Blogworld Talk Between JLM, William, Arnold & Me

A few weeks ago AVC regulars JLM, Arnold, William and I did a talk at Blogword.

BlogWorld Panelists June 2012

We talked about blogs, social media, and of course, commenting communities. William kicked it off with some data that came out of the survey he did. About nine minutes in, the conversation starts.

We recorded it on SoundCloud and you can listen below.


Comments (Archived):

  1. anand

    cool. first time seeing JLM

    1. David Semeria

      From now on @JLM:disqus has to mop the floor every Thursday.

      1. JLM

        .Consider it done..

  2. Pete Griffiths

    I can’t see the soundcloud link on my page.(btw. nice to meet you in LA william)

    1. anand

      same. thought it was my adblock

    2. anand

      nope. can’t see it either.

    3. andyidsinga

      can’t either here

    4. William Mougayar

      Likewise. I thought we were in SF :)Here’s the link. Soundcloud Public Audio:… 

      1. george

        Thanks for the link…

      2. Pete Griffiths

        thanks for linkso we were 🙂

      3. Donna Brewington White

        If that had been LA I would NOT have been happy. No pressure.

        1. William Mougayar

          You’ll be the first to know if I’m there !

    5. fredwilson

      i think i just fixed it

  3. John Best

    I’m not seeing the SoundCloud link, is that just me?

    1. fredwilson

      i messed up the embed. i think it is fixed now

      1. John Best

        I used William’s link. Just got to JLM saying “shithead” which generated a real-life laugh.

  4. awaldstein

    What a good looking group ;)Most interesting is that we all met online, right here at avc.Friendships, working relationships follow the familiarity gained through community and engagement. That’s the magic of the web right there.

    1. ShanaC

      I’m not surprised. The digital works is as real as the real world in our minds. Bonds form over the most surprising of things.Sent from Obadiah, the pocket computer

      1. William Mougayar

        What’s Obadiah ?

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          A Pocket Computer with whom @shanac has a meaningful connection 🙂 – or at least a wifi connection !

      2. awaldstein

        Don’t agree completely.The connections in communities act as accelerators of familiarity. Letting us get to know one another before we meet.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Arnold, I actually agree with both you and @1b4d600cb59f758d99c0f6bf0c3e984e:disqus . I have made contact with some people online with whom I feel a certain “closeness” or connection and still feel no need to meet in person. In fact, I think there’s a better connection digitally sometimes. Perhaps connecting in an online community first, and then moving to e-mails, yet not feeling the need to meet in person.And then there are others where I completely agree with your statement where the online contact allows us to know a bit about others before we meet. And for which that face-to-face meeting is anxiously sought. I don’t necessarily value one over the other though.

          1. awaldstein

            Interesting….I think of online communities as a connection and friendship funnel.As I travel around I invariably meet people from this and other communities that I’ve engaged with.Sure, the human connection is a wide swatch of different connections but I most always enjoy having a coffee or wine with someone whose banter of ideas online engaged me. Time allowing of course.

          2. Dale Allyn

            I really do understand your point, Arnold. And that fits especially well with those who are very gregarious. I feel that there can be genuine and sincere relationships that just may not go “coffee or wine” route, but may involve other types of gestures. Maybe I’m referring to such connections/relationships in a sort of cataloging or classification manner, but not suggesting necessarily that one is better than the others – just different.

          3. awaldstein

            Agree.Well said.

          4. panterosa,

            @daleallyn:disqus @awaldstein:disqus I agree with both of you in the sliding scale of how we engage and how we rank the others via online moving into IRL. Two sliders.

          5. Dale Allyn

            “Sliders” is an interesting (and good) way to put it, panterosa. There are degrees and nuances.

          6. panterosa,

            @daleallyn:disqus To me, metaphors are almost always visual. Or mechanical. Which in this case works because we are in between the signal v. noise of media modes in engagement.

          7. Dale Allyn

            I understand, panterosa. And when you said “two sliders” I actually pictured multiple sliders, like a simple music equalizer, as that more closely resembles how it feels to me. Hopefully it doesn’t get so complex as to require a full-on mixing board. 😉

          8. panterosa,

            Yes. I started with mixing board image then made x and y sliders. I think politicians use mixing boards.

          9. Dale Allyn

            I think you’re right about the politicians. Eventually, the output sounds nothing like the original input. 😉

          10. William Mougayar

            Very well said. You described that continuum perfectly.The “moving to email” step is a critical one.

          11. Dale Allyn

            Sometimes it then goes to a telephone chat; sending a thoughtful gift or helping with a connection, etc. Then back to e-mails, etc. yet always sincere. Certainly, I agree with @awaldstein:disqus that if the connection grew to a certain tenor, a meeting IRL will be a likely outcome and a good step in a continuum.

          12. JamesHRH

            I wonder if @donnawhite:disqus ‘s comment re: generations applies here.Moving to email is a big deal to people who see email as ‘the medium of serious online activity’. There is some sense that people under 30 do not see it that way….@ShanaC:disqus ???

          13. panterosa,

            @e444d0c5966be4256386a9222a7f1d3f:disqus Move to email is also a big leap in online dating as well. And that also has age differences in which contact methods people use.

          14. Drew Meyers

            In my mind, meeting people I interact with online in person is interesting and valuable no matter what. There’s no replacement for in person, and if we get along online then chances are good we’ll get along well offline.

          15. Dale Allyn

            Hi Drew,I don’t disagree with you. My point was simply that an online connection that does not move to an off-line connection is not necessarily inferior. And in fact, it may be that the “ideal” is reached digitally, depending on many factors.

          16. Drew Meyers

            Gotcha. Agreed they are not inferior just because we haven’t met in person.

        2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          I’m with Arnold on this – I do think that there is a strong illusion of reality that is accelerated and promoted BUT.Perhaps we are biologically conditioned to “pad out” or fill in missing details. We fill in for our blind-spot subconsciously, and I know I have met people in real life and been somewhat surprised at the reality. It is more diverse and n-dimensional. So on-line I know @awaldstein:disqus is the cool dood in terms of marketing and discovery and likes a great natural wine, I know @JLM will tell me the names of four cannons at VMI and explain what they had to do with various ethical or instructional principles. Equally @wmoug:disqus and Fred himself have a meaning to me as a person and not merely as a collection of ideas. But are they real – I mean really real?One – are they interactive ? – This bunch of suspects yes !Do they have voices ?- yes I have heard them !But which ones have peanut allergies, wives they love and honour, love skiing (you can tell something from such questions).And which ones would I want to meet again ?Until you can say – “I would want to meet someone again” or – “I would not want to meet them again”, then there has been no true connection , no acid test.Until you can say – “I would ask them to keep an eye on my children” – You do not know if you would trust themand until you can have laughed out loud , felt foolish, and been forgiven, you cannot have felt connected in the 3 dimensional real world sense.But as Arnold says – it does accelerate aspects and I know I would want to meet these guys at least for a first time. So it offers HOPE of community – and this can be as fine a thing as the reality for quite a while

          1. awaldstein

            Online and off there are levels of friendship and connections. Sure I love skiing but you could know me for years and not know anything about medical issues.That’s just how life is. And community.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Ok – Agreed , relationships are a continuum in this sense, and therefore there a real relationship. The emotion of desiring to meet up is real – beyond doubt. However the disconnect is also real – a ) otherwise this topic would not carry discussion and b) because in our hearts we choose to suspend judgement to some extent.Having said that, if you have ever been conned or duped in real life, there is the awareness that social awareness and evidence (as are possible here) are huge risk mitigators as they represent investment. You rarely get conned in a crowd by people you have known and who know your friends. So perhaps it can even be “more real” in a sense online.

          3. awaldstein

            As many points of view as there are people.I don’t believe that anyone’s networks are broad nor deep enough. We couldn’t be more fortunate to have the social web and communities of interest to provide bridges to new sources, new connecttions, new possibilities.

          4. JLM

            .@kwiqly:disqusJimmie —Mathew, Mark, Luke and John — Stonewall’s cannons.I used to ski like a bat out of hell. Did not fall down for 13 years and then had a wonderful — head bouncing like a basketball for 400 yards — fall under the gondola at Steamboat, cracked wrist.Late, icy, flat light, cold and thinking about that hot tub and way, way, way too fast.I think the world is now developing a different kind of “friendship”, the online friend which is a kissing cousin of “penpals”. It is a precursor for other things and is a stepping stone to potentially new friendships.But the path is a bit different.I had met Wm and had had dinner w him and Fake Grimlock in Austin at SXSW. FG is quite the dude.I have met Fred a couple of times for coffee and breakfast.I had never met Arnold.That night we went to dinner at a Lebanese restaurant and had a wonderful chat. A high energy, laugh your ass off but talk about serious stuff dinner kind of chat.I enjoyed it thoroughly. Wm navigated us through the menu. Arnold assessed and approved the wine. Fred picked up the check. I told stories.We had a damn good time and it would have only been better if you or others from had been there.Did we find the Rosetta Stone? No, but we had a damn good time.I think that life is about having damn good times and sometimes just casting your fate to the winds. I would do it again in a New York minute..

          5. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @JLM>> I know @JLM will tell me the names of four cannons at VMI and explain what they had to do with various ethical or instructional principles.So “Mathew, Mark, Luke and John — Stonewall’s cannons” is the answer in the first part.But in the second – you must ask yourself how did I know these where to do with “ethical or instructional principles”.It does appear we can get to know one another quite well if when one takes the time to read, comment and to consider – and to me it is the considering that is at least half the point of association and three quarters part of listening:)Further too :>> We had a damn good time and it would have only been better if you or others from had been there.A pretty compliment indeed – “Pretty” in the true sense of the word… have my envy and my interest – Sir !Do hope you enjoy my retort on the other blog too:)

          6. JLM

            @kwiqly:disqusPlease direct me back to the “other blog”. I am lost. Thanks..

          7. James Ferguson @kWIQly

  …@JLM who once was lost but now is foundBut why @JLM has to read about how to be a professional writer is beyond my pay grade 🙂

          8. Mark Essel

            Great looking bunch, about to tune into the chat.

          9. panterosa,

            @JLM:disqus I think the world is now developing a different kind of “friendship”, the online friend which is a kissing cousin of “pen pals”.I love this description.

          10. leigh

            damn right :)(ps. happy father’s day JLM)

        3. Donna Brewington White

          I wonder though, if @ShanaC:disqus and her 20-something counterparts as digital natives may experience this differently. Online has been part of their lives for as far back as they can remember.I loved @JLM:disqus ‘s comment that Mad Men and the bar scenes represented were real to him and he can relate this to AVC in a different way than others might. Although I’m thinking you were probably still in breeches in the 60s JLM or else I want what you’re having for breakfast.Re your reply to @kwiqly:disqus about levels and variations in relationships, that is somewhat interchangeable with on-/offline. The depth of the relationship is no longer determined by the medium so much as by the nature of the relationship and the compatibility..But, for the most part, my best online relationships are with people that I have also met offline or at least via phone or Skype.

          1. awaldstein

            The generation comment is quite astute Donna.My gut tells me you are correct but I connect with many individuals in their 20s and 30s through my blogs. They may view and value the engagement differently but the medium seems equally natural to them as to myself.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Arnold and @donnawhite:disqus , I think it’s appropriate to also factor in the nature of the connection, eg. if people are connecting online around a topic of personal health such as chronic illness (or that of one close to us) there might be a sincere and mutually supportive relationship that evolves into private e-mails, occasional gifts, etc., but may never evolve to face-to-face meetings. There are other examples as well.My suggestion is just that there are many factors that contribute to variations in the paths eventually taken. And each has merit and is worth understanding.

          3. JLM

            .The issue of shared important interests, fate really, is a very astute comment.When folks have suffered through or are suffering through a common affliction there is an almost immediate bonding caused by the common interest..

          4. Dale Allyn

            And there can be such connections without “suffering” but which stem from shared passions. @awaldstein:disqus might suggest that “if there is a shared passion, then would not the “friends” want to eventually meet?” Perhaps, but that may also depend on the shared interest, as well as other factors. A simple example might be discussions around sports teams, where online there’s a connection, but may not evolve to coffee or wine.But still, as connections continue over time, some people (due to their nature) are likely to naturally look to an eventual handshake and looking into the eyes of the other. 🙂

          5. William Mougayar

            Interesting I just came back from a Facebook marketing event. FB analyzed the socio-dynamics of “sharing”, and they found there are 4 key reasons why people share: 1. To make our lives better2. To craft our identities3. To build relationships4. To help othersThese reasons can be said about social conversations and human behavior in general. That’s something that FB understood well,- ie that natural behaviors are what drives social activities.

          6. awaldstein

            Facebook didn’t invent sharing. It just gave it a platform for expression.I believe that socialization is a natural act. Platforms that succeed get this and provide the ramp for this instinct to take on a life of its own.And yes…Facebook gets this.

          7. Timothy Meade

            Quite true, but I would argue that making those experiences too generic can hurt the overall value of the interactions. Just as Like loses it’s meaning, we can become fake, or followers of a herd instinct and the large ‘social media’ platforms make this very easy. I think the “input relationships” into Facebook are almost always offline, and continue with an offline component or become “filler relationships” as time goes on. I think that’s why I’m so interested in what you’re doing, the deep engagement stream is in some ways more important than the ‘analog’ stream of Facebook. I might develop these thoughts more on

          8. awaldstein

            Green smoothies for breakfast every morning Donna ;)Huge life change.

        4. leigh

          Paddy from google talks about light weight interactions over time — quite like that idea

          1. awaldstein

            As do I.

          2. William Mougayar

            He’s now at FB. I met him this past week in SF.

          3. leigh

            sorry i meant FB. saw him at the coke mobility summit. disagreed with only a few things he said which for me is pretty good!!!but funniest question for him which was on a screen behind him “I bought FB at $38 — should i hold or sell?” Got a nice reaction from the crowd 🙂

      3. Dave Pinsen

        What @awaldstein:disqus and @JLM:disqus said. Digital lays ground work, but there’s no substitute for meeting in RL. That’s why people do it. And that’s also one reason why you still see geographic clustering of industries (Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, etc.), to facilitate people meeting in RL.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      “good looking group”I may just frame this photo!

      1. leigh

        Pretty fly for a bunch of white guys 😉

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I will not touch that one. 😉

    3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      *Surprised* by lack of empty pizza boxes, energy drinks and foosball tables from this young bunch of “Wantrepreneurs” 😉

    4. Mark Essel

      Is @wmoug:disqus the only one with a smile :D?

      1. ShanaC

        I’m surprised by that too.

      2. William Mougayar

        The host always smiles 🙂

    5. Steve Palmer

      Arnold, do you prefer to participate in the commenting community versus creating content? You post new content less then Fred, for example. Does your interest lie within the participation rather than the creation?

      1. awaldstein

        Both actually.But I consider my own new content always first priority. Take more time and focus of course. Responding is easy.Time management as we all know is everything. With blogging, commenting, launching two new personal ventures, keeping fit and being alive, focus is the #1 challenge of every day.

  5. William Mougayar

    It was a fun discussion. Amazing that we all met in the commentsphere of And JLM met Arnold for the first time an hour prior to the panel. And it was as if they were already long time friends. The power of online relationships!Here are additional links to the Survey results and analysis and a SoundCloud URL in case the embed is not visible on some mobiles:Blog Post on Survey:…Entry point for Survey analysis:…Soundcloud Public Audio:… 

  6. Dale Allyn

    I’m looking forward to listening… but more so, looking forward to meeting more AVCers in the wild – having connected here.

  7. David Semeria

    I’ve got a theory that Arnold is Lou Reed’s younger brother.They’re both from NYC and they dress and talk identically. What more proof is needed?I tried to get a dna sample last time I saw him but the wine glass was too big to hide under my jacket.I know I’m right on this one…

    1. awaldstein

      You crack me up David.

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I think that makes Fred the younger brother of Richard Hell. He and Arnold really nailed that punk artist look in that picture.

  8. LIAD

    The Rolling Stones have really let themselves go.

    1. awaldstein


    2. William Mougayar

      You can call us the “over 50” club, and that would suffice 🙂

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Or “The Stones that Keep on Rolling…and Rolling…and…”

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          What was the saying …A Rolling Stone gathers momentum ?

  9. Dave W Baldwin

    Good talk guys and thanks for the soundcloud link William.Regarding SOPA, User Rights and Education- you have to get involved. Privacy is being lobbied away and everyone is napping. Education will not be solved via government, you have to get involved and not sit around offering only excuses and/or cast blame at a politician. Hopefully, the integration I would see via Disquis would bring together the short feeds of those that participate in a blog/forum like this that can illustrate some great actions being carried out all over to learn from and praise. Then the appropriate paths to funnel pressure on whom needed can be created.

  10. Aviah Laor

    Wow. Social with no hoodie!Seriously,, this talk, Arnold’s last blog posts, Disqus 2012, all explore an important new area of a “social” web.

    1. William Mougayar

      Lol. Conversations is the most underrated part of the social web. No wonder Sarah Palin is telling conservative bloggers today in Las Vegas to go nuts on blogging in order to win influence.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        You’ve made a convert here, and I learned it here. My business deals with bloggers, and *they* certainly know that comments are a vital part of their lives and success.

        1. William Mougayar

          Great. It’s nice meeting you. We’ll connect live

  11. John Best

    Love the audio, its like live AVC comments. Good work, guys.

    1. John Best

      Or, he said replying to himself, the comments are a good representation of a group conversation as it would play out in person.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Wouldn’t it be cool if sometimes there would be a group of audio comments…maybe a recorded panel discussion over Skype or conference call in response to the post to kick off the written comments?

        1. William Mougayar

          It would be cool if Fred hosted something like the Gilmor gang does once a month with 5-6 remote people using Skype Video or Google Hangouts. AVC Live. I meant it.

          1. Timothy Meade

            That and The Linux Show when Eric Raymond was a guest (often), both were killed in the original incarnation by the cost of conferencing. I wonder if supports something like that??

    2. William Mougayar

      AVC Live – that’s Fred’s next brand extension 🙂

      1. John Best

        Rockstars! 🙂

  12. Dasher

    I haven’t met any of you, but I feel like I know all of you for a long time thanks to AVC. It is very nice to be able to put a face (and voice) to your names. Thanks Fred.

  13. Donna Brewington White

    This is a good conversation and some of the right people to be having it. I’ve been looking forward to this. (Thanks for the link @wmoug:disqus )Great job, William, leading the discussion. Your enthusiasm for this topic is palpable (also referring to the Scoble interview).@JLM:disqus ‘s comment about the difference between being the bar owner and frequenter makes a lot of sense. Maybe why some of us spend more time commenting than blogging. That, plus the fact — at least in my case — that I am going to have a lot more interaction with the people I want to interact with on OTHER peoples’ blogs.Building my own blog is still a growing edge for me. Funny, I’ve had the most hits on my blog when I have re-blogged one of @JLM’s comments. And @036fa00478f3563f6e081004ee5981d4:disqus actually made my day by commenting on my lonely Tumblr when I re-blogged one of @awaldstein:disqus’s comments.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Donna – Spot on !The B2B blogging environment for “community engagement” seems sparse except in areas which are very blog / money / business orientated.I too come for who Serendipity may push towards me (and I have some fun and smiles here). I know @awaldstein:disqus has his views on this and I am looking forward to some Vin Jaune with a friend of his when the time is right !… guess Fred doesn’t mind the plug for a friend of Arnold’s).I also would like to build a community around my theme (energy and buildings b2b) – But I think online engagement in Europe in this field is by its nature a little weak. There is a need to build clusters of relationships that enable discovery, I believe bridgeheads of interesting observers may be a way forward.At some time AVC was just a blog and not a “phenomenon” ! – Maybe it is only starting to fire on more than one cylinder – who knows what it can enable?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        If you haven’t found them already, you will like a set of posts by @awaldstein:disqus that touch on what you are saying here about discovery —

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Yes Donna – thanks – I had seen but good to put them up for others anyway.I profess no expertise here and its not my domain – but like you perhaps I can learn, and who and where better to learn from than here – in fact that is the point isn’t it – it brings to mind Kipling’s Six serving men … I had six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were: Where, What, When, Why, How and Who.

          1. JLM

            .It is impossible not to like a chap who quotes Kipling.I spent more than a few nights overseas huddled around a light reading Rudyard. Inspirational stuff for soldiers and civilians alike.BTW, I think your business of energy improvement in commercial buildings is huge and is an area of unbelievable potential.Back in my developer days, I gutted and renovated some mid-rise buildings — to the bone. Completely new windows, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, elevators — the works.What always floored me was how much more efficient the buildings were after I had completed my work. To this day, these buildings enjoy an energy efficiency cost advantage.Leases in the US are typically “NNN” with the tenants paying for everything and thus the landlords are not as diligent in designing energy systems.But what has also happened is the ability to install solar (hot water and electricity) and wind on commercial buildings and run the meter backwards — authorized and required by law.This is going to be a huge business because the savings can be used to finance the improvements..

          2. panterosa,

            My days in RE of NNN and residential floored me as to how lazy people are to upgrade to higher energy efficiency. As a landlord and a tenant I’m always looking for savings and efficiencies. My German friend says power and gas are too cheap in the US which is why we are so wasteful. Europe can’t afford to waste.

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @panterosa:disqus Your German friend has a cultural background of severe deprivation in living memory. During my life Americans in Germany were arrested at a restaurant for not eating their food. Here is an example of a first hand account to make people think.…Despite this background Europe is still incredibly wasteful

          4. panterosa,

            @kwiqly:disqus I checked out your link and have never heard of such a thing as a food ticket. My mother was raised in WW2 and had a pound of butter for her family per month.My German friend, who is 50 and in the US 20 years, refers to stores on Fifth Ave in Manhattan, where he has many clients. In summer the AC is on to frigid levels in those stores and some employees leave the door open to normalize the temperature inside, which then makes for a sort of double wastage.My ‘wasband’ works in Federal court downtown and the AC is frigid there too – for no reason to the degree it is set to – below 72 degrees, maybe even 66. I told him to write Al Gore, or someone who would address this reflexive summer AC coldness beyond just cooling.We have massive cars which we drive to get a quart of milk or some coffee. This is the waste I reference. My European friends would not ever think to do such things with their AC nor their cars, and their heating in winter is always to much colder temp than the US.I will shortly go on a beach vacation and I am eating down my fridge so I can turn the fridge off. It’s the greatest power drain in my apartment. I barely use my AC, and before living here had none. I prefer to live with heat and get used to it.Perhaps Europe becomes more like US, but not the people I know – they would be appalled.

          5. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @panterosa:disqus It is great that the conscience of the US is beginning to wake up, and yes the status quo is dreadful.Perhaps more shocking is that the compressors behind those summer ac you notice will often run all year (using up to 30% peak consumption as they turn over in an “idle ” state”). Just because chill is not being distributed, does not mean a compressor is not running.Amazingly I see this regularly in the UK and Europe as well.Obviously I cannot name and shame clients, but the head offices of household-name companies are no better. As a public building, I can mention the Royal Courts of Justice (beautiful buildings …… ). In August 2003 I was in this building surveying, it was the hottest day on record in England. They had several megaWatt of boiler capacity enabled and running (furnaces the size of a small shop) – to support hot water to the showers that the judges use. As far as I know the practice continues to this day !

          6. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @JLM – (Note to self – Freds Blog is not a grandstand for my dreams !) – First thanks re Kipling and a very reasonable stance I must say :).Yes the potential is unbelievable – It is all about man-hours on sites and making effective strategic and tactical decisions.The SME market is where utilities, control companies and facility managers cannot get a look in. They sell commodities – so desperately need to work on client retention, but their services don’t scale well so they are one trick ponies (and they know it).When the time comes (after we are at revenue in our third European company ) would love to have a word if you know any VC whose thesis this fits, as we will need a bridgehead into the US and a number of those green drinking vouchers – for when our bankers have eased our economy into the mediterranean.

          7. JLM

            .@kwiqly:disqusI think the play in the US is to find a joint venture partner rather than a VC — power companies, utility companies, oil companies, energy equipment companies.Duke Power, Southern Company, Mobil/Exxon right on down, GE and anyone in the high efficiency HVAC equipment business. These are also companies that invest in weird things all the time.Too bad President Obama and his cohert screwed the pooch on Solyndra or you could have gotten $500MM from the US DOE.Any company involved in energy today is interested in getting into the energy conservation and efficiency business. In some instances, they have a mandate.Municipalities — particularly those with a municipal power company — frequently offer installation rebates for insulation, equipment, alternative energy sources.Why?They are, in effect, creating a “negative” growth dynamic. They are growing a power source — reducing demand really — by eliminating or lessening demand.Remember that many power companies have “time of day” and “peak demand” costs features which makes things like solar/battery, wind/battery, ice systems potentially attractive.If you can turn the meter backwards, most power companies in the US are obligated to pay retail for the power.This market is quite fragmented in the US..

          8. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Thanks JLM – Food for thought. – The fragmented market is an issue for us in Germany and Switzerland, so fully deregulated markets like the UK are a joy to explore. Commodity providers see ever increasing churn and a game of race to the bottom on prices, so oddly enough the people who most want to save energy are those who sell it (because the value derived from an efficient kWh is far greater and the cost no different in a deregulated market – its good to sell a “better mousetrap” if the production cost is the same)

      2. awaldstein

        Fred…James story is a great example of the beginnings of a federated network of communities.James moved from here to one of my posts on communities and dove into the comments.He noticed my wine blog and a piece on natural wines that I wrote about some experiences in London. He discovered a reference to the Jura.Turns out he lives an hour drive away, I called my friend @winklorch, a Jura expert with a Jura travel and wine blog through Disqus to jump in.They connected. There was even a Jura festival that weekend.That’s serendipity.

    2. JLM

      .You may not be able to pick this up on the tape but Fred’s comments acknowledging that owning the bar is a real burden were quite heartfelt.It is a huge insight into his success in business and — the guy does the work EVERY freakin’ day.For what? A decade?There are no shortcuts in developing, maintaining and feeding should develop a few softballs to get some down time.The success of is driven by the people, the comity, the expertise, the personalities — no doubt, you — but the folks want something new every single day and Fred — FRED DELIVERS!Fred brings the heat every day, like Nolan Ryan. But unlike Nolan, he will not hit you in the head if you crowd the plate..

      1. Dale Allyn

        Great point, Jeff. I, for one, miss the new post if it comes later than expected – even if it’s a topic in which I don’t participate by commenting. “FRED DELIVERS” is the t-shirt of the day!

        1. Dale Allyn

          🙂 After posting the above comment, I pictured Fred wearing such a t-shirt while riding his Vespa with a front basket fully-loaded with baguettes, charcuterie, and a pizza… so maybe not the “promotion” Fred is looking for. 😉

      2. fredwilson

        i threw a softball today

        1. JLM

          .Sorry, pal, you can’t sell me that baloney.You don’t have that pitch.You are a killer whose only switches and pitches are FAST and FASTER. Maybe a wicked little curveball also.The heat, every day in every way.Enjoy yourself..

  14. Dasher

    I love the JLM comment about AVC = Cheers. Cheers was one of my favorite shows and AVC is my favorite blog. I totally relate to it.

  15. Mark Essel

    Right on Fred, folks visit to tune into the other commenters as well. I always appreciate the wisdom/insight from JLM, Arnold and William amongst many other semi-regular commenters (Seth G., Brad, etc)

  16. panterosa,

    The power of individual voice, the forming of community around issues, and the rules which the network enforces to stay in balance are like a triangle here. Even @PantherKitty:disqus connected to some of the issues and personalities – she knows about 10-15 AVC people including Fred, William, Arnold, and JLM.The interesting part is the fruits you all speak of – what comes from this engagement, and how much time you invest to achieve that result.Everyday I wish I had more time to jump in to read or comment on AVC or it’s commenter’s blogs. But, like @JLM:disqus, I’ m not going to run a bar.

    1. Donna Brewington White

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Funny, I can mention a few names from AVC and my kids nod knowingly.My teenage son actually said these words in an argument with me once: “I wonder if @fredwilson:disqus would agree with me?” (I had to choke back a laugh because he was dead serious.)Interestingly, the @gothamgal:disqus had recently blogged about having similar discussions with her teens which quite honestly I hadn’t been expecting so her blog was good preparation.

  17. Guest

    Now that some of us have seen the four of you for the first time as you really are…….expecting an AARP joke I am sure….But really and in all honesty, I can only wonder, “If someone came into my office applying for a job who looked like any of the four of you, would I recognize the quality?”I know we talk about being “lean” but if I got one of your resumes unsolicited could I figure out a way to justify hiring anyone of you?In the famous words of Justice Potter Sterwart (with a little help from me):”I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of “people” I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“Quality People”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…”Now, the joke, did Fred use his AARP membership to get a discount on dinner? 🙂

  18. awaldstein

    Fascinating that community touches a nerve in everyone.As it should since we are all part of them and they belong to each of us.Interesting to watch the federation of this discussion over to two of my recent posts on community:Community discovery the web for connections through conversations builds on Fred’s idea that we discussed on the panel that there is a natural discovery happening as communities spread out and creates nodes around their members. It’s these nodes that @wmoug:disqus is tying together with engagio.

    1. William Mougayar

      Indeed. I’m a bit surprised this topic doesn’t get written about as much as it should. This is where value floats in the social web.

      1. awaldstein

        I almost never stop writing about this as you know.Most people just don’t get it.They pound on models and commerce first. Start with understanding dynamics and communities and the models and commerce happen naturally,

        1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

          the rewards that comes from participating in conversations vastly exceeds any other online gesture. It is this reward that needs to be communicated more effectively. Engagio is closest thing we have to discovering these conversations

    2. William Mougayar

      And the nice part about this is that the filtering is implicit & automatic. You just follow a few people and their conversations lead you to new places, content & other people.

  19. Dale Allyn

    Fred, thanks for your passionate expression of your feelings about education and the teachers’ unions during the discussion. I couldn’t agree more.

    1. andyidsinga

      I also like JLMs comments about the delivery mechanism. I worked ( as a volunteer) to develop a charter school here in portland for just that delivery issue.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Agreed, Andy. Jeff (JLM) was spot on.I benefited from a teacher during my 8th and 9th grades who influenced me more than any others. He accepted zero crap from me, regardless of my attempts to B.S. my way around the system. He simply called me on my (smarty-pants) crap and taught me so many meaningful lessons which had nothing to do with the curriculum (biology and physics). His blunt methods would be quite dangerous for his career now and here in California (this was in Oregon during the olden days ;). I have very fond respect and appreciation for him and his methods.

        1. JLM

          .@daleallyn:disqusThe delivery of education is a very, very important consideration.All girls and all boys schools replete with uniforms and high levels of discipline are mechanical considerations but have an enormous impact on how much of what is coming out of the pipe is consumed.I marvel at how stupid a young girl can become when as a sophomore in high school the captain of the basketball team smiles at her.If we had more academic recognition and less sports recognition, then priorities would slowly come into a more orderly posture.The whole issue of guidance and mentoring is as important as education.I remember with great fondness my VMI academic advisor who was the head of the civil engineering department.I had gotten a notion that I wanted to change my major from civil to economics.I went to see him to notify him of my decision and he raised his head from his work — he was only half paying attention — and said one word: “No.”He then went back to work grading papers.I protested and without even raising his head he again said: “No.”He then said: “Is there anything else, cadet?”A pivot point in my life did not pivot. And it was absolutely the correct decision.No wishy washy freedoms at VMI, you did what they told you to do and they knew what was good for you better than you did for yourself.Years later he and I discussed that conversation and he said his decision still stands: “No.”.

          1. Dale Allyn

            Thanks for sharing this, Jeff. Our views are similar, although I don’t express them as eloquently as you.I’m in favor of rather conservative educational environments for most, and I would also like to see more uniforms in the U.S. educational system. School uniforms are the norm in many places around the world. In Thailand they’re standard and they help to instill order and remove socioeconomic comparison and conflict. Individualism is very important, but should not be founded on $200 ‘kicks’ or pants hanging around one’s knees.Sometimes “No” is the best gift one can give. Which is not to say that allowing someone to make his/her own mistakes does not also teach. I believe my 8th and 9th grade biology instructor was probably much like your VMI advisor: strict, direct… and correct. I learned some of my most valued lessons from him.

          2. andyidsinga

            I can’t figure out if i’m liberal or conservative on education – I’m liberaltarion I guess :)I’m a big fan of the Peter Thiel fellowships ..but I also think kids should get a college education and focus on building skills.To me the method and delivery is key – kids don’t all learn alike – we need a system that recognizes this ..and does much better than the current charter school + lottery based enrollment system. (still a huge fan of charters – and my youngest daughter goes to one)Re. saying “no” – certainly an important part of setting limits and learning about consequences.

          3. Dale Allyn

            Andy, I don’t think that labels are needed. It sounds like you take the problem seriously and apply critical thinking to it. That’s what’s needed.Like you, I feel that kids are not all a like in most regards and the best delivery systems will be prepared to adapt to individual cases. Sometimes those “different cases” will be outliers and there can still be strong “norms” to follow.When I travel in Asia I see two primary sets: one is the hard-working Asian family who spend huge amounts of time and money (relative to their financial ability) to get their children the right educational foundation (including tutors and summer school) to work in the world ahead; and one set of wealthy expats and local aristocrats with their children in international schools in which the kids all have the newest iPhones, are taken to school by private drivers, leave school whenever they want to go party, etc.The former set are some of the brightest, polite, ambitious, creative, diligent young people I have met. While the latter set often struggle to find any career paths, act like snots, are out at bars with friends at 15 years of age, and struggle to be accepted to good colleges. Many in the latter set simply go to work for their parents because it’s the easiest path. Of course this is anecdotal, but I’ve seen it a lot.In the U.S. we have a very different set of cultural expectations, but in my opinion, we would be well-served by getting back to basics, holding teachers and students accountable, eliminating tenure, and working hard to ensure that opportunity is available to all. Easy! Right? ;)Edit: typos

          4. JLM

            .@daleallyn:disqus @andyidsinga:disqusThe sad truth that nobody wants to hear is that if you were training thoroughbreds to win — you would train them hard. Very hard.If you have children, you are obligated to train them hard. As hard as you can. Not mean, hard.And not just in education, academic subjects — in the knowledge of life and how to live amongst every kind of person.We have allowed OUR employees, the teachers, to gain control of their base of employment. They set the rules rather than our setting the rules and their being measured on their performance.There was a particular engineering professor at VMI who was just as tough as nails. He was never going to be your friend. Every class you went to you solved a problem on the board.If you failed to underline your answer, you got an F. No second chances even if the problem was otherwise correct.This prof had commanded a battleship in WWII and had decided, at the end of the war, to bring his ship into SF harbor without a pilot. He had been at sea for almost the entire war and was anxious to get home.He ran his ship aground inside the harbor.He was relieved of his command — after having had an otherwise sterling career and having served with distinction in combat — and retired from the Navy as an Admiral.I had him for drawing, statics, dynamics, heat transfer, heat, materials — all the subjects he taught. He was a tough teacher.But, damn, did I learn. To this day, I can still define entropy.We all have different learning styles but tough love and tough learning should be one of them. Not for everyone. But for some..

          5. Dale Allyn

            Training young people ‘hard’ is a gift (to the student) and it takes work on the part of the teacher, many of whom are too lazy or too afraid of reprisal (from a broken system) to provide it to the student.Edit to add: parents have a very important role in this, and sadly that is too often lacking.

          6. andyidsinga

            “If you have children, you are obligated to train them hard. As hard as you can. Not mean, hard.”that is so true and profound – so many parents and teachers don’t grok this.The difficulty is finding where the line is for an individual (or team) – how have you done this over the years JLM?

          7. JLM

            .I could write for hours on this score but here are a few quick comments.First, education has to be a serious business. This basic message is important. Mom & Dad have to be together on this. No daylight.It’s all about preparation initially — good school, good teachers, good school supplies, timely arrival and firm priorities. And, a plan through college.Failure to perform has to have consequences. Extraordinary performance has to have rewards.A parent has to be in communication with teachers before problems occur. Today that is very easy.Every night you have to review homework, prioritize what is going to happen and check back to ensure it does.I think middle school is the most important time. The child can learn real study skills without having much at risk and can be ready for high school.Both of mine went to the best private school in Texas for both middle and high school and were so well prepared for college that it was actually easy.They both broke a sweat and they had to adhere to high standards to do so.And they both made excellent grades with Perfect Daughter (this is what she calls herself given she made straight As and was able to barter that fact for anything she wanted) doing extremely well.Check, double check, re-check EVERYTHING.In rearing children, I think it is very important that they have hard physical pursuits, if they are able to do so, or passionate intellectual pursuits that can be leveraged to drain every drop of energy from their mischievous little minds.Force them to play sports and undertake things like the piano with an eye toward this end.A friend of mine who is a world class horsey person says of her own children: “You can have a teen age boy or a horse between their legs. Your choice, Dad.”.

          8. panterosa,

            @JLM:disqus “Failure to perform has to have consequences. Extraordinary performance has to have rewards.” Many people are tentative about punishment and rewards, which is how I sense most people would react to your statement, and go too far in either direction.I feel negotiation is the best solution, which is really engagement – which you advocate.My own daughter, 10, is top of class in top school. I told her she doesn’t connect with me freely enough about her learning in school, share enough when I ask, unless I really press her. I told her to guess what her education will cost from age 2 to age 22-4. She guessed right first time – around $1M. Oh, she said, no problem – I get it, and I’ll tell you everything from now on. I replied that it should not be ‘work’ for me to hear about what she’s doing, it should be a shared goal of keeping her on track.Thank god she got it. I told her I will work her harder. She will learn foreign languages from me, practice this and that, as I choose.Two days later she came to me and said she wanted to be the best team member ever for our family (her and me), for me as startup momtrepreneur, and her as damn ass smart kid who can really kick it on her way to really living her potential.Boot camp starts in a week for the summer. I may need to check in with you on boot-camping a 10 year old — I’m sure you have more practice than I do!!

          9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @panterosa @jlm Time may have worn away some of the exact veracity of this story – it is how I remember it !…As a sixteen your old I got to that stage where I said I should do as I please because I could handle myself. Mum unhappy, Dad laughing at my naivety. We struck a deal – He dumps me in Germany (without Mums approval) 50 Deutsche Marks in pocket (it was enough to get home to England at a push) – Told me here are six family friends round Europe – visit them say Hi – Don’t return within 6 weeks, don’t ask for help from them unless you really need it. In emergency do !Six weeks later he picked up a different child (arguably a young man) asleep on London Victoria station. I made it, I struggled, I got into a few scrapes, I had fun, my life changed.It was the best 50 DM my father spent – I handed it back untouched !Your daughter is too young for this just yet, but it is great to watch them learn to fly !

          10. andyidsinga

            always amazed to hear about those two groups you describe. My experience in that area has always been very middle of the road middle class fwiw.agree that holding teachers and students accountable (add in parents too) is so important.I’m mixed on the tenure side because I’ve always thought of tenure as a “thinking big and different things with permission to piss off the status quo” sort of thing for upper academia – and haven’t figure out how it applies specifically to elementary and high school.

          11. JLM

            .@daleallyn:disqusStrict, direct, correct!Stolen artifact. Thanks.Well played!.

          12. Cam MacRae

            My wife and I argue about this from time to time; she was educated in PA and has never worn a uniform in her life, I was educated in Australian and Indonesia and wore a uniform throughout primary and secondary school. She abhors the limitation on expression, but in reality kids find a way to express themselves through the uniform, be it by the length of their skirt or their untucked shirttails or scuffed shoes — scandalous, I know. I cannot imagine not requiring a uniform of students, particularly at the lower levels.

          13. Dale Allyn

            I feel it does the students and the parents a great favor, economically, behaviorally, etc., all contributing to a better educational environment. The goal is to educate students and prepare them for life – and the chaos that is currently often present in U.S. schools is not achieving the goal IMO.We need to take education seriously and apply the “tough love” mentioned by JLM et al. Our young people deserve it.

          14. andyidsinga

            Thanks for the story JLM!ps. I can’t bring myself to calling you Jeff just yet – you’re the JLM! – maybe someday if we meet f2f. 🙂

          15. JLM

            .Well, apparently, SHITHEAD is still available?Happy Father’s day!.

          16. andyidsinga

            Ha! well played 🙂 :)Happy fathers day JLM!

          17. PhilipSugar

            As you say I agree with you more than yourself.My brother who is a professor who is a robotics professor at ASU Mesa (not main campus for political reasons) team won the Robotic contest against MIT, Berkley, Stanford, etc. You can see the Best Buy Commercial… That is like a junior college beating Ohio StateI told him it must be the best coaching job ever. He said no the best was when he took inner city Hispanic kids from the Barrios of Phoenix and beat out all the other rich high schools in the U.S in the GM Robotic Contest.His remuneration? 1/33rd, 3% of the football coach. No bonus for that win. At least the kids got a year of tuition.

    2. fredwilson

      i stil have to write that blog post

      1. Dale Allyn

        I know it will be a good one. The AVC community is passionate about the topic and will surely shred it.

      2. andyidsinga

        yes! – its gonna be a doozy in the comments section 🙂 I’m chuckling as I remember your comments in the audio.

  20. Dale Allyn

    Really well done, gentlemen. It took me a while to find an uninterrupted slot to listen to the whole conversation, but really glad I made the time. Thank you.

  21. Pete Griffiths

    Time for a face to face meetup in San Fran. 🙂

    1. Dale Allyn

      Pete, I think there are a number of AVCers within reach of San Fran. It would be great to set up the next time Fred and others head west. It seems like William is coming out this way more often now, too.Maybe a meetup in the Napa Valley or Healdsburg. 😉

      1. William Mougayar

        We need a Foursquare Explore overlay on top of AVC members locations. Or a Highlight/Banjo tab that tells me where the AVCer’s are where ever I am.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Yep. We need a pin-map. Google Maps for the AVC family. Wanna see restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, parks? Nope, just show me the AVC members in the area. 😉

          1. William Mougayar

            Exactly! Foursquare Groups. @foursquare y/n?

          2. Dale Allyn

            Actually, I prefer agnostic solutions. My pref. would be for something that would allow any internet user to submit name and location via any web browser so as not to leave anyone behind.Edit to add: foursquare API integration should be part of the solution, but not exclusive.

          3. panterosa,

            @williammougayar. This was a feature I wanted for Disqus. A four square for who was online, and local if they chose to reveal where they were.

          4. William Mougayar

            The group part would be good too. There’s an app called Echoer that pings your friend if they are nearby & available.

        2. Pete Griffiths

          There was one thing about the instagram deal that was not commented on but that was truly remarkable. When they sold the company only 12/13 employees. But I think 5 of them were in community management. And a lot of that was offline activities. Offline to complement online is a big deal. I had a chat with Marc at Quora about this recently.I say – let’s chat in a cyber bar. Then drink in a real one. And JLM can clean up the mess. 🙂

          1. awaldstein

            I noticed that as well Pete. Yes, 5 fulltime dedicated to just making it work for people,

          2. Pete Griffiths

            They had as many people in community management as in engineering!

          3. awaldstein

            Yup…I have a project that I’m going out for funding on a working prototype with some scalability and shutting down all work except considering bringing on a comm manager to work with to build momentum during the raise,Nothing fixes bugs and missing features like love and enthusiasm and helpfulness.

          4. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            excellent points Pete. I am definitely in favour Williams’s suggestion of a fouresquare overlay that lets us know where AVC’ers members are – the building and strengthening of communities offline is critical for building lasting relationships

  22. Guest

    I hadn’t realized how “official” AVC is. It has a purpose other than just being fun.I’m glad to hear the comments about how important ideas are!

  23. Guest

    Many times it’s important to press the blog topic to get the best discussion. Sometimes I press Fred to try to get in-depth discussions going about the topic. Of course Fred ignores that, lol, but really when a thread is moving away from the topic sometimes someone needs to help get it back on track.I’ve had many discussions about the educational system in the US and bricks-n-mortor seems to be the focus of the system. Just look at what TV could be for education. The internet could be what TV failed to be.

  24. Guest

    What a great group of guys. 🙂

  25. andyidsinga

    listening… like JLMs bar thoughts a about 16 mins inlike arnolds thoughts thats ‘its real’ ..not just virtual ..around 18:50

    1. Dale Allyn

      Lots of strong points, Andy. @JLM:disqus makes a very important point during the last six or eight minutes in which he describes the importance of one’s own responsibility to study and learn.

      1. andyidsinga

        im really enjoying the audio. so interesting ..and awesome to hear these guys talk together.

        1. Dale Allyn

          Agreed. I’d not heard William or Jeff before, so it was great to hear them speak.

  26. andyidsinga

    classic JLM at 32:45!! *love that*

  27. panterosa,

    @fredwilson I do think education would be a great topic to chew over on AVC. Maybe it’s so big it needs to be a series. Unions, attracting and paying teachers, school’s physical plants, education materials and delivery methods, curriculum, online, iBooks ….. It’s a long list. And as you said its so broken.It’s being broken has got me drilling down on fixing a piece of it. I would love to show you the piece I am working on so I will send you a mail.

    1. William Mougayar

      That was a very emotional topic for Fred, indeed. Did you hear drop the f word in that context.

      1. panterosa,

        Emotional – yes. Not only the f-bomb but also the unions have us by the balls and don’t deliver.Emotional for me too – have been working for 2 1/2 years in this incarnation of solving this problem of science games and a year and a half a while back. Without pay so far, and have not yet asked for funding since I’m not sure if part of it should be non-profit. I have invested my soul in this work, and it nourishes my soul back.

  28. Trish Burgess-Curran

    Just finished listening to the recording. Great insights! I am glad to be back to the community!

  29. Alex Murphy

    “Its about the commitment of doing it every single day,” Fred Wilson.That is the key to life, right there, 10 words, that’s it. (and yes, that means on Saturdays and Sundays too)

  30. fredwilson

    great question

  31. William Mougayar

    Engagio will have it in 2 weeks. It was part of the roadmap & we already have a partial of it when you click the envelope, you can send a 100 chars private message.