The Direct Connection

It is an amazing thing. I can sit here in my home office and type into my computer and then hit publish and directly connect to millions of people around the world. People have told me stories of seeing AVC in a browser in China, Africa, and many other far flung places. And the people reading my words respond back to me with words of their own.

The technology that allows this is powerful but this direct connection happens because of something more. It happens because of the words I type and the frequency with which I type them. I know this and it is what compels me to type into my computer every day.

This direct connection is a blessing. It has changed the way I think. It has made me appreciate different cultures, different ways of thinking, and opposing points of view. It has opened my mind.

So in a time when the world seems headed in the opposite direction, I am reminded of the power of this direct connection, which is increasingly available to everyone on this planet. It makes me hopeful that the phase we are in is a temporary bump in a road which ultimately leads to a more peaceful and connected world. And I am thankful for that.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Happy Thanksgiving. The road to enlightenment isn’t always smooth.

  2. JimHirshfield

    Right back at ya with words. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. William Mougayar

    It is a blessing but also a responsibility you have. Because of your reach, what you say has an impact, so I’m sure you do think of that, as well.I have a fraction of your reach, but have been getting global exposure via my blog, and it is making me more conscious about what I write because of its potential influence on others.Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating it, and Happy ProductiveDay/Evening to all others- it’s an international audience after all 🙂

    1. Jess Bachman

      “and it is making me more conscious about what I write because of its potential influence on others.”Is this a good thing? Are you tempering your opinions and thoughts? Where can I find the raw uncut Mougayar these days?

      1. William Mougayar

        I need to edit myself…not tempering, but being conscious. face to face is the best 🙂

      2. LE

        Are you tempering your opinions and thoughts?Good question I call that “mental stuttering” and it’s something that people often do out of necessity (so as to not lose their irreplaceable job or position or some other social value). Everyone does this. It’s just a matter of where each of us draws the line. And that line isn’t the same in every conversation. It changes with who we are speaking with and what we stand to lose by saying the wrong thing. [1] And depending on what you are discussing, if you were raised with critical parents it might very well be more of a problem than if you were raised by people who let you freely express yourself. [2] (My theories … research may or may not back this up..)[1] I am reminded of my ex brother in law (who worked for Apple in corporate sales at the time) who was, for lack of a better way to put it, a real “dick”. Type of guy that would take a brand new pint of Haagen Daaz out of your refrigerator (along with my sister in law at the time) and just dig in with a spoon knowing that you wouldn’t eat it after that. And laugh while doing it. The type of guy that was totally into Howard Stern and all of his shitty antics. Now one day I saw my brother in law in action when he needed to sell his car. His was a totally different man in that environment it’s as if I didn’t even recognize him as the person that I knew. Everything was different, his voice, his mannerisms his politeness and so on.[2] But the upside being that you would tend to think before you speak for fear of being called out.

        1. Richard

          No group is better at this than the 2008 credit derivatives mafia

        2. sigmaalgebra

          You have a lot of social insight generally not easy to get. Some people have to “pay full tuition” (@JLM) and still get the insight too late or not at all.For your story about the Apple salesman and more, it appears that you would really like Irving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a classic in the part of sociology based on insight instead of applied math.I’m not really competent to summarize Goffman so won’t try, but from what I do know about it from some bright, appropriately well qualified people, it appears you would like the book.When I first tried to read Goffman, he was as opaque to me as a black hole, but my wife regarded it as easy, clear, and obvious — she, her sisters, and their mother were all just brilliant, intensely hard working, grand masters at presentation of self, i.e., magnificent actresses, manipulators, etc.E.g., below in this thread today is posted a riot, a takeoff using Disney characters of the famous Norman Rockwell painting about Thanksgiving. In a real situation like that, there can be a lot of intensely contrived and manipulative “presentation of self”. I’ve seen situations like that when the woman carrying the turkey was so pissed off that she was about to throw the turkey in the trash, castigate everyone else at the table for being mean to her, and run back, slam the door, and cry or would wanted to have put rat poison in the turkey to kill everyone else in the room.Unless you are a determined, nearly obsessive, naw, actually obsessive, 24 x 7 practiced from the crib, grand master expert at presentation, you will learn some things from Goffman.I can understand a lot of math and a lot of its applications, but how the heck anyone could figure out what is in that book, formulate it, and get it on paper so that at least some people could understand it is beyond me. Still, as good as Goffman is, it’s not yet science.Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, and a prof at Georgetown was essentially a Goffman student.Goffman is at least a pillar of Western Civilization although maybe not a crown jewel. Ah, with J. von Neumann, J. Neveu, E. Dynkin, not a lot of room left for more crown jewels!

        3. William Mougayar

          You are a great raconteur LE. Cheers to you as you’re probably savoring a turkey piece with some wine by now 🙂

          1. LE

            Thanks I like to tell stories like that.

        4. Lawrence Brass

          The meat is in the footnotes! Had fun trying to picture your face as your ex brother in law devoured your ice cream. Cheers.

        5. PhilipSugar

          Could not agree more. We all do. Somebody told me the other day I say things differently in Delaware than Toronto. They were right and I acknowledged that. Totally different environments.

        6. PhilipSugar

          Although I disagree on the parents line.

    2. awaldstein

      Honestly I feel just the opposite William–not about Thanksgiving of course–but about any sense of responsibility to be anything but myself in my blogging.I feel the only reason I do have a community is that I express what i think and feel.But then again I’m just some guy at the southern tip of the island writing with his cat on his lap.

      1. William Mougayar

        I am myself of course, and it is reflected in what I say, whether here or on my blog. I was just reflecting on the fact that it makes me more conscious when I know that my audience is growing and I am being an influencer of others opinions.

        1. lisa hickey

          I also think that—as a general rule of thumb—being more conscious makes your insights sharper. You tie your analysis’ to bigger worldviews.

    3. ShanaC

      Did you get fun things done at least?

      1. William Mougayar

        If fun is not part of work, it doesn’t get as productive.

  4. Jess Bachman

    You are quite fortunate Fred. If only more people could experience this blessing and subsequent revelations.But having a voice is not the same as having an audience. There are still power laws at work.

    1. Dan Moore

      True. But at least true, powerful writing has a chance to rise to the top. There are still gatekeepers, but far fewer and less powerful than in the past.

  5. William Mougayar

    I think what you have is not just a Direct Connection. You also get a Direct Dialog and Discussions, which make your connection even more powerful and rewarding to you and to us, as well.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Reminds me of that last D Days series of posts by Fred 🙂 Determination, etc.Danke, alles. And the same to Duolingo, my online guru, also helping me appreciate different cultures. An AVC portfolio company, IIRC.

  6. Twain Twain

    All the best to AVC community.I’m learning something great from each of you every day. Regardless of whether we agree / disagree / see it from the same / different perspective, I’m thankful I discovered this site in my “random walk” around the Web.A lot of your comments have inspired me to continue with the rollercoasters (blood, sweat and tears) that are my inventions and my mission to connect people and understand what’s meaningful and matters to us and why we care about things.Thanks to you all for having opinions and sharing them freely.

    1. Tom Labus

      and thanks to you too

      1. Twain Twain

        Shoutout to Fred for putting up the bar and keeping our conversations flowing, :*).

    2. ShanaC

      Thank you as well

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Yes, yes, yes, very nice picture, but, but, but, did YOU actually cook all that food, all of it!!! :-)!!!Since, IIRC, you are in England, the home of Charles Dickens and, IIRC, something about a goose, once for Thanksgiving or Christmas my wife and tried for some variety and cooked instead of a turkey a goose! It was darned good! I braised it instead of roasting it, which was inappropriate for that goose since it was really young and tender instead of old and tough. Still it was good! And plenty tender!On turkey cooking, I cheat and use Dad’s technique he got from his mother who had only wild turkeys so needed to add a lot of fat and flavorings. So, cook up a lot of aromatics in a LOT of fat, mix it with bread cubes, pour over a stock made from the turkey neck, and stuff the turkey with that mixture. Totally inappropriate — wild overkill — for the US grocery store turkeys now but darned good, still. Then for what is in the roasting pan after the turkey is done, take off all the fat, use some of the fat to make a roux, add the water based liquid, maybe also some heavy cream, and, presto, bingo, turkey gravy good for the turkey, dressing, potatoes, biscuits, etc. To borrow from the French, add some dry white wine to the pan juices and reduce.I also have Dad’s approach to apple pie he got from his mom who made a pie a day for decades — all out in the country south of Buffalo, NY. Darned good pie, goes great with turkey! Dad also liked cheeddar cheese, another English thing, with the pie! Ah, tradition! Ice cream on the pie and leave the cheese for later? Sure!Best way to appreciate turkey: Lightly toast some sandwich bread and make sandwiches from the left over turkey, with mayo, yellow mustard, and lettuce. Wrap each sandwich carefully in Al foil. Get up about 1 AM, drive to a lake, get there well before dawn, temperature about 30 F, get in a boat, motor to a duck blind, hide in the duck blind, use a duck call and hopefully bag some ducks, maybe standing in ice water in rubber boots, wait for lunch time, build a charcoal fire in a big, old steel bucket, toss in the sandwiches to get them warm, likely get some burned spots on some of the bread, and have lunch. Best turkey ever ate!

      1. Twain Twain

        Haha, well…thanks for your fowl expertise. Coincidentally, I was ruminating on how to cook a goose next month. It’s either that or braising a lamb shank with Berlotti beans and Italian herbs. This is one of my specialties alongside Golden Malaysian Crab which I add Coke and prunes too (really works!).Apple pie I love to eat but am not much of a baker generally. Save for a Kirsch cherry chocolate bake which was light and fluffy and didn’t collapse in the middle (yippee!), I haven’t baked anything in the last 5 years.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          The main problem in apple pie is getting the crust flaky and not like cardboard, and the secret there is to regard pie crust as a quick version of French puff pastry, that is, flour separated with lots of thin layers of fat. If over mix the fat and flour, then will get something nearly homogeneous that will bake to something like cardboard. So, instead, mix and handle the fat and flour as little as possible to retain little lumps of fat. Keep the mixture cold. When add water to the flour, add ice water.”Kirsch”?I used to do a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte — three layer chocolate cake covered in whipped cream, with both flavored with Kirschwasser, and the sides of the cake covered with chocolate curls stuck to the whipped cream. It was a lot of work but good. To ease handling the whipped cream and chocolate, do the work in winter with the kitchen cooled down!Gee, I’m getting ready for alpha test for my project. I wrote the code in an ambitious, high end way to be scalable via internal server farm servers with sharding, that is, for some one collection of data to be processed, partition it and have one server dedicated to each partition and where each server for that collection of data is running the same software. The software and server farm architecture has five server types, and each can use sharding in this way. But I had to review my sharding logic to understand it again — it’s the same old rule: When code is written only the programmer and God understand it and six months later only God. So the solution is, when writing the code, also write lots of documentation. I did. So, reading all that, last night found the right stuff and understand my sharding logic again! So, alpha test is getting there!US Thanksgiving is from the days when the US was trying to get away from England! Later, of course, our General George whipped the back side of England’s King George.

  7. Tom Labus

    Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!Let’s hope that your/our tide is stronger than those pulling the world in the opposite direction.

  8. jason wright

    i wonder how AVC on the blockchain might work?

  9. Rohan

    Happy thanksgiving, Fred and all. 🙂

  10. William Mougayar

    If AVC was at the same Thanksgiving table, it might look like this 🙂

    1. Wyatt Brown

      Donald Duck is looking a bit over cooked 🙂

      1. jason wright

        he looks a bit nervous

        1. ShanaC


  11. Stephen Voris

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, even if you don’t celebrate it – happy days need not necessarily be holidays for you, after all.

  12. jason wright

    the new Raspberry Pi Zero is $5. the age of the unconnected is rapidly coming to a close.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I am a fan!

  13. Carlos

    Peaceful and connected, Cheers to that!

  14. Wyatt Brown

    Without the web, the way that we select who we direct-connect with each day is quite different. In the social web, algorithms heavily shape this decision for each of us. How might this affect our holiday times? Who are we connecting with this year, and why? Who do we thank for these great new connections!?I, too am thankful for the web, and for all the hard work required to maintain and enliven this living, breathing direct-connect-o-bot. Thanks, Fred!

  15. Richard


  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m very thankful to live in these times. Things have never been better, in general. And while bad things still happen, more and more they cannot happen in the dark.There are those who profit from spinning the tale that the end is near. There always have been. The future is in the hands of the optimists and the idealists.I believe 100% in the future of humankind, and it’s largely due to the generations after mine who are making the most of the amazing technologies and resources at their disposal for the power of good.

  17. Lawrence Brass

    The rythms, the zig zags, the controversy, the people participating. Wether it is casual or intentional, the mix you achieve here is enjoyable. It has become the first read after email, displacing the news to third place.Thanks for your daily work and best wishes.

  18. Arkadiusz Dymalski

    This is just a “thank you” sent from quite far flung place called Poland :), after several years of learning from your words.

  19. Mandar Gadre

    .. And I read/comment from India. Always amazed and encouraged by folks like you and Seth Godin who share their thoughts every day. As they say, professionals show up every day – especially when they may not feel like it (and that ‘inspiration’ is for amateurs).

  20. kenberger

    Completely unrelated, but here’s my kid today saying “aaah” from Paris.

    1. William Mougayar

      in french?

  21. Jan Schultink

    Happy Thanks Giving to everyone who celebrates from Tel Aviv!

  22. Semil Shah

    “the direct connection” is also a reason i’m addicted to twitter.

  23. Donna Brewington White

    We are still human, after all. Technology allows us to connect with a larger and more diverse audience but what we do with that connection will be determined by the type of people (individual, organization, company, nation) we are.I love the choice that technology gives us as to who(m) we connect with. Sure, our ability to hear/be heard and the audience/community we gather will be influenced by some of the same things that have always influenced these things, but there are fewer limitations than ever before.I love that we can find “our people” based on what matters most to us and not just based on proximity and the other physical aspects of being.In spite of the evil that finds its way into the world this is a crazy amazing time to be alive.Happy Thanksgiving, Fred and AVC community. Definitely high on the list of what I’m grateful for.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Happy Thanksgiving, lady!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Happy Thanksgiving to you too dear Kirsten!

  24. Dave Pinsen

    So in a time when the world seems headed in the opposite direction, I am reminded of the power of this direct connection, which is increasingly available to everyone on this planet. It makes me hopeful that the phase we are in is a temporary bump in a road which ultimately leads to a more peaceful and connected world. And I am thankful for that.I hate to be a bummer, but more connected doesn’t mean more peaceful. It just means that like calls out to like globally. The same technology that lets us connect via lets ISIS seek out recruits.Happy Thanksgiving.

  25. JLM

    .Thank you for the disciplined frequency with which you write. It is quite remarkable.The world is NOT getting less peaceful, we are able to see evil we never saw before. It has been there all the time.Now the Internet brings it to us whether we want it or not and thus it just seems more prevalent.Happy Thanksgiving to all and may the world have even more to be thankful for in the year ahead.Never give up. Don’t let the bastards see you sweat. This is YOUR world. Own it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. William Mougayar

      Exactly. They will be defeated soon.

  26. Timur Rakhmanov

    Seeing AVC in a browser in Uzbekistan, right now. Thanks for this direct connection.

  27. Chimpwithcans

    Happy thanksgiving to AVC from South Africa. Every dam day.

  28. laurie kalmanson

    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  29. jason wright

    “far flung places” – POV

  30. Nidhi Mevada

    I was learning about cash flow and your post came first, that was very interesting and den I got addicited to your blog. Your experience makes content powerful, please keep sharing it.

  31. DJL

    The “connections” that we find via these far-flung networks are almost always based on something “common” – common interests, geography, ancestry. Focusing on what we have in common is a great way to propagate peace.Happy Thanksgiving (a day late.) I went off the grid yesterday to be with my Family. It was fantastic. And thanks Fred for this awesome platform of ideas.

  32. Taiwanosaurus

    I might be that China reader, Fred. I dropped you a note of appreciation from my office in Shanghai one time. Enjoying this thread from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on this occasion and also marvelling that I am able to gather so many ideas from you and such a legion of bright sparks no matter where I find myself. Thanks to you all.

  33. William Mougayar

    I was thinking along similar lines Charlie, mainly that although the world is theoretically more connected, it seems that it’s getting more polarized at the same time. The connectedness is allowing many voices to have their day, and some of these voices are not on the right path of history.

  34. Donna Brewington White

    Good or evil, both scale.

  35. lisa hickey

    I’ve been obsessed with the question of how do we get fromhere to there—how we get from vitriol and hatred and being on ‘the wrong path of history’ to ‘more peaceful and more connected’. That is truly the question for our times.And the simplest, easiest solution I can think of, the biggest framework, is to show people the absolutely amazing, tangible benefits of living without fear.I disagree that there is healthy fear. I think that there is understanding of consequences and understanding of threats—which is why I appreciate what you say in another comment thread, William about simply being more conscious with your words. I think the pushback to your response comes from people who think you mean you are operating from a place of fear, which I don’t believe you meant to imply. But imagine if a CEO running a company always operated from a place of fear—of terror even? It’s difficult to see how that company would survive. And yet that is what is happening to this world—those who live in fear are making those fears known, loud and clear.And my words ‘there’s an amazing, tangible benefit to living in a world without fear’ is coming from someone who has actually sustained injuriesin a terrorist attack. (Not Paris–I was hit by the second bomb in Boston). But being there is where you see the world come together. I am with deep sorrow for those died or lost family members, but there were so many good things that came from experiencing that attack with my children (I wrote about some of them on GothamGal’s blog, writing about it there gave me additional insights). The help I received going through it, the learning, the direct connectedness, the ability to process my trauma, to share stories—and the ultimate erasure of the fear—this is what I see as the potential of the world moving forward.Happy Thanksgiving and here’s to a world with more peace, more connectedness—and less fear. Thank you all.

  36. Donna Brewington White

    Haters gonna hate. Lovers gonna love. We just have more tools to do either. We’ll find out what we’re made of.

  37. Kirsten Lambertsen

    “There’s an amazing, tangible benefit to living in a world without fear.” Keeper. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  38. William Mougayar

    i didn’t know you were around the Boston event. it does give you a unique perspective no one will ever understand unless they have had something similar happen to them. you’re right, i am not operating with any fears when it comes to business (which is what I write about mostly). i just like to be more right than wrong in what i write and say, and hope that my influence is good and helpful, if not insightful at least.

  39. lisa hickey

    To your last point–exactly. No one would ever think to say “I don’t think you should try to be so insightful, @wmoug:disqus”. lol.