Mailing It In

We flew down to Williamsburg Virginia yesterday to attend my dad's 85th birthday. He and my mom are in great shape and my brothers and their families were there. It was a great evening.

On the flight down, Josh and I read the Jay-Z article in NY Magazine and the review of his new record where the consensus was he "mailed it in". On the one hour drive from the airport Josh played the new record on his phone aux'd into our rental car and we talked about Jay-Z, the songs, and what mailing it in really means. At one point, Josh said "he didn't write this song, he barely raps on it, he just put it on the record". And I explained to him that Jay-Z might not be the rapper he once was but he's well on his way to becoming one of the biggest media moguls of his generation.

The song Jay-Z "didn't even write" made me think about my Video Of The Week posts. For me, those are "mailing it in." I don't feel like writing on saturdays so I post videos that I think you all might like to watch.

I worry a lot about mailing it in. Not just on AVC, but in all aspects of my business career. I don't worry about mailing it in when it comes to my family life. The Gotham Gal would never allow it.

There comes a time when you have had all the success you can ever imagine and it's tempting to kick back and enjoy life a bit more. There are days when I wake up and look at the blog post compose screen and think "what the hell am I going to say today?" There are days when I wake up and think "I'd like to blow off all of my meetings, go on a long bike ride, have a late breakfast sitting outside at my favorite cafe, and then read and nap all day long." And yet I don't do either. I keep grinding away.

Part of it is relevance. You are either relevant or you are not. And relevance is critical to the business I am in. I don't think you can be somewhat relevant. That's called "over the hill" "past his prime" "semi-retired."

And part of it is that the next big deal is just around the corner. I've been getting busier lately. Looking to make more new investments. I'm seeing opportunities I can't stop thinking about. I am starting to see around the corner. That feels good to me.

And part of it is that feeling when you realize that the two person startup you backed four years ago is a juggernaut now, they are going to absolutely kill it, realize their dreams, and create an iconic long standing game changing company. It doesn't take too many moments like that to keep you in the game. It's like making a birdie in golf. It doesn't happen to me very often, but it happens enough that I can't stop playing golf, as bad as I am at the game.

I may not be good at golf, but I've gotten pretty good at blogging and being A VC. I may mail it in every now and then, but I feel like I am still at the top of my game and have no intention of calling it quits any time soon. So if you are that two person startup that will give me my next birdie, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I don't reply to every email that comes in but I reply to a ton of them and I sure hope I reply to yours.

By the way, I am listening to Jay-Z's new record while I am writing this. I am enjoying it very much.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    Isn’t “mailing it in” what some might call “shipping”?

    1. fredwilson

      I think it’s shipping a weak effort

      1. William Mougayar

        But the discussions are good even if you’ve mailed it in sometimes. That makes-up for it somehow.

        1. Ana Milicevic

          This would be a good definition for value of a community: when any given person can have a weak day, yet the community effect adds value at the end of the day. Perhaps more easily illustrated through good sports teams.

        2. fredwilson

          Thankfully. Fun Fridays are a perfect example of me mailing it in and you all bringing it

          1. btrautsc

            Those tend to be some of the best discussions and most passionate commenting (at least anecdotally?)

      2. Anne Libby

        “Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. ‘I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.'” – Steven Pressfield, *The War of Art.*

        1. fredwilson


    2. btrautsc

      No way. Shipping would be working hard, striving for the best results. Mailing it in is taking the easy way out.Sports metaphor: Mailing it in is settling for a rushed solo, dribble three pointer with a hand in your face. You might make it, which is great. But its a poor possession.But shipping would be grinding the possession out, prodding the defense with a hard drive or swinging the ball quickly to shift the defense. Then, you make the hard play and go inside for a layup. More movement, more creativity, harder work – all ends up in a higher percentage shot.

      1. Anne Libby

        I’m a recovered (ing?) distance runner — so my sports metaphor is training for a half-marathon. In the months before the race, I ran for an hour or more a day, 6 days a week, no matter what. When race day came, we ran part of the race in pouring rain; I only ran one mile off my target pace. It was putting in the miles that had counted.Is the blog creating the blog — or is it creating the community? Are the posts process or result?(And I won’t argue against disciplined effort towards a worthy goal. At the same time, the perfect can be the enemy of the good…)(edited to clarify…)

        1. awaldstein

          Are you suggesting that this community exists w/ the blog.If Fred stopped blogging, the community would indeed go away. Maybe someone would step up. What is left is friendships but the core is tied to the posts as the daily special.

          1. Anne Libby

            Exactly. I agree.From time to time I read about writing and making art. My takeaway is that if we wait to work until the muse strikes, we might not get anything done.And I’m also agreeing with @traceydjackson:disqus’s point elsewhere in the conversation…(And I edited my earlier comment to make this, hopefully, a bit clearer.)

          2. JamesHRH

            The AVC community does not exist if:a) Fred did not post everyday from ~2005 to todayb) Fred did not, frequently, review every comment & reply (from 2004 until about 2012)c) Twitterd) he did not know his stuffe) he chose ‘to not be relevant’ (i.e., a semi-active VC)

          3. Anne Libby


          4. btrautsc

            Agreed.Like a good moderator who initiates a topic, but lets the passion define the debate.

          5. awaldstein

            You might like this.Posted it on Friday, a bit of a discussion going:Moderator madness…

          6. Roy Damieer

            Fred ,, this makes me think who your successor would incase you give up on blogging

          7. fredwilson

            I’ve been thinking AVC dies when I do

          8. ShanaC

            that hopefully is a long time away

          9. JamesHRH

            It dies about 18 months after you retire.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I think it’s a spin on the original term “phoning it in,” which if I am correct is regarding actors. It was used to describe an acting performance that was so lackluster it was as if the actor had done his/her lines over the phone and not even showed up.

    4. ShanaC

      no. It is minimum viable effort

      1. Anne Libby


  2. JimHirshfield

    Self-aware, you are. Valuable asset.

    1. BillMcNeely

      Self awareness a leadership treat from the son of a former General. I am not surprised.

  3. Jevon

    I got to spend a chunk of time with Ruth Seymour from KCRW in 2003/2004 and she used to talk a lot about “Taste makers” and how their role was crucial to radio. I’m not sure if she said it directly but I always got the message that being a great taste maker is as hard and in some cases harder than being a content producer.It always stuck with me. Sometimes even when you are writing and creating what you really have is the job of curating the thoughts in your own brain. Those thoughts are sometimes even not totally your own, but you better be a damn good curator in order to shake out the good ones from the less valuable ones.No doubt curating is a different skill than just song writing. Jay-Z curated this album. Rick Ross’ track fits in beautifully to the album and juxtaposes really well with Jay-z’s guest tack on Rick Ross’ own album… They didn’t call that in, they planned it a long time ago.He took a totally different approach from Kanye IMO, who didn’t want to curate but wanted to make a musical statement (whether he did or did not is totally up to the listener…)I am not a huge hip-hop aficionado, but like you think it is fascinating as an art and industry. It is one built in large part on the basis of curation.

    1. William Mougayar

      Curation + original is not a bad outcome. I’m doing it for Startup Management & you guys do it for Startup North. When the right mix is there, it looks complete.

    2. fredwilson

      Hip Hop fascinates me as a business more than an art form. I like the music but it’s not my go to music. But it’s way more interesting as a business than pop country and rock

      1. JamesHRH

        It is art, but not music.It is an amazing industry, in that it trades on prison culture, misogyny & egotism…..which is an amplified version of rock & roll’s trade of underage drinking / drugs, sex, & self expression…..but also has the exact same end result…..if you look at it through the lens of a teenager trying to piss off a parent.

    3. JamesHRH

      Fred does not curate, he instigates.

      1. fredwilson

        i like that!

  4. William Mougayar

    Speaking of mailing it in, did you hear the story of the 16-yr old Canadian girl who mailed in a reggae-beat section she composed and Jay Z ended-up using in the song Crown in that Magna Carta album. She knew Travis Scott who passed it on to Jay Z.…btw- he wants his name to be written as Jay Z, not Jay-Z from now on.

  5. William Mougayar

    Making a dent in the universe is a big motivation.

  6. LIAD

    why do you want to be relevant. why do you want the next big deal.It’s clearly not just about the money. I doubt its about the ego.what it’s all for. what’s the end game.#RootCause

    1. fredwilson

      It surely is about to ego

      1. LE

        Never fails to amaze me when people don’t see why it is you do what you do. Stuff they don’t teach in school (and if they do it’s buried in an impractical way in a psychology textbook).It reminds me a bit of how certain good looking girls haven’t figured out the reason the nerd in college or high school is so quick and glad to help them with their homework. Or for that matter, taking it one step further, why the nerd in college or high school is glad to help many people just to get some approval and feel relevant and useful. I’ve already figured out all on my own that my propensity to help people dates from non approval by my parents.Anyway, Rohan had an excellent video where he interviewed a woman who told of how she got an opportunity that was a great opportunity for sure. After watching the video (which was great) it was apparent that when she sent an email to the “important” person who decided to help her (who she later ended up working with personally) that the fact that she was attractive more than likely played a role in her getting that opportunity. Now while I don’t know that was the case for sure, I’ve been around enough guys and how they think to know that that played a strong role in (and this is important) that particular situation. I won’t mention the video because I don’t want to embarrass anyone.

      2. JamesHRH

        #wordEgo is a positive. Self importance is a negative.

  7. takingpitches


  8. Richard

    Sing for your audience, not for yourself, and you’ll never mail it in.

  9. awaldstein

    ‘pretty good at blogging..” ;)it feels like slam poetry coming at ya daily.

  10. jason wright

    if you think of that empty blog post screen as a mirror there will always be something looking back at you, something of relevance, something worth writing about. when you stop looking in that mirror it’s over.

    1. fredwilson

      Great metaphor

    2. Emil Sotirov

      Great metaphor indeed!

  11. Tracey Jackson

    I totally relate to what you are saying. I think most people do these days, though they may not all have as much on their plate as you. The thing is most of us just don’t do ONE thing anymore. There was a time when you would have been just a VC, done your job, travelled for business sometimes, but the “work day” day would eventually end. But you turn in a blog a day, that is hard, you mentor, you speak publicly, you have things to do that keep going once the office is closed. Thanks to the computer and all the guys like yourself advancing what it does, the office never closes and one has multiple offices available at any second. So I am amazed at all you accomplish.Everyone who blogs consistently “mails it in” from time to time. All talented/busy people can and do mail it in from time to time. And there are times when you have no choice, when your attention is being sucked in another direction, when you literally have nothing to say, when you prefer to spend the time with your family. When you are just plain spent. And when people get really good at something, they have the skill set to mail some things in – that are still good. They just can. John Cleese defines genius as “the ease with which someone can do something really well.”I used to just write movies, It was a big job. I did it from nine to five. I was never late. I almost never mailed it in. But it was all I did. It was easy to give it my all. And even then some were better than others, grabbed my attention more ferociously. Now I write movies from time to time. I write books all the time. I run two full time websites. I have a husband, kids and two houses. You bet some things things get mailed in. And I have learned that that is OK. The big stuff gets my full attention when it needs it.There is a wonderful book by Roman Krznaric from The School of Life called HOW TO FIND FULFILLING WORK. He talks about how the career/job paradigm has changed so. We all do many things over the course of a our lives and our days. But while most people have changed the way they do things, they still think in the old way. Whenever people criticize Woody Allen and say the new film out is no Annie Hall, or Manhattan or whatever. I always say, you write, produced, direct and star in a film year for 35 years. Let’s see how many of them are stellar. You do great Fred.And sometimes I have seen in my blogging and I know you must have to, that the stuff you mail in is often really well received. Sometimes when you under think it people respond really well.

    1. William Mougayar

      Well put Tracey. +10

      1. Tracey Jackson

        Thank you, William.

        1. JamesHRH

          Woody should stop though. He is not relevant.

          1. Tracey Jackson

            Relevant to who? Relevant is one of those words that gets tossed around with a certain regularity I find distressing. I find relevant to be a very ageist term most of the time. Woody remains relevant as long as he makes films people go to see. Yesterday’s Times certainly finds him relevant. And while he has made giant blunders in his personal life, he shows the world that into your 8th decade you can keep working and creating. With over 60 million boomers in the population I think that is very relevant.

          2. JamesHRH

            Relevant, for me, means meaningful to a majority of the population.Is Robin Thicke relevant? no, people don’t really care that much.Is Jay Z? apparently.Is Woody – not anymore.You are right though, he should keep working. I take that back.

          3. Tracey Jackson

            Taking it back means you are a big person. My hat to you.I think there is a confusion that goes on as to what is relevant, what is innovative and what is merely popular, and where do they intersect If you ask my 13 year old if Robin Thicke is relevant she would tell you absolutely. Though she might not know what it means in the big picture. If you mean by relevant is he innovative or derivative – the later. But he has the number one song of the summer. Which I think surprised the music industry as they thought the other Pharell Williams collaboration- the one with Daft Punk would take the summer. That being an innovative album, but did not grasp the pop spot for as long as they thought.Jay Z is relevant to those who care.Woody the same. The people for whom Woody is relevant likely don’t listen to Jay Z. If relevant to you means the majority of the population then at this second it’s Robin Thicke. Sad but true.For me relevant is not always limited to the moment, but the impact that lingers. In that race Woody and Jay Z win and Robin Thicke will likely be forgotten. We are so in the moment now with everything changing and being updated on a daily basis, I think there are not clear lines the way there used to be.

    2. Anne Libby

      Yes!Going back 10+ years, a good friend was struggling to write her PhD dissertation — she wasn’t really getting traction at the start, because her own work wasn’t good enough for her. She was horrified when her impatient advisor told her, “Just slap it down.” (Like Anne Lamott’s lousy first drafts.)If you’re going to have a body of work, you’ve got to produce the work. It’s not all going to be transcendent.

      1. Tracey Jackson

        I used to use that all the time when I taught writing. And I use it in my own work. Get something down, anything. The next day you will find a kernel hidden that will ignite you to do something better. Her other great quote I use all the time is ‘Bird by Bird.” Always takes me right back to the zone.

        1. Anne Libby

          Do you still teach writing?

          1. Tracey Jackson

            I don’t. I will again some day. Too many other things capturing my time. If I did I might end up “mailing it in”.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        For a lot of students, the Ph.D. dissertation is astruggle. For me, penmanship in the fourth gradewas a struggle, and the Ph.D. dissertation was fast,fun, and easy! Many students trying to write adissertation are, from the ‘academic filtering’,well trained to approach the dissertation in a poorway.For this point, here is an explanation from a goodsource: Of course, one of the best computerscientists, and a good applied mathematician, is D.Knuth. His volumes of ‘The Art of ComputerProgramming’ form a landmark in computing. To helpget the mathematical word whacking done with highquality, he developed a typesetting system TeX anddocumented it in, among other places, ‘The TeXbook’.In at least the machine readable version buried isthe remark:”The traditional way is to put off all creativeaspects until the last part of graduate school. Forseventeen or more years, a student is taughtexamsmanship, then suddenly after passing enoughexams in graduate school he’s told to do somethingoriginal.”That quote gets at some of the difficulty of adissertation that is “transcendent” and “goodenough for her.”.For a Ph.D., the ‘thing’, the main issue, at a goodresearch university, at least in the STEM fields, isin one word — ‘research’. In part Knuth isreferring to the fact that in K-12 and college and,indeed, in nearly all related academic coursework,the goal is to make an A by doing just what theteacher/professor requests with nothing much like’research’ or anything original encountered or evenvisible.Here’s what I would have advised her:(1) Get well grounded in your field. E.g., if yourfield is part of math, then know the more importanttheorems and proofs and why each is important –obtain a ‘synthesis’ that explains both the wholeand the main connections. E.g., when do the Riemannintegral carefully, know the crucial roles of thecompleteness property, closed and bounded, compact,continuous and uniformly continuous.(2) One of the keys to good research is good problemselection — do this carefully and insightfully, andmaybe more than once.(3) For your research, the crucial work is now:This work can use good rest, a quiet room, a senseof irreverence for past work in the field, and asense of impatience for something new, different,and powerful.Then think heavily just intuitively. Do a lot ofguessing, from intuition, analogy, etc., and theremake intuitive models and test them with largelyjust intuitive questions. Here may not write much ofanything; indeed, the writing could slow theprogress too much.This step students who were really good in K-12 andcollege are reluctant to take: They have not beentaught to do so, and intuition seems nottrustworthy. Correct: Intuition alone is nottrustworthy, but, still, it is one of the feweffective means to discover something new,different, powerful, etc. that everyone else hasmissed.E.g., for one piece of research I did (andpublished), looking at an early version of my work acolleague gave a nice compliment, “radical,provocative”. Such praise!So, nearly necessarily “radical, provocative” meansnot just using the work technique that was nearlyuniversal in K-12 and college, i.e., just returningwith a few words changed what was presented inclass, and not doing what 10,000 or even 10 otherpeople have already been doing — indeed, ‘new’means that you are the first to do it. So, inresearch “radical, provocative” are not onlywelcome, they are nearly necessary. Some studentsare reluctant to be either radical or provocative;such a student needs to be told that “radical,provocative” are welcome, wanted, to be expected,nearly necessary.In that research, I’d been thinking: “This field isjunk; what the field is doing can’t be a really goodway. Now, what the heck is really going on here? Imean, let’s set aside all the traditions, look atthe real core of this subject, and see what to keepand what to set aside. Then with what to keep,since it is smaller, we can be more general; so,let’s be more general ….”When it looks like from the intuitive work you havefound something too solid for just more flights ofintuition, take the next step.(4) Make your intuitive work precise, solid, truebeyond any question, something you can defend easilybefore any fair, competent panel. In math, that’stheorems and proofs, hopefully as solid as Bourbaki,with the crucial, core content discovered, however,heavily by intuition!Mostly for a dissertation, that’s enough. But forsome work in engineering, and to be more ‘relevant’,might continue on and connect with practice, e.g.,write some software to implement your research, runsome real data through the software, publish in ajournal and present at a conference that has somepractitioners, etc.Or, more specifically, for “transcendent” and, thus,”good enough for her”, make use of flights ofintuition! Or, before making it real, have toimagine it, and “transcendent” reality comes from atleast transcendent imagination!Net, it’s ‘research’ as in “new, correct, andsignificant”. It’s necessarily not what all theother good students are doing, what’s in the textbooks or journal articles, or what the professorknows. You necessarily won’t be in a clique withlots of other people and getting praise, acceptance,and approval from being just like them, and,instead, in this work will be standing, in all theworld, alone, at least for a while! Of course onceothers like your work, you will be in a clique, thehead of it!Yes, the bad news is that it’s lonely at the top.The good news is that all fame is fleeting!

        1. Anne Libby

          I do think that the archetype of the “good student” was a barrier, as you suggest.Thankfully, she managed to put her shoulder to the wheel and get it done. (Enabling her subsequent research and teaching, which she seems to love.)Have a great evening!

        2. fredwilson

          Where have you been Sigma?I have missed your long and intellectually challenging comments.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Been? Handling some unwelcome exogenous inputsindependent of everything else.

          2. fredwilson

            I hope you are ok

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Thanks.There’s been more than just one unwelcome exogenousinput. On being “okay”, been better but am likelygood enough. A few days ago got some exercise for afew hours in apparently 100 F; drank 3 quarts ofwater and apparently lost all of it just as sweat.No bad symptoms.All the work done to date continues to look fine.Will be a lot happier when write a few more simpleWeb pages, get some data, plug together a server,and go live.A week or so ago I did like Paul Graham’s:Do Things that Don’t ScaleJuly 2013…From that essay, so that my first users can get goodresults, I intend to narrow the focus (not becomprehensive but just via the ‘base data’ and notvia the math, algorithms, or code) and enter thefocused ‘base data’ myself (the part that doesn’t”scale”) if I have to.My ISP has increased my upload bandwidth to 5million bits per second without my asking andwithout a price increase. Half filling that will bea good day.

          4. Richard

            what was your thesis?

          5. sigmaalgebra

            An applied case of stochastic optimal control, someapplied math, some ‘applied probability’,essentially engineering.I did the math particular to my problem carefully,including with attention to the tricky topic of’measurable selection’. To make more clear thesense in which the work was ‘optimal’ or bestpossible, I worked up a theorem and proof. Nicelyenough the proof showed that the key was just a useof Fubini’s theorem.There was some algorithmic work to make thecomputing fast enough, and I did write illustrativesoftware. It was an applied math, engineering Ph.D.My advisors had me give a seminar on the math, andlater another student of one my advisors did anotherdissertation using that math.It was fast, fun, and easy because I discovered theproblem in business before graduate school, got someadvice (from G. Nemhauser, now long at Georgia Tech)to try stochastic optimal control, got an intuitivesolution partly on an airplane ride, and in my firstsummer used the math in a course in measure theory,functional analysis, and stochastic processes tomake my intuitive solution solid math. So, that wasmost of the original work for my dissertation. Thesummer resulted in a 50 page manuscript — a funsummer. Later I went over the work as a second passand improved it, wrote and ran the software, did theword processing, stood for an oral defense, andgraduated. Later Nemhauser chided me for notpublishing the work, but I wanted to sell it and notpublish it and give it away!Some of the work could be folded into some otherwork by others since then, focused on someparticular problems, e.g., parts of financialplanning, logistics, run on highly parallelsuper-computing, and offered as a service over theInternet. The day for that work will come but notthis week.

        3. ShanaC

          sigma – long time no see – and teaching intuition is hard

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Especially “hard” when students have essentiallybeen told in K-whatever by implication, example, ornegative feedback that intuition should be avoidedin academic work.Then later we learned that A. Einstein kept askingintuitively what light would look like if he couldtravel along with a beam and noticed that inMaxwell’s equations of electro-magnetism there is nomention of the speed of either a radio transmitteror a radio receiver. So, those two could go fasterthan the speed of light? So, here we’ve got twoplaces where intuitively something just doesn’t fit– something should “bother” us here.When we get a solid resolution, we discover that aswe travel faster, our clocks slow down and our massincreases, both as much as we please. Astounding.To some extent using intuition can be taught. Doenough challenging pure math exercises and begin tounderstand that the hard part is guessing a correctapproach and that for such guessing some intuitionhelps. So, intuitively ask, “How the heck couldthat be true?”. Or, “I will look for acounterexample and, not finding one, start to guessintuitively why not and get hints for how to solvethe exercise.”. Such intuitive work can be the realkey to solving some of the more difficult exercisesin pure math. In the end get a solution for theexercise but one without much indication of just howthe heck discovered it! It can be intuition that isthe key to pulling the rabbit out of the hat.There’s an old math joke: “Algebra is just pushingsymbols around. Analysis has a real idea behindit.”. Well, that “idea” in analysis is oftenintuition.

        4. JamesHRH

          Holy smokes that is good advice.Isn’t there a maxim that most great physicists have a provocative, radical breakthrough in their 20’s…..and then can not summon the courage to undermine their genius reputation by taking another bold stand?

          1. sigmaalgebra

            All praise is welcome, even when not deserved!I can believe that maxim.There’s another one, when propose a theory for somenew physics, to be taken seriously the theory has tobe sufficiently ‘crazy’.Well, tough to expect to get much ‘crazy’ stuff justrepeating the derivations from Newton, Maxwell, andEinstein. Instead, likely need some flights ofimagination, guessing, intuition.When Dicke put a microwave receiver on the roof ofthe physics building at Princeton, he wasessentially assuming, say guessing, what is now ahuge chapter of physics — the big bang, inflation,the plasma cooling to hot, transparent gas, a hugered shift, etc. When Penzias and Wilson actuallygot the signal but couldn’t guess what it was, Dickeexplained.It’s easy to read the early history of atomicphysics and see where people were working with’physical intuition’ about really complicated thingsthey understood poorly and based on the intuitivemodels setting up experiments and making bigdiscoveries.Of course, mostly such “flights” of intuition arewrong; it’s just that they are also a major sourceof what is right! And, also of course, in scienceor any careful work, such guessing is not “the endor even the beginning of the end but may be the endof the beginning” borrowing from Churchill, that is,has to be confirmed.

        5. Donna Brewington White


      3. JamesHRH

        Pat Riley – President of the NBA Champion Miami Heat, NBA Champion Coach of the LA Lakers, NBA Champion Player on the LA Lakers, 1966 NCAA Finalist on the Kentucky Wildcats (who lost to first ever all African American starting 5 UTEP) & high school player who led Linton HS (Schenectady, NY) over Lew Alcindor / KAREEM’s Power Memorial HS (NYC):”When a milestone is conquered, the subtle erosion called entitlement begins its consuming grind. The team regards its greatness as a trait and a right. Half hearted effort becomes habit and saps a champion.”He also ripped his championship Laker team with the bullet “you CAN NOT just TURN ON greatness.”Every day. Every way.

        1. Anne Libby

          Yes, and championship athletes have recovery time built into their training schedulesThis discussion may not have been intended to start out this way, but one of the things Fred is actually modeling here is something that Jerry Colonna has been working on.And that’s getting the young people in the community to understand that humans can’t “bring it” equally every day 18+ hours at 110%. It’s not healthy, physically, mentally, or emotionally — and we don’t do our best work when we do this for extended periods of time without a break.

      4. Donna Brewington White

        Cleaning up Ms. LaMott’s language, I see. I seem to recall another adjective for those proverbial first drafts. 😉

        1. Anne Libby

          Heh heh, you got me. In person, you’ll hear me throw down a profanity from time to time. But I couldn’t put it in writing.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Same here Anne. Unlike our Ms. Lamott.

          2. Anne Libby

            She’s an interesting social media follow…

    3. Richard

      “They say it’s celestial/ It’s all in the stars/ Like Tony La Russa on how you play your Cards.” (‘American Dreamin’)

    4. fredwilson

      Yes yes yes. Great comment Tracey

      1. Tracey Jackson

        Thank you Fred. So much of what you write about flies above my knowledge base, though I always learn something and love the community you have created. It’s nice to say something that adds to the dialogue. And think about how much Jay Z does now. When he started he just rapped. Now he runs a giant company, he produces, he’s managing, he has a clothing line, and now he’s added sports manager….of course he will out source some of the work. Musicians have always done that. I’ll have to go to Spotify and listen to it.

        1. JamesHRH

          From a branding perspective, he has to rap a little, because its the brand origin. Likely, not much more though.He’s like Ralph Lauren to his customers. Its audacious & inspiring & ridiculous all at once.

    5. ShanaC

      The old way actually is causing major problems – we don’t have a cultural lifrstyle where constantly giving it all is healthy/possible.We’re setting ourselves up for failure and mailing it in

  12. pointsnfigures

    it is tough to do a quality blog every day. Over time, it becomes stream of consciousness and part of the daily vernacular in your life. Everyone gets subject to mailing it in. Pro athletes, entertainers, startup entrepreneurs, vc’s, lawyers, doctors, parents…. When it’s bad, it’s noticeable. But sometimes they are so good people don’t notice it.In many cases, it’s only up to that individual person to know if they are giving it their all, or not.And, it’s rare to see others in the same profession call someone out for mailing it in. Creates controversy. People don’t like controversy.

  13. Trish Fontanilla

    It’s funny how we want musicians to do everything themselves, otherwise they’re mailing it in or selling out. Without knowing his whole history, I think he’s worked hard to get where he is. And when you work harder you get more people that want to be on your record and more collaborators, and you get the opportunity to do more things. Mailing it in for me in that industry is just releasing remixes instead of new records. It’s like a startup where you receive a little success and so you just keep doing the same without innovating. I think for you, at least the videos you post are relevant and you care and think about your audience. Even guest posts, I think those are hard too. You need to find the person, make sure they deliver, proofread, etc. Mailing it in for you would just be posting a quote because you know your audience will always respond… Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island, discuss.

  14. awaldstein

    Favorite quote of all time:”Inspiration is for amateurs.”Chuck Close

    1. JamesHRH

      Who is Chuck Close? That’s awesome.

      1. awaldstein

        One of my all time heroes.New York painter who had a stroke in the 80s, was almost completely paralyzed, stepped up and created a brand new art form.Have a very small piece of his that inspires me daily.In the MET. Amazing story, great artist.

  15. rich caccappolo

    Fred, you have an extremely high batting average – you’d be first ballot HOF, even in live ball era, even in steroid years… You choose interesting topics and you write insightfully about them. For those who get AVC by email, I bet the open rate is extremely high. I have another positive measure for you: at the end of the week I notice I have many unread AVC emails in my inbox – and these aren’t messages I didn’t open soon after they arrived; they’re messages I marked unread so as to remind myself to go back to think about the topics when I have time and review the comments that have been added. I don’t find I take this action with many other media sources. In other words, you are doing great and you’ve done it for a long time – Jeter-esque…until the ankle, and the hamstring…

    1. fredwilson

      Good thing blogging isn’t a contact sport

  16. Ana Milicevic

    If you did a random poll on what the community here thought of the Saturday posts I doubt that we’d come up with ‘oh, he’s mailing it in’. One of the reasons I enjoy hanging out here is because of the variety of content you surface – whether through creation or curation.I understand the concern though — the more you diversify what you do on a day to day basis the greater the implication that something is likely suffering since you’re not focusing on everything with 100% of your energy. That’s where experience comes in with the knowledge of when it’s ok to pull back from one activity to place more focus on another.

    1. Richard

      Yep. Saturday Videos make for a great weekend.

    2. LE

      Well a few things.a) Does it matter if he is mailing it in?b) Does mailing it in make a measurable impact on the blogs success in a way that will modify the purpose of the blog (marketing, an outlet for Fred etc.) and the success that he has?c) What will the extra effort result it? In other words if he never mailed it in how much would that extra effort pay off?I’ve seen many cases where Fred will write something really short almost as if to say “here you guys go fight over this short paragraph I’ve provided the kindling now go with it”.But what’s wrong with that?Fred has already decided that he has to draw the line on not answering all emails. Obviously if he wanted to take more time and answer more emails in theory he should have more success and I’m sure there are people who are or have been pissed off that they haven’t gotten a reply. But that doesn’t matter. A work line has been draw.That said at a certain point the aircraft will fail to achieve lift and things won’t work. So phoning it in 65% could cause a crash. But right now there is enough air flow over the wings and speed to keep things at the right altitude.

    3. JamesHRH

      Have watched less than 0.00001% of the vids.

  17. Andrew Kennedy

    Today is my fathers 69th birthday. Was up pretty late with him last night talking about his forced retirement @ 70 from his law firm, what he is going to do next and life in general. He wants to keep grinding away and that is something I deeply respect. Had the same JZ convo w my fiancé on the drive up to my fathers place yesterday. I know the birdie feeling well.. A similar and more sustainable version of that same feeling for me is something I call “whiteboard to action”. Idea to whiteboard to actually doing it in short order. I could go on, but this post is long enough. TLDR is a real thing. Thanks for this post. You really knocked the cover off the ball with this one.

    1. kidmercury

      one thing you have to respect about fred is he ain’t ever gone parker on us

    2. ShanaC

      mazel tov on your father’s 69th. Maybe he should run for a judgeship?

      1. Andrew Kennedy

        Thanks. He’s aging well. His expertise is in international arbitration and loves outplaying his competition. I’ll ask him about his thoughts on judgeships, but my sense is that it’s not a great place to be in international matters and doesn’t come with a win column :). I really do appreciate your thoughtful response.

  18. kirklove

    There is an overwhelming sentiment in society that being “content” is a bad thing. I fully disagree and whole-heartedly believe you can have enough. In fact most of us have more than enough and adding to that seldom if ever makes us happier. In fact it often makes us more unhappy. Contrast that with slowing down, taking that bike ride, really enjoying and being in the moment at that breakfast and how it does indeed make you happier. That’s true power in my opinion.That said if what makes you happy is being a VC and pushing and doing and being “in the game” by all means have at it brother. Just don’t do it to stay “relevant” (ugh) or add to the already healthy heap you have.Remember what I say… “goat cheese is good for your soul” 😉

    1. LE

      “whole-heartedly believe you can have enough”Depends what you mean by “enough”. If enough is money then sure. But the juice that people get when they are in business is not necessarily trying to make more money because they need more money to buy things which is why most people need money. It’s because it feels good to make money and/or to be surrounded by people who like the fact and respect you because you are making money. Because being in the game gives you a buzz and a high. Like making a hole in one in that “stupid little game”. It’s all in your mind. And it feels good. (I don’t play that game).”Contrast that with slowing down, taking that bike ride, really enjoying and being in the moment at that breakfast and how it does indeed make you happier.”That would “so” wear off quickly. It’s like having a boat. Great to have it and make it down 5 or 10 times in the summer and use it. It’s a thrill. But try doing it every day. It gets boring. Anecdotally many people go on 2 week vacations and can’t wait to get home and back to their routine.And, most importantly, stuff like that is fun juxtaposed against the pain and suffering of your everyday work and struggle. Take the struggle away it’s not as enjoyable. Really.”Just don’t do it to stay “relevant” (ugh) or add to the already healthy heap you have.”But the “healthy heap” is not money. It’s non monetary pleasure you get from being in the game. [1]Take a musical artist that has x gold records. Do you think they are happier trying to get more gold records (with intermittent reinforcement) or they would be happier to rest on their laurels and just go to lunch and travel?”[1] I sold something recently for quite a bit of money in the 1st quarter of the year. I said to my wife “I’m upset I wish I had 5 sales of 1/5 the amount evenly spaced throughout the year that would have been much more fun”. (Seriously).

      1. kirklove

        Right. I said what you said – “if what makes [Fred] happy is being a VC and pushing and doing and being “in the game” by all means have at it brother”Though I still believe being content is the ultimate key to true happiness.

    2. ShanaC

      goat cheese is just tasty – and basic contentment keeps you healthy

    3. JLM

      .The problem with contentment is that nobody recognizes it when it is all around us all the time. Well, sometimes. Maybe.We just have to mine it and curate it and call it up when we need it.We are all transformed from postulates to novitiates to apprentices to journeymen and, ultimately, to master craftsmen. If we will let ourselves be transformed and if we work toward that progression.At each stage, we can negotiate with ourselves and say — “well, I did the best under those circumstances”. In the development from postulates to master craftsmen our best keeps getting better.And one day you will be a craftsman and you will strike the note just perfect and that memory goes into the story of your life. Not necessarily the story you will ever tell anyone but the story that you will remember.I once built a high rise office building, after I had learned my craft and paid my dues, in which I got everything right. Everything. Not by accident but because I invested my heart and soul and tried to get it right. Was willing to be judged foolish, crazy even, because of my sincere effort to get it right.Today you could check my pulse by touching the front door of that building, it still has my heart in it.I have never built another high rise since then. I think, perhaps on purpose.JLM.

  19. btrautsc

    For a multitude of reasons (self awareness, copious Jay-Z mentions, simple real talk) this post adds to the “Fred Wilson has soul” ledger.Appreciate these type of posts a lot.

  20. kidmercury

    jay z is lame, a punk ass chump with weak flow. he ain’t real his game is totally b corp, pure illuminati garbage. i know most of you are too smart to believe that, but took ya’ll 10 years to catch to up the kooks regarding NSA spying so maybe in 2023 you’ll be ready. in terms of mainstream hip hop, i can only respect eminem, drake, and the game. kanye before he sold his soul and went the jay-z route was legit, i.e. the “jesus walks” days (i’m not christian and think organized religion is nothing but b corp but appreciate the positive message) now he’s got talent but wasting it on promoting toxic values.happy birthday to your father.the message of this post, and the analogy to hip hop, reminds me of the eminem song “never enough.” no matter how good any of us are it’s never enough. we can always do better.

    1. William Mougayar

      +1 for Drake (he’s Canadian) & +1 for getting the memo that he wants his name Jay Z, not Jay-ZWill.i.amM

    2. Andrew Kennedy

      Lil Wayne is legit in my book. Old NAS pretty tight as well. I would have loved to see BIG reach his 25th bday.

    3. Vineeth Kariappa

      bein a smart ass?

      1. Nicko

        what is it?

      2. JamesHRH

        Ask around Vineeth – that’s mellow flow from the Kid.

        1. Vineeth Kariappa

          Opinion abt JayZ is irrelevant.

    4. LE

      “punk ass chump with weak flow”Have you pissed next to him and observed that?

      1. JamesHRH

        LOL – carbon dating yourself LE

  21. Kirsten Lambertsen

    If you’re lucky enough to be in a situation where your work is your art (even when it’s venture capital), then there is no reason to stop. Great painters don’t stop painting at 65 because they’ve achieved all they need to achieve. They still experience the drive to create.It seems to me that whether or not JayZ wrote or performed on a song isn’t the problem. If the track was brilliant, it wouldn’t matter. So maybe it just isn’t his best product, and people are looking for reasons why. But art doesn’t have rules, in my opinion (such as, you must at least write or perform on a track to include it on your album).Except crappy covers of great songs. There should be a rule against those.

  22. Richard

    Til I’m toppling from the top I’m not going to stopI’m standing on my Monopoly boardThat means I’m on top of my game and it don’t stopTil my hip don’t hop anymore (shit). Eminem

  23. PhilipSugar

    When you think about it the largest blessing of your “work” is that you feel this way. No doubt doing this blogging everyday is a part of your “work”.I too am that lucky. I have many blue collar friends where they view work as drudgery. I understand the desire to retire as soon as you can.I also see this with many lawyers and most iBankersBut when its part of your life you can’t. Even after success you still want to work. That to me is the measure of happiness.Sure there are days when its tough. For you its blogging for me its getting on that early flight to see a customer.I understand how hanging drywall all day is tough. I understand how trying to writeup every bad scenario and churn a bill sucks (after dealing with lawyers for the last six weeks I had a dream I was in hell and my job was to headbutt lawyers)But when those are only a small percentage of what you do and the rest you love….well what’s not to love and keep doing it.

    1. ShanaC

      I always ask about retiring – then what?

  24. Elia Freedman

    I haven’t been mailing it in lately but I have been frustrated. The work I want to do keeps getting pushed to the backburner, replaced by the things I have to do. I’ve been working extreme hours lately, driven by this desire to get the “must get done” stuff off my plate so I could get to the future. I feel the pressure every day. I have no idea how to fix it but I hear the clock ticking between my ears. So I make little progress on my future, constantly stuck in the present. Things aren’t getting dropped — yet — but I fear the immediacy of feeding family and providing for a roof will dominate, force out everything else. And my progress on my future is too slow for my comfort.

  25. Seth Godin

    Fred, your work comes from a place of generosity. People who are selfish need to stop sooner or later, because stopping gets them more of what they wanted in the first place.But because you measure yourself by who you helped, who you taught and what you made, more of that is exactly the point.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Generosity is a strong theme undergirding AVC.

      1. Aaron Klein

        Very true. I have been the recipient of ridiculous generosity from the AVC community: you, JLM, Arnold and Andy in particular. And I’ve made many more friends.This is a special neighborhood bar we have here.

        1. Mac

          And the drinks are on the house.

        2. William Mougayar

          Ditto. The community members are amazing in volunteering to help, whether asked or not.

      2. ShanaC

        Yes, I know. It’s been a good lesson for me about business behavior and how it should be

    2. fredwilson

      I may have to print this out and stick it next to all of the other nice notes you’ve sent me over the yearsThanks

      1. PhilipSugar

        That was a really nice comment especially the second paragraph

      2. LE

        The sensitivity that you have is really atypical for a business person. I’ve dealt with all types and while sensitivity is neither “yes” or “no” but rather a continuum, most business people who are successful tend to be insensitive (whereby “most” equals “by numbers”). Of course all that changes once they get successful then their behavior often changes. Guess what? They have to be. Can tell you the number of dollars I lost because of people I didn’t fire because I felt bad for them. Big mistake. It means nothing now. Business is business.You can be the way you are simply because of your success allows you to do so. Perhaps you were always like this but most people on the way up don’t have the luxury of being that way. The world is tough. Breaks are rare. You have to work hard and earn what you get. Doing favors for people only goes so far (ask the guy who is helpful in the office doing other peoples work where it gets him – more things to help with).If you were on your way up it would be foolish to spend the time you do on helping and some of the things you do (other than for “marketing” purposes like the blog) because you simply feel good helping people. Anymore than it would make sense to play golf in the middle of the day because it feels good. Most people who help people are not making tons of money (unless they made the money some other way first, inherited or it a super outlier situation) and that money and success is what allows you to be who you are.

        1. ShanaC

          why do you see a lot of very successful business people as selfish

          1. LE

            Interesting. I didn’t say that but of course I do believe that or I guess that could be implied by my comment.The reason is simple. To be successful you need to make tough choices that benefit you at the expense of others. Those choices can be small “sorry I didn’t come to the funeral I had an important test to study for” to much bigger “sorry your sister is dying from cancer but we can’t afford to lose the big account so I will have to let you go”. (Examples fictional and perhaps exaggerated to make a point but I’m remembering also how upset people got with what Mark Pincus did prior to zynga public offering. )And even if you do make those tough choices there is no guarantee of success. And if you are to much of a prick it can backfire. There is no lecture you can listen to or book you can read that will give you the proper balance of when you can and should be selfish and when you should not.And even with all of this you have to factor in outside circumstances that might allow someone to be less selfish than another person given their advantages. A guy who bought a business from me instantly got a nice contract from my alma matter simply because his uncle ( his partner in the venture) a big deal lawyer had connections to the University board of directors. (He went to some crap college not that school). Something that I had tried for years to do he was able to do right away with those connections. An advantage. Or perhaps your father or grandfather started the business and you didn’t work it from scratch. So you are more relaxed and look at life differently.

      3. jenny

        you had me until you said “I am enjoying (jay z) very much.”you lost cred on that statement.

    3. Teren Botham

      And so this generosity is what keeps you & your family happy and healthy…Birthday wishes to your dad

      1. fredwilson


    4. JamesHRH

      I believe eveything you have written in this comment. I also believe the place in the Hamptons does not hurt. I also believe that an adult beverage while thinking to oneself: ‘yes, I was right, again, you jackass (whomever that person might be)’ also helps.Motivation is not a pinhole in a piece of paper where the sun shines through.

  26. BillMcNeely

    Mailing it in may be done by others on behalf of you.If you start to hear, you should get a real job, at a real company. You have “real responsibilities” now, you can’t do the work that you want too do anymore or educational experiences (conferences and the like ) are nice but are frivolous.Now most of your readers have spouses or families and may need to suck up some short term pain to make the long term goal happen but don’t let others steal that long term goal all together.

  27. johndodds

    You’re only truly mailing it in if you act without sincerity. Even if I find a post to be of less personal interest to me than usual, your sincerity always shines through. That’s why I keep coming back.

  28. William Mougayar

    From Magna Carta to SmartPhones & the Simplified Blogging cartoons, both from this perky Canadian cartoonist John Atkinson http://wronghands1.wordpres… (must visit site) [sorry, tooltip showed on screen shot]

  29. Jason C

    One point of view is that Jay-Z has graduated or “pivoted” (sorry for the obvious term) into something bigger, namely running his brand(s) and moving into other lines of business like his sports agency. He’s aggressively gone after NBA stars and is trying to move into the world soccer market by trying to go after Neymar.I bet his live performances will still be killer even if the album is not.

    1. JamesHRH

      I bet he does no more albums and does not do more than 1 more tour, that is how much i agree with you.Jay Z the brand does not need to keep digging up the origin of Jay-Z: it needs to stay relevant.

  30. Mac

    Fred, I’ve been looking at the ‘compose comment’ screen this morning….a little reluctant to submit to the thread. I’ll explain.Years ago, I had the privilege to be around George Steinbrenner when he was away from Yankee Stadium. Many of you are aware that he actually lived in Tampa. This was during the time when the Yankees were consistently in the hunt for pennants and the World Series.What I observed was that he had an innate drive to stay relevant. And, that drive was ever present. There was no resting on his accomplishments. He stayed on his game, even when sitting around his hotel bar with friends.George was always “grinding”, always looking for “opportunities”, always “looking around the corner”, and always looking for “the next big deal”. Regardless of what one’s opinion was of him, you never thought of him as “over the hill”, “semi-retired”, “somewhat relevant”, or “past his prime”.And, similar to the way you look at deals, I could see his excitement about that next great player; the one that could “kill it” or become a “game changer”. He was always on. He may have “mailed it in” occasionally, but he was at the top of his game a long time.He trusted his instincts above all else. You’ve no doubt honed your instincts over the years. You know they’re telling you to stay in the game and you’ll know when they tell you to pack it up.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s great that you got to see him in action

      1. Mac

        Yes. Good memories. Exciting for a guy that grew up a Yankees fan and only a few years out of college.

    2. LE

      “he had an innate drive to stay relevant”No surprise that certain people thrive on attention and the excitement. If you are no longer relevant those are two of the things that go out the window. And then you need to find a way to replace them. Unless you want to go out to pasture.Let’s take the case of a fictional man that owns a business with, say, 1000 employees. He has an opportunity to sell that business. But if he does that where will he walk into each and every morning and get treated with respect and attention that is lavished on him? What meetings will he attend and get sucked up at? What will he do? He can already travel if he wants and take time off. He can pretty much buy anything he wants. But the only way to buy the attention that he has by being a company owner (from employees, vendors, industry people, and the receptionist etc.) is to remain the owner of the company. If he sells he then has to use some of his money to buy attention (say by donating a large amount of money to have a building named after him or to charity whereby he gets invited to the party circuit and makes new friends who suck up to him because he will donate money to their favorite charity)

      1. Mac

        He did thrive on on the attention and the excitement. But is was primarily to draw attention to the brand. And, he did drive the brand. I was always impressed with his devotion to and passion for the Yankees’ organization. He was never going to do anything else.

  31. Clay Hebert

    1) What @sethgodin:disqus said2) Every blogger who posts regularly has had the post they feel they “mailed in” succeed wildly. Other times, you slave over a post and refine it to perfection and it’s met with crickets.Don’t worry about mailing it in, Fred. You show up everyday in a generous way and you ship consistently. And we’re all the better for it.

  32. David Silver

    I hope you got a nice stay in Williamsburg. That’s one of my favorite places, although a little hot this time of year. It’s gorgeous in spring and fall.

  33. Semil Shah

    While working in industry, I have kept a weekly column for years now, and I find that to be a hard schedule to keep — so I don’t know how you do it every day for 10 years. Also, your note about “relevance” hits home for me. You should even write a separate post just on that. Finally, I saw a great tweet float up in my screen yesterday about content sites — the best ones are a mix of original and curated content. You can “mail it in” simply by pointing to something you’ve read and adding a brief comment. Even doing that does a good service.

  34. JLM

    .The natural order of life is:1. You are appointed or earn the position of quarterback and you run the offense and get pummeled a few times;2. You become the QB coach and coax great performances out of the next generation of QBs;3. You become the team coach and coax great performances from all the position coaches and sign off on the game plan; and,4. You own the team and hire the coach.Dialing it in is not the same thing for each position.Dial it in when you are the owner? Well, that’s called recharging your batteries.Don’t be so hard on yourself because sometime 5 minutes of an owner’s time is worth a day of a QB’s time.JLM.

    1. fredwilson

      Funny, the convo in the flight home with Josh was how to be a GM or owner of a basketball team!

  35. Valerie Welte

    Fred ,, you must answer this question no other probably asked.. How has this blogging benifited you personally ?

    1. fredwilson

      In every way imaginable

    2. JamesHRH

      Valerie, Fred has stated numerous times that he has gotten large multiples in returns, based on the time / energy / savvy he has invested in the AVC blog / community.FYI.

  36. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Loved this analogy “It’s like making a birdie in golf. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but it happens enough that I can’t stop playing golf, as bad as I am at the game”

  37. Steven Kane

    It’s 2013. Methinks its time to start calling it “texting it in”:)

    1. fredwilson

      The post I wrote in the hailo cab in London on my phone last week literally was that

  38. reece

    awesome honesty here fredwilsonyou’re totally embracing one of our core values at Shelby which is “Be human”i’d rather have a teammate tell me “hey – i’m not at my best. going to take a half day to get my act together” then just mail it in…just part of being human

  39. Paul Ottaviano

    Long time reader, first comment post. Thank you Fred, your post was the boost I needed today.

    1. fredwilson

      Yessssss. I love the first time commenter

      1. Paul Ottaviano

        Thanks! I generally come and go with blog comments but at some point during the day I make sure to read your post.

    2. ShanaC

      welcome – what made it your boost

      1. Paul Ottaviano

        Thanks for the welcome! The boost was just the general message of not mailing it in and work having its own rewards.

  40. Ela Madej

    Fred, we’re not here for quantity. We’re here for the quality.It’s kind of obvious that the “quick posts” are your way of keeping the blog alive in the in-between times. It’s hard to be consistently great. It’s good that you’re not trying to force a “proper” post on the days you don’t feel like it. It makes your “proper” posts better. It’s nice that you’re sharing the doubts and asking for feedback. This transparency and vulnerability is definitely what makes this community so engaged and AVC better.Btw, I just moved to NYC and saw the Jay Z and JT show yesterday (my first day here). And unfortunately it was *just” good. Funny how the expectations go up when you know someone is capable of delivering greatness. Everything below “great” becomes “blah”. Success is a blessing but a hell lot of responsibility, no?

    1. fredwilson

      Oh wow. Welcome to NYC. Let’s get together. Is like to hear what you are up to.

      1. Ela Madej

        Thanks! Sounds like a plan, will email you.

    2. ShanaC

      Welcome to ny – do you want coffee?

      1. Ela Madej

        hey, sure Shana, would be great to meet you. What’s your email address?

  41. daryn

    My only complaint is that Jay should have gone for the AVC reference instead of Miley: “Somewhere in America, Fred Wilson’s still workin”

    1. fredwilson

      Twerkin I believe is the line

      1. daryn

        Twerkin may be how Miley works, Fred, but i think Jay could change it for you…

        1. fredwilson

          Ah. I get it. I can assure you I don’t twerk

  42. george

    Thanks for speaking out loud and sharing some personal feelings, I don’t feel quite so alone now with my thoughts. :)I worry about that moment – when things are going smooth and well, life’s issues level and I don’t have to work quite so hard for it. I guess that’s the great inflection point; ask – am I getting soft, relevant or mailing it in? Still don’t have to worry about that yet, I’m working all weekend…Great post!

  43. LGBlueSky

    In a world of many takers, you are a giver. Thank you for staying the course.

  44. Ji Eun (Jamie) Lee

    I admit I have yet to click on any of the Saturday video posts, but I still dig through MBA Monday posts. I appreciate that you lead by example and show us what it means to be disciplined in the age of constant distractions.

  45. Abdullah Alshalabi

    Hi Fred, Just want to thank you for putting the effort to writing these blog posts everyday, you can’t imagine the amount of impact you have in my life and many others here in the Middle East. I’m from Kuwait and I used many of your thoughts both in our blog and at If you use Google Alerts for your name, you’ll probably find me popping up every couple of weeks. Just to give you an idea of how much I admire your posts, I’m willing to pay $100 per month just to read your posts, keep it going 🙂

    1. LE

      Just to give you an idea of how much I admire your posts, I’m willing to pay $100 per month just to read your posts, keep it going:)You can donate the $100 a month to Fred’s campaigns.

      1. Abdullah Alshalabi

        Thanks LE, I just did

        1. LE

          That’s great. But which project did you donate to? (It’s not showing up under the one that Fred had asked support for (see top of this blog post on the right).)

          1. Abdullah Alshalabi

            I think I did, its to Chess Team from Brooklyn Castle!

  46. Donna Brewington White

    Happy Birthday to your Dad, Fred. These years are precious.

  47. davidhclark

    I freaking love how you do it.

    1. fredwilson


  48. Aaron

    I think that, at a certain point, sitting in a cafe and blowing off the day is necessary to stay driven. There has to be some tangible benefit for working hard beyond being successful, and it can’t necessarily wait until some far off retirement.

  49. Russell

    “A G? I’ll roll with you for free… I want the long-term riches!” Wonder what your kids think of Reasonable Doubt? You quoted lyrics from it a few years ago!

    1. fredwilson

      my son Josh loves Reasonable Doubt

  50. CJ

    First, I have to say that I’m both envious and inspired by the relationship you have with your son. Well done for that. As a father I get how cool it must be for you to be able to have that conversation with your son and as a son, how cool it must be for him to have that conversation with you. That is something I truly hope to emulate.Now, about Mr. Carter… LOL I’m a huge Jay-Z fan, since before the first album. I have almost every song he’s every made or appeared on in my collection and I’ve only been able to listen to this album twice since I bought it. I agree with your son totally, he mailed it in on this one. The guy is a genius, there are very few in the game who can match his lyrical flow or creativity and that’s why this album is such a disappointment. To paraphrase your son, I don’t feel like he even bothered to write this ALBUM, that one song was being way too narrow.You say “You are either relevant or you are not. And relevance is critical to the business I am in. I don’t think you can be somewhat relevant. That’s called “over the hill” “past his prime” “semi-retired.” Rap music is the exact same way. There are rappers as good as Jay-Z but they aren’t as hot as Jay-Z. Rakim and LL Cool J are great examples of extraordinary lyricists who just don’t have the mainstream relevance anymore in the music industry. They’re great at their craft but get no deal flow, to use the VC term.That’s what happens when you take a break in rap music. You become an old-timer, a legend, a great but not THE great, THE best alive, THE man. Some people need the challenge of the comeback though. They need to feel like they are striving against something to bring out the best in them. Maybe after dominating the industry for over 15 years and you look around and still see that no one is even close to your level you get…lazy and you realize that competing against yourself is as good as it will ever get. And maybe this album will be a wake-up call to his ego or maybe it’ll solidify his decision to retire and enjoy family life. He hasn’t reached a billion yet so I think he’ll find the challenge somewhere just to get to that point.Ending this rather long comment, I have to say that I like the format of your blog. Saturday video days are great for me because I’m often away from my computer on Saturdays. I can shoot the video over to Plex and watch it later or on my phone while I’m doing some errands about the house. It works and it still promotes engagement. I don’t see you mailing it in Fred, you’re probably the hardest working guy in the VC business. We should start calling you James Brown!

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for this comment Malcolm. It’s great

      1. CJ

        I thought this one might get missed because it’s a couple of days late but I didn’t many people really touch the Jay-Z side of the post so I figured I’d chime in. Can’t have a rap music discussion without me just like you can’t have a money discussion without Kid!

  51. StartupBook

    Respectively, I have to say that “he’s well on his way to becoming one of the biggest media moguls of his generation” has absolutely nothing to do his quality of music.



  53. Jeff Sepp

    let’s hear it for those two person startups scraping by and trying to figure out how to quit their day jobs. Not for the weak of heart

  54. A J Cohen

    “Part of it is relevance. You are either relevant or you are not. And relevance is critical to the business I am in. I don’t think you can be somewhat relevant”And Fred….I would consider you the relevance royalty of NYC –

  55. kidmercury

    Probably a smart move as the tax breaks will probably only get better!

  56. fredwilson

    Nice one Charlie

  57. ShanaC

    I realized I don’t have the will to blog about myself – I keep changing, and it takes a certain level of emotional comfort to do well at blogging.

  58. jason wright

    and maybe a ‘video box’ where anyone can drop a video suggestion link.

  59. LE

    Disagree. Then it becomes an obligation. The entire point is it’s spontaneous and based on emotion.Why do you comment here? I comment because something moves me with enough emotion that I want to say something in reply to either Fred or another comment. It’s effortless.That’s entirely different than saying “LE today I want you to comment on..”. That’s a job.Even with my limited knowledge of music (which pales in comparison to what, say, you or Fred know) I know this is the reason it’s so hard to keep coming up with creative hits. Forgetting the poor and hungry argument I could make, it’s also because it’s easier to be creative “improv” than it is by getting an assignment. To me, in anything I have done creatively, it doesn’t work that way.Also, aren’t there similarity in sports? I mean the fact is what’s the explanation (other than the brain) for why basketball free throws aren’t made 100% of the time? Maybe because it also is not spontaneous it’s an “assignment”. (you get the point).

  60. Teren Botham

    That’s exactly what I was suggesting Fred a few months’s about time we did that.. Show Fred some content..

  61. LE

    Well you know personally I like the fact that it’s totally organic and Fred’s mood sometimes shows through in real time as well as the effort. It makes him real and not phony.Real people have highs and lows and are not always firing on all cylinders.One of the appeals of this blog I’m sure to people is Fred’s confirmation of his weaknesses and problems.I’m sure this is an inspiration for many young people and it will cause them to go easy on themselves much in the same way knowing that you can get in medical school w/o straight ‘a’s’ – not every doctor was brainac in high school. You can do it also. (Remembering Fred’s post on remedial help needed at MIT) – Like that “box of chocolates” you never know what you are going to get.Besides I really don’t care if “x” number of people decide they want to know about structuring the perfect non-compete agreement etc. And the fact is that will only include people who speak up and only be confirmed by people who speak up. (Who speaks for those who don’t speak up!)Not to mention the fact that getting a bunch of suggestions can be overwhelming and create negative dissonance (because you have the feeling you aren’t able to give people what they want and that makes you feel bad).The way I look at it. Which was the original reason for what I said.I’m not disagreeing with you that it might be a positive for some or all readers. But not for “daddy” necessarily.

  62. ShanaC

    oh, you