Fifty Six

It is my 56th birthday today.

I am spending it surrounded with family and friends on the East End of Long Island.

I came into this year thinking I would dial it down a bit on the work front and spend more time on personal things. But, like many things, the opposite happened and I have worked harder this year than I have in many years.

I have learned how to work differently. More calls and less meetings. This has allowed me to work from anywhere. And that is a blessing and a curse. I work from wonderful places but I still work.

Finding the right balance is hard. I am committed to making more time for other things in my life. But I love my work and the challenges it throws at me. So I find it hard to turn it off.

This blog continues to be a source of purpose and meaning to me. I appreciate all of you who read it and give me feedback on it.

And with that, I am signing off and going for a walk on the beach with my dog to start the day.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    have a great one fred!I thank you for this community.

    1. leigh

      I second that – both the bday and the community 🙂

      1. Ruhinda Ruganda

        Count me in on that! A true credit to all participants and observers.

    2. Twain Twain

      I feel like we should set Fred a challenge every year. Like for his 57th he could learn a new hobby like this and write an MBA Monday on how that industry works.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I LOVE glass blowing.

        1. Twain Twain

          I made some test tubes at GSK when I was 16 during work placement there. Also got to do research on paracetamol. I still have those test tubes. They’re a bit wonky — LOL! — but useable.

      2. Ruth BT

        Great challenge. Fred I can teach you how to cut an opal – by hand! Just say so and I’ll send you some opal and a small kit to get you started. Nothing like sitting down and patiently sanding away to reveal the gem out of the rock! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  2. kidmercury

    Happy birthday!

  3. Jeff J

    Happy birthday Fred! And have fun in the Hamptons, my family and I find it to a wonderful place to recharge

  4. Amit Nugyal

    Wishing you a very Happy birthday . We thank you for sharing your experiences and journey..

  5. Mike Zamansky

    Best wishes on your birthday!!!!!!!!!

  6. opoeian

    Thank you Fred. Your blog is an ongoing source of inspiration. Happy birthday, enjoy the beach!

  7. L DelGuercio

    Happy Birthday Fred!! Appreciate all you do for this community and NYC. Have a great day celebrating with your loved ones.

  8. Pete Griffiths


  9. Pointsandfigures

    Happy Birthday. Chocolate cake?

  10. Tom Labus

    Enjoy your day, Fred. It’s a real beauty too

  11. WA

    Happy Birthday!

  12. JimHirshfield

    Sending you decentralized best wishes.

  13. Mario Cantin

    Happy birthday!

  14. Ken Greenwood

    Have a Happy! Dogs have a way of helping to keep balance. Enjoy!

  15. Robert Heiblim

    Happy happy Birthday Fred. It is a blessing and a curse to love your work, but I do and consider myself lucky. All the best to you and yours.

  16. baba12

    Enjoy the birthday and wishing you have a low friction day.. I was in Montauk yesterday and it seems like it is going to be another gorgeous day today.. The AVC community is lucky to have you share your thoughts and we salute you on your birthday…

  17. Scarlett Ong

    Happy Birthday, Fred! Have a great one and I hope you find the optimal work-life balance!

  18. PhilipSugar

    As a fellow LEO let me first say Happy Birthday!Secondly. I think you like me probably get people asking why are you still working?To me this question is not about you it’s about the person asking.It is like when somebody asks….so when are you going to have kids? or get married or whatever.It is not about you it really is about them.If you want to work until you die? Great, if not? Great. Same for kids and marriage.Now I understand when work is truly just a job and your back, knees, ankles, and hands give out because you hang drywall, or solder pipes, pull wire, or lay brick. I know and love all of those guys.But the biggest fortune we have is that as we get older we get better in many ways. (less in some) That is your biggest birthday gift is that you still can work and truly provide value to others. I am sure Soundcloud would not have been as happy if you retired.But as I said, you do what you do for you and have a great walk. Dogs are great.

    1. LE

      I think you like me probably get people asking why are you still working?Now I understand when work is truly just a job and your back, knees, ankles, and hands give outI think the example is better given with what most of us would consider a unrewarding job rather than a rewarding job (I consider many of the trades rewarding). This would go toward any job where skill and creativity come into play. As opposed to the golden master example of dull which might be sorting mail for USPS.When I was a kid in one of the jobs that I did I got paid per piece for doing assembly work. I tried to make the job as interesting as possible by trying to make it as efficient and quick as I could (was paid .01 or .02 per item let’s say). But I still couldn’t wait until it was lunch time. And I used to watch the clock for 5 to roll around. Later when I was in my own business I noted how the time didn’t matter anymore and I lost track of it. The things that I learned doing that piecework 100% came in handy which was great.One thing is is that pleasure does come from pain. I was thinking about why people go outdoor camping and rough it. Some of that pleasure they get I think comes from juxtaposing the pain or suffering part with not having that pain or suffering when the event is done. Similar to how you feel after a good run or after a shower after a good amount of exercise. It’s the contrast that creates the high in part. Is a shower as nice when you don’t need one? No. If the weather is nice every single day will you tire of it? In a way you will. If the ski conditions are good every single time will you appreciate it as much? Probably not.Point being that for some people there is no way to enjoy ‘doing nothing’ Unless you have some suffering that is also going on. That is what makes ‘doing nothing’ enjoyable at least for certain types of people. In the case of the person with the shitty job it’s the contrast to that shitty work. In the case of the person with the challenging job it’s the contrast with the challenging and difficult work and the problems. My hypothesis not based on research or anything that I read (although I am sure there is something to back up this simplistic concept).The other things about what Fred does or any attorney or person in professional services does is it’s pretty hard to dial it back and just work ‘less hours’. You are interacting with people that you have built up relationships with that took years for you to achieve. You don’t want them finding a new person to rely on which is what they will do if you aren’t around to help them. It’s not like being the CEO of a business. At least not one where people typically deal with others and are happy to do so. And in those cases you aren’t the product they are buying. It’s still hard but it’s different. This is the #1 thing that people not in business or in other types of businesses don’t understand when they say ‘just work less’. All of this is separate from any other reason that someone actually wants or enjoys working. I have no issue at all with answering emails when traveling for pleasure. The only stress is that it takes me longer to reply than I would want to or that I might not have all the tools that I need at my disposal.

      1. PhilipSugar

        It is like why I put in this pathway this morning. Enjoyed it

      2. cavepainting

        yeah, pleasure has no context without pain. Contrast is everything in life. Voting for Trump was a palatable choice for several people only because they could not stand the alternative.In Indian and Buddhist scriptures, contrast is a key attribute to describe the workings of the mind and how the mind can be tricked into feeling happy or sad by changing the baseline.

        1. LE

          was a palatable choice for several peopleOne of the things that we have to get away from in this country (this has nothing to do with Trump btw.) is this idea that there are only upsides and no downsides to decisions that we have to make. Or, in contrast, that we can assure 100% no downside in an action that we take to protect the country. We can debate whether dropping the bomb in ww2 saved lives or not in the long run but the important point is that we made a decision and didn’t shy away because lives would be lost. Nor did we allow everyone in the country to scream and yell (and this is super important) and tell the government that they agreed or disagreed. People as a group have all sorts of reasons to say yes or no to anything that might help all of us at their expense or gain.Everything typically has drawbacks and downsides. We’ve see that with many things the internet has brought us and only one example is social media (and no I don’t mean because Trump used it either).how the mind can be tricked into feeling happy or sad by changing the baselineExactly (although I didn’t know about buddhist and this). I do this all the time. (You’d be surprised at how you can change white coat hypertension by thinking up front the bp will be high because of the white coat).

    2. Lawrence Brass

      If you like what you do, what is the reason for stopping doing it?

    3. cavepainting

      yeah, the questions we ask others are often our projections on to the world.At the end, life is a personal journey with personal learnings and accomplishments. Nothing is too small or too big. No one thing can be compared with something else.

  19. jer979

    The word “vocation” doesn’t mean work. It comes from the Latin for “calling.” I think the challenge for you is that what you do doesn’t (always) feel like work. It’s your calling. You just happened to get paid to do what you would want to do anyway. That’s kind of why I love decentralization and am so committed to it. It affords many more people the opportunity to do what they love and support their families.Of course, that doesn’t mean you should do it all the time and we all need better balance among the things that are important. I wish you the best in your search for your balance and thank you for the gift of this blog. I may not always comment, but I do always read, as I’ve said, “if I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one blog to read, it would be!”Happy Birthday.

    1. PhilipSugar

      Agree….we commented at the same time.

  20. jason wright

    happy birthday old boy.

  21. rich caccappolo

    HB, FW! Thanks for you daily gifts to this community.

  22. petec

    Happy birthday Fred. Have an awesome day

  23. Tracey Jackson

    Happy Birthday Fred! Enjoy your special day.

  24. Cynthia Savage

    Happy Birthday Fred. And thank you for sharing all your wisdom and candidness for so long. Also thank you for the heads up on the Cryptovalley Explorers Field Trip. I just got back from Zug and the trip was a real eye opener. Everyone there said they heard about it through you!

  25. Renee Leibler

    Happy Birthday! Glad you continue to give to our community!

  26. tgodin

    Happy birthday, Fred!

  27. Anupam Heda

    Happy birthday Fred! Hope you can spend more time on personal things this year!

  28. Thomas Luk

    Happy birthday! Your blog is a source of inspiration and great knowledge for many.

  29. Erica Gruen

    Happy birthday, Fred – and many more in health and happiness. As my people say: until 120!

  30. Kate Delhagen

    HB Fred! Your posts are a gift to us all. Enjoy this day (and many more), and your beach walk with your unconditional loving dog.

  31. meredithcollinz

    Happy birthday! So glad your blog continues to be meaningful to you — bc it’s been an invaluable resource and source of inspiration for me and many others! Thank you! Hope it’s the best year yet!

  32. Jeff Hohner

    Happy birthday Fred! I hope you have a great day and enjoy. Thank you for all you do – not just for this community but by practicing your craft and contributing to make the whole industry so much better. I always say retire from what? If you love what you do why would you stop doing it? Never retire, just pick and choose the things you love and continue on!

  33. MManes

    Happy Birthday fellow Leo, I spent mine the same exact plus dinner at Dureays watching the sunset, memorable. Wishing you continued success and happiness and thank you for your blog, for remembering to give back and for enlightening my life each and every day.

  34. Angelo Castello NYspinewellnes

    Happiest Birthday Fred!I want you to know that I am extremely appreciative for your blog, the personal insights you share, your professional wisdom from experience and your balanced voice in which you write with.Enjoy the natural beauty of beach !

  35. Val Tsanev

    Happy birthday Fred wish you and your family health, happiness and love.

  36. Val Tsanev

    Thank you for continued support of entrepreneurs and for building a great community of thoughtful and impactful people.

  37. Frederico Mesquita

    Happy birthday and thank you for sharing so much knowledge and inspiration! Mine was the day before yesterday, but a decade later 😛

  38. george

    Happy Birthday Mr. Wilson…may you continue to be blessed with such great passion.

  39. JLM

    .Happy birthday, Fred.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  40. Sunil Mishra

    An absolute pleasure reading your thoughts Fred. Hope you gave a great birthday and tear ahead.

    1. Sunil Mishra


  41. johnmccarthy

    Happy Birthday, Fred.

  42. LE

    I am committed to making more time for other things in my life. But I love my work and the challenges it throws at me. So I find it hard to turn it off.Happy Birthday.I am often confronted with sitting inside doing something that I enjoy when I think that I should be out doing something like enjoying taking a ride in the country. I keep telling myself that I should be doing that (and 3 cars later I’ve only done it a few times let’s say) but in the end I realize that I just go with what makes me happy and stop thinking that there is something that I am doing wrong by not doing the obvious thing.Yesterday I had to schlep up to my inlaws for my father in laws surprise birthday party. I told my wife I would drive separately and meet her there so I could leave early and get back to some things I had to do that were work related. The other reason was I figured it would give me a reason to drive my car on windy roads and have some fun. That all happened and it made an otherwise boring event much more enjoyable.

    1. JLM

      .Get a 1966 cherry red Impala Super Sport convertible.Trust me on this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  43. Adam Bogard

    A great blessing and curse to have. Happy birthday, Fred!

  44. johnbattelle

    Happy bday Fred. Love leaving that sentiment here, and not Facebook.

  45. Kevin McLaughlin

    Happy Birthday Fred. Thanks for all you do. Enjoy the beach!

  46. LaVonne Reimer

    Happy birthday and thanks for all you do to inspire, galvanize, and challenge this community.

  47. Calvin Liu

    happy birthday fred! thank you for all you do, for this community and the world.

  48. Chimpwithcans

    The VC is strong in this one – happy birthday Fred, and keep up your writing because we love it.

  49. Lawrence Brass

    Happy birthday Fred!Best wishes for version 5.6Thanks for the bar, your philanthropic work and bringing a human touch to VC business.

  50. Pranay Srinivasan

    Happy Birthday!!

  51. cavepainting

    Happy Birthday, Fred! Thank you for this community. It has provided much wisdom, joy, and comfort to so many of us over the years.And just like Twitter, Tumblr, 4SQ, and others, AVC will be your legacy for a long time to come.

  52. Jim Borden

    Happy birthday!

  53. Jake Baker

    Happy Birthday — just adding to the chorus to give thanks and show gratitude for all that you share. Many happy returns, and I hope finding flexibility gives way to new forms of working and new goals and targets. Enjoy the day and the time.

  54. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Hope it rocked, fellow Leo, fellow punk, and fellow 50-something 🙂 56 is the new 46, am I right? All you need is that lust for life.

  55. Jordan Jackson

    Happy B Day Fred — At least 40 more!

  56. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Review two times before posting comment. Never mind thinking about the motivation of the organizers of the video. If you have a dry eye after reviewing it at least two times go seek a psychiatrist. reaction of last guy waters the toughest eye.

  57. sigmaalgebra

    On such a day, listen toMax Bruch – Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 – II. Adagioe.g., as at…withItzhak Perlman/Bernard Haitink/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestrathen forever to remember today just listen again to that piece.The Perlman performance is good, gets across the point of the music, but the sound quality is not so good. There are better recordings, and even, IMHO, slightly, not a lot, better performances.There’s a Heifetz performance at…and I also have the Heifetz CD with this concerto, the Bruch Scottish Fantasy, and the Vieuxtemps Fifth concerto. The Bruch concerto on the CD sounds to my ear better done than the YouTube version. The Scottish Fantasy is close to magic and some of the best Heifetz did. Once I heard Yuval Waldman sight read the Vieuxtemps in a music practice room — he’d been given the score as a birthday present from Josef Gingold. Yuval gave a spectacular, passionate performance, just sight reading! Yuval got me started on violin.On YouTube there are a lot of other performances of the Bruch concerto, sure, one of the more lyrical pieces of music; tough to be that lyrical without a violin!Won’t forget that music.

  58. Jaikant Kumaran

    Belated birthday wishes from India Fred!

  59. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:As Fred celebrated his birth into this world today there was someone else who not only provided joy and laughter in our lives but dedicated himself to a cause synonymous with his name. We lost a good one today.He was born in Newark New Jersey ninety-one years ago to Russian Jewish parents. (Couldn’t imagine a world that would have prevented his parents from immigrating to the United States)He was a humanitarian Joseph (Jerome) Levitch. He stared in countless movies. The majority of the world knows him as Jerry Lewis. Now you know the rest of the story.His buffoon shtick may have been viewed as insensitive but after the tally his deeds and accomplishments will rival the majority.

  60. Sebastian Cochinescu

    Happy birthday! The 56th block on the chain looks good. 🙂

  61. Donna Brewington White

    Here is to a year of even deeper enrichment, meaningful interactions and greater joy, with some moments of bliss thrown in as a bonus!Happy Birthday, Fred! Appreciate you.

  62. Susan Rubinsky

    Happy (Belated) Birthday!(I took Sunday off from all screens)

  63. harris497

    Thank you for sharing and providing a forum that allows others to share. Be Blessed.

  64. Pointsandfigures… Heat map of most common birthday months around the world. July looks to be a very high birth month everywhere. August close behind.

  65. Ana Milicevic

    Happy birthday Fred! Thank you for your thoughts every morning. You do the heavy lifting, we all get to think about the same topic that day, and then haggle over here at the bar; what could be better? :)Cheers!

  66. CJ

    Happy Belated Birthday Fred. If it means anything, your blog has been a great source of community, knowledge and inspiration for me over the course of I’ve lost count how many years. Thanks for writing it and hope your day was grand!

  67. John Revay

    Happy belated B day Fred -I thank you again for investing your time in AVC – one of my must reads each day

  68. DJL

    Happy Birthday, Fred. I was not reading AVC on Sunday – spending it with my family. All the best to you and your family.

  69. Contractize

    Congrats!! And thank you for sharing so much knowledge. R.

  70. karen_e

    Happy belated! Hope it was great.

  71. S Zamorano

    Happy birthday Fred!

  72. JamesHRH

    Happy belated

  73. ShanaC

    Happy Belated Birthday Fred (packing packing packing will miss NY!)

  74. RichardF

    A belated happy birthday Freddy boy