Posts from Fred Wilson

Working Multiple Jobs

Since 2016, I have been working “half time” at USV and taking half of a partner’s carry. That has allowed me to allocate more time to things like building green buildings with the Gotham Gal, building a philanthropic organization with the Gotham Gal, sitting on non-profit and civic boards, and a few other things.

The truth is I still work at least 40 hours a week at USV, probably a fair bit more some weeks, but I still have time to spend on these other things and my partners understand that I am doing that and my compensation reflects that.

The move away from commuting to the office, spending eight hours a day or more there, and the rise of working remotely has upended so much in the last 18 months and one of the things I am noticing is how many people are doing what I am doing – working multiple jobs at the same time.

I am not talking about freelancing, consulting, and the other forms of working for many clients. I am talking about holding down multiple full-time jobs at the same time. Early in the pandemic, there was a story about a software engineer that had full-time jobs at both Google and Facebook. It was somewhat amusing to read that Google and Facebook were being played like that, but the truth is this is happening all over the place.

In some cases, like mine, the employer(s) know about the arrangement and the compensation reflects it. In most cases, the situation is not transparent for everyone. And that is a problem because eventually, most things become public.

Employers are going to need to wrap their heads around this situation and create plans that allow this. I suspect the reason many employees are not transparent about what they are doing is that their employers won’t allow it. So they do it anyway and keep it under wraps.

Employers are probably reading this and saying “But I need 100% of their time. I can’t allow them to give me only half of their time.” But here is the thing. They are already only giving you half of their time.

I can tell you that being able to work on many different things at the same time makes me better at every one of those things. I have always had that situation in the VC business. I get to work with dozens of companies at the same time. But now I get to work on all of them and also different problems in different industries. It keeps me energized, motivated, curious, and excited. And productive as hell.

I think it is high time for employers to understand that some of their employees, often their best employees, need to work this way and will be happier working this way. The employers that lead on this issue will become the places the best people want to work. And they will be more productive and more successful.

We already have a model emerging where this happens. The most common form of organization in crypto is the DAO and most DAOs have this model of part-time work and compensation that reflects the contribution. I know of many people who work for multiple DAOs, get paid by multiple DAOs, and where all of this is out in the open and transparent to everyone.

I am certain that the model of employees working for multiple companies at the same time is here to stay and will grow over time. The only question for employers is whether they will lead or follow in this new model of work.

#crypto#employment#enterprise

Tracking Crypto For Taxes

For the last ten years, my tax prep on crypto was pretty easy. I have always had a buy and hold mindset and have custodied with Coinbase. So a simple report on Coinbase was all I needed to send to my tax folks. Pretty simple.

But as DeFi and NFTs have exploded on the scene, things have gotten more complicated. Swapping, bridging, staking, buying with ETH, SOL, FLOW, yield farming, liquidity mining. Across chains. On hardware wallets. On mobile wallets. It is giving me a headache just typing all of this into my browser.

So I’m on the hunt for the very best cross wallet/cross chain tax prep software for crypto. I am not seeking to invest in this sector, although I have friends who are. What I am seeking is suggestions from all of you. What do you use to deal with his headache?

If you have suggestions, please click on the link that says “Discuss on Twitter” and leave your suggestions there so everyone can see them. If you must email me, that’s fine too. I appreciate suggestions however you can send them. But I prefer Twitter because everyone will be able to see them.

#crypto

NYC's Tech Resurgence (continued)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about NYC’s Tech Resurgence. I observed that NYC continues to develop as one of the world’s leading centers of tech innovation.

And then yesterday, I saw this tweet:

NYC startups are getting funded at 2/3 the rate of Silicon Valley startups. That’s a huge change from where NYC was even two or three years ago.

It wasn’t that long ago that a NYC-based startup had to agree to move to Silicon Valley to get money from the VCs out there. I think that was still a thing into the latter part of the 2000s. Now a decade and a half later, we see NYC startups raising capital almost as much as Silicon Valley startups.

Wow.

#entrepreneurship#NYC#VC & Technology

IRAs and Wealth Creation

A couple of years ago, I wrote about buying crypto in an IRA. I went and did that with an old unused IRA that was sitting in cash and I have 8x’d the value of that IRA in the last 18 months. While my family is fortunate that we don’t have to rely on our IRAs to generate wealth like this, many folks do.

Tens of millions of people in the US rely on IRAs to save money tax-free for their retirement. There is $13 Trillion invested in IRAs and only 30,000 of those accounts have more than $5mm in them. IRAs are the retirement accounts for main street, not wall street.

And yet, the House Ways and Means Committee is now suggesting eliminating the ability of these IRA holders to invest their IRAs in the highest returning assets available; VC funds, private equity, and private companies (page 689, section 138312). I am sure they are proposing this to prevent wealthy people like me from using the tax shield of the IRA to invest in private businesses. But there are better ways to do that than a blanket prohibition.

A blanket prohibition will hurt main street, not wall street. We already limit what folks who aren’t wealthy can invest in by virtue of a multitude of regulations. It upsets me to no end that this paternalistic approach keeps the wealthy making lots of money and everyone else on the sidelines. I have railed about this set of issues here at AVC since I started blogging almost twenty years ago now.

What we should do instead is limit the tax advantages of an IRA to a set amount of money, something like single-digit millions. That will limit their attractiveness as a tax shield for millionaires but maintain them as a wealth generator for everyone else.

Please tell your elected officials in Washington that Section 138312 of the Reconciliation Bill must go. It hurts main street, not wall street, and is bad policy.

#policy#Politics

Dapper Collectives

Our portfolio company Dapper Labs, creator of CryptoKitties, the Flow Blockchain, and the NBA Top Shot collectible game, is announcing Dapper Collectives today.

Dapper Collectives comes by way of an acquisition of Brud, a company that has been developing “community-owned media and collectively built worlds” for the last five years. Dapper Collectives will be led by Trevor McFedries, the founder and CEO of Brud and the co-founder of the FWB DAO. Trevor is also an LP at USV.

Dapper Collectives has a mission to “bring decentralized organizations (“DAOs”) to the mainstream”. The initial efforts of Dapper Collectives will include:

  • Bring community ownership and collective building to Dapper Labs products –– starting with Lil Miquela and her 10 million fans;
  • Build and release open source tools to help other mainstream communities engage in decentralized ownership and governance on Flow blockchain;
  • Help the most forward-thinking “web 2” companies decentralize their operations, engaging at the CEO and Board of Directors level to assist in tokenomics as well as technical implementation.

DAOs are quickly becoming the preferred organizing model for crypto projects, community efforts, and investing activities in Web3 and Dapper Collectives will energize these activities on the Flow blockchain.

#crypto#Web3

NYC's Tech Resurgence

Early in the pandemic, we were all deluged with stories of tech workers, companies, and founders leaving Silicon Valley for Miami and Austin. And that was true. But from my personal experience, they also left for many other places too, including Los Angeles and New York City.

I met with a founder last week who has left the bay area for good and now splits his time between homes in LA and NYC. It is hard to know what cities have been the biggest beneficiaries of the great relocation but I am certain that NYC is one of them.

Here are some tweets I’ve seen in recent weeks talking about this:

I am not proclaiming the death of Silicon Valley. It is alive and well and will continue to be the epicenter of tech in the US for as far as I can see. What it has lost is the power to hold onto people who don’t really want to be there. One of the most important things the covid pandemic has done to work in the US, particularly tech work, is to make it so that people can work for great companies wherever they want to live. That’s a huge shift and I believe it is permanent.

But that’s not the only thing that’s driving NYC’s tech resurgence. As yesterday’s IPO of Warby Parker reminds us, NYC is now home to a growing number of large entrepreneurial companies that are now public and will remain independent and growing in NYC. They may employ people all around the world, but they are HQ’d in NYC and will continue to be.

And Jordan is correct in the tweet above that NYC is particularly strong in Web3 because of its roots in trading, speculating, DeFi, etc and because of large Web3 software players like Consensys that have been operating here for many years now. And as Web3 is now exploding into the creative class via things like NFTs, DAOs, gaming and more, we will only see NYC’s strengths come to the front and center in the most important new sector in tech.

It’s a great time to be working in tech in NYC. You get all of the benefits of living in this amazing city without the hassles of the commute every day.

I’ll end with a plug for a startup competition that Google, Tech:NYC, and Cornell Tech are putting on called the “NYC Recovery Challenge”.

The challenge will bring together startup entrepreneurs from across the five boroughs to pitch tech solutions for New York’s recovery to a panel of business, economic, and policy experts with the chance of winning cash prizes, technical mentorship, and more.

The top three founders and their teams will be recognized as “NYC RecoveryFellows” and will receive cash awards from a prize fund totaling $150,000. The first-place founder and their team will receive a non-dilutive cash award of $100,000, and two runners-up will each receive non-dilutive cash awards of $25,000. Seven other entrants will be recognized as “Founders to Watch” and will participate, along with the three cash award recipients, in a month-long, equity-free mentorship program — dubbed the “NYC Accelerator” — led by Cornell Tech, Google for Startups, and Tech:NYC advisers. 

If you and your startup want to apply, you can do so here.

#crypto#entrepreneurship#NYC

The Token Race

Our portfolio company Mirror has been using a “game mechanic” called The Write Race to onboard users to the Mirror service. Mirror is something between a blogging platform, a crowdfunding platform, and a community platform, built for the crypto sector. Mirror is built on decentralized protocols and is a web3 version of all of those things and more.

Users need a $WRITE token to publish on Mirror and the best way to get $WRITE tokens is to join the Write Race that happens every Wednesday 5pm eastern. Anyone who holds a $WRITE token can vote for new users in the Write Race. The top ten vote getters are airdropped a $WRITE token and can publish on Mirror. I earned a $WRITE token a while ago and now publish a mirror image of this blog on Mirror.

Yesterday, Mirror announced that they have expanded this game mechanic to any activity that requires a token. They call it Token Race.

Imagine your DAO wants to admit new members but needs a way to do that. Token Race.

Imagine your DAO wants to distribute funds to worthy crypto projects. Token Race.

You get the idea.

Here is how Token Race works:

To create a token race, a user specifies the address of the ERC20 token contract to use, uploads a list of proposals that they’d like their community to vote on, and specifies the minimum number of tokens members need to hold to be eligible to vote. We take a snapshot of balances, and once the voting opens members get to vote on the various proposals proportional to their wallet balance at the block height of the snapshot. Once the voting period ends, winners are selected based on the highest number of votes. All data is backed up on the Filecoin network and accessible via IPFS (h/t estuary.tech) so even if Mirror goes under, your token races are preserved in the annals of the metaverse.

https://dev.mirror.xyz/dLLIq4Iebg5DLWJbOWa3sU6oQuwbogkmqPnz-ZbzPUg

So if you’ve been looking for a tool to do your own version of the Write Race, look no further. Token Race is here.

#crypto

E-Bikes

I used to ride a Vespa around NYC. I rode it to work and back for about ten years, from roughly 2003 to 2013. I stopped riding it when Bloomberg’s Traffic Enforcement people starting towing it when it was parked between cars on the street (something I had been doing since I started riding it). A few visits to the tow pound will do that to you.

Since then, I’ve been Citibiking to and from work when it is nice out and subwaying when it is not. That has worked fine.

A few weeks ago, I had breakfast with my friend Alex Ljung, who co-founded our portfolio company SoundCloud with his friend Eric Wahlforss. Alex and Eric are back at it with a new company called Dance which makes a beautiful e-bike that is sold via a subscription service, currently only in Berlin, but coming to your city sometime in the future.

I told Alex that I was nervous about riding e-bikes. He told me to get over it and get on one. So I have been doing that, using Citibike’s e-bikes, for the last few weeks.

Alex was right. I love riding e-bikes around NYC. I can see riding them out to Brooklyn and back for meetings, using the new Brooklyn Bridge bike lane.

I still like riding my traditional bike for exercise, something I do three mornings a week, and something I will do when I finish this post.

But for getting around NYC, in the awesome bike lanes that have been created all around our amazing city, I think e-bikes are the way to go. I put in an order for one this weekend.

I’m sold.

#climate crisis#NYC

Citibiking (Continued)

Yesterday I wrote about NYC’s Citibike system, which I love, and said this:

There should be financial rewards for taking a bike from a kiosk that is completely full or nearly full and returning to a kiosk that is empty or nearly empty. There should also be a financial reward for docking an E-Bike in a kiosk where there are no E-Bikes or very few.

I got a ton of feedback via email and Twitter that Citibike already offers this via a program called Bike Angels that rewards riders for doing things like this. I know about that program but there are three big problems with Bike Angels that Lyft, the owner of Citibike, needs to fix.

1/ Bike Angels is not part of the core service, available to everyone by default.

2/ The rewards are too small. They need to be increased significantly.

3/ Angels is not a cash rewards program and you cannot take cash out of the system. It needs to be like Venmo.

Basically Angels sucks, but it is directionally correct.

If Lyft fixed all of this and offered attractive cash rewards for moving bikes and E-bikes around the system, it would be a game changer. But Bike Angels is not that. It is not even close to that.

#NYC