Tech Circle

I have found it increasingly difficult to find blogs and blog posts by regular bloggers who are talking about things that are interesting to me. The big aggregators (Hacker News, Reddit, Techmeme) sometimes surface interesting posts, but where do you find about the every day blogger who is writing about tech stuff? The idea of a blog roll seems to have come and gone. I stopped running a blog roll here at AVC at least six or seven years ago.

So starting today, I am participating in a new service operated by our portfolio company Zemanta called Tech Circle. There will be a widget at the end of every post with some links to posts by bloggers who are similar to me. 

If you want to join the Tech Circle, let Zemanta know here. And if you'd like to start a different kind of circle, you can let them know about that too.

I am excited to give this a try. I hope all of you are too.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. Guest


  2. Anne Libby

    The widget link doesn’t work…(and, done!)

    1. Bostjan Spetic

      which link doesnt work?

      1. Anne Libby

        Fred’s link, above, “If you want to see the Tech Circle widget, click here.”

        1. Bostjan Spetic

          hm, works for me …

          1. Anne Libby

            It takes me back to Fred’s post. Weird.

  3. takingpitches

    Giving it a try!

  4. Michael Shafrir

    I miss the old Geocities webrings which brought you to random pages of similar topics (in my case, back in the day, Dave Matthews Band and Phish websites). Can’t tell you how many amazing small, fan-run sites I discovered that way.

  5. awaldstein

    How valuable this is depends on how smart the curation is.If I click on this and it takes me to Brad Feld, who needs it. The idea is NOT to be insular and close the loop even tighter.If I click on this and it surfaces the extended tail of people (not rock stars) who are looking at things from unique and personal vantage points, I’m in. Of someone, like a city planner who is writing about UX from a street level, I’m really in.And I”m game to participate.

    1. leigh

      I agree. Conceptually i like the idea bc i find it also difficult to find blogs to read. And i get frustrated seeing other people’s ideas (who are more on the fringe and less rock star like) taken and recycled as their own. I guess that is the way of the Web but it’s depressing. If something like this could get a bigger newer audience for those more hidden conversations, then i think it’s a good thing.

      1. William Mougayar

        I agree. Lots of plagiarizing going on. That’s tacky.It’s one thing to add to, complement, refer to, advance others ideas, but it’s another thing to recycle without attribution.

        1. LE

          “Lots of plagiarizing going on.”I would be curious to see some examples of that if you have any that come to mind.Do you mean that an A list blogger is literally ripping off the ideas of a person w/o any reputation or a particular following?

          1. William Mougayar

            No, what I have seen is actually the opposite. Lesser known/popular bloggers taking from the A’s. I tend to ignore these, and pass. I can show you an example in private.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I’ve thought through this problem a lot. I think I have a few solutions I want to implement into my broader plans. The “Tech Circle” idea is in the right direction.

    2. Cam MacRae

      Right. And if Fred is Becker it needs to surface a Posner on a post by post basis etc..

      1. awaldstein

        Not sure I get this.

        1. Cam MacRae

          See: http://www.becker-posner-bl…There’s no value in the echo-chamber. As you say, there is immense value in considered opinion from unique and personal vantage points.

          1. awaldstein

            Got it! Thanks.

    3. William Mougayar

      Yup, it will depend on their curation and “admission” strategy. It’s tough to completely eradicate overlap. We get hit broadside from so many angles.

      1. awaldstein

        It goes deeper than that to me William.The reason why this is a good idea is because celebs become heroes and heroes drive links and raise to the top. So true in the tech/funding/startup world.That’s life.But it’s also boring. If you read ten tech blogs you have gone around the bases twice.How can you curate for serendipity not curate for connect-the-dot relevance is the the wall to climb.More of the same is just just more of the same.This is a big win if they find a new way.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Will we know when we find it though, the new way..

  6. Ryan Laubscher

    Looking forward to giving this a try.It sounds a little like being able to follow the ‘Lists’ on Twitter of a blogger whose content you enjoy consuming and passing on. Albeit for blog posts only, which is the differentiating factor that I really like about this concept.

  7. leigh

    Much smarter use of circles. Still find google circles a bit of a waste (beyond SEO)

  8. William Mougayar

    That’s a smart approach. I like this statement from Zemanta “we believe that every great post deserves to reach its total potential audience.”It’s like a semi-curated / semi-automated content referral network. I just joined the Tech Circle.Do they plan to be selective with a limited quantity of circles with depth and quality in each, or do they want thousands of potentially overlapping ones?

    1. CJ

      How can you curate without limiting the fringe view which seems to be the main draw.

      1. William Mougayar

        I think you can curate at the top level for quality, then let the posts flow accordingly. The post is the key currency they are helping to surface, not the blog.

        1. mosjef

          Yes. This.

    2. mosjef

      Thanks, @wmoug:disqus. The concept of ‘total potential audience’ is core to what we do at Zemanta. We’re just at the start of this Circle experiment and will have to see where it takes us. Right now we’re starting small hoping to spark great conversations like this one and to introduce readers to new writers, posts and ideas. Ultimately it comes down to the individual writers and how they want to self-organize (with our help facilitating). There could be big Circles, little Circles and maybe a rhombus or two in the mix 🙂

  9. ShanaC

    I’m not seeing it. Unfortunately for the Internet, the fact that it is a bunch of small neighborhoods starts to show pretty quickly when trying to stay head. f anything, the Internet is just a vetting machine for what already is happening

    1. CJ

      That’s a huge problem considering what it COULD be.

  10. Humberto


  11. baba12

    Mr.Wilson did you read this would hope that reading only stuff that is similar to what you are like or topics that interest you tends to put you in a comfort zone. I think it is good to read about stuff that may not be on the wavelength as ones own thoughts. It seems to me that a lot of the blogs seem to regurgitate the stuff, few words change and possibly the look and design of the presentation changes. Critical thinking around technology related blogs seem to be lacking and a herd mentality seems to exist.Also most of the writers don’t want to write anything lest they may cause some friction. Wish people had more cojones and wrote more from their heart and passion instead of trying to find ways to write to suit SEO related tweaking.

    1. CJ

      I think this is what he’s looking to avoid.

  12. Dave W Baldwin

    Interesting. Since I don’t write a blog, me no qualify. Good luck.

    1. Tom Labus

      Yes, there should be a spot for “readers”

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        I don’t know. I mean, if you had readers, couldn’t you ask them their favorite location and then build up trackable audience for marketing?

  13. Bruce Warila

    I have run into the same problem with finding great articles.. On Twitter, I only follow people that tweet infrequently and that regularly post links to interesting articles. This is working better than I would have expected a year ago. However, RSS (via Digg Reader) is still my number one source for articles.

  14. Rohan

    Happy birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Fred! Hope you manage to switch off from all things VC and celebrate!

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      Greeting +1

    2. Aaron Klein

      Happy birthday Fred. Thanks for being such a great bartender.

    3. Dale Allyn

      Nice, Rohan.Happy birthday Fred. I migrated to a new computer recently and haven’t reset some calendar alarms (e.g. your b-day), so it’s lucky we have Rohan. 😉

    4. Mark Essel

      Oh ha, just stopped in randomly. Happy Bday Fred.Dig the discovery option for a blog roll, how does the pattern matching work or get updated?

      1. ShanaC

        i feel like I haven’t seen you in a while

        1. Mark Essel

          True enough, unfortunately I just glance/skim titles and check comments when I have a free moment. Hope alls well in your world Shana :D, always enjoy learning from AVC’ers and catching up.My blog reading and commenting has dropped off severely, around the time I stopped writing myself (busy with a startup, that eats up the lions share of my conscious hours).

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Ha! I just tweeted a HB to Fred knowing I was off by a day or so. You are so good at this. You will never forget your anniversary. Wait… are you married yet?

      1. Rohan

        Last month. 🙂

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Congratulations, my dear!I have been SO remiss. I am so sorry. When you come down off the clouds a bit and I get my oldest shipped off to college, would love to have a skype chat — without noisy kids in the background this time! xoxo

          1. Rohan

            Aww. thanks Donna!I look forward to that! 🙂 Happy shipping!

  15. falicon

    I find my serendipity these days mostly via twitter and my service.The twitter stream gets me to things my circle is talking about and the stream gets me to things the tech world as a whole is talking about/debating in the last 24 hours.I find these two simple things more than fill the amount of time I have for ‘discovery’ of great content right now…but since AVC is a daily read for me, I’m sure I’ll dip into this new thing from time to time as well. So thanks!

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      this very same blog post is already listed on your … good one Kevin.

      1. falicon

        heh – the system is 100% automated. It just shows the latest posts from the past 24 hours (sorted by those with the most comments) from the, reddit technology, and hacker news systems…Fred’s posts usually end up at the top of the list by the end of the day because he has so many comments every day…but a few hacker news threads tend to give him a run for his money from day to day…yesterday there was one about rewriting an entire system in the Go programming language that I especially enjoyed the conversation around (… )I only dip into the service once or twice a day myself…but every time I do, I find something interesting to read and a meaty conversation to dig into as well (if I have the time of course).

    2. baba12

      when we tend to only be reading,discussing,debating and talking about what your circle is involved in we get more and more marginalized in that form smaller and smaller groups of similarly thinking folks. What ends up is then the ability to find middle ground goes away as we don’t entertain ideas and thoughts from those not in our circle.We are currently having that in Congress with the way we have redistricted the country in ways that are not healthy.

      1. falicon

        Yep – this was something I spent almost all of 2011 thinking about and working on with my initial product (was my only focus throughout that year actually).The filter bubble is a real and growing problem…but it also has a lot of advantages in that it helps to expand and build upon domain knowledge; helps to connect like-minded people across and around the world; and it ‘feels good’ to the average Joe.In the end, I’m not as concerned with it as I once was simply because it all boils down to people…and each person is unique and brings a unique perspective to my own bubble.For example, @awaldstein:disqus and I share an interest in tech and community (I think)…but he brings in his natural foods and wine experiences/knowledge/perspective and with just that, through following him, I’m constantly exposed to new people from his network (who bring their own unique ideas and experiences) and new thoughts/angles that are outside of my own experiences…and even though we are mostly always just talking about community or tech, it all leads to stronger connections, wider overall exposure, and much more serendipity than would be expected from ‘the same old two people chatting about the same old thing’…

        1. Drew Meyers

          you’re slowly drawing people into those discussions. You’ve got me…since the convergence of tech and community is a topic that fascinates me.

          1. falicon

            That’s the *real* power of the web…so awesome!

        2. awaldstein

          Sharing interests we certainly do Kevin and friends we are as well.Couple of years ago i was fixated in this idea of an interest fingerprint where the dynamics of a community encouraged randomness and let these connections happen. Less the abstraction of serendipity and more just interesting people feeling comfortable to engage.

        3. Vasudev Ram

          I’ve had the same kind of experiences that you talk about (with regard to serendipity) for a while now. I commented about it here on this blog some years ago:…I called it “serendipity leads to good stuff” 🙂

          1. Vasudev Ram

            P.S. The origin of the word serendipity is interesting – see the Section “Etymology” at this link:…I knew that it was from the name Serendip but TIL where *that* came from 🙂

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Bubbles can become unhealthy.

    3. Elia Freedman

      I like Twitter and read through my stream every day but the banality of most posts drives me nuts. It is ha to find the nuggets in there.

      1. falicon

        Agree. The discover tab is supposed to help with that but I don’t find myself drawn to it at all…My best experience with finding nuggets via Twitter is actually with the mobile app…which a bit embarrassing to admit, works best because I use it when I’m in forced down time (ie the restroom where I’m not just making nuggets but apparently finding them too!)

        1. Elia Freedman

          I seem to have a progression of places I read info each day. I start with my RSS feed and review it a few times per day. In the evening I look at Twitter,, Hacker News, ESPN app, Circa and the local paper. My RSS feed is pretty extensive but only a few update every day or throughout the day.

        2. Vasudev Ram

          Ha ha, good one.About the mobile app – someone told me a while ago, and I found it to be so after trying it, that works faster and better on desktop too (i.e. not only on mobile), than plain does. Since then I use Twitter almost exclusively via, even on desktop PC.

  16. markslater

    its a bit confusing. I am a reader not a blogger so cant register.i like the benedict evans format – its the flipboard approach.”sum up what you have been reading in the week – i am interested to know.”Put it in a weekly magazine (or daily) and thats a great format.I’ve literally given up trying to keep up. We are so saturated with information these days i have resigned to really only following 2 or 3 influencers….the rest just become mindless headline / first paragraph skimming, none of which i really retain…

    1. panterosa,

      A cool team in my accelerator is working on curating news and blogs into the format you describe to follow what someone has been reading in a cream to the top way. I’ve always wanted that kind of thing so I hope they succeed. They launch soon.

  17. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I don’t think Zemanta has done a good job…. I just scrolled over your last 20+ posts and all i can see is only 4) names (Andrew chen, Hunder Walk, Sachin and ofcourse Fred Wilson) as your circle…only order is changed…not impressed.I do believe there are more bloggers similar to you….which Zemanta should trace through some good algo.

  18. Jevon

    Blogrolling is back!

  19. kenberger

    c’mon. No other blogger is similar to you, birthday boy.

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      ha… and that is the way to greet on a b-day….good one.

      1. kenberger

        thanks, good point:I guess on *my* bday, I like to be told i’m a good guitarist or singer. Being told i’m a good technology provider or startup investor/advisor is what i wish for the other 364 days.

  20. Carl Rahn Griffith


    1. Matt A. Myers

      Dominated!!!! (Being silly this morning..)

  21. Pranav Piyush

    I wonder if Disqus could do more to solve this problem too. I love their idea of communities and they should really get in on the consumption side of things too.That way, you get a community of “readers” and “commenters” and they could pick up signals from both to recommend new blogs that some members of the community are reading relevant to the original community.

  22. PhilipSugar

    What I think would be interesting if there was an aggregator that just did a round robin of guest posts from people that were not journalists and did not need to build a personal brand.I guess you could say that is TechCrunch but not really.

    1. panterosa,

      Finding interesting people to follow who are not in self-branding mode is tough. They have to be very secure to not promote agenda, very smart and curious to feature good stuff, and very open to have many types of interests.

      1. PhilipSugar

        And they really have to be self motivated. There are only so many hours in the day. Travel 150k miles every single year, and if you are not doing it to build your brand its easy to say for whom for what.

    2. mosjef

      Good thoughts, @philipsugar:disqus. Is this just a matter of degree or is a ‘guest post’ significantly different from the kind of placement we’re doing above with Tech Circle?

      1. PhilipSugar

        Here is the thing. Yes, I have a blog, but I don’t post that often. (actually that is an understatement). I think I do write some interesting stuff, but the most interesting is when I am replying to somebody like Fred, Brad, or Mark.Maybe its because I’m not creative. Now in some sense instead of commenting I should probably put that riff on my blog. But I think my most interesting posts are the one’s I do because somebody asked. Like Fred’s MBA Monday’s where I did a post and then a follow up post on my blog to a question: http://justanentrepreneur.c…So if once a month somebody asked me to do a post I would and I think it would be interesting. Now that’s not very interesting if its on my own blog because its just not often enough. But if you have two dozen people like me then you would have an interesting blog. You could look at the people who write comments here and probably find half of your people.Yes you are right it is a matter of degrees because why not just link to our blogs.Well the answer to that is unless somebody is pushing me I won’t do it and maybe we would all do them at the same time instead of every day. Fred’s biggest strength is he posts every single day. I am in awe, but its not going to happen for me. Maybe you could say I’m lazy but its more like I really don’t have any motivation to do it other than because I just like to. I don’t want to build my brand, I like flying below the radar.But if you had a tech blog and you said ok Phil, you sign up for twelve posts and push me to do it I would. Just like TechCrunch you monetize by events. Charge people to come to an event where you bring in those writers and treat them like rock-stars. Then the writers have motivation and people can actually interact with those people who’s articles they read.That is the difference between me just posting on my blog. How is that for an article worth of response?

        1. mosjef

          [this is good]There are many, many ways to skin the digital publishing cat. I think Medium and their Collection model is a very useful analogy for what you describe above. I just recently created a Collection and invited others to contribute. I can keep nagging, er, motivating them for new posts, and it would be very much like the site you just described, albeit non-commercial.Or someone could read this thread and build a site like it. @owenthomas are you there?This Tech Circle project is different. It’s not that.. at least it’s not that right now. It’s for regular writers and creating networks at the post level in a specific niche.Thanks for this great thread.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Thank you for the discussion.

          2. ShanaC

            i actually dislike the medium and their collection model – it creates too much of an echo chamber

  23. jason wright

    what things are of interest?

  24. danhimes

    This is great, but: I went to the web page. I scanned around for a ‘subscribe’ link. Or a feed. Of something that would allow me to actually use the service.I failed to find something. Perhaps it was the video? (I didn’t watch it.)What exactly *is* the service- and how can I use it? Thanks.

    1. mosjef

      It’s a distributed service @danhimes:disqus so the widget you see above (with faces and posts of other bloggers) is the service. You just keep reading. We’ll keep on recommending. 🙂

      1. danhimes

        Thanks, mosjef. However, that seems to sign me up to be a blogger; I just want to read the recommended blogs.

        1. mosjef

          The recommended blogs are surfaced on other blogs in the Circle. There’s no destination site or app.

          1. danhimes

            OK- so it’s bloggers sharing among bloggers- not bloggers reaching readers. I get it now. Interesting concept.

      2. William Mougayar

        What is your criteria for inclusion in a Circle?

  25. daryn

    You all remember web rings right? what’s old is new again 🙂 (though yes, greatly improved)

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Once marketers found a way into those – it mostly ruined them.

      1. Drew Meyers

        Marketers ruin everything on the web….FB and Twitter fall into that bucket too.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      geocities! theglobe!

      1. ShanaC

        what’s theglobe?

        1. laurie kalmanson

          Aaaaah theglobe.comBoom 1.0It could have been was an internet startup founded in 1994[1] by Cornell students Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman. A social networking service, made headlines by going public on November 13, 1998 and posting the largest first day gain of any IPO in history up to that date.[2] Part of the dot-com bubble, the company’s stock price collapsed the next year, and the company retrenchedRealizing the business potential, the two raised $15,000 over the 1994 Christmas break and purchased an Apple Internet Server. They founded a programming company, WebGenesis, and spent the next few months programming what would become their primary website. went live April 1, 1995, and attracted over 44,000 visits within the first month.[4] They readily recruited talent from the Cornell computer science department and had 17 employees by the site’s first anniversary.[4]

    3. Vasudev Ram

      I remember them, and ya, they were sometimes good.

    4. Tyler Hayes

      “If you’d like a pizza roll, email this web zone.”

  26. Nicola Mattina

    Back to the origins of blogging 🙂

  27. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Am I high? I don’t see the widget anywhere…

    1. mosjef

      I don’t know if you’re high @9d4aec000dec4355a063be4f36c04027:disqus (I hope so 😉 but the widget is titled “More from my Circle” and is above the VoiceBunny one

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Def not there in Firefox 22.0 on Mac 10.6.8Big fan of Zemanta 🙂 Interested to see where Circles goes…

        1. mosjef

          Thank you for the detailed bug report!We’re interested to see where this goes, too 😉

  28. laurie kalmanson

    you have reached the last page of the internet

  29. Eddie Wharton

    So far, it has been a great widget. I already have discovered new people who I find interesting / helpful. However, if they install Tech Circle and it links back to you or just to other people you already have on your page, it will create a closed loop. I have seen that many times with algorithms or apps intended to make recommendations. If that is the case, this would have been better as a one time post of blogs to look out or 10 Best *whatever* Slideshow if you are Mashable.With that said, I doubt you would install something that would have diminishing returns so quickly. Time will tell. I will definitely continue to follow the Tech Circle links as long as they are useful.Also, Happy Birthday!

  30. Chris Phenner

    Starving for Serendipity.Love the pointers.Signed up for Tech Circle, great idea.My Muses are found at http://mediamuse.meYou can get them three days earlier via full-text email at for surfacing this idea,Chris

  31. Rick Mason

    This isn’t anything new, just an old idea recycled. I cannot remember the startup from the nineties that did the exact same thing but for a time it was really popular. Only problem was they never found a business model ;<).

    1. fredwilson

      zemanta has not one but two businesses. this is just a cool service they launched and not a business for them.

  32. Jamie Lin

    It reminds me of long long time ago, when we used to have those “chain” or “ring” links on bottom of many web pages.Happy Birthday, Fred!

  33. nikiscevak

    “where do you find about the every day blogger who is writing about tech stuff?” = Quibb

  34. ShanaC

    Happy birthday- go do something fun 🙂

  35. sigmaalgebra

    Yes,”to find blogs and blog posts by regularbloggers who are talking about things thatare interesting”is a problem poorly solved.

  36. sigmaalgebra

    Test of Mozilla.

  37. Robert Holtz

    First off, Happy Birthday Fred!!! WOOT. :-)Okay, now then… regarding Zemanta, I think this is an interesting problem they are trying to solve but there is a reason why blog rolls sort of disappeared.For most bloggers, the goal with the blog is to be able to make a living off of blogging or at least to get the blog to be self-supporting in terms of the basic costs to create and host the content. For that, they need to buy AdWords/SEO placement, buy traffic, do PR to generate buzz/traffic, encourage support in the way of direct donations from blog visitors, etc. There is no obvious incentive for a blogger to send their traffic elsewhere… especially to another blogger who may or may not reciprocate.I looked over Zemanta’s pitch and they seem to be saying that if you join a circle, you’ll get a net benefit because even if you’re sending traffic away from your blog, others are doing the same and so you’ll net gain on the exchange. I’m not sure that’s universally true. In theory, statistically, there should always be a top performer who is probably putting in more traffic than they’re getting out of a circle. In those cases, you need to have an altruistic kind of blogger who maybe is an activist or part of a movement where they don’t care about their own blog per se but momentum around an idea or cause.The benefit for advertisers and publishers is there but ad networks already do that job. For Zemanta to have distinctive value to get bloggers to send traffic to other bloggers, in my opinion, Zemanta needs to create some middleware that is sort of like an affiliate program. Meaning, if, as a blogger, I send traffic to other blogs that fit my affinity group, I should get a piece of the ad impressions AT THEIR SITE that I helped them get by sending them my visitor. Zemanta is in the perfect position as an intermediary to put in place exactly such a mechanism. So I highly recommend they explore that as an attractor for bloggers. Short of that, I have a hard time seeing a lot of bloggers sending their hard earned traffic away.Fred, do you agree with me or am I missing something big and I’m terribly wrong? Open to what you’ve got to say either way. What was it about Zemanta that attracted you to help them? Once again, Fred, Happy birthday.

  38. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I am late to the party but happy birthday Fred.

  39. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    As some have pointed out, it depends on the quality of the curation. Personally I am relying more on email subscriptions to stay up to date and on curated content such as the excellent ones by William Mougayar from startup management.

  40. kidmercury

    nobody’s saying anything interesting because they dont deal realistically with the governmetn situation so their vision is not clear. following people on google+ for the occasional insight and just to stay on top of what’s buzzing.

  41. AdamSinger

    I find the most interesting people (you, Mike Masnick, Louis Gray, Mathew Ingram, Dave Winer, Avinash Kaushik, etc.) are fairly consistent. Don’t think it’s difficult to know at this point who is sharing useful insights vs. not. What’s harder is surfacing random, cool posts from those not so consistent. For that I find Subreddits like r/programming and Google+ Communities to be pretty useful. There has never been more people creating awesome content on the independent web.This looks cool though, will check it out!

  42. Semil Shah

    I just applied to have in the circle, very cool!

    1. mosjef

      Thanks, Semil. Glad you like the CIrcle concept. Stay tuned…

  43. Victor Manuel R G

    Happy birthday Fed !!