The Grind

People ask me what a day in the life of a VC is like. Each one is different. But they can be a grind. Take yesterday for example.

I started yesterday at 8am with a breakfast meeting. I ended around 8:15pm when I wrapped up a pitch meeting in my office. In between those two meetings I did ten other meetings for a total of twelve meetings in a bit more than twelve hours.

Of those twelve meetings, one was a three hour board meeting, one was a breakfast meeting with another venture investor, one was a lunch meeting to talk about CS Ed in NYC, four were pitch meetings, one was an interview with a journalist about the future of VC, one was a call to discuss board subcommittee work, one was a meeting with regulatory consultants for bitcoin and other payments systems, one was a negotiation on the windup of a seventeen year old VC transaction, and one was a visit to my dermatologist for a regular checkup.

In the middle of all that went down due to an apache config issue somewhere and I was debugging it via email and kik. I think I've got a temporary fix working and now I need to find out what the culprit is and get it fixed.

Before starting my day yesterday, I got up at 5am and read, blogged, and did email for 2 hours and 45 minutes before taking a quick shower and going to breakast.

After ending my day, I met my son for sushi at Chez Sardine. After dinner, I went home and went to bed around 11:30pm.

Depending on your perspective, my day yesterday will either seem stimulating or exhausting. It is both. I love my job. I get to meet amazing people and learn about awesome things every day. But the cost of that is meeting marathons where you have to be alert, active, and on your game in every one.

My goal is to give every entrepreneur as good of a meeting as I possibly can. A second goal is to give as many entrepreneurs as possible an opportunity to meet with me and pitch me if they want to do that. That requires many days like yesterday. And that can be a grind.

The goal of this post is not to complain or whine. I hope it doesn't come across that way. The goal, as always, is to "open the kimono". To give you a hint of the mindset of the person you are going to meet with today (or someday) and understand what their day is like and how they are coming into the meeting. Do us all a favor and give us a good meeting too. It helps. A lot.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Scott Barnett

    You get up a 5am, not 5pm, I hope :-)So, if 5.5 hours of sleep your “normal” amount of time? Do you sleep more on the weekends?And where was exercise in your day? 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will fix that. 5.5 is light. i try to get 6.5 and 8 on the weekends.i was supposed to do yoga yesterday but my favorite class is 7am to 8am and the 8am breakfast meant i couldn’t do that.i’m headed out on a bike ride now and will do yoga tomorrow.i try to do yoga 2-3 times a week and a bike ride 2-3 times a week

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I meant to suggest to you to look into yoga nidra, mainly breathing exercises, which can be a very quick way to re-energize / re-vitalize (not meaning to use hype words, though they are properly used here).

  2. andyidsinga

    hey. ..its quiet in here 🙂

  3. awaldstein

    Without some investment thesis to tie all of these disparate inputs together and without enough flexibility to let in something new, you have alphabet soup each and ever day.I’m in awe.

    1. fredwilson

      i might be alphabet soupthankfully we do have an investment thesis and a partnership that keeps me focused

  4. Mark Birch

    A three hour board meeting? Hopefully that is the exception and not the rule…Oh, and the “open the kimono” phrase is probably an expression best left out of one’s writing.

    1. Yalim K. Gerger

      I loved the phrase “to open the kimono”. It’s powerful. Hits you right in the face and perfectly describes what AVC is all about. It actually would make a hell of a title for this post. If only I could avoid the visual that flashed in my head when I read it. :-).

        1. Donna Brewington White

          You HAD to know this would become a topic with this gang.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Imagine Kate Upton, not Fred.

        1. Yalim K. Gerger

          :-))))) Much better… In case anyone needs any help for imagining Kate Upton opening her kimono:

    2. fredwilson

      three hour board meeting is about averagei put quotations around “open the kimono”it is a phrase, a cliche, commonly used http://english.stackexchang

      1. Mark Birch

        Or this…The only reason that I call out the phrase is that in certain situations it has been taken rather negatively as an overtly sexist term. I have seen people go ballistic over this.As for me, being in the enterprise software business for quite some time, I frankly just got tired of this bit of overused business jargon. I think Dick was right to ask you for that $1 😉

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          “To go ballistic” – in certain situations it has been taken rather negatively as an overtly sexist term.Sometimes people need to get over themselves and deal with it – or should I say “grow a pair”

          1. Mark Birch

            There is a favorite quote of mine from 1 Corinthians 8:”Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”Maybe we can be more aware of our language and not have good people simply “grow a pair”. Certainly we can do whatever we like, but often that is not the most productive path.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            A good spot – and I consider myself reproved…- to take the care to be gentle makes more of the man !”Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”and perhaps best James 3:1″If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! “Which I guess is your point entirely !

          3. LE

            “Maybe we can be more aware of our language and not have good people simply “grow a pair”.”My personal preference is “grow a set”.

          4. Mark Birch

            That is a better suggestion, I do admit…

        2. David Semeria

          Revealing kimonos make my sporran go all fluffy.

        3. LE

          “”open the kimono” phrase is probably an expression best left out of one’s writing.””that in certain situations it has been taken rather negatively as an overtly sexist term”I think that by the time someone gets to Fred’s age and/or position in life they are quite willing to take the consequences of using the wrong phrase or word (as viewed by someone else since people get offended by the weirdest things). He’s not a politician who needs to walk on eggshells.And if you start to question what you write being afraid of being criticized it will hurt creativity.As far as that expression goes I’ve seen it many times used in a business context with no problems.

          1. Mark Birch

            “I think that by the time someone gets to Fred’s age and/or position in life”Not to belabor this point on language, but age and/or position is not an excuse in any circumstance. It brings to mind all of the Paula Deen defenders. While there is not the same weight here, it is not an appropriate phrase to use in a business setting when you start to delve into the actual origins of the phrase.The reason you have heard that phase used often without issue is 1) meetings attended predominantly by men and 2) those that are offended or uncomfortable (generally women) tend not to speak up. The use of language and the context of environment has powerful consequences in terms of power dynamics between men and women in the workplace.Ultimately, Fred can obviously do what he wants just as any person can. It was simply a point I brought up that this phrase is not merely any old phrase and that he might want to be aware of that. Like any suggestion, you can take or leave it, and given the community on AVC, most will probably leave it. But there are plenty of folks that do read his blog and I believe Fred has been sincere about his desire to foster a diverse community of people and ideas.It is not about eggshells or being a politician or even about stifling creativity. It is about using language that is inclusive rather than language that is a barrier.

          2. Trish Fontanilla

            I didn’t want to pull the Asian woman in tech/business card, but this stuff drives me insane. I’m always told to “let it go”, and most of the time I do. I mean, especially when I’ve got no one to back me up… but I did want to say thanks, Mark. You made my day. 🙂

          3. LE

            1) First, more on this if anyone is interested, at least one person’s point of view:…2) From what I understand about the Paula Deen circumstances I feel bad for what happened to her. I think in a country where we have free speech someone admitting to what she said should not result in what happened to her. Remembering of course that this is the same country where the President can admit to having taken illegal drugs (as well as perhaps one or two ex presidents). Seems we forgive some people but not for certain things. People make mistakes. People are raised differently. I was raised to respect women but I can’t say that I was raised to respect all different types of people.3) I’ve told the story where my ex wife went out on a sales appointment and had two men say to her “your tits look good in purple” (her shirt color). It didn’t bother me I just wanted to make sure she got the order. It didn’t bother her either. I guess I must be a pig or something or there must be something wrong with me. I’ve never done anything like that (wasn’t the way I was raised) as I said. But I just didn’t care that they said that. Have I made private jokes to other men regarding women? Sure. The object of humor is to be funny. As long as it’s done with the expectation of privacy it’s ok in general.4) When I said “age” I’m referring to the fact that he can do whatever he wants because of his age. Not that the reason he is doing it is because of his age.5) You’ve raised valid points as far as how this may bother some people. Although I have no statistics on the percentage of people who might be actually bothered by it. So I am going to say that phrase to people I run into and ask them what they think of it.6) Fred already somewhat waters down what he says for obvious reasons. One of the great things though is that he has commenters that are around to say things that he is not able to say.7) Men do say in private things about women that men wouldn’t want them to hear. Ntim, women do the same thing regarding men.

      2. ShanaC

        why are they so long

        1. Salt Shaker

          “Why are they so long?”:Are you referring to Fred’s meeting or his “open the Kimono” comment??

          1. JimHirshfield

            You’re naughty.

          2. ShanaC


          3. Donna Brewington White

            That did not deserve a response.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          A lot depends on how frequently the board meets. I was on a nonprofit board with monthly meetings and these went two hours — everything from strategy, to fundraising, to HR issues, compensation decisions, policy development, changes to the bylaws, financial decisions (leasing property, buying equipment)– granted this was a “working board” — another board met annually (or it might have been semiannually) and our meetings went two days. The larger the board, and the more people weighing in, the longer the meetings can go. If you have subcommittees making presentations to the entire board, this also impacts the amount of time needed.BTW, sent IRL Edna photo via email this time — did you receive it?

          1. Mark Birch

            Very true, with larger boards and more personalities to manage and more mature businesses/organizations, longer meetings are the norm. I have been in a fair number of them myself. The term that seems most appropriate here would be a mind numbing.The problem however is that they are not very productive and I often suspected that 2/3 of the meeting blather could be eliminated without any loss in information. And I am probably underestimating.My point is that with startups, particularly in the early stages with fewer board members, the length of meetings should be shorter and more streamlined. Not saying that long meetings are the fault of the board members necessarily, but that it should be better managed by the CEO.

          2. markslater

            my board meetings are 2-3hours – consistent.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Have ‘virtual’ Board meetings using, say,Disqus. So, for each agenda item, havean initial statement such as Fred’s here.Then have everyone who wants a say contribute.It’s all in just words (graphs, etc.) withno role for facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, volume ofvoice, etc., and it’s always crystalclear just what was and was notsaid. Sounds like progress to me!Also save on the travel expenses.Right, a three hour meeting mighttake three days with Disqus. Okay,

          4. Donna Brewington White

            I love the pragmatism behind this suggestion. But some of the best fights I’ve witnessed have been at board meetings. Worth the airfare! BTW, these were fights between people who then sat next to each other at dinner.Also, many of the people I know who are on boards are of a generation that barely trusts email, let alone the tools that would allow for a virtual meeting. Maybe different in the startup world where people are more techno savvy.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            As I make progress with my software, I seespending more time working with otherscoming like a locomotive at 90 MPH just100 yards away. Yet I will have to stayon that train track, that is, will stillhave to spend more time working withothers.Here at AVC onJul 29, 2013we discussedMentor/Investor WhiplashI can see it now: On one day unplannedinterruptions have already got my sleepdown to six hours; now somementor/investor whiplash is about to taketwo more; and I lose it like a bad meal,am too frustrated to say somethingdiplomatic like I have an appointment totake my kitty cat to the vet, hit thetable, make a loud, ugly sound, and justwalk out.I did post on the threadMentor/Investor Whiplashabout a frustrating, useless meeting in aGeorgetown U. library conference room.More generally, my experience in meetingshas been multiple chapters in the theaterof the absurd.I’m already just terrified of having toreport to a Board, in case I do, thatdoesn’t understand the core technology ofmy company or the implications of thattechnology for the future of my company,and from nearly, although not quite all, Iknow about business meetings I’mespecially afraid, as just good judgment,of the risk of a Board meeting discussiongetting off the smooth, wide, high speedroad, heading for a swamp, and gettingreally stucko with a good chance of justsinking the company. Walk into themeeting with a company going great, andfor no good reason, as if some aliens hadinfected the brains of nearly everyonethere, at the end of the meeting thecompany is toast.From what I have seen, much of whymeetings can go bad is the combination of(1) high emotions and (2) unclearcommunications. E.g., person A can try tosay something, and then the meeting can gointo a swamp where really no one reallyknows what person A actually said orintended to say, and there’s no easy wayto find out.And then there’s the one, person A triesto make a simple point but person B, withhis ego challenged, deliberatelyinterrupts, talking loudly, just talksover person A until A stops talking. Eachtime person A starts to say something,person B just loudly talks over them. Andthat’s not the worst that can happen.Yes, I know, one approach is to take someof the standard lessons in how to chairand tightly control a meeting, e.g., withan agenda, maybe Robert’s Rules of Order,time limits on discussions, a rule that nodecisions made will be final, etc. Inother words, just eviscerate all potentialconsequences of the meeting. Then themeeting is a waste of time but, at least,does no harm.Whose the manager, maybe Amazon’s Bezos,who starts each meeting with, maybe, 20minutes of required silent reading of agiven issues paper. So, he’s trying tocalm down the emotions and increase theprecision of the communications and therole of rationality.If you like to see fights in meetings,terrific: Sell tickets! Maybe I’ll buyone. But I don’t want to be in the fightor have anything important for medepending on the outcome.Partly I was joking about just turning itall over to Disqus, but I’m actuallyentertaining it.I’ve had more extreme ideas: Before themeeting, I distribute an issues paper andinclude some associated exercises. Onlypeople with good scores on the exercisesget to come to the meeting. Of course afavorite exercise will be to write acareful mathematical proof that there areno countably infinite sigma algebras! Evenif I don’t do that, I won’t be too shyabout getting into the strong law of largenumbers, completeness in Hilbert space,the polar decomposition, the diningphilosopher’s problem, the renewal theoremand the Poisson process, etc.Once I was in a meeting about systembackup. I got told that I could justmount a tape, let the backup job write tothe tape overnight, and have the backup inthe morning. That was some “advice” and”mentoring”. No, I didn’t grab the guy bythe throat, wrestle him to the ground, andthrow his limp, dead body into the hall.Why tempted? The disk stored up to 300million bytes, and the tape stored lessthan 46,080,000 bytes. Some advice.Later I was in a high end meeting toselect a new CIO for a large organization,tens of thousands of people. I brought atape to the meeting. My first question tothe candidate was how much data the tapecould store. I didn’t look away, blink,look ashamed, pretend to be kidding, ordrop my intensity. I insisted on ananswer. Of course the silent consensus ofthe meeting was that my question was rude,impertinent, insulting, combative, etc.Right. But the question was fullyrelevant, and I was fully serious. No waywas I going to go along having a CIO comein who didn’t know basic data capacities.Period. Indeed, I’d just taught agraduate course with emphasis on speeds,capacities, and costs.A Disqus thread could do well separatingthe gold from the mud and gravel, thewheat from the chaff, the baby from thebathwater, whatever more crude analogiesthat could be invented. Good Disqusthreads and Hacker News threads move tothe contributors being fairly carefulabout what they post if only because thedisk storage remembers. And people startgiving references supporting their points,etc. Overall, the quality level of thecommunications is significantly higherthan with just group, oral communications.If I get my company up and running, I maydevelop a very short fuse with BS.

      3. JLM

        .I think it is particularly inappropriate given the Mayoral race in the Big Apple.I think that Mr Weiner should close his kimono?Only in NYC could someone be offended by that phrase and contemplate voting for such a pervert as Weiner.JLM.

        1. Elie Seidman

          Weiner has a weinercam under the kimono so closing it won’t solve the problem.

  5. Mac

    What a wonderfully filling and fulfilling day with family, friends and co-workers….while doing what you love.Hopefully a hint to the wise is sufficient.

  6. Ed Freyfogle

    Hi Fred,I’d be curious to learn how you prepare for these meetings. How much time does that cost? I’m presuming for at least some (for example the 17 year old transaction) you need to first get yourself back up to speed, or coordinate your position with others in your team. Do you prepare at all for pitch meetings? Do you research the people you’ll be meeting with? Just curious, as I find to get the most out of a meeting I typically need to do at least some preparation.

    1. fredwilson

      i do not prepare enough to be honest. a few minutes before the meeting is usually all i do. except for the board meetings. there i spend at least 30 mins in advance

  7. David Smuts

    I think you need to get some Yoga in Fred 🙂 It’s all well and good burning all cylinders so long as occasionally the vehicle (your mind and body) get some recovery time.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. missed it this week. but i will get some in this weekend.

  8. William Mougayar

    Re: “Give us a good meeting.” What is a “good meeting”?

    1. jason wright

      gone for a bike ride, but we could speculate while waiting.a good meeting?if it’s a pitch the mvp needs to demonstrate viability, that it does in fact work. then having a clear and unambiguous investment proposition.productive = good

    2. Mark Birch

      3 hour meetings…hard to see how that is productive.Now I have been in my fair share of these, but now I cap all meetings at one hour except in the rarest of situations. The reason is that a long length of time tends to create situations that encourage 1) opportunities for participants to fill that time and 2) bad human behaviors (e.g. ego puffery, passive aggressiveness, daydreaming, smartphone peeping, etc.). Plus. it is simply too hard to people to maintain high levels of focus for such extended periods of time.A good meeting? Comes with a focused agenda, attendees are all relevant and participate, and specific actions come out of meeting. And more importantly, it is time capped at an hour.

    3. andyswan

      bring pappy

      1. pointsnfigures

        had one where I received some Angel’s Envy bourbon. That was a good meeting.

        1. andyswan

          That’s awesome though I am not a fan of that “bourbon”. Everyone likes being brought a bottle.Andy

      2. William Mougayar


    4. LE

      To me a “good day” (at work) is a day when I accomplish things and make progress and don’t waste time.

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s a good definition. I also found the more browser windows I keep open, the less productive I am. I’m trying to discipline myself to staying under 6, but it’s hard.

    5. fredwilson

      where i walk out with my brain popping

      1. William Mougayar

        Good one. You focus on the outcome.

  9. Dave W Baldwin

    This goes well with your occasional post regarding your reading of emails, there is only so much one can do at one time.BTW, the open kimono is good term. On recent float, I had plenty of lassies ask if I had anything on under the kilt…

  10. LIAD

    hectic days, in moderation, are great. constant buzz. foot on the gas. rushing around. lashings of brain food. compounding momentum.everyone is an adrenaline junky – we’re just the white-collar variety.when the time comes to look back over our lives, we’ll remember passion driven grind-days a lot more fondly than the days we spent sitting on our fat-asses, watching TV eating potato chips.

  11. jason wright

    “one was a meeting with regulatory consultants for bitcoin and other payments systems”how did that go?

    1. pointsnfigures has bitcoin vs national currency charts on its site!

      1. jason wright

        interesting charts. almost art.

    2. fredwilson


      1. jason wright

        is it so that your investments are fully compliant with regulation, or is it lobbying to influence the future regulatory environment? all crumbs gratefully received.

        1. fredwilson


          1. jason wright

            Thai GOV bans all bitcoin activity.

      2. jason wright

        ‘Committee for the Establishment of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority’http://info.datauthority.or…a bit wordycartel time

  12. John Saddington

    Random… have you ever considered WordPress? Have you written about your blogging technology decision? Thanks in advance!

    1. kidmercury

      CMS lock in is the most powerful force of all. fred’ll be on typepad or whatever this is for the next 50 years.

      1. markslater

        ha!its the publishing OS lock in syndrome!

      2. John Saddington

        sigh. 😛

    2. fredwilson

      see today’s blog post

      1. John Saddington

        thanks fred!

  13. JimHirshfield

    Dermatology test results are in: you have tough skin; few calluses; no flakes.

    1. fredwilson

      and a thing on my nose the doctor wants to freeze off

      1. jason wright

        i had a wort they froze off my finger. it worked very well, and the wort never grew back. the finger didn’t fall off.

      2. JimHirshfield

        Better that than the whole nose to spite your face 😉

  14. JT

    It’s probably always nice when you the person you are meeting with says: “Here, have a cronut.”

    1. fredwilson


  15. Dave Pinsen

    You said recently you sometimes feel like sleeping in and then having a late breakfast at your favorite cafe. Which one is that?

    1. fredwilson

      it depends. but sitting outside at pastis in the summer is awesome

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Okay, I’ll go there in your stead sometime this summer.

  16. Guest

    That is awesome. Those are the kinds of days where you feel tired in your bones. I love that feeling *sometimes*.Where is the harmony though?

  17. kutandor

    thanks !

  18. Dale Patterson

    Grit & Grind!

    1. btrautsc


      1. Dale Patterson


  19. Trish Fontanilla

    I appreciate this post, Fred (minus the open kimono bit – always hated that phrase). 🙂 I always say, if you really wanna show respect, respect the person’s time.

  20. Richard

    Know your audience. Thanks.

  21. Guest

    The reason I typically only ask for 20 minutes is 1) because of that schedule 2) I’ve seen you at 4 with that faraway look in your eyes as one of our local startups bored you to tears and 3) it forces me to focus, which I struggle with, which leads to that faraway look too :)I wonder this: if you make a list of, say, two weeks of meetings, categorized them, ranked them in importance to job, personal, health, etc, and then again by value, could you come up with 20% you could simply cut out?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, after the fact

  22. John Revay

    “Before starting my day yesterday, I got up at 5am and read, blogged, and did email for 2 hours and 45 minutes before taking a quick shower and going to breakast.”You forgot posting favorite song of the day

    1. fredwilson

      oh yeah. that too.

  23. markslater

    I am probably a middle of the road entrepreneur at this stage…..Fascinated to hear what everyone else does – take yesterday…. here goes.- 5.30am seb and stella up (no choice!) – make brekky – check emails – dad time. – 7.30 Au pair up – walk to work- 8-9.30 day prep, emails, fired drills on issues from last night.- 9.30 company scrum (all hands stand up – day targets)- 9.40 post mortem on weekend promotion. big success.- 10.30 implementation kick off of key customer – playbook- 11.30-12.30 – me time (emails, lunch)- 12.30 UX /UI new app journeys and frames kickoff- 2pm – Tech Sprint review- 2.30 PM – long review of new financial model – financing deck with investors. – 4PM – one on one with COO – employee issues- 4.15PM further model review, walking up and down office – new partner discussion, metrics, general startup semi-tired chaos ensues. – 5.30 track and field for kids – dad runs 3.5m (1/2 marathon in Oct)- 7PM dinner, tub, bed for kids.- 8-11 – wife time… time….reading time…..Rinse, Repeat 5 days a week.There we go. Some days go exactly like this – others more chaotic, or quieter – but this is pretty typical.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Why not have the au pair get up when the kids get up so she can make them breakfast?

      1. markslater

        there are laws associated with legal au pairs. they are restricted to a certain amount of hrs per week.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          And yet no laws keep VCs like Fred from working 14+ hour days. Something is wrong with this picture.

          1. Mark Birch

            Well then, let’s just have a law that prevents anyone from working more than 35 hours per week.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Nope. I love to work. I love to produce stuff. Limiting it through rules is like telling others they can’t have a 20 oz soda (which I don’t drink). 😉

          3. JLM

            .Actually, they do have such a law. It’s called Obamacare and the limit is 29 hours per week.Take a look at the attached graph.JLM.

          4. Mark Birch

            Well, I was thinking France, but this is even closer to home…

          5. sigmaalgebra

            I am getting the distinct impression thatnearly everything Obama does is intendedfor some version of ‘political theater’ inthe MSM where the attention span is lessthan a month and that nearly nothing hedoes is intended to be real.For Obamacare, it has lasted longer, butmy impression now is that it was designedto be a ‘political theater’ and then to berepealed.A lot of people were happy when Obamacarepassed, and as people learn “what’s in it”even more people will be happy when it’srepealed. That’s a lot of happy people!How can that lose politically?Put lipstick on baby pigs, give them awayas house pets, and make lots of peoplehappy. When the pigs grow up, offer tobuy them back and make the people, andtheir neighbors, even happier. Can’tlose!The MSM have to love such ‘theater’because there is no end of easy ‘stories’they get to write.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Siggy, you’ve been saving up while you were away. You are coming back with a bang.

          7. sigmaalgebra

            Ah, got some software written! So,feel better!

          8. adustoor

            This graph actually seems to disprove the point you’re trying to make. The ACA passed in March 2010. As you can see in your graph, the rise in part time employment started in mid-2008 and accelerated throughout 2009 due to the recession. It’s clear the trend was well on its way before Obama was elected or entered office. If anything, there has been a slight downward trend in the part time employment figure since Obamacare’s passage.

    2. Tracey Jackson

      Good dad.

      1. LE

        A good dad is a dad that makes a living and can support his family and provide a role model for his kids and is there for important stuff.Many parents go for the low hanging fruit of parenthood. They are big on doing the events and popular culture things of quality time but would never think to spend time on something that is more important in the overall scheme of things.

        1. markslater

          not quite sure what to make of that.

    3. fredwilson

      good balance. well played

  24. ralphchu

    very inspiring. the only i would refuse to follow is to get up at 5am.

  25. harris497

    Thank you Fred. The other side’s 🙂 is a good perspective to have.

  26. John Frankel

    It is not work if it is your passion. It is your zen.

  27. JLM

    .That is a very long day, my friend.Considering the discussion on advice, do you want some advice? Do you?Slow the fuck down. You’re going to kill yourself.It is admirable that you work so hard. You are to be congratulated for that particularly because it is self motivated and driven. Good on you.Nothing you did yesterday will be prominently engraved on your tombstone (except maybe the “Dad” part at dinner).You know I mean well, right?JLM.

    1. LE

      “You’re going to kill yourself.”I disagree. The only thing I would say is that he will prematurely age and possibly invite health problems if he isn’t getting enough sleep. I think if he can get more sleep the schedule and activity is great! I work all the time because I like to work all the time. Other people think I work to much. [2] But one thing I do that others (who think I work to much) don’t do is I make sleep and exercise a priority over everything else. Everything. With that I am able to maintain perfect weight and appetite control and look younger than I am. And while like anyone else I could be diagnosed with something bad anytime the last checkup the doctor complemented me by saying “boring – nothing going on here”. (He was younger than me and clearly had to lose weight. Probably because he can’t control his appetite because of lack of sleep is my simplistic dx.)Most likely any stress that Fred feels could be as a result of perhaps family things which aren’t really “work” but in a sense more stressful than work.Say if Gotham Girl is making him feel guilty (“the hock”) for working or perhaps the stress of feeling he isn’t spending more time with his kids – things like that. Kind of like masturbatory guilt. As if something is wrong with working to much.You know what is stressful to me? I have to go this Sunday to a “unveiling” in a cemetery for a dead relative. [1] So I won’t work part of that day I will have to drive 1 hour, sit in the sun for 45 minutes, and drive back. (I’m not going to the house afterwords for food I’m blowing that off). I was going to not go at all but the stress of having to deal with my parents disappointment is actually worse than doing the obligation.[1] This isn’t the funeral it’s where they put the stone up about 1 year later after the funeral.[2] I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. “You study to much” “You work to much” “Come out and play with us” “He works all the time”. Everybody judging you by what they find important and how they spend their time.


      Nothing says Fred’s described days contained stress. His pace may well have been good “slow and steady”. Remember that wins the race!.I don’t see anywhere that Fred took the time to analyze the day’s work to see if there is a way to optimize..Fred, do you have any portfolio companies that provide efficiency enhancing tools that affect your day?

      1. JLM

        .Living in NYC is stress writ large.I never felt stress personally until I was 45 years old. And, I had been a professional soldier, paratrooper and Ranger. I just never felt it. It was likely there but it just never manifested itself.I was involved in a huge negotiation and was under the gun financially and one day I realized my heart was pounding. WTF?I started swimming at Barton Springs every day. A mile a day. A good hard, cold swim. Only in that way was I able to relieve the stress.Stress is real and it is a killer. When you start missing sleep and stretching out your day and eating on the run, the impact on your body is slow but cumulative.You have to develop good habits as a young person. As my wife says: “You will never have a heart attack, but you will give a lot of people heart attacks.” I hold nothing in on purpose.Trust me on this one.JLM.

        1. LE

          “and eating on the run”Yeah one thing I never ever did or do is eat on the run. I see all these salesman sitting in their car eating wolfing down sandwiches. To me having a meal with something to read is very relaxing and part of the day and feels great. If I can’t eat right I simply don’t eat at all. Which is easy to do if you maintain other balance with appetite control. In order to do this it’s necessary to plan the meal time out same as you would with a child and work everything else around that.

        2. Elie Seidman

          Good friend of mine lives in Austin. He went to Harvard. He’s real accomplished and smart and all that. Says to me “I don’t miss the NYC rat race or the pace – at all. My daughters are smart. They’ll go the local high school. It’s a good school. I’m sure they’ll figure out this whole life thing. In NYC we’d be applying to kindergarten and thinking about SAT prep. Can’t say I miss it”. I agree with you about NYC. And I live here.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            SAT prep? Questionable. My best SATscores were Math 768, Verbal 654. Why?Best I can tell, the math score was due tobeing totally in love with solvingproblems in plane geometry and otherwisereally liking all four years of math inhigh school. That seemed to be enough.For the verbal score, it went up over 100points after I did some adult levelreading and writing — again, seemed to beenough.I had no ‘SAT prep’ of any kind and was anot very good student (except for math andphysics) at a public high school in theOld South.It seems to me that the goal is a goodlife, and for that there’s much more thatis important than SAT scores. Indeed,with some very narrow exceptions, most ofwhat one needs to know is not in coursesin school.My guess is that the best preparation forlife a child can get is what wise, lovingadults — parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. — can slowly, carefully,gently, lovingly explain about life,people, happiness, accomplishment, theeconomy, etc.Yes, if are just determined to burn up thetrack on the ‘fast path to the top’, e.g.,Princeton PBK (assuming they have achapter), 1-3 of Harvard LLB, MD, MBA,high end, highly competitive first job, 84hours a week or so, then, sure, go for all800s on the SATs. Otherwise as far as Ican tell, points above 700 on SAT scoresand a dime won’t cover a 10 cent cup ofcoffee.I spent too much time around high endacademics and, thus, saw a lot of academicstars. One observation is, a surprisinglylarge fraction of those people had some’problems’ ranging from serious to muchworse and lives that were not good.Academics? Mixed, ranging from a littlereally bad, a lot of mediocrity, to alittle really good. So, need to pick andchoose.Net, to me, SAT prep sounds like a smallstep on a surprisingly short road to a tarpit.

          2. fredwilson

            i miss the NYC rat race after a few days away. but different strokes for different folks.

          3. Elie Seidman

            I’m the same way

          4. William Mougayar

            It’s obvious you do. It’s part of your energy intake.

    3. fredwilson

      i take your advice and hear it.i will say that not every day is like yesterdayand i am heading to the beach for a couple weeks late next week

      1. JLM

        .As a guy who at one time thought himself to be invincible, I can only say that my concern is only that you be VCing and writing for a long, long, long time. Selfish really.Beach time is not counted against your allotted days and body surfing runs the clock backwards.Be good to yourself, you deserve it.I have a rendezvous with some tarpon on Saturday at Key Largo.I have a hate-hate relationship with Messr Tar-pon.JLM.

  28. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    If you want a job done give it to a busy person

  29. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I see a number of people questioning how a three hour meeting can be productive.Yes we all know that a three hour meeting can be unproductive, but it can be that 3 hours are filled with 180 productive minutes and each minute can be worthwhile..The difficulty is only finding willing participants and engaging matters that matterAnd just for JLM…:)”If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewto serve your turn long after they are gone,and to hold on when there is nothing in youbut the will that says to them “hold on,”If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,or walk with kings nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,if all men count with you but none too much,If you can fill the unforgiving minutewith 60 seconds worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,and which is more, you’ll be a man, my son.”full text –

    1. JLM

      .Any day with a bit of Kipling worked in can only be a good day.Well played.JLM.

  30. Elia Freedman

    The other thing you are doing all day is gathering material for AVC!

    1. William Mougayar

      Exactly. All these interactions are a rich ground for things to write about.

      1. Elia Freedman

        I’ve been writing five days a week for almost two years until the past couple of months. I’m just not having enough external conversations to write something unique every day. It is amazing that Fred has been able to keep this up, especially given it is a side project.

        1. William Mougayar

          Definitely the more touch points there are, the more things percolate in your mind that you could be writing about.

    2. fredwilson

      for sure

  31. John Fazzolari

    In one day you are probably more productive and add more value through these meetings than most people do in a week or month. Not everybody can be an all star but America needs more people to be productive on a daily basis, regardless of what they’re doing. Think about all the guys that sit at their desks and read ESPN for 8 hours than commute for another 2. Systemic issues within the white collar office world will continue to slow down America’s progress until people are incentivized to do something. It’s awesome to see you continue to motivate others and contribute to society during the 4th quarter of your career.

  32. Donna Brewington White

    Interesting that you consider blogging and email as BEFORE you start your day. I would have factored that in as part of the day.It’s obvious when you are having a day like that because you don’t comment as much. I sometimes wonder where are you when you are responding to comments during the day and if it is considered to be work or taking a break.This invigorating, productive, inspiring, exhausting schedule makes me even more grateful for the opportunity to meet recently …and just a bit guilty. But I warned you that I didn’t have a pitch.

  33. baba12

    Seems like Fred has found purpose and meaning to his life, most are still trying to find that. As long as it does not affect your health and connections to people kudos to you Sir..It is enjoyable and worth it to you and as JLM says don’t kill yourself…

  34. pointsnfigures

    still having trouble accessing via Google Chrome.One of the reasons you are so busy is your success. If you weren’t successful, and didn’t write checks, no one would want to speak with you. I have the exact same attitude when it comes to entrepreneurs.One other thing I find that scores big points with entrepreneurs is integrity and honesty. My guess is in a meeting, if you don’t like the deal you tell them you don’t like it and why. I hate people that leave you hanging.And, if you want to come to Chicago and do a century, come ride the Wrigley Field Road Tour for African bike relief on August 24th. BoDeans play on the field afterward. Bring your mitt.

    1. fredwilson

      100 miles is a very long ride in my book!

  35. John Best

    Good insight Fred. I guess breaking the monotony is best for both parties. I would hazard a guess the “good meetings” are the ones that stick at the forefront of your mind too.

  36. Tracey Jackson

    Hopefully what people who come in and pitch to you and want responses both email and on funding take away from this is how much a busy person has on their plate. And how if you don’t get back to someone right away it’s not a dis or that you’re rude or it’s a no, it’s that it’s not the number one thing on your agenda at that moment. For many the only thought is likely “When will I hear back from Fred? Why can’t I get a meeting with Fred? Where is the email from Fred? My phone’s down to 13% What if Fred calls? And you can replace any busy person’s name here. People need to understand while you and your response may the be the most important thing on their mind, it’s not on yours.I tell my job seeking daughter this all the time, you are one meeting in a day of 15. It’s everything to you and a bottom item on the to think about list to them. Sometimes….sometimes people get lucky.

    1. LE

      “I tell my job seeking daughter this all the time, you are one”Make sure she understands though that with men she should stay away from anyone who doesn’t find her as important as she finds them.

  37. kidmercury

    too many meetings occur in life. you all need to be a bit more misanthropic. ya’ll could learn something from me.

  38. Jamyn

    I was one of Fred’s last meetings yesterday, at 630pm. I apologised for keeping him late and he let us know we weren’t even his last appt. I felt bad for extending his day, but he is so generous with his time, especially for entrepreneurs. I’d expected 30 mins, he gave us an hour. And in that time, he gave us terrific guidance and great perspective. We were not even pitching him for financing, so it was an even more gracious of him and a perfect exemplar of him supporting the community. Thanks, Fred. I hope you know people appreciate the efforts you make.

    1. fredwilson

      i hope i gave a good meeting Jamyn. i am going to figure out a hack to the dash app this weekend so i can prove once and for all that the Gotham Gal is not a better driver than i am. i think that may prove to be the killer use case for your app. settling petty marital scores 🙂

  39. LaVonne Reimer

    You saved the best for last!

  40. vankula

    Fred, I’d be interested in the amount of notes and follow ups you personally have coming out of a marathon day like this. So how much work does a day like this create for you in the future? Or does your main value lie in your attendance and your real time comments and feedback?A day like this seems extra extra exhausting if you have 15 minutes of follow up work for every meeting hour you attend.

    1. fredwilson

      i try to do it in the moment or i won’t get to itthat’s why i pass on a lot of deals in the meetingthat way i don’t have to do it later

  41. Conrad Ross Schulman

    FRED The Dermatologist doesn’t count! LMAO

  42. Guest

    where you at avc-community?

    1. Esayas Gebremedhin

      I use this one to check where we are. It’s from Csikszentmihalyi.

  43. Paul Ottaviano

    Awake at 5:00 a.m. sounds like the hardest thing.

  44. stgarrity

    This reminds me of an old post almost a decade ago by David Hornik (…, and more importantly of the humorous “retort” from a portfolio CEO … worth a quick read for a laugh!…(sharing this just for humor and not to make a point…Fred already said it wasn’t intended to be whiny!)

  45. Tom Labus

    On that note, I’m going to lay down

  46. William Mougayar

    Fred, One thing you do very well is to compartmentalize the various work items on your plate. I’m just guessing that you dive in and out and can switch context pretty well, and multi-task when needed, like yesterday on Kik.

    1. fredwilson

      i think i have found the culprit of the avc bug. will know for sure today. thanks for the help yesterday.

  47. davidhclark

    Respect! When the time comes, an outstanding meeting will be given.

  48. jimmystone

    Great stuff.

  49. David Petersen

    The downtime would be more stressful to me than the rest of the day combined, times 10.

  50. rajeshkt

    Sometimes we (entrepreneurs) forget that VCs are also humans and most of them have genuine interest in . Thanks for peek into the human side of the VC life. I guess “give us a good meeting to” is the message I am going to print & frame.

  51. Jess

    I get your point. You’re a busy and dedicated professional with a lot on your plate. That being said, let’s keep our perspective. The real grind is the middle class worker with a mortgage, credit card debt and no savings to speak of. The real grind is the working poor with no prospect of economic security or advancement. The real grind (to a lesser extent) is the entrepreneur who has sacrificed everything (health, time, family, money) to try to make something from nothing and realize her crazy dream.I’m certain that all of these folks would gladly trade in teir grind for yours. Let’s be thankful for what we have.

    1. Bear

      To be fair Jess, Fred does point out this isn’t meant to be a whinge in his last paragraph. Take another look

  52. Bear

    So the question is Fred… is this a typical day for a VC? Or are you putting in longer days than your peers?

    1. fredwilson

      Probably typical for the ones that are winning

  53. Sean Hull

    Hard work. But gratifying it sounds like.I’d say a lot of solo-preneurs can relate to your day quite a bit. I know I can. I’ve been in business since 1996, and can’t count the number of days that were *half* over when I left the office.Great post Fred.

  54. bdonnelly

    Great post. I could not go to bed at 11:30am and get up at 5am. Need more sleep.

  55. badboyboyce

    Thanks for sharing Fred: grateful to get a glimpse into what your daily routine looks like. Personal inspiration to work a little bit longer and harder each day.

  56. AD

    The phrase “opening the kimono” is very offensive…

  57. Laurel Staples

    I am so glad you wrote this post because it paints a real-life picture of what [a successful] entrepreneurial life can be like. Many people want to quit their 9-to-5’s thinking that the grass is greener when you run your own business, but sometimes it’s just different grass. In the end, I think you demonstrate that you really have to have a deep passion for what you do to get through the day-to-day of it. Love it!

  58. Indus Web Solutions

    Nice dear

  59. Donna Brewington White

    I would love to have that NYC lifestyle a week each month. But maybe because I live in SoCal where things are even more laid back than where you are. Sometimes I crave the energy of NYC. For a week then back to the beach. :)Although the friends part is the same for me even here. Barely see them.Glad to hear the move was positive for you. I hope you are doing well, Kelly.

  60. awaldstein

    NY lifestyle is as real as you want it to be…nothing more.@JLM:disqus and @donnawhite:disqus have to smile and disagree with you both big time.Fred’s day here is someone else’s day in LA or SF. Or Paris or London. It’s not NYC, it life as it is defined and lived.And Fred’s life as this community is hardly a norm. And hardly defined as place.NYC is what you make it to be. How you arrange your life whether you live in Cobble Hill, Williiamsburg, TriBeCA or wherever.There is nothing any more wondrous than having a world of things to do, a subway token away, for everyone. People live here and never do anything but work, go to museums and walk in the parks.It wasn’t NY you don’t miss, its your life you lived here. Not the same thing to millions of others. That’s what makes this place so cool.For me, lived everywhere for every, especially on planes. Moving back was moving home. Couldn’t be happier.

  61. Donna Brewington White

    Yes, Kelly, definitely, let’s! I will move things around.

  62. fredwilson


  63. awaldstein

    ABSOLUTELY!I was not implying otherwise.