Twenty Seven Years Ago

On June 20, 1987, the Gotham Gal and I got married. A lot has transpired since then. We raised three kids who are now young adults, we built a wonderful life in NYC, and we made a fortune, lost it all, and made it back. It’s been a fantastic ride and I could not have picked a better partner to take it with me.

Last tuesday night, I was hanging out with my friends Jordy and Paul on Jordy’s balcony looking out at the Hudson River. I told them a story about the Gotham Gal and me. When we got out of college in 1983, I had no idea what I wanted to do or what to do. Joanne was completely different. She wanted to move to NYC, work at Macy’s and become a store manager. She knew what she wanted in life and how to get it.

So I followed her to NYC. She pushed me to get a job in NYC. I did. She then pushed me to go to business school. I did. She pushed me to get a job over the summer in VC (because I told her I thought it was interesting). I did. She pushed me to ask the partners to hire me out of business school. I did. She pushed me to ask for a raise. I did. Eventually she pushed me to ask to be made a partner. I did. And finally she pushed me to leave and start my own firm. I did.

Flatiron, the firm I started along with Jerry Colonna, was the end of me finding my way with gentle (and not so gentle) pushes from the Gotham Gal. At the age of 35, I was the co-founder of a VC firm, the commercial Internet had arrived, and I was on my way.

There is a saying that behind every successful man, there’s a strong woman who helped make them so. I am not sure that is true in every situation. But it certainly was true in mine.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. Tom Labus

    Congrats and happy anniversary!!!Stability at home is greatly underrated

    1. fredwilson

      thank you

  2. aminTorres

    Congrats Fred!Slightly unrelated, I read a quote recently that said “Behind every successful man, there is a woman rolling her eyes” I got a kick out of that.

    1. fredwilson

      the gotham gal rolls her eyes on me regularly!

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Better than the stare

        1. JamesHRH

          Or the shrug or the sigh.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      With my wife, after her initial “Whatever will I do without you?” love exclamation wore off, usually she rolled her eyes at me. In graduate school, she struggled but still got her Ph.D. I brought my Ph.D. problem to graduate school with me with an intuitive solution, independently in my first summer did nearly all of the actual research, and ended up with a 50 page manuscript. I did have some mud wrestling with some of the faculty, but, at one point for the last course credit I needed for an MS, in two weeks of fun sitting on the bed with her while she watched TV, found a new result and solved a long outstanding problem and, thus, got my MS and a paper I later published. At school, my work put a halo on my head and cleaned me up from the mud wrestling.[I was good at getting into mud wrestling with teachers: The work/paper was in some pure/applied math, but my eighth grade math teacher told me “Never take any more math”. Of course she was wildly wrong (my problem was sloppy handwriting, and her problem was no knowledge of math). In a sense she was correct: Heavily from then on I taught myself! E.g., I never took freshman calculus, taught it to myself, and started on sophomore calculus. For topology, I taught it to myself and gave a lecture a week to the prof.]Once my wife had finished her Ph.D., I took my research, wrote some illustrative software, typed in the text, and graduated with my Ph.D., quickly.So, by then she had quit rolling her eyes and, instead was saying “I think you are some kind of genius.” But, both the rolling of the eyes part and the genius part were false. Instead, I just did some math.Any “genius” was just hers — Valedictorian, ‘Summa Cum Laude’, PBK, Woodrow Wilson, two years of NSF in one award, and then her Ph.D. Her memory was phenomenal; I have no idea how she did that. Once I asked her how she knew some word spelling was correct, and she confessed “I can see the word in my head”. Yup, in grade school she won spelling bees. In college she wanted to take a course in European history but audited the course so she didn’t risk her grade point average. The prof wanted audits also to take the tests, so she did. At the end the prof told her that she should have taken the course for credit since she made the highest score in the class — of 300 students. Be in one of her classes? Be happy with second place because not much chance of first!The rolling of the eyes was not good because then she felt that she had a bad husband. The “genius” part was not good because then she felt she couldn’t keep up, was a failure, was secondary, was “playing second fiddle”, etc. So, neither extreme was good.Lesson: E. Fromm wrote that a couple should emphasize “knowledge, caring, respect, and responsiveness”, that is, give knowledge of themselves to each other (i.e., take their clothes off between their ears). care about each other, respect each other, and respond to each other (e.g., keep up communications, don’t ignore each other, don’t cut off communications, don’t “roll eyes”, etc.). Then hopefully can avoid the extremes of the wife eye rolling and feeling that the husband is no good or “genius” and feeling that she is no good, and similarly for the man.What is important is that the team wins; given that, it’s not so important which player scored the most points in the last game. Couples need to keep this in mind. The team is not really a competition between the team members and certainly not a destructive competition. Instead, of course the team members should he helping each other, e.g., as in Fromm’s “caring” and “respect”.So, this post is maybe a draft for part of ‘Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys’, if I ever get around to writing it. Ah, heck; just read some Fromm!

  3. tyronerubin


  4. WA

    Congrats! The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. – “Eleanor Roosevelt.” Joanne knew hers 27 years ago.

  5. AlexHammer

    You were open to it, so it is to your credit.You are opening up a lot more in your posts. I think it is perhaps really making your audience feel closer to you.

  6. Andrew Kennedy

    Great post.

  7. Monce C. Abraham

    Congratulations Fred, always incredible to learn from your posts. Have a great day with your loved ones!Cheers & Best,Monce

  8. JimHirshfield

    Mazel tov!

  9. JamesHRH

    Wonderful post. Says a lot about you to share the credit.Many young men are wayward. Natural state I believe.Congrats to you for choosing so wisely, so early.Congrats to you both for sticking it out, working at it, believing in each other & believing in the idea of the two of you.

    1. tgodin

      Great finishing sentence. I’ve been married 24 years and you’re right about how we’ve made it this far.

  10. Ole Jakob Thorsen

    Congratulations. This is probably an unnecessary question, but I hope Joanne became a store manager at Macy’s, and I hope you pushed to ask to be promoted too!

  11. awaldstein

    I’m planning on drinks at Racines this evening.I’ll raise a glass to you!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Arnold.

  12. mikenolan99

    Congrats! 27 years for Jules and I this year as well. Still crazy about her.What’s been fun to watch is her build a brand new career after raising our kids and working in travel for 22 years. She returned to school, earned her Doctorate and is working as a School Psychologist…. And, of course, she’s rocking it!Enjoy your anniversary….

    1. JimHirshfield

      Congrats to you too!

  13. anand

    It’s always a privilege to have people in your life who always bring out the best in you. Congrats! And best wishes for many more years to come.

  14. Tracey Jackson

    Happy Anniversary!

  15. thisisananth

    Congrats and happy anniversary Fred.

  16. JimHirshfield

    Feature Friday: The Wife Nudge#betterblogtitles

  17. Anne Libby

    Happy anniversary!

  18. Kyle Beyer

    Congratulations! You and your family are an inspiration.

  19. Brad Harrison

    Great story.

  20. Dave W Baldwin

    Congrats! Joy and I just did Alaska for our 25th and in less than a month our son and Jonathan will wed.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Double congratulations!

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Thank you!

  21. pointsnfigures

    congrats. we were married a month before you! I quit after two girls.

  22. kirklove

    Congrats Buster.

  23. Donna Brewington White

    Thank you for sharing this.From your story it seems like GG knew when to push and when to stop. There is a lot to be said for knowing this. There is also a lot to be said for knowing when to allow yourself to be pushed. And when not to.The two of you seem to have figured out that rhythm. Makes for a long enjoyable walk together — amazing how those not-so-enjoyable times seem to fade over the years as the walk continues with the right person beside you.Congratulations! It’s a better world with a “Fred and Joanne Wilson” in it.

  24. Mike Chan

    Thanks for the post, Fred! My wife is the support system that I lean on everyday as an entrepreneur and I’m not sure where I would be without her. I’m sure you know that Brad Feld writes a lot about his relationship with Amy, and it’s great to hear how Gotham Gal has pushed you throughout your career. Our significant others are amazingly important in the crazy up-and-down world of entrepreneurship.

  25. Cam MacRae

    Great story. Congrats.

  26. falicon


  27. Jon Michael Miles

    Happy Anniversary to you and your wife. My wife and I will be 20 in December. Caught her once recently telling me I was a good man and capable of achieving anything I wanted to while I lay there sleeping. Not sure any of us would be half of what we are without them.

  28. bfeld

    Congrats – love you both.

    1. fredwilson

      As do we love you and Amy. How’s Homer?

      1. bfeld

        Fantastic. Another beautiful morning – two days in a row of no rain with the mountains out.

  29. TamiMForman

    Awesome! Reminds me of an old joke about the Clintons. They are driving in Arkansas and stop at a gas station where they meet an old flame of Hillary’s. Bill asks her what she thinks would have happened if she’d married him instead of Bill. Hillary quips that he’d have become President and Bill would be pumping gas.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. So great

    2. Dave Pinsen

      Doubtful. Bill wouldn’t have lost to Barry. Hillary may have been bright and ambitious, but she was never in Bill’s ballpark as a natural politician.

      1. awaldstein

        Bill was brilliant.The best presence in front of a crowd I’ve witnessed.I will vote for Hilary if she runs no question.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          What if Chelsea runs a decade from now, would she have your vote?

          1. awaldstein

            Honestly don’t know her at all.This is less about dynasty and more about earned trust and respect.

          2. Salt Shaker

            Not to digress too much from Fred’s celebratory post, but Dick Cheney also is celebrating an anniversary, of sorts…..the annual denial.Busch/Chaney invaded Iraq in ’03. A traditional anniversary gift for 11 yrs. is Steel. How apropos? Steel is inflexible, doesn’t bend, etc.

          3. ErikSchwartz

            My wife was two years ahead of her at Stanford. Chelsea is really smart.

          4. LE

            If what we want is politicians that are “smart” (in an academic way you know credentials and all and/or high test scores, whatever) then we should build that into the system along with other qualifications which almost certainly would have prevented any politician elected from getting elected.Not to mention the fact that being smart (even if it could be defined) is not the same as persuading many different people to agree with your position or to play the games necessary to make things work.

          5. LE

            Why in the world would anyone want to vote for Chelsea? What is so special about Chelsea other than name recognition?

        2. JLM

          .Bill Clinton and Hillary make me puke.JLM.

          1. awaldstein

            Glad I could add to your day my friend.

          2. JLM

            .Ah, the ability to be friends while believing in radically different notions.Blessings to you, my friend.Great weekend.JLM.

          3. awaldstein

            yes i agree wholeheartedly.have a great’s 95th tomorrow so family is all in town.

          4. JLM

            .Just celebrated my Dad’s 96th Bday.Little stroke scare due to blood thinner dosage error. All good now. He loves the rehab workouts.Looks like 60. Mind sharper than ever.Party hard.JLM.

          5. awaldstein

            Congrats to him and the family.Mom is getting old–which means looking back not looking forward.And the strange lucidity of being able to recall with amazing detail events that happened 80 years ago.She’s a treasure and the last of the 1st generation Waldsteins.

          6. Dave Pinsen

            You taking her out anywhere or is that unfeasible?

          7. awaldstein

            The world comes to her.

          8. Dave Pinsen

            Fellow Texan Mark Rippetoe mentioned in a podcast last week he’s got a 90 year old woman deadlifting in his gym. No longer needs her walker. Consider getting dad a strength coach.

          9. LE

            What’s going to happen when Michelle Obama decides she is going to run for President?Of course the husband says she will not so it almost certainly will never happen, right?Anyway if there is any food left in your stomach read this:…I just found it by doing a search I hadn’t read it before (and only scanned it).

          10. JLM

            .The only less qualified person in America? Though more manly than her husband?Pres Obama has been such a totally inept President and man as to condemn even her chances.The Republicans will likely run the field in the midterms though I often underrstimate their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.I am surprised as to Hillarys anemic book sales.We shall see.JLM

          11. LE

            I was wondering the same about Hillary. Here is a take on it:…Here you have Simon & Schuster, New York publishing house, obviously caught up in the New York-Washington political axis, and in that world Mrs. Clinton is the biggest thing going.See I think the difference is that both of us love our cars but we realize that not everyone is in love with those cars as much as we are.Of course with this type of exposure my guess is that I could get more people to buy a book that I wrote than will purchase Hillary’s book:Mrs. Clinton was the beneficiary of $50 million of free advertising with all the networks talking about it and interviewing her. And tonight Fox is orgasming over the fact that they’ve got her o two different shows. $50 million of course is pulled out of the ass but people don’t have any clue how much a boatload of money is so I’d go with that guestimate as well.

          12. Dave Pinsen

            In fairness to Obama (though I voted for Romney and think he would have made a better president), the office often humiliates its occupants. The spotlight is so big, the expectations so high, events are so confounding, and it’s hard to hold on to your best staffers, who are often tempted to leave early to cash in in the private sector or lay the groundwork for their own political campaigns.

          13. sigmaalgebra

            Lessons from Obama or how to be POTUS, the hardest job in the world, without really trying:Big Lesson 1: Have a base and keep up approval ratings with the base.Big Lesson 2: Avoid blame.More Lessons:If you really want to do something, or let your subordinates do it, then make sure only a few people know about it.Otherwise, when in doubt, do nothing; that way at least avoid blame.Don’t monitor the country or the world or try to improve things, care for things, solve problems, etc. Don’t propose, lead, argue, or try to convince or persuade; if any such thing is to be done and to be made at all public, then let others do it. Before doing anything a lot of people would know about, first make sure that well over 50% of the voters or at least own ‘base’ are strongly in favor of your doing that thing. Wait until their support for doing that thing is overwhelmingly strong and obvious. Then for doing the thing, try to get some subordinate to do it and, thus, take most or all of the blame. For own view about the wisdom of that action, f’get about it; i.e., have no ‘integrity’ about what is being done.If there is a disaster, say, a school shooting, a hurricane, etc., show up for some photo ops and give a speech with a lot of cliches and platitudes. For actually doing something, apply the rules above.If are getting bad headlines over some event, then do something relatively innocuous and otherwise manipulate the press to change the headlines.Work on exercise program, golf game, and jump shot.Done.

          14. ShanaC


          15. JLM

            .Well I have this fixation on integrity, honesty, honor, truth…..

      2. LE

        The key to many successful people (politicians, entertainers, business people) is having what I call a “perma smile”. That is the ability to genuinely grin in a way that gets you out of hot water and convinces others to go along with your bullshit and forgive any mistakes that you make.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          A quality that Presidents in recent years have tended to have is likeability, which requires more than a grin. If you had a conversation with Bill Clinton, you’d walk away liking him personally. The same is likely true of George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Hillary doesn’t have their charm. If you recall, Obama even gave her a left handed compliment about that during one of their debates in ’08 (“you’re likeable enough, Hillary”).

      3. sigmaalgebra

        Ah, come on! It was a joke!

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Sure, but it’s a message joke. The message is “Yay women!/Yay Hillary!” on the surface, but the obvious falsity of it is also kind of patronizing.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Let’s see: The recipe for a joke has, have some remark about something significant about reality, gore someone’s ox, and end with a sudden realization, or some such. So, maybe here, the “reality” is that, with feminism, some women, and maybe Hillary, really believe that Bill got POTUS mostly from the smarts, determination, etc. of Hillary. Next maybe the ‘truth’ here is because of the belief, of a significant fraction of the population now, that Hillary is a leading candidate for POTUS. Then, the feminists are getting gored for, as you say, the obvious falsity of this radical feminist attitude. Maybe the sudden realization is that a radical feminist would believe, just as a matter of course, without thinking, that without Hillary not only would Bill not have been POTUS but that with Hillary the other guy would, all this in part because of the belief of the feminists that Hillary is on the way to POTUS.Wow, I’m no good at analyzing jokes! Analyze a joke and kill the humor!The guy pumping gas connected with me: I’d been doing applied math and computing for mostly DoD problems around DC and got a phone call from a guy I knew in college. He sent me an airline ticket to Memphis, and there we got into his plane, that he shared with F. Smith, and flew to Little Rock and to the then HQ of what was to become FedEx.Smith, the founder, COB, CEO, had spent an afternoon in his office trying to schedule the fleet and in particular to develop a schedule for 33 airplanes covering 90 US cities, walked out exhausted, said “we need a computer”, and my college friend heard the statement and called me. At the time I had been doing programming at Georgetown U. and also teaching courses in computer science.So I got a time sharing terminal and designed and wrote some software, finished my teaching, drove to Memphis, at mostly 90+ MPH in my 396 Camaro, to demonstrate the software.Soon some on the Board were afraid that the scheduling problem might sink the company, so one evening an SVP and I used my software and produced a schedule for all 33 airplanes covering all 90 US cities. Two guys from Board Member General Dynamics went over the schedule, said “It’s a little tight in a few places but it’s flyable”; the Board was pleased; at a senior staff meeting Smith’s remark about the schedule was “An amazing document — solves the most important problem facing Federal Express (FedEx)”; $55 million in funding was enabled, and FedEx was saved — it had been at risk, i.e., desperately needed the funding.Later the Board wanted some revenue projections, and I came up with a differential equation describing viral growth, found a closed form solution to the equation, and drew a graph of the projections. The graph was presented the next morning, a Saturday, at a Board meeting. The General Dynamics guys asked how the graph was found and after an hour or so of no one finding out how (they were a little short on differential equations), the General Dynamics guys lost patience with FedEx, got tickets back to Texas, returned to their rented rooms, packed, their bags, and for a last chance returned to the FedEx HQ. In the meanwhile I’d gotten a phone call from an SVP, the same guy who had worked with me on the schedule, to come to the meeting and explain the graph. I did; the General Dynamics guys stayed; and FedEx was saved.Later I called a meeting of the top management, including Smith, etc., and presented what I’d been working on, e.g., deterministic optimal control theory, e.g., from Athans and Falb, stochastic optimal control, and 0-1 integer linear programming, all for much better fleet schedules. I was promoted to Director of Operations Research and moved to report to an SVP whose office was across from Smith’s. My office was across the hall from the SVP, and, thus, next to Smith’s.I was thrilled, but my offer letter had promised stock, and so far I had no stock. My wife was still back in MD in her Ph.D. program; I called her each night and each few weeks flew home on FedEx planes for a weekend or so, but I wanted stock or a Ph.D. and applied to graduate school and got accepted. I gave my resignation and was asked to meet with Smith who said that if I stayed I “was in line for $500,000 in FedEx stock”. Well, there was nothing in writing, and the promise of stock on my offer letter had come to nothing, so I went to graduate school. I did not have a pat hand, but I did have a playable hand but did not play it well. Ah, so I blew maybe a few hundred million dollars! So did FedEx; my work could have saved them a bundle.After two years in graduate school, my wife’s Ph.D. was delayed, she needed more time, and we were out of money — the plan had been for her to get her Ph.D. and then support us as I got my Ph.D.My dad suggested that for some extra money I pump gas. I’d been doing applied math and computing to save many millions a year in jet fuel for 90 planes, and Dad wanted me to pump gas? Wow.If I’d had a ‘mentor’ with a little wisdom and business experience, more than I had at the time, I might have been able to have gotten a nice chunk of FedEx stock. Alas Dad never appreciated the good luck I’d been having at FedEx.So, “pumping gas” when might do something more is meaningful to me.Soon I did find a job. One of my results was an evaluation of the survivability of the US SSBN fleet under a special scenario of global nuclear war limited to sea. I did the math and wrote the software: The math was a continuous time, discrete state space Markov process subordinated to a Poisson process and evaluated via Monte Carlo. I also made good progress, via Lagrangian relaxation, on a non-linear, integer, max-min (game theory) problem — I needed a linear programming package for the Lagrangian relaxation but had the rest programmed.That work supported both my wife and myself through our Ph.D. degrees. So, at least I didn’t have to pump gas.Mom and Dad were very good parents in many ways but not quite all. In the end, the person who blew it was me. So, I paid my tuition for Business 101 and People 101. Later I paid my tuition in Girls 101. For Math 101, 201, … and Computing 101 (I’m not sure there’s any more) I did well. There is a lot that can be done with applied math and computing; back to it!

  30. John Revay

    Nicely done – nice 27 year run.As I scanned this I thought there was a word missing”we made a fortune, lost it all, and made it back.”I assume you made it back and then sum:)Happy Anniversary my friend!

    1. fredwilson

      That’s unclear. But it sort of doesn’t matter. We are happy.

  31. DonRyan

    Congrats to both of you. That’s a great story and she’s a great lady!

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      And that’s a great avatar.

      1. DonRyan

        Thanks. He was a great dog for 14 years. Had him from a puppy.

  32. BillMcNeely

    congrats Fred! a rare milestone to hit these days!

  33. Angela Min

    Awesome post! I think 1987 was a great year too, the year I entered college and opened my eyes to the future. So here’s to history, the great moments in life, great moments-in-the-making, and most of all, to conspiring greatly for the future!

  34. leigh

    Happy life, happy anniversary πŸ™‚

  35. Twain Twain

    Congrats on the life and family you make together.It’s brilliant you use the word “push” because it’s so action-oriented. Women can be negatively portrayed as “pushy” when actually it’s simply about getting things done and done on an “Carpe Diem!” basis.

  36. Dave Pinsen

    Congrats. If memory serves, your wife was planning to write a book about this – is that still in the works?

    1. fredwilson

      She bailed on the book and went with the blog

  37. carl rahn griffith

    Wonderfully put, Fred. Many congratulations to you both! Looking forward to as many years with Helen – and hopefully I/we can similarly get out of the #lost it all# phase, lol.Still adapting to this Android Tablet so apologies for typos and also Disqus refuses to log in via my Twitter ID. Gives me something to do during tomorrow night’s night-shift ;-)Have a great celebration tonight/this weekend! Cheers, @carl_rahn πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      Nice to hear from you Carl and say hi to Helen. I’m sorry about England.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Shall do, Fred. Looking forward to being active here again. Re: England – hi ho, beaten by a couple of exceptional players. Luckily, Holland is my #2 team! Good luck, USA! πŸ™‚

        1. Dave Pinsen

          I think we have a shot at Portugal, considering how they’ve played so far. The Netherlands, Italy, and Germany look like the best teams at this point.

  38. Carl Rahn Griffith

    OK, I’m ‘in’ via Disqus ID (apropos my earlier message).

  39. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    This is awesome and I have been going through similar process with my wife. In our case, it started off by me ‘thinking’ I know what I want and she followed me but in recent years it has become her who knows what she wants and me who is a bit lost. This is changing but during this change she is the constant driver who pushes me to ask and do things and has helped me a great deal in re-discovering my path

  40. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Happy Anniversary! You always seem so humble about the relationship, but it seems she fared pretty well in the bargain, too πŸ˜‰

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Glad someone said this.

  41. bsoist

    Congratulations! Didn’t know that story, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit. πŸ™‚

  42. Ken Greenwood

    Congrats!!! And Cheers!

  43. jaysbryant

    Congrats on the 27 years of marriage. We celebrate 29 years in August. More than anything.. my wife has been there for me during my low points in my career and pushed me to put things back together and do better the next round.

  44. ErikSchwartz

    Congratulations. There are few things more fabulous than a great marriage.

  45. William Mougayar

    That’s a very nice tribute and powerful reflection on your relationship. It’s great that you have Joanne as your second conscience.Very best wishes for many many years of the same!

  46. Dean Kaplan

    Pushy Gal.

    1. JamesHRH

      Yes, but only Pushy Gal when Pushy Gal is required?

  47. takingpitches

    Congrats Fred and Joanne. Love the post but sounds more like in Bill Cosby’s words:”Behind every great man is no one. The woman is 3 steps ahead.”

    1. fredwilson

      So true

  48. FlavioGomes

    Similar situation but I take the initiative, she prevents me from giving up.Congratulations. As someone else said, a marriage that works is the best thing there is.

  49. Ryan Frazier

    congratulations on 27 years! You and the Gotham Gal sound like a great team. Reminds me of my fiancΓ© – always willing to ask the hard questions and I’m much better for it.

  50. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Martine lifts me up when I fall – That is all I need.Glad you and GG have each other

  51. Ovidiu Schiopu

    Congratulations and happy anniversary! Thanks for sharing. It reminds me again that I owe the same gratitude to my lovely wife Louise…life has been so wonderful because she is a part of it πŸ™‚

  52. SubstrateUndertow

    Congrats.What a heart warming perspective!

  53. RichardF

    Congrats to all the family Fred. A happy, thriving and fulfilling marriage is certainly one of life’s greatest blessings and becoming increasingly rare.I’ve been happily married for 5 whole years, 5 out of 15 is pretty good πŸ˜‰

  54. Salt Shaker

    Congrats, it’s nice to hear all these success stories, including yours Fred. It’s inspiring and suggests, despite the disheartening stats, the institution is far from dead.I asked my wife to buy a g-string for our Anniversary, and she did. And though my guitar does sound a lot better, I admit I’m a bit disappointed.I know, I know……lame!

  55. mfeinstein

    Congratulations, Fred and Joanne!

    1. mfeinstein

      By the way, Denise and I are coming up on 25 years in August.

      1. fredwilson

        a quarter century. that’s a big one

      2. Robin S

        we are on 22 πŸ˜‰

    2. fredwilson

      you knew us back at the beginning

      1. mfeinstein

        Fred, I knew you before the beginning!

  56. JLM

    Being married 35 years myself:Happy wife, happy life.Can you imagine what GG could have accomplished if she had had better raw material to shape?Just kidding. You did good.More of the same.JLM.

    1. fredwilson

      very funny πŸ™‚

      1. Robert Holtz

        Happy Anniversary, Fred. Here’s to the best investment you ever made. Based on all you’ve said here, it tops them all by a long shot. πŸ™‚

  57. LE

    There is a saying that behind every successful man, there’s a strong woman who helped make them so. I am not sure that is true in every situation. But it certainly was true in mine.A bad relationship can be a boat anchor and drag you down as much as a good relationship can be very helpful with success and life.

  58. LE

    She pushed me to get a job in NYCShe pushed me to get a job over the summer in VCShe pushed me to ask the partners to hire me out of business schoolShe pushed me to ask for a raiseEventually she pushed me to ask to be made a partnerAnd finally she pushed me to leave and start my own firmAnd it’s good that there was something to push. I’ve definitely seen cases of where women try to do the same and it ends up in a failed marriage. I remember very distinctly my Dad, in the 1970’s, specifically speaking about men and wives and he would say “she pushed him” in admiration.He was always jealous of that since he thought not only did my mom not push him she always tried to hold him back and was never supportive of any of the initiatives that he tried to take with business. [1] It was always a battle with her. In my first marriage when I wanted to buy a building my dad cautioned me not to have my wife’s name on the title as well. He said “if you decide you want to sell it you will have to get her permission” [2] and he felt that would be to much friction. This of course was based on his experience with my mom and the way she was. She always gave him a hard time and didn’t want him to take any chances at all. If she was a “she pushed him” type of woman he wouldn’t have felt that way I’m almost certain.Separately, many of the men who were pushed by their wives didn’t have what it took to fulfill the wife’s dreams and the situation ended up very poorly for them.[1] She flatly objected to every real estate purchase that he wanted to make and luckily he didn’t listen to her but unfortunately he suffered the consequences of the battle (and it really effected his health as well).[2] Had nothing to do with divorce strategy at all. Just not having to get approval from someone else. That said I did loose > half of that building in the divorce.

  59. Yan

    Congrats! So sweet.

  60. kidmercury

    so basically what you’re saying is that you did it all by yourself and she held you back. k got ithappy 27!!!!

  61. Maureen Scott

    Yay — proof that it is OK to roll your eyes !!! my husband laughed out loud when I read him the post and that the Gotham Gal rolls her eyes. Brilliant

  62. Dale Allyn

    Great post, Fred. Thanks for sharing the story. Congratulations to you and Joanne.

  63. sigmaalgebra

    Suspicions confirmed!

  64. snooch

    I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing Fred and Joanne even before they were a “they.’ I was also fortunate enough to be at their wedding. And guess what- not much has changed! Joanne is still an awesome cook (she fed me on 14th street during grad school) and Fred is still the smartest, most successful and humble guy in the room. Good things happen to good people. Happy Anniversary you two!

    1. fredwilson

      hey snooch. you out east this weekend?

      1. snooch

        unfortunately not. kids off to camp. next weekend and every one after. I am sure to run into you in the Square!

    2. ShanaC

      πŸ™‚ This is a great post – any not so deep secrets we should know about?

  65. Tereza

    Love this post. I remember when I first started hanging out on the comments — one of my first thoughts was I was eager to find out who you were married to, but she must be fantastic. That instinct was spot-on. She’s a special one. You lucked out, Fred!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I remember when you met her and reported back in the comments that she was kickass. πŸ™‚

  66. Ella Sung

    What a great story! I hope to meet you and the Gotham Gal someday.

  67. matthughes

    Marriage and family, FTW.

  68. Richard

    Fred, didn’t know about the “lost it all”. I’ve got a 100 questions.

    1. Robin S

      Why? You dump your money into things that don’t work out.

  69. ShanaC

    Mazel Tov on 27 – go have fun this weekend

  70. TheVishinator

    “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. ” Socrates ~~~~ True in your case πŸ™‚

  71. Robert Heiblim

    A very lovely tale indeed, congratulations.

  72. jason wright

    it sounds like a good partnership. two people waiting to be pushed wouldn’t get the partnership very far. you chose each other wisely.

  73. Twain Elmirry

    What was the one push you resisted ? It would be interesting to know

  74. paramendra

    Reads like outsize influence! πŸ™‚

  75. andrewparker

    Congrats to you and Joanne. This post is an inspiring example of how relationships make us better than we could ever be alone.Today is Lisa’s residency graduation. She’s definitely my better half, and it has been amazing to watch her thrive as a doctor. Lisa doesn’t push me as explicitly as you describe Joanne in this post, but similarly, Lisa’s own success motivates me to be better and try harder myself. It’s a wonderful dynamic.

    1. fredwilson

      wow. congratulations to Lisa. i remember when she was in medical school.



  77. Dili C. Francis

    This article is The Notebook movie for guys, and better yet it’s all true. Congratulations Fred!

  78. daryn

    Congrats Fred, our 9th anniversary was 2 days ago!

  79. Emeri Gent [Em]

    Most definitely a strong partner is critical in any relationship, what I would like to see is more of is just as strong men behind every successful woman.[Em]

  80. ppearlman

    Cheers man and congrats.

  81. Guest

    Congratulations! My wife would constantly challenges me “it doesn’t seem you are such a good investor, maybe you should find a real job. ” I begged for 10 years.

  82. Jeff Bergman

    This is so obnoxious.

    1. fredwilson

      What is obnoxious?

      1. Robin S

        Jeff’s life.

  83. Cynthia Schames

    This is lovely.

  84. Brittany Laughlin

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joanne!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks Brittany

  85. timraleigh

    Congratulations Fred. I have been married 31 years, this July. Best decision I ever made.

  86. Piotr Wilam

    Is it also the other way round?

  87. David NoΓ«l

    Congratulations to you and GG.

  88. Robin S

    Just never push her out the door.

  89. Robin S

    You’ll meet your “partner” while focused on doing what you love. I walked into the radio production studio wanting some studio time to make a new demo audition tape. He said that he knew right away that I was the one. It took me a healthy due diligence before I “fell”. We’ve been in love (AND we work together 24/7 on our start-ups) ever since. Beat that, boys.

  90. Vanessa Alexandra Pestritto

    Partners should always push each other to be their best and to grow. In Pygmalion, Liza wants to marry a fool and Higgins says, “Can he MAKE anything of you? That’s the point.”It often escapes my comprehension as to why people do not think of this as a requirement in a partner. You should like the person, you should love them and they should push you to grow and challenge you. Well done Gotham Gal!