Humans Of New York

I have a new favorite blog and I thought I’d share it with all of you.

I found it via the Gotham Gal’s blog (which in and of itself is kind of embarassing. We sleep together and I found this via her blog).

It’s called Humans Of New York. I follow it on Tumblr.

Every day I get two to five posts. Each post is a picture of a new yorker or two. And something that was said by the subject of the photo.

It’s like riding the subway, but even better. You get to see all kinds of people and learn a little bit about them.

Sometimes it is sad.

Sometimes it is funny.

Sometimes it is upsetting.

Sometimes it makes you smile.

But rarely does Humans Of New York fail to make me feel something.

And that is great art at work. And that is Tumblr at work. Tumblr is great art and so is Humans Of New York. I love both of them.

#Photo of the Day#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. John Best

    I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. It’s genuinely touching.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. i don’t know how he does it day after day after day. touching people like that can’t be easy.

      1. John Best

        I think the real skill is deciding what to leave out as much as to include. Its a very well executed human snapshot.

        1. bsoist

          Discrimination is the basis of good art.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            And good living…which is a sort of art in itself.

      2. JamesHRH

        Are you kidding? I get that it would not turn your crank, but if you are a curious, people-person, this would be a blast.It’s waaaaaaay easier that being the designated, ‘go get puck out of corner’ guy for your group of single buddies.If you are an extrovert, the only issue with doing what Brandon does is getting paid!! That’s the genius part.

  2. Harry Pewter

    As touching as it is… for a city as cosmopolitan as New York, the blog is full of pics of White and African Americans… guess the blogger doesn’t consider other ethnicities to be New YorkersEDIT: I know I am being unreasonably harsh here… I would like to add that this is one of the most beautiful photographic essays I have ever seen

    1. Rohan

      Or maybe they weren’t open to being photographed?

    2. JamesHRH

      Meh.i don’t totally agree & even if I did, I am sure there are lots of other reasons.

  3. Nir Dremer

    Touching & Addictive.The story of Brandon, the photographer behind the site – http://www.humansofnewyork….

    1. awaldstein

      Great interview.I liked where he was talking about how just as the obsession with doing this lulled, his audience exploded and obsession was replaced by devotion to the project.Good stuff.

  4. Robert Holtz

    By strange twist of fate, Fred, just this weekend I watched an already year old video profile on the creator of “Humans of New York.” Must be kismet that it came up for both of us right now.Take a look: is phenomenal that technology is enabling artists like this to work in a way pretty much heretofore impossible. Hope this video enhances your post.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks! i will check it out

      1. Robert Holtz

        I placed my order for the book now. Not surprisingly, it is already a NY Times Bestseller.

    2. leigh

      The guy is so awesome. I bought my daughter his book for xmas — she’s been obsessed for a while with it. Love Humans Of NY

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Clearly you have a daughter with good’emotional, psychological, social, andartistic’ ‘capital’ and, thus, a good mother.Congratulations!

    3. sigmaalgebra

      One of the reasons want both the picture of a personWITH a story about the person is so that can build aconnection between such a picture and such a storyand, thus, accumulate some additional understandingof people, i.e., so that if later see a similarpicture might guess the earlier story and, thus, beable to obtain some ‘meaning’ from such a picture.So, don’t get just a lot of interesting pictureswith not much sense to them but also get someconnections with stories about the people.Right, organizing by neighborhood would be next touseless since neighborhood is nearly independent ofthe intended content. Instead, what’s wanted is ameans of organizing the content that helps makesense of the content. How to get such anorganization? Hmm …!

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Thanks, Robert. Great to see more of the story behind the story. And I felt a little pride hearing that Brandon is from the Midwest. He is so midwestern. It’s a great place to raise people and then export them into other parts of the country.

  5. awaldstein

    Brightens up my day.Subway plus metaphor is right on.Discovered it through Gotham Gal as well.

    1. fredwilson

      she got a picture book, as you know, and it sits on our coffee table in the room where i watch basketball and chromecast regularly. i never noticed the book.something about tumblr that makes this work for me

      1. awaldstein

        Agree…Big fan of Tumblr. I use it often but there is something about that blog that feels like the natural expression of what it was built to do.

        1. Robert Holtz

          You’re absolutely right. Tumblr really shines with photo blogs. This one in particular.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        bought the book; it’s wonderfulhttp://www.humansofnewyork….

      3. Ana Milicevic

        I like HONY better as a Tumblr too — there’s the added element of surprise of whose photo & story you’ll find today that you don’t really have with the book. Feels less linear.

        1. fredwilson

          yes, exactly!

          1. JamesHRH

            Tumblr also provides a near real time feel. The weather changes, etc.This week in micro fashion never fails to make me smile.

  6. Rohan

    Really really really really nice.Thanks for sharing, Fred.I’m sure the photographer is thanking you for the traffic spike as well 🙂

    1. Cam MacRae

      Probably a mere blip; HONY is already immensely popular. There’s even a book.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Of course you would like this. You and Brandon are cut from a similar cloth.You love to make people shine.

  7. Anne Libby

    And like someone else we know, he has also used his blog to raise money for causes important to him…

    1. fredwilson


  8. William Mougayar

    Wow. Very impressive! It made my day. I wished there was someone doing this across other cities & places around the world. This sort of introspection will show that we all have probably a lot in common & might even resolve some conflicts around the world.I like to see things from a global perspective. I love cities & their contexts, but I also love our world to be a better one for all.

  9. jason wright

    I saw a Channel 4 News (British TV) report last week about NYC. The enormous and growing gulf between the tiny minority rich and the mass poor. It reported de Blasio’s campaign for a small increase in taxation of the tiny minority to help alleviate the problem.They spliced together snippets of an interview with Countess LuAnn and snapshots of street people barely surviving the winter. It made NYC seem decadent and distasteful.

    1. fredwilson

      It is getting worse. There are short term solutions and long term ones. I am more interested in the long term ones like teaching our kids the skills of the future, not the skills of the past

      1. jason wright

        yes, and then i read reports about the impact of the tech sector in San Francisco, the private bus services shuttling tech workers from the city to Silicon Valley, and the campaigns by locals to end it.We see all of this through the distorting lens of another powerful industry, and that makes peer-to-peer is ever more appealing.The truly poor should get cheap smart phones for free, paid for by the taxation de Blasio is pushing for.

        1. JLM

          .The poor should get skills that will allow them to add a bit of grit and rise above poverty.We do a great disservice to others when we put a bit of balm on our feelings of guilt. Buy a bit of comfort for our collective consciences.We all know that what we need is jobs and workers to fill those jobs and we continue to give people checks and no jobs.JLM.

          1. LE

            The poor should get skills that will allow them to add a bit of grit and rise above poverty.But it’s also an environmental thing. If you assume most people are lemmings and they have a hard time going against their peer group you would then conclude that there is actually a very small percentage of people in any given community that will be able to rise above whatever is happening locally and make something of themselves (and that has actually been the case, hasn’t it?)One of the things that I noticed that was hugely different when attending both a private high school (coming from a public in actually a fairly decent middle class area) and then Wharton was the environment. (This is the part that Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t seem to get).Being surrounded by others who have the same goals and who are motivated and “behave” is probably as if not more important than who is doing the teaching. People at Wharton were not slackers. They (at least when I attended) had worked hard and busted their ass to get in (the majority anyway) and weren’t looking for the easy way out. (By and large of course there were exceptions and of course there were some gut courses). In the big leagues people aren’t lazy shits. So the entire team benefits.People can think it’s all about the education but it’s also the environment.Just think of all the values you picked up growing up with your father and his belief system. Now had you grown up in “one of those neighborhoods” it would have been a much different situation. You would have perhaps turned out quite differently.Now of course as I say there are always going to be exceptions. My wife grew up in a much different household than I did. [1] She rose above her environment. But that is not the norm at least from my experience.[1] Her parents had pot parties and essentially totally ignored their kids. As I say “raised by wolves”.

          2. ShanaC

            I think there is a class thing going into this.I’ve heard of at least one phd joining the sandhogs… Came from a working class background

          3. jason wright

            and as Fred highlights regularly, many of these skills are becoming most efficiently accessible through the web.I agree that welfare payments should be linked to getting skills. makes perfect sense, but assistance should be given.

          4. JLM

            .We desperately need a program like the WPA which would absorb unemployed men and put them to work rather than just paying them not to work.The work should be one half public service — rebuild the national parks — and one half developing skills that are marketable.Folks don’t seem to know that the unemployment rate in places like Odessa and Midland — old school Oil Patch — is about 2.5%. That’s full employment.If I were looking to get on my feet, I would catch a bus to Midland or Odessa, get a job on a rig, work as much overtime as possible, live in a trailer and save my money.Roustabouts can make over $100K and work as much overtime as they want.We are so lacking in any real job creating or fulfillment creativity as to be literally brain dead.Tom’w night all we will hear about is more income redistribution and a bigger and more costly — ineffective — social safety net.JLM.

          5. JamesHRH

            Checked the #s in western North Dakota? No one will move there either.Where is it written that the world’s greatest cities should be affordable for everyone?

          6. JLM

            .If you won’t eat possum, you ain’t hungry yet, pal.You go where the work is.JLM.

          7. JamesHRH

            That last line was one of my Father’s standards.Not a lot of possum in northern Saskatchewan or you would have been quoting him verbatim.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            That balm you speak of. A dangerous and deceptive thing.

          9. panterosa,

            to which I reply start early – Universal Pre-K, and pre-Natal through then support. Met a guy at Harlem Children’s Zone and talked about making those first 5 years (plus healthy pregnancy) into a real support time to have kids ready to shoot out of a rocket on day one of K.THAT would make a big difference to many, many things.

        2. ShanaC

          I don’t think a smartphone would be as useful as plowing up the streets for both power, more subway lines in the outer boros and more competitive high speed access

      2. JamesHRH

        Skills are the answer.More important – not that tech skills are unimportant – are life skills. No one likes to say it, but the cycle of poverty is primarily driven by people being put in bad circumstances and being unable to find a way out of them.Teach a man to fish is one thing……..teach them to leave their current bad situation to go get a job on a fishing boat is another.On a just barely related note, how about KD35? Talk about willing yourself to rise above a not great (OK, this is really a stretch) situation?And, combining the hoops + attitude theme, how about my Toronto Raps (w Blake onboard, you can not use the full name anymore?).With Rudy Gay out of the way (and, I believe, John Salmons being dded), it appears that Casey is finally getting through to them. Patterson (who hit winner last night) also came over from Sacramento.#attitudematters

    2. panterosa,

      My partner works in mental health and compared to health care it brings a lot more value at less expense, and sanity is key for all of us to be our best.HONY shows people riding the wave up and down, but it shows the humanity of them. People who don’t believe in the humanity of everyone are those cutting mental health. It’s so sad to hear the stories, and it’s worse that many of them are kids now.I hope HONY opens more hearts this way.

      1. awaldstein

        It has for me.I ride the subway to get places and to people watch.I read HONY to get a glimpse of the stories behind the faces.

        1. fredwilson

          that is why i love riding the subway. it is humanity in its raw and pure form. i can’t get enough of it

          1. panterosa,

            I agree, and feel it’s important for kids to see Everyone. My daughter’s classmates don’t get as much exposure to this and I feel it’s a loss for them. For all the time it takes for us to get her uptown to school and back it’s worth it. I also talk to people on the train, and she joins in, and that is the subject of many conversations.

          2. bsoist

            My son went on a field trip in fourth grade which brought his class through the kinds of neighborhoods many of his classmates had never seen. He came home disgusted with his friends for taking pictures of the homeless. Eleven years later, the impact of that day drives his thoughts and decisions to some extent.My brother and I used to talk a lot when our kids were young about how to teach them about value when they had to think so little about their needs. I think taking them for visits to and telling them stories about our old neighborhood has helped.

          3. panterosa,

            As @domainregistry:disqus pointed out above, some people do consider people and habitats they don’t know like a visit to the zoo.We cluster into groups by sameness of some sort. HONY, or the subway, pull us out of those silos. Do we know who we are better in our silos, or better when we take our place on the spectrum? I’d say we need both to keep a balance.And not to considers those others not like us as less human, less like us, we need to see ourselves in them.

          4. panterosa,

            PS that blog is up now, the one you said you would ferret out….

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Ha! Note to self: Be careful what you say to Panterosa. She will hold you to it. I like that.

          6. panterosa,

            @donnawhite:disqus the challenge was advanced by the kind sir @bsoist:disqus. I merely offer him the firing gun alert!

          7. Donna Brewington White

            And you have witnesses.

          8. bsoist

            I did see a hint of that in a comment on a previous post, I think. It’s on my list of things to do today. 🙂

          9. William Mougayar

            Also sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris, people watching, you get a good variety of that.

          10. awaldstein

            Subway in Paris is a good slice of life as well.

          11. William Mougayar

            yes…or butte montmartre, seeing the artists at work around the square is cool.

          12. awaldstein

            After New York, Paris is my favorite city.

          13. LE

            Both your and Arnold’s comment makes me think of amusement rides and zoo animals. Subway as entertainment.

          14. awaldstein

            Subways are transportation first with a human view.Live downtown west, need to go midtown for a meeting–#2 express is a gift.

          15. andyswan

            Plus you know you can get off.

          16. Donna Brewington White

            That makes a huge difference.

        2. panterosa,

          I’m glad it helps to open. Open is how we connect and grow.

    3. JLM

      .Increased taxes has always been the path to prosperity, no?JLM.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I think GE is more the problem than Countess LuAnn. Nobody talks any more about how much $ has been siphoned out of our tax revenue by giant corporations by setting up offshore HQ’s and other dodges. The amount of $ that adds up to blows all the Countess LuAnn’s out of the water.

      1. JLM

        .How did this happen?Politicians did it for their “friends” as influenced by lobbyists. Because it resulted in campaign contributions. Obscene campaign contributions.This is an enormous obscenity and should be put to death.If you want access to the American marketplace and American business environment — you have to pay American taxes. You have to employ Americans. Your employees have to pay taxes.Government created this problem not the Humans of New York.JLM.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Amen, brother!

        2. LE

          GE does employ many Americans and those Americans do pay taxes.

          1. JLM

            .However the corporation does not pay its fair share of taxes and it has a huge untaxed foreign tax credit protected overseas pot of capital which it desperately wants to repatriate but it does not want to pay the taxes on this repatriation.As we all know — only little people pay taxes.JLM.

          2. LE

            which it desperately wants to repatriate but it does want to pay the taxes on this repatriation.I think you mean “does not want” not “does want” obviously.I guess I take issue with using words like “fair share” because it reminds me of “that guy” that both of us aren’t fans of. I think “fair share” is subject to interpretation. And it’s used to inflame. (Just like “fat cats” something I hate even worse).Maybe an amnesty program. Like they did with offshore accounts and tax evaders.One thing though about GE. It’s a real mature long lasting industrial company doing real things with a real work force. Not some candy ass photo sharing site with ping pong tables or a coupon site where the CEO poses with a cat on his head (or used to at least he’s no longer there). Companies like GE have a special place in my heart.As we all know — only little people pay taxes.If you get a chance watch this on the Smithsonian channel. Look at how many people make money off Donald’s excess:http://www.smithsonianchann…(About Trump’s 757..)

          3. sigmaalgebra

            AFAIK, GE has lone made its money fromjet engines and being an unregulated bank.

          4. LE

            You have to admire a company that while making 1/2 of it’s profits from financial services also still makes refrigerators. guess is that there is more to that than meets the eye. Because it doesn’t make much sense from a traditional book smart business way of dealing [1]. Maybe it dates back to grandma and widows and orphans money investing. In other words the PR value of household name value for the company relative to at least some of the stock value. [2] Or maybe it helps them with regulators or politicians since they are a household name. After all Steve Jobs as a result of his fame could always get an audience in a way that other CEO’s could not.As always some things are simply not quantifiable. But that doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Half the shit that I have done over time (where half is just a guess) falls into the category of things that others scratch their heads over.[1] If something doesn’t make sense there is probably something you don’t know or something you aren’t considering that the other guy has thought of.[2] This article doesn’t seem to consider the point that I am making.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            I can only joke about GE:When I worked for them (in applied math, intheir Information Services HQ in Bethesda,MD), the joke around the office was that thelight bulbs paid for all the other nonsense.Apparently GE also did well with medical diagnostics, e.g., MRI, CAT, etc. At leastoff and on they did some military work:E.g., the engines that FedEx first used werefrom GE and originally for a target drone orsome such. The engines may also have beenused on the F-5, likely with afterburner.The FedEx version, for a Dassault Fanjet Falcon DA-20, also had an aft fan. GEhad a space division and did some aerospacework. For all I know they did some high endwork in radar, military satellites, etc.What I heard was that acting as an unregulatedbank saved their tail feathers for some years.Now, since 2008, maybe the regulations won’tpermit that.But I’m no expert in GE.But, like many big companies, they didn’tsee Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Apple comingand, in a big way, the should have: Earlyon they were making transistors and thencomputers. At one point, their computerswere the basis of Multics, the MIT ProjectMAC software work. We are still drawingfrom Multics — e.g., the security model of attribute control lists and capabilities,an hierarchical file system, an ‘imbedded’operating system with ‘gate’ segments, etc.Prime and later Intel borrowed heavily fromthe Multics (GE) hardware (later soldto Honeywell which also didn’t know whatthey had). No doubt Unix borrowed heavilyfrom Multics. But GE gave up on computingtoo early.The GE I knew made a religion of a ‘generalistmanager’ who could ‘manage anything’. Thensome HQ guys picked a business opportunityand went for it by applying their standard pattern. Sometimes they made money fora while, and sometimes they didn’t. In anycase, nearly no one with any authority hadmuch idea what the heck was going on in any of the crucial details or what the opportunities were for the future.

          6. LE

            But, like many big companies, they didn’t see Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Apple coming and, in a big way, the should have:As I have said before though we have no control group for the ideas they considered, passed on, that never became anything and would have been a waste of time. [1][1] You know like the guy who tells you about all of his stock wins but none of the loses or mistakes.

          7. Michael  McCarthy

            Well said, JLM; it almost seems as if you’re making a subtle hint to remind us of the Queen of Mean:

          8. LE

            Helmsley, just like Nixon, violated Harry’s (from Dexter’s) code. “Above all don’t get caught”. (In Helmsleys case it was loose lips sink ships.)

          9. Michael  McCarthy

            Very true, Larry; the pure, unbridled arrogance from Leona Helmsley was jaw-dropping. She badly mistreated her staff and, as you say, she failed to see the value in “loose lips sink ships.” It resulted in her conviction from US Attorney Rudy Giuliani. Sentenced to 16 years in jail, she was out after a year and a half.

        3. jason wright

          quite so JLM.The parallel to this is the conduct of US corporations in the European marketplace. Particularly Google and Amazon, major manipulators of the tax system.Eric Schmidt has a terrible PR problem in Britain. Whenever his pronouncements are reported online here he receives a torrent of criticism in the comments. ‘Google’ has almost become a dirty word.

      2. LE

        Nobody talks any more about how much $ has been siphoned out of our tax revenue by giant corporations by setting up offshore HQ’s and other dodges.I don’t think you can isolate the fact that both wealthy people and wealthy corporations saving money on taxes also end up with money that is paid in wages and/or used to buy goods and services in this country.This is not a justification for anything in particular but just a realization that you can’t simply say “didn’t pay $x million in taxes” and assume that a part of the $x million doesn’t end up in our economy. So there is a net effect as well.I like to marvel at the amount of profit that some large corporations make. Then I think that that’s after all the money they also piss away buying goods and services and employing people who buy goods and services.I really really hate when people rally against people taking advantage of the tax code. There are many ways to reduce taxes that are setup to provide incentives to do one thing or another. It’s not all bad.All that “their effective tax rate is lower than the ordinary wage earner” stuff is bullshit to me. I pay as low of an effective tax rate as I possibly can. To me it’s irrelevant if the typical wage earner pays a higher tax rate percentage wise. In the end I pay more total taxes to the government and I also spend money on things that ends up benefiting lower wage earners as well. All the other stuff is just populist bs to me.

    5. ShanaC

      The outer boros are much less like that. My block in my neighborhood is very solid middle class… Though that is changing

      1. jason wright

        changing in what way?

  10. panterosa,

    I’ve been seeing these since the start, but there is a definite surge in people posting since the book. It’s a fantastic project.It works on all the levels it should. It is greatly enhanced by the tumblr and digital sharing. It’s like a faucet that turned on and is now quenching everyone’s thirst.

  11. Tereza

    Perfect start of the day.

  12. William Mougayar

    We should do “Humans of AVC” 🙂

  13. Brandon Burns

    Way better than the subway. I hate the subway. Hate hate hate. I try to engineer my life so that I never have to leave Williamsburg, save for the occasional (very relaxing) G train or ferry ride to south Brooklyn. I’m pretty good at it, too.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      “Hate the subway”? While Ilive 70 miles northof Wall Street, I’m still a NYC subway ‘virgin’!So far I’ve never been on the NYC subway andstill want to keep my ‘subway virginity’!

      1. Brandon Burns

        Ha. The subway is probably a novelty for you. I live off the Bedford L stop, otherwise known as the 7th ring of hell. One rush hour commute to and from Bedford is enough to drive anyone insane.

      2. LE

        As a kid I rode the “el” in Philly. Couldn’t wait to get a car and never have to do that again.Have never been on the subway in NYC.I think part of the lure of the subway for New Yorkers is that it is a positive in that it helps you avoid a negative which is NYC traffic. Reminds me of when we got a woman to come in and help with the newborn. Originally I was really upset that someone else was in the house. But that turned into a positive association simply because it helped me avoid the negative of having to take care of a baby. Contrast principle perhaps.If the subway were located in an area that didn’t have NYC congestion (or even Philly congestion) I doubt anyone would give it a second thought at all.

  14. JamesHRH

    I am chuffed – I discovered it all by myself!He has a gift with people.And a book out.

  15. falicon

    Awesome – another great ‘New York’ blog is the “Ephemeral New York” ( http://ephemeralnewyork.wor… ).

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Good share!’Scouting New York’ can be a lot of fun, too, if you haven’t seen it already…

      1. falicon

        awesome thanks – just followed it now too! 🙂

  16. Henry Chalian

    I strongly suggest checking out his work when he visited Iran last year. Amazing photos & stories. An eye opener and dare I admit a tear jerker for me, who left (fled) Iran 30 years ago as a teenager – at times wondering what I missed, but never forgetting that I am an American (in some ways more American than most), and that I really love living in Greenpoint …http://www.humansofnewyork….

    1. fredwilson

      will do. thanks for the suggestion

  17. pointsnfigures

    Tech at it’s core is enabling people. It’s why we exist. (not tech) People.

  18. sigmaalgebra

    Yes, as I recall from earlier posts, you want a wayto find technical blogs and YouTube video clips oflectures.Now you are happy to have found a ‘long tail’ Website you like.As in your example today, again people are thrilledto ‘discover’ a Web site that they like. E.g., BradFeld long listed in the right column of his Web pagesites that he liked.Here, ‘like’ is tough to characterize with justkeywords/phrases since those make hash out ofmeaning. Instead what is needed is a way to ‘getat’ the ‘meaning’ of the content. ‘Getting at’meaning for text is a problem in natural languageunderstanding which, my guess, is only the thicknessof an onion skin away from real artificialintelligence and, thus, not promising, no matterwhat Google just paid $400 million for (“DeepMind”). ‘Getting at’ the ‘meaning’ of art,specialized blogs, or long tail Web sites is moredifficult still, even if they are based on text, andstill more difficult otherwise.For what a person likes, ‘like’ in terms of grosspopularity is next to useless, that is, in simpleterms, for music will result only in the Top 40 orsome such (I’ll never get Heifetz playing the Bach’Chaconne’ that way — excuse me while I rush outback to up chuck at the Top 40).Moreover, ‘like’ for art is likely nothing like’like’ for tech or tech investing. So, no doubt thequestion of what does a person ‘like’ is nearly anill-posed question with, thus, no good approach to agood answer. Instead, a better question is whatdoes a person ‘like’ for a particular purpose –tech, business, art, cooking, travel, … a millionor a billion or a trillion ‘personal interests’.Gee, if can do that, then what might do for, say, adtargeting?So, maybe what’s needed is a means of ‘discovery,recommendation, curation, notification,subscription’ to what a person will ‘like’ for theirpersonal interests. Call it a different kind of’search’ engine. But this puppy will need, somehow,effectively to ‘get at’ the ‘meaning’ of the contentfor each of the trillion or so ‘personal interests’.So, somehow have to take in available data andmanipulate it to get such results. How to do that?Statistics? How about cross tabulation? Aquestionnaire? I don’t think so! Uh, imageprocessing, speech recognition, semantic analysis,the semantic web, artificial intelligence, clusteranalysis, regression analysis, principlecomponents/factor analysis, ‘machine learning’, ‘bigdata’, the ‘interest graph’, what ‘friends’ like,singular value decomposition? Uh, I don’t think so!Gee, what the heck to do? Ah, “dance ’round and’round and suppose, while the secret sits in themiddle, and knows”.

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    “Humans” is so poetic. Discovered it months ago accidentally while searching for “Every Person In New York.”If you haven’t seen “Every Person” be sure to check it out. Jason Polan is on a quest to draw every person in NYC. He belongs to the “Taco Bell Drawing Club,” which you gotta love.http://everypersoninnewyork

  20. bstanton

    Thank you Fred, made me feel proud to read this.

    1. dave1982

      It’s an incredible site, thanks so much Brandon, I’ve been following every post for over a year. Also, if you’re a fan of The Wire, there’s a neat double homage site you might like that mashes up HONY questions with Omar quotes and pictures for sometimes absurd but sometimes profound results:

  21. Guest

    This was by far my favorite –

  22. AveryRosin

    This was by far my favorite — WORTHWHILE READ: http://www.humansofnewyork….A quote originally from Regina Brett.

  23. iggyfanlo

    As a New Yorker from 1983-2003, these are the vignettes and moments I miss the most… thanks for sharing

  24. Salt Shaker

    Several other cities inspired by Humans of New York have begun to sprout. I’m in Seattle for a good chunk of the winter (thankfully) and the stories/photos on Humans of Seattle similarly reflect the human spirit, albeit w/ a PNW attitude/lifestyle (e.g., funky hair/tats/piercings, the outdoors, mountains, the water).I always look forward to returning to NYC, in part, cause one can observe so much even on a daily basis. Here’s a fab photo I candidly shot last summer in NYC’s Carl Schurz Park near Gracie Mansion. No poignant caption or storyline to share, but it frankly doesn’t need any.

    1. JLM

      .How does one tell which side the individual nuns are on? They all look alike.I was educated by nuns — Sisters of Charity — from a very early age. I love those damn nuns. Tough bitches.Back when they all had saint’s names, they were Sister Thomas Acquinas and such.Then they changed their names to their real names. I had a blast calling them Sister Sally and Sister Jane and Sister Bob. I was in high school and had not an iota of sense. Truly, they should have exterminated me.I was elected Student Body President and Sister Mary got her revenge — she rigged the election against me. Do not screw with Sister Mary.Years later she admitted it to me. She was absolutely Nixonian in her revenge. Sister Axelrod? I deserved it.It was such a well deserved lesson that years later I wrote that school a big damn check anonymously for the extra tuition I owed.JLM.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Great story, thanks for sharing. I’ll certainly stay away from Sister Mary, but Isn’t rigging elections a sin? I prob should defer that Q to Al Gore.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Gore? Definitely flame bait! Don’t get mestarted on Saint Laureate Al Guru!

  25. matthughes

    That is really neat, powerful.My heart sunk when I read the sad example.

  26. takingpitches

    Fred, at the time you invested in Tumblr, was the potential of it as a medium for this type of art evident?

  27. andyswan

    Tumblr is so cool because it lets people be cool.

  28. Dale Allyn

    Fred, this is brilliant. Thanks for sharing it.

  29. jason wright

    someone should suggest to Sebastiao Salgado that he document the info tech revolution as it is happening in the developed world. his images of developing world industrial economies are amazing, but almost after the fact.

  30. Startup100M

    Kinda’ cool Fred.

  31. jason wright

    this for that – Bruce Davidson, East 100th Street, NYC, but with words.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      ha… clever

  32. Cynthia Schames

    @fredwilson:disqus I find it really enlightening and fascinating to note that you’re one of only about 4-5 investors who I can remotely imagine being interested enough in other human beings and their stories to find HONY at all worthy of their time.

  33. samuelshih

    this is amazing.

  34. Donna Brewington White

    I love humanity. I like tech the most when it is used to make humanity shine.

  35. ShanaC

    So I have an aquaintance or two in Hony… The actual stories behind them are more complicated than you’d think

  36. Joshua Cherry

    I have been an observer for so many great posts on this blog I am not sure why I feel compelled to finally say something. But this is such a great recommendation. I was so surprised at how his art captured the complexity of life (good and bad) so simply and powerfully. What a real pleasure to have float across my life a couple of times a day. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  37. DanielHorowitz

    This is truly great art. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Tom O'Brien

    Great site, awesome pictures. And I just killed 10 minutes at work…and it could have been longer! Thanks for sharing.

  39. jmacritchie

    What a wonderful site. Thank you!

  40. JamesHRH

    Fred strikes me as the classic introvert. They always know what they want. My son is the sam (he is only 8).Brandon is the opposite; he is a classic extrovert. He has no idea what he wants, which is why he gets such unusual responses.Both are endlessly curious, however.

  41. sigmaalgebra

    Asking much the same questions makes theanswers and, thus, the pictures, more’comparable’ and, thus, increases the ‘meaning’ of the content.

  42. sigmaalgebra

    To a literal, non-poetic guy like me, it’s not veryclear what “gray” means here. If it means nottrying hard, then, right, it’s not good.For “the secret sits in the middle and knows”, thesecret is supposed to be something rock solid,powerful, valuable, difficult to discover,understand, duplicate, or equal, and not “gray” atall.> Grays is where cautiousness and quiet desperationsit.Sometimes “quiet desperation” might mean ‘determinedconcentration’ which can be especially effective!> a life lived so cautiously is not worth havinglived at all.Maybe this worked for Rowling writing fantasyfiction (which, as I recall, got her off Britishwelfare) where some casting agent found one of theprettiest faces on the planet, Emma Watson (with theright weight, makeup, and hair style), but I’ve longsince concluded that if I don’t work “cautiously”then my auto repairs, mathematical derivations, andsoftware too frequently don’t work!Yes, at times life can look like being in a foxholewith bullets going overhead 6” away. In that case,stay “cautious” — sure as heck don’t put head up.Then, at least if alone, wait until dark, look,listen, and think carefully, crawl and outflank theenemy, and kill them off quietly one by one or somesuch (JLM won’t like this, but it’s better than notbeing “cautious”!).Men learn, essentially their feelings are justirrelevant; or, it’s not how they feel that makesthe real world do what the men want; instead it’swhat the men do, hopefully based on working bothhard and smart, however the man feels, that ispromising.”Cautiousness”? There are some old sayings:From carpentry, “measure twice; saw once.”.From early aviation, “There are old pilots and boldpilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”.> If one is looking for a stellar investment, womenbeing big and still feminine and beautiful is onethat virtually no one currently believes ispossible.If by “big” you mean 6′ 4″ and 210 pounds, then,right, such a woman will have a tough time being”feminine” or even “beautiful”. A foot shorter and100 pounds lighter is much better for “feminine andbeautiful”.It remains that men are suckers for a young, prettyface. As past President of the American PsychiatricAssociation Dr. Carol Nadelson (in Maggie Scarf,’Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage’)said, “Traditional marriage is about offspring,security, and caretaking.”. That is, thetraditional model is that she be cute, sweet, meek,dainty, darling, adorable, and precious, secondary,submissive, subordinate, a good follower, cared for,taken care of, protected, cherished, treasured,treated like a princess, kept happy and smiling, andloved. Each generation a few men can afford to besuch a ‘provider’, and for such a man there areplenty of candidate women.Yes, too soon she can get bored; but, since she isto be cared for, really treated like a child, havingher not bored is really her husband’s problem tosolve.Her problems? She has no problems, or much inresponsibilities other than motherhood for babiesand infants; even there she may need and get somecoaching from, say, his mother and under theleadership of him. All the rest is her husband’sproblem. If he doesn’t solve such problems, thenfar too easily the problems won’t get solved. Sorry’bout that. You are getting this little lesson forfree; the cost to me was high beyond belief. Yup,this little lesson is a special case of the moregeneral lesson from a TV ad: “It’s not nice to tryto fool Mother Nature.”.Or a traditional situation is the young man arrivesto take the girl on a date and is met at the frontdoor by her father.Father: “Good to meet you son [starts shaking hishand firmly]! You can call me Mr. Palermo. [keepsshaking the boy’s hand looking the boy in the eyeswith a serious demeanor]. I’ve got just one thingto say to you: {his voice drops an octave and getsharsh]. If Christina ever cries, it will be thefirst time in her life, and I’ll kill you.”.In college I got a sample: There was a nice girl,looked sweet, poor figure, but I wanted to get somecoffee with her, take some walks, and talk aboutlife, the world, and the universe. So, I called herfor a ‘date’.In response she gave me the address of her family’shouse in town and a time and day to visit. Iarrived on time. It was a nice neighborhood withhouses costing maybe five times the one of myfamily. The girl met me at the door with a nicesmile. Somehow the interior of the house was verynicely ‘furnished’, e.g., with a lot of darklystained woodwork, intricate looking decorativefurniture, and a pair of harps like would see at theNew York Philharmonic.The girl led me to a room with the girl’s mother.She looked good — perfect hair, face, weight,figure, and clothes, like she had just taken earlyretirement from a grand career as a fashion model orHollywood actress. Her posture and manner were veryfeminine but still dignified, maybe even posed,confident and even domineering. The daughter leftthe room.The mother and I talked. It took me only a fewseconds to realize that I might as well enjoy thevisit and surroundings because there was no way Iwas going to be permitted to ‘date’ the girl! So, Iwas ‘interviewed’, explained where I lived and whatmy parents did. There wasn’t any interest in my SATscores or college major (math and physics or how I’djust skipped freshman calculus and started withsophomore calculus, had led the class in physics).The mother always smiled, maybe like a Disney catholding a mouse! It was fun — interesting womanand house! Soon the ‘interview’ was over; I wasasked to wait a moment outside; soon the girl toldme, with a sad but sympathetic look, that thedecision was “No”. I just smiled at her as if Iknew there really hadn’t been any chance but that Iappreciated the opportunity and admired her houseand the carefulness of her mother.Heck, I was being told an old story, “Rich girlsdon’t marry poor boys.”,…which, of course, is a special case of the moregeneral result that no girl wants to marry a poorboy! There is also the closely related result thata girl being pretty is like a boy being rich. Or,girls are to be cared for, and rich girls are to becared for in the manner to which they have becomeaccustomed, accustomed to by their rich fathers whonever could tell their daughters no and each of whomhad her father wrapped around her little finger byage 4.If by “big” you mean determined, brilliant,accomplished, etc., then it has long been the casethat women have done that; in recent years in highschool and college academics they have shown thatthey can have their share and maybe more at the topof the class and effortlessly, totally blow awaynearly all the boys in essentially all of the’humanities’ courses; and there is no reason such agirl can’t also be just drop dead gorgeous.My wife was plenty pretty but also brilliant:Valedictorian, PBK, ‘Summa Cum Laude’, WoodrowWilson, NSF, and Ph.D. in mathematical sociologyfrom likely the best department in the world (two ofher profs were soon to be President, AmericanSociological Association). Her face was verypretty; her skin perfect; and, with her hair,clothes, and weight all just right, she was a verypretty girl.”Brilliant”? Tough to beat her in any academiccourse; maybe no one ever did: She audited a coursein European history; the prof wanted audits also totake the tests; at the end the prof told her thatshe should have taken the course for credit sinceshe made the highest score in the class, of 300students. There are more such stories about her –she was brilliant.One of the prettiest girls I ever saw, in person orotherwise, was just my age and in my grade, at leastgrades 7-12. Recently I looked her up; she’d gottena Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She was a littlemore interested in me now than then but not much!Well rested and happy, with her weight, hair, andclothes okay, Marissa Meyer can still look likeshe’s a high school sweetheart. You mentionedSandberg: Note that I didn’t say a single wordabout Ms. Sandberg, (from a movie) “not one singleword”!But, “women being big” in the sense of financial”investment”, e.g., VC, is likely using aninappropriate measure: My guess is that long agoMother Nature filtered out women so easilydistracted from what Mother Nature and Darwin reallywanted the women to do well at, the “mommy track”.It’s not a trivial job and nothing like inferior towhat men try to do: “The hand that rocks the cradlerules the world.”. Motherhood is the location ofthe most important ‘capital’ in civilization –‘social capital’.There’s an E. Fromm (‘The Art of Loving’) quote wecan insert here: “Men and women deserve equalrespect as persons but are not the same.”. Frommwent on to explain that Western Civilization got theidea that men and women should be equal in everyrespect (except maybe some details of lowerabdominal plumbing) from the French Revolution thatwas afraid that any difference was a risk ofinjustice and tyranny.Sorry about the French Revolution: The Little IceAge had just caused crop failures for about threeyears in a row — might not get that little detailfrom Victor Hugo.To heck with the French Revolution. If I wantsomething from France, then I will get some wine,soft cheese, maybe roast duck with orange sauce, anda very pretty girl, say, to take to the opera inItaly (where there is also some good wine, cheese,and food). Desserts? Vienna!For all of this about investment and women, fromwhat we read here at AVC maybe the big exceptionalcase is GG! Yup, so far we can’t reject thehypothesis that Fred is just the blogger and ‘rainmaker’ while the real brains, decision maker, actually GG! :-)!Now that their children are nearly grown, even ifFred has been the real brains so far, it may be thatfrom now on GG will provide some severe competitionand Fred will have to ‘up his game’, ‘put his gameface on’, and each day ‘come ready to play’! :-)!