The New AVC
As I promised to do months ago, we have moved AVC from Typepad to WordPress.org. We is Nathan Bowers with some direction from me. We also did a redesign which you are all seeing in action. The goal of the redesign was to optimize for mobile, clean up the page, and make the content and comments front and center and eliminate everything else. The only widget that survived was the usv.com widget which is now placed between today’s post and yesterday’s post.
We moved search back to Google site search because it simply works better for me. And I am sure I search AVC more than anyone else. We’ve added a table of contents for MBA Mondays to the Archive section and improved that a bit too. I made some changes to the About page, and Subscribe Via Email is no longer buried so deep it’s remarkable that anyone ever found it.
AVC is now just one column. That works best for mobile and mobile will soon be the way most of you access AVC. We’ve also eliminated the <div> element that made Disqus work poorly on mobile for all of you. I’m sorry it took me so long to fix that.
I am sure there are some things that aren’t working right. Please let us know what they are in the comments and we will fix them. And I am sure many of you will dislike the redesign. Feel free to tell us that too, although I don’t expect we will fix that.
I have wanted to move off of Typepad for many years. I was hesitant for a whole host of reasons, a few valid and most not. I am really happy to have finally made the move and now I can work with an open source CMS that has plugins galore and is evolving and improving constantly. It was long overdue. I want to thank Nathan for making this move easy on me and getting it done.
Sleek and chic.
The site looks nice and clean. Only one bug report Fred – in the last 24 hours, my Feedly feed for AVC has picked up all the old articles and marked them unread (happened couple of times). Only happened for this one site, not for the others, so I assume this was tied to the site refresh. Not a huge bug given how few people (like me) are still on RSS readers 🙂
All 6400 posts?
Nope around 15-16 posts so just the last couple of weeks
Similar thing happened to Mullenweg last year. It was kinda funny.
6400, a big number. Congrats on that and the new look. Is much cleaner look IMO.
I love the fact that you just let the 6400 number slip out in a comment. I would be shouting that from the rooftops.Thanks Fred for all of them.
6,358 to be honesti used to post two or three times a dayi had more time back then between Flatiron and USV
totally. 6358 is likely the world record for intelligent blog posts.
yeah, but not many of them are intelligent!
please. anything that is done out of passion is intelligent. hard to compare what you do to this: http://www.guinnessworldrec…edit: for the record, i completely disagree with my point above re: passion/intelligent. not sure why i wrote it. was dumb comment.
actually, no, anything done out of passion isn’t intelligent; in this case it is.
Thread hijack: do you think FB paid too much for WhatsApp?Big 🙂
It depends on who you are and what you are paying with.Yahoo! paid $3.5bn for GeoCities but they had a $140bn valuation at the time. So they gave up ~5% of the business for itLooks like FB gave up approx 10% of their business for Whatsapp. If messaging is the killer app on mobile (it is) and if FB wants to strengthen its messenger offerings, particularly globally, one could make a case why it was worth 10% dilution to them
Thx. Interesting you think of it as “dilution”.
That is what it is except for the cash portion, which they diluted themselves during the IPO to get
do you think FB paid too much for WhatsApp?To much? It will either end up being the right decision or the wrong decision which we will know in the future. But even with that we won’t even know if the fact that they spent that money (and time) will somehow have an opportunity cost in other deals they passed on or didn’t do.As Fred knows the deals he does also end up preventing deals he could have done. (Business is analog..)Anyway my theory on making any kind of purchase where negotiation is involved is to first decide that you want what you are buying (and need it). That’s hard because much of buying is emotional.The next step is simply to get the best deal you can within reason. (Not to set arbitrary points..)In that respect there is no such thing as overpaying. (Keeping in mind “within reason”). Yahoo buying broadband.com was “to much”. Had they paid 25% less it wouldn’t have been a better move. It would still be “to much” because it didn’t pan out (did it?)Biggest mistake you make when buying is to decide “if I get an additional $x it’s a go, if not, no deal”. Will force you to make a decision for the wrong reason. Pride, rationalization and so on.Of course if you are making a deal and running numbers so close that a certain number could mean disaster then you are probably flying to close to the ground and you might want to re think the gamble This is really part of the principle that makes people buy what they don’t need because it is offered at a discount.
the AVC logo still disturbs me! Still not sure if i’m supposed to look at it like it’s “AVC” or “A VC”and to add another critique, I feel like it had lost its personality a bit, surely displaying your avatar and the good ol’ family under the sun pic won’t affect the size of the mobile page too much?that said, congrats to both Nathan and you on the move! Long overdue!
Looks like a new place. Slimmed down a lot. Lookin’ good
Read this on mobile en route to a breakfast. So much better and I thank you.Two nits and and an ask for Disqus.1. Background hue is dispersive to my eye. Feels off.2. Disqus ads on my mobile screen are shockingly in contrast with the stripped down version of the site and contextually feel like spam. They are invading my personal space on my phone.And 3.A note to our friends at Disqus. Mobile is much much better but adding and reading comments on a long string on mobile is still a struggle. I encourage them to step up and own long form comments on the mobile screen. We need them to do that!
What do you mean “own long form comments”? Please be specific. Thanks.
Long form comments, what I am doing right here as a commenter and what tens of thousands read on their phones is a context, completely on its own.It’s sentences, thoughts, conversations and engagement.It’s a huge challenge to input and follow long strings on Disqus on mobile. I do it, it is a labor even with all the improvements you’ve done.Make it better. Make it so that it is natural and engaging to comment and read on my mobile phone. If the community is going mobile, comments must also.Non trivial I understand. But you guys are the experts on blog communities. Your future is here. The upside and threat is not to own the mobile screen.
Thanks for elaboration. There’s an ongoing process – a team – iterating. We recently made some changes to the mobile experience. Some of them are subtle, others are obvious. We’re never done.Text entry on mobile is something that everyone struggles with, be in email, blogging, texting, or commenting. It’s a universal challenge, but we’re trying to make the experience less painful.
Mobile is happening.Mobile has happened but not to the blogging communities. And it won’t without a commenting system that is build for it.It’s really that simple.
I would question how many people who comment and are full fledged fast keyboard typists (50wp or above) are ever going to want to do any serious writing on a small keyboard with a small screen. Possible? Sure. Likely? No (not in any significant numbers). To much friction.My guess (and this is a guess) is that if someone is a fast hunt and peck typist it’s on the dartboard but if they are not hunt and peck it’s pretty close to a non starter.
Don’t you think someone will type comments on whatever device they read on? Although early on I would read on mobile and get frustrated trying to comment and would wait until I was at my computer to finish. So maybe I proved your point. Disqus made enough improvements to make mobile commenting palatable and then a new phone took it to a new level. Shorter comments also helps. ; )
I gave up long emails when I started doing email on a blackberry in 1997/98 It was a life saver
I gave up long emailsTo be sure though that shifts the burden to the reader of the email to think of all sorts of things that you have not made clear by a short email. (Potential ambiguity).In the end it works for you but it may not work for everybody.I had a real estate salesman answer my questions by iphone yesterday and it really pissed me off because he didn’t give the detail that I needed. (Creating more work for me). I wish he had just sent a reply by desktop.  And the spacing was all screwed up I couldn’t even figure out where his answers began and where my questions ended.My point is that there is an impact. Not to say that there is no benefit. I don’t like to wear a suit (or even a jacket) and I’m willing to let the chips fall where they do. But I do recognize there is an impact. But in all honesty I think he’s just mediocre operator and probably would just do the same if at a desktop.
Don’t you think someoneI don’t know. What is this called? Behavioral economics? I mean I never had a name for it it’s just things that I have picked up over the years by osmosis and observation. That I know to be true.I mean if you go into a supermarket you will see that they pay for product placement “slotting fees” to get the product where there is the least amount of friction. If you to to a trade show you will see that some booths are in more desirable locations than others.Anytime you put (insert the mba word for this or let’s just call it friction) in front of an action you will alter behavior. Put the laser printer in the basement it will be used less than if it’s next to someone’s desk.As far as shorter comments helping I could argue that two ways.A shorter comment leaves much to the imagination as far as intent. So that could either increase engagement (because you are pissing people off more by not being circumspect and they take you to task) or lessen engagement (because there is less quality in the comment and people want deeper thoughts).At the two ends of the spectrum here we have me (or sigma algebra) but we also have Fake Grimlock and Charlie “drive by” Chrystle. But the point is we have both not just one or the other.
Yup, I thought such things and, formyself, still do, but Whatsapp hasbeen getting new users at 1 millionper day and just got sold for $19billion — used to be a lot of money!Bet a lot of those users are not goodat ‘touch typing’ and have a lot ofmisspelled words, etc. And they aresending ‘messages’ to people, as far as I could tell from the news today,are doing nothing they couldn’t havedone decades ago with old SMTP andPOP3 e-mail for which there is no doubt plenty for smart phone software.So, Whatsapp was maybe a little moreconvenient than e-mail in some casesfor some users and a pain otherwisebut still worth $19 billion. I have tothink that it is a fad that won’t last.And likely someone will think of someextensions that will let a new fadcatch on and replace Whatsapp.Still Zuck paid $19 billion. He’s goingto pay $19 billion for each small teamof programmers who might get something going to grab a little ofthe Facebook traffic for a while?There is a sense in which a network effect is quite similar to a fad. Hmm ….So, ‘own both ends of the wire’, that is, if have a messaging app, thenwrite the code so that both the senderand the receiver need to have the same app. Then someone will go tothe trouble to break the protocol ofmany such messaging apps and have ‘one app to rule all the others’.Is Whatsapp all about gossip andemotions of teenage girls looking forboys again? If so, then there is abusiness risk here: E.g., going allthe way back to Disney’s ‘Cinderella’where the two nasty girls wanted tothrow away good clothes just to getnew clothes and G. Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’with “La Donna e mobile” — womenare changeable. Or, ‘look, look, look,I’ve got a new app and, thus, amin the in-group of others with thisnew app.’ Something’s fishy here.
Whatsapp simply allows me and 450 million of my friends to avoid carrier charges for SMS/MMS.It’s just IM built mobile native. Superbly. No gimmicks. No games. No rocket surgery required.
I predict right now, as a lover of Disqus as a product and company, that you will not bridge this gap until you capitulate and build a native mobile app.You’re right. It is a universal challenge. There also happens to be a universal solution.
Jim thinks I’m bopping him.I’m worried about me as the thought of not having avc and other communities viable as I move more and more of my day to mobile is a bit unnerving.
Yes, exactly. It’s important for the Internet and the future of discussion that Disqus makes the leap across the mobile chasm.Tough love is the best medicine, so I’ll say it simply: they’re not in the right galaxy right now.
you are raising the right issues Arnold. so am I. and trust me, so are the disqus team members. it’s not obvious how one does what you suggest as web and native mobile are not seamlessly connected. but trust me that this is front and center in daniel’s and everyone’s minds at disqus
Every time I raise this, I wish I hadn’t as it feels like telling your kid to do their homework and nagging doesn’t help.I know Daniel knows this and it keeps him awake.I’m impatient because the market is. That’s the truth.
you may be right. they certainly are noodling on that one
So happy to hear that.
AVC flows into my email inbox every morning. My inbox is what I peruse first thing. A native app may be worth building for some, but for me it’s a separate access point that will have less visitation. On a good day I’ll open maybe 2-3 apps out of 20 on my desktop. Unless a Disqus app was built w/ seamless integration w/ my email inbox then I likely wouldn’t use very much.
I wish someone had told me before this that the world was black or white. ;-)Prediction noted. Thanks.
I could equivocate or qualify, but I’m not one to try to reduce the impact of my message. 🙂
Why do you think that a native mobile app will get adopted to the point that it will help a particular blog like Avc? That means the entry point will be the app. Or are you saying that you would open the app from avc?
I like this part:”My vision — which I shared with the Disqus team”I like the fact that you thought enough about your idea to “share it” which I take as not simply making a comment but going one step further (possibly by email back and forth).
Definitely. I shared most of that with them about a year ago.
I think it works just fine on Android with SwiftKey so far. That’s the first time I’ve ever said that so keep up the good work.
I switched phones–upgraded actually–to Galaxy 4 and commenting on mobile vastly improved. Mostly because I only have to type 1/3 to 1/2 the words. This phone is amazing BTW.
Bigger screen = easier typing
Yeah, Android is amazing for the bigger screen, like Fred mentioned, and also for the breadth of keyboards available to suit your typing style.
Have you considered voice comments? Leaving a recording would be easy to do on mobile. And although text to speech kind of sucks right now, down the road it should be better.
I have done that before. Doing it now as a matter of fact but it’s really a function of the Android phone not a function of the Disqus commenting platform.
I understand. What I was referring to was an actual recording. As in I can record my voice. You’d press play on the comment to hear me.Having Disqus translate that recording to text could be an option later. The technology to do so now isn’t that great.
Oh, I see. Seems clunkier than what I suggested though, doesn’t it? And what’s the benefit in doing it your suggested way? Letting people listen to audio? I think Disqus might have offered that in the early days. That and video comments get no traction.
Not really. I guess it’d depend on the context. If someone’s walking to work, texting out a long comment isn’t ideal. But leaving a voice recording might be. The benefit would be using your voice to connect with people.As a copywriter, I love text. But sometimes you want to talk with someone about something. There’s not a platform for doing this right now.
It’s an interesting idea, but the spammers would have a heyday and I’d never listen to them.
I have often thought this as well but wonder if enough people would adopt it to make it worthwhile. You can do this with soundcloud. I’ve thought about just doing it a few times to see what would happen. Although to take off would be need to be a button rather than having to record separately and embed.
Make it so that it is natural and engaging to comment and read on my mobile phone.I don’t know of any way that you can make typing on mobile equivalent to a full size keyboard. To me that is the friction more than anything else.
I don’t think the future will look like the past LE.QWERTY was a learned behavior. Others will be learned and become the norm on mobile potentially.
Well it is possible that similar to when laser printers came out that the same type of thing will happen.- Over time quality increased (remember 300 dpi for $4000 for an HP?)- People were willing to accept lesser quality until theproduct improved.- The market increased greatly and momentum took over.As you almost certainly remember it was unthinkable to use laser printers in the mid 80’s to make camera ready copy for any serious advertising or marketing purpose. But early adopters without the same design sensibilities didn’t see any problems at all (I know because we use to shoot their camera ready copy from laser printers at the time). For that matter a kid graduating from Suny Binghamton business program didn’t see why it mattered either.That said just because in one particular case this happened is no guarantee that it will happen here. (In other words history doesn’t always repeat itself because details make a difference).Learned behaviors are important. After all Dvorak (apparently better than qwerty) never got adopted nor did esperanto (god I remember in high school all the change the world around that one).
I’m so excited to hear Disqus is working better on mobile. I’ve been hesitant to add it to my own blog because it has been so bad here.
that is my bad. we had a weird formatting bug that messed it up
Now I just need to move my personal blog to my own server so I can use Disqus. Need more time!
It’s way better and yes, it’s been worse here than on my properties.I recommend Disqus every week to someone and feel good about it.
Your recommendation means a lot. Thanks.
You are the embodiment of tough love Arnold
I’ll take that as a compliment Fred 😉
It was meant as such. Seriously
Definitely agree on the discus ads. They stick out like not only a sore thumb but ten sore fingers. The rest of the site is smooth and mobile optimized and then you are hit with a bunch of glaring images and text to scroll over just to read the comments. It actually goes against Fred’s words that he was trying to feature the comments.
Ads make $$, and $$ let our favorite companies continue to grow and support us.I know this of course but on my phone, the space is intimate and my space, and I’m sensitive about what I allow there.This is true of mobile in general and special community dynamics like this one very much in particular.
It’s a common complaint here today in the comments.So I’m wondering if some wording, ala the way public television does it, could mute the dissatisfaction with the ads.”These great advertisers help keep Disqus free..” or something like that.
Your intent is right on but interrupt ads on mobile simply don’t work.
But the 900 pound gorilla in mobile advertising is how often these ads are “clicked” in an attempt to scroll past them which costs the advertiser and has no benefit for them.And why do I care if disqus is free or not. I’m just a person browsing a web site and commenting. The cost shouldn’t be on me.
And why do I care if disqus is free or not. I’m just a person browsing a web siteLook why do I care that you caught the two big fish in your avatar? (Sorry couldn’t resist they look like nice fish).The idea is not that people care but what I call the “mind if I smoke” mutter reflex. In other words you make an attempt when trespassing to at least give a reason to justify the trespass. To show you care enough to acknowledge someone’s feelings.Like if you are late for an appointment you say “sorry I was late”. Or if you can’t make it to someone’s party you don’t say “no” you say “oh I’m so sorry I had something else planned we will have to get together to…”. So you soften the let down.Here disqus should be saying “hey we know this stuff pisses you off but please bare with us while we adjust the horizontal hold..”. And that way people are more likely to cut them some slack. Because they can rationalize the reason and justify why it should piss them off much less. Where someone used to light up while saying “mind if I smoke” a long long time ago.
“bare with us while we adjust the horizontal hold…” say what ?I don’t thing my phone has that feature 🙂
Something is wrong with the setup. The ads should be at the end of the comment thread not the start if you are logged into disqus
One relevant point is that ads on Disqus are an option for the site. Some places respond very well to them — some, like here, it may feel visually congruent.This will get better and configuration is the option now. But Fred is in the family and he likes to use everything we have going on. Such is what he signed up for as the eternal beta tester.
a bit too impersonal if I’m honest. A bit too sleek, bring back your Avatar
I lieu of the AVC logo?
hmm not sure, I do like the logo but I really associate the avatar with you
how about an animation of my avatar and chris dixon’s fighting?http://cdixon.org
hahahha definitely! if it increases engagement and time on site (most likely) we maybe should turn it into a game. “angry fred”……top of the play store for sure!
Call it Flappy Chris vs. Angry Fred. If you can get to 50 million MAUs, do come back to me for a term sheet.
Avatar to left + AVC to the right of it on all pages would work. I’d actually like to see “AVC” as a flat color, rather than gradient.
yes. we know it’s avc. the domain tells us that.
AVC doesn’t need a logo you are avc
I Disagree. It needs a logo. And the logo should have the site address in it. With the avatar added.Maybe Nike doesn’t have to say “Nike” and Apple doesn’t have to say “Apple” but for the rest of the world it would typically be advisable to stick a name everywhere you can. Starbucks even still says “starbucks”. (Not that I need to justify this by giving examples because even big successful companies screw up.)Typically I almost always sign my emails with first name, lastname not just first name. Repetition. Reinforcement. A conscious effort for a reason.
I don’t know your name LE
Not only that but you also don’t know what I look like either.
I like the new design a lot, but I agree I did like the personal touch w avatar etc
Great news. Great indeed. Don’t mean to burst your bubble, but there are 19 billion other things that might trump your news today, eh? ;-)Seriously tho…awesome move.
it is not good manners to count other people’s moneyso i don’ti don’t mean that as a diss on your comment Jimjust saying that its not particularly interesting to me
I’m with ya there. Not looking at anyone else’s scorecard.Was just poking fun re today’s big news day.
i’m with you on the poking fun parti am so bummed i am going to miss the comedy show tonightit’s killing me
There will be a video compilation of sorts.
please drop the link when available.
ha…tried never to do that when I was trading either. Only used money as a signal, and $FB buying WhatsApp was a pretty strong signal.
The most off-putting part for me, especially on mobile, is the Disqus “Around the Web” widget. It really does look and feel like spam set against the new minimalist background.What does Google Analytics tell you about the effectiveness of these links? Are people clicking on them? If not, then that would be the first thing I would get rid of.
disqus is a free comment system. they make money off of those ads
Simple is good, and it focuses the reader. My only nit is in the About or top bar: there is no links to your Tumblr, USV, or your music. I thought your blog was a jumping point to these other things that are also about you.
they are in the about page nowhttp://avc.com/about
Got it. But the only reference to USV is a subtle one, via the widget.
that is not intentionalbut AVC came before USV and will probably last past it
Looks great. I love the font on mobile!And you just fixed two of the things I was going to let you know about that I was seeing on mobile. (The other, I don’t see the USV widget when I click directly to the post from Twitter.)Good work!
New design looks great….I only saw it on the desktop for now, no opinion on mobile. But AVC is mostly on the desktop for me, its not a site I read while on mobile.Only little bug I noticed is that the old http://avc.com/a_vc/ URL is giving 404…. Its the URL on the header of the RSS feed and the link I usually follow for my daily fix…
Looks great. Not sure about the darker background. Need a few days of that.I come here to read the comments (mostly). It would be great to be able to roll up the post and all of the Disqus comments into a slug that is Instapaper / Pocket / printer friendly.
I know you moved the avatar to the About page, but it would be nice to have it back on the Home Page. Maybe even as your “personal logo” in the upper left of all pages, otherwise the page feels generic, antiseptic even.
this is the most common suggestion so farthanks
This is your house, so we can’t really tell you how to furnish it, but I think you may have forgotten to hang your avatar or a version of it, on the wall. Were you tired of it?
Your new pic looks good 2.
I’ll tell you what might make the avatar work well in this simpler design…changing the blue color to a matching green.The blue isn’t bad at all, but it’s just not connected to anything. AVC’s brand was green + red, so that feels like a major disconnect right now.
The blue is already growing on me, but then blue always was one of my favorite colors.
Blue and green are complementary, too.
i featured this comment susan because it’s the most common critique
Ooo lucky Susan!
Ooo, sponsorship opportunity?
I wonder if she can edit the comment. Perfect place to voice a protest! 🙂
For the record, featured comments cannot be edited by their author. 🙂
is an author informed of the impending elevated feature status of their comment?who features itEdit: number of votes?blogger decides?subverting investment interest?
We do not yet notify the author but it is something we are considering.A comment can be featured by any moderator of a given community.
it would be good social etiquette, but consider empowering the community further by giving the author the right to decline. wanted is a flat disqus world, not a hierarchy of power elites dispensing thought status.
What gets shown up at the top, or the user’s comment? I think it’d probably be better to save a copy of the comment text when it was featured, and then display that – and let the user do what they want with their own comment.
That’s what I’m thinkin’! I wonder if Fred would remove it. 😛
i’d rather see an ad linked post or an ad linked featured comment (based on the post or comment keyword content) than the ‘around the web’ stuff at the foot of the page. that would be pertinent and native to the disqussions. the footer stuff seems entirely random and of no relevance. this could be the monetizing model Disqus needs to adopt and iterate upon. it needs to be implimented with design subtlety and unobtrusive good taste.
A unique graphic/visual clue is always helpful. Everyone knows you by your Avatar and even new people will be drawn to it because it’s quite unique.
My first thought “Where’s Fred” -I can’t handle losing both iGoogle and your Avatar from my daily routine…
That is coming through loud and clear
feature comment ad link sponsored by Avatar Generator Inc.
funny and fiscal, a killer combo.Disqus wants to do a Whatapp? this could be an ad platform revenue generator model, and one independent of the Google Monster. Disqussion search is more authentic than traditional search engine search.
I love thisThis is my diary, my sandbox, my therapist, and more than anything it is my bar where I get to be the bartender. AVC is a place where everyone is welcome and the conversation is civil and lively.
yeah, that’s new. you like it?
You had me at sandbox
If only we had someone like http://www.reddit.com/user/… here at AVC, to draw a picture of Fred playing in a sandbox..
“….where everybody knows your name…” ♫♫♫♫♫
Just one so minor point. Archive and About. Shouldn’t it be About and then Archive? Totally trivial, but more chrono logical.
While we’re on trivia. Do we need the Home link under menu? Everyone knows you click the AVC icon, no?
Unless of course the logo changes to Fred’s avatar? ! *brain explodes*
or, make the avatar the About function. also logical.
trivia part two.Dump the AVC icon logo. Replace it with Fred’s avatar, and make that the ‘home’ function icon (everything written hear comes out of his head anyway so it’s entirely logical to click on it). Then order it About, and then Archive, and then Subscribe. Not sure about this Twitter thing. It’s a fad, isn’t it?Edit: Avatar/ About, and then Subscribe, Twitter, Archive is now my preferred order.
Things that work:(1.) Clean one-column.(2.) AVC logo and its gradient blues.(3.) Responsive styling for multi-device.Things that need work:(1.) Title bar needs your avatar because it’s a core brand identity.(2.) Background is too dull and gray — it looks to be c2c2c2 in RGB. There needs to be enough contrast between the white of the comments box and the background and perhaps a dNdNdN color will work better; that’s an easy fix in WordPress’s style sheets.(3.) The Comments and Tweets buttons at the bottom of each post should have the same styling as Disqus’s “Post as (name of user)” button which is dark gray with white lettering.
Whatever happened to your music link / tab / window? I know that you still post a song a day to Tumblr, but I loved the playlist in reverse chronological order that use to be on fredwilson.fm… that was linked to from avc.com. Any ideas how I can get that back? (PS – Listen / Watch to The National’s live concert at the Sydney Opera House on YouTube if you have not heard it.)
the widget that powered that service broke and i could never find a good one to replace it
Love it – especially on mobile. Two comments:- Avatar is a core part of your brand. I’d return- On mobile the Disqus ‘Around The Web’ take a lot of real estate before we get to the comments.
Looks good! I never really liked the previous theme, mostly because of its use of red (red links, especially) and all the widgets which are thankfully gone now.This change fixes those things, and even better as it’s not just a facelift but also powered by Free Software.Two suggestions:Somebody else said it on this thread, your avatar should be on the header in some form.And maybe USV could be placed more visibly at the top too, as a drop-down menu perhaps.
FAST! I LOVE IT!
Redesign looks great–much better. Congrats on getting it out.I’m currently on Tumblr for my (long-form) blog and I’ve been debating whether or not I should move to WordPress. Your last paragraph reminded me of this debate. I’d be curious to know what your valid hesitations were. For me, I really like the simplicity of Tumblr and I enjoy the community. But I’m sure I’m missing out on plugins and other things that I’d really enjoy.
I like it.David Ogilvy would tell you Black on White for Font & Background ( I would agree ).I like your avatar where it is – Chris is not in your position. He has a great avatar but no site brand (every hear anyone say ‘I read that on cdixon.org today’ ?).
You in part killed off the ability to sandbox, where the old design allowed you with the second column, along with eliminating at least one thing in main.I wonder if USV.com’s new layout would have taken off the same way, if it wasn’t for the regular reminded to people with the USV conversation widget – just as one example.It’s certainly calmer. I might play around with the colours in a subtle / gentle way to see if I can find a better combination. I won’t have time until later though. :)Re: Cleaner on mobile – Responsive design is best for that, though I understand the appeal of simple “is elegant.”
great update Fred!
Good job. Very nice.
Looks good on my old iPhone 4S.I guess WordPress is the way to go if you’ve got a dedicated person to tweak it for you. I use it on one if my infrequently updated blogs ( steamcatapult.com ), but the interface seems ridiculously complex compared to your portfolio co Tumblr (on which I have another blog).
The grey background is really pleasant to read from. Thanks!
Liking it, Fred. I feel like there’s a few too many items in the navigation though. Perhaps put the Subscribe and Twitter info on the About page. This should lighten the navigation, and I also don’t think the content on the existing pages deserve their own page.
Check it out in mobile…there’s just one menu button in lieu of all those choices.
Looks better. But for me the issues exists on desktop.
Love that you moved to WordPress… what a great publishing platform.One small addition would be to have a very simple footer… doesn’t have to be complex or grotesque but that would allow some jump-off points back to some of your static pages. In addition, a “Jump to the Top” button would be great as you get a ton of comments and clicking to return to the very top of the page is a nice functional value for readers.love it!
i don’ think footers work in a world of infinite scroll and we may want to go there
there are some nice conventions and options. for example, i’m using one of the default themes for WordPress and i also have infinite scroll enabled… but see the nice light “footer” at the bottom?http://john.do/(image) ~~> http://d.john.do/uv8bsimple, unobtrusive, and, of course, customizable.
Brilliant on a tablet.Agree with all requests for the return of the avatar.
The Subscribe link is good, but redirecting to the Feedburner feed is not helpful. On Albert’s blog, click on the “follow” button, you’ll see you can pick your favorite reader there and it’s much easier than copying and pasting the feedbruner url into a reader.
hmm. when i click on the feedburner link i get that option
Then, you’e lucky 🙂 Let’s pick I use Feedbin as my favorite reader, but that would be the same for Feedly or the Digg Reader (or…) as my favorite reader.- On Safari I get this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/h…- On Firefox I get this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/f… The box on the right is slightly more helpful, but it lacks every popular reader of these days and has a lot of long time dead options, like Pageflakes or even the Google Button. Click on them to see if any actually does what you need! – On Chrome I get something similar to FF, except that the images are broken now.I am sorry to say, but if somebody wants to follow your blog with something else than email… they’ll have a tough time, and I’m not even mentioning what happens from a mobile/tablet device.SubToMe is very simple to setup and will *adapt* to your readers needs and favorites tools. There is a WP.org plugin: If you need more help. I’m happy to do anything I can.You can try it on Continuations. Click on the “Follow” link at the top of the page.
An avc.com that is completely, totally, utterly without blog bling? Not a single widget to be found?This is freaking me the fuck out, man.
Extreme Blog Makeover
there is a usv widget on the main page, but not on permalink pages
Looks like my previous comment here was marked as spam. That could be one difference.
I think the background color makes it a tad harder to read. Something lighter or white might make for a lot more crisp reading.
Never one to ask for ads but I liked the idea they the revenue went to charity, any plans to replace that in the new design? Without slowing it down of course.
not at this time
Love it – it’s interesting to me how with mobile, minimalist UIs are back in fashion. Well done and congrats. Was the migration from TypePad to WordPress challenging?
i don’t think so, but only Nathan knows
Really clean redesign. I would love to see Tumblr on your header since that blog is so much more personal. You could make “Twitter” into the bird icon and buy yourself some space that way. On Mobile, everything is hidden under the menu button anyway, so it should work.
thanks for that suggestion. for some reason my tumbr’s web page gets very little traffic. it has a huge following inside of tumblr though. almost as large as my twitter following
Looks great and very clean! I was surprised to see the sidebar disappear as its a great way to feature something like the Donors Choose initiatives or other things worth highlighting. There is probably a great way to keep a single column on mobile and two on web.With all the plugins and widgets for WordPress I feel like you are missing out on some of the fun!
I can now find the subscribe button! Nice work team, it’s a big improvement on mobile and this feels like a useful experiment.
I haven’t blogged on anything other than WordPress (or Tumblr). I like all the plug ins on WordPress. Site is always stable, and it’s a cleaner interface. Really, you have two standards now-Wordpress+Disqus.
Might consider changing the font of the Daily Blog Title “The New AVC” (should be somewhat more prominant).Disqus (this is for you Jim) Id like to see the blog have more control over the fonts users for the comment number (148 etc) as well as other headers. The transition from the font of (some) blog(s) is a little nauseating.
..example of a blog title font that might work.p.s. Might want to do something clever with your avatar vs just statically placing it in the header.
Site looks great. Like the changes.
The `Around the Web` section has irrelevant content and is diminishing the value of the site imo.
those are ads, they pay for the comment system we use here
This may not be possible or practical but I will throw it out there as a helpful suggestion for disqus.One of the reasons that people think it’s “cheap” is because of the clip art photography. It’s like seeing photo frames in a store with photography that is totally setup and canned.You know who also does this type of thing?Amazon local.I get the emailers (don’t know why I never signed up) and they might highlight a great local business but instead of showing the actual business and/or owners they show stock photography. The brain (especially in this day and age) is programmed to be turned off by that. This is totally lame and shows that the people in charge know nothing about how to package the product in an attractive way.Notice also the lack of logos and branding of the businesses featured in the attached examples.Details matter. Anyone who doesn’t recognize this shouldn’t be creating customer facing marketing materials (or whatever they are called).
The problem is they are not really positioned as ads and its only when you click on them that you realise they are. I first came across them on another site clicked on one and it left a bad taste in my mouth.The other thing is that often they are not relevant and the couple I did click on were poor quality.
you have to make ads look like content and disguise the fact they are ads to get clicks. that and sensationalism or sex
I read this great article from Phil Libin of Evernote about processing customer feedback. Thought I’d share it, just in case the feedback here gets too overwhelming 🙂 http://www.inc.com/welcome….
Really nice, simple, and sleek.Has motivated me to shift my blog over to wordpress. I’m just worried I’ll get lost in the complexity.
Complexity of what? Moving it? or operating it?
Of moving it, LE.
I’m learning more than I care to about WordPress these days. The bugs and sloppiness that small and mid-level design shops are ok with leaving in their final work product is incredible.
Any tips for moving from blogger to wordpress, Matt?
Wish I did. The content migration is smooth but better off starting from scratch on the theme.
Oh yes! I’m only talking about the content migration. Plan to rework the theme anyway!
Beautiful new site. I do wish there was some premium Disqus option sites like yours could pay for so that these ads don’t display. I understand Disqus needs to make money, but for premium sites like yours with great designs it really cheapens the site, for me: https://dl.dropboxuserconte…
The bartender is an investor in the juke box.
Yes, understand that. But for a highly polished site like this to have the same display ad style show up as you see on perhaps less well curated sites I believe has a negative brand impact. I can’t believe I am the only one that sees all of these odd links between the end of stories and the beginning of the comments that makes me question the editorial quality of the site I am reading. Maybe not as much avc but certainly on other sites.
See my other comment elsewhere about the ad presentation and areas of improvement
You shouldn’t see them there if you are logged into Disqus. They should show up at the bottom of the thread for logged in users
10-4. Just noticed that. Thanks for pointing that out.
Now that is one if my all time favorite comments. You nailed it!
They tried that model. It didn’t work. People don’t like to pay for comment systems
Thanks for sharing. That is interesting. Do you think that really is indicative of how many online publishers underestimate how important (and valuable) a well run, easy-to-use and manage commenting system is to creating a sense of community online?
a lot of publishers realize how valuable a commenting system is and that’s exactly why they don’t want to give it away to another company.
Choice of the site owner today.We turn ads on in private discussion threads that we use so that we’re always looking at what is out there.
Though sorry to hear that gawk.it wasn’t working so good for you anymore and that you’ve left, WordPress has a pretty good search service/feature/widget itself (better than Google site search for sure)…you should check it out when you get a chance.
Also last I checked google didn’t search disqus comments whereas gawk.it did. Is that still the case?
Yes – as far as I know gawk.it is still the *only* service that lets you search both the content of a page *and* the disqus comments associated to to the post.
I don’t think that’s true. I find content in the comments using Google all the time.
Hrm…haven’t seen it myself but completely possible/likely (I haven’t really looked in about a year)- Kevin
Well, I trust your comments enough that I had to double check before I posted. 🙂
You give me too much credit! I’m wrong most of the time…I make up for it with volume 😉
I tried that tooI really tried hard to avoid GoogleThey find the posts for me better than anything out there
I do hear they aren’t too shabby at that little search thing they do. 🙂
I like the design a lot. Easier to get to the content faster. I remember when you had a widget overload about 6-7 years ago, I was one of the people holding a pitchfork then. I like this clean look.
“design” or one of the most misunderstood word in the english language. who cares about design? > a popular answer from the nerds of simplicity 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watc…
i agree with @awaldstein – background color could be lighter
I like it.Miss your avatar, same as everyone else does.I like a soft, easy-on-the-eyes background. But I agree this might need to lighten up just a few ticks. It keeps making me think I have my screen brightness dimmed.
The font size is perfect. Don’t change that.
Oh: someone should redirect thishttp://avc.com/a_vc/It throws a page not found error.
Nice. I like it.
No one mentioned it but…. SPEED! Love it.
So much better. And I have a plugin you should try 🙂
Readability is great … font size, colors, typography all look sharp.Blue > Red
Less is more. Nice!
Clean, I like it. As I’m sure others are saying, definitely need your signature avatar back.
Your avatar delivers humanity and character, so def need front and center, though I wonder how contemporary your portrait is these days? Does it accurately reflect a modern-day FW or is that irrelevant cause avatars are ageless? Nothing more amusing (and revealing) when one uses a Linkedin, Twitter or FB photo taken, for example, 5-10 years ago….Quite character revealing….Perhaps avatars are beyond reproach.
Looking good. I like the simplicity and one-column layout. Might be cool to display the featured comment for each post on the homepage if there’s an easy way to do that.
Oooh. That’s a neat idea
I love the change. Really clean and defers to the content. Thanks for the blog!
It looks great on my iPad Air.
Wow, sure is a far cry from the AVC of the mid-2000s. I’m all for the WP migration, and design is clean, but I agree with the generic/aseptic comments. Love that the disqus avatars for the community pop, but would be great to have a little more color – maybe even just a byline with your avatar (which is also nice for the occasional guest post).It’s gray enough out here in Seattle without having AVC match 🙂
One of the great features of your site was that you were running ads and donating that money to charity. I’m sure you did a lot of good with those charity dollars. Did those go away or are you continuing?
I got rid of the ads but Joanne and I are giving more to charity than ever
This is the big league equivalent of what my wife and I do….anytime the kids have a fundraiser we just buy $500 worth of the shit and hand it out at the next party rather than letting our kids guilt-sell inferior products to our friends lol.
If Facebook came to know abt this, they might buy you over for another 10billion
@fredwilson:disqus step back for a second and look at this from a meta-perspective. Isn’t it fascinating that you can build AVC with so much input from the community? This is one special place. We all care.
i love all the feedback, the passion, the caring
Really glad to see the change to WordPress and the faster-to-load less-cluttered design. Wishing the ugly and depressing grey had gotten changed though. 🙂
The new AVC looks awesome, Fred.
i still don’t get the “around the web” links at the foot of the page.
Hi @fredwilson:disqus , Nathan,I loved the new design! The old got so cluttered over time. I couldn’t stand it anymore. The choice of colors are great, especially the background color is perfect for reading.Needless to say, I agree with everyone that the avatar should be back.As a final note, I don’t understand why the “Older post” button is on the right and the “Newer post” button is on the left. I didn’t understand it on the old site either. In calendars (and in pretty much everything else I can think of) things move forward in time when you click a button on the right and backwards when you click a button on the left. For some reason, this has been the exact opposite on this site for years. Just my two cents.Congrats and thank you for the great look! I will sure enjoy it.
I am late to the party today, but I am glad you got this done and it looks and runs great. Of coures, I am giong to agree that the avatar needs to return, and I would also second another suggestion to bring a *simple* sidebar back on larger screens. Indeed, it is possible to have the sidebar moved below the content on mobile ( or any number of other possibilities ).In any case, simple is better. I like simple designs like this a lot.Two minor nits …1. As a couple of others have suggested, the background color doesn’t quite work for me.2. I did a double take when I clicked through the the post today and noticed the top menu changed. It was just the addition of “Home” but it threw me for just a sec. Maybe if we had the avater to click on, we could drop that link.
So far I have only seen this on mobile and it’s beautiful! Just add your avatar.
A new Finnish company called http://www.addsearch.com/ has topped the search game within sites. It might be worth checking out (they have a WP plugin, too) to replace Google: http://techcrunch.com/2014/…
is this built on a particular wordpress theme?
this is very helpful posting to me. thanks.
Does look very clean on mobile. Great job!
Interesting that AVC is not using your portfolio co https://duckduckgo.comfor search | I just recently read that VCs should use their portfolio products | http://ow.ly/tS2Jj
they don’t offer site search. i’ve been asking them to do that for several years but they have other higher priorities. VCs should use their portfolio company’s products. i totally agree
User feedback to Investor | I am a frustrated ddg.gg user. I always try to use it over Google because I love supporting startups. But I have to admit I am disappointed with the search results. It is not improving the way I had hoped.
The new layout definitely puts the content first. Can be boring to some. But that some is probably not your target audience.Overall, I like it! Cheers!
The USV website keeps donwloading as you scroll down, so its impossible to get to the “contact us” information at the bottom. Can that be fixed?
I like your design, but I won’t be reading on mobile phone, eyesight too poor.I will stick with Typepad though, even though I’m not very happy with what happens to my blog on mobile there. But it’s good enough.
yeah, pretty consistent feedback on the avatarwe are thinking about how to bring it back elegantly
It loads last on purpose…by design.
Bonus points: that effect might make this look a tad bit like an old Geocities page, which you know, just feels appropriate. 😉
Watching the Olympics are we? 😉
Sometimes the pictures are a bit upsetting, too.
that would assume that there are “modestly relevant ads”
Maybe it’s trying to teach us readers patience – focus on your breathing through your nostrils while it loads. 😉
Depends on the length of the thread
yeah, i couldn’t figure out how to edit that out in the wp dashboardit’s an artifact of some sort. because the extra space is not in the text
Top-right would be my say. I don’t really want to see your mug every time I come to AVC – but knowing you’re there, just standing patiently in the corner, is nice.
Oddly enough I’ve been geo-targeted for a superannuation ad, so there must be some modestly relevant ads.The problem is that disqus obviously aren’t too discerning. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say it hurts their brand.
disqus acquires zemanta to boost their relevant content ads, problem solved!
now i need to figure out how to take it out!
that’s the thing….obnoxious ads work. sad but true. yes, elegant ads can and should work better, but they’re not always achievable. that’s why obnoxious ads are so prevalent.
a match made in heaven, or on AVC, or both 🙂
At least spell it right Crystal. 😛
both, but it happened here first! :DEdit: seriously though, it makes perfect sense, relevant ads, non-intrusive, and most bloggers would rather serve ads to actual content than content farms no?
Sigh. Good to see you over here, Kid!
Fred: if you edit that page and switch from the Visual editor to Text editor in WP, you should see the space represented as nbsp (ex: https://cloudup.com/cbdLuBJ… remove that and you should be good to go!
Love that scene. Thanks for the memories.
Actually there are four easy iterations.hirschfieldhirschfeldhirshfieldhirshfeldAnd with your name.crystlecristlecristelcrystelcrysteilcrystilcrystill(and so on I could keep going..)now if we add an “h”chrystelchrystle..and so on.Not that I’ve made any money from typos so don’t bother listening to me about this subject.
Nooo. You get more with a gun and a kind word than a kind word alone.You need the gun because not everyone knows who you are when you open your mouth.
Sweeeeet. That’s so helpful