Fun Friday: Favorite Brands

Yesterday's rant in the comments on HBO vs Netflix and Apple vs Google gave me the idea of a fun friday on brands we love (or hate). Since Kirk tells me I hate too much, I will keep my comments to brands I love. But I am not opposed to hating in the comments. In fact, I think it is fun if it is done respectfully. Sometimes our comment threads here are too nice. And too nice is too boring.

Here are a few brands that I love.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue bottle coffee



Twitter logo


Doyle Mueser

Doyle mueser


Tell us about the brands you love in the comments.


#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    Brands are the feelings they evoke.This one, guaranteed to always conjure positive images and put a smile on my face.Play-Doh FTMFW!

    1. awaldstein

      Perfect. Brands are defined by the feelings of the users themselves.

    2. Laurent Boncenne

      playing it safe hahaha!

    3. Matt A. Myers

      Different than childhood glory – but United Nations does it for me. What they are trying to achieve / strive for.

    4. ShanaC


  2. Barry Nolan

    Right now, Sesame Street. Having grown up with it, it’s a warm resurrected treasure watching and sharing with my two tiny girls. Only difference since are iPads and YouTube.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I am who am I today because of the Sesame Street seasons 1 & 2. That show was truly disruptive!

    3. takingpitches

      So beautiful!

    4. ShanaC


    5. leigh

      I’m still heartbroken neither of my kids have really cared much about Sesame Street.

      1. Barry Nolan

        Elmo usually unlocks reticence!!

  3. gregorylent

    can i be snide about brands, branding, and brand fandom in general? please? a disease upon the planet … (ok, i can argue both sides of this, but there are two sides, at least.)

    1. jason wright

      yes you can.there are too many companies on this planet that put manufacturing the brand before manufacturing the product and/ or service.

      1. awaldstein

        Give me an example of a brand that has any economic value without a strong connection with its users.Noise in advertising to create brand has nothing to do as to whether the brand actually has vitality.

        1. jason wright


          1. awaldstein

            Don’t know them.But–it is possible to have name recognition (Wendy’s) without having any meaning.Not the same to me as something like Porsche. Recognition with a value quotient and an economic component.

          2. jason wright

            believe me Arnold, you don’t want to know. keep it that way and be happy as you fly

          3. falicon

            godaddy comes to mind here as well.

          4. awaldstein

            Name brands we hate.Good one. Different topic. And is building and managing brands with a light touch (my job for most of my career).

          5. jason wright

            the registrar Joker comes to my mind

          6. Laurent Boncenne

            You’re better off not knowing them, believe me! the airline company that thought i’d be a good idea to fly people standing instead of seated to sell more “seats”…. =/ (not that it did happen mind you)

          7. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Lol.Ironically, Michael O’Leary (the ‘enigmatic’ founder for those who don’t know of Ryanair and its – ahem – ‘reputation’) was guest speaker at a business function I went to a couple of years ago and he was celebrating being way up on this then just published most hated brands (UK perspective) list, below……As he pointed out, the likes of Manchester Utd and McDonalds don’t do too bad as businesses, do they? So, he celebrated being a hated brand.

          8. Aaron Klein

            LOL.To be honest, I have nothing against Ryanair. I would NEVER fly on one of their planes, but they are opening up air travel to some people who couldn’t afford it otherwise. Good on them.

          9. David Clarke

            So why would you never fly Ryanair?

          10. Aaron Klein

            When you’re a Delta Platinum Medallion, flying Southwest feels like torture, much less Ryanair.

        2. Richard

          Cleveland Clinic

          1. awaldstein

            don’t know them at all.

          2. JLM

            .Damn straight. Well played.JLM.

          3. ShanaC

            and mayo clinic, only place on the web that recommended chicken soup to clear up colds πŸ™‚

          4. Richard

            Yes; they are the google of healthcare not withstanding that neither is in a particularly charming city

          5. John Revay


        3. Montgomery Kosma

          Discovery Channel.

        4. leigh

          I’m being stupid (it’s been a long day) say that again?

          1. awaldstein

            Nope I was stupid and every day lately is a grind, ‘with’ should have been ‘without’ as it is now.#needtoslowdown

          2. leigh


        5. mikeschwede

          I live in Biel, Switzerland where all the watches are coming from: ROLEX don’t care about they customers. They don’t listen, they just do watches and people love it.

          1. awaldstein

            True—but most consumer luxury brands are through an elite channel.You buy a Rolex and your retailer becomes the brand’s representative in every way. People aren’t happy with any luxury good that doesn’t have a place to talk to.So–Rolex Corp may not matter. But the retailer–no question!

    2. fredwilson

      I often feel that way

    3. Brandon Burns

      the pinnacle of success is having a “brand,” meaning that when your name is spoken, people know what it is, what you’re about, and hopefully a whole lot of them get amazon. disney. coca cola. wal-mart. facebook. nike.maybe its just me, but i wouldn’t be so snide towards what these guys have done, or anyone trying to reach their level of success.

      1. Richard

        Go Disney

      2. John Revay

        Well stated as usual

        1. Brandon Burns


    4. Matt A. Myers

      Brands are inherently neutral. Brands are social objects. What you dislike is the system that currently thrives where it’s a race to the bottom quality wise, so there’s more profit, so those profits can be furthered used to push their own messaging / product, and causes other other higher quality brands to be less likely to survive – and dilutes how much money is available – creating an economy of waste and noise.

      1. ShanaC

        what is a social object?

    5. kidmercury

      everything is a brand, whether it wants to be or not, because it creates a memory and it creates associations. if branding is a disease, then so is perception and how the human mind naturally works.

      1. leigh


    6. Donna Brewington White

      so what is the argument that you are making against “brands, branding and brand fandom”?

    7. Montgomery Kosma

      Brands can be a powerful heuristic in that they stand for a set of values or characteristics that provide consumers much-needed organizing principles in markets that are increasingly populated with products. Every market has a long tail, and access to products in the tail is becoming commoditized rapidly. In the realm of new product introduction, brands provide one mechanism to lift certain signals above the (rising) noise floor.Not that they’re the best signaling mechanism, just an important one. I’m working with a very cool startup that’s developing another mechanism for companies facing those long-tail difficulties without the benefit of a widely recognized brand. The two-sided coin of curation/discovery presents tough problems but extremely valuable to solve … in a way, one that can create entirely new markets.monty

    8. ShanaC

      I think, if it weren’t for brands, it would be a lot harder for products to differentiate themselves Even if they are different. They become soap a and soap b.

    9. Anne Libby

      Yes, and I also think that the notion of “personal branding” has potential outcomes that fall between innocuous and dangerous.

  4. Jeremy Baksht

    I will probably get beat up for this given it is obvious, but I have always liked Nike. It’s simple, iconic, globally recognized, a classic but also tied to innovation, and named for a Greek goddess.

    1. fredwilson

      And they have Jordan

    2. John Revay

      I thought I remember a story where Steve Jobs told the Nike CEO Steve knight, that he was putting the Nike name on too much stuff – he should be more selective.

  5. Jeff Jenkins

    I’m going to go with Roots the Canadian clothing maker. They have decent quality and wearing their clothes makes me feel less homesick. I’m also a big fan of the Canada brand, if we’re talking generally.I’m also a huge fan of Sarabeth’s preserves (strawberry+peach!) and Beecher’s cheese.

    1. fredwilson


      1. mikenolan99

        Alamar’s Bent River Camembert – now with distribution in New York. (Full disclosure – I’m an investor (small artisan cheese shop – my friend is owner and sole employee.)) Let me know and I’ll hook you up.

    2. ShanaC

      I just made some hamentashecn with Sarabeth jam. so yummy.Now I need to figure out what to do with the rest of my raspberry lime!

  6. awaldstein

    Brands are not just products controlled by companies.They can also be a place that collectively drives image and affection from the ground up. Culture sourced if you will.Three of my faves:1. New York CityEvery person who has an image has their own and they are all right.2. The JuraWhether you see Tissot in Arbois or Gannevat in the south when you nod your head with interest and pleasure to a taste that speaks of place.and a product3. Chambers Street WinesCurated, natural, interesting, affordable wines and the image of the best retail wine shop possibly in the world.And the brand that pays the bills whether it’s my favorite of not!4. Myself

    1. fredwilson

      NYC may be my favorite brand of all. Well played.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen


    2. scott crawford

      As a friend of mine used to always say, products are delivery vehicles for brand benefits.

    3. Aaron Klein

      Great list. πŸ™‚

    4. pointsnfigures

      The Jura. Depends on the wine. What about Vin de Jaune?

      1. awaldstein

        Big fan of Vin de Jaune but honestly, if I had to choose just one (which I don’t) as the only thing the Jura can share with me it’s Poulsard. In the hands of a master like Domaine de la Tournelle, it is a gift that can only come from there.

        1. pointsnfigures

          I had that exact wine at Bistrot Du Sommelier in Paris a very long time ago. It was my first experience with Jura wines, and the Vin de Jaune. I have one bottle that I don’t know when to open. They say it lasts 100 years.

          1. awaldstein

            I have a good friend who is writing a book (and has a great blog) on the Jura and Savoie. Ping me and I’ll send you the URL if interested.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      When I first came to NYC it was as I imagined. In some ways it didn’t feel like being in a new place. Everything felt familiar but laced with an excitement that the word “familiar” just doesn’t conjure up. You are right — it is a brand. And a state of mind.

      1. awaldstein

        One of my college roommates was a farm boy, never been anywhere and lived in Ohio.I brought him to NYC, we grabbed a beer and sat down at Wall Street and watched the tens of thousands of people pour into the streets on a June afternoon.He was awash in the dream of a brand. Brought there by my vision, walked away with his own.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Great poetic image there.Wall Street. I think I was actually a little teary when I first looked up at the street sign. Well, that was before the economic/financial meltdown.

          1. awaldstein

            This was way before then!Back in the 70s there was an art project down in the Financial District.An artist got a grant to do a sculpture on a vacant lot. He planted wheat! Hundreds of New Yorker’s surrounded up and down by concrete and abstract economics would stand there and watch the wheat sway and dozens of birds peck around.I remember this as distinctly as if it was yesterday.Brilliance.

          2. ShanaC

            who was the artist, that sounds amazing

          3. awaldstein

            Honestly can’t remember. I’ll see if I can track it down.Great experience. Brave artistic statement. Surreal.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Wow, that is a great description of my experience, as well.

    6. ShanaC

      NYC is a great brand with a horrible logo.

      1. awaldstein

        Honestly never noticed’) I take and post pics that are my icons of the city constantly.Or I can think of what Keith Harin, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Chuck Close, Bourke-White, Feininger of many others had as their signature brand of this really amazing city.

        1. ShanaC

          it looks like this: http://www.underconsiderati…and it is fugly. Something evoking the look of the empire state building’s art deco look would have been better.

          1. awaldstein

            yup fugly indeed.brands make the logo work, not the other way around though actually.

      2. Aaron Klein

        I think of @awaldstein:disqus’s awesome photos of the Empire State Building as NYC’s logo.

  7. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Lamy. Beautiful, simple and pure designs with great ergonomics. Pleasure to write with.David Mellor. As above, in context of cutlery/cooking.Morgan. Stuck to their principles re: classical car design.BBC. Unique.

    1. Cam MacRae

      The Lamy Safari is my favourite pen by miles. The 4/4 is one of my favourite cars (although I’ve never owned one).

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Ditto re: Lamy, and great value for money. As I often rant/argue, good design costs nothing.As for Morgan, as per you, just an admirer … maybe, one day…Their (Morgan) young head of design has a wonderful eye for blending the retro and the contemporary … http://www.matthewhumphries

  8. Sebastien Flury

    Does the AVC community knows about the “Hot or Not of brands”, that is… ? Try it, funny!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. Will try it out

      1. Sebastien Flury

        You’re welcome! Have FUN (Friday) ;-)!

      2. Montgomery Kosma

        My son Zak is 14 and working on marketing his second or third website already. He’s been loving this GREAT series of Android games called “Logo Quiz” from somebody called Bubble Quiz Games.They conceal elements of famous and not-so-famous logos and you have to guess the brand. Playing through the various difficulty levels is quite interesting and revealing about what does and does not stick in our noggins.monty

  9. Dormat Hidatsa

    The Charles Hotel. Just got back from a stay here. It’s smart, has everything you need, and makes you feel important just because you’re staying there. I don’t know how they do it, but every brand should convey that kind of aura, it equates to margin cause you can charge more for that feeling.iPads, on the other hand, change your words, so you appear to be illiterate when you’re not. Someday someone is going sue them for that.Disqus is a good brand too.

    1. fredwilson

      I stay there when I go to Boston. Hi Dave. I hope you are doing well.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Loved it. No idea if I will ever get back there.

    3. Ricardo Diz

      The Charles Hotel – Good one!

    4. Ro Gupta

      Hi Dave – curious what specifically about the Disqus brand you like. [And if anything you don’t like too.]

      1. dave

        I thought to mention Disqus cause we’re using it right now. It’s so invisible you hardly notice it. That’s good software in my book. The kind of software I don’t like is the stuff that’s so in your face or awkward that you can’t help but think about it. I had an experience this morning with various products from Apple that took me away from what I was doing so I could figure out how to get their products to stop arguing with each other. That’s an example of a brand with a great image that’s doing everything it can to get me to hate them! :-)http://threads2.scripting.c…

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Like the avatar.

      2. ShanaC

        I got to say, I love the name, to the point where I occasionally mispell the actual word.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Good call on Disqus. Partly for what it is and partly for what it will be, and partly for how the team is getting it there.

      1. leigh

        i’d say though they’ve built product love vs. brand love. What in your mind does the Disqus brand stand for?

  10. John Revay

    Checked out Doyle & Mueser – probably too $$ for my pocketbook….They had a neat comment – in their contact us page re: “Civilized correspondence”Civilized correspondence can be directed to:Doyle Mueser19 Christopher StreetNew York, NY 10014

  11. jason wright

    ‘brand’ is German for ‘fire’ (‘feuer’ also means ‘fire’, but… different).slaves were branded, as cattle still are. marks of property and a consumer do I come to ‘own’ the brand, or does the brand come to ‘own’ me?to love a brand? love? that’s pushing it.when I think of a brand I think of the ‘promise’ made. is the promise kept? if it is I can be friends with that brand, I can respect the avc a brand?

    1. fredwilson

      Its a community first and foremost

      1. jason wright

        the ultimate evolution of ‘brand’.

  12. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I love big brand names such as twitter or banana republic. I also equally love local less known brands such as green coffee merchant in Toronto. For brands to get others to like them is terrific but is even more valuable if they nurture relationships with these brand advocates that goes beyond the transactional phase.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s why I went with Twitter (big) and D&M (small)

  13. John Revay

    Blue Bottle – looks like your family is an investor

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. The Gotham Gal is.As meat loaf says “two out of three ain’t bad”

      1. Richard

        I’m a big third wave coffee fan (incluiding blue bottle). However , I love the fact that this space is dominated by “no brand”.

  14. Rick Bashkoff

    Under Armour. Makes any human feel like a professional athlete.

    1. jason wright

      then that brand is a deception

      1. Rick Bashkoff

        no, the brand is a feeling.

        1. jason wright

          complicit in a self deception?

          1. Rick Bashkoff

            I could see how you might think that if I walked around calling myself a professional athlete. But I don’t. I’m rational enough to escape reality, experience a feeling for what it is, and then return. I don’t think that’s a self-deception. I think that’s a feeling.

      2. andyswan

        then so is yoga

  15. bartolomeo

    i hate starbucks and LVMH. Essentially brands where the marketing is more important than the product. Ive actually thought for a long time that there is a niche for advertising agencies in understanding why brands have the capacity of antagonizing people so much.

    1. William Mougayar

      I hate starbucks too. I always try to get them back by abusing their space as a meeting or worknplace and ordering a $2 tea or regular coffee.

      1. pointsnfigures

        why order? I just take up space there sometimes like the bums on the street they let in there.

    1. fredwilson

      I love rants

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        As John Lydon (aka, Johnny Rotten) said/sung, “Anger is an energy.”

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Thank you for that awesome reference πŸ™‚

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Cheers, Kirsten – from one of his all too often overlooked PiL (Public image Ltd) early days, just after the implosion of the Sex Pistols. He’s still pumping out some very interesting stuff and always fascinating to listen to in interviews.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I am a gigantic fan of his. Own it all. Saw him live with PiL. He is the ULTIMATE showman. He would be at my dream dinner party πŸ™‚

          3. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Ditto! Cool!Finally got to see him live a few years ago, Sex Pistols reunion gig – never had the chance to when I was a punk back then, their existence was so fleeting in original incarnation.Seeing Steve Jones live and hearing the intro to Pretty Vacant was worth it for that alone – shivers down my spine! He’s a vastly underrated guitarist.My wife knew how much it meant to me to see them – I wasn’t disappointed – even she enjoyed it and has subsequently come to love my old punk stuff as much as me, lol.

          4. Kirsten Lambertsen

            So right about Jones. Although I think people who really listen respect him, big time.

          5. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Jonesys Juke Box is good – I must try and listen to it more often!

          6. Montgomery Kosma

            Where has his program gone since the demise of Indie 103.1?

          7. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Here I believe –…Not tried it via UK so unsure if available online internationally now?

          8. Montgomery Kosma

            Ah, thanks! I haven’t listened to KROQ since the days of Richard Blade and Jed the Fish. (A few weeks back in a rental car I heard Richard Blade running an 80s program on XM/Sirius, it was like stepping into a time machine…)

          9. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Would love to see PiL live especially if Jah Wobble is in line-up. Was he when you saw them? He and JL always seem to be in midst of a fall-out!

        2. Montgomery Kosma

          Heh, I was thinking of Mick Jones singing “Anger can be power” I always favored the Clash over the Pistols, but some of Lydon’s later stuff was great, esp World Destruction with Afrika Bambaataa…

      2. Val Lefebvre

        You should love the Blacklist concept then:Blacklist brands & products you dislike or had a bad experience with

  16. awaldstein

    The purest, simplest product brand I know and love:La Pavoni Expresso Makers

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      What are your thoughts on Jura if you know them, as you seem to enjoy good coffee?

      1. awaldstein

        Coffee I love and my La Pavoni has been with me forever.Jura as in my favorite wine region possibly–there are probably 20+ posts on Jura faves on my wine blog Glad to talk about Jura anytime. In fact there is a great Jura tasting for free at Flatiron Wines near Fred’s office this Saturday!

        1. Laurent Boncenne

          Hahaha, no I meant jura the coffe machine makers! said, I love Jura wines, especially from Arbois =) had some recently with a Mont d’Or cheese (… ) “au four” with a dash of arbois in it, tasty!I’m a parisian unfortunately but would have loved to check out Flatiron wines! Ever tried a red wine from Jura? I’ve been pleasantly surprised to be honest, I knew the region for their vin jaune, but did not expect this from their red wines! Light and savory, very interesting!

          1. William Mougayar

            I love Capresso btw. Jura bought them recently. My Capresso Ultima espresso machine lasted me a good 11 years.And I adore a Vacherin Fribourgeois au four. Un delice.

          2. awaldstein

            I’m dense today–about coffee machines and about thinking that everyone lives in NYC;)I started with Jura reds actually and drink lots of lightly chilled Poulsard and Trousseau here in the summer times. Taking a few bottles of both on a trip to Mexico in a few weeks.Check out my blog and keep in touch if you’d like. I have many wine blogger friends in Paris and I bet there are a more than aew wine bars with great Jura selections in Paris. Lots of Natural Wine bars for certain.BTW–my new and geographically close obsession is Savoie and Mondeuse!

        2. William Mougayar

          I think @lboncenne:disqus was talking about Jura, the coffee maker.

    2. Ruth BT

      It’s morning here, sitting in bed consuming AVC in my favorite way. In bed with a coffee made by the other woman of the house – the La Pavoni! Agreed Arnold – a great brand and a company that understands that buying a new machine is not an option – you just need to recondition the old one!

  17. FlavioGomes

    Gibson Les Paul – Iconic, visceral, resonatingPaul Reed Smith – Smooth refined playabilityJLohr – consistent drink-abilityWagyu – Rich and fattyLindt- velvetyRAM – tough durable strengthPolaris – Speed and adventureRemington – powerful and accurateHarry Rosen – customized suaveness

    1. fredwilson

      Nice list

  18. Jocelyn

    LinkedIn and Starbucks

    1. Richard

      Can’t get Starbucks employees to either wash their hands or not their dirty hands on my cup when making tea.

  19. mikenolan99

    Last night Angie from Angie’s Kettle Corn came and spoke to my MBA class. She really extolls the virtue of a brand. Dan was a high school Spanish teacher and Angie was a Nurse.Jules and I have been friends since she and Dan started their company – yes, in their garage – and popped corn at school events and county fairs.They now have distribution in all 50 states, have over 500 employees, and are fantastic employers and community stewards.They continue to resist the urge to cheapen their product and hurt their brand. All natural, completely vegan, gluten free, etc.She talked a lot about the brand – it is her name on the label – and how one miss-step can disappoint thousands of people.It reminded me of the true nature of branding – as Seth Godin might say – it is a promise between the company and each individual.

    1. Richard

      What are they doing about new health insurance mandate?

      1. mikenolan99

        It doesn’t really effect them because early on they made the commitment to provide health insurance to all 30 hour+ employees… Really a fantastic story – they pay higher than average wages for line workers, have great benefits and retention, and were recently voted in the top 100 places to work in Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          My god! How do they stay afloat???? (kidding, of course)

  20. Ciaran

    I love, but also frequently despair of (hate is a strong word), The Guardian. Ditto the BBC

    1. Richard

      Financial Times

  21. Tom Labus

    Just Do It, Nike

    1. Elia Freedman

      The difference between brand promise and brand reality has to be larger for Nike then any company on the planet.

    2. leigh

      brilliant marketers

  22. andyswan

    thinkorswimPappy Van WinkleSouthwestKate UptonAmazonNew BalanceAmerican ExpressVoomlyLas VegasLouis VuittonEdit left off obvious: Disney

    1. jason wright

      Voomly? what’s that?

      1. andyswan

        If ya don’t know, now ya know

        1. Tyler Hayes

          @jasonpwright:disqus teed it up for you.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      This is your hate list right? That damn Kate Upton..

    3. phoneranger

      Andy you are always talking your book. When did you and Kate hook up? In Vegas?

      1. andyswan


    4. Aaron Klein

      Voomly is already such a great brand that its users have coined terms for themselves: Voomers and Vexperts. (Thank you JLM.)We’re trying to build Riskalyze into a brand that stands for something: specifically, the idea of putting science into investing. That’s what is “etched in marble on the outside of our building” and if we’re doing stuff that doesn’t fit into that core, we’ve probably lost our way.

      1. awaldstein

        Love the idea of putting ‘science into investing’. Will invariably be confused with the ‘science of investing’ of course. Would make a great post for you to write BTW.Interesting–Voomly, you, lots of b2b brands now are being driven by merchant needs rather than customer want.Normal but a great thing to dig into. If the customer never knows that it’s Riskalyze but the advisors swear by it, can you win? Yes, but in a different way.

        1. Aaron Klein

          As it turns out, the advisors have really become the customers. And they are passionate ones.We may go back to a smarter consumer play in the future, but with advisor users and customers blowing up like they are, we’ve got to spend 100% of our focus there.

          1. awaldstein

            Then the dots are coming together well.Can’t have a transactional model without knowing who your customers are and where their passions lie.

          2. ShanaC

            why do you think the advisors have become the customers?

          3. Aaron Klein

            Advisors are the difference between what consumers say they want to do and what they actually do.I have a few idaes for how we could use mobile to get consumers to actually do what they say they want to do…but one step at a time.

        2. karen_e

          I agree about the blog post topic.

          1. Aaron Klein

            On my list. πŸ™‚

      2. Cam MacRae

        fwiw, I reckon it’s a great brand, and what I saw of it early on was pretty great (too bad it’s not tax effective for me to invest in US markets).

        1. Aaron Klein

          Thanks, that’s a nice compliment. At some point, we’re going to tackle international markets. I’ll keep you in mind when we do. πŸ™‚

      3. William Mougayar

        “science into investing”. This reminds me of what SEOmoz is doing which is to put science into SEO, i.e. they teach you while helping you to do it. Do you see analogies there? SEOmoz basically leads you by the hand and makes you do SEO stuff even if you don’t know anything about it.

        1. Aaron Klein

          Yeah, that’s a good point. I need to dig into that. Thanks!

    5. ShanaC

      how about andy?

      1. andyswan

        Nothing there

        1. ShanaC


  23. JimHirshfield

    “All marketers are liars” – paging Seth Godin.

    1. awaldstein


      1. JimHirshfield

        I somehow knew that would get your attention. πŸ˜‰

    2. falicon

      you forgot the 2nd part of that quote…”and so is everyone else” πŸ˜‰

      1. JimHirshfield

        I’d be lying if I said I knew what you were saying, so yeah, for sure doode!

  24. falicon

    Love: Atlanta Falcons,, and MarvelHate: None, but there are a lot I have very little respect for…to name a few off the top of my head OpenX, Muscle Maker Grill, and every cable, tv, and cell phone provider in the U.S.Indifferent: 99.9% of all brands out there.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Marvel – good addition. goes without saying πŸ˜‰

  25. Mikology

    In biz, the ultimate sign of love is spending. As such, I think a better way to express your sentiment is to identify “Businesses I love to give my money to”. ‘Shameless Plug Alert’. I wrote post w same title in 2009 http://www.astonishyourcust

  26. Laurent Boncenne

    Doyle & Mueser, thank you for this! Any other tailors out of NY you (or anyone) recommend? I only know about the row and a very few out of Italia and France…Purely out of curiosity sadly

    1. fredwilson

      they are the only ones i have experience with

  27. Brandon Burns

    Paris. New York. Tokyo.The cites themselves are so transcendant that everyone knows what their brands stand for. And these brands are built by their consumers… in this case inhabitant and visitors. They spread the good name of these brands far and wide, stand up for them when challenged, and attract new customers to them by way of tourists.I can’t think of a brand stronger than these great cities, or a better way to build one.

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      agreed about NY, but Paris’ brand was built by tourists mostly, as a parisian myself, a good chunk of the city’s “brand” was built by tourists and a few (very few) household names that where created here…Such a shame that this city prides itself on its luxurious “feel” yet there is very little to be seen day to day. What Paris has is nothing more than a lot of history attached to it, and that is what locals call it, a museum city. and very little more. Unless you can afford it, of course…Just because the branding is good doesn’t necessarily makes the brand itself good/stellar. I’m sure NY or Tokyo is somewhat similar to a local, unfortunately i’ve never been to any of those two so I can’t really judge,..To a parisian, Paris the brand is a bit of a scam we don’t get to see…

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Half-Frenchman here. People want what they don’t have. Tourists who visit any city will define it by the facade, not the social and political atmosphere – though they could benefit from it while there. And brand does and should include its history – though with non-physical brands they mostly become forgotten.

      2. awaldstein

        I honestly love Paris. My second favorite city actually.I think and find a lot of soul in the neighorhoods, Love to hang out. Love to grab a Veleb bike and ride around.NYC and Paris are two of the cities in the world where you can navigate by line of sight and walking is your best and most interesting way to get around.

      3. Brandon Burns

        i’ve lived in paris and currently live in new york. you see paris the way a lot of new yorkers see new york. the grass is always greener on the other side.i’d move to paris in a heartbeat.

    2. takingpitches

      Nice. I would add Barcelona to my personal list.

      1. takingpitches

        And Rio (urban and beach, the best combination imho)!

      2. ShanaC

        I would add Berlin

    3. fredwilson

      i am with you on those cities. all classics.

  28. Richard

    + Golite, lululemon, ΓΌber, twitter, Amazon, Google, Columbia River Organics, Suja, – Philip Morris (Altria)

  29. William Mougayar

    In my 20’s and 30’s, I worshiped these brands:Cartier, Hermes, Armani, Versace, Jaguar, Zegna.Now, I am less drawn to the brand names themselves, because I can spot quality or value without the brand name attached to it.Nonetheless:AVC, Winners (cheap clothing store), Laduree, Apple, Onkyo.

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      Nowadays though, Cartier, Hermes and the likes have really gone downhill on the quality side and up in the “pretentious” and “luxurious” part of the feelings associated with their branding.It used to be that you could buy a Cartier lighter and you’d know it would be top quality beyond their brand name, nowadays though, it’s mostly the name. Can’t believe their so called “lifetime warranty” is only part of the story, where it’s actually a proper warranty for the first year (meaning eventual kinks are taken care of free of charge), then you get the privilege to fix your piece for a fee… not so “lifetime” to me… And that’s for a $500 lighter mind you!Same for Hermes, let’s be realistic for a minute… Who in their right mind thinks a $850 laser printed shirt is worth its price? When you can get a hand-made (bespoke) shirt from courtot or charvet for $300 (i’m roughly converting the prices in € just so we’re clear), with a better fit for sure and likely the same fabric quality if not better (most likely Holland & Sherry or Loro Piana and the likes), or T&A (Turnbull & Asser on Jermyn Street in London for those who don’t know)…I’m all for luxury, and the brands attached to it, but there needs to be some reality attached to it. It’s a feeling I’ve been getting from many different industry/brands/crafts etc where the emphasis is put on the brand name, and the “disrespectful wealth” of their newest customers (I’m generalizing here of course) or old ones rather than why the name came to be in the first place : utmost quality.

      1. William Mougayar

        Totally agree. These brands were more affordable in the 80’s and early 90’s, and le rapport qualite/prix was good.Not anymore.

  30. jason wright

    Robin Hood

  31. aminTorres

    Besides a buch of obvious usual suspects, Apple, Samsung and the Like, these brands are doing good stuff both from pure branding perspective and the brand association and brand rituals they have and continue to develop. AND just by making good products/services :Mast BrothersMethod (Home)NestSquareBread AlonePalladiumPaperSo many good ones…

    1. JLM

      .Mast Brothers, you get around, brother.Well played.JLM.

  32. Serial Eclectic

    Ledbury, Detroit Tigers, Monocle, Lucky Peach, dodo case, Tapbots, Pure Michigan

  33. William Mougayar

    Fred, re: Doyle+Mueser. I checked their website. So many ties on these pics.Do you cringe when you see all these neckties on their mannequins in the store, and almost want to rip them off?

    1. fredwilson

      no. i just love the vibe of the store, the clothes, the people, the brand. they server scotch whiskey to their customers while they shop. genius!

  34. Paul Sanwald

    Fender – What can I say, my first guitar was a fender stratocaster.Blue Note Records – Wonderful, important music. Such a varied catalog. Awesome liner notes and artwork, really everything.

    1. fredwilson

      Fender – yes!and i don’t play a bit

  35. phoneranger

    An easy one. I just got tricked into installing an ASK toolbar when I updated JAVA. Took me 10 minutes to get rid of it. Unlike/Downvote/Hate: Oracle & ASK

  36. scott crawford

    Hard not to appreciate these for asset management: Apple, Porsche, Nike, Google, Ikea, Levis, Guinness, Ritz-Carlton, Tiffany, Harley-Davidson, Coke, Fred

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      In my recent blog rant I singled out Tiffany as doing a pretty unique and excellent job at managing the balance between being a luxury/prestige (aspirational) brand whilst never falling into the trap of elitism/snobbery and crassness. Impressive feat. They are also synonymous with feelings of love – and that’s priceless.The affection for the film/Audrey Hepburn association never did any harm, of course.Same kind of touchy-feely warm feeling to a brand imbued via a much loved film resonates for a long time and transcends generations – eg, also, the Mini car via The Italian Job film – even though now it is a large ‘Mini’ and in fact engineered by BMW. Again, priceless.

  37. JLM

    .Hardee’s and Carl’s Junior — fast food companies who have had the sheer audacity to inject sex into selling, well, hamburgers.Brilliant marketing.And, apparently some of the cheapest ads ever shot because they pay “model” wages and not celebrity wages.Warning, sorry.…JLM.

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      incredible add

    2. ShanaC

      JLM, two days in a row?!

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Et tu, JLM, et tu?Reminds me of the time I clicked onto Chat Roulette from an AVC post without knowing what it was. Oops! Gave some poor kid a shock.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Actually @JLM:disqus this comment was based on a combination of clicking on this and earlier the Kate whats-her-name video you posted. I immediately swore off carbs after seeing a couple seconds of that.

  38. David Parker

    I’m surprised you like Twitter. I still use it, solely because of the network… but the way they treat 3rd party developers, I’m ready to jump ship (as soon as others do). I currently prefer G+.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      I love Twitter to bits, right since the very early days (user # circa 30k) and thought hard about adding it but only excluded it as it is a communications medium/content provider and not a content generator so I decided it didn’t qualify on those grounds.However, it’s still the most innovative and endearing communications tool to have come about since that Marconi fellow. It transcends, for me, all other communications channels.Unique.

    2. fredwilson

      i put the first non founder money into the company. i still own a ton of stock in Twitter. so i am biased and very partial.

      1. John Revay

        Re: Twitter – What I find odd – is that you do not appear to tweet much more ( just tweets announcing new AVC post)….My sense was that you did tweet a lot a few years ago…but you mostly consume now..vs 4sq which you seem to be promoting more now.#Pimp

        1. fredwilson

          I @reply a lot but you won’t see them unless you are following the person I reply to

  39. Jim Peterson

    Apple, The Masters, AVC, Monday Note, Super Bowl,

    1. fredwilson


    2. JamesHRH

      The Masters is an incredibly well managed brand.

  40. Cam MacRae

    In no particular order:SennheiserTrickersQantasDucatiJaeger-LeCoultreLaphroaigDebianClairefontaine (notebooks)One and all are class acts.

    1. fredwilson

      wow. what a great list. you have great taste.

    2. JamesHRH

      Big Clairefontaine fan.

      1. Cam MacRae

        If someone makes better writing paper I haven’t found it.

  41. Andy

    I cannot stand Comcast. I finally pulled the plug on my internet service with them 2 weeks ago and that adventure still continues to finalize.My favorite brand in the world is Amazon, mainly because we’re going to buy everything from them in 5 years, might as well hop on board now.

    1. Anne Libby

      Cable companies, yikes. Does anyone “love” any cable brand?I do some speaking/teaching about culture. In one course, I put the cable company’s mission up onto the screen, with no name/brand, and asked people to guess the company. When I revealed that it was the cable co, everyone snickered.

      1. Tyler Hayes

        Astound and in the Bay Area have great reputations. I used Astound when I lived in Noe Valley and it was great. Caveat: I’ve never had cable TV or landline service since moving to SF, only Internet.We use Webpass now since we’ve moved (still in SF) and it’s even better than Astound. The guy who came out to set up the service walked into the apartment, turned a screwdriver and plugged in a cable, and then said “Any questions?” I was floored. Not because he was so efficient (and nice) but because of what he didn’t ask: for payment. I proceeded to ask “So… don’t I need to pay you?” And β€” get this β€” this is what he said:”You just go ahead and pay online when you can later today or this week; you can pay monthly or (my recommendation) pay the whole year up front, it’ll save you a lot of money. It’s Use the same email address to log in you used when first contacting us. Should be good to go.”Never been so amazed at service in my life. cc @liad:disqus

        1. ShanaC

          why won’t something like this come to ny?

          1. Tyler Hayes


          2. Techman

            Just like Google Fiber — going nowhere any time soon despite claims that it’s expanding. The rate of expansion is sooo slow.

          3. Anne Libby

            I so hope so.

          4. Scumless

            tengo mΓ‘s likes que tu.

          5. Tyler Hayes


        2. Anne Libby

          That’s awesome. I had a NYC audience, and discretion being the better part of valor I don’t think I outed the company…we need a lovable service like this in NYC.(That said, I’ve been impressed with the techs that wind up at the house, cableco or phone company. It’s not the people! It’s the infrastructure.)

    2. ShanaC

      so what are you doing for internet instead?

    3. Val Lefebvre

      The best way to react on brands & products you dislike or had a bad experience with is to BLACKLIST them!Go to and check it out

  42. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Loves:VansDr MartensMoscotThe Marx BrothersFish’s EddyRussell BrandAndy WarholShepard FaireyCBGB (RIP)Play MobilWordPressJuxtapozHates:GM/Chevy/DodgeBudweiserDunkin DonutsMonsantoBank of AmericaJudge JudyThe Dallas Cowboysall fast foodany brand that tries to co-opt what it means to “be American”

    1. JLM

      .Dunkin Donuts, WordPressDallas Cowboys — dead to meJLM.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        All three?

        1. JLM

          .No just the Cowboys. The others I adore.JLM.

      2. William Mougayar

        Dunkin Donuts? Oh my… Wait til Tim Horton’s invades the US soon.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Wendy’s used to own Tim Horton’s.

          1. William Mougayar

            Correct. They thrived after the split in 2010.

        2. Rick Mason

          Tim Horton’s is well represented in Michigan already

          1. William Mougayar

            That’s because they started out strong in Ohio. There are 800 locations in the US now.

        3. Kirsten Lambertsen

          I welcome that πŸ™‚

      3. John Revay

        I think Dunkin Donuts has done a great job – expanding their # of doors & their product offering -when I was growing up they just sold coffee and donuts – now just so much more – 24/7

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Good list – I also cited Dr Martens in my recent blog rant about brands – they’ve done a great job.Another good call – CBGB (OMFUG) – sob, indeed. How NYC let that place go I shall never know – a bit like Chumleys in NYC also going to property developers – contemporary heritage, gone – such places were priceless.Only thankful I went to CBGBs a lot when I lived in NYC – never saw any great acts at that time, 2002-4, but was always good fun and the vibe from past gigs was always there in the filth and the fury.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I deeply resent that I missed CBGB’s in the ’70’s. I’ll never get over it.New York is letting a lot of landmarks go these days. Sad.You and I clearly need to party!

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith


        2. jonathanjaeger

          A must see documentary for you then, ‘NY77 The Coolest Year in Hell.’ Here’s Part 1 to start off:

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Thank you!!! If you haven’t read, “Please Kill Me,” I can recommend that πŸ™‚

          2. jonathanjaeger

            Cool I’ll check it out! I had a professor for a music production class back in college, Sandy Pearlman, who produced Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash so it’s always fun to hear the nostalgia stories.

    3. kidmercury

      i really like your hates. i hate them all too.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It’s funny. When I first read this post, I thought, “Oh god. I don’t have any brands I give a shit about either way.” Then when I put my mind to it, I realized I’m quite passionate about brands, both love and hate! And it’s very specific.

        1. Richard

          Cigarette Co.

        2. Val Lefebvre

          Love and hate are two very strong pole that are interestingly also close and easily linked…No brands want to fell ‘in between’ ie: the ignorance zone… full of so many products and companiesHate is good too, you can iterate from it much more easily than from ignorance, and much like a relationship it simply means you care enough about it (that brand) to speak and react about it!Oh and by the way people are way more inclined to share and spread what they hate and bad experience to others, rather than praise good products or brands… that’s a fact

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          How’d you do that? You should show Jim Hirshfield.

      2. fredwilson

        you can’t hate on dunkin donuts. that’s the best cheap cup of coffee out there!

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Maybe it’s just bad luck, but every cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee I’ve gotten was undrinkable.

        2. kidmercury

          lol well i must admit you do have a point, although my general belief is that there is no such thing as cheap food; if it’s cheap now, it’ll be expensive later (i.e. health problems). plus, i like kirsten’s idea of hating on any brand that co-ops what it means to be american — and dunkin donuts’ slogan is “american runs on dunkin”…..ugh

      3. leigh

        Judge Judy? That’s harsh.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      You nailed it on the hates. Although there is a fast food brand in my area that generates warm feelings — In-n-Out.Funny, when I first saw your list, I thought Luvs (the diaper brand) was at the top. Did a double-take. Ha!

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ha ha – ya, if I MUST eat fast food, In-n-Out is one of the places I would choose (Arby’s being another for some weird reason).I looked at “Luvs” later and had that same thought. That’s what I get for trying to be cute!

        1. Montgomery Kosma

          Arby’s does have a fine BLT. Very peppery.

    5. ShanaC

      I think Andy Warhol is greater than a brand – he’s almost subversive to it.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ya, it’s probably a complicated thing to do, to call Andy Warhol a brand. But he would love it.

    6. Val Lefebvre

      Yep, right on! What drives you to hate those brands? Is it more about bad experiences with purchase (products & services) or is it more about their image/positioning and actions they take, their ethics and values perhaps…?

  43. JLM

    .Favorite brands:Texas — in all its inimitable over the freakin’ top gloryAustinNYCLL BeanDellBoschBeretta pistolsSako riflesZeiss scopesBrowning — pre-WWII over-under shotgunsPurdey shotgunsQueen of England — from a WWII ambulance driver to a huge presence and consistentRonald ReaganMargaret ThatcherArmy Rangers — making friends like the Chamber of Commerce, operating behind enemy linesSEALs — dangerous men lurking in the shadows keeping us safeMoleskine — but since yesterday everyone was involved in a group grope about being “nice” — Hell, fuck, ya’ll — just being un-nice, don’t want to be perceived as “sucking up”GoogleKate Upton — Andy Swan gets this, the chick is “happy” and is surely not a heroin skinny modelCarl’s Junior & Hardee’s — using sex to sell hamburgersTexas Longhorns football – greatest pre-season bullshit machine in the worldTarheel basketball — screw DukeDuke basketball — only when the Heels are out of the tourneyOld Chevy convertibles — US made muscle cars with testosterone includedChurch shoesVirginia Military InstituteThe Combat Infantryman’s BadgeJump wingsCanon cameras — D5 Mk II in particularGeorge StraitWillieElvisJLM.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Moleskin and Elvis – great contributions πŸ™‚

    2. fredwilson

      no UT basketball? they launched KD, the most elegant basketball player since Dr J

      1. Troy Lazarus

        KD is the next TD..I meant Tim Duncan. The guy will walk away with 4 rings coolly in the next decade. Clean game no-tattooed player so scarce to find these days

        1. fredwilson

          The ink doesn’t bother me. But I sure hope you are right about KD and the rings. Nothing would make me happier as a hoops fan.

          1. Troy Lazarus

            If KD were a startup, I would be a vc πŸ™‚

          2. fredwilson

            Great line

    3. John Revay

      ELVIS has left the Building!

  44. Aaron Klein

    Google. Amazing services that transform data into intelligence. (And starting to stand for beautiful design, to boot.)Apple. Breathtakingly beautiful, simple-to-use, hand-crafted computing devices that have pushed metal, glass and silicon light years ahead of any competitors.Amazon. Bringing the physical world to your doorstep with one click.Delta Air Lines. Take you almost anywhere in the world with a smile and great service. (This may surprise some folks, but I’ve spent 200K miles with them over the last 30 months and they’ve earned it.)Riskalyze. Putting science into investing.

    1. Anne Libby

      I love Apple, too. Beyond the devices, the service is breathtaking. My dad loves the one-to-one service: watching the Apple genius and my dad working together in one of those sessions is what made the sale of the first Apple product I bought.(But iTunes, so sorry, so sad…)

      1. Aaron Klein

        So true. They made progress with the last release but Apple has got to figure out how to build a core competency in building web services.I love their hardware. And I use Google services on every one of their devices.

        1. John Revay

          “I love their hardware. And I use Google services on every one of their devices”great summary.have you seen the new Chrome books coming out – I think they are starting @ $ 199

          1. Aaron Klein

            Yep. I’m too mobile and do too much video and media work to use a cloud only device. But we’re definitely planning on using them for office-bound team members as we grow.

      2. ShanaC

        itunes is overreaching its abilities. it was better when it was just a music player…

        1. leigh

          product not brand (i’m sounding like a broken record on this post. Lucky for most of you i entered the conversation way late πŸ™‚

      3. Donna Brewington White

        I am not personally an Apple fan. But the other 5 people in my house have iPhones and Macs and I am tech support in my family so I’ve spent some time at the genius bar. This has impressed me more than anything Apple. What hasn’t impressed me is how many times I have had to end up there.

        1. leigh

          see it’s not whether your an Apple fan (product based) that is at question. It’s whether or not you LOVE the Apple BRAND. Jobs said that it stood for “people with passion can change the world” that is just genius. like or hate Apple products, you can’t not respect the brand Lee Clow and Steve Jobs built.

  45. jimmystone

    Jordan. “Become Legendary”…

  46. Tanya Prinz

    TargetAmazonHy-Vee (midwest grocery store chain)and Google -I do love Google

  47. Ricardo Diz

    Excelent topic!Luvs: Nike, Leica Camera, Tesla, HΓ©rmes, MIT, BMW Motorrad, Starbucks, HeinekenHates: Facebook, Ryanair

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Leica – good one.

  48. Elia Freedman

    I love Deschutes Brewery, even though I’m not a big drinker. Brand I hate: Intuit. Scourge of accounting everywhere.

  49. baba12

    If the idea is to bring back manufacturing to this country, then brands that people are not aware of but they are recognized worldwide and many don’t even have to advertise/market as their product portfolios speak for themselves over the many decades.I find it very interesting that there are many startups out there that think they are the first ones to provide excellent customer service or user experience in the sector they are operating.Also I find it interesting that nobody has mentioned any Banks or VC firms as brands they like, wonder what that maybe about.Brands that I like and believe sustain themselves for they have been tested through time, there are many others but most of those brands people are aware of as they are in their face like BMW or Boeing or Apple.IBM IngersollRandFANUCApplied Materials

  50. Ro Gupta

    hm. i own and but have never figured out what to do with them. maybe there’s inspiration somewhere in this thread πŸ™‚

    1. Techman

      Where did you come up with the idea to buy those domains?

      1. Ro Gupta

        I think it was a few years ago listening to Leo Laporte or Jason Calacanis’ podcast. I liked the way they do their sponsor reads — like genuine fans of the products instead of just paid shills.

  51. kirklove

    First off points for your positivity. I’m proud of you. And I’m not proud your hatin’ is rubbing off on me. ;)Some I love:IKEA (Know it has its haters, but I love that company and what they’ve built)Sonos (my favorite gadget hands down)Little Wisco (So good)Philadelphia (blue collar proud with heaps of history)Amazon (don’t know how I lived without it)Sure there are more, but these were top of mind.

    1. fredwilson

      you were sporting the eagles brand this morning. how can you leave them off?

      1. kirklove

        Technically they can (along with all Philly sports teams) go in the LOVE and HATE category.

        1. fredwilson

          I know what you mean. I hate the Knicks right now

          1. William Mougayar


  52. Alan Warms

    Hydro Flask ( CreekEpicMix (social ski tracking program by Vail -it is awesome)Mt. Bachelor

  53. jonathanjaeger

    This Week In (podcasts)Nerdist (podcasts) (music aggregation)Samuel Smith (delicious beer)Seamless (food in a bind)Apple (ease of use and design)Amazon (for the one-click)DC2NY (easy bus-riding)

  54. Guest

    Blue Bottle

  55. mikeschwede

    Great. Have a look to the actual brand rankings based on the X vs Y Question we ask in our mobile app cooala ( – the hot-or-not of brands:

  56. bijan

    leicawarby parkerrag & boneearnest sewnburtonapplelevi’s

    1. fredwilson

      leica at the top of the list. shock!!! πŸ™‚

  57. Nik Bonaddio

    The Pittsburgh Steelers.

    1. fredwilson

      iconic. i am a jet fan but always find myself rooting for the steelers against all other teams.

  58. andyidsinga

    honda motorcycles

  59. Terry J Leach

    In no particular order, with the exception of Wikipedia which is at the top of my list.WikipediaAmazonGoogleApplePixar now owned by DisneyMiramax now owned by DisneyCoen BrothersNYCNordstrom

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      +1 Coen Bros

    2. Montgomery Kosma

      Lucasfilm / Lucasarts / Skywalker Sound – now owned by DisneyThough, Miramax has been indie again since ~2010.

  60. takingpitches

    Financial Times (love the Salmon pink on my doorstep)Economist (informed)Uniqlo (basic, affordable, and Japanese)Amazon (making parenting a little easier)Exhale Spa (and Isaac my yogi)Kikkomanthe NFL

    1. takingpitches

      And Havaianas flip flops (put me in the right mood in the depths of NYC winter!)

    2. Donna Brewington White

      “Making parenting a little easier”Caught that news in a recent email exchange that I was privvy to. Major Congratulations! Double fun.

      1. takingpitches

        Thanks so much Donna (having more fun than ever)!

  61. matthughes

    Likes:New York YankeesPatagoniaIn-n-Out BurgerNikeSnowbirdDisqusSkull CandyNFLZTT RecordsNapa ValleyLoathes:Olive GardenGrouponFacebookBoston Red SoxTSA

    1. andyswan

      TSA is perfect for the hate-list….though I actually like Olive Garden. I don’t get the hate….it’s better than 80% of the boutique italian places I’ve been to in NYC or San Fran.

      1. matthughes

        Hate is a bit harsh for a place I’ve never been too. ;)But I don’t like the way they force all-you-eat breadsticks on the American people.Thus, they’re on my list.

        1. andyswan

          Well they’ve never kidnapped me and dragged me in…

    2. fredwilson

      i can agree with most of those loves and hates. but i am a met fan.

      1. matthughes

        Something I always look past as a loyal AVC’r.

    3. leigh

      olive garden in Toronto put boiled eggs on their ceasar salad. that’s not about brand love. that’s just wrong.

  62. Yaniv Yaakubovich

    The list of brands that I love:Coca Cola – for the marketing, the memories and the flavorsLife is Good – for a great nameAudi and Acura – for a Lexus that actually looks coolCanon – for pro and beginners productsDisney – for fun, colors and for keeping Pixar alive

  63. Jason C

    Subaru…I bought a Subaru about 7 years ago and I have not wanted another car since. My best friend also got a Subaru after test driving mine. My Subaru (I don’t call it “my car”) has served me well on many road trips, hauling materials when renovating my home, and just navigating terrible DC traffic when I have to drive. It doesn’t have a fancy dashboard, leather seats, or sophisticated traction control. Just sport seats and manual transmission. I’m a Subaru customer for life now.And, no, I’m not paid by Subaru. I have just had a good experience with my Subaru and want to share thoughts.

  64. Dasher


  65. jason wright

    I don’t love brands, but I have respect for some of the people behind their brands, and an admiration both for what they’ve done and what they’re still trying to do.AssosSerottaPatagoniaSnow PeakBionaEssentialDuckfeet

  66. pointsnfigures

    They go so in and out of fashion. I respect certain brands for how they execute their business. McDonald’s for example. Hated because they are fast food but man to they execute. Chik-Fil-A is like that too. Cult like brand.Smith and Wesson, Browning great brands, and if you are into fly fishing you know Simms.Hooters is a brand that when you actually get in the store rarely lives up to what you think it will be. Maybe it’s because they exploit women and sex!BMW HermesBecause they know their customer, and they don’t care what other people think.Then there are the ones that had great brands and lost it through bad strategy, Coach is one of those. CME Group is another. Really poor marketing.Chicago School of Economics is a great brand.Here’s a couple of clothing start ups to watch for,Bucketfeet Stock Manufacturing in Chicago

    1. ShanaC

      Coach is at least trying to get it back

  67. Dan T

    in no particular order, ones I haven’t seem mentioned – but I am a fanwawabrooks brotherszohocraigslistChristopher WalkenWaffle houseAppalachian Trail

    1. andyswan

      Waffle House is such a great, great call.

      1. Dan T

        I used to love sitting at the counter when I was a kid in Ky – and watch how they managed to keep everything straight with 8 servers yelling orders. Then, when I went to college in GA, I noticed how every one was exactly the same – and the engineer in me loved the fact that they sometimes put a waffle house on each side of the highway (not a bigger one). Now, my kids like to go there with me.

  68. David Petersen

    Ferrari πŸ™‚

    1. Donna Brewington White

      There was a red Ferrari next to me at the gas station the other day and it seemed almost sacrilegious to see it in such a mundane situation. Until then, I don’t think I ever noticed how loud they are when they drive off. As if being a red Ferrari in itself doesn’t generate enough attention.

  69. Zachary Reiss-Davis

    Love: Amazon. Because they could operate as a business with terrible customer service, have higher margins on slightly smaller volume, but choose to create happy customers and offer GREAT customer service, including phone and chat support. And because given the profit margin on their retail business, they’re basically a non-profit.Love: Ace Hardware. Their franchise model with independent stores creates great customer experiences and a good experience much of the time; mom & pop service with national chain pricing and inventory.Hate: Basically all major US airline carriers. Because, well, I fly enough to experience how terrible they are, and can compare them to Virgin America, Jet Blue, and the better international carriers?

    1. William Mougayar

      Great insights Zachary. True, it’s so hard to get upset at Amazon. Their customer service is so friendly & they have a knack for turning potentially bad situations around. And I love it when you enter your tel # & they call you right back immediately.

  70. Stephanie

    BRIKA ( where you can discover makers of beautiful things. Beautiful brand.

  71. Brad Lindenberg

    Rapha – anyone here cycle? Great brand.Lululemon PorscheAmazon Web ServicesKindleCanon EOSRolexPatagoniaThe North FaceDieselMiniStripeBuyReply

  72. Montgomery Kosma

    Obvious answer but I have to say Fedex. I love that mother-flippin’ hidden arrow.

  73. Montgomery Kosma

    I’ll add that, when it comes to content businesses, brands are absolutely critical, because brands stand for editorial sensibility — curation. Today, there’s still not a lot of that on the web, particularly in digital video. I mean, Netflix has a great brand — they basically own that full-bleed red now — but their brand doesn’t stand for anything besides general purpose entertainment. It’s the equivalent of the bad old days of the big three TV networks. Does ABC, NBC, or CBS really stand for anything in the mind of the audience?The brands I really like in the content realm are magazines. Take sports, for example. There’s a great hierarchy among Time/Newsweek (where you get all news, including high-level sports coverage and standout stories), Sports Illustrated (with a focus on sports, you get to go deeper into stories while staying very broad within the category), and pubs like Golf Digest (where you go super deep into one sport and often start blurring the line between content targeting spectators versus participants).Lots of color and flavor to explore here, but here’s two dynamics I find really interesting. First, you generally don’t see big media (cable TV or magazines) going down more than two levels below general interest, because audiences tend to become too niche and uninteresting in various ways. Second, when you get to the third level (Golf Digest or Love of Knitting), your audience changes from mere consumers to participants. This last point is huge in terms of engagement and loyalty, and totally changes the way that you can think about your brand and market economics.Netflix has yet to figure this out. They ought to be reading the playbook of Hearst or Time Warner. Most surprising, based on some recent conversations with folks there, Netflix doesn’t seem interested in figuring this out. Perhaps given the goofy Kwikster fiasco they’re running away screaming from any new thinking in the realm of brand.That said, I’m quite bullish about Yahoo in this regard — Marissa Meyer and Henrique de Castro are saying all the right things about the curated web, and Yahoo has editorial deep in its corporate DNA. Interestingly, AOL seems to have learned a bunch since its time with Time — they’re very smart with how they’re leading with HuffPo and Patch brands. Many people I talk to about this interface between curation and brand don’t even realize those are AOL properties.monty

  74. Mac

    I learned years ago that brands can become a positive anchor. The strength and depth of these anchors have a way of soliciting special memories and feelings that make you a loyal customer, follower, fan, advocate, etc. Successful brands know how to set that anchor.For me these go back to moments from my childhood that I treasure:Coca ColaFord pickupsNew York YankeesDisneyMotownM&M’sAbout anywhere in FloridaChris Craftbaseball cardsMarvel ComicsNASAthe Rat Pack

  75. Troy Lazarus

    Me likes Knicks, Nike,apple TV, tesla , McLaren, and Kenneth Cole

    1. fredwilson

      god the knicks are killing me right now. we need a win tonight in toronto to stem the bleeding

      1. Troy Lazarus

        Knicks to ECF

  76. William Mougayar

    Surprised that no one has mentioned NPS, the Net Promoter Score, which reflects the propensity of a consumer to recommend a brand to others. That’s in essence what we are doing here.The top US brands with the highest NPS are: USAA,, Costco, Virgin America, Apple, Trader Joe’s & Wegmans.

  77. Ben Milstead

    Can’t stand most of the drug brand names (and their commercials) e.g. Abilify, Lipitor, Singulair, etc. Yuk.

  78. Techman

    Hmm…I have many brands that I use, and like. If I happened to make a list of everything, including items outside of technology, the list would be so long that it would span like 3 pages :)Here’s a (sadly) shortened version:System76Disqus (though they really need to add CSS support, it’s pushing me away)SonyNetgearLGSamsungLogitechAmerican Standard…and the list goes on.

  79. ShanaC

    Guerlain – I think the stories behind some their earlier perfumes are just great. (I wear Mitsuko almost exclusively…)As person, I think Deb Perlman is brilliant at self-branding (’ve stuck with the same shaving cream brand for almost 15 years now – Kiss my Face. And Khiel’s, I think makes some classic products.Le Creuset pots, and Oxo when it comes to kitchen goods.I wish I could afford a lanvin piece. Life goal is to wear lanvin. You know it is alber elbaz and you can see the power of design in defining the brand.Madewell- everyday downtown girl en mass upscalish fashion. Brilliant idea, considering it is a subbrand of:J Crew – the only fashion brand that as of recent can claim to dress america. Perfect pants.Chanel. Just for the branding.But my favorite brand of all:Muji – the name actually stands for No Brand Quality Goods. And when you go into one of their stores, it feels like exactly that. Anonymous, classic, well made, and well designed.…Really Hate:Coca cola. You’re sugar water, not a cuddly polar bear.Abilify – I’ve seen that stuff screw up people, so why are you on TV advertising for depression exactly?Car Brands – I don’t get the loveMy favorite branding story:Blue moon beer is coors gone indie They basically built a fake craft brewer to hook into the craft brewing movement. And many people never realize it πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      you and the gotham gal share a love for le creuset

      1. ShanaC

        we also are both cooking fan πŸ™‚

  80. howardlindzon

    Apple obviously the greatest brand of all time.NIke SwooshwallstripLifelock is a great one budding.AmazonSouthwest – considering the awfulness of the industry in general, maybe the best

  81. stan deforest


  82. leigh

    Coca cola. I always love them. Now our biggest client. Love them even more.

    1. leigh

      oh and google. i always had a thing for google. I’m pretty sure someone there has an email from a crazy girl who was VERY upset the first time they screwed with their logo (it was playing around with the double 0’s). They knew their brand so much better than me. Seriously smartest company and one of the most inherently brilliant brands in the world

  83. Andrew K Kirk

    githubKISSmetricsJ CrewNordstromFreshbooksChipotle – I’m not a fast food person at all, but something about this company feels “right”.

  84. baba12

    FANUC, IBM, Applied Materials,Colgate, Dupont, IngersollRand, Carrier, Pratt & Whitney and many more. Probably most wont even know who these companies are but I think if you want to learn about what makes great brands then you can look at anyone of these and know about it.They have delivered quality products and customer service before it was cool to deliver great product and service as one seems to tout with the startups.These folks have written the standards of what is meant to deliver quality.If you want to bring back manufacturing to the U.S. then it is important to recognize that before Facebook likes and tweets these guys wrote the book of product and service.

    1. Montgomery Kosma

      Funny, five of those companies are former clients of mine.Except for Colgate, none of them deal in consumer products, and further, most of them are pretty heavy industrials. That raises an interesting question — do we really mean the same thing by “brand” when we’re talking about such companies, as compared to consumer products like Colgate or mass market business services like Fedex?

      1. baba12

        the post was about telling about Brands you love. I expanded on that to state that there are brands that are not known to many, Colgate maybe CPG company but they have built supply chains and manufacturing plants around the world and do a fine job. All the industrials mentioned are big brands just not heard of, does not mean they are not huge brands….

        1. Montgomery Kosma

          I don’t disagree with you. These are all companies that by and large do a fine job of creating value for their customers and therefore their shareholders. That makes them great companies. I am not sure that means that they’re necessarily great “brands” though. (There are probably great companies with terrible brands, and great brands owned by terrible companies.)If by “brand” we mean the meaning a mark has to the general public, then something like Carrier isn’t a great brand because it doesn’t mean anything to the average consumer.However, I think you’re making a more nuanced point, which is that we should evaluate the “greatness” of a brand by the meaning it conveys to its target audience. And there are plenty of brands where the general public simply isn’t the relevant audience.Am I understanding your point?

          1. baba12

            no, great brands are not what the general public only cares. These companies and many others deliver product and service and have established themselves are great brands. Maybe the general public is dumb and stupid that they cant tell the difference between Carrier the airconditioning giant and carrier like USPS or UPS.But my point is that dont just think of brands like facebook or amazon, there are many others just not visible, doesnt mean they arent great.Sadly public isnt aware always and dont know the value or importance of these players.

  85. AndrewsProject

    The brands I love are usually lead by an individuals I respect immensely- Virgin: Richard Branson- Twitter: Jack Dorsey- Square: Jack Dorsey- Amazon: Jeff Bezos- Apple circa 2010: Steve Jobs- Australian Rugby Team circa 2003: John EalesDo I love the brand or the person? With my perception of brands changing with the passing of their leaders, I think it may be the latter.

  86. Montgomery Kosma

    To be meta for a second, it’s interesting to see how much fun we’re all having with this brand discussion. Lots of passion about the brands we love and hate, and about the subject in general. Is it that there’s a little bit of a Don Draper aspiration in all of us?

    1. fredwilson

      Fun Fridays are Fun!

  87. Dave Pinsen

    Lexus – Got 226k miles out of my ’95 ES 300, and the local dealer’s service center had nice waiting room with plush leather furniture, free WiFi, sandwiches, coffee, espresso, etc. And they always washed the car after they serviced it, and left a couple of mints on the passenger seat.Subaru – Got one after the Lexus died and drove it on unplowed roads during the peak of our recent snow storm. Symmetrical AWD is like a super power. Fuji Heavy Industries FTW.Starting Strength – Aaron Klein wrote elsewhere that Riskalyze puts the science in investing. Starting Strength puts the science in exercise, and adds a little Texas swagger.

  88. Marc-Oliver

    Math Sparrow, Rapha and David Bowie.

  89. Daman Bahner

    Del ToroTsuboPaneraiIllyThreadlessUber

  90. teegee

    RaphaUnder ArmourVirgin UniqloBose (audiophiles – I don’t want to hear about the sub-par quality vs. competitors… We’re talking brand here…)B&WBMWClaridgesKTMAnd by the way – Fred: are Twitter giving you special dispensation to abuse their brand usage guidelines?? I’m sure you’re not allowed to use the iOS-style logo to represent their brand (top right of your homepage, next to rss & tumblr links…

    1. fredwilson

      I have not received a C&D notice yet πŸ™‚

      1. teegee

        maybe one of the last to go out!

    2. ShanaC

      I got to say, I love Uniqlo’s tag:Made for All Mankind

  91. Val Lefebvre

    For the brands your dislike or had a bad experience with, you can can Blacklist them in order to leverage your voice and have a chance to get heard thus impact accordingly!Go to it’s The Power to the People

  92. reece

    late to the party, but:PatagoniaCharity: WaterRed Bull (we’re talking “brand,” not product)

  93. Prokofy

    I never heard of Blue Bottle Coffee and I have no idea what Doyle Meuser *is*. Maybe this is how the better half lives.Let me tell you the brand I am down with this week — Shoprite Corn Flakes. Those Shoprite people have down a really cool thing. They put lessons on the back of the cereal box instead of stupid games or something. So they actually put on something about the three branches of government and how they work.More people should learn this.The other brand I like — Coke. It has a reward system. I am going to be able to get a tote back soon.Okay, and here’s something else: PG Tips. This is the best British tea. Once you have had PG Tips, you cannot go back.Twitter is good, too. They need to get rid of that artificial 2,000 ceiling tho.

  94. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Startup Weekend – that’s a good one

  95. Donna Brewington White

    I’m detecting a theme here.

  96. Charlie Crystle

    The center of all culture and technology…

  97. Donna Brewington White

    It very well may be someday. BTW saw the comment before you edited. Exciting stuff if it means what I think it means!If I get around to visiting my sister in Harrisburg I will definitely make it over to Lancaster.

  98. John Revay

    Center of culture & Tech – Nice

  99. Charlie Crystle

    you’re always welcome. And no, there’s nothing new coming, just was a fun domain to land