Feature Friday: usv.com daily email blast

For those of you who have made a habit of visiting usv.com regularly to see what the usv community is reading and discussing, we now have a way of getting that via email.

Here is how

  1. go to usv.com
  2. on the upper right, click “Log in with Twitter”. If you don’t see that option you are already logged in and can go on to the next step.
  3. once you are logged in, click “Settings” in more or less the same place on the page
  4. under Settings, make sure we have your correct email addres, then look for Daily Email and check that box
  5. hit Update

You will now get a daily email with the top stories/links on usv.com.

On that settings page, you can also make sure we have you properly auth’d with Disqus.

You will also notice tabs on that page to see all the links you have shared, the bumps you have handed out, and the places you have been mentioned by others on the site.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Five steps to subscribe feels like four too many Fred. How about a button on the USV bar to my right that says Subscribe and the other stuff follows?(I’m doing it regardless of course.)Post idea–what have we learned from USV.com so far.

    1. fredwilson

      you sound like me when i talk to our portfolio companies about their products.my favorite VC line is “do what we say, not what we do”this is an example of that!

    2. William Mougayar

      I think what these steps say, is that USV wants you to be “connected” to them before subscribing to that email. But I agree there could be a provision for the drive-by shooter who just wants the email, and might convert later.

      1. fredwilson

        actually no. we just built it that way. it’s in “beta” mode right now. we will do exactly what arnold suggests

    3. Nick Grossman

      Yep we will do that — fred went eager beaver and blogged this before it was fully baked, so this is just a first pass.Like the idea of a what we learned post — will definitely do that

      1. awaldstein

        …a friendly nudge not a kvetch. We all live in a Beta world.Do do the what we learned. Some stuff is touching a real nerve, some is passing over. Include stats as they are informative to the crossover of the communities.

        1. Nick Grossman

          Yep will definitely do thatNot kvetching!

        2. Nick Grossman

          We are also working on a real-time stats page (pulling from disqus, google, twitter, etc) that will be useful here

          1. awaldstein

            what interests me is whether usv at this stage is a bleed over from hyper commenters from avc or if there are seeds of it taking on its own dynamics.i’ll hold for your post and comment then.

      2. falicon

        +1,000,000 =D

      3. Brad Dickason

        Fred (or Albert) do that with us sometimes too, and I’m always excited about it.Blogging before it was baked always gives you the best possible feedback!

        1. Nick Grossman


  2. Emmanuel Bellity

    Awesome ! I asked about that feature a month ago but couldn’t find time to do it : http://www.usv.com/posts/as… 🙂 Fast iteration and listening on the feedback, well done

    1. Nick Grossman

      yes, thanks for doing that — this is definitely a result!

  3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I love subscribing to get emails from USV but I agree with @awaldstein:disqus that the step is too hidden and too complicated! A simple button would be great

    1. Nick Grossman

      yep we will roll this into a button — as is often the case, fred got excited and blogged about it before it was really finished 🙂

    2. awaldstein

      Heads up to Disqus–@ calls, haven’t worked in a very long while. Would never know I was called if they weren’t in red.

  4. pointsnfigures

    I don’t subscribe to much. Two reasons: I am afraid of getting spammed and I am afraid of getting a totally jammed email box where I will miss important emails. How do people handle this problem?

    1. fredwilson

      gmail has priority inboxall my subscriptions are in everything else which i look at sometimes but it does not get in the way of the important stuff

    2. Jorge M. Torres

      Check out Unroll.me. It’s quieted my inbox considerably since I signed up.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Does unroll.me work with Apple’s Mac mail? I have a gmail account but never use it.

        1. Jorge M. Torres

          I don’t think so. But iCloud is on the list of supported clients.

          1. pointsnfigures

            thank you, i will try it—->tried it and it’s awesome. Thanks for the suggestion.

    3. Anne Libby

      Email filters…there was a great discussion here early last year: check Barry Nolan and Thomas Knoll suggestions (top of comments) for filtering:http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…This cleared my inbox; I now no longer fear subscribing. (And I use the Mac email client, too.)

  5. Julien

    Yay! Email is a great channel, but for many people, it’s also quite ‘bloated’ and can easily turn into a lot of stress…You should also invite people to follow your RSS feed, and (I know I told you before!) tell them that http://subtome.com can make that easier because it will just redirect them to *their* favorite reader.Subscribe/Follow is THE feature of our modern web where discovery is so broken.

    1. Nick Grossman

      Yep — we’ve got subtome running at usv.com — if folks haven’t seen it you can click the feed icon in the top right

      1. Julien

        Also, the great thing about RSS is that it can be plugged into anything, including email (Blogtrottr does that)… while email can’t really be plugged into RSS (or anything else).RSS is an susbcribe API in a way. One that can (and SHOULD) be used to build user friendly tools… not just dumb readers.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Long live RSS 🙂

      2. LE

        I think the avatars on the home page take away from the density of stories that can be featured.And the text is way to big as well.And the bold is to bold.The avatars are visually distracting. They look good but they don’t serve the purpose of the site. They hurt my ability to scan the stories.I say put the avatars on the comments page and double the amountof stories that appear on the home page.Numbers next to each story (on the left) and putting the up arrow on the left side would also be good. Doesn’t matter if it’s also what HN does the idea is to get something that works not to somehow be unique. Great artists steal or whatever that saying is.

        1. Nick Grossman

          Good artists borrow, great artists steal :-)I have also been thinking about possibly featuring the top post or two more prominentlySo far it seems that the site works best when a single post or two catches fire and gets w critical mass of conversation

          1. LE

            Great. Because this is all I ask for: “I have also been thinking about”.There are always these posts on HN regarding the secret sauce of success. Usually sung to the tune of what someone who has made it says.But you can always boil down good outcomes to one thing (in addition to luck of course) (to mash together both Tom Watson (of IBM) and maybe a bit Paul Graham) “always think about things, consider, and try to make smart choices”.

  6. LIAD

    this stuff ain’t easy. even a ‘simple’ email subscribe option takes a ton of thought and planning.all VC’s should be made to design, manage and promote a product in the area they are investing in. it will make them evermore empathetic to the plight of entrepreneurs.similarly all entrepreneurs should try flying first class and eating $500 lunches so they can be more empathetic to the plight of a VC#booya

    1. pointsnfigures

      VCs eat $500 lunches? Must be when the bankers pay.

      1. LE

        Let me go on record as saying I think private jets are the way to go.I’m for anything that increases someone’s efficiency.For that matter I’m for anything that greases the wheels of business.People seem to think that there is no benefit at all to displays of wealth. While I’m not saying that all displays of wealth are needed there are definitely cases where spending money on luxury items can help you do more business and make more money. Because it changes the way you are perceived.By the way specifics matter and yes, there are cases where money not spent properly can backfire and have a different outcome.

    2. JLM

      .I have lunched with way more VCs than deer I have killed. I seem to be able to lure the VCs closer in than those wily deer.It costs about $75 to process a nice Hill Country buck into a bit of tenderloin, summer sausage (like baloney) and Mario’s very spicy sausage. These are Menard, Texas prices where we have a Spanish fort from the 1400s.It usually only costs about $100 to graze a VC through a nice respectable restaurant in NYC. No wine, mind you. In many instances, they will even put their cell phones on mute. Not always, these are very busy guys.So, in the end, the VCs are only a few bucks more than a buck..JLM.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Costs the same to process a deer in Illinois, but more to process the sausage. I think you should eat venison with VCs and remind them that you know how to shoot them. I do it with my daughter’s boyfriends.

        1. JLM

          My Perfect Daughter has had no shortage of boyfriends and they all know sooner or later that I am going to ask them:”Young man, what are your intentions?”Several have passed with flying colors. Her current BF is so good I am think about adopting him if they don’t get married.I actually used to go hunting with a couple of VCs and they were fairly fun but not experienced hunters. They did not realize you played poker all night long in deer camp.They were excellent funders as it turned out.Stay well.I love venison sausage which my man Mario mixes with pork, a bit of beef and enough spice to kill organism that is inside of you. It is really medicine.JLM.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Luring VCS is easier than luring deer?There is a difference between an invitation to come to lunch than to BE lunch.

    3. fredwilson

      oh shit. that’s harsh.

      1. LIAD

        ah.today is ‘feature friday’. confused it with ‘fun friday’

        1. fredwilson


        2. Nick Grossman


      2. pointsnfigures

        What’s your most expensive lunch? Mine is Commander’s Palace in New Orleans-the good news is they have 25 cent martini’s, limit three.

    4. Benedict Evans

      “All entrepreneurs should have to start the year with a list of 3k ideas for product features and have to choose ten to implement. “

      1. LIAD


      2. falicon

        All the ones I know do actually….

    5. LE

      all VC’s should be made to design, manage and promote a product in the area they are investing in. it will make them evermore empathetic to the plight of entrepreneurs.Empathy is contradicted behaviorally with getting people to perform to their limits.Empathy makes you less demanding of others and less able to push them to the extremes and make money off the backs of them.Let me illustrate.When I started my first business I had to work the front counter and had to run the machines and well every other job as well. So I started from the ground up. So I had empathy with the people that I hired who had to do the same job. So it changed the way I treated them because I understood their plight. I felt their pain.Then I hired a manager. He had not run the equipment and he hadn’t dealt with customers backing up at the counter. He didn’t know what it was like to be under pressure to complete something with a broken piece of equipment and the phone ringing off the hook. So he had no empathy.That lack of empathy, in this particular situation, allowed him to make demands that I would have never made. And those demands (“luck” in business) worked out. We made money and nothing bad happened. And it doesn’t matter now. It all worked out.Make sense?This is not an argument to not have empathy of course. And in general I would go almost always with the fact that it is much better to understand all jobs in a business. But thought I would illustrate the other side of that issue.If I had to summarize I’d say “empathy gives you what is needed to allow people to make excuses for what can’t get done”. You know how Steve was with this, right? People don’t know what they can do and all of that.That’s one of the reasons I will almost never ever make excuses when something isn’t done. If a member of my family dies and I can’t get back to you when I should I will just apologize I won’t offer that as an excuse. It’s not your problem and I don’t need it as a crutch.

  7. Boris Wertz

    Nice – I have come to appreciate the quality of the articles posted on usv.com and this makes it easier to catch them all.

    1. Nick Grossman

      great to hear!

  8. William Mougayar

    I’ve also started receiving email notifications from the App.net app that Julien did. it sends an instant email when an article becomes popular. And there’s a smartphone app too for mobile notifications.

    1. Julien

      Yup… and that’s just RSS in the back (as it should!)! BTW, Fred, I’m more than happy to grant back ownership to you 🙂

  9. WA

    Sounds like a great deliverable for all companies using twitter to increase twitter usage, repetitive returns to a company’s website, and aggregate growth in twitters numbers as far as usage across more demographics. Is this part of the strategic thinking-that twitter links to company blogs and websites will become eventual utility while providing consistent increased twitter platform usage numbers (potential revenue following suit )for twitter reporting purposes?

  10. Brad Inman

    Thanks for offering this Fred.

  11. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Yay! Email is still my power app.

  12. whitneymcn

    A tangent and a nitpick, perhaps, but the phrase “email blast” has made me grit my teeth since the Netcreations days. It evokes the worst sort of approach to using email, but you still hear it all the time.

    1. Nick Grossman

      ha, same.

  13. Benedict Evans

    I’ve been experimenting with a twitter lead-gen card to drive my own newsletter subscriptions. It is truly ‘one-click’ since Twitter just passes on the email address they already have on file, and it drops straight into Mailchimp. (Well, two clicks if you have to expand the tweet – there’s still some optimisation to go on there. A friend looked at the lead-gen tweet, which shows an obfuscated address and thought he’d be posting his own email address to twitter).But it made me wonder if there would be a way to use that same functionality embedded on my own site. Of course, that’s effectively what happens (or rather what was supposed to happen) when you add a Facebook ‘like’ button to a web page – frictionless subscription.Easier to do this with email than money, of course.

    1. Russell

      I’ve done some interesting lead gen campaigns for clients in London. Good content and frictionless sign-up are the keys. The twitter one-click sounds really interesting – do LinkedIn offer a similar feature?

        1. Russell

          Wicked I love it!

    2. Peter

      Who does this for bitcoin?

    3. Nick Grossman

      We just put this first pass together quickly — the reason we did the way we did was to keep it integrated with our login via twitter, and also to point people towards the settings screen, where there are other things they might not have noticed (e.g., connect to disqus). But as others have pointed out, we have not yet tried to do a simple one-click process, which we will do.

  14. John McGrath

    Hm… seeing neither a ‘Login with Twitter’ nor a ‘Settings’ button–probably my bad, I sometimes suffer from UI blindness. I’m already authed via Disqus.I’ve also been getting AVC by email for years, via Feedburner. Is that going to go away?Cool in any case. Email is underrated.

  15. Douglas Craver

    I’m getting a 500 for Settings? Love the pic by the way.

      1. Douglas Craver

        I think they should change the pic to Chris Christie, no pun intended. And change it daily to what is trending as the “Fail Whale” of the day LOL!

          1. Douglas Craver

            Thanks for the fix. I’m all set now. That’s perfect…run with it! It will make 500’s a little less painful for users 😉

      2. Nick Grossman

        thanks — looking now

      3. Nick Grossman

        fixed now — sorry abt that

    1. Robert Shedd

      Getting this as well. 🙂

      1. Nick Grossman

        thx – checking it out now

      2. Nick Grossman

        fixed now! sorry abt that

    2. Nick Grossman

      thanks — this seems to be happening to certain people but not others. I am investigating the logs now

    3. Nick Grossman

      fixed now — thanks for the heads up and sorry for the trouble.

  16. matthughes

    Subscribed!Email FTW.

  17. Melison REnaldo

    Enough promoting twitter. Twitter is the annoying way of loggin in to a system

    1. fredwilson

      that is an opinion, not a fact.when given an option, i choose twitter every time.

      1. Melison REnaldo

        Sorry Mr.Wilson. But this is like saying “Please print copies of your airline tickets through Twitter” .

        1. fredwilson

          oooh. that would be great. such a good idea.

          1. Leapy

            Ha! – Made me laugh out loud on a Monday morning. Everyone’s looking at me now. 🙂

      2. Robert Holtz

        So do I. What’s so annoying about logging in with Twitter? I find it to be a great convenience.

  18. Isla Edouard

    many VC’s ought to be made to style, deal with in addition to showcase a program in your neighborhood they’re investing in. it is going to cause them to evermore empathetic towards the circumstances regarding enterprisers.Spybubble Free

  19. Francois Royer Mireault

    Subscribed!I think this is perfect for USV. I wouldn’t read USV everyday but if you curate it and send it by email, I’ll take a look.I didn’t mind the steps procedure, I feel like I unlocked a special feature 😉

  20. Eric Friedman

    Ill give this a shot!

  21. Donna Brewington White

    I welcome this feature. Most of the blogs I read regularly are the result of signing up for an email alert. As much as I value the content, I tend to get wrapped up in my work (and life). One of my goals is to start the discipline of carving out time specifically for visiting my watering holes. It is essential.

  22. JLM

    .I have no idea what your reply has to do with my comment. Not finding fault, mind you.Just wondering.JLM.

  23. Donna Brewington White

    I tell myself this and know it is true, but still can’t help trying to give my kids every possible advantage. I think that one of the greatest advantages from a life of privilege is the contacts you gain that you take for granted. I think of how some people can sufficiently bootstrap a company with “family and friends” investments and for others this would be impossible. At the same time, I think you can have privilege and stll teach your kid values and an appreciation for excellence. Some of my friends have done this very well. Interesting how some of my friends’ kids with trust funds have become teachers or gone into other service professions that do not pay well because money was not an issue.

  24. LE

    If I were associated with Disqus or if I were invested in Disqus, a comment like this would cause me to pull my hair out and make it right for the user.People like Fred, investors that is, who look at the big picture, aren’t involved in, or get sucked up in, minutia like that.It’s their secret sauce.If you get to wrapped up in that type of thing you can’t focus on the bigger picture that makes you money. It’s really attention triage.And that assumes that these things are even apparent or scream out at you like they do to some people.My feeling is, in a chicken and egg sense, the reason they are the way they are is because it’s not seat of the pants to them to see some of these things and be bothered by it on the level of an end user. So they are two steps ahead right there. It’s easy for them to not “pull their hair out” because it really isn’t causing them to pull their hair out. Notice how much hair Fred has by the way.The other side of this is that there are plenty of people who are essentially losers for the same exact reason. They notice nothing and don’t do anything or care about anything outside a small circle of brain activity.I was at a restaurant last night and almost slipped in the parking lot on the ice. I decided to mention it [1] to the 3 hostesses at the front desk. They laughed, one said she had slipped, but they did nothing. I don’t even think they told the manager. The lot was the same when I left.[1] This was after deciding whether I should say nothing because I didn’t want them to get salt on my car which was parked away from the building in a icy area. So I gave it thought back and forth, decided to do the right thing (at the expense of my car!) and look what happened.

  25. LE

    Nothing that a good segue couldn’t have fixed though.

  26. LE

    I’m really good at and a believer in minutia. And the fact that little things really matter.All I’m saying (to be clear) is that it’s not something that is helpful to an investor in achieving their goals as opposed to the goals of the group of companies that they are investing in. Which assumes they have the skillset to even notice which is totally separate.

  27. Brad Dickason

    Ha! I’d say we learn different things 🙂 Blogging, public opinion, and other user feedback is very, very helpful.Our own team can criticize until we’re blue in the face, but until it gets in front of users (or potential users), it’s just speculation.We try to post things before they’re ready on their forum and share them with our beta group for designer-facing features. They give us tons of great info that we never would have thought of before, even before we build it.Shopper-facing features tend to get ‘leaked’ to people or blogged about and we get lots of great feedback as well.The thing to keep in mind is.. the internal team lives in our ‘own heads’ (or our own product) so much, that sometimes it’s hard to look at things with a fresh set of eyes.Thank you for the kind words about Shapeways 🙂

  28. LE

    that 99% of people who travel by private jet are pure morons who should travel by coach.Huh? Where are you getting that from?There is a saying that goes”why does a dog lick his balls?” “…because he can…”If someone has enough money and wants to spend that money on a private jet, regardless of whether they earned that money, inherited it, and with the possible exception of the fact that they might have stolen it, how does that make them a moron?(I mean I wouldn’t even say that 50% of the people that I see shopping in Walmart are morons.)

  29. LE

    Yes, inherited money allowing private jet travel makes them a pure moron in my book.No agreement from me on that point. I say if it makes you happy do it. If it makes you happy to wear an expensive watch and gives you the party in your brain then great. If you are happy because your team won “the big game” then great. Not up to me to rain on your parade or pleasure. (Not that I haven’t used the word moron from time to time of course.)Are Fred’s kids stupid because Fred made enough money to take them on nice vacations (with their friends some time)? And live in a really nice part of the city in a nice house and attend a private college?Maybe you should have been born as part of the 99%. Ntim. I was born in the 99%. But it’s never bothered me what others have that I don’t. I just concentrate on getting things for myself not on feeling that life isn’t fair. (Because life isn’t fair). I don’t (in general) hate the player or the game. I play the game if that is the game. (Noting that much of the commentary on HN is about how unfair life is which is why they will always be hackers with nothing.)Likewise I don’t think much about the poor in other countries and how lucky I am because I didn’t grow up there. It’s counterproductive to my happiness. Others are free to do that if they want. I choose not to. I was lucky enough to grow up middle class here in America. But it’s not that I think about how great that is every day. It’s just normal.

  30. Ro Gupta

    I always appreciate your cold logic and understand your point, but re:I don’t think much about the poor in other countries and how lucky I am because I didn’t grow up there. It’s counterproductive to my happiness…I was lucky enough to grow up middle class here in America. But it’s not that I think about how great that is every day. It’s just normal….that’s exactly what I hope to avoid with my newborn, raising her here in the States among relative privilege. Couldn’t have articulated it more perfectly. (No offense 🙂

  31. pointsnfigures

    I was born a part of the 99%. I worked my ass off and took a shitload of risk that would make most people puke. Few are more ostentatious than 20 somethings trading and making a lot of money. I saved my dough and lived way below my means. But I know a lot of really hilarious stories about people that didn’t.

  32. LE

    …that’s exactly what I hope to avoid with my newbornRo, If I may ask, why? Is it that you just personally find it distasteful that some people don’t think about this? Or that you think it elevates you because you care about this?I am just curious because I like to know the reasons behind why people think the way they do.Fwiw, my dad’s family (and siblings) died in the holocaust, he spent time in a concentration camp, and we were never lectured on how lucky we were vs. his oppressive situation growing up. He didn’t focus on the past or try to make us feel bad or lucky for what we have. I’m just mentioning to put my comments in perspective. Oh and my mom lost her father in her teens, had 3 siblings and a mother who didn’t work and that was in the 1930’s and 40’s. And she has never said anything about that I know very little.

  33. Ro Gupta

    Good question. If I’m honest, in the past there probably was a knee-jerk sense of distaste or inferiority going on. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate exactly what you said about “normal” being different things to different people.That said, I hope to instill a different kind of normal in my kids than maybe they otherwise would get, and a lot of that probably boils down to what you care about as well — self-interest and personal happiness. In my case, largely because of my background (born in Calcutta), and maybe partly due to genetic wiring, my long-term happiness is influenced by some of those external factors you’re able to not dwell on. [For better or worse.] So I guess: a) I think my kids may well have similar wiring, b) even if they don’t, it will (selfishly) make me happier.I do worry about the whole guilt for guilt’s sake thing, though. Good of your folks for not falling into that trap.

  34. LE

    Pretty much what I would have speculated as far as reasoning. The only thing I would add is perhaps c) avoiding negative feelings and guilt. As people are motivated both by positive as well as avoiding negative feelings.I told the story here today about the ice on the parking lot.My first thought was to tell the restaurant about the ice so others wouldn’t fall. “What a good person would do”.My second thought was that if I told them and a salt truck came my car could possibly get damaged!My third thought was “if a person falls I will be responsibile”.At that point the guilt set in. So I had to tell the restaurant or I would feel guilty.So I did it to avoid a negative.Now I can of course tell the story in a different way to make it seem like I did it because it was the right thing to do which is why I always take issue with people (who are not honest like you) who avoid some of the real motivations for their actions. Oh yeah and I felt good also as a person because I felt I did “the right thing” in a small way.The only problem is gaining to much pleasure from doing the right thing (or avoiding negatives) is not a good thing to the exclusion of everything else.

  35. Ro Gupta

    Could actually be more that than anything. A lot of cognitive science suggests the value of avoiding the negative tends to outweigh seeking the positive in our lizard brains.That said, interesting that your FIRST thought was the ‘right thing’ no? Maybe there’s hope after all!

  36. LE

    Yes! But doing the right thing to avoid a negative or do induce a positive? Or both? [1]Otoh, keep in mind that I was in a somewhat manic state because I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and was headed in to a restaurant where I would have a meal and dinner! With my wife. On our anniversary.So perhaps if I had been rushing to get a plane at the airport I would have been in a more dog eat dog state and may not have had such a charitable first thought.(See I can drill this down very far. And I do because I try to get to the bottom of motivations which vary depending on situational specifics. )[1] When I met my wife I used to sleep over at her place. She got up earlier and there were dishes in the sink. So I took care of the dishes both to avoid a negative “I’m a bad guest” and to get a positive “thanks for clearing the dishes!”. Well she never seemed to care about that, never said anything, so I stopped doing it!. And she was totally cool with it as she simply doesn’t care about stuff like that. But she does care about other things so I do those things.

  37. Andrew Kennedy

    totally. plenty of segue options there.