My partner Albert delivered a really excellent 20min talk at the Velocity conference last week. His talk was about the threats to the open internet, why they exist, and what we can do about them. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with all of the themes in Albert's talk, but his framing of the issues is really well done.
If you have 20 minutes this weekend, I strongly suggest you watch it.
It's really easy to appear intelligent when you are surrounded by smart people. I've written a fair bit about how my partner Brad is responsible for much of USV's investment thesis and the deep thinking we do as a firm.
But USV is also extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of Albert Wenger's big brain for the past five years, since he helped Joshua build and sell Delicious to Yahoo!
Since I don't have anything particularly interesting to say this morning, I thought I'd feature this interview with Albert that Rocky Agrawal did in our office recently. It's 45 minutes so it's a long listen, but there are a lot of good insights in here.
One more thing while we are talking about Albert – He's been doing this great weekly column called Tech Tuesdays where he essentially explains how this technology we are all using works. He's got a survey up on his blog looking for some feedback about where to take Tech Tuesdays next.
I'm going to stop by Google I/O in SF this afternoon to see this panel (yes, a panel) of VCs that Google has assembled. The common trait among all of them is they write code or at least they used to write code for a living. Here's the list:
I am a big fan of "VCs Who Code." I wrote software for a living very briefly during college and before business school and have a basic understanding of the process. But that was 25 years ago and modern software development is fairly different from what I did back then. I used punch cards in one of my jobs.
Software development is the foundational technology for everything that we invest in. And so having people in the venture industry who have their heads wrapped around software engineering is a very good thing.
Our firm has benefitted in many ways since Albert joined us full-time two and a half years ago. But one of the most important ways that we have benefitted is that our comfort with technology risks and technology issues has gone way up. You have to take risks to make money in the venture business. But you also have to understand the risks, asses their magnitude, and figure out how to mitigate them. The more technical chops you have in your partnership, the better off you will be.
It's also true that I have deep respect for every one of the investors on the panel this afternoon. Each of them is a superstar and they are among the most innovative and thoughtful VCs in the business right now. I wonder if that is derivative of their early years writing code? I suspect it may well be.