Two Must Read Books For The AVC Community

There are many themes that grace this page from time to time. Two of the most common are the rise of startup communities and the role that the Internet can play in allowing society to governing itself. And there are two books out this week that are must reads on these two topics. Further and in full disclosure, they are written by two very good friends. No conflict no interest as it were.

Let's start with Startup Communities by Brad Feld. I met Brad in 1996. He had just moved to Boulder Colorado and was going to help build a startup community there by building a market leading VC firm in Boulder. Sounds audacious? Yes. But he did it. As I was working on the same idea for the past sixteen years in NYC, I was able to watch a parallel universe forming in Boulder with Brad at the center.  In Startup Communites, Brad tells us what he's learned from that experience and how the same thing can be done elswhere. If you want to create a Boulder or NYC tech scene in your community, this is your roadmap, bible, and textbook. You can get it on Kindle today and or pre-order the book for delivery next week.

On to Future Perfect by Steven Johnson. Back in the Spring, Steven emailed me a draft of this book. I put the PDF on my Kindle and started reading. I found myself yelling Yes, Yes, Yes as I was making my way through the chapters. I know most, if not all, of the stories in this book. I have been involved in some of them and have followed the others closely. Those stories tell me that there is a "case for progress in a networked age" and Steven makes that case as only he can, by telling the stories brilliantly and then wrapping the meaning of them together in a crisp, cohesive, and easy to understand narrative that leaves you with a framework to take out in the world. You can get Future Perfect on Kindle or in hardback right now as it was published earlier this week.

The comment thread on my Get Out The Vote post a couple days ago was downright depressing and full of anger and cynicism. So for all of you and everyone else, here is a short 3 min video from Steven talking about the ideas in his book and where they are going. If you need a shot of optimism this morning, watch it.

#Books#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. abhic

    First, just saying πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      first to buy both books?

      1. abhic

        heh, geek pride – first to comment on one of your posts. I don’t usually get to read anything till before the day’s commits.

        1. fredwilson

          i was just joking around since you were toogood luck with those commits!

          1. abhic

            πŸ™‚ Just queued up Feld’s book in my kindle app. I love his take on the startup hustle, real operator.

    2. ShanaC


  2. Ed Freyfogle

    Future Perfect looks interesting. I’d be interested in learning @stevenbjohnson opinion on the rise of the Pirate Party in Europe, most notably in Germany. They are trying to practice this idea of true peer decision making using the software http://liquidfeedback.orgThe Pirates are at times rough around the edges and it remains to be seen if they can establish themselves as a long term player in German politics, but they have come out of no where to be legitimate contenders and are now entering government at the state level. At a minimum they are forcing the existing players to consider and take positions on the issues the Pirates are pushing, which in my opinion is very healthy. Because it’s happening outside of the English speaking world I don’t see it getting much if any coverage in the US, which I think is unfortunate.I’ve long argued that the problem in US democracy is the two party oligopoly. More diversity of choice would be a great thing.

    1. aweissman

      I’ve thought that Liquid Feedback software is very interesting for a while but haven’t yet seen it in adoption. Is it working in Germany?

      1. Ed Freyfogle

        To be honest I’m not well enough informed to say, I think it depends on your definition of working. From the outside it at times looks messy, but then that’s the nature of democracy. What is definitely the case is that a whole new demographic of people are becoming politically engaged, and I think technology is an important piece of that.

  3. John Revay

    Thanks for sharing – I always love curated book recommendations from trusted sources.I loved the Steve Johnson video – I very much agree w/ his “Participatory Budgeting” theory. I am not sure why we could not adopt this on a broader scale for most/all government. Laws, Spending etc.I think I remember you blogged about Steve back in the spring – after he spoke at your son’s school – I wish I made it in to hear him talk. This was probably the book you referenced at the time.My Brad comment for today is – I saw a picture of the three of you earlier this week ( Brad, Fred & Matt) at one of your favorite dinning places – Perla. Brad looked like a giant next to you.

    1. fredwilson

      he is a giant, physically, mentally, and also with his friendship

  4. jason wright

    “The comment thread on my Get Out The Vote post a couple days ago was downright depressing and full of anger and cynicism”I see that comments thread as a powerful indicator and a priceless resource of information as a starting point for how to think about fixing what is clearly a dying democracy. The fullness of anger and cynicism indicates a strong desire for change. How to harness that desire is the nut to crack.

    1. pointsnfigures

      No money in it, except for consultants, lobbyists and government employees. Only way to fix it is to run for office.

    2. kidmercury

      agreed. anger is a vital part of dealing with a crisis and working towards resolution.

    3. fredwilson

      Yup. And Stevens book is just what the doctor ordered

    4. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Anger is an Energy.

  5. Anne Libby

    Thanks, Fred. I’ll love to read these books! Community is everything. And community starts when we find the underlying things we have in common.The political discourse here in the US has become depressing because winning seems to depend on finding the things that separate us — and then pounding the other guy to death with it. Fragmentation is the opposite of community.Speaking of books, the success and resonance of *The Hunger Games* at this particular point is no coincidence.



      1. Anne Libby

        Or whether leaders learn to find meaningful sources of common good to unite around…

    2. fredwilson

      Great point about the power of community

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Well said Anne. Thanks for saying it.

      1. Anne Libby


    4. ShanaC

      I want a break from politics…really

      1. Anne Libby


  6. Jorge M. Torres

    I got to hear Brad speak at Excelerate’s demo day a couple of weeks ago. He previewed the book by sharing the Boulder Thesis with the crowd. It’s spot-on. Best part is that it’s entrepreneur-centric – entrepreneurs must be involved in leading efforts to build startup communities. Everyone else feeds from the value they create in a symbiotic (not parasitic) way. That’s how it should be.

  7. William Mougayar

    Wow this is 3 posts loaded into 1. Β All of them covering significant themes.Β I really love Brad’s book. About a month ago, he sent me a preview copy and I reviewed it here .….Β Brad has cracked the code on Tech ecosystems & their roadmaps. Any community should follow exactly what’s outlined and diagnose what is missing. He makes it look that simple, and he puts the entrepreneur at the center of it all. Everything else is meant to support that.Β And I’m a huge believer in the power of the Peer to Peer theme in that video. (I owned a website in 2001 called Peer Intelligence, chronicling P2P technologies). P2P is a solid foundation for the future. Imagine if we voted with our tax dollars Kickstarter-style on the projects that government should be doing. So, if you take local/residential taxes, instead of paying for eg 5K annually, we are given a Kickstarter wallet with that much money in it, and we have to spend it but we get to choose what it gets spent on.Β The future is bright, and let’s not let a few idiots tell us otherwise.Β 

    1. falicon

      Your P2P vision is brilliant. I would really like to see something like that happen.

      1. William Mougayar

        A white-label version of Kickstarter could be used as is to do that. It’s almost like a Donor’s Choose menu of projects, but funded via a Kickstarter-like mechanism. I think Counties, small cities and municipalities would be a great way to start testing this.

  8. Avi Deitcher

    OK, I’ll give. Everything he is saying in the video is nothing more or less than what Friedman (and earlier Hayek) said in “Capitalism and Freedom”. Capitalism is free and voluntary transactions between individuals. Friedman explicitly says these transactions can be financial, intellectual or anything else.Maybe this is a dumb question (yeah, I know, no such thing), but what is radical or new in the video?

    1. Avi Deitcher

      Please keep posting books to read – business, technology, politics, economics, history, philosophy, theology, you name it.Wish I had a “marketplace” of (e)books, a clearinghouse of recommended reading, categorized by type (just like a market – options vs bonds vs equity vs futures vs..), and with community ratings – you trust X’s ratings, I trust Y, but all out there; same way I know I like Fred’s stamp of approval, you like Scott Weiss’, etc.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb has been writing a series of posts about books and the social web. Here is a link to his first post on the subject… – I learned about couple of neat networks such as Goodreads through this post

        1. Avi Deitcher

          Thanks, I will take a look at it. Looks really good. Much appreciated.

        2. Avi Deitcher

          @Abdallah, Goodreads looks fascinating. Web UI is weak, iOS app is better, and they are weak on international lang books (I read/write/speak English/Hebrew/French), but I am happy to have found it.

      2. ShanaC

        we had one in the past on a wiki. The wiki wasn’t well maintained. There needs to be a better method for such things….

    2. William Mougayar

      P2P can be enabled now at a scale level that wasn’t possible before.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        So the idea isn’t radical? What you are saying is, in the early days of free markets, almost all interactions were “peer-to-peer” on a small scale. Government was extremely small and limited, and without serious telecommunication and transportation, the organization of large companies and government had no need to exist.Next comes a middle stage: telecomms and transport allow regional to national to international transactions, so large scale companies and government become dominant, possibly necessary. Peer to peer does not scale.Next stage is advanced telecomms (which is all the Web is at heart) and platforms on top of it that “reenable” peer to peer on a global scale, returning to that core idea, but on a global scale.Did I understand you? That *is* fascinating.

        1. William Mougayar

          I think so. It’s P2P/Crowdsourcing applied to solve bigger and bigger problems. At least that’s my interpretation.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            If he is right, some people who make their living off of big business and big government are going to be mighty displeased in a few years. No complaints from me.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Indeed. It’s often as simple as the fact that YouTube/SlideShare/et al weren’t around when most of those ideas were in their first iterations.

          2. LE

            Similar to skits on SNL.Or with movies, only the fish and the water changes.

    3. ShanaC

      I guess I should read either Friedman or Hayek then

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Oh, definitely. You don’t have to agree with it, but it is crucial to know.FYI, I don’t agree with Karl Marx at all, but reading Das Kapital was important to stimulate ways of thinking.Same with Ayn Rand (on the other end) – I agree with a good amount, not with all of it, but important read.

        1. ShanaC

          I’ve read rand and peices of Marx. Hayek just didn;t happen (more on my to do list πŸ™‚ ) You’re right about stimulating new ways of thinking (hence why I am reading Satre now πŸ™‚ )

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Sartre. Impressive.

          2. ShanaC

            I like the moral arguments that come out of existentialism – though I am reading some of his plays (in english, alas)I am an equal opportunity reader though πŸ™‚ Life can’t always be the life of the mind.

      2. Cam MacRae

        Both. Then follow with Minsky.

        1. Avi Deitcher

          Something specific? “Keynes”, “Stabilizing”, “It”?

          1. Cam MacRae

            stabilizing an unstable economy was front of mind.

        2. ShanaC

          I’m super Meh about Uchicago Economics. I might respect Minsky more.And yes, I appreciate the irony of that statement….

      3. William Mougayar

        Don Tapscott also covered some of this in his book MacroWikinomics, where he looks at the macro application of Wiki style bottoms-up processes to solve the world’s problems. The examples and conclusions in it are quite hyperbolic. But I have a sense that Steve’s book will be more grounded with realities and recent examples.

        1. ShanaC

          at the end of the day we’re really talking about modeling human behavior – which the web doesn’t change!

          1. William Mougayar

            I thought the web changes our behavior ?

          2. ShanaC

            I think it makes human behavior more transparent – not in any way really changes it. Humans are old, and parts of human behavior have been set (though is still evolving) for millenia. The internet is what- 15-20 years old in its current conception?

    4. kidmercury

      exactly. there is really nothing new, aside from the misguided view that hayek was wrong or disagreed in some way.

    5. Roger Ellman

      AviAgreed. Without caveat.It is good to have new exponents of ideas expressed in varied ways though. For this reason the book looks good.

    6. thomas paine

      Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, Adam Smith.He’s arguing for free markets, but he just can’t seem to bring himself to say so directly.And free markets require free political systems.The guys who formed the American Enlightenment were pretty frickin’ smart. Many of them were entrepreneurs, inventors and investors. They understood that the most important thing a government could do was to leave us the heck alone and let ideas and capital sort themselves out in the market.The evidence of their success, in terms of almost any statistic you look at over the last ~250 years, is hard to dispute.

      1. kidmercury


      2. ShanaC

        Thomas – what do you think of the development of blogging from the perspective of history?

    7. fredwilson

      Future Perfect is not about free market capitalism. Its about what might compliment it better than old world big government

      1. Avi Deitcher

        I haven’t read it (yet), I can only comment on the video. But the video *is* about free market capitalism, even if not called that. I think it is contrasting with corporate statism.

        1. Avi Deitcher

          And as I get ready to get on a 3-hour ride, I think about the fact that I will drop out of this convo, despite wanting to continue, because no real iOS client. πŸ™

        2. Mike Bestvina

          This is exactly what I was thinking. The author says its “different from the Libertarian market religion of the right” (which is another way of saying free market capitalism), to which he offers the fact that the the money comes from the state.The problem is that peer communities can be easily gamed, hence why pure Libertarian ideas are not feasible. Each peer (or node) can be influenced (normally monetarily) to rank where it wants it money to be spent. You’re then left with the highly inefficient way that governments work today.P.S. – I believe Switzerland’s government operates largely in this fashion. Does it work? Seems to be. Does it work for Switzerland? Seems to be. Would it work for other countries? Don’t think so.P.P.S – I am a free market Libertarian, but I’m also sensible enough to realize how unrealistic some of the ideals are.

  9. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I think Albert Wenger beat you to the punch Fred because he wrote about ‘future perfect’ first πŸ™‚ he also highly recommended it and hence it is on my reading list. I have already ordered Brad Feld’s book and am eagerly awaiting it. There has been few reviews online about startup communities but one of the best is that of @wmoug:disqus

  10. nilb

    Future Perfect – very positive thinking… I’m willing to build the tech infrastructure for that… where can I sign πŸ™‚

  11. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Good stuff. Just saw this by Tim O’Reilly, also – well worth a look …

    1. Avi Deitcher

      @Carl, thanks for sharing. I don’t agree with everything he says, but there are some really interesting points.

    2. William Mougayar

      That’s a great preso and a keeper. I liked this site from it, and the ending quote by Steve Jobs is priceless.

  12. RichardF

    In the UK, I can one click preorder so that Steven’s book is automatically delivered to my Kindle on the 4th October. Who made that pointless rule up….

  13. jason wright

    Past Simple by Mitt Romney.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith




    1. fredwilson

      You mean Tuesday’s?



        1. jason wright


  15. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Those of you… who really want to see Brad Feld in action … should watch this freaking song by him … go to the related media section of the book.…P.S. thanx again to and @falicon

    1. falicon

      Thanks for the nod!Been hard at work on some upgrades (code named: Siu Nim Tao)…I hope to *finally* get them out in the next couple of days…it will improve the search experience (and accuracy of results) quite a bit…always gotta keep getting better! πŸ˜‰

      1. ShanaC

        how do you come up with code names?

        1. falicon

          It depends on the project…In this case, I have a core theme of Wing Chun Kung Fu going in the background (I started taking classes around the same time I started this code base, and the approach to learning that system is very inline with my approach to building out this project — so all code names will be driven a bit by this theme as will many of the design choices and personality traits of the brand that are revealed over time).With that in mind, Siu Nim Tao is the name of the first from in Wing Chun (basically means ‘the little idea’) and it’s really the root of the whole system…the current upgrades I’m working on in the back end are basically a complete and core rewrite of the whole system (to make it much easier to add more sites, and to make the results more accurate and higher quality).Being that this upgrade is core to the long term foundation of the system, I thought the code name for this update should be something of equal importance from the Wing Chun system…and so that’s how I picked it this time around. (more details than you wanted eh) πŸ˜‰

      2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        Awesome. Siu Nim Tao … I think the literal meaning is ” little baby step.” I am not 100% sure.I studied 10-months during 1983-4 with a martial art master … who said he is teaching us a combined form of Karate and Taekwondo. I can’t do any of those stuff now … What I still can do is only ‘float in the water’ … I can float like a wood.Good Luck with your Wing Chun and your code base.

  16. kidmercury

    i rained on the parade on albert’s blog regarding steven johnson’s book and consider it my duty to do the same here. i will recount the same arguments, which are:1. a criticism of current market structures in comparisons to “ideal” market structures ignores that we do not have stable money and credit, a prerequisite of all philosophers who have espoused a libertarianism/anarchism/markets for everything.2. technology is not progressing, and society is not progressing, if the cost of energy is rising. which it is:… . any claims to progress should also consider income inequality, labor and savings, and debt. obviously those all paint a rather ominous picture. but energy is the big one and the impact of high energy costs will be understood soon enough if not already.3. networks can replace governments but only if sufficient political will exists amongst those who espouse them to challenge the nation-state system. for the most part we do not have that political will yet. life is still too comfortable, most people don’t get political will until all other options have been exhausted. i.e. riots in the middle east didn’t happen until food prices were out of control (to that end, ask the growing number of people who live in extreme poverty if they’ve seen technological progress in their lives).real optimists don’t ignore problems and tell themselves nice stories about how everything is great. rather real optimists celebrate problems because they are the gateway to solutions and opportunity.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      We are certainly in pretty polarised soothsayer vs naysayer times – I subscribe to both, as both states of mind have their merits, objectively.The exponential growth of pseudo-philosophy/self-help/enlightenment books and the like just shows how desperate these times are, for many. I doubt many of Romney’s friends have such reading materials by their bedside. No need. Fine, lucky them.At times, I do. My own status is so turbulent/frightening even some positive-thinking-cod-philosophy is welcome, at the darkest of times. Sometimes helps one get a less turbulent night’s sleep – and is cheaper than whisky.Optimism is the only way – but not mindlessly so, agreed, Kid’ – Christ, if I wasn’t one I’d be dribbling on a street corner somewhere by now ;-)Tomorrow’s another day…

      1. fredwilson

        “I subscribe to both, as both states of mind have their merits, objectively”my favorite line of the day. possibly the week. and maybe even the month. well said Carl.

      2. ShanaC

        here is hoping that tomorrow is a better day

      3. Mark Essel

        Fellow optimist checking in.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Really like your last point about optimism (pondering the rest — and you do often cause me to ponder Kid). In other words no place for sentimentality in optimism. As much as I hate boxing I get the image of a bloodied, bruised contender coming out of the corner for another round.

    3. LE

      “inside job”…You should watch this. It’s total kid mercury porn.

    4. raycote

      To paraphrase H.G. WellsWhat do you do when everything seem hopeless?Well – you carry on as if that weren’t true!I maybe wrong but I judge you to be the type of person that keeps on carrying on despite pessimistic circumstances.I’ll be back late tonite to more fully rebut your linear-network-effect pessimism.I’ll be talking to an empty room at that late hour but I’m just that kind of hairpin that likes talk to myself.I have guests visiting and cannot respond now so an empty room it will have to be!

      1. kidmercury

        optimism/pessism is not really a dichotomy i subcribe to. i look for facts, problems, and solutions to those problems. i believe there are solutions to every problem. whether one wants to label this approach, optimistic, pessimistic, realistic, or something else is fine by me.

        1. raycote

          Well yes of course you’re right it is a fault dichotomy. I should have anticipate your better framing.I should have more accurately said I’ll be back to participate in a little sublation from the german word Aufheben.Sublation:constructive mental arm wrestling between thesis and antithesis.

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            β€œThe unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates.

        2. raycote

          ——————————————– 1)Stable money and credit as a sacrosanct prerequisite to more organically distributive network-effect based financial and political market structures, which are not necessarily synonymous with libertarian or anarchist market structures, imply that there is some mandatory linear sequencing constraints that apply to the evolution of complex new homeostatic set points in statistically emergent best fit organically coherent economic systems. The history of evolutionary biological analogues suggest no such mandatory single-linear-critical-path constraints apply. Biology suggests that many subsystem can evolve in unpredictably complex parallel/serial cascades.The network synchronizing effect(i.e. complexity) is statistically self-reenforcing/self-selecting via two way feedback loops between itself and its environment. Both complexity’s environmental adaptive scope/reach and the self-serving environmental restructuring that accompany complexity(i.e. the network synchronizing effect) favour distributive structure and statistical redundancy based error correction.——————————————– 2)Biology suggests that many subsystem can evolve in unpredictably complex parallel/serial cascades.All things being equal how does moving forward by applying the power of network-synchronization(i.e. adaptive complexity) to create distributive social structures for wealth, power, education and control make the challenges you outline any more or less formidable?——————————————– 3)Creative destruction always creeps in at the margins toying with the simpler low level functions then as it consolidates its potential the tipping point quickly engulf its more powerful incumbent structures.Replacing governments with networks need not start with the political will to do so. Network replacements of all manner creep in as habitually self-serving social empowerment and spread virally up the societal organization stack.

    5. JamesHRH

      The biggest issue in tech is the consistent belief that preaching to the choir will affect change.That is the reason that Brad Feld is completely impressive – he made something happen in his community that he wanted to see happen, that he felt was important to make happen – same goes for the Bartender here. Brad is even trying to export what he did in Boulder. Fantastic stuff.Steven B Johnson is the poster boy for ‘tech showing how the internet solves everything’. I am sure he is awesome, but he is not affecting change by writing a book that noone outside of tech will read.If he runs for Senate and actually tries to do some of the things he believes can & should be done, that is a different story.Government gets changed by the people who govern – not the people who write.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Good points, James. The slicker the video or PowerPoint, the more cynical I am, typically. That’s why I liked Tim O’Reilly’s so much. Raw. All steak, not sizzle, as they say.However, change first comes from ideas and those who can articulate them the best are usually at the vanguard of change. Orators for bad and good mark history – Hitler to Churchill, to name but two. ‘Big Idea’ thinkers who are also master orators and who also execute on those big ideas are, well, as rare as rocking horse shit…I should read the book before judging, but if Fred rates him/it, that’s quite an endorsement, in my book – but, we must make our own minds up.At least it was partly the stimulus for today’s entry in my nascent blog, lol…http://carl-rahn-griffith.t

      2. fredwilson

        i can see how you see it that way. but remember that Steven inspires people like me and Brad.

        1. JamesHRH

          I hear what you are saying.I guess I just think that “Change the Ratio” would be better if it was not about women in tech and totally about fewer people who wave their hands while they talk and more people being inspired.The lineup in front of the door marked Doing Something About It is always too short – that’s all.Commitment over communication.

    6. Modernist

      2. The relative, operational cost of energy is not rising, nor has it risen. The cost of using energy inefficiently has risen. The cost of energy, relative to the need for energy, has fallen; the need for energy has fallen dramatically. We are in an information economy; society just hasn’t caught up with that yet. It takes energy to drive a book across the country to make a sale; it does not take energy to read online.

      1. kidmercury

        i don’t believe energy efficiency results in a lower need for energy. see jevon’s paradox:

        1. Modernist

          how does jevon’s paradox differ from any “efficient market” economic dogma which basically says equilibrium erases everything?

          1. kidmercury

            i’m not sure i follow what you are saying about equilibrium, but the point is that it doesn’t matter if it takes less energy to read a book or do stuff online. that doesn’t mean less energy gets used; that simply means there is more energy available to do other stuff, and that other stuff will get done.also, the energy efficiency gains of the internet is much, much, much more than offset by the resource scarcity we now face. it takes more energy than ever to mine copper and other minerals because the easy stuff is gone. freshwater supplies are running low and desalination technology, which is very energy intensive, will become more necessary. and of course, even outside of all this, there are still over 1 billion people without reliable electricity. energy demand is far outpacing energy supply, and this is contributing to the rise in extreme poverty.

      2. thinkdisruptive

        Actually, it takes quite a lot of energy to read a book online, especially if millions of people are reading the book that way, and consuming more information than they used to because it is easier and cheaper.

        1. Modernist

          i agree; i am saying that energy is cheap relative to our actual need for it, but we are using it inefficiently

    7. ShanaC

      And this is why I like foucault – there is no such as perfect, just evolving.I’m not sure about 3 – mainly because of the power dynamics that exist in networks (see, again, foucault)As for power – hmmmm. Definitely an issue, but I still have to wonder what the edges of physics and chemistry are going to tell us about our next 500 years.

    8. Matt A. Myers

      Love you.

      1. kidmercury

        lol right back at ya! πŸ™‚

  17. Tom Labus

    I went to Brad’s book signing in NYC last year. What came through was that he was a great guy, open to all questions and put everyone at ease from the start. It was a great conversation that no one wanted to see end.More power to him and I hope the books & companies keep coming.

    1. bfeld

      Thx Tom – hope to see you again in 2013!

  18. Darren Herman

    Just bought Future Perfect to read on my redeye back from SFO tonight. Looking forward.

  19. Phillip Trotter

    On quickly scanning the comments – was surprised that no one had mentioned the fact that our bodies of knowledge of science and engineering are built on a peer to peer framework and are fundamental to long term health, wealth and value generation.Start up scene in Geneva region where I am based is relatively small – but Swiss start up scene is growing a pace with some good companies so be interesting comparing Brad’s book with initiatives here. Looking forward to reading both books.

    1. fredwilson

      that was steven’s last book…

      1. Phillip Trotter

        Thanks Fred – thats now 3 books added tp the reading list. I loved Emergence – which is an all time favorite – looking forward to reading these.

  20. Jabinc

    I wrote a post which I will try to rewrite later when I have time, but after composing the text and moving to post I realized I was not signed into Discuss yet. So I signed in and the entire post was erased. In the future I will do what I should have done and copy the text for safety or simply sign in first, but I wonder if that is a flaw that can be fixed or if I missed something in my process.

    1. fredwilson

      seems like a flaw. i will let them know

      1. ShanaC

        thank you

  21. Dave W Baldwin

    I’m a late comer to the Get Out Vote post and the comments.Remember, voting is a matter of responsibility. If we just look at the comments regarding Libya, I was blown away by the number of those so smart because they’re online seeming to believe that attack was spontaneous due to that video. BUT, under assumption that those who are ‘online’ are more on top of things, would rate foriegn matters based on bad info. And due to that bad info, a gift has been given to AlQueda where they can use this video thing to increase activity regarding the going after diplomats.Yes, it does require doing something to register to vote. It also requires looking at positions (full of campaign rhetoric) and making a decision. Then you have to go to your designated place to vote. Personally, I’d rather shorten the voting season due to it being the same old thing that becomes Chinese Water Torture after awhile. The whole thing is just a big media money game.Congrats to Brad and Steven.

  22. kirklove

    I have a #ManCrush on Steven. There I said it. Whew.

    1. fredwilson

      me too Kirk. i went with Cosmic Autumn Rebellion as my reblog of the week. i’m sure you saw that.

      1. kirklove

        I should start charging you. ;p

        1. fredwilson

          i’ve been paying here and there. will absolutely pay more!

  23. Brandon Burns

    the future perfect video / idea scares the crap out of claims, instead of thinking market vs state, think the power of the web.but all of these have people behind them. so really its, instead of the powerful people running the markets vs. the powerful people running the government, trust the powerful people running the web. the powerful people running the web are the ones with the most social capital. the most followers, views, etc. and well all know quality of message is not exactly the primary factor that determines how much social media capital you have.its hard not to like the idealistic “put it in the hands of the people” messaging. but when i dig deeper, and think about running the world through the collective actions of the people expressed on the web, its immensely frightening. its unfortunate, but i trust the people who are powerful in government or markets more than i trust people who rise above the masses on the web.i read lord of the flies; i learned that lesson already.but maybe i should read the book anyway instead of judging its cover…

    1. Cam MacRae

      Very insightful comment. Thanks.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      As flies to wanton boys…

    3. Tom Labus

      Meet the new boss…………….!

      1. Brandon Burns

        but the question is… is the new boss really better?

        1. Tom Labus

          Of course not.

      2. Wavelengths

        … same as the old boss?

        1. Tom Labus


    4. jason wright

      the masses as the mob in chains?

  24. brian trautschold

    one of our investors just ordered 10 copies of brad’s new book for the Lamp Post Group office in Chattanooga – a startup community that i think is on the cusp of where boulder was 10-15 years ago (mountains, rivers, entrepreneurial culture, + gigabit internet). .. as always excellent recommendation

    1. bfeld

      Have him (or you) email me – I’d be happy to swing through Chattanooga in 2013 as I travel the country.

  25. Donna Brewington White

    As always, I welcome the suggestions. These are especially appealing. The Fred Wilson stack on my bedside table continues to grow. Now all I need is Fred Wilson productivity so that I have more time to read them. Or hired help.

    1. Brandon Burns :o)

    2. fredwilson

      that doesn’t exist. it is an illusion.

  26. BillMcNeely

    On Steven Johnson Book Future Perfect… Two thoughts. When everybody is in charge nobody is in charge. Second, this sounds a lot like California where every major decision is put on the ballot. I think there is such a thing as too much demorcracy.

  27. Pete Griffiths

    I assume the content of the book is more substantive than the ‘content’ of the video.Here’s the problem with the ‘peer’ solution.Political systems and hierarchical management structures exist for a very good reason – to resolve incompatible objectives and priorities. Such incompatibilities cannot necessarily be resolved rationally. In such circumstances power resolves disputes. Such exercise of power and authority can ultimately result in violence at the individual, group or state level. ‘War is the continuation of diplomacy by other means.’ Peer networks are great for facilitating cooperation but offer nothing novel to resolve such incompatibilities. Sadly the hard problems are not those of facilitating cooperation.

    1. fredwilson

      i guess i should not have posted the video. seems to have turned everyone off.

      1. Modernist

        i’m glad you posted the video. there is an intriguing conflict

      2. William Mougayar

        You have to interpret it that it applies to certain things, but it’s not a cure for all things. That’s how I saw it, not having read the book. But in hindsight, that was 3 posts in 1. It could have been broken as such and might have generated deeper discussions around each topic.

      3. Richard

        Good video, just not for this audience:Always remember who your audience is.

      4. Pete Griffiths

        You win way more than you lose. πŸ™‚

  28. jason wright

    Having read the comments thus far I’ll be going for Brad’s book first, although the single Amazon review is not that encouraging.

  29. Wavelengths

    Hello Disqus — the new comment flags are not working correctly. I click for a new reply and the new reply flag stays up, but increases the number that purportedly reflects new comments, even though there aren’t any.After a delay, this seems to self-correct, but it takes several minutes.

    1. ShanaC

      Hey Wavelengths – I wrote to Disqus at your behalf about this comment – they want more details, a screenshot if you have at disqus dot com – email them and put my name in the subject line with something about a followup.

  30. Modernist

    Johnson’s idea is unoriginal and his articulation is clumsy. The whole liberal versus conservative thing has no bearing on real economics.Maybe the book is better than the video? It seems like there is a huge disconnect between the stories in the book and the intro in the video.

    1. fredwilson

      so you read the book?

      1. Modernist

        sorry, i have a habit of editing after postingno, i expect i will enjoy the book, just hated the videoi was referring to the video

        1. fredwilson

          hate the video, but i bet you won’t hate the book

      1. vruz

        I think they mean well and that they can morph into a distribution network.Skeptical whether they can become truly distributed themselves though.That would require lots of out-of-the-box thinking to outgrow the model of the corporation as we know it.Some like Valve Software have been quite successful at superseeding the internal structure of the corporation, but not outwardly.http://blogs.valvesoftware….I think the outwards looking view of the corporation in how it connects to the market, stakeholders and the commons needs to be redesigned from the ground up. It’s all about the network, and the current model doesn’t account for it. Which means the corporation as we know it is completely useless and we’ll end up with something barely recognisable as one.Some of us think the answer may lie in Phyles…

        1. fredwilson


      2. vruz

        I replied something thoughtful earlier but my reply disappeared.Unsure what’s wrong with the moderation system or the moderators.I can’t be bothered to ellaborate everything twice.

        1. ShanaC

          does the comment start with “i think they mean well?”

          1. vruz

            Oh yes! It must have been flagged *somehow*

          2. ShanaC

            I see it on the page. Try refreshing over the cache, as the email it is attached to does not mention a flag. If that doesn’t work – email me with details/screenshots and I’ll forward it to disqus’s helpdesk

          3. vruz

            There we go. Another comment disappeared.

          4. ShanaC

            I see this one too – so I’m a bit confused.

          5. vruz

            Me too. I don’t know, maybe it’s my ISP or something wrong somewhere in between.Thanks for your help.

          6. ShanaC

            screenshot the missing messages (or do a test run just for the screenshots, and as I said I would forward it to the helpdesk because this is a major problem and probably indicates a bug of some sort.

        2. fredwilson

          i saw it and replied to it

  31. Richard

    DC version of p2p, I’ll scratch yours of you’ll scratch mine

  32. notvotingforJohnson

    Yikes, Fred find’s this optimistic? Even Johnson’s opening framework in this video is stilted: if unrestrained markets are the right, having government keep markets in check is CENTRIST — left is government consistently overrulling the markets (not merely keeping them in check). Yet another faux “independent thinker” moving the framework and the conversation further to the right. I wonder if the Koch brothers bought Penguin Books…

  33. Roger Duncan

    “Where no one in charge because everyone is in charge.” Works for me, but I feel compelled to point out that this is the same thing as having ‘The Market’ in charge, because that’s what the market is…it’s a general term for individuals being free to pursue their own interests, free from coercion, and cooperating as a society (peer network) because this is best for everyone.

    1. fredwilson

      in theorybut in many cases putting the market in charge is putting goldman in charge and that didn’t work out so well

      1. Roger Duncan

        Well the mega-banks are creatures of government, not the market…they exist and can work their distortions precisely because there isn’t a free market…government regulations have almost totally supressed all natural market checks on them, without fulfilling the same function. What are the two most crazily messed up industries out there? Finance/banking & health care. What are the two most regulated industries in the U.S.? Finance/banking & health care. What is the most awesome industry in the U.S.? Internet/tech. Least regulated (for now)? Internet/tech. Anyway, this is a truly awesome community and the absolute last thing I want to do is to insert politics into something that’s pure, so I’ll shut up now. πŸ™‚

  34. Mark Essel

    $12.99 is a bit pricey for Brad’s kindle book. Just got a killer sci fi mini series Wool omnibus for $5.99. There’s no way his book can be better, maybe as good though πŸ˜‰

  35. Steven Kane

    i get why investors are focused on “startup communities” — efficient deal flowbut — call me old-fashioned — i continue to believe the only startup community that really matters is the one inside the entrepreneurs head.where there’s a will, there’s a way.i mean, in current days we seem to be simultaneously celebrating the incredible flowering and dominance of the silicon valley “community” while also bemoaning how little of truly substantial value is coming out of there (meaningful societal value, not stock market value.)i know its heresy, but maybe startup communities stifle innovation by creating group think and high-school-esque socialization rather than the lonely arduous experiences that go into being a real pioneer?

    1. fredwilson

      could beof the past ten investments we’ve made, only one has been in NYC, none in SF or Bostonwe’ve invested in Kansas City, Des Moines, Waterloo Canada, Toronto Canada, Pittsburgh, Philly, London, and Dusseldorf and Berlin Germany

  36. Techman

    Ah, you were talking about VC books. I was going to suggest my favorite books to read. Must make another article for that @fredwilson:disqus

  37. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I watched the video. I didn’t find it a huge turnoff, like some. I smiled because “peer progressive” struck me as a “friendly” way of describing anarcho-syndicalism.It does feel sometimes like the web is the tool that is ushering us towards something like anarcho-syndicalism. Maybe that freaks some people out. But I, too, find it fills me with optimism.

  38. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Where in Philly? I lived there for 2+years in Fox Chase some 13 years back … just get the nostalgia whenever i see/hear Philly.

  39. Donna Brewington White

    Hmmm… Josh Kopelman blogged a day or two ago about their recent investment in Perceptual Networks and that the company’s co-founders were relocating to Philly. So we’re seeing a new startup community being birthed? With the proximity to Lancaster I can understand your interest.

  40. LE

    Thanks for pointing that video out that was interesting.

  41. Carl Rahn Griffith

    If we told them not to bother, it’s nothing life-changing, they wouldn’t listen – and who can blame them? It’s their turn on the vacuous pleasures ride. It was fun while it lasted…