Snap Preview

I finally got around to putting the Snap Preview Widget on my blog. I am sure you’ve already seen them around the blog world. Apparently they’ve already gotten over 25,000 blogs to implement it.

I like seeing a preview of the page before I click on the link. I hope you do too.

If you want to get it for your blog too, just visit Snap.

#VC & Technology

Late May In January

  Washington Square Park – January 6, 2007 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

It’s 70 degrees in NYC today.

Everyone is out and about in the village. It feels like a late May spring day.

In the picture, the crowd is packed around the fountain in Washington Square Park where entertainers are doing their thing. That’s a typical scene in the spring, summer, and fall in the park.

The christmas tree under the Arch is not.

I expect a few more people are making a committment to buy a hybrid the next time they buy a car.

Long TM.

#NYC#Photo of the Day#stocks

Welcome Back Gotham Gal

The Gotham Gal took a 19 day hiatus from the Internet and blogging during our holiday vacation. She got back online the other day and her first words of 2007 were a resolution to get a laptop so she can keep blogging while traveling. And you can see why when you read these four posts:


I think she spent almost a whole day on those four posts when you include downloading and uploading photos and going through her notes on everything we did.

If you are planning a trip to Italy, I suggest you read these posts. She reviews a ton of restaurants, sights, stores, and hotels. I could never pull that off. You can also tell she was rushing because her posts lack links and there are more than a few misspellings. If you come across one, just let everyone know in the comments.

I, on the other hand, did not go offline as this picture she took at the top of the spanish steps proves. I was grabbing a few minutes of email catchup while the kids had their portraits drawn. I find it easier to steal a few minutes here and there and stay up to date than deal with catchup when we get back.

#Blogging On The Road

Transaparency, Markets, and The Internet (continued)

In the venture business, you invest in companies, work closely with them, and at some point move on either because they were sold (or went bust) or they went public and you sold the stock. But you always keep a piece of the company in you. My former partner Milton always liked to hold on to a small portion of his public holdings just for that reason. I don’t do that, but maybe I should.

The reason for that little peek into the emotional makeup of this VC, is that I read with interest about a deal that did with Stockpickr the other day. I was Chairman of for a number of years in the late 90s and early part of this decade. And although I’ve been off the board for years and don’t own any stock, I still have an affinity for the Company. I learned a lot from that investment, much of which colors the investments we make now.

And my approach to blogging is very much a reflection of what I learned from watching Jim Cramer do it. He was the first blogger I ever met. He had a code name for his wife and I copied that. He posted regularly and always with an opinion. I try to do that. He wrote like he was talking directly to you. And I try to do that too.

I wrote a long post in the middle of last year about Transparency, Markets, and The Internet where I laid out my history investing in the intersection of the web and finacial markets. And I continue to think there are fantastic opportunities in this sector. We have one company in our portfolio that is utilizing "web 2.0" technologies to deliver investing insights to stock market investors. That company is Instant Information and they focus on the professional investor sector of the market.

We’ve also looked at a number of companies focused on the "DIY" sector of the market – the stock trading enthusiasts. My friend Howard has started Wallstrip to entertain and educate investors on stocks that are on interesting trend lines (mostly all time highs). I’ve been helping him with that startup and have a small personal stake in Wallstrip. Here’s yesterday’s show where Lindsay went out to the streets to get trends for 2007.

But back to Stockpickr, I had not seen the service until I saw the story about and Stockpickr getting together on TechCrunch the other day. So I spent some time on Stockpickr this morning and I’ve set up a profile page and a fake portfolio. I’ve been waiting for someone to marry social networking and stock picking. It’s a natural. I want to find people who have similar investing interests to mine. I want to see what other people own. I really like that Stockpickr is tracking hedge fund and big name investor’s portfolios as well as the do it yourself crowd. But the one thing that bothers me is that these portfolios may not be real. How do we know that I really own these stocks? In fact I don’t.

So I am not yet sold on Stockpickr. But I am going to play around some more. Someone is going to do for stocks right and when they do, it’s going to be big.

#VC & Technology

YouTube Video Of The Day

I love UK music and UK comedians – Mike Skinner/The Streets, Arctic Monkeys, Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen. So when the red monk tipped me off to this new artist Ali Love, I went straight to the link and clicked on it.

But you don’t have to do that because I liked the video so much I posted it to YouTube. It’s a story about a london street kid who takes too much ketamin and goes down the k-hole. Pretty hilarious and the music is great too. The video is a tad over 3 mins but stick around to the end. The garbage men crack me up.

Ali Love MySpace

#funny#My Music

Loading Fast

  freehand riding 
  Originally uploaded by Hughes500.

There is no question that page load times are critical in the popularity of a web service. Google has been the master of this. GIve people what they want and don’t make them wait.

So it’s been bugging me for the past year that this blog takes half the afternoon to load fully. We all know the reasons, it’s the sidebars full of widgets and calls to other web services. I’ve tried a number of approaches to solving the problem, but I think I’ve finally cracked the problem (as usual thanks to a reader’s suggestion).

You’ll probably note that the page loaded differently today. It is now loading the center column first. No waiting to see the posts. They come up instantly.

The sidebars still take half the afternoon to load, but you can be on to your next task by then if you want to be.

You’ll probably also notice that I went back to a fluid page width, but this time the sidebars are set at 200px and only the center column floats. I’d like to thank Ivan at Federated Media who helped me figure out the CSS to do all of this. If anyone wants to see it, I will happily publish it.

Another cool thing about this redesign is that when you visit my blog page on a mobile browser (at least on my blackberry browser), all you get is the center column. Which is going to make it much easier to read AVC on a blackberry.

#VC & Technology

Integrated Stats - Finally!

Yes, today’s blogging is dedicated to FeedBurner one of our portfolio companies and I company that I never tire of blogging about. Not because we own a piece of the company, but because they are so damned good at what they do.

One of the main reasons people burn their feed and become FeedBurner users is that FeedBurner has amazing stats on feeds. They tell you how many subs you have, how many actually have read your feed, what posts they read, what readers they use, etc, etc. And they tell you that by day, week, month, year. Jason Calacanis used to give me a hard time about my love for FeedBurner back in the days of Weblogs Inc until one day when he saw FeedBurner stats. After that, he was sold.

But what happens in the feed is only half the story?. You also need to know what happens on your blog page. So people use Sitemeter, Google Analytics, and a host of other tools. I do too. They work great. But they aren’t connected to your feed. So you have two completely separate views of what’s happening with your content.

Until now. Because today FeedBurner has rolled out Site Stats for everyone to use. This is not a surprise. FeedBurner acquired a small stats service called Blogbeat a while back and have been blogging actively about what they intend to do with it.

There are a ton of pages you can look at in the stats package and they are all awesome. But I’ll just show one small section of one page that I love:


Hopefully that’s enough to get all of you to check it out yourselves.

If you have any FeedBurner code on your blog’s template for Flare or FeedBurner Ad Network, all you need to do is go to the Analyze page in your dashboard and turn it on. If you don’t have any FeedBurner code on your page yet, you’ll need to get some HTML and add it to your blog template. But the good news is once you do that, you’ll also be set to add Flare and the Ad Network to your blog.

Ok, now I’ll shut up about FeedBurner. I’ll leave it to you all to decide for yourselves how great they are.

#VC & Technology

Adding Some Flare

Have you heard about "social media optimization"? It’s the thing that people who game DIgg are doing. It’s a pretty well known fact that getting picked up in Digg or Delicious popular can result in big increases in traffic.

But you don’t have to game Digg in order to benefit from social media. I’ve been benefitting from social media optimization for several years on this blog. My posts get posted regularly to delicious, digg, sphere, and reddit. They get picked up by TechMeme, Buzztracker, TailRank, etc. And I’d like to encourage more of that.

That’s where adding some flare to the blog comes in. At the end of every post on my blog or in my feed you’ll see this block of links.

This is called a "Flare" in FeedBurner nomenclature. And FeedBurner is the provider of my flare and most of the flares out there on the Internet.

How do you get a flare? Well first you need to burn your feed and become a FeedBurner user. Once you’ve done that, you can simply visit the tab in the FeedBurner interface called Optimize and then chose the FeedFlare section and you’ll be taken to the page where you can set up your flare.

That’s all you have to do to get a flare in your feed. If you want the same flare on your blog (and you should want that), you simply tell FeedBurner (using that same page) what blogging tool you use and you’ll get some HTML code to put in your blog’s template. If you have another FeedBurner service running on your blog already (like FeedBurner Ad Network or Site Stats), then you don’t need to do anything more.

I’ve had my flare on my feed and blog for a while now. But today I finally took the time to move some things around and add a few new flares. It took all of a couple minutes. But now I have dynamic Digg, Delicious, and Sphere flares to match the dynamic Technorati and Comments links. By "dynamic" I mean that the link to add something to any one of these services also contains a count of the number of people who’ve already done that. That is going to most certainly encourage others to do it and that’s social media optimization in action (the right way).

#Bling#VC & Technology

I Don't Get The Venice Project

  On The Canal In Venice 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

I can’t run The Venice Project software on my macbook, but Andrew gave me a demo of the service yesterday.

The one thing I do like is the desktop app. I am a big fan of web apps, but in this case, I can see a bunch of good reasons why you’d want a desktop app for broadband internet video. You can take over the screen, you can use P2P technologies, you can cache, etc, etc. These guys know how to build desktop apps and they’ve done a nice job with this one.

But the content is nowhere and I don’t see how it gets somewhere. I can’t upload anything to it. I can’t put an RSS feed into it. I am stuck with whatever content they got licensed to showcase.

Even iTunes, lame as it is, allows you to input an RSS feed into the iTunes client.

These are the guys who built Kazaa? Skype? Disruptors?

Not this time, at least not yet.

This is the begging forgiveness thing all over again.

Video on the Internet is not going to be a one way experience, no matter how much anyone wants it to be.

#VC & Technology


I knew it was going to happen. I stopped my regular routine of mp3 of the week on mondays, cliches on wednesdays, and nuggets on fridays, and I basically stopped doing those posts entirely. I am a creature of habit.

The mp3 of the week posts have morphed into everyday music posts with mp3s in them. That’s fine.

But the Nuggets and Cliches have disappeared from the blog and I miss them.

So I’m back with a Nugget. I was exercising this morning and wanted something with energy. But I also wanted something I hadn’t heard in a while. I was scrolling through my iPod and came across this gem from 1988 from The Pixies.

Surfer Rosa has all the energy you’d ever want in a record. But it also was incredibly influential. People say Kurt Cobain got the inspiration for Smells Like Teen Spirit from this record. It really doesn’t matter if that’s true or not, because Surfer Rosa is a hell of a record.

It starts with Bone Machine, peaks with Gigantic and Where Is My Mind?, and ends with the awesome guitar riffs of Brick Is Red. But the thing about this record that stands out most to me is the drums. Wow. I am going to play this record for Josh tonight. He’s got to hear the drums on it.

If you’ve got Surfer Rosa buried away gathering dust, do yourself a favor and pull it out and put it on and turn it up. It’s a Nugget for sure.


#My Music