A Founder's Notebook

One of my favorite things to do on the Internet is curate. I do that on my tumblr and also at usv.com. I find good stuff around the Internet and I grab it and share it with others.

So when I see others doing a great job with curating, I like to acknowledge it and point others to it. And that’s the subject of today’s post. David Jackson is the founder of Seeking Alpha, a community of stock market investors. He’s been curating management advice from around the Internet on a blog called A Founder’s Notebook for a while now. It’s really good.

My only complaint is that its not on Tumblr, where it would be an instant and easy follow. It takes more work to follow a blog when its on the open Internet (when you don’t use RSS. i don’t). However, there is a subscribe via email option on the right sidebar which is how I get his updates.

Anyway, if you are a ย founder and like reading advice from around the web on management, product, and strategy, I recommend A Founder’s Notebook. It’s really well done.


Comments (Archived):

  1. markslater

    oooooh . subscribe….

  2. John Saddington

    Nice. a decent subscribe for sure.

  3. Brandon Burns

    Um… AVC isn’t on Tumblr either!Why is that?

    1. fredwilson

      great point. i wanted access to the wordpress plugins to organize the table of contents for MBA Mondays that is accessible via the Archive link at the top of AVC

      1. Brandon Burns

        i want to try using tumblr as a cms for a blog hosted elsewhere. i.e. you’ve got AVC on wordpress, but you upload your posts to tumblr, trigger something that auto-creates that same post on wordpress (IFTTT?), and use the tumblr api to bring over the content. and then figure out some way to use tags to sort the posts on wordpress the way you want.if we get around to doing something like this for v2 of w&t, i’ll let you know how it goes.

        1. Emily Merkle

          Yes, IFTTT. That’s what I use in a similar manner.

      2. ShanaC

        I like this. I don’t want everything on tumblr (what if tumblr goes down)

  4. Manuel Molina

    i like the way Tom Eisenmann curates the web each year (since 2009) on managing startups http://platformsandnetworks

  5. Twain Twain

    Thanks for sharing. Founders need as many keen perspectives as there are out there!

  6. Richard

    Great lessons therein but they can be more meaningful in context. For example, in the context of USV portfolio companies. (Id like to hear more about USV portfolio companies in general.) What’s working, what’s not. And why.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s hard to do. they are not always interested in being public case studies.

      1. LE

        they are not always interested in being public case studies.If no clear business benefit no reason to be public.Being public is a new phenomenon. Only reason to be open is to drive more business. Or to provide disinformation of some kind. The saying “loose lips sink ships” is appropriate.

        1. Richard

          That’s the old model.

          1. LE

            Ok so then to be clear you are saying that across a wide swath of businesses it’s better to give away the secret sauce more often than not?Because we are all one big happy family and just want everyone to do well and the world will be a better place for all of us and that is what matters in the end?You know Zuckerberg tells everyone to share all their personal details. However I don’t remember knowing that he was considering buying Whatsapp and Oculus until the ink was dry. Or when and where he had his wedding. I wonder why.Fred on the other hand very often floats ideas in order to get feedback and help in his decision making. But he doesn’t always do this. He has a specific use case where he weighs the pros and the cons of disclosure. He doesn’t follow a standard “share everything” formula.You know the general rule not to speak without an attorney present? That’s because most people don’t know what they can and can’t say to further incriminate themselves.

          2. Richard

            Maybe, but there is no better way to get users emotionally involved in your product (think hollywood) than by sharing your failures and successes.

  7. Barry Nolan

    Really enjoying tabdump.com – a daily dump of tech/world stories, written in the rarest of things – plain english.>”04 Amazon: Yesterday, Google slashed the cost of their various cloud services. Today, Amazon is doing the same.”

  8. Dave Pinsen

    Jackson is on twitter, and tweets links to his posts there, so you can follow him via twitter.

    1. andyswan

      i.e. “flavored RSS”

  9. Seth Godin

    RSS is open, not controlled by a monopoly, lightweight, easy to use and agnostic to many technologies.No wonder it has struggled.We talk a good game about the open web, but end up often signing up for services that are less resilient and more controlled than they ought to be.I love RSS.

    1. William Pietri

      Yep! For those wondering how to get started with RSS, I’m a happy NewsBlur subscriber. Just take the URL of your favorite blog (e.g., http://avc.com/), click on the + sign in the bottom left of http://newsblur.com/, and paste it in. Now you’ll never miss another post, and don’t have to waste time figuring out which ones you’ve read before. I track hundreds of blogs without a problem.

    2. LE

      We talk a good game about the open web, but end up often signing up for services that are less resilientWho’s “we” in “we talk”?None of the people in the photo below care about that at all.You remember the Kevin Spacey scene in “American Beauty” where he was trying to get some advice on excercise from the two gay guys? And they said “are you looking to just lose weight or do you want to have increased strength and flexibility as well ” and the Kevin Spacey character said “I want to look good naked”.http://www.youtube.com/watc…People, the masses that is, want a turnkey solution to a problem that they have and most importantly they don’t want to have to think.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Keep preaching how the consumer does not want to think.

    3. fredwilson

      i agree Seth. i love it. but i can’t make a reader work for me.

      1. Martin De Saulles

        When Google Reader shut down I switched over to Feedly – much better than G Reader in terms of presentation of feeds. Worth a try.

      2. botolo86

        I also would like to recommend Feedly. Very nice product! Much better than Google Reader!

      3. William Mougayar

        What is the hold-up? Set it up once, then lightly add to it. I’m hooked to Feedly and Zite. Can’t live without them for the daily dose. Both consumed as Mobile Apps.

      4. Marc Boucher

        Fred, Feedly has made great strides since Google discontinued Reader. I suggest trying it again if you haven’t used it in a while. There mobile app is good as well.

        1. Alex Murphy

          +1 for Feedly. Digg is also good.

        2. Richard MacManus

          Agree, Feedly is a great way to keep track of the indie web. It’s how I subscribe to AVC, and many other interesting blogs.

      5. RichardF

        Like everyone else on this thread, Feedly is the way to go. Been using it for years. Way easier than Tumblr ๐Ÿ˜‰

      6. J.R. Sedivy

        I’ve had a challenge adopting RSS into my regular reading as well. For some reason I just gravitate towards e-mail or vising a site from a collection of links. I’d like a more efficient option, even RSS if I can naturally add it to my routine. Will have to give Feedly a try.

      7. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Hmm. Maybe Tumblr should let you add outside RSS feeds to your Tumblr feed… keep you in their house while solving your problem?

        1. Matt A. Myers

          That would negatively effect their model.

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Expand, please ๐Ÿ™‚

          2. Matt A. Myers

            It’s a traffic leak or maybe a better term would be an Impact leak. All content on Tumblr somehow promotes Tumblr or allows for Following, Re-posting, etc.. Okay well, maybe not all content — you can not “promote tumblr” on your blog… but anyone logged-in sees it I believe. Actually, maybe it could be done in a way to not be too harmful.

      8. kidmercury

        readers are probably not for you, but i just wanted to counter all the feedly fanboys/girls here with a vote for newsblur. newsblur > feedly

      9. Aaron Klein

        With you 100%. Readers are like another inbox. I hate it.But I equally hate cluttering my email with blog posts. Blog posts are things I can skip if I’m busy or behind.Solution: Pocket app. Super simple to do an IFTTT recipe on the RSS feed to throw the posts into Pocket.I’ll bet you’d like that. If you haven’t tried pocket, it’s a DVR of stuff to read.

        1. Marc Boucher

          I use both Feedly and Pocket. Feedly I use to collect various feeds to sift through. Pocket I use to save and read later content that really matters to me. I think they complement each other.

    4. William Mougayar

      It’s one of those decentralized technologies that’s not going away.A minor issue it faces is the multiplicity of versions (RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom, XML, etc..). Most are compatible, but they create a little nightmare for integration (I know because we were dealing with 40K feeds and had to constantly tweak scripts).Challenge today is there isn’t a strong standards group that’s driving it and stewarding it.

    5. matthughes

      Agreed – RSS is woefully underrated.

    6. ShanaC

      Brittle services often are more usable.Design by group can be dreadful

    7. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Right on, brutha!

    8. Matt Zagaja

      Big RSS fan here too. Digg reader is great.

    9. vruz

      Namely, Twitter.

  10. WA

    Excellent. Thanks.

  11. Emily Merkle

    I love to curate. Tumblr is the optimal platform. i have a hard time writing, so I use Tumblr to express myself, via images and quotations.

  12. brian piercy

    Added to the world’s largest Feedly collection. Nice.

  13. BillMcNeely

    So I went to David’s blog. first post I see about the job interview hit home. Rรฉsumรฉ to qualify the lead the interview to verify and ensure fit.I will be hiring drivers soon and found this timely.

    1. Eddie Wharton

      Good luck!

    2. LE

      Bill, I’m not going to discourage you from reading as much as you can and learning.But I have to say that you will have enough issues with just getting people to show up, do their job, and not flake out and fuck up with the business that you are doing. Things like this are of little practical value to someone doing what you are doing:Follow the lead of Nucor Steel, BMW, and many others by putting them to work discussing real issues or tinkering with real products.I’ll tell you a “delivery driver” story from a long time ago.We had a delivery guy working for us. One Monday morning a customer called and complained that they hadn’t received their delivery on Friday afternoon as scheduled. So we called the driver in ready to do the reaming. And he said “oh well there are many deliveries that I can’t make so I just leave them in the truck and do them on Monday! I do this all the time”. Ooops. Had never figured that something like that would happen. No other customer ever complained. No system in place to find that one. And a zillion other little gotchas that you have when you are starting out and don’t know what to look out for.You need to ride on top of everyone at the start very closely to even begin to see things that might happen that could cause problems for you. You have to do every single job. You have to personally experience every problem. Then you have to click your heels and wish that you find people that give a shit and follow directions on what you say and are honest. And also people that will stick around and not job skip.Along those lines you might want to actually hire people who are sub par rather than people who clearly stand out. Reason being is the people who shine will move on and the sub par will stick around because it’s not so easy for them to find a new job (never hire a pretty girl until you get to the point that you are sure you are enough of a business to retain the pretty girl).

      1. BillMcNeely

        Love your feedback.Doing the delivery process is teaching me a lot.I am finding out what I have to tweak and what business I have to refuse.Hiring is going to be a pain in the ass until I get better at.It was easier overseas when I did not speak the language and had to pay attention to the 80% of communication: non verbal body language.

        1. LE

          and had to pay attention to the 80% of communication: non verbal body languageYou can still do a version of that.Don’t ask questions. Tell stories.Then see the facial and verbal reaction to the stories. (Same advice I give for dating).

        2. awaldstein

          Hiring is forever. Learn to both love it and get great at it.

  14. David Jackson

    Fred, thank you for your kind comments and the amazing exposure to your mass of readers. I hope A Founder’s Notebook is genuinely helpful to people.

    1. Rohan

      Really nice, David. I’ve added it to my reading list!

  15. Anuj Agarwal

    Fred, RSS is going to become big very soon.

    1. Jim Canto

      Aggregation platforms seem to be driving fresh demand for RSS feeds. Subsequently, filtered RSS feeds should become important as well, no?

  16. MikeSchinkel

    @fredwilson:disqus – Thanks for the link, followed.FWIW, and I know you are an investor in Tumblr but I’ve yet to find a compelling use for it for my needs. Blogs that can email me new posts are much better so I don’t have to look somewhere else besides my inbox for daily notices.Fortunately, AVC.com is not on Tumblr. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. William Mougayar

    I didn’t know about that one, and I follow a good 100+ startup/founders blogs daily.

    1. Richard


        1. William Mougayar

          Exactly ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks.

      1. William Mougayar

        I’ll send you a list. But the best stuff I see is typically curated on SUM.

  18. matthughes

    I’m a big believer in handpicked curation.I like what I see from A Founder’s Notebook – thanks for pointing it out.

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Nice one. I’ve seen Seeking Alpha, but not Founder’s Notebook.I’d love to see an AVC post of your recommended regular blog reading list for founders.Off the top of my head, I follow:AVCBoth Sides of the TableHunter WalkJason CalacanisCharlie O’DonnellStartup Management

  20. ShanaC

    He’s got some interesting advice

  21. sigmaalgebra

    Curations? Hmm …!

  22. Dave W Baldwin

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a…. Have to laugh regarding how yesterday’s post can change if it happened today.

  23. Florian Burkart

    Oh jolly me yet more to read

  24. Ciaran

    It’s easy to follow blogs. I do it with AVC. Every day, I type avc.com into my browser. I also added it to Flipboard. Tumblr, in contrast, puts me off. But that’s a personal opinion, for all that’s worth and as valuable as almost any focus group of one.

  25. Matt Zagaja

    I find I consume on twitter and RSS (Digg Reader) and then I “blog” on Facebook. While I have a Jekyll blog I will write longer form pieces on, it just does not get the audience and reaction of Facebook. If my peers were on tumblr I’d probably use that instead.

  26. Shripriya

    Fred, you know this blog is not on tumblr, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Peter

    I’m in the opposite boat. Would NEVER follow if it’s on Tumblr as I don’t use it. RSS 100%

  28. m

    Poshhaven.com curates the web for interior design products. The site is in beta but the concept seems straight forward