Posts from Weblogs

The Daily Dose

At the bottom of the first post on this blog is a widget that contains links to recent blog posts by other USV team members. Many USV folks blog regularly and this widget surfaces those posts to all of you and everyone who visits the various blogs of the USV team members.

Other than me, there are a few other USV team members who blog regularly; Albert, Nick, and Bethany are the most prolific writers at USV. Andy and Brad are the best writers but we don’t get a lot of production out of them.

Since the start of the year, Bethany, who runs USV’s portfolio network, has produced a dozen blog posts, on topics like Hamilton In Puerto Rico, Nostalgia Creep In A High Growth Company, How To Measure A VC Firm’s Platform Efforts, and a lot more.

I am just one window into USV and the VC/startup world in general. I encourage those who are interested in this stuff to seek out other voices as well. Right now, Bethany is one fire. You should check her blog out.

Guest Commenting Has Been Suspended

We have been dealing with a lot of comment spam here at AVC over the last few weeks.

Most of it is “guest commenting” where the spam is being posted by an account that is not registered to Disqus (which hosts the AVC comments).

So I am trying something new and different in the hopes that we can dramatically reduce comment spam.

We are suspending the guest commenting feature on AVC. This may be temporary or it may be permanent.

I hope and expect that regular commenters who are registered with Disqus will not be impacted.

I realize this may reduce the number of comments by people who are new to AVC. It may also reduce the total number of comments and the opportunity for new voices to come and participate. None of this is good in my view.

But I want the AVC comments to be a “clean and well lit” place and I also want the maintenance of this blog to be minimal. So that’s why I’m doing this. We will see how it goes.

Down Time

Yesterday I upgraded to a higher tier of hosting service from my hosting provider (Bluehost). AVC is now running on a “virtual private server” vs a “shared server” in the past.

That upgrade was processed in the middle of the night last night and after it completed, AVC went down.

Anyone who tried to access AVC in the last six hours was served this error message:

Account Suspended

Which is mildly embarrassing, as it appeared as though I have not been paying my bills ๐Ÿ™‚

The issue has been corrected and AVC is working properly again. We may have also fixed the nasty “error establishing a database connection” issue that has plagued AVC for years and has been particularly bad in the last few days. That was one of several reasons I did the upgrade.

The particular reason AVC was not reachable for the last six hours is that my new server has a new IP address and I needed to change that in my Cloudflare account.ย 

It is little things like that which cause many of the problems that happen in tech. I changed the IP addresses at Cloudflare and AVC was back up and running immediately.

Oh well.

Sorry about the downtime. And here’s to hoping that AVC is more reliable for all of you now.ย 

Google Photos Feature Request

I think Google Photos is awesome. It is one of my favorite Google products. The photo search is amazing. And the sync from my Pixel phone to Photos works beautifully.

But there is one thing that bugs me about Google Photos that I would love to see the Photos team address.

When I post a video to YouTube, and then want to share it, one of the options I have is to embed the video with an embed code.

I would love to have the same option in Google Photos. If this feature exists, I can’t for the life of me find it. If it doesn’t, I would love to see them add it.

I can assure you that if this feature existed, I would be sharing a lot more photos here at AVC.

Update: A reader shared with me this third party solution to the embed issue.

Gotham Gal Turns Fifteen

2003 was a fertile year for both of us as I started blogging in late September and Joanne picked it up on her birthday a few weeks later.

I’m not the only one in this family who blogs every day. It’s incredibly hard to do that. Trust me, I know.

And she has more range.

From her post today:

These past 15 years have been my thoughts on investing, tech companies, the state of the union, recipes, raising kids, restaurants, theater, design, books, travel, art, women entrepreneurs, trends and pretty much everything that rattles around my head.

I don’t think that is a comprehensive list. She covers a lot more range than that. And she edits herself a lot less than me too.

I am most jealous that her blog birthday is her real birthday.

So happy birthday to the Gotham Gal.

Fifteen Years

Fifteen years ago, I sat down in front of a website called Typepad and wrote this post.

I ended that short post (six brief paragraphs) with this:

I read blogs a lot. And i think they are great. So i am starting a blog. I have no idea if iโ€™ll write a lot in my blog or rarely. I hope its a lot, because i have a lot to say. But weโ€™ll see about that.

Well, we did see about that. I do have a lot to say. As a hater commenter said here a few weeks ago, I talk too much.

But out of all of that writing has come a few gems that still are as good as the day I wrote them, a series of blog posts called MBA Mondays that people continue to come across and read from start to finish, and a connection to a readership that numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

For me, I have gained a daily practice that starts me off with a wide-open mind, that makes me think and articulate that thinking, that has led to numerous spectacular investments and has honed my ability to communicate, not just in the written word, but also in many other ways.

In those fifteen years, I have posted 8,033 times. That is way more than 15*365 because, in the early years, I would post multiple times a day. I settled on once a day about five years in and that has become my practice since.

I regularly get people coming to me and asking me to write a book. I always pass because I can’t imagine writing in a format that has an end. I can’t imagine writing in a format that doesn’t provide instant feedback. I can’t imagine writing in a format that requires a structure. I can’t imagine writing in a format that isn’t a stream of consciousness. I can’t imagine thinking about what I am going to write more than ten minutes before writing it. I can’t imagine killing trees to carry my words. So I will continue to write a blog. It’s the perfect format for me. AVC is way more than a book. It is a living breathing thing that sustains me and that is me.

When this blog turned ten, we had a big party. Many people traveled long distances to attend. It was a lot of fun. I met many AVC readers for the first time.

Five years later, I am in a different frame of mind on how to celebrate the anniversary. I want to acknowledge the moment and then move on. I am trying to contain what this blog is to keep it manageable for me. There are many times it has tested those limits. Lately, I have gotten it in a good place where it is working well for me. And hopefully for you too.

Happy fifteenth birthday, AVC.

Disclosure

The disclosure police have been making noises in the comments here at AVC and on Twitter that suggest I do not disclose conflicts and other important information when I write about things I am close to here at AVC.

I thought I would take a moment to describe how I think about this issue:

1/ I want AVC to have a casual informal feel, like a conversation between colleagues in the office or friends over a drink at the bar. I work hard to write in a conversational tone. I like to tell stories and use my own voice.

2/ I do want to disclose when I am writing about something where I or USV has a financial interest. But I don’t want it to feel like a lawyer wrote it. So I typically will say something like “our portfolio company Coinbase” or “LittleBits, a company that the Gotham Gal and I are investors in.”

3/ My goal is not to soft pedal the disclosure. I want to do it in a way that doesn’t ruin the flow and readability of this blog.

4/ I am not going to go overboard and negatively disclose things. It was suggested yesterday on Twitter that I should have disclosed that I do not have a financial interest in AirBnb. If I don’t disclose a conflict, you should assume I don’t have one.

5/ I miss things every now and then. I write a post every morning. I am writing this one on my phone on the park bench outside my favorite coffee shop. I don’t have an editor or any review process. I will hit publish in a minute and the post will go live. As hard as I try to be diligent about disclosure, I don’t get it right 100% of the time. But I am certain I do better than 90% and likely higher than that.

6/ When people alert me to mistakes (typos, no disclosure, misspellings, etc), I will go and edit the post and address it. But many of you read this blog via email and once those go out, I cannot edit them.

7/ Check the comments if you have questions about anything in the post. The comments are a daily conversation about things I wrote in the post and I often clarify things there.

In summary, I am trying to do the right thing. I realize that I have influence via this blog and Twitter and that I could use it in ways that benefit me financially. I realize that this blog does benefit me financially. For example, I understand that my seven years of bullishness on crypto here at AVC has benefitted our personal crypto portfolio and USV’s crytpo portfolio.

But I am not blogging for those reasons. I am blogging to share my views with all of you so that I can have a dialog with the world at large about them. I am thinking out loud and learning immensely from it. That is my agenda and those of you who have been reading and hanging out here over the years understand that. My hope is that the disclosure police will too.

Proof Of Blog

We have a tradition at USV that one of our new analysts, Dani, coined Proof Of Blog.

I like that term so much. It really speaks to why we have this tradition.

When someone new joins USV, we ask them to introduce themselves to our world on the USV blog.

Here are some recent “proof of blog” posts:

Dani Grant

Naomi Shah

Zach Goldstein

Even partners at USV do this. Here is Rebecca’s post announcing her arrival at USV last fall.

And Lauren, who has been at USV for almost four years now, but is in a relatively new role, introduced a new wrinkle to this tradition blogging about her new responsibilities.

It is easy to think of a venture firm as a collection of partners; me, Brad, Albert, John, Andy, Rebecca, because we are the most visible people in our firm to the outside world.

Proof of blog is a bit about changing that perception so people know the larger team. And it is also about the broader team making sure folks know a bit about them and what interests them so entrepreneurs can leverage relationships with them too.

If you don’t follow the USV blog, but want to, you can do that on the USV Twitter handle or the USV blog RSS feed.

Subscribing To AVC Via Email

About a month ago I put all of AVC traffic behind “https.”

This is something you can do with one click of a button if you are behind Cloudflare, as AVC is.

I should have done this a long time ago, but only got around to doing it last month.

In the process, I broke the subscribe via email feature and only fixed it this morning.

So, this is as good of a time as any to mention that you can get this blog delivered via email every morning.

You can subscribe via email (or RSS if you prefer that) here.

AVC Downtime

For much of yesterday if you came to AVC, you were greeted with this message:

Long time AVC readers have seen this before and it is a sign that something is awry on the shared server that I run WordPress on at Bluehost.

A number of regular readers reached out offering to help me move to a static platform and I will likely take them up on that.

Until then I can only apologize for the availability issues yesterday.