Putting The Year In The Review Mirror

I’m in the process of going over all of the songs I favorited this year and putting my top ones into a playlist and then culling that list. I’m planning on posting it at some point this coming week, maybe as soon as tomorrow as a Christmas gift to the AVC community.

That’s a precursor to a larger effort of looking back on 2017 that will result in a What Happened post on New Year’s Eve followed by a What Will Happen post on New Year’s Day.

This stuff is fun for me but it is also a great mental exercise to go through. It forces me to reflect, think, and focus on what is/was most important.

There is so much that blogging does for my brain. I am not sure how I would do my work without it. The daily routine of writing something for public consumption is a discipline that brings clarity in a confusing time. The bigger posts that come every now and then, and the year end ones, are particularly valuable to write.

So I am looking forward to spending the coming week reflecting on the year that is ending and looking forward to the year that is about to begin. I will do that while celebrating the year end holiday with our family skiing in the rockies.

And the year in review thing is already in swing in VC blog land. Semil Shah posted his year in review a few days ago and it is a good read.

There won’t be much in any of these year in review posts that you don’t already know. But it is the context and reflection that comes with them that are so valuable.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Blessings of the season to those who don’t. Peace and health to your family

  2. William Mougayar

    “The daily routine of writing something for public consumption is a discipline that brings clarity in a confusing time.”- I wished I had the discipline to do, on a daily basis/That said, I have a couple of longer ones coming-up reflecting, projecting and processing what happened or might happen in blockchain land.

    1. jason wright

      looking forward to reading those.

    2. LE

      – I wished I had the discipline to do, on a daily basis/I don’t blog however I think an analogy with exercise would be helpful. I exercise every single day without fail. It is not hard for me to find the time to do that and I make it a priority. But more importantly the philosophy that I have is I set the bar low enough that I don’t ever dread doing exercise because it’s time consuming and/or the benefit makes it counter productive. Or that it would hurt and/or be boring. Yet even with that (what some would consider) low bar I get tremendous benefits (and the numbers show that).So for example if I can run 4 miles a day I do 4 miles every day. If I can do 30 pushups a day I do 30 pushups a day period. I don’t build up to a higher amount whereby I would dread having to keep up every day (I used to do 40 but cut back to 30). So in other words being consistent and keeping with something achievable has been the key. This has been going on for so many years I don’t even want to mention how many years. Back when I started I was constantly increasing until someone mentioned that it would be hard to keep up the routine over a long time. So I listened and I cut back and it was the best thing I ever did.How does this apply to you and writing every day? Simply set the bar low enough that you won’t find it a problem to say something every single day. Even it it’s just 4 sentences and no more. Of course if you want you can go longer for sure. [1] Then it won’t take as much discipline. And you will note that not every post Fred does is as blockbuster. And honestly many people would be more likely to enjoy a quick read of your thoughts if it was short rather than long.[1] This is similar to when you decide you are only going to do 30 pushups for sure but once you are at 30 it’s not a big deal to do 5 more.

      1. William Mougayar

        Agreed. When it becomes a habit, then it’s hard to let go. It happens naturally, and you crave it if you don’t. Didn’t know you were into pushups. I built up to 100 push-ups per day, and do them in sets of 3 or 2, interspersed along the day. That + swimming / running and drinking natural wine are the regular habits that come naturally, with no extra mental effort required 🙂

        1. LE

          I had a pull up bar at work which I was using as well. Was doing 18 pull ups at a time. [1] Then I pulled something in my shoulder that took over a year to heal (causing me to not be able to sleep correctly). So I have been afraid to start that again. All of my ‘rules’ are from injury after exceeding some arbitrary limit. Hence I try to take it easy.Another thing I added last year was using a bosu ball after eating dinner for anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour while my wife and I are watching tv at that time. What I do is simply go up and down but balance myself with one leg out (karate style) switching sides. It’s harder to do (balance wise) with the tv on than when it’s off (because of the movement). I just don’t like to sit after eating and not practical to walk after dinner typically so… My wife doesn’t like it she wants me sitting next to her rubbing her feet.

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      I am far too much of a perfectionist to post something every day. I write daily, but rarely let anything come to light. There is a bravery in doing the daily thing that I just have been unable to resign myself to. It’s a meditation of sorts. I’m humbled by the fact that Fred Wilson so freely does it. And Gotham Gal too.

      1. William Mougayar

        you write like in a private journal? do you know an App called Penzu for doing that?

        1. pointsnfigures

          How do we know your data is safe?

          1. William Mougayar

            In the case of Penzu, they have 2M users, and I happen to know the founder. But it’s a good question…which we often take for granted. From their website:”Privacy is our #1 Concern.Even when carefully kept, paper journals can be read by anyone who happens upon them. Penzu keeps your journals safe with double password protection and military strength encryption so you can rest easy knowing that your entries are secure in the Penzu Vault.”

  3. jason wright

    some things remain consistently the most important of things, things that have little to do with the making of money. I’ll be making more of an effort to remember that in 2018.

  4. awaldstein

    Been a long strange trip this year for certain.

  5. Salt Shaker

    Clarity of thought is tough these days. It’s hard to discern fact from fiction, truth vs. spin. I’m accustomed to world events being nuanced, but domestic and foreign politics appears to be getting increasingly uglier, with seemingly no desire or semblance of respect or mutual understanding. Disturbing and unsettling, and economic advancement is hardly a panacea for all of society’s woes, though it’s wrongly been painted as such.

    1. awaldstein

      The more i restrict the amount of time I spend on politics ( a few podcasts a day), the more I focus first efforts on work and myself, and the more I have removed people from my life and Disqus that are apologists for Trump the better off and the more productive I am.My first thoughts every day need to be on other things.Have a good winter my friend. If in Seattle I will ping you.

      1. PhilipSugar

        You know when I worked for Mitsubishi Corporation (the head one) the Japanese had an interesting philosophy…if you can’t control it don’t pay attention to it or let it bother you.At the time, they had a very unpopular prime minister, especially for us at Mitsubishi.Very Zen.I reported up through the COO. He told me something very profound: Think it is bad? My happiest memory as a child was catching a cat and therefore we had meat that day (post bombed out Tokyo WWII)

        1. awaldstein

          we are people not robots and will always let stuff bother us.which is good. which is why i cannot separate the people from the laws they pass or the people that support them. Just who I am.re: the cat story, cat respond as i can’t remove myself from this as animal rights, closing kill shelters for cats is one of my greatest focuses in my charitable giving.

          1. PhilipSugar

            As for cats. Remember these five I saved. It was a very very tough time there. People starved. He was under five feet. He could remember literally starving. His growth was stunted from starving he had a picture and it didn’t look much different than people in the camps. I don’t judge people in those circumstanceshttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…

          2. awaldstein

            Yes I remember your cat story. One of the things that I like about you actually.I am not judging him though surely i do judge some.I am simply stating that I can’t address it by dint of who I am.As someone who had to read Eli Weisel as a youngster then discuss it with my dad, I am certainly not free of prejudice but it was schooled into me to understand the ambiguity of labels even in the most horrendous of circumstances.

          3. PhilipSugar

            They were tough as hell to catch. That little one in the trap was an escape artist. They all were spayed, neutered and given shots (two had really bad worms)I cannot have cats. I am very allergic. So bad when we go to my wife’s Aunts house that rescues cats, Great Dane’s, and Pigs, I sleep at a hotel. Funny but true, I did one night and cannot take it. Look up the 40 acre holdout in the Woodlands of Houston (posh place and she is a holdout)The hotel manager (I am a Dimond member) got a very strange look on his face when my wife and kids came over one morning.I explained the situation and my wife said she would be staying with me that night as a “date”. Here is a class move: He had a bottle of Champagne on ice in the room that night.

          4. awaldstein

            Great story!

      2. Salt Shaker

        Thanks, Arnold. That’s good advice. I find it hard to stay away, even though the noise brings me down. The end will never justify the means for me. Just the way I was brought up I guess. Respect, civility are important attributes I look for in friends, business leaders, politicians, plumbers, car mechanics, grocery clerks, etc. It’s not the end all, but it very much can be a deal breaker. Happy holidays to you, sir!

        1. awaldstein

          Your parents brought you up well then.I feel the same about mine.

        2. PhilipSugar

          I could not agree more about respect and civility. I hope people are willing to call me out on those, I can very much disagree but I don’t want to be disrespectful or un-civil. This is one of the few comment sections I read because for the very most part people are respectful and civil (compared to my local newspaper where the comments are what I consider obscene)

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Trump is doing great. He had some big delays as he finally was able the herd nearly all the Republican cats in Congress. It appears that Ryan, McConnell, McCain, Corker, and more just wanted to assert their independence to show that Trump would be unable to stop them from their fetish to extract miserable defeat from the jaws of magnificent victory. Finally, when they got their egos stroked enough and saw how Trump could give rallies in front of their voters, they came around. Even an independent alley cat will come to a can of seafood dinner fairly soon!For the Democrats, Schumer, Pelosi, Fauxahontas, etc., they would rather have a civil war, mostly not violent yet, than govern. They still have not gotten used to the fact that their dream days when Nasty Nancy, “The San Francisco Treat”, could pass a 2000 page disaster bill by smiling and saying “You have to pass it to know what’s in it” were nonsense to begin with and are over now. Now Nasty Nancy — with less good sense than a spoiled, ditsy middle school girl — has to get used to adult supervision!Pelosi and Schumer are still puppets of the new versions of slave drivers — illegal labors as the new slaves sleeping 10 to a room on mats on the floor, saving their green cash, then returning south to live comparatively well due to the dollar/peso exchange rate.Yes, Nancy and Schumer are eager to return to Obozo’s plan to have all the K-12 students share toilets and showers, force the US military to accept seriously mixed up people, insult England and Israel, push a “reset button” with Russia, take big bribes from Russia for shooting US national security in the gut, etc.Looks like FBI big guy McCabe and his “HQ special” for Crooked Hillary will be out in 90 days.Trump fire Mueller? Ah, dream on MSM! It’s better just to let Mueller continue to trip over his shoelaces. Besides, with his team of nearly all devoted Democrats, nothing he finds would ever have any serious credibility or consequence. So, each Mueller day is another day the Democrats look really foolish.Gee, just today it is reported that Trump is going for the US being self-sufficient in strategic minerals. Likely that will include the yellow cake that Crooked Hillary sold to the Ruskies and that Nasty Nancy and Chucky “Big Tears” Schumer like so much.It appears that basically Trump is quite correct.The ISIS Caliphate? Essentially gone. ISIS around the world? We’re chasing after them, in Africa, etc. Obozo put up with his favorite Muslims ISIS for eight years, and Trump and Mattis essentially got rid of them in one year.In a sense, it’s good to see the MSM work 24 x 7 to criticize Trump every way they can. Sure, each day they throw mud, the best mud they can find. Well, so far the worst they have found on Trump, their best effort at mud, was something about two scoops of ice cream. So, each day all the MSM, 24 x 7, give Trump another 24 hours of a totally squeaky clean bill of health.Okay by me!The AVC.com crowd was very much in the pocket of Crooked Hillary and against Trump. I and a few others were for Trump. We were right through the election, and it looks like for Trump’s first year we were strongly right.For the Trump haters, so far the worst they have is the two scoops of ice cream thingy!I don’t like the Democrats being so foolish. Actually, we need two good parties. So far, we have part of one, growing, the Republicans ready to follow Trump.As we know, in business, good after tax earnings solve lots of problems. Well, in politics the two biggies are, and may I have the envelope please [drum roll please], peace and prosperity.Yes, in some ways, Trump is different. But, what the heck, we certainly didn’t want anything like we’ve had back 8, 16, 24, … years. To be a lot better, it’s, right, not sufficient, but at least necessary to be different. Being the same would necessarily be bad, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being different.For 2018? Sure, first up, infrastructure! Lots of jobs!Here at AVC, on Trump, I was definitely right about who would win the election. I submit I have also been right about his performance in office his first year. So, so far on Trump, I’m 2 for 2. If count the nomination, I’m 3 for 3.New Year’s Prediction Time: In November, 2018, Republicans will gain in both the House and the Senate.Trump haters, Crooked Hillary lovers? Better take another look at your cards. When holding a good hand, I’m always ready to bet against someone holding a really weak hand. Hillary will be lucky to stay out of jail. Nasty Nancy is about as ditsy as they come. Kirsten? Her view of Trump was her “Fuck no” — exact quote. Fauxahontas? That makes three hysterical, ditsy cases.That screaming, hysterical, ditsy team won’t win against Trump’s peace and prosperity.

      1. Vendita Auto

        dogma (lower case)

        1. sigmaalgebra

          You have some examples?

  6. JLM

    .Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all.May the peace of the Lord hold and guide you.God bless and protect our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and all others, deployed and serving at home, who allow us to observe the season in peace.A grateful Nation salutes you.May God bless us all.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  7. Sebastian Wain

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.One obvious reflection that should be added to Semil Shah post would be about AlphaGo Zero which learns from scratch Go and Chess and beats ALL existing top players and computer games. This is another inflection point in AI. We can speculate Google has a hard to beat competitive advantage.

  8. LE

    Semil Shah posted his year in review a few days ago and it is a good read.Semil is a good looking guy. Better looking than you are Fred. But he doesn’t allow comments on his blog. So it’s a non-starter honestly to spend any time there.Semil, why no comments?There is so much that blogging does for my brain. There is so much that commenting does for my brain. So I thank you so much for the opportunity to say what I am moved to say when I read AVC.com [1][1] This is about as gushy as a guy like me gets…

  9. James Seely

    Fred – when do you write your posts and how long do you typically spend on each one?

  10. William Mougayar

    I’m going to be back…regularly. Too much going on in the space right now.

  11. Jordan Jackson

    Pretty fly for an old guy, Fred!

    1. Jordan Jackson

      Curious, have you listened to the new Jay Z album? I think you would love ‘Marcy Me’ based on some of these tracks … anyway – thanks for the tracks

  12. sigmaalgebra

    Gads, growing up in Memphis, I heard a lot of really bad music, e.g., on the radio our housekeeper listened to.Then once for a few minutes I happened to hear for the first time some Beethoven, and I was into music for life, one of the best things in my life. I got deep enough into it to get a violin and make some progress. With some more progress on my startup, I’ll return to violin and, using a computer, like a music version of a word processor, try some composition.But this play list has some grand new examples of assaults on the ears.I’m glad the math in my startup can work effectively with the meaning of such music, because directly from my ears I wouldn’t have a chance.But maybe there are some uses for such music:(1) The music reminds me how lucky I am to have Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Rossini, J. Strauss, Bruch, Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, R. Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, etc.(2) The music should be good for getting people to quit negotiating and hurry up and sign a term sheet just to get the heck out of the office and away from that music.(3) The music reminds me of the lesson Mom gave me once driving through a slum explaining that the people had terrible lives. That music sounds like it comes from some just awful lives and is a warning to keep working hard and smart with high goals and avoid any of the pop culture tugs into its ugly degeneracy, depravity, and disaster.(4) The music should be good for getting radical Islamic terrorists like Ali Abdul al Fatwah Abu Jihad bin Boom Boom Car Bomb to talk in “extraordinary rendition” in the dark, wet, reeking insect, rat, and snake infested basement of some slum in some third world sewer. A few minutes of that music and even Ali Abdul would give in — otherwise he’d like to be eating the rats raw.E.g., especially for today, for no extra cost athttps://www.youtube.com/wat…can haveKatia Ricciarelli, Schubert, “Mille cherubini in coro”.Athttps://www.youtube.com/wat…can have an astounding Mariinsky Theatre performance of “The Nutcracker”.Some especially good Pavarotti for todayhttps://www.youtube.com/wat…Some Bach, orchestra and chorus, via Stokowskihttps://www.youtube.com/wat…Yup, a chorus helps!