A Public Record

AVC has been going on for almost 14 years now. I write every day, mostly about tech and investing in startups and observations about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.

WordPress says I have posted 7,622 times. That is more than once a day but that is because I used to post multiple times a day. Now I can barely find the time to write once a day.

Anyway, posting your thoughts and investment ideas every day creates a public record.

That can be bad when you are consistently wrong about something, like I have been about Apple since Steve Jobs left the company.

But all in all, I would not have it any other way.

A few days ago, Founder Playbook posted a timeline of my writing on Bitcoin and Blockchain, stating that “Since 2011, Fred has been bullish, yet critical, on the crypto market.”

I have been a believer in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Crypto since 2011 and my confidence in this macro investment thesis gets stronger every day.

And I will continue to critique the sector, calling it out when I see things like greed, infighting, or other issues that get in the way of its collective success.

One could do a similar lookback on my roughly decade long obsession with social media that led me to blogging and ended around the time I fell for crypto.

I tend to get obsessed about one thing and write a lot about it. Which creates a public record. You can’t hide from that, but then again blogging is the opposite of hiding.

#blockchain#VC & Technology#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD
  2. Vitomir Jevremovic

    Well, your blogging inspires people to do things, which then moves the world in a new direction. Simple as that.

  3. kenberger

    Neat double-meaning today.I fully expected “Public Record” to be a reference to Public Ledger (ie: blockchain)

    1. JamesHRH


  4. jason wright

    i’m not seeing crypto for collective success. greed is the glue that holds it together. we need to change that.hands up all those who are hacked off with the present state of the crypto space.

  5. Mike Cautillo

    And isn’t that something, a reputation system you can truly trust!!

  6. Dana Hoffer

    The Public Record is an exceptionally strong contribution in a world where too many are not willing to put views on the record. It is valuable.Regarding crypto, simply why not? The idea that everything recorded on magnetic media can be changed without crypto reinforces its need.Have you hashed and tied all of your posts to a blockchain yet?

  7. Twain Twain

    Timeline please for when Disqus will likely move to blockchain?

  8. WA

    “Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” Emerson”

  9. Rob Larson

    I imagine writing every day also helps clarify your thinking on these subjects. One of the early physicists said “I write so I know what I think.” As physics undergrads we were encouaged to keep a physics journal to document our daily progress in understanding counterintuitive topics like quantum mechanics and relativity. Writing helped us organize our thoughts, spot inconsistencies in our thinking, and identify holes in our understanding that needed to be explored.

    1. creative group

      Rob Larson:Are you attending ASU?

      1. Rob Larson

        Nope, I moved from Arizona when I graduated high school, though I visit occasionally. Currently living and working in Boston area.

  10. jason wright

    thus far there are only two people i’ve come across in the crypto space that my inner voice tells me are the real deal. just about everyone else has something or other about her or him (their ‘aura’, behaviour, actions) that has me wondering about their motives a little or a lot.

    1. JamesHRH

      Ersham and who else?

      1. jason wright

        Discretion is my saviour.

        1. JamesHRH

          Didn’t expect a response. Just funnin’

  11. pointsnfigures

    I think too often people think that if you believe positively in something you should always wave your pom-poms and cheerlead for it. In their eyes, criticism is a sign of weakness. I think having healthy criticism and reasonable trepidation about things actually allows you to take more risk and be a better investor. I have been critical of certain things I believe in and people get mad about it. Better to be transparent and honest.

    1. LE

      A somewhat well known principle to build trust and to get people to listen to what you have to say is to be critical and to go against your own self interest where it isn’t expected. [1] [2][1] A small example of this is a waiter gaining your confidence by telling you what not to order on the menu. A larger example of this is how I told my largest customer years ago when bidding why they should go with our competition (Xerox).[2] There is no question that Fred’s humility and semi transparency has done him wel over the years.

      1. Vasudev Ram

        How was Xerox your competition? Were you a dealer or distributor of some competing product?

        1. LE

          Xerox had something that at the time was called XRC “Xerox Reproduction Centers’. They were high volume print operations. They had a professional sales force that sold into corporations. Men in suits; I wasn’t in a suit but a down vest and dungarees, unheard of at that time. This was for a contract with a local multi location hospital for all of their repro and printing needs. About $650k in today’s dollars. At the time (I have told this before) I had maybe 1 or 2 employees. When the client wanted to inspect the facility I had to bring in some ‘extras’ to pose as employees and act like they were doing something and that we could handle the work. I also ended up having to commit to leasing an expensive machine prior to knowing whether I would make it through the trial period for the contract. Was a big gamble (machine was super expensive on a monthly basis.).Years later we ended up getting work from Xerox and they were a customer for overflow they couldn’t handle.I actually remember to this day standing in the purchasing managers office making the statement. This was back in the ‘nobody gets fired for choosing IBM days’. So I think that is what I said or implied.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Interesting story. Which brings something to mind.A small puzzle for you: Try to figure out (hint: using the Net) what is somewhat in common between your client / facility incident and something supposedly done by Philippe Kahn, founder of Borland:https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…The puzzle is intentionally open-ended and could be easy or not easy, and solving it can depend on luck, some.

          2. LE

            Not seeing anything obvious at least reviewing what wikipedia says. Not sure all of that about Kahn is accurate as a side note.For one thing it seems to credit Kahn and not mention the other founders. Also it says didn’t take any venture capital but yet it had a board and shares and they kicked him out. So there had to be investors. Semantics to say that he didn’t take investment from venture capital. That said I don’t have time to fully vet what I just said but that is what I am thinking reading it.Also it says that “its first product, Turbo Pascal, sold for $49.95 at a time when programming tools cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.”. I was around then and I remember Borland, Kahn and Pascal and can remember other products that didn’t cost anything like that. (Shrink wrapped software had been around for years).There are also several facts that aren’t backed up with links just names so…He had a parent that survived a concentration camp as I did.Other than that, not seeing anything that pops out.So what are you thinking?

          3. Vasudev Ram

            I searched with different phrases but could not find the original article that I had read – about what he did. [1]But I did find this:https://www.highbeam.com/do…which is sort of similar in approach.”Kahn also paid a couple of people to bustle around the office for an hour so that it would look busy and arranged for some friends to call him up so the phone would ring constantly.”[1] What I had read earlier (it may be apocryphal), was that in the very early days when he was trying to sell Turbo Pascal, he had at least two phones put in his office, and, while talking to the press on one phone, about the launch, he pre-arranged (as in the quote from the article above – maybe it refers to the same incident) for a few friends to call constantly on the other line, ringing the phone off the hook, and each time the 2nd phone rang, he would tell the press person that he had to interrupt their call to take another order for the product. So he made it seem (to the press) like people were falling over themselves to buy it. And then they probably mentioned that in their reviews, which led to a good amount of real sales. That was what reminded me of your client incident.

          4. LE

            Yeah I have also done the phone thing. And in fact when I was going around to buy businesses the first thing I would do is pay attention to how much the phone rang gauge the activity.Related is how you can go into a good restaurant early and even if it is totally empty you can tell by how quickly the people working there are moving that they expect to be busy later in the evening. Usually means it’s a good popular restaurant.

          5. Vasudev Ram

            That restaurant thing is a good heuristic, will try it 🙂

          6. PhilipSugar

            The question I ask (since I travel so much) is what do you eat when your shift is over? So much easier on everybody.

          7. LE

            I think you mean ‘where do you eat’? [1]But whether ‘where’ or ‘what’ doesn’t that assume that someone who is serving tables has the same likes, dislikes, needs and so on? And that the quality they expect is the same as you would?When we went with my daughter at her college graduation she took us to a restaurant in the college town. We sat in the basement it was dark (but not super dark) and had a bar. It was quiet and the sushi was pretty good. But both my wife and I commented later that this environment would never pass muster if not a college town. The bar is not only lower if you are drinking and care about the other people around you it probably doesn’t even matter.I always laugh when a waiter tells me what he likes. It is almost formulaic I guess this is written in a typical handbook on what a patron wants to hear. I don’t care what they like at all. I don’t even know them. Maybe they can take spicy and I can’t. But of course they don’t really say what they like but more what they think or are told to push or what is a good dish that people like.[1] This is an example of how humans have it over machines. I would think a machine might not get the context of that. Sure with a zillion rules it could be programmed to come to the same conclusion. But humans don’t need that programming at least in the same way (learning over time sure..)

          8. PhilipSugar

            No, I mean what do you eat. If you ask where do you eat, they would be obligated to say here. If I ask what is good? Everything. Yes, you will get some that say uuuummm maybe not that.I ask what do you eat because most restaurants provide a free or discounted meal at the end of your shift.Saying what you eat is in no way disparaging any item on the menu. Simply saying what you like. A direct answer to a question.

          9. LE

            Wow shows why Heinz had 57 varieties I guess. My reply clearly indicates that I don’t care what they like although I definitely see your point.

          10. PhilipSugar

            Turbo Pascal is what we used at Penn CSE 201 and CSE 202.Anybody that has started a company and has not had people sit in when a huge customer visits has not sold enterprise technology.Unfortunately we are very male heavy. It just is what it is, but we had all of the wives take a vacation day and come in. The buyer said you really have a balanced staff.

          11. Vasudev Ram

            Ha ha, was just reminded of yet another similar incident. IIRC, I read about it in the English version of the book “Les Nouveaux Magiciens” by Daniel Ichbiah.It said that some time after Microsoft started making money, and also had both IBM and Apple as customers, whenever either IBM or Apple execs visited the MS office, Bill G. and crew used to rush to hide all the IBM machines (if Apple was visiting) and vice versa if IBM was visiting 🙂

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >I think too often people think that if you believe positively in something you should always wave your pom-poms and cheerlead for it. In their eyes, criticism is a sign of weakness. I think having healthy criticism and reasonable trepidation about things actually allows you to take more risk and be a better investor.Agreed. And that applies not only to investors but to people in other fields of work too.It’s really more or less the same thing as the recent thread on this blog between and @philipsugar:disqus about yes-men and ass-kicking and ass-kissing …

    3. JamesHRH

      I think the interesting thing lately is how much the cynical strategy – total Pom Pom all the time, the words Great & Bigly come to mind – seems to still work.I totlally agree with you, btw.

      1. JLM

        .People do not follow small visions. They are screaming for a big vision and a high energy visionary.Winston Churchill gave this wonderful speech at the depths of the English defeat by Hitler’s blitzkrieg.People think he screamed this speech, but he did not. He gave it in a tired, resourceful, and cunning voice.This speech talked Hitler out of invading England. Hitler had very little boat lift, but he had paratroopers and he had heavy lift capabilities. If the German Fallschirmjager had landed and grabbed an airfield or two, the Krauts might have taken England.For all of Hitler’s aggressiveness, when it came time to deliver the killing blow, he hesitated. Churchill, Roosevelt, Marshal, Eisenhower, Bradley, MacArthur out thought and out fought the Krauts. And, the Russians.<iframe width=”856″ height=”521″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/emb…” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe>JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Nice to hear the full, original by Churchill. They URL in the post didn’t work in my Web browser, but following URLs and editing them I got tohttps://www.youtube.com/wat…which did work.

    4. JLM

      .Exposing an idea and letting it be looked at and studied from all perspectives is the quickest way to find its flaws. If the flaws are not fatal, then the result is more confidence in the idea.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I wonder if we’re all prone to biases we’re incentivized to have. We may not understand what others consider fatal flaws if they are intended by design. I’m trying to understand how my own bias and worries for future plans and strategy I have may be affecting my decisions. Trailblazers, there’s a wall we all face, staring at the status quo – the wonder of how thick that brick wall may be, can we navigate around it, or will it topple onto us and suffocate us.

  12. PhilipSugar

    The thing I marvel at and the thing I respect the most is consistency. That is why people read it (why I do), you liken it to a bar. I agree. If you are not open every day people don’t come.Do I love the political posts? No, because of the discourse they cause, not because of the views, but this is your blog not my blog.But when you post about a company or a viewpoint on things like Bitcoin? I love.

    1. LE

      Do I love the political posts? No, because of the discourse they causeI am the opposite. I like the discourse. You can learn from it even if it’s not what you want to hear.

      1. JamesHRH

        I agree here.The posts that really unearth learning are the ones that cause conflict of emotions / beliefs ( Policy posts ) or those posts that expose a conflict of public / private agendas ( VC dirty tricks, for example ).There are lots of other good posts too. But the mother lodes are all involve conflict.

        1. JLM

          .When ideas wrestle, better ideas are the result.Ideas get stronger through conflict.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. JLM

      .There is a seamlessness to life which conjoins business, politics, morality, religion, geography, personality, and every other aspect of the human race. We are not one dimensional creatures. We live in regional economies and cultures.In business, there are enormous impacts caused by politics — regulation being one that is obvious, but also interstate commerce, finance, and the law.The JOBS Act, as an example, had a chance to be an incredible boost to startup and small businesses, but, alas, the US SEC (which hated the law) took so long to publish the rules and then the rules didn’t honor or reflect the underlying legislation, it became a bust.The Deep State betrayed Pres Obama.This blog is quite insular and shallow as it relates to politics and has a tendency to lean pretty hard left. There is nothing wrong with that and the blog, obviously, takes its marching orders from its author. But, it is not a complete view of things and thus the quality of the discourse is diminished by the myopia it creates.There is a tendency to run to one’s knee jerk safe harbor and to be unable to debate policy — even to identify or understand policy.As an example, there is a rush to condemn Pres Donald J Trump, for reasons that are well articulated, but are not really policy issues. There is a litmus test exerted upon readers and commentators to conform to that view. That is regrettable.The other day, I noted that in the first six months of their Presidencies, we have had the following results:1. Pres Bush added 36,000 Federal jobs.2. Pres Obama added 60,000 Federal jobs.3. Pres Trump REDUCED Federal payrolls by 11,000 jobs.This is an example of digging beneath the rhetoric to the policy level. This is what we should be discussing. In the long run, that has to have a positive impact on the gargantuan size of gov’t.I like discussing the entire world and VC. Because it is all connected and interdependent.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  13. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:It is always convenient to be critical of an investment you openly have a position you want cultivated a certain direction to cement your position.Hopefully the record doesn’t show how criticism is meet with opposition on verified information in the public forum on fundamentals not meeting the expectations of the market and going against the positive evangelism on the company.Very important for those viewing the narrative to think independently.We all may view and surmise Public Record quite differently.

    1. JLM

      .One’s view on anything is determined by obtaining multiple opinions and observing or participating in multiple discussions.When a speaker — or a sponsor of a blog — talks their own book, the discerning observer notes that and colors that utterance with that flavor.I love it when someone talks their own book. It is the undiluted voice of the passionate participant.I hope I am wise enough to throw a dash of cold water on it and seek other opinions. Many times, I just agree with it because the person is an authority on the subject.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  14. Terry Lennox

    As someone who has respected your take on Apple all these years I’m curious what your latest thinking on Apple is? Leave aside the phone cycle. What’s next for them after that? They hired the two Sony TV guys. Are they going to build a Netflix? They certainly have the cash and the installed user base to do it.

    1. JamesHRH

      I’ll step in:- every tech adoption lifecycle has epoch: the great expansion and the great consolidation- the great expansion is won by companies that fill every potential segment with a product, feature or service ( MS, Oracle, Google, FB, Amazon )- the great consolidation is won by companies that seamlessly integrate the sector into exceptional experience ( Apple, IBM, Instagram, Whole Foods )Note the missing consolidation epoch player in search. It’s a massive opportunity or it may be the exception to the rule.All other players are in the chorus. They are on the stage but not important.

  15. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!As an Independent (Which will always be questioned when we confront posters who intentionally promote essays and opinions that are blatantly dishonest, deceitful, duplicitous and perfidious we will be labeled Liberal, a derogatory term for us to be labeled Conservative or Liberal) we disagree with Sundar Pichai (Google CEO) with firing James Damore (Fired Engineer of Google).We accept the underlying view of the misogynist platform presented by James Damore is misguided but the firing only exhibited one way views are allowed and now made him a Right Wing/Alt-Right martyr. He will have a job at Fox News now.Also Google is culpable by not hiring qualified women and minorities who are qualified.

    1. JamesHRH

      It’s society you should blame.Mr. Damore’s properly fired. Putting that in writing was dumb.Will they fire the person who leaked it to Gizmodo?Will Larry, Sergey or the Billionaire Paper Chairman have the character to state that they support Mr. Damore’s right to his views while not supporting his decision to disseminate them in writing ( and impair the brand so horribly )???

  16. sigmaalgebra

    Clearly mostly Fred’s posts stimulate responses. But the posts have some variety since the number of responses to a post can vary from only a few to hundreds. And the energy level of responses can vary! My rough guess is that the political posts generate the most responses!IMHO, whatever is in Fred’s posts, usually the best responses are better! So, maybe the audience is maintained because of the responses.Then a guess is that for getting responses in a blog, the posts of the blog owner should mostly just open or start the content, leave loose ends and more to be said or even have statements that can be improved on instead having a post that is solid, well referenced, and difficult to contradict or add to!So, for a blog owner, less is more! Maybe!

    1. JamesHRH

      That’s absolutely a tactic Fred had mastered – spark the discussion.However, he’s been avoiding it lately – his prerogative obviously.

  17. JamesHRH

    Obsession is a powerful tool.As is the public record.

  18. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Let the public record reflect that a great one was lost today in the Great Glen Campbell. The following resonates with us more than any of his accolades. His humble beginnings. Shows anything is possible.”Campbell was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, the seventh son in a sharecropping family of 12 kids.”No matter your genre of music you had been exposed to Hee Haw, etc.https://youtu.be/F3nd2TxMKIYhttp://www.rollingstone.com

  19. Steven Kane

    7,622! goodness gracious great balls of fire!

  20. george

    All said, the Apple admission was priceless! 🙂

  21. kevando

    I find blogging such an interesting cultural phenomenon and I like the way Dan Harmon describes his early days of blogging.https://www.youtube.com/wat