Don't Believe Everything You Read

I read most everything written online about the sectors and the companies we invest in. I know the truth about many of these stories. And I am constantly shocked about how wrong the media gets it. I am not going to call out any specific journalist or story but I would simply advise folks to take everything they read with a big grain of salt. 

I would be particularly cautious when the subject of the story does not make themselves available for the journalist. The journalist can get pissed and take swipes.

It's important to stay abreast of what's going on. I am not saying don't read the stories. I am simply saying that you should not take them as gospel. Treat them for what they are; a mix of facts, gossip, and fantasy. The fantasy quotient is particularly high these days, for some reason.

And the publication standing behind the journalist doesn't seem to matter a bit. Techcrunch can be really good, and it can be really bad. The NY Times can be really good, and it can be really bad. I have read pure fantasy in both.

I often wish I could write the truth. But the truth is often told to me in strict confidence. So I can't and won't. The media's job is to find out the truth and print it. I am glad we have a media in society whose job is to do this. I'm just shocked at how often the truth is missing and fantasy is told in its place.


Comments (Archived):

  1. PhilipSugar

    Didn’t like the NYTimes twitter article? The biggest issue I’ve found is that the media wants an easy story about one person. Sometimes two, but if its two one has to be the villan, or somebody that was screwed. Its not really reporting its script writing.So I can’t say how our company is shaped by many, many important people. Its only interesting if its one person.

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t like anything I read in the past week

      1. christopolis

        What? You said you liked my joke now you are going back on it? 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

    2. Rohan

      There is this nice quote about human nature which I’m not able to find.Something to the tune of – we react stronger to the news of 1 girl suffering from a disease than a whole continent suffering of hunger..

    3. kidmercury

      i’m sympathetic to that form of spinning. a single hero is far more identifiable and easy to understand. if people don’t emotionally connect or intellectually understand what they are reading, they won’t keep reading. that means no more ad dollars……

  2. JLM

    -This is particularly true in politics today. It is mind boggling..

    1. fredwilson

      Politics is Fantasy

      1. William Mougayar

        Funny that writer is now at Politico…He seems to have found his footing 🙂

    2. William Mougayar

      What’s the difference between a smart and a brilliant person?The smart person believes only half of what they hear or read. The brilliant person knows which half to believe.In the case of that article about Fred, it was a much easier case- 90% of it was non-believable.

  3. jason wright

    “The media’s job is to find out the truth and print it.”I’m going for a bike ride. I’ll think about this as I pedal along.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m headed to yoga myself

      1. Anne Libby

        I’m a fan of people heading to yoga.

      2. awaldstein

        And to the gym for intervals for me.

        1. fredwilson


      3. ShanaC

        running. I need to fall back into Yoga.

      4. JimHirshfield


        1. Emily Merkle

          where do you swim?

          1. JimHirshfield

            Chelsea Piers CT (Stamford) or YMCA Embarcadero (San Fran). Swimsuit and goggles take up less space when traveling than running shoes and gym clothes.

          2. panterosa,

            I swim too, but have extra luggage of fins and paddles.

          3. JimHirshfield

            That’s hardcore.

          4. William Mougayar

            Fins and paddles? That sounds more like a vacation, not a trip to the neighbourly swimming pool.

          5. panterosa,

            Vacation is living in your bathing suit and swimming at least a mile a day. paddles, fins, pull buoy, kickboard and non-leaking goggles.

      5. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        Preparing for Canadian thanksgiving turkey !

    2. Anne Libby

      I actually think that there’s a difference between media and journalism.In my effort to follow the discussion on women and careers, there are publications I’ve completely lost respect for due to how they “market” some stories. Link bait headlines that redirect to sloppy, empty stories — stories that do nothing to illuminate any kind of truth.To maintain awareness of the discussion, I continue to follow some of this stuff. But I don’t lend them my name by commenting, retweeting or otherwise spreading these stories. (Except, on occasion, with a “you’ve got to be kidding me.”)

    3. Rohan

      And I shall be taking my 3rd nap of the day before catching the United Newcastle game at 4pm. I guess I’ll think about it then.. if I manage to find enough energy to think that is.#sundays #lifeisgood

      1. jason wright

        the morning after the night before syndrome Rohan? 🙂

    4. jason wright

      Phew, a long ride.Is that a constitutional ideal?

  4. Anne Libby

    I’ve had a couple of interactions with journalists from widely read publications. One was writing a business story; the other was writing about social media and religion. In each case, my quotes were shaped — oh so slightly — to fit the way the story came out.Lucky for me, I guess, in each case I came out looking like a goody-two shoes, in some version of the truth. It’s easy to see how it could have turned out the other way.I’ve seen journalists on Twitter railing against quote approval, and yet my experience tells me why people would ask for it.There are so many people involved in media transmission of the truth, it’s a wonder when it comes through.(Edited, typo. Yikes, LOAD COFFEE.)

  5. awaldstein

    Extrapolation is a new sport it seems. Gone wild.I read less broadly lately and listen harder to referrals than ever before.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Extrapolation, because everyone else is telling the same story. So, gotta go where no one else has ventured ; uncharted territory of fiction, opinion, extrapolation.

      1. awaldstein

        I read this Jim and it says to keep building and writing what we want, think, do ourselvesDoing engenders originality. .Following engenders extrapolation,

        1. JimHirshfield

          I was restating your point. Not intending to intro new point. 😉

  6. Cam MacRae

    Of all the bile in that old adweek riff the bit about selling AAPL hasn’t held up too well; turns out Apple *was* lying about the health of its CEO.The MSM barely bothers with news these days. It’s all opinion. And opinions are like…

    1. JimHirshfield

      It’s hard to get attention given the bite size distributed nature of news online. So they revert to drama and opinions. Facts can be boring.

  7. Elie Seidman

    I’ve remarked something similar though not about personalities and stories but rather about vertical subject matter. I’ve spent my career in two very specific verticals – a specific part of telecom and online hotel search/research. I know the history and facts of both verticals very well. I find that a significant majority of the articles I’ve read about both sectors are almost entirely fiction; they evidence that the journalist has an incredibly limited understanding of the history and dynamic of the vertical. And when the articles move from pure fact reporting into analysis and guesses/opinion, it goes from bad to worse. It’s the challenge of being a generalist. Too much to know and understand and too little time.My business partner has a great analogy for this. The world is a vast vast place. When we read the media, we’re looking at the world through a pinhole and seeing a tiny slice of what’s out there. And in particular, a slice that can generate viewership so ads can be sold against it. Further, the slice the media is presenting is often inaccurate. Hi point being choose which “reality” you choose to believe carefully; in the popular media you are only seeing a very very small slice and one that’s all too often inaccurate.

    1. ShanaC

      your business partner is an interesting guy. But I think he is wrong. There are metanarratives within media: And those sorts of metanarratives are only getting sped up because of linking.One of these metanarriatives is “NY as second and it will always be to Silicon Valley.” This story is just confirmation of the metanarrative

      1. Elie Seidman

        I don’t agree with you. There are certainly narratives at different levels of abstraction. But even the most meta ones are a very partial view of “reality”. There are many “narratives”, meta or otherwise, that get zero ink and many narratives that get a disproportionate amount of ink. Facebook and Twitter over index on the amount of ink they get. Priceline Inc – with a $30B cap – gets almost zero ink, if not completely zero.

        1. LE

          There is no excuse for any company getting zero ink. And I can think of many companies (along the lines of less worthy than priceline) that get zero ink as well.The way to get ink is to keep in touch with reporters and feed them interesting info. Help them with story info that doesn’t even benefit you at all. Then you are in front of them and stand a chance of positive mention. It’s a process that takes time and effort. (Effort – the thing that most people seem to want to avoid. As well as lack of creativity. Creativity isn’t writing a letter to a writer (or blogger) and saying “write about me”.)I’ve done this before to my advantage in two completely different businesses without a PR person. After a while it got to be like a game to see how many times I could be quoted. And yes, business did flow from the effort. Even to this day (and I stopped doing this years ago but have picked up customers from the press mention from years ago.)Of course I practiced this on a small scale with very little resources.The media needs and wants stories. You simply have to give them info to write about.I see does practice this. And most importantly they also mention the mention:

        2. LE

          Ellie, sorry for pointing this out in this forum but I just searched for info on Grand Canyon Hotels. It gave me “Grand Canyon National Park – Las Vegas” but even worse told me that the distance is 123 miles between the two points (according to google maps it’s between 262 and 292 miles (about 5 hours).

          1. Elie Seidman

            Good bug. Thank you. I’ll find out what’s going on.

        3. ShanaC

          I think a lot of those are timing dependent – again, metanarrative issues, and hard to say until we look back in history (which we’re not doing yet)

      2. LE

        “”NY as second and it will always be to Silicon Valley.””I’m sure anyone in Philly or another city would be glad to be mentioned as second to SV. Or even “right behind NYC”. That mention would go a long way toward bringing more activity to any b area.

        1. ShanaC

          totally.; Fred is just a character in the story though, nothing more. (sorry Fred)

    2. fredwilson

      That’s a great way of thinking about it. A pinhole camera.

    3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Other thing about a pin-hole camera – the image is always upside -down

      1. Elie Seidman

        Good point

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          But only a small one ! 🙂

    4. Mr. Dictionary

      Pretty much everyone who has dealt with the media about a narrow domain or a expansively complex niche will tell you about journalistic performance that ranges along an unattractive continuum from oversimplification to counter-factual. This is only going to get worse, given the pressures (time and economic) that journalists face. Then there’s the glued on headline – written by an editor and not the journalists themselves – that’s engineered for SEO and is classically distortive.The burden is thusly placed on the reader to assure that they spend the time to assemble and synthesize multiple realities – a different version of the “simultaneous present” that Gertrude Stein used to describe her own writing – in the service of an informed perspective. If readers don’t do that, if they continue to take the lazy way out, then they, more than the reporters, are the guilty parties, more than complicit in their own ignorance, given how simple it is to use a few well-timed clicks to create your own Steinian, post-modernist view of the world.

  8. JimHirshfield

    I didn’t believe one, notta one, of the comments on Friday’s blog post. No truth. What a joke.

    1. fredwilson

      Well there was one who was serious

      1. testtest


        1. William Mougayar

          But that boomeranged on her faster than a speeding bullet.

          1. testtest

            it did

      2. JimHirshfield

        Missed that one.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          That one wasn’t easy to miss, Jim. Unless you were part of the early crowd. Friday’s post was obviously one of those that several people returned to throughout the day. I have some great new material as a result and given that my joke fell flat I obviously needed new material! This community keeps helping to stretch me into more of the person I want to become. 😉

          1. JimHirshfield

            You saying I should dig through all the comments and find the non-joke among the jokes?

          2. Wavelengths

            Someone was having a bad day, or year, or life. It was sort of like a plate of steaming turd showing up on the church potluck dinner table.The AVC crowd called it what it was, and it was obviously from a drive-by. Not worth looking up.

          3. JimHirshfield

            Thanks. Turd metaphor was enough to put me off.

          4. Wavelengths

            Glad I could save you some time and an unpleasant reading experience. My metaphor was a bit less distasteful than the post.

          5. pointsnfigures

            Crowds have more wisdom than any one individual. That whole thing reminded me of a trading pit. When we were in the pit, we called out things we didn’t like directly. Because of the emotion and money involved, not to mention the machismo, fights broke out. I have heard some incredibly funny lines when this happened that are so offending to normal people that I can’t print them. I should write a book….

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Deleted …on second thought

          7. panterosa,

            Yes, new material. I was unable to post due to the 5 year old rule. Instantly invalidated al my choices. Even one from an 11 year old!!

  9. Emily Merkle

    Trust but verify. – Ronald Reagan

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a great line

  10. Richard

    It’s an imperfect craft. How could it not be? Generalists writing about particulariities.

  11. ShanaC

    I kind of find the article funny – you’re actually quite calm and to the point in person.Newspaper articles are meant to tell a story. That’s about it. They want core quotes that fit that story.If only because being semi-misquoted has happened to me. The only annoying thing: when people use those storys to spin new digital stories.

  12. Roger Ellman

    I have sometimes been misquoted, or had my comments and words shaped and recombined to mean something new, different to what I meant. But never as much as by a dishonest representative of the judiciary bent on advancing their career by making false statements, to the press. Even in that case – the best remedy was to continue telling the truth, relying on the occasional truth-seeking journalist popping up, as they do from time to time.Actually there are many, truthful and devoted factual writers, the few rotten eggs get a diproportionately large megaphone through which to project their voices.

  13. Sean Black

    Reminds me of my Dad’s favorite Ben Franklin quote “Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear”

  14. mallagher

    fantasy sells dude. We won’t be able to change that.

  15. Yalim K. Gerger

    The article isn’t that terrible. Given that you did not make yourself available, one could argue that you got off easy. :-).

    1. fredwilson

      you are right

  16. Wells Baum

    You’re a star so the tech tabloids are out to get you. The same goes for athletes and celebrities. Stay focused, keep working, and stay transparent. Let the reporters fight this community.[Insert] Banal Steve Jobs quote: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

  17. William Mougayar

    Fred…YOU know the truth, and WE know the truth. And that’s what matters.That article was shockingly shameful, and you’re so classy about rising above it. It takes a lot of self-confidence to do that.

    1. LE

      “And that’s what matters.”I think you have to be careful about that thinking. The mass media has the ability to influence many people. The opinions of those you are investing in (or who read this blog) are not the only ones that are important.And while I normally follow a “do what the fuck I want” type strategy there are cases where the opinions of others make a difference.For example, you can be the greatest husband in the world. But if you are a jerk to your spouses friends they will be quick to jump all over you and not defend you when you are having marital problems. (Same with coworkers, neighbors etc. in other situations)I agree with Fred that it is distasteful to have a typical fluff piece (positive pov) written and it can be a turn off unless you are a Trump. (And that assumes of course it is positive) On the other hand it doesn’t necessarily serve a purpose or fulfill a goal (unless your Streisand) to have the media take pot shots at you either.

      1. William Mougayar

        Is AdWeek mass media?Whoever was fooled (or influenced as you mildy put it) by that article- do they matter?What matters in a VC’s world is the entrepreneurs they work or interact with, other VC firms they co-operate with, and the LP’s that support them. The rest is totally peripheral and consequential.

        1. LE

          “AdWeek mass media?””The rest is totally peripheral and consequential.”According to the quote, “this is not about adweek. i tell the same thing to everyone who asks me to do a profile and most respect my wishes.” So if that is true, we can assume he would have followed the same MO if WSJ or NYT contacted him.But the writer, Dylan Byers is not at Adweek anymore. He’s at Politico. Who knows where he will be next? Or what he will be writing about? Or who he will be advising? Or who read the adweek article that will gather an impression about Fred and stow it away for future reference? [1]And who knows what other writers (or legislative staffers) will pull up the Adweek article as reference for when they are writing or considering something that is important to Fred. Like AFSE or some regulatory thingy that Fred is interested in bringing main stream attention to and defeating?[1] I am just raising points to consider when following this strategy. This is not to say that Fred did the wrong thing here or that I would have acted differentl. Online people tend to confuse what someone says for what they would do in the same situation. I like to speak about things in a scotus way raising points for discussion and I may or may not follow my own points on different occasions. As I like to say it totally depends on the individual situation an my particular goals.

          1. William Mougayar

            Right. I just noticed too the writer isn’t there anymore. Actually he left AdWeek about a month after writing that piece which is one year old. Maybe these 2 events were related 🙂

          2. Wavelengths

            I would hope so.

  18. Wells Baum

    Rumors also start in a hyper connected society of excess information. I thought this quote was timely in response to this blog post: “…exposure to so many new ideas was producing mass confusion. The amount of information was increasing much more rapidly than our understanding of what to do with it, or are ability to differentiate the useful information from the mistruths….The instinctual shortcut that we take when we have “too much information” is to engage with it selectively, picking out the parts we like and ignoring the remainder, making allies with those who have made the same choices and enemies of the rest.” – Nate Silver

  19. Rohan

    ‘Lies get half wway around the world before the truth even has a chance to get it’s pants on..’i.e. lies are inherently viral #webspeak

    1. Tom Labus

      The Big Lie Theory

  20. takingpitches

    In the late 90s, with my first start-up, I spent a lot of time talking to KP and DFJ because, in my youth, what mattered was “validation” by the brand.Now, with some more wisdom, when I get to that point with my startup, I would be over the moon, if Fred advised because he actually engages and gets it (and shoots off emails over the weekend and posts and answers questions on sundays instead of chasing stupid profiles).That is what matters to startups and entrepreneurs.And that is what this author does not get.#puppylove

    1. takingpitches

      And I know that Fred does not care, but the idea that KP is still the brand and is not playing massive catch-up (because they don’t engage and don’t get it), is beyond absurd.

      1. fredwilson

        but there are other firms that have grabbed the torch and are running with it. Andreessen Horowitz, for example, is on fire.

  21. testtest

    “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel” ~ probably Twainthis blog: fairly equivalent”I am not going to call out any specific journalist or story…”i think you just did

    1. LE

      Like Reagan said about Mondale “”I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.””.

      1. testtest

        ha, quiteyou strike me as someone who enjoys the nuance of communication, as well

        1. LE

          I make money by the nuance of communication.

  22. Bala

    Of to the gym… getting back into Running. The article was not worth a mention but as they say in show business, I don’t care what you write about me… just make sure you get the name right 🙂

  23. chris dixon

    Agreed. It’s important to also remember that when you read “sources say…” etc what that means is you are reading the account of someone who broke confidences, has an agenda, and is using or manipulating the press to advance that agenda. Press accounts of business (where 99% of what happens, happens behind closed doors) are generally the versions written by people with the least respect for confidentiality and the most aggressive in their methods.

    1. Tom Labus

      and the most pissed off!

    2. LE

      That said there is information that is accurate. The problem, as John Wanamaker would say about ad spending is not knowing which part is correct.

      1. testtest

    3. falicon

      My sources say you are absolutely correct! 😉

      1. testtest

        you should put “Search by” in the search boxes of blogs where it’s installed, if you can. get some mind share

        1. falicon

          Thanks…I have thought about it, but haven’t done it by default yet (some of the blogs like do specifically mention that the search is powered by anyway)…I like leaving it up to the blogs themselves to decide if/how to present their search feature.It’s a little thing that probably would help the system gain more attention, but for the most part the idea is that is somewhat an invisible or background brand…it should be about the blog, the content, the blog writer, and helping the readers just find the right conversations…ie. search should *just* work (and I believe when it does, people take notice of the brand powering it and help spread the word — but of course that’s a *very* long term/big-picture course to be setting and taking.)BTW – some really big updates are just around the corner that should improve the search experience for everyone quite a bit…so stay tuned! 😉

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Hi falicon – dumb question – do you have a script widget / gadget for search (I know I am searchable at but haven’t figured out how to create search box)

          2. falicon

            There is a widget and/or a pure HTML option…I’ll email you instructions. Thanks!

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Fantastic – I’ll do A nice promo for you too 🙂

          4. falicon

            Sweet thanks! You rock!

          5. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Thanks -Cool – fast responsive support – with a pretty outcome :

          6. Matt A. Myers

            LOL – I love it.

          7. Vasudev Ram

            @falicon:disqus : Is available for anyone to use on their blog? If so, I’d like to try it on mine. And does it work with Blogger/Blogspot? It could help my readers find old posts they’re interested in.

          8. falicon

            Yes! is now available for any/all blogs…to get your blog added you just need to put in a request ( )…it works great with Blogger/blogspot as a few of the existing blogs that use it are on that platform as well.

          9. Vasudev Ram

            Thanks! Will try it.- VasudevInspired by nature.- | @vasudevram |

          10. Vasudev Ram

            Request put in and account created. Looking forward to trying it out on my blog once you enable it.

          11. Techman

            I could probably do a post on how to install on a blog, as soon as you have a system ready for a user to create and add their blog themselves. I could also mention that they could email you in the process, but you never know.

          12. testtest

            i would set it as default — don’t leave the decision up to someone who doesn’t care either wayor at least set it as default/push-for-it on blogs which have visitors who also own blogsit’s hard to know the effectiveness of something in marketing unless it’s tested. it could result in a small bump, or it could be the one in ten (heuristic) that has a profound effect.guest posts on blogs which teach people how to blog is another idea — which may or may not be suitable. the concept of leaving WoM etc up to chance doesn’t excite me

          13. falicon

            awesome advice thanks!

          14. Matt A. Myers

            I thought long and hard on this exact thing and came to the same conclusion. If someone really doesn’t want it they will ask.

          15. testtest

            here’s a bunch of other ideas like that, matt….

          16. Matt A. Myers

            Wow. That’s fantastic. Thank you. The few I’ve glimpsed over are things I’ve heard of in the past, though haven’t thought of probably since hearing them – having this compilation is great though. I’m sure most of them I didn’t know about. This is something I’ll actually set time aside to read. 😛

          17. Dave Pinsen

            Invisible brands — anti-buzz?

          18. falicon

            :-)I just mean that the service/system is not meant to be the star…it’s meant to help make the blogger’s star shine brighter.

          19. Techman

            Thanks Kevin! I always attribute credit where it is due, and in this case really is different from other mainstream search engines. I haven’t seen another search engine besides that can crawl both comments and blog posts. As always, keep me posted when I can write a big article on your new changes.

    4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Similar to Stock pricing – where capitalization is N shares * price of recent most prepare to sell, not the price of acquisition of those who aren’t selling – Price goes up with loyalty !

    5. fredwilson

      such a great point Chris. you can read “sources say” as “leakers say”

    6. laurie kalmanson

      rule for using confidential sources: verify and importantsources say, “sally is a poopyhead” is schoolyard namecalling.sources say, “someone in power is doing something wrong and other sources verify it” is the standard; anything that falls short of that is gossip and axe grinding

      1. chris dixon

        No one in the business press does this, but it’s certainly something to aspire to.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          good to have goalsthe business press, imho, ranges between idolatry and gossip

    7. ShanaC

      I would say true for business press more than some stuff involving say Foreign Affairs. There are legit reasons to not be on the record.

      1. chris dixon

        I agree. Genuine whistleblowers (Pentagon papers, cigarette companies etc) are performing an important public service. But in business the vast majority of leaks are self-interested (settling scores or making money).

        1. AgeOfSophizm

          is it possible that genuine whistleblowers can also be compensated? if fraud is a major problem on wall street, whistleblowers should be incentivized, no?

    8. Dave Pinsen

      All true, but those quoted on the record usually have agendas too.

      1. chris dixon

        Sure, but the agenda in that case tends to be far more innocuous, e.g. get your name in print, be an authority, say something nice about someone, etc.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Or talk your book, spin a bad situation, slam a competitor, etc. It’s not always innocuous, and, as you noted in response to another comment, there are sometimes legitimate reasons for those leaking stuff off the record.Navigating between sources’ agendas to find something approximating the truth, while not pissing off so many people that you’re denied access, must make good journalism difficult and relatively rare.

    9. jim

      right, and deep throat’s account of watergate was false because he didn’t follow the fred wilson/chris dixon rules of dealing with the media. please.

      1. Rob

        Actually, yes they did. the journalists didn’t publish until they had enough evidence to print the tip that was given to them by Deep Throat.

  24. Pete Griffiths


  25. Henry Glover

    I think there are two types of business people in this world: a salesman or leader – where the leader is sincere, effective and sales follow great communication and good decisions. I have never met Fred (hope to one day) – based on hearing him speak at an event and what I read on this blog – Fred is a great leader and I love how he communicates to his audience. Thanks Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      that is very nice of you to say.

    2. raycote

      “The fantasy quotient is particularly high these days, for some reason.”AND”I would be particularly cautious when the subject of the story does not make themselves available for the journalist.”Are these two quotes not causally related?Given the nature of human curiosity, add in our perceived and often real needs for information that gives predictive advantage, sync all that up with a competitively frenzied commercial need to fill the web information pipeline with financially-life-giving page hits.Add in the fact that modern internet culture, for better or worse, is reshaping us all into network-synchronized information junkies married to Info-Apps.And given the old cliche that say if you don’t fill that information pipeline with real information then the grapevine will be all too happy to step in and backfill it with rumours on your behalf.Then if corporate players don’t like faulty information about their operation flooding out onto our new and ubiquitous curiosity network then they should speak-up or forever chase their own information tale(pun intended).Deciding whether or not to spit out the truth in a timely fashion is simply an old cost-benefit-analysis reality that has been amplified by orders of magnitude under our new global networking conditions.The ratio of services and disservices associated with playing your cards close to your vest maybe undergoing serious creative destruction as we become engulfed in the synchronizing aether of social-network singularity?The fact that a more organically-interdependent social-substrate is being imposed on us by information age technologies may require rugged-individualists to get a whole lot more ruggedly creative in order to preserve the fidelity of their messages within the context of the new medium?(rugged-individualism is important to preserved much like Enhancer/Promoter non-coding DNA in so called junk DNA)All is well though!Open informationOpen networkEven open organizations (kuodos to Fred and AVC here!)Are all network ascendant cognitive-survival strategiesThe universe is unfolding as the underlying pure-probabilities that select for best fit cognitive-survival strategies dictates it should!those underlying probabilities are anchored inthe meta-substrate of all historyhistory’s universal organizing principle“the network organizing principle”3D webs of purpose driven synchronicitythat “network organizing principle” isself organizingself selectingself reenforcingself extending an unstoppable teleological trajectorytowards complexity-come-consciousnessdriven only by the god of pure self-replicating probabilityAccidents, especially network synchronization accidents, that self-replicate best(openly) within the context of their own environment get to stick around and try to build more layers atop that synchronizing success. Complexity-come-consciousness level accidents(ie organic level network synchronization accidents) even get to self-referentially and self-servingly tamper with the dice(via Strange-Loops like genetic engineering). Darwin’s principles expand all the way down into the very fabric of ontology.God doesn’t play dice he is the networking dice!We are the chosen, the divine-probability, the networking Borg, we and only we can decide how to assimilate ourselves into divine universal consciousness!this comment has be brought to you bynever give it a rest broken records INK.

  26. LE

    Just read the adweek story which I hadn’t read.One of the points that I was going to make in general is that even when the media reports accurately, the emphasis, placement and wording that they use to make their point can have a significant impact and bias.For example, “above the fold” and in the first paragraph of the story Dylan says this:”Next to this titan of Silicon Valley [John Doerr], Wilson, who co-founded the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures in 2004, was “a puppy,” as the panel’s moderator put it.”But in the third to last paragraph (clearly below the fold, in “to be sure” fashion) he says this:He, personally, is in a very good place—USV now makes its investors more money for each dollar they invest than any other venture capital firm in the world, according to Preqin, a private equity data company.(my emphasis in quotes)

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I wonder if people note the contradictions even without knowing which parts are fact or fiction.

      1. LE

        If “people” is defined as “majority” of readers I don’t believe they note the contradictions that well. And that assumes they are even reading the entire articles (and not just skimming or above the fold). I think you come away with a gist or a feeling that is being conveyed. Words create emotion just like pictures do. It’s hard to be completely rational when emotions are being manipulated.

    2. Wavelengths

      Yep. I noticed the pacing, punctuation, the deliberate blurring of the factual accolades by how the writer chopped up the phrases.Sneaky. But somewhere, lurking in our subconscious minds, is still the tiny voice crying, “But they wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true …”The pen continues to be a mighty weapon, unfortunately often wielded by people who should be kept away from sharp objects.

    3. fredwilson

      i am not sure that “than any venture capital company in the world” thing is true. in fact, i am almost sure it is not.

  27. kirklove

    To play devil’s advocate the converse it true… Companies often lie about the state of their business or respect for say users’ privacy. So take both sides with a grain of salt. There is always an agenda.

    1. fredwilson

      exactly. at least on a blog you often know what the blogger’s agenda is.

      1. pointsnfigures

        If they are transparent about it-as avc is.

      2. jim

        what do you mean, “exactly”? knowing a blogger has an agenda isn’t the same as knowing a blogger is lying.

        1. fredwilson

          Exactly is simply a recognition of the comment I’m replying to. My reply is what is after that

      3. Max Chafkin

        I’m not sure I buy this. Bloggers are often worse about disclosure than actual journalists. I mean: I guess we can assume that if an entrepreneur or investor is blogging he’s going to be biased towards his own financial interests.But it’s not always clear what that means: USV doesn’t publish a list of every company it has a position in.Sure I could probably figure out most of them on a blog like this one, but I’m willing to bet there are cases where you can’t disclose a financial interest for contractural reasons. On the other hand New York Times reporters, like every other mainstream journalist, are explicitly prohibited from writing about the companies they invest in.And for the most part, we know exactly what a journalist’s bias is: To tell a good story and to get readers to buy the magazine or click on the link. There could of course be other biases–personal grudges, the desire to impress people, or whatever else–but I don’t see why bloggers are any more likely to be transparent about these matters than professional journalists.Then again, as a professional journalist, I suppose I’m biased.

        1. fredwilson

          yes we do…

  28. Elia Freedman

    The problem I have is not that there is fantasy in news articles, it’s that the fantasy is presented as fact. I don’t want to fool myself into believing it is a new problem, but all the same. It’s frustrating.

  29. Guest

    Maybe everyone should have the experience of seeing a news story about him/herself at least once. My first was when my county paper wrote about me for a “top kid” feature that covered high schoolers who were doing well with sports and honors classes.The piece was short, maybe six or seven paragraphs, but I was surprised how many things it got wrong. Inconsequential things — there was nothing adversarial or otherwise controversial about any of it — but nonetheless wrong. Every paragraph had at least one nit I could pick.I never looked a newspapers the same way again 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      it is very enlightening

    2. William Mougayar

      That’s a very good point. Same thing about startups. Every time they write about us, there’s always something missing or inaccurate or over-simplified or exaggerated or not entirely true. Only you know the truth.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        So true and so perplexing. They often don’t even get names right.

    3. Techman

      Perhaps @fredwilson:disqus or @wmoug:disqus or @Rohan from A learning a day could work on that. I’m working a lot on my site right now, changing the whole look. Same content, of course!

      1. William Mougayar

        Sorry Michael, I didn’t follow your comment. Work on that exactly?

        1. Techman

          Sorry, William. I was in reply to seeing a news article about yourself. I know that Fred indirectly covered my site, but I have yet to see anything online written about me, or at least the Michael Hazell behind Techman’s World. There is many Hazell’s out there, some in AU, some business people. Guess my last name was not as unique as I thought it was. One thing I can say, though, is that many people pronounce my last name wrong.

  30. panterosa,

    Who here has read The Image by Daniel Boorstin?I quite agree with Boorstin that it is our own impatience and constantly wanting more news that drives the cycle. If you are asked for a profile piece it’s because the reporter needs one for his editor who needs it to fill space.My wasband is a legal reporter, who writes very differently than what you describe/denigrate. His father a publisher of a newspaper. The news sheets, and online versions would look very different if they only carried news. Let’s not fool ourselves that each equally spaced page carries the same amount of interest every day.

    1. fredwilson

      wasband!i’ve never heard that word before.i like it.

      1. panterosa,

        I didn’t coin it. Heard it 20 years ago in the summer. Run into the original once a year.My wasband of course pissed he doesn’t have a better name for ex wife to rival it.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I just thought you were typing fast on your phone. That’s clever.

          1. panterosa,

            Oh no. I wish I were clever enough to coin it. But I was not even thinking of marriage back then when I heard it. The woman was a total riot. She and the now wasband built a round house together, which they then had to share, a fact which always amused me.

    2. ShanaC

      that sounds like a great book. And it explains the idea of a “slow news day” quite consistently. Sometimes I even think the news industry makes the news….

      1. panterosa,

        You’d like it.

    3. laurie kalmanson

      boorstin was very right very early

      1. panterosa,

        Yes. It really is amazing when you realize the date he predicted the media spin out of news and non news items life cycles. And of PR. Surprised more people haven’t read it.

        1. laurie kalmanson

          up there with mcluhan as a prophethere’s the amazon summary, predicting so much of what we’re living with as media nowFirst published in 1962, this wonderfully provocative book introduced the notion of “pseudo-events” — events such as press conferences and presidential debates, which are manufactured solely in order to be reported — and the contemporary definition of celebrity as “a person who is known for his well-knownness.” Since then Daniel J. Boorstin’s prophetic vision of an America inundated by its own illusions has become an essential resource for any reader who wants to distinguish the manifold deceptions of our culture from its few enduring truths.

  31. Joe Wallin

    Great post Fred. It is funny, but until you actually experience this by being part of a reported story, or knowing a lot about a reported story, and then seeing how the reporting just doesn’t get it right–it is really hard to appreciate it.

    1. fredwilson

      that was my experience too

  32. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fred – If you have a minute check this…This is a shocker !BBC commentary re An article about the number of Cod in the North sea by The Daily TelegraphStatistics !

  33. Koslow

    It sucks because to defend yourself is to play to the game. This post will send a ton of pageviews to the article, rewarding the author.

  34. Cima

    Maybe it’s the late hour here or the use of words like fantasy and reality but I was thinking of the first few lines of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”I read the article and it seemed that there was no real purpose to it than to take a swipe at Mr. Wilson.

  35. Donna Brewington White

    The article was nonsense. The only value in reading it is that it perfectly illustrates the point being made by this post. At first I thought it had Fred’s age wrong until I noted the date of the article.BTW this observation about Fred’s age points to the power of this blog. Not being personally acquainted with Fred (although sometimes it feels differently) I was able to quickly and easily pick out the errors and inaccuracies.Social media is becoming more of a go-to source for awareness of current thinking and events — a little more like raw data that takes some sorting but the results are more reliable. Comments are a valuable component and I expect that over time I will probably cater more to media sources with this feature. For instance, I appreciate the contrarians in our midst to help guard against groupthink. Although one of the things I most appreciate about this community is that even Fred’s obvious friends and fans will openly disagree with him. Intellectual honesty is precious. Intellectual courage even more so.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      disagreement is cool. inaccuracy is not.

  36. Tom Labus

    Imagine if you were running for office!!Send that guy a case of beer and tell him to bloody lighten up!

  37. William Mougayar

    I just noticed- that AdWeek article was 1 year old. And guess what… The reporter who wrote it doesn’t work there anymore. Actually, he left about a month later and writes about 10 really short articles per day for Politico…. He seems to have found his footing, i.e. quantity, not quality.There is a big difference between investigative journalism that is really insightful and content that’s looking at the rear view mirror, especially if that view is distorted.We need more investigative journalism that is truthful, insightful, meaningful and uniquely original. That would be a breath of fresh air in a world where media quantity is replacing media quality.I would pay a monthly subscription to support a new type of media outlet that was unwavering in their reporting. Keep it free, but let those that can afford to, pay to support them so they can hire the caliber of journalists needed to write quality pieces where they aren’t under the gun to just write.Write well, or don’t write.

    1. laurie kalmanson

      a kickstarer project called matter is aiming at this; optimistic they will win

        1. laurie kalmanson

          xlent! i backed them on kickstarter; got an update postcard the other day.

          1. William Mougayar

            Did they say why they aren’t open yet? The summer is over 🙂

          2. laurie kalmanson

            there’s an update for backers on their progress and an intro to what will be the first piece, which looks promising.

        2. laurie kalmanson

          they should update the intro page.

  38. andyidsinga

    well .. you are sort of rich and grumpy sometimes. You’re just not doing enough for NYC because you won’t acknowledge your role . 😉 [ sheesh ]Someone should read that adweek article with a donald duck voice and post it to soundcloud – along the lines of this classic ( NSFW / sexually explicit )

  39. Dave

    Does this apply to Apple too?

    1. fredwilson

      does what apply to Apple?

      1. Dave

        “Don’t believe everything you read.”I’m glad you called out the NYTimes in your post, they haven’t distinguished themselves with their reporting on Apple IMO.

  40. aleksj

    You get what you pay for… Advertising is free, truth is premium. That’s why streamlined payments are needed for good journalism.

  41. jason wright

    The malaise of our time, power without responsibility.

  42. pointsnfigures

    Stop being so grumpy. Heh. I think you are correct. I have spoken with journalists and the piece they write sometimes bears no resemblance to what we spoke about. I have also been asked to write editorials, and after it runs through an editors hands, it doesn’t have the tone of what I wrote. I LOVE live television. Even though you can make mistakes, you get to say it the way you want to say it. That’s why I am always suspect of snippets of video tape that try to distill it. You need to see the whole thing.I am a big fan of original sources. Go straight to the original source and make up your own mind. I suspect that someone is going to do a story about USV, one of your companies etc and it’s not going to be flattering.Reading the linked article, wouldn’t it be interesting for your avc crowd to do an ad hominem profile of you? Would the profile the group came up with accurately depict about what you thought of yourself.I read the first few paragraphs and laughed aloud. Talk about setting up straw men.Screw em. Be yourself. Be honest and transparent. Good people will figure it out in the end.

  43. laurie kalmanson

    fred wilson, who likes ___ for breakfast, and whose favorite color is ___ says his favorite candy is ___ and his favorite dessert is ___.i still believe in the platonic ideal of journalism — i quit newspapers twice while i was waiting for the internet to be invented and still looking for a publication that fulfilled the ideal — and i am hopeful the web will figure out a paying model for the indepth work that is necessary to informed democracy.we’re not there yet.

    1. ShanaC

      if you find the platonic ideal of journalism, please let me know. I’d read it!

      1. laurie kalmanson

        same, same

        1. laurie kalmanson


  44. The Heasman

    Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator” goes into detail about this. Weblog economics, the yellow newspaper lines, “if it bleeds it leads.”….Journalists have been known to email the person in question 5 minutes before they publish the post asking for a quote. When the person doesn’t respond (because people have better things to be doing than responding to every damn email they get) the journalist would then publish saying “xyz wasn’t available for comment”… this of course depending on the context would suggest to the reader “xyz didn’t want to comment because he knows its true and doesn’t know a damn thing to say”.What I wish for a BBC of the webRant over

  45. matthughes

    That article is pretty bad.I actually did an interview recently for the company I represent and was pretty shocked to see how inaccurate the piece came out.It wasn’t a malicious hack job like this one but it was egregiously sloppy.It’s hard to reconcile because the reporter seemed like a pro and a nice person.Too bad.

  46. Dorian Benkoil

    I have both seen untruths, and sometimes (unintentionally) written them — usually due to my lack of full understanding, or someone successfully steering me wrong; I try to suppress any urges to take a swipe, but it’s up to others to decide if I do it right. Still, I would say that, over time, portrayals created through a swathe of reliable coverage in multiple outlets tend to paint a reliable picture; generally accurate, even if not in all instances. In other words, if originally reported story after originally reported story characterizes someone or some organization in a certain way, and there are multiple examples, you can start to believe they’re onto something. Our free press is emphatically not accurate in every minute instance (just look at the number of corrections run in the Times, for example), but it does tend to trend toward right over time.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree. Time heals all wounds

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        and wounds all heels 😉

  47. cfrerebeau

    We have a concept in France that is core to the current educational system (or at lest the one I went through). In French it is the “esprit critique” . A translation could be a “developing a critical mind”. I don’t know how much the concept is developed in the US education system.I can remember that across subject whatever text, discussion we were analyzing we always have to put it back in context, list through the type of fact available / or lack thereof to the writer, … Anyway more than 15 years later I often caught myself thinking the same way when reading something.Beyond simple discussion, as web and technology, I think the reasoning behind is that a critical state of mind is key to concept such as freedom and freedom of speech.On a side track, I was actually discussing about it the other day in the context of new web education technology: Udacity, Khan academy, … are focusing their effort on teaching knowledge (which is great) but some other key cross concepts such as “l’esprit critique” are much harder to teach and at least are still key to an education system. Would be great to see some sort of guideline for teachers creating web education materials

    1. bernardlunn

      As a Brit who has moved back to Europe after 20 years in America, I am really pleased to see the vibrancy of the start-up scene here, even in countries written off in America as basket cases e.g there are some cool Spanish start-ups. I had not heard the term “esprit critique” but I love it. I know it was a big part of my schooling in UK. I studied History, mostly viewed as a useless liberal arts course, but it was perfect for developing the habit of weighing up the views of multiple people – all of whom have an axe to grind, we all do – in order to find an approximation of the truth.

      1. fredwilson

        We have made a bunch of investments in Europe and continue to do so. About 20% of our investment activity is in Europe. It has the added benefit of being an enjoyable place to travel to which I can’t say is true of moat of the startup hubs in the US

  48. Statspotting

    Part of the reason is skewed incentives when You are paid for writing popular stuff you will Write popular stuff

  49. Matt Zagaja

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I think with the advent of the Internet we are getting both some of the best journalism I have ever seen and a lot more of the worst. As someone who has been involved in politics I find it amazing how easily the media manages to mislead its readership by failing to identify and share important facts. I think a lot of it is laziness but unless you’ve been on the beat and gotten to understand your subject matter really well it is difficult for them to write well on it.

  50. Pete Griffiths

    I just read a particularly egregious example. I read an article ‘Znyga’s stock fail was sadly predictable, and the company is left with few prospects for the future.’ (… Well – in an earlier life I was an FX trader, and something that never escapes traders is the b/s of ex post facto analysis ‘explaining’ what just went down. (Most traders will take market analysts seriously when they start their piece from deck of their mega yacht in the Med.) With this background as you can imagine I was a little skeptical of just how predictable the writer had seen Zynga’s decline as being but I was pleasantly surprised to find he had referenced an earlier piece of his ‘Zynga’s IPO filing shows utter dependence on Facebook.’ (… to support his claim of prescience. I excitedly expected this piece to outline how this dependency led to his conclusion that Znyga’s failure was inevitable. Reading the piece, however, this is not what I found. Far from it. The piece recites the S1 declared dependencies but is at pains to declare that whilst Zynga is indeed highly dependent on Facebook ‘ The casual games giant hopes to raise $1 billion by selling stock. That may seem ambitious, but the filings note that the company enjoyed profits of over $392 million in 2010….’ In other words the piece is a blindingly obvious restatement of the declared risk and of the company’s earnings (which have ‘ no sign of slowing down’) and not a single word about how ‘Zynga’s stock fall was sadly predictable…’Slippery devils these journos. But predictions are indeed hard, especially when they’re about the future.

    1. fredwilson

      It may actually be a good time to buy Zynga. Its trading at the value of its cash and hard assets and it has a business that does a billion in revenue and over 100mm in cash flowOf course I am very long zynga so take all that with a big grain of salt

      1. William Mougayar

        Big grain of salt – is that like a Fleur de Sel 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          Not big enough for my Zynga position

      2. Pete Griffiths

        :)I don’t have the first idea about Zynga but I wish your investment well.

  51. jason wright

    Nine years of blogging before the first official avc “rant” post. Not a bad strike rate. common denominator (if we ignore daddy’s Ceder River Group) is The New Yorker Magazine, owned by Conde Nast. Perhaps you wrote something displeasing about Reddit.

  52. bernardlunn

    The online news business really makes it hard to do this well. The numbers are simply not there. I was COO of Read Write Web for a year, so I know how hard it is to get enough revenue to pay for quality journalism. You can spend 15 minutes on a sensational piece with a beguiling headline and get lots of page views (still, sadly the currency of the online news biz) or spend days on a well-researched bit of real journalism and get a tiny fraction of those page views. Blogging is great, but we lost something when we went from print to online, we lost the revenue to support real journalism.

    1. fredwilson

      Which might explain why the best writing online is done by folks who are doing it for reasons other than financialThe Becker Posner blog comes to mind

      1. William Mougayar

        Checking it now. Well written analysis. @jimhirshfield Get them on @disqus please…Also, Bloomberg’s pieces are very well written and typically cover the various angles with good context and analysis.

        1. fredwilson

          Because Bloomberg’s media business is essentially a nonprofit funded by the oodles of money the terminal business makes

          1. bernardlunn

            Yes they can afford to do real journalism, but I love the fact that they do invest in this art. They do the best, honest, hard-hitting analyses of the business that pays their terminal fees and that takes courage. They can afford to take a long term view and I think it will pay off, they will be “last man standing” offering mainstream, real journalism in the capital markets.

      2. bernardlunn

        I also enjoy the Becker Posner blog. I agree that the best bloggers are often not motivated by direct monetization. Becker Posner really do seem as if they have no financial motivation at all, but in my experience that is unusual. Many of the other good ones have an indirect model (eg selling newsletter/reports, a form of Freemium) or selling their expertise or generating qualified deal flow. I love the good quality that comes from that and think that journalists who love real journalism have to become more creative about how to earn a living from the craft they love. It is possible but it is certainly not easy. I am generally an optimist on this front as people yearn for high quality writing/journalism and the writers/bloggers/journalists will somehow figure out ways to make enough money to pay the bills. This is fundamentally the same problem faced by all creative workers, such as photographers and musicians, coping with the price crash caused by the perfect copy machine.

        1. fredwilson


    2. William Mougayar

      Bernard- You hit the nail on the head. Yup, I’ve seen how tech reporters publish their posts literally 5 mins after a speech or panel is done, and it’s typically a regurgitation with no analysis and little context. Often, it amplifies the noise even if it draws our attention.So how do we get out of this quagmire? Is there hope…

    3. ShanaC

      You know, I sat as an analyst once upon a time for a news-type site. I think media sites need to call BS to the media buyers in their presentations. And I want to meet people who want to do this. Are you game for that?

  53. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Trouble is, some people in ‘the media’ have a bit of the green-eyed monster about them and they seem to enjoy taking swipes and reporting negative speculation – tall poppy syndrome, also, I guess.There’s people who MAKE news and people who report on it. Some of the latter category seem to think they’re the former, all too often…

  54. Jan Schultink

    Most journalists just don’t bother to check facts. Example. My wife’s VC fund gets covered regularly in the press with grapevine numbers about such things as amount of money raised and number of deals done. The result: they get it wrong, something that can be prevented by a phone call.

  55. Techman

    I couldn’t agree more. Media can be good, and it can be really bad. I do not understand, though, why journalists would just pump in a bunch of lies to fill the truths place just because they can’t get the truth.I guess this could affect me and my site directly, as I rely on numerous sources for my news. I wish companies would just send me press releases directly, but my site is nowhere big enough for big companies to discover so then they can do so. Based on the information this article, I’m bound to get something wrong. I could very much be wrong because I use a lot of sources for my news, but I’m not ruling it out.BTW Fred, did you know that I got my own domain name for my site recently? I also made a few changes to the page bar 🙂

  56. David S

    Hey @fredwilson:disqus, I’ve got this great idea for a media startup that covers startups. Would you like to invest? If not, you can be our first profile when we go live.Looking forward to your full cooperation.

    1. fredwilson

      that would have been a good one for our most recent fun friday

  57. Hana Abaza

    Also finding the presentation of data (i.e. a company’s metrics) also seems to be reported without a critical lens applied to it… I’ve come across a few articles as of late where I know the company (and know their numbers) but the data (industry or company specific) reported seems to have very little explanation or context associated with it, giving readers a skewed perception.

  58. leigh

    “I often wish I could write the truth.”I plan to write a business book once i get out of marketing to reflect on the revolution in advertising bc of digital, community and participatory media during my tenure in this industry.My working title: “The Burnt Bridge” 🙂

  59. leigh

    ps. just read the link from take swipes above:”Wilson, though he blogs frequently, rejects media attention.”laughably ridiculous line of someone who clearly doesn’t understand the basic dynamic of the Web.

    1. fredwilson

      oprah, though she has a talk show, rejects media attention

  60. Prokofy

    Hmm. I’m not seeing where the lies and exaggerations are in this journalistic piece except perhaps to exaggerate the “hate” that you have allegedly engaged in regarding the big proprietary platforms like Facebook.I’ve read this blog as much as anybody and I haven’t really felt there was an animosity to Silicon Valley so much as a local boosterism to our neighbourhood, Union Square, which I’m all for, it’s good for business. California can’t even balance their budget, they should make their big pal Google bring its taxes home from Ireland, geez.But I don’t see that there’s anything wrong with a profile in absentia with a figure who is indeed grumpy on this subject — his own role in history, except in his own managed description. If you’re a public figure making markets and decisions about who lives and dies, you have to accept that people will write critically. Perhaps you’ve read too many puff pieces by the tech journalism that is mainly about selling the gadgets, not really doing journalism, but Ad Weekly has a better reputation than techcrunch in that regard.An official I respect at the UN has a great piece of advice: “Talk to everybody”. That means even countries that are awful and people you don’t like. And the press. You can always keep the interview short and upbeat. Journalists like to get their job done by having the focus of the article participate with a quote. When he doesn’t come through, the journalist can’t be blamed for scouting around other things to say, which he may speculate about.There’s an undertow here I don’t like of the idea that people who fund social media and blog about it should also control the coverage of themselves on social media. And I don’t think they should. You’re better than most, in that you don’t mute and ban people like Arrington or Jarvis or some of these other moguls and mavens. But you still seem to want to “scientize” this problem by making it seem as if the journalist is “incorrect’ instead of just not, well, your own.Venting your spleen on this guy doesn’t make you or your cause look good. In fact, a short piece linking to his piece with a bit of a witty remark actually showing us where he *did* make up something might have gone further. Or you could merely joke that you wouldn’t have had so many red-eye flights in the last year if you really hated Silicon Valley so much. You can get journalists eating out of your hand if you give them at least something to quench their appetite rather than merely to keep them guessing.

    1. fredwilson

      my post wasn’t about that posti simply linked to it to make a point that if you don’t talk to the media they will get pissed and take a shot at youmy post was about all the nonsense i am reading these days in the media about the tech/startups space

  61. fredwilson

    Because we do things differently like blog every day. I never ever want to do things the way everyone else does. If that makes me elitist, so be it.

  62. testtest

    when mark suster updated his blog template it was fucked up for a while (no right border). it looked awfulit’s relative peanuts to get someone to sort that type of stuff out. after all, that blog must be valuable to him — and investing in value shouldn’t be too foreign to a successful investor

  63. testtest

    unique value, ftwand unique value comes from a set of unique activities

  64. William Mougayar

    Being contrarian is smart. It’s not elitist.

  65. LE

    “makes me elitist”The “Fred and Joanne Wilson Center (for something) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania” would assure admission for your grandchildren. [1][1] Amazingly hospitals are raising money by selling naming rights to parking garages.Joseph A. Zipley,’49; founder of the highly successful Roslyn Supply Company. a major wholesale roofing and siding distributorship. He started his business in 1963 in Roslyn, PA. Today, his stores number five. The company has received numerous industry awards and has been written up nationally in industry publications. Towards the end of 2003, Zipley sold his business to three of his former employees. He continues to serve as chairman of the board. Joe and his wife May love traveling, boating and their home in Ocean City, N.J. Joe and May have always been involved in their community and have been generous philanthropists. In 2005, Abington Memorial Hospital’s new parking garage was named the Zipley Garage in recognition of a major gift from Joseph and May Zipley.

  66. LE

    “it’s relative peanuts to get someone to sort that type of stuff out”Stuff like this is not a money issue. It’s a time issue. Time to find someone, time to contact someone even if recommended and answer an email, pay.My guess is that if you had written to Suster and told him “I can fix this for you” and he trusted you to login to his account he would have said “go do it”. (Where “suster” is “suster” or equivalent person.)

  67. testtest

    good point. but if he spends the time to write then there’s still a cost of time. he has to write more posts to get the same result because each post is less effective. Plus traffic to old posts may not get shared as much, he may have been better off sorting out the web property first.

  68. fredwilson

    that’s exactly right LE. Mark spends his days meeting with entrepreneurs and his investors. i think he’s raising a fund right now. it’s shocking that he can put in the time he does put in.

  69. LE

    You are of course 100% right. But in addition to people being stretched thin on their time many people that are successful (Jobs, Trump excepted) are big picture people. They aren’t necessarily detail people who even perceive the thing you are talking about as being, seat of the pants, as important as it is.Or, they are prioritizing battles that are on a much larger scale and simply have to triage what they spend their time on.

  70. testtest

    in general i agree. but, with all due respect to mark, he’s not in the same league as jobs-slash-trump. he should have spotted his blog had been maimed by the CSS. it was glaring

  71. testtest

    there’s true to that — and all good comedy.not so much the individual is unique, but the choice of activities are unique.most people think they’re unique. it’s all very postmodern

  72. andyidsinga

    yes it a waste of time – wow – not only is Fred rich and grumpy he’s also a time waster. ( see how I turned that around like that? 😉 )Anyhow – I’m off to read about Bat Boy – wonder if he was cooperative with the weekly world news 😉

  73. LE

    @chrishuntis:disqus – Interesting that your comment seems to indicate that as a reader of his blog you take offense to the fact that he doesn’t find the user experience important.This is totally understandable and something I guess that any blogger should keep in mind.It’s like inviting someone over to your house in a sense. You want to know that they care enough to straighten out the place somewhat unless you know, or are told, of a compelling reason why they couldn’t do that.Also understandable that you somehow view Mark Suster’s time as less important or more available than a more public visible and unapproachable person like Trump (or Bloomberg or Jack Welch when he ran GE.)I’ve noticed for years that there is definitely a correlation behaviorally between someone’s perceived stature (and access) and how people are willing to cut them slack.I have a name for it actually. I call it “the Governor”.If the Governor can’t make it to your party on Sunday you accept that unless of course you are a major contributor. The same way that if a Doctor says they have to work and can’t make it to Thanksgiving you accept that. “Of course they are a Doctor”. But if you are a business person of no outstanding stature, and especially one who sets their own hours, people think that your time is so much less valuable and you can do what you want when you want. Except when you reach a certain point of public fame, or earn a large amount of money, in which case you achieve “Governor” status. And of course if the Governor came to visit your house you would almost certainly find the time to cleanup. Knowledge of the pecking order in life helps one put things in perspective and makes for a happier experience.

  74. testtest

    “Interesting that your comment seems to indicate that as a reader of his blog you take offense to the fact that he doesn’t find the user experience important.”i’ve seen what bad design does to conversion rates. it’s not pretty. and the first thing i learned online was usability, so hold it in high regard (rightfully so, imo). i’ve also had maybe 30 blogs for business purposes, and take them seriously as tools to achieve business goals”Also understandable that you somehow view Mark Suster’s time as less important or more available than a more public visible and unapproachable person like Trump (or Bloomberg or Jack Welch when he ran GE.)”he’s not as wealthy as them, i assume.’I have a name for it actually. I call it “the Governor”‘i totally agree with all of that. status is an interesting subject. for example, women don’t find men who are lower status than them attractive — that’s not just money, can be whatever holds status in their social circle.i control my own time so don’t have to deal with the whole status thing professionally. and have been cultivating a controversial attitude for a while. i find being fairly outspoken allows for being consistent with people, regardless of their status. i may not be consistently consistent, but i’m a part way to being consistently controversial

  75. LE

    Interesting thing happened with Welch the other day.For those reading who are not familiar with Welch (not you) I will explain Welch this way. He’s legendary and the idol of just about every corporate guy the same way Jobs or Gates is legendary in the tech business or Spielberg is in films or (insert sports celebrity). I have no doubt that there are men out there that would do to Welch what Lewinsky did to Clinton if given the chance. Or at least carry his golf bags. Certainly return his phone call or email.Anyway the other day Welch goes off and makes some comment about the numbers in the jobs report being timed coincidentally to the reelection. That POV was pretty much snuffed out by multiple knowledgeable people on both sides and affiliations as being near impossible because of the way the data is collected.Of course maybe that idea is preposterous but that’s just a red herring for the fact that it is entirely possible for the government to do similar things which is probably what Welch was thinking. But he didn’t take the time to find this out. He just tweeted.But more to the point. Welch, without a room full of people to research and vet his every thought, and to advise him, is prone to do the same thing that anyone who goes off half cocked has the potential to do. Make a mistake and create an opening to look somewhat foolish.Now if he made the same statement by way of a blog instead of twitter he might have taken the time to at least do some research or pad his thoughts appropriately to seem more circumspect and not allow such an obvious attack vector.”Now I’m not saying that the Obama administration manipulated the numbers in the latest jobs report. They are I’m sure of the highest integrity and that’s not realistically possible I’m told. But the timing seems to work in their favor and …”

  76. testtest

    last time i checked welch’s twitter account i was gobsmacked by how bad it was. he may have improved, but at the time he miraculously managed to say nothing with the combination of all his tweets.what you said may be a clue to why: it’s difficult to be 100% right in real-time. he was being guardedit’s a tough position to be in when people expect you to never make a mistake. i don’t envy it. not in todays world