Prime Numbers and the Prime of Life

I turn 54 today

54 is not prime

53 is

I enjoyed 53

I expect to enjoy 54 as well

Numbers are fun if you let them be

But numbers aren’t really that important

What is important is enjoying life

And I plan to do that today and every day

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    It seems you also enjoyed writing this post. It’s short, silly and sweet 🙂 It must have taken you 5 or 4 minutes to write?Happy half of 100 + 4.

    1. fredwilson

      actually it took longer than mostshorter is harder than longer

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly


      2. LE

        To wit, still trying to figure this one out which I just saw when getting my breakfast this am:

        1. JamesHRH

          FAKE GRIMLOCK must do this for them.

          1. aminTorres

            I would be in all caps if he did. 😉

        2. Sandy

          Happy birthday Fred! 🙂 Men often say 50-60s are some of the best times of life.LE, I just passed this sign, but I forgot which city it was in. So funny you posted it, because it made me look at what restaurant or shop it was in front of. Nice marketing job by bacon 🙂

      3. JamesHRH

        10 page memo on that topic – I need an hour.1 page memo – I need 10 hours.

  2. Twain Twain

    Ha! Well, firstly, happy birthday and being another year closer to a century and longevity!Secondly, “meet the numbers” was in my Google+ stream two days ago and I commented like so: “They missed out palindromic number and infinite number. This would be 8 and ∞ which are my favorites.”Thirdly, our values and what we value in life (family, friends, doing great work etc.) don’t fit neatly into a number.So we shouldn’t let numbers define or limit us.[And this from a maths grad, haha!]

  3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    All the best – Prime time is when you make it so.

  4. awaldstein

    Have a great one Fred.There’s a bottle at Racines waiting for you to celebrate this when you are ready to collect it!

    1. fredwilson

      of what? 🙂

  5. JimHirshfield

    Happy birthday Fred.

  6. WA

    Happy Birthday!

  7. steve nson

    Happy Birthday Fred! I wish you many more years. What’s the standard birthday extravaganza for 54yr old VCs? Are you more generous with the checkbook to startups 🙂

  8. Eric Satz

    Happy birthday.

  9. Marcelo Bueno

    Happy one!

  10. abn

    Happy Birthday Fred. I hope the coming year brings you more opportunities to learn and enjoy.On this day in history1191 – Crusader King Richard I kills 3,000 muslim prisoners in Akko1585 – English queen Elizabeth I signs Treaty of Nonsuch: aid to Netherland1597 – 1st Dutch East India Company ships returned from Far East1619 – 1st Black slaves brought by Dutch to colony of Jamestown Virginia1641 – Britain & Scotland sign Treaty of Pacification1741 – Alaska discovered by Danish explorer Vitus Bering1781 – George Washington begins to move his troops south to fight Cornwallis1791 – Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovers Alaska1865 – President Johnson proclaims an end to “insurrection” in Tx1866 – Pres Andrew Johnson formally declares Civil War over1882 – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” opens in Moscow1896 – Dial telephone patented1913 – 1st pilot to parachute from an aircraft (Adolphe P‚goud-France)1915 – Italy declares war on Turkey1948 – 15th NFL Chicago All-Star Game: Chi Cards 28, All-Stars 0 (101,220)1953 – Russia publicly acknowledges hydrogen bomb test detonation1955 – 1st airplane to exceed 1800 mph (2897 kph)-HA Hanes, Palmdale Ca1964 – LBJ signs anti-poverty measure totaling nearly $1 billion1974 – President Gerald Ford, assumes office after Richard Nixon’s resignation1977 – NASA launches Voyager 2 towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune1992 – Rocker Sting weds Trudie Styler1993 – Howard Stern is fired from WLUP-AM, ChicagoUseless 54 facts• The number of milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces of Mountain Dew• +54 The code for international direct dial phone calls to Argentina• New York’s Warwick New York Hotel is on West 54th Street• The number of cards in a deck of playing cards, if two jokers are included• The number of countries in Africa• Fewest points in an NBA playoff game: Chicago (96), Utah (54), June 7, 1998• The NY Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, 54 years after their previous Cup win. • A score of 54 in golf is referred to as a perfect round, it has never been achieved.• The number used when a player is defeated 3 games in a row in racquetball.• A Rubik’s Cube has 54 colored squares

    1. prceurope

      “1993 – Howard Stern is fired from WLUP-AM, Chicago:” how on earth did this make the list?

      1. Jess Bachman

        Probably due to the date on which it happened.

        1. Donna Brewington White


          1. prceurope

            @donnawhite:disqus s/he who laughs last?

        2. prceurope

          Probably? But not definitely.

      2. abn

        it’s stern bro. of course he is on this list

        1. prceurope

          a) you should quote… (even if they are wrong)b) It was Steve Dahl, not Howard Stern.@amith_nirgunarthy:disqus

          1. prceurope

            That’s the trouble with history – it’s mostly based on facts 🙂

          2. abn

            and it is written by the winner 🙂

          3. prceurope

            P.S. BrainyHistory copied some other source; they jump from 1997 (the limit of your source) to 2010.

      3. Anne Libby

        Also, I don’t think it was Howard Stern. @pointsnfigures:disqus, Steve Dahl?

          1. Anne Libby


          2. prceurope

            Yet all these fact-obsessed New Yorkers (?) seem to think Howard Stern went to work in Chicago. 🙂

        1. pointsnfigures

          Yup. And like all things Chicago there is .0005 degree of separation. Steve Dahl’s son married my buddies daughter.

    2. JimHirshfield

      How did Bering discover Alaska in both 1741 and again in 1791? That’s a neat trick.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Alaska 2.0

      2. abn


      3. pointsnfigures

        Global warming back then. They left, it melted, they discovered it again. : )

    3. Mark Essel

      George Washington moving his troops south eventually lead via a Wikipedia series to reading about the Battle of Long Island.

  11. Abs Ghosh

    Happy Birthday, Fred.

  12. Mike Zamansky

    Happy Birthday. Enjoy the day and all that follow.

  13. jmcaddell

    Happy birthday, Fred. I turned 53 yesterday. I am enjoying my 50’s quite a lot. Staying healthy (knock on wood) and growing wiser by the day!

  14. Jess Bachman

    “Happy birthday to you,Happy birthday to you,Happy birthday dear FredHappy birth day to you”Fortunately there are still some people seeding those lyrics on Pirate Bay.୧[ ˵ ͡ᵔ ͜ʟ ͡ᵔ ˵ ]୨

  15. Gregg Freishtat

    Happy Birthday.

  16. Michael R. Pratt

    Happy birthday Fred. I hope you have something fun planned to celebrate today.

  17. Kent Karlsen

    Happy Birthday Fred, from Scandinavian entrepreneurs loving your blog sharing expensive knowledge.

  18. Nawal Roy

    Happy BirthDay Fred! life is every bit worth living when it gives the opportunity to understand life better than we have understood before.Many more days for a gem like you!!

    1. Twain Twain

      Winner, :*).

    2. Donna Brewington White

      That’s some cake.

  19. Donna Brewington White

    I think that part of my fondness for you is because you are named after my grandfather. One year he gave the grandkids each a dime and a piece of Bazooka bubble gum on his birthday. He said he enjoyed his birthday more when he gave things to others.Your spirit of generosity reminds me of him too. Happy Birthday dear Fred!

    1. William Mougayar

      Bazooka Joe! it brings back memories.

    2. JLM

      .Go to Sam’s, buy a big bucket of Bazooka, chew. Chew for the next two years.Half of the people on this blog have never chewed Bazooka.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. fredwilson

        I have

      2. sachmo

        dude, who are you kidding? Everyone’s had bazooka joe. That’s halloween candy man.

        1. Sahil Patel

          I loved the sugar rush that hit right on the first chomp. About five chews later, it was time to unwrap another piece, read the comic, and pop another piece.

      3. Mark Essel

        Like chewing on a sweetened dried out sand husk. But for 5 cents it was a deal.

        1. JLM

          .Haha, the first Bazooka I ever bought (Scoop’s Penny Candy Shop and Bicycle Repair) was two for a penny.Those were the days, my friend.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  20. SDB

    Happy Birthday Fred! May you enjoy life for many, many years to come and thank you for sharing you knowledge and insights with all of us.

  21. Tom Labus

    Take a swim today. It’s been a great summer in the NYC area. Enjoy your day

  22. sigmaalgebra

    Everyone interested in prime numbers needs a copy of the famous A Short Table of Even Primes.

  23. curtissumpter

    Fred, look out a little ways. What do you see in tech in the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. You’ve got a bird’s eye seat. Share the view.

  24. awaldstein

    My golden rule for aging is to look at myself in the mirror every morning and define myself as in the middle of life.Becomes more of a lie each and every day but as a tactic, works perfectly.

    1. LE

      It helps that when we were younger, older people looked much older and didn’t at least appear as healthy as they do today.

  25. LE

    On pegg last night I learned two things. One is that you were turning 54 which surprised me as I had you in my brain at the age when I first starting reading AVC (which was when you were in your 40’s). I’ve noticed that happens. I tend to keep anchored at an age when I first learned of or have met someone. The second thing was that there was an artist named Larry Sultan (I looked him up after hearing about the present) and that you have a pop art picture of Gillegan. Happy Birthday!

    1. fredwilson

      we have two of those Gilligans. one next to gotham gal’s desk in her office. one next to my desk in my office at USV. they were painted by our friend Josh Harris who is obsessed, not in a good way to be honest, with Gilligan’s Island

  26. Ana Milicevic

    Happy birthday Fred – I was kicking around a bad ’till the next prime in your life’ joke but figured a language rather than bad math pun was much more worthwhile. So here’s how you say HBD in Serbian: Срећан рођендан (or srećan rođendan).

  27. bsoist

    Happy Birthday!

  28. Thees Peereboom

    Happy Birthday from Amsterdam and keep up the blog.

  29. Nick Terzo

    Happy Birthday, Fred. Sending wishes for health and blessings in the coming year of life. Thanks for all you share on here.

  30. harris497

    Happy Birthday Fred.

  31. Bruce Warila

    Happy Birthday! On my birthday I always recalculate time spent/remaining by dividing my age by 150. It helps to be optimistic.

    1. Jess Bachman

      You and Larry Page, I’m sure.

      1. Bruce Warila

        and the Rolling Stones

  32. Eric Sheridan

    Happy birthday Fred

  33. Mario Cantin

    Happy birthday and thanks for sharing your thoughts with the world every day. Hopefully not too many blank screens to stare at these days.

  34. Verlton Gordon

    Happy Born Day! I hope your day is fill of joy and the things that fulfill you!

  35. JLM

    .One of the most productive and interesting times in life is between 50 and 60. You are ready to learn and your curiosity is no longer contained. It is an informed and pent up curiosity.You will look into the abyss and you will see yourself — figuratively — at the bottom of the hole.It will scare you for a few hours and you will be tempted to ransom your youth with a big dash of lunacy — if you buy a Harley, please let me know as I will want to invest in some life insurance.Do not listen to young blondes who giggle at your jokes. They have been sent by the Devil who has been lying in wait for you [not really but we’re being a little dramatic now, aren’t we?]. Your jokes still suck.The empty nest is one of the best times in life.Enjoy it. You’ve earned it.The road does NOT go on forever, unfortunately, but until that is apparent — the party never ends.Happy Birthday, Fred Wilson.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      ransom your youth with a big dash of lunacy — if you buy a Harley, please let me know as I will want to invest in some life insurance.Trump called out John Kerry, don’t remember the exact words, but basically that he is an idiot for riding a bicycle the way he did (Trump called it a bicycle race) at his age (72?) [1] when something so important was going on that he needed to be firing on all cylinders on. I agree with this 100% and it’s the way that I lead my life. This is not about not taking any risks it’s about understanding the consequences of taking certain risks at certain points in time. With an impact to others. An injury can have many consequences that need to be considered. It’s not just about your fun and your passion.Speaking of Harley’s my brother in law (in his 50’s) went on a long Harley road trip with a rented bike last year. He got into an accident (hard to say who was at fault) and ended up ditching the bike and got all scraped up. It could have been much worse he was super lucky. I think he is now done with riding (he had been doing it and taking these trips for years). It really scared him straight.[1] People have to remember that when you get old, and this is super important, you don’t heal the same as when you are younger. A simple muscle pull can take a long long time to heal and prevent you from doing any exercise at all and cause multiple long term and short term problems. You really have to weigh carefully the upside vs. the very real downside.

    2. LE

      Do not listen to young blondes who giggle at your jokes.Yes correct. That is a marker of getting old as a man. When young attractive women treat you nice. Because they feel somewhat safe. They don’t have to worry that you might ask them out if they are to nice to you.

    3. Jeff Jones

      So I strolled across old Main Street, walked down a flight of stairs, stepped into the hall and saw all my friends were there, a neon sign was flashin ‘welcome come on in’, it feels so good feelin’ good again

    4. Twain Twain

      Ok, so now you’re making those of us who have decades to go before we’re 50-60 itch to get there!Except for the young blondes bit, that is.The only young blonde I’d be into would be RR when he was in his 30s.

      1. JLM

        .I worked on a deal with him on some Provo condos and went to his 50th birthday party. His host, the guy I worked for, gave him the son of Mr. Pepe — the most famous quarter horse from the King Ranch — as a birthday present.He is short, thin, has a big head, and had terrible gas when I squired him from the airport to the ranch where the party was being thrown. He apparently grew up in Austin as we visited a house en route that he said was his grandfather’s.He has a waist like a teenage girl and absolutely no small talk. No small talk.I can recommend, however, another RR — Ronald Reagan? He is, however, not blonde and has the bigger disadvantage of being dead.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Twain Twain

          They say movie stars are always shorter in real-life.Obviously not Jaws from James Bond, though.Ok, I’ll have to find a nice-looking 7ft tall basketball player to replace RR as “male blonde specimen”.Haha.

  36. Jim Borden

    Happy Birthday!

  37. karen_e

    54th comment! Happy Birthday!

  38. JamesHRH

    John Gardner, who was in Lyndon Johnson’s cabinet as Heatlh, Education & Welfare Secretary, on the meaning of life:” Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.”I imagine that the numbers you are ticking off lately are set on a strong foundation of success and meaning, which is what makes them so enjoyable.All the best.

    1. Shalabh

      Thanks for sharing this!

    2. JLM

      .Most impressive reference for a Canadian.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. JamesHRH

        even a blind squirrel……

    3. Twain Twain

      Thanks for sharing that Gardner quote.The coincidence of his surname with his belief that meaning is cultivated (built) throughout the journey of a lifetime — rather than being a destination — doesn’t escape me!Now I’ll have to read ‘To Turn the Tide’ by Gardner.See? Hang out on AVC and people smarter than us share tools with which to build meaning into our lives.

  39. kidmercury

    happy birthday! hang on for 25 years or so, and you might be able to hang on forever:

    1. Mike Zamansky

      Or go old school and shoot for 46 more a la George Burns who upon approaching 100 said “once you make it to 100, you’ve got it made. How many people do you know who die past 100?”

  40. Ovidiu Schiopu

    Well said Fred. You’re a great model. You’ve accomplished so much and remained level. Chapeau and Happy Birthday!

  41. K_Berger

    Happy birthday! Wishing you health, happiness and success in the future.

  42. Matt Zagaja

    A couple years ago I went into the office of the previous Dean of my law school to fix his computer. He was in his 90s and still sharp as a tack. He had just learned Russian a year ago and I was configuring his computer so he could type Russian characters. His advice to me was to spend less time in the pool hall and more time learning because I’d find it more rewarding. Every morning I get up and I do get the gift of wisdom from this blog.Birthdays are a great time to show appreciation for someone if your life. We haven’t had the chance to “meet” in person, but it’s all very much appreciated Fred. I hope that you too will be learning new languages in your 90s. Cheers.

    1. fredwilson

      thankslanguages are one of my weaknessesmaybe i should turn them into a strengthhmmm

  43. Boris Wertz

    Happy b-day, Fred!

  44. Surabhi Shastri

    HAppy Bday Fred — I agree that prime number bdays are awesome – I’m a 28 year old girl from Bombay and honestly I love growing a year older every year. It brings on new experiences 🙂 I see my life split up into decades and each decade has something different and awesome in terms of work, relationships, friends and family – it’s not always good but as long as the growth is exponential – I’m good 🙂

  45. Jens Achilles

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch from Germany, Fred. Very impressiv that a guy of your age (no offence) is still on top of things in tech and Startup land, a world that is to a large extent dominated by the 20 and 30 years old. Tell us your secret!

  46. jeff ludlum.

    Feliz Cumpleanos, Fredrito! You’ve inspired me to blog with more frequency and a bit more flare too. Thanks for that. And for your simple advice from your birthday post today: “What is important is enjoying life…” AMEN!, and All the Best to you, man. -jefito.

  47. Joe Marchese

    HB, Fred… enjoy the moment

  48. Chimpwithcans

    Happy Birthday Fred! Enjoy with cake, or number-crunching…whichever takes your fancy!

  49. Bill from Orlando

    My sentiments, exactly. Happy Birthday!

  50. vruz

    In golf, that would be a perfect round!Happy birthday.

  51. Cam MacRae

    Happy Birthday!

  52. andrewparker

    If it helps you embrace 54, it’s nice to know that it’s a semi-perfect number.…Semi-perfect sounds like a good thing to be.HBD!

    1. fredwilson

      fuckyeah 54!i wish i had known that when i wrote this post Andrew. i could have done so much with going from prime to semi-perfect

  53. Richard

    Healthy Birthday. Classic Leo?

    1. Twain Twain

      He’s a Chinese Ox. They’re pragmatic, hard-working and stubbornly see and work things through to the end.

  54. ErikSchwartz

    Burn rate is important.Lots of folks are learning that these days.

  55. laurie kalmanson

    search results, lol

  56. Tracey Jackson

    And many, many more.

  57. Jeff Jones

    Pura vida!

  58. Gerald Buckley

    If you could live to see a certain event (great grandchildren graduating space academy or 253rd birthday or something) what would it be? (Not limited to a Fred response either). Me? Absolute world peace. That’d be worth sticking around to see. Or a couple laps around the cosmos sounds good too. HB Fred. Hope each following year brings you a great big grin.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a tough one. i need to ponder it over a cortado which i am going to get right now

  59. TaiKen

    Happy Birthday Fred!

  60. tgodin

    Happy birthday, Fred! I turn 49 on Saturday. Only one more year to go until I’m in my prime!

  61. bfeld

    Happy birthday. You’ve turned 18 three times now! And, you are 36 in hex.

    1. fredwilson

      geek love!

  62. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Pirantha Naal Vaazhthukkal Fred! (and that is birthday greeting in my mother tongue -Tamil).Have a great day.

  63. CJ

    Congrats Fred! Many Happy Returns!

  64. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Here’s to Leos from the punk generation. Happy Birthday!Other rockstars born today:Isaac Hayes (another godfather)Robert Plant (and another godfather!)Fred DurstDoug FiegerRock on, man. Don’t forget to drink one glass of water for each glass of booze 😉

  65. Steve Amara

    Happy Birthday Fred!

  66. Marissa_NYx

    There’s potentially a cool beat going on in that postCan you feel the beat ….I turn 54 today – oh yeah , yeah 54 is not prime , oh no , but man 53 well , yeah , that is Boboo , boom, boom . Oh yeah , chk , chk, chk(Repeat )Numbers are fun if you let them beBut yah know what !They ain’t really the real deal Oh yeah ..Oh yeah …What is you say …mmm let me tell you what .Enjoy life . Man , I do that now and yeah I do that every day Oh yeah , chk , chk, chk.Chk , chk, chk.Here’s to the crazy ones. And those who can use a little bit of crazy .Happy birthday.

  67. Gregory Magarshak

    Yes! I hope you had an amazing day, Fred.I realize many people get depressed celebrating birthdays thinking they’re one year closer to death or something. Many years ago I figured out what to celebrate during a birthday — surviving until that age! That way every year I have more to celebrate.When I’m 90 I’ll be saying *booyah, you guys try doing this right here!* 🙂

  68. leigh

    A Margaret Atwood quote : “The truth about fiction is that it’s not about what you know, but how you feel” Numbers after all are just fiction. Happy birthday 🙂

    1. fredwilson


  69. Cindy

    Happy Birthday Fred and many more years of fruitfulness, good health and joy in your life 😉

  70. Pranay Srinivasan

    Many happy returns, Fred. Have a great year ahead!

  71. ShanaC

    A belated happy birthday.

  72. davidhclark

    Enjoy life! Grateful for you and what I’ve learned here. Happy belated birthday.

  73. Mark Essel

    Happy 54, have a wonderful year!

  74. Twain Twain

    So brilliant I’m going to borrow it: “As we age we become more divisible and less divisive — Charlie Crystle.”

  75. Vasudev Ram

    numbers are fun,here is think so too?here is all of ye?here is three.#justoffthetopofmyheadandforfun

  76. fredwilson

    “more divisible and less divisive”well said my friend