC

          Some of the things I’ve noticed about being a girl is that there definitely is pressure to “do it all, be it all.” It is a lot of pressure, and I am both lucky and unlucky that I know plenty of older women who did pull it off. All I can see though is the mountain ahead. And it is a big mountain by the looks of all the people I know who did pull it off.

    6. LE

      Smart wasn’t something most boys in my high school were looking for and the places of power were considered off limits to me within the context of my own father (the boys learned how to golf as one example and i was not welcomed).Guess what? Smart wasn’t something most girls were looking for in my high school (and that was a private school). They wanted guys who were fun and could make them laugh. Only later did they figure out it made sense to marry the nerds, the doctors, or the ones who could earn a living and hold down a job.

      1. leigh

        oh i only liked smart boys. I had to learn when i got older smart didn’t always = nice. 🙂

        1. ShanaC


      2. fredwilson

        that was my experience in high school. the good news is things changed in college. i met the gotham gal.

    7. fredwilson

      I hope it took you less than a minute to write this and post it. we are talking here. and most people don’t spend an hour to decide what to say in a conversation.

      1. leigh

        oh yah….i am a power writer now. even blog posts don’t take me more then ten minutes most days. Sometimes i’m sure to my detriment. 🙂

    8. Donna Brewington White

      It’s a good rant, Leigh. You speak for a lot of us. I think rants are like grief — they come in waves. So, we’ll just consider this an installment. BTW, I have enjoyed watching your voice emerge.

      1. leigh

        🙂 tnx. D.I thought one of the funniest things someone ever said to me was that i seemed 7 feet tall in email. At least they didn’t say 450 lbs ….

    9. Ela Madej

      “The first comment I ever made was here at AVC” –  same here, one of my first “engaged comments” (after commenting on friends’ posts on TC).

    10. Ela Madej

      Right, and writing the first comment / blog post / making the first talk is so difficult… I even remember asking my frist question at a conference Q&A  – I was so scared, I almost lost my voice. I understand why so many people get discouraged after their 1st, 2nd, 3rd attempt… If you force yourself and keep on going you will realize:1). It’s not a big deal 2). It will take less time and less time to product something of good quality 3.  It will be very satisfying (you being proud of yourself, building up audience, positive feedback)… the best part is when it suddenly clicks and you discover that there’s a HUGE BOX with ideas somewhere in you and they badly want to go out. Badly.(same with starting companies, at some point you start seeing opportunities everywhere and the new problem is how to stay FOCUSED).

      1. leigh

        yah it’s funny think backing on it nownow i just have to get as comfortable with other writing as well.  i had started a blog for a novel i’m writing, but found I was so uncomfortable with the process.  Might try that again one day or I’ve been thinking I should give Wattpad a go.  

        1. fredwilson

          wattpad is for storytelling. if you have stories to tell, then you should absolutely use it.

          1. leigh

            i think Wattpad is a brilliant concept and could be a platform for the future of entertainment. The notion of building an audience as you create — even extending that to getting that community to support you financial through kickstarter — could be very powerful.For me personally, while i’ll use a complete lack of time as my excuse, truth is the idea of sharing unedited fiction (in my case novels vs. scripts) with a collective (vs. a few) terrifies me. Maybe like the blog comments the key is just doing it and see what happens. Maybe one day. you know… when i have more time 😉

  32. Ed Freyfogle

    Thanks Fred,this post and last week’s on cloning pushed me over the edge. Just sent you a mail with a guest post proposal. I know you get a lot of mail. Would appreciate if you could take a look.ta.

  33. JaredMermey

    Blogging (and it’s micro-blogging cousin) is the best emotional outlet I’ve found in quite awhile. I  doubt many read my writing — I can confirm that thanks to Google Analytics — but I still find it a great exercise. It’s a great way to organize my thoughts, hone my writing skills (vastly undervalued) and blow some steam (don’t Twitter during football season or a Knicks game!). Long point made short: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, it DOES make noise.

  34. Emily Merkle

    Gotham Gal is a personal inspiration.I am still working on my public voice, but am finding it comes more easily when I do not make the distinction between public and private quite so pronounced.stay tuned. or not. 🙂

  35. Koslow

    Funny you brought this up. I started my first blog on Tuesday. Age 22. I was on the blog snooping around Tech Tuesdays for the first time and saw the “join tumblr” icon. I figured, how hard could making this really be?First thing I did was add DISQUS and Google Analytics.I don’t know if my will blog catch on with quite the gusto that yours has, but I too, would like for mine to be a place for discussion, sharing, connecting, and an outlet for myself as well. Trying to create that forum is daunting.I tend to model my approach, and the style of my ideas, from topics and discussion in this blog.I AM BORROWING YOUR VOICE, UNTIL I FIND MINE.I am at the stage where I am still talking to the internet abyss, AKA myself. I figure this will take time. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Nick Grossman

      Go get em! Tumblr really helped me break the ice, though I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m following you on tumblr now 🙂

    2. ShanaC

      Why borrow someone else’s voice? I did that, it wasn’t helpful. It put me to sleep writing and made me sad. Now I am trying to find my own voice (though not yet through blogging)

      1. Koslow

        In time, I’d like to create something similar to what Fred has here in terms of community. Though the forum demographics will likely be different (I am not a VC).  So while crafting my own topics, I think of this forum; how it communicates, how it reacts to posts, how Fred tends to it. Reminds me of the movie Finding Forrester. Great movie.William Forrester: “I helped him findhis own words by starting with some of mine.”I speak as a student. Fred speaks from experience. Granted, we are all students of life.Your voice is always your own; I start with others in mind, and over time, it becomes uniquely mine.

        1. ShanaC

          I still would rather read about who you are. If you look at the really early posts here (i’ve taken a look at some of the very first) a lot were a bit more personal. That’s what gave the site its authentic edge. Find yourself before you find the audience.

          1. Koslow

            You’ve definitely made a good point about creating a feel authenticity and uniqueness.  Thank you for showing me that, I’ll consider that moving forward.  The most recent blog post, (I only have two) was about what inspires me. I think that’s along the lines of what your talking about. “Find yourself before you find the audience.” That’s a great piece of advice, reminds me of Apple.Apple is so uniquely Apple; principled and uncompromising in the design of its products. Being a stand for something is attractive, and inspiring.

          2. Koslow

            FYI I’ve tried two browsers and haven’t been able to get a hold of your blog. :/

    3. fredwilson

      instant follow

  36. Robert Thuston

    Right on. We find our voice, when we start to put it out there. Finished my 67th blog post this week. A year and a half ago, I barely knew what a blog was. Monkey see, monkey do.

  37. Alex Murphy

    “AVC became that thing and now I’ve got a platform to make a difference. I hope I’m using it well.”Yes, you are using the platform well.

  38. Tom Labus

    That incredible #occupywallstreet Sunday explosion was the entire AVC community launching its voice.There was so much positive energy, range of opinions and ideas that day.I’m ready for another day like that.

    1. fredwilson

      i will try to bring it

  39. Laura Yecies

    This blog, as well as a few others have inspired me to find my blogging voice.  I have gotten key insights at important moments e.g. reading about the “ugly adolescent startups” when I was in the midst of it gave me perspective and help moving forward.  Many other learnings – some tactical and some more strategic have come from listening to others voices that I would not have had the opportunity to connect with sans the blogosphere.  I have a great board that gives me great guidance but I get to supplement that with virtual board members’ views albeit not specific to my company.More importantly, the process of writing, helps me crystalize my thinking which helps me be a better CEO and parent.  I hope I give back in my blog a fraction of what I’ve received. 

  40. kirklove

    One of the things I like about GG’s blog is it’s genuine. If she wants to write about a recipe she does. Politics she does. Woman she does. It’s a this is what I want to say today aspect I like. It’s a nice surprise, too, that keeps you off balance in a good way. The parallel would be your Friday posts I suppose. I think that’s why they’ve been well received. It adds a roundness to the conversation that allows for a better connection with the writer. 

  41. Ryan Stephens

    I love this Fred,  probably because my fiance dumped a whiskey down my back the first time I hit on her. We’ve been inseparable since.

    1. fredwilson

      something about starting off on the wrong foot

      1. Emily Merkle

         she’s still drunk?

  42. JLM

    It is not just about “finding” your voice, it is as much “channeling” your voice and the crowd to whom you are speaking.Writing is a way to organize our thoughts, to let a few of the demons out to play in the sunshine, to experiment with thoughts that are not fully formed and to share stories.Our thoughts require a bit of organization to become fully developed. We have to think them and we have to SEE them and we need to test them w/ the reactions of others.Ahh, our demons. They are in there. For a long time I thought that PTSS was a bunch of baloney. I don’t any more but my personal demons are still just as demonic but I have confronted them all and I can whip any of them on a good day.They will always be there but they will not rule my life.Our thoughts — ideas really — become more powerful when they wrestle with other thoughts and ideas and emerge stronger for the exercise. If you express yourself clearly and let go of that thought, it returns stronger after breaking a sweat with other thoughts.And, sometimes, we realize just how dopey we are and abandon an idea making us better in the process.We all have stories and interesting stories. What you think to be pedestrian and mundane may be particularly insightful to someone who has never even had a whisper of such things.Last, it is the company we keep. I cannot tell you how much I respect this salon that Fred has erected not for its structural beauty but for the interesting and beautiful crowd it attracts. It is easily the most intelligent and respectful crowd I personally have ever encountered on the Internet and that makes me happy.

    1. FlavioGomes

      ^10…I hope that means what I think it means…that I like this to the power of 10

    2. fredwilson

      it makes me happy too

    3. Yaniv Tal


  43. Andrew Chang

    A big part of finding your voice is just owning who you are and not apologizing for it. Showing some personality always trumps the fear of openness. At least it makes for an interesting read.

  44. Guest

    Yes, the internet helps people find their voice. A most important point is that when someone writes or speaks they “get that information out” and they can move on to better thinking.I like to leave people with the most positive and productive thoughts I can. When someone talks negative or angry I like to be sure I say something nice in response. If instead, I say something negative or angry then I feel they have beaten me down to their level. The strongest person is one that can fend off negative or angry or aggressive behavior and stand up for what’s good.People who don’t want you to be the best you can be aren’t helping. Don’t join them. It’s very difficult to stand your ground and be positive when there are so many negative people in the world.I hope everyone can have a productive day and stay positive with the people around them.

  45. seeingfurther

    You had me at macaroon. 😉

  46. Om Malik

    Love this post Fred. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see the evolution of Gotham Gal blog from the early days. Also, I think a lot of people don’t quite appreciate the work of writing every day, the way you do. Good luck and hopefully many more years of wonderful words from both of you. 

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Om. words from the master of his craft. i hope you’ve been enjoying your stay in our fair city

  47. Aaron Klein

    You’re definitely using this platform well. In fact, the following memo might have made a great post eleven days ago.Welcome AVCersBy: Guest Blogger, Mark ZuckerbergFacebook has always been a place to develop deep engagement with your friends. Who am I kidding? It’s an awesome photo sharing site.Well today, we’re going to change that. I’m excited to announce that Facebook has acquired AVC for $1 billion dollars. We’re going to perform a seamless transplant (via open web services protocols) of the voice and community of AVC into Facebook and transform the future of community on the web forever.Some may say our acquisition price is high, but look at it this way. We’re bringing veritable stars onto our platform. How else could we get @awaldstein:disqus, @andyswan:disqus, @jlm:disqus, @shanac:disqus and a robotic dinosaur using Facebook every day? This is a no brainer.We also have way too few comments-as-books published on Facebook, and almost zero 9/11 conspiracies. We expect @sigmaalgebra:disqus and @kidmercury:disqus to help us tremendously with both of those things. And of course, we’ll finally get our quote of the day feature going thanks to @rohan:disqus.We welcome Fred as Facebook’s new Chief Community Officer, and no, it’s not considered a conflict of interest for him to keep investing on the side with his Union Square Ventures thing.Peace out,Zuck

    1. JLM

      Haha, well played!

    2. ShanaC

      I do use facebook every day. I also know how to optimize those damned ads. And I know how those ads link into the facebook streams.Sorry Zuck, if you need me you should just hire me directlyXOXOShana

      1. William Mougayar

        What are some tricks for optimization of these ads? Is it possible or just too automated to beat?

        1. awaldstein

          What does optimization of ads mean on a platform that is basically transactionless?

          1. William Mougayar

            I’m not sure. That’s why I asked Shana. It’s her expertise.

        2. Emily Merkle

           simplest smart path to optimization found hand in hand with advertisers’ performance (their experience) & user feedback/interaction/etc. (objective measurement)

      2. awaldstein

        See comment to William below Shana. If you are working on Facebook, what are the criteria for a successful ad? Is this basic impression and reach stuff or anything more interesting?

    3. sigmaalgebra

      The figure I heard was 10 shares of voting common per word posted!And when do we get the details on our vesting schedule and our trip to the pay window?

    4. Rohan

      Lol.You had me thinking of a Facebook quote of the day. So, here you go..”New age Facebook rhyme:Roses are red, Sky is blue.No mutual friends, Who the hell are you!'”

      1. JamesHRH


      2. Aaron Klein

        Well played, sir…



    6. Donna Brewington White

      Thank you for not adding me to the novelist category. But that was really funny — comments-as-books.

      1. Aaron Klein

        You were definitely in the veritable star list but I couldn’t for the life of me find your Disqus handle! 🙂

  48. LE

    Be strong, be fierce and be tough.  Like raising money from someone who starts to hit on them or say how cute they are.  Come back with a sharp comeback or tell them to go fuck themselves and leave the room.  You wouldn’t want their money anyway.My ex wife use to run into this when she was in sales. One person who hit on her was the man who ran the University of Penna. bookstore. He was essential to her getting the coupon book she published distributed right next to the cash registers right as students were exiting. Her competition was forced to hand out their books outside on Locust walk. He even got upset once when I showed up to help her out (she was pregnant at the time). She had other customers who did things from time to time. I remember one customer  of hers, two Israeli brothers. They would tell her her “tits looked good in purple” (the color of her shirt I guess). When she told me the story my reaction was “did you get the order?”. After anybody reading this gets over their shock and awe at my reaction please recognize that this type of behavior is a fact of life and nothing wrong with taking advantage of it is my thinking.

  49. ShanaC

    I keep thinking how much finding a voice is an eternal journey, and how we all change over time…I don’t expect anyone I meet to stay the same. I expect their voices to change timbers, and grow deeper, or higher, or many other changes.The mission isn’t a stable thing, and we all go through different experiences. So why would our voices stay the same?

  50. Jordan English

    The power of premium content.  When people challenge themselves to do more than retweet or repost… when technology helps individuals to discover their own story in the stories they are creating, our society starts to lift.  As a result all of us who work in technology can discover even deeper meaning in the platforms we’re helping to make real.

    1. Emily Merkle

       I feel you.That is retweetable.

  51. LE

    She gave me a piece of her mind the first time I met her. And she’s been doing that to me it ever since.I had triangulated this some time ago from other things you had written as well as some other particulars I’ve observed. Makes total sense.

  52. aminTorres

    I wish the Gotham Gal did oHours.(or some other form of accessibility to her time)

  53. hypermark

    First off, thanks for cultivating what is unquestionably one of the best knowledge nets in terms of trust, meaning and context. As to the topic of finding your voice, two thoughts drive my process in this medium. One, is the simple truth that there is just no substitute for DO-ing. Figuring out your ‘personal narrative’ and how it manifests is simultaneously a process of exposition, iteration, tear down and rebuild, as it is a by-product of any grand wisdom. I regularly tell people who ask, “Why blog, tweet or comment?” that they just need to jump in the pool and start swimming. From motion, comes clarity. Two, is that I regularly get the quizzical look from friends and associates who ask, “Do you get paid to do this, is it a hobby or what?” that you can’t linearly quantify kismet, brand or the exploration of personal truth. The journey is the reward, but many tangible rewards come from such journeys, too.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Emily Merkle

       I am living this in real time.

  54. Jan Schultink

    I think online voices become interesting when the author has the courage to deviate a bit from what she/he set out to blog about. It is not all hardcore VC stuff here. Like jazz: when the bass and drummer start going a bit off beat (within reason) it starts to swing.

    1. fredwilson

      ooh. i love when they swing

  55. panterosa,

    I missed GG’s post so was glad to have it brought back up on my radar during a busy week. So hard to read everything all the time….An excerpt from my comment there…….”Many girl’s schools now have research to back up that girl’s can lose their voices during the pre teen and teen years. I went to all girls school until 15 and am sending my girl to all girl’s school until then. I developed a very strong voice during my early teen years which meant I didn’t cower to boys.  Which was a good thing since I then went on to Exeter and we were still less than half the student body. I never shied once from debating either sex across the table from me.”I will add to that my love of smart people, but especially the smart men who love strong women who speak their mind, who enjoy the women finding their “voice”. A strong woman’s voice is nurtured in one way by the women in her life, and in other ways by the men in her life. How I wish there were more smart men encouraging these women and this process, like Fred enjoys GG!!

    1. Ruth BT

      “How I wish there were more smart men encouraging these women and this process”I agree! An entrepreneurial friend has just decreed that all new employees are to be strong passionate women. He enjoys working with them and see’s his mission in life to mentor them to success. This is especially gratifying as his first few decades were spent developing boys into good men in the education system. Now as a father to a daughter he wants the world for her and sees the value of helping women find their voice. Of course it helps that he sees a direct correlation between hiring women and his bottom line.

      1. panterosa,

        Right on to your friend!! Women are a great value in business.

  56. matthughes

    The point is to dig in and take the bat of your shoulder.Get on and start causing havoc on the bases.You’re bound to hit the occasional HR as you refine your swing.

  57. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    I started blogging over six months ago, and I started off with a new post almost every day….now, I can’t even get a post a month out.Its not that I don’t have anything to say; heck, I have over 35 posts in “draft” mode.It probably has something to do with “audience” while people visit my blog everyday I just don’t really understand why. I mean, I can’t believe that anything I say is all that important and what I like to blog about I am not really an expert. In fact I am a grumpy old contrarian….I do love reading blogs, in fact I now get up at 4 am to have an hour in the morning to read blogs, I probably need to comment sometimes on other blogs as AVC is about the only blog I comment on somewhat regularly….To everyone else: KEEP BLOGGING because you go great with the first cup of coffee in the morning! Oh, and JLM, start your own blog!

    1. Emily Merkle

       Carl, I am a fan of yours in these pages….what is your blog? I am in the exact same place in my head with respect to blogging/social media … I have thoughts about our dilemma – want to hear each other out? [email protected] @merklemerkle

  58. ErnestineADavis

    “To come into a working world it’s hard to know what you should say or how you should act…”Be yourself. Don’t let the working world change who you are!

  59. PMarchetti

    I think I love your wife almost as much as you do… and I only read the blog.  Yesterday’s post was one of my favorites.  But I also love the restaurant reviews and art show exposés too.   

  60. Guest

    I found my voice as soon as I was able to speak to the dismay of many of my catholic school teachers.  I’ve been concentrating the last few years on finding silence and that for me has been slightly trickier.   I’ve been out in San Francisco for the past few weeks and found it to be such a talkative city.  They talk on the streets, in the subways…they even talk during yoga class!  Big difference between talking all of the time and having a voice.  

  61. Daniel Rosen

    I love the theme connection with the theme of this post to the idea of a “sayder”. An old-school format for dialoguing, contributing to a discussion in the broader context of community, and finding voice. Not so unrelated — that menu sounds amazing. 

  62. Aaron Fyke

    “Like raising money from someone who starts to hit on them or say how cute they are”.  This happens?!  WTF?I’ve worked for some condescending tolls in my life, but I have to say I haven’t met that many on the investment trail.  That’s jaw dropping.

    1. JamesHRH

      Marks Suster had a run of comments on his blog last fall that were jaw droppers. Women getting abused by angels, in particular.



  64. ethanaustin

    Agree 100% with this post. 

  65. William Mougayar

    Having your voice in your blogs allows you both to stay very close and connected to the market. But that has also allowed other voices to have their voice on your platforms, and that’s a great gift to all of us.I can tell you that on my last 3 trips in New York, San Francisco and Austin at Tech events, one person at each event came to me and said “Oh, you’re William from AVC…I know you.” I’m sure the same would happen to at least 20 other commenters here.

  66. Donna Brewington White

    Haha! So relate to your words about having a lot to say as a kid. When I was a little kid I would get up early because there was so much that I had to say after dreaming all night and then those early morning thoughts that came pouring in. Poor adults in my life.In response to: “AVC became that thing and now I’ve got a platform to make a difference. I hope I’m using it well.” Hopefully, by now, this is a well established fact.Personally, AVC has been a strong contributor to me finding my internet voice… and offline too. Haven’t quite nailed it yet. Plus, there are at least one or two of @Liad ‘s ROOOAAARRs that still need to find their way out. Maybe I need to read @GothamGal more often. ;)I think that “voice” comes alive not just in making statements, but in responding and interacting which is why joining the commenting party is so valuable.

  67. Tomiahayes

    “Finding Your Voice” what if you don’t know how strong your voice is?…That’s the one thing I’m terrified of…

    1. Emily Merkle

       I don’t think many people do.

  68. Andrew K Kirk

    @fredwilson, I consider your blog a great inspiration to me and reason for starting to share my voice. Thanks!

  69. Lonnie Scott

    Great message! You couldn’t be more right. I love this!