A Valentines Day Chat

On February 14th, the entire USV partnership will be in Salt Lake City and so courtesy of our friend Bryce, we are going to do an event called Sessions @ The Leonardo.

We've done this format before, usually in our event space, and its a lot of fun to do a public appearance with all of my partners. We finish each other's sentences, tee up topics for each other, and tell stories together.

It is from 4pm to 6pm on February 14th at The Leonardo. The event is free but space is limited. RSVP here.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Salt Lake—a bit off my subway route but very close to the snow!

    1. jason wright

      subways are for rats. ride your bike 🙂

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Ever been to NYC in winter?

        1. jason wright

          hell no! :-), but my bicycle frame is about to be shipped back there. it’s got a crack :.-( i’m gonna have to start running. hell noooo!!

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Thank you for this comment. Feels good to laugh.

          2. jason wright

            it sure does. we should do it more often.laugh until one cries, and cry until one laughs.

        2. Ryan

          Not really the same category of snow. 😉

  2. Matt A. Myers

    That sounds so fun!

  3. kidmercury

    hope this gets youtubed! and hope beefs emerge as well, when caught on tape that is the most fun.

    1. fredwilson

      after the beefing yesterday, i need a day off

  4. takingpitches

    Hope Bryce webcasts or records it!

    1. John Revay

      Would be great to tune in

    2. William Mougayar

      I hope it will be!

    3. bryc3

      we will definitely record it. still working out a live stream option.

      1. takingpitches

        Excellent. Thanks Bryce!

    4. Donna Brewington White

      I will be very disappointed, otherwise.

  5. jason wright

    a ski junket!

  6. RichardF

    Great excuse to go skiing in the Canyons. Is it tax deductable in the US?

    1. fredwilson

      i doubt it. and i wouldn’t do that anyway. it feels sleazy.

      1. LE

        I have customers located everywhere I would travel literally. I could easily make a case to deduct part of the trip cost. I would have a leg to stand on to deduct most of the trip cost (where leg=”no jail time pay the penalty”).I don’t do it (not because it feels sleezy) but because a) it can be an audit flag and b) the time spent keeping track from my perspective is non-productive relative to the benefits (and combine with “a”). c) I might then decide to travel based on business locations. d) I already spend way to much time on paperwork.Importantly, I’ve also observed so many people over the years who have wasted their time by trying to get the best deal not taking into account the time and opportunity cost. So they focus on saving money instead of making money.I can understand doing that if you’re on a fixed wage of course (because there isn’t anyway you can really increase your income).

      2. RichardF

        Think I’ll just avoid tongue in cheek humour here in future, it just doesn’t come across well!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          It wasn’t lost on me, Richard. But then I have a strange sense of humor at times.

          1. RichardF

            and your an anglophile on my wavelength 😉

          2. Donna Brewington White


  7. William Mougayar

    “finish each other’s sentences”. That’s a powerful testimony about how collectively in-sync you are with each other. I think it’s one of your secret sauces.I hope you have reserved some real secret stories that no one has heard yet.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Peer to peer – no hierarchical bullshit, by sounds of it. Makes a nice change – wish more would adopt this approach for interaction and creativity.

    2. LE

      “That’s a powerful testimony about how collectively in-sync you are with each other.”I would argue (and actually this blog has helped me in that perspective) that they need people who don’t finish sentences as well as partners. I find some of the other perspectives here informative EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG AND MY PERSPECTIVE IS THE RIGHT ONE! In all seriousness an organization that only thinks one way can be problematic.

      1. William Mougayar

        Well, I think both paths are good, but you need 100% alignment on certain key directional things. I’m sure they have some diverging but healthy perspectives that lead to better outcomes.

      2. William Mougayar

        Another analogy here is an Orchestra. I think the USV partners are like members of an orchestra playing a pretty good symphony 😉

  8. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Sounds cool. But, Yorkshire next time, please :-)It’s not bad here … http://www.youtube.com/watc

    1. John Best


      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Saw it first thing this morning – I bloody well welled-up!

    2. Cam MacRae

      I’m in, but could you move it (Yorkshire, that is) a touch closer? 23 hours in a pressurised aluminium can does my head in.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        The grand fresh-air here will soon clear your head, Cam 😉

        1. Cam MacRae

          Too right!

  9. Aaron Klein

    I’m surprised Valentine’s Day is still a thing. I can’t find anyone who still observes it…except when I try to get to my reserved table at the restaurant that evening!

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Romance is Dead.

      1. ShanaC

        news to me?

          1. ShanaC

            actually, it might be because I’m a practical romantic. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like most romantic gifts, but if you bought me the perfect spatula set, I’d be so happy

      2. Matt A. Myers

        It’s turned more into The Day Of The Singles to get together and comfort eachother.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          With the Internet, Every Day is Valentines Day!Forgive me – I am Best Man (ha!) this weekend, for a very long-standing friend – and trying to finalise my ‘speech’ etc – and suddenly getting into a mild-panic mode…

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Goodluck. 🙂

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Thanks, Matt!

          3. Aaron Klein

            Best of luck. :)Tips: tell one short joke. Singe, don’t burn. Entire speech is 90 seconds or less. You’ll be remembered as “greatest best man speech of all time.”

          4. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Thanks, Aaron – good idea; I shall try and stick to that – cr*pping myself, frankly – and I’ve done loads of PowerPoints all around the world, to huge audiences – this is very different!

          5. Aaron Klein

            Indeed it is.

      3. Elia Freedman

        I never liked the holiday. Always felt like something a card company invented to sell cards during the slow season. Besides, as long as I’m nice to my wife on Valentine’s day I can be a jerk the rest of the year? Just weird to me.

      4. Donna Brewington White

        Ha! Not all that it’s cracked up to be, but not entirely dead, my friend.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Absolutely, Donna. My wife will tell you I blub away more at the ending of Armageddon et al than she does! 😉

    2. fredwilson

      my son Josh was born on Valentines day. so we have a special reason to celebrate every year.

      1. Aaron Klein

        Too cool. Happy birthday Josh!

      2. ShanaC


    3. andyswan

      Sheri and I like to go to a restaurant with a 2.5 hour wait, belly up at the bar, eat apps and drink bourbon all night while we color commentate the goings on around us.Especially fond of the creative backstories we come up with…. “Dave is newly divorced, wasn’t sure this shirt still fit him….oh no! No! Sally just mentioned her cats….you heard that right fans, plural….cats. But wait…. Dave is feigning interest…he went with the “OK her place is out” mental checkdown….it’s really been a while for Dave….

      1. Aaron Klein

        LOL. Love it. I think Sheri and Cacey would get along well. The four of us ought to do that some time…either here in California or at Jack Ruby’s.

        1. andyswan

          book it

      2. LE

        “all night while we color commentate the goings on around us.”See things like that are way underrated as far as what makes a good relationship.What you see is to much “we both like skiing” or “we like the same music” or “we are both opera singers” (my brother and future sister in law are) bullshit.Which is funny because my wife and I tend to like the same TV mostly but importantly with “pause” I can stop and we can discuss and then hit play. You can’t do that with music and how much can you talk about skiing? But talking about people is a constant source of enjoyment. And unlike many other things it doesn’t cost anything.I’ll tell you a funny thing. My first wife and I are divorced now and never speak at all but there are still things that happen every now and then that breaks through the nastiness of divorce. Like the time she called me, and I didn’t want to take the call, and she told me her uncle had an illegitimate daughter that nobody knew about.” I was all short and didn’t want to talk and she said “no wait, you will want to hear this”. And I did it was a great story.

        1. andyswan

          Ya. Spot on. I mean if she ever dumps me I’ll totally be texting her Seinfeld references when I see them.

    4. LE

      “except when I try to get to my reserved table at the restaurant”You mean there is an Aaron Klein table?

      1. Aaron Klein

        Only when I remember to reserve it in early January!

        1. LE

          I grew up in a era where you greased palms to get what you wanted. I never forget going on a business trip and having to bring in an expensive printer into a building that was really heavy. I was with some other guys and the lobby guard said we had to use the loading dock. The other guys started to turn around but I instinctively just took out a $20 bill and handed it to the guard and kept walking. Like it was a ticket to the theater.I remember when I was in my 20’s being in a theater with a friend whose father happened to be a big shot (to us at the time) he was sitting elsewhere with his wife. He sees the usher (a young kid) and yells out “yo chief get me some popcorn” and hands him some money. And they guy returns with the popcorn just like that.

          1. Max Yoder

            Go on. I like these stories!

          2. LE

            To many to tell. Here’s one.At the company that I started out of college, I had bid on a contract and the purchasing people from the hospital wanted to visit to see the “operation” if you want to call it that. There was practically nothing there at the time and no employees (I had one and they had recently quit). So I hired some people to come in and do things to make the place look active and to run some of the few machines that were there. The other company in contention for the contract was Xerox Repro Centers (Xerox Corp) and they were fully equipped and staffed. I should also mention that I had zero experience in this business whatsoever when I started it.I got the contract and kept it for about 6 years and that is essentially the thing that allowed me to build the business which I later sold (had 17 employees at the time). It is still around today I am proud to say. The local competitors all closed up. One of the ways I got the contract was in the trial period identifying the important decision maker in the hospital who I determined was the secretary to the CEO. So I visited her and for lack of a better way to put it sucked up to her. So her support counted when they met and decided to issue a contract after the trial.I got a chance to bid because I had taken out an ad in the yellow pages (which was pretty expensive) and they liked the ad apparently and were choosing people based on that.By the way I want to point out that whenever these stories are told there are always a zillion factors that matter as well that aren’t mentioned. That’s why I’m always skeptical of stories I read because I know from my own experience it’s hard to nail down everything especially years later that contributed to some positive outcome. There is a super successful practically celebrity chef that I helped (I knew his father) with his resume and the resume helped him get a job with Wolfgang Puck iirc. I’m sure that little bit will never be mentioned in any story of his life. As I like to say “the thing that leads to the thing”. (I’m not taking credit for his success btw I’m just pointing out that stories are never complete so you have to take them with a grain of salt.)

          3. Max Yoder

            I would buy your book, LE.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Or just save his comments and create your own version.

          5. Max Yoder

            Oh, I save it all, Donna 🙂 I think real stories inspire the best fiction.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Ha. You are funny, Max. And a good listener even with written comments.

          7. Aaron Klein

            I’m sure that would work but I’ve never tried it to get a table. I try to be prepared and reserve in early Jan.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Funny thing that Valentine’s Day.

  10. ShanaC

    Enjoy the last of the powder?

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Now, that is a Rock n Roll lifestyle! :-O

    2. fredwilson

      not the last. but i sure hope there will be powder when we are out there

  11. Elia Freedman

    Are you taking the family, Fred? Seems like it would stink to spend the day away from your son on his birthday.

    1. fredwilson

      they are coming the next day

  12. William Mougayar

    Duly noted the apres-ski time slot, 4-6pm 🙂

  13. Bennett Resnik

    Wish I could attend, I have sent this to several SLC clients. Good luck with the event.

  14. andyswan

    Topic: How to write-off ski-trip expenses.Well played.

    1. fredwilson

      we won’t write off anything that i know of

      1. andyswan

        Def a biz expense to get and stay there!

        1. fredwilson

          we are staying at my house. it’s on the way back from the west coast for most of us. but i see your point.

  15. daryn

    Looking forward to tuning in, @bryce’s session with Vinod last month was excellent.

  16. matthughes

    Chalk up a win for SLC.I hope it’s broadcast on the web…

  17. Brad Bertoch

    Thanks for coming to Utah. Unfortunately, I’ll be in Moab celebrating with my bride of 37 years. Too bad you’re not here on the 7th for the big Investors Choice venture conference and on the 8th for the annual Deer Valley Investor ski day and race.

    1. fredwilson

      i am sorry i am missing those events

  18. Richard

    Valentines day <- ultimate intrusion into the bedroom

  19. reece

    “we’ve worked together so long now, it’s almost like, we ah… finish each other’s sentences…”http://www.youtube.com/watc…

  20. davidhclark

    Wow, Fred! I’m really excited! This is an awesome surprise. I can’t wait.