Posts from Gotham Gal


IRL is short for "in real life" as if there were anything other than real life.

I am always energized when the online world connects with the real world. We had a Meetup last night for people who gave to the AVC/Gotham Gal Donors Choose 50th Birthday campaign.

379 people donated to the Donors Choose campaign. Of them, 168 signed up to attend the Meetup last night. We didn't count people on the way in, but it sure felt like most of those 168 people showed up.

And of course, many of them are regulars here at AVC. I met people for the first time who have been reading this blog for six or seven years. And I met people for the first time who are some of the most frequent commenters here. I am not going to name names because I'd leave someone out and they'd feel dissed. So I'd just like to say it was so great to meet all of you.

Many times people say to me "I feel like I know you" because of this blog and Gotham Gal's blog and all of our other online activities.  But I also feel like I know so many of you from reading your thoughts day after day after day. Making that IRL connection seals the deal and the online friendship gets stronger and better. That was the big takeaway from last night's event. Thanks to all of you who made the trip, whether it was a subway ride or a cross atlantic flight.

#Random Posts

Fifty For Fifty Recap

AVC regulars have probably noticed that the Donors Choose widget is gone from the right sidebar. That's because the month of August 2011 has come and gone and the Fifty For Fifty campaign is over.

It was a smashing success.

365 people donated a total of $54,028 (as of right now) and helped over 10,000 students by funding programs that connect these students' families to their classrooms.

10,000 students is a lot of kids. And these are mostly kids who need some help. Their teachers thank you, I thank you, the Gotham Gal thanks you, and I sure hope their families thank you.

There's a meetup for everyone (all 365 people) who gave to this campaign as well as me and The Gotham Gal and some folks from Donors Choose on November 9th, from 6pm to 8pm, at the USV Event Space. The Meetup page is here if you'd like to attend.

Finally, I promised to post a list of all donors along with their Twitter handles. I will do that once I get the list from the Donors Choose team.

In closing, I just want to say that the outpouring of support on this campaign is deeply appreciated by The Gotham Gal and me. We could not have asked for a better 50th birthday present. Thank you.

#hacking education

Fifty For Fifty!

Last night we passed our goal of raising $50,000 for teacher's projects that bring families closer to the classroom. The Gotham Gal and I are delighted. This has been an amazing gift that all of you have given us. Almost 10,000 students and their families will benefit from your generosity.

This is the fifth monthly campaign that this blog community has done via Donors Choose. In past years, we've raised about $20,000 each year from about 200 donors. This year, we raised more than $50,000 from 314 donors (and counting). That's a big step up!

We will leave the Giving Page and blog widget up for the remainder of the month. Hopefully we can raise a bit more for classrooms. At the end of the month, we will wrap this up, I will write a final blog post with the stats on the campaign, and I will list all the donors and link to their twitter handles if we have them.

On November 9th, from 6-8pm in the USV Event Space, the Gotham Gal and I will host a meetup for all the people who donated in this campaign plus some of the wonderful people from Donors Choose who make it possible to do this. We will get a Meetup page up shortly so people can RSVP for that event. It will be limited to those who gave in this campaign.

I talked to Charles Best, the founder and CEO of Donors Choose, about this campaign last week. He said that there are only a few other communities in the world that can rally around a Donors Choose campaign like this. This is a special place and you are special people. I am so gratified to be the "bartender" of this joint.

#hacking education

Fifty For Fifty Update

On August 1st, we launched the "Fifty For Fifty" campaign to raise $50k for classroom projects that bring families closer to the classroom.

Twelve days in, we've raised just over $27,000 from 137 donors.

That's better than half way to our goal which is fantastic.

I'd like to thank all of those 137 people for their generosity.

And in an effort to encourage more of you to participate, a few updates are in order.

First, The Gotham Gal and I will be doing a meetup in November in NYC. Anyone who gives to the campaign will be invited to attend. This will be like the meetups we've done for past Donors Choose campaigns but we'll host it in the USV event space instead of the public school cafeteria where we've done the prior ones. I will be back with a specific date for the meetup in a few days.

Second, I am going to blog the names and possibly twitter handles of everyone who gave to this campaign. I will wait until the end of the campaign to do this. If for some reason you don't want to be listed, let me know.

Bringing families closer to the classroom is such an important part of education and I'm super pleased that we've already raised $27,000 to fund those efforts. Please consider joining the campaign and getting us to our goal of $50,000.

#hacking education

Motherhood and Entrepreneurship

The Gotham Gal wrote a post last week about motherhood and work. In it she argued that motherhood is a given for many/most women and that it hasn't gotten in the way of many great accomplishments by women over the years and we should not penalize women for the fact that they have another side project that they will be doing for the rest of their lives. She ended the post with the assertion that women were designed for this and that they thrive on it.

I've watched the Gotham Gal go right back to work a week after our first child was born because it was a startup and they needed her. She managed it pretty well. We used to swap days we had to be home early to relieve Betty (our child caregiver at the time). I've watched her take on another startup working in an office in the basement of our house selling ad space in between driving the kids here and there. And as she says in the post, she always had dinner on the table, always made sure the kids had what they needed, and always made sure our home was functioning. She still does that even though she's got something like a couple dozen projects going right now.

So on Mother's Day, I'd like to acknowledge that motherhood is simply a fact of life for many/most women and that it should not be a hurdle for women entrepreneurs. We just need the men in their lives (husbands, cofounders, investors, etc) to be supportive of their side project. It's a damn important one.

And on that note, I'm waking up the kids and going out to get stuff to make breakfast for our women entrepreneur and mother. Happy mothers day everyone.

#VC & Technology

Twelve Days In The Middle East

We are flying back to NYC today, we’ll be in the air all day. I’m wishing we would have chosen to take the overnight flight last night and skipped the last dinner/evening in Tel Aviv, but that’s not the call we made six months ago.

It has been a fantastic family trip. Here’s the basic outline of what we did, courtesy of foursquare and google maps. If you click on that link, you’ll get the details on all 57 checkins I did on this trip, in reverse chronological order.

Middle east trip

The Gotham Gal has blogged the entire trip, twenty-two blogs posts in all, two and a half pages worth of blog posts full of pictures and descriptions.

Twelve days, breakfast to dinner every day, is a lot of face time with three young adults who value their time alone and independence. We had a few moments on this trip like we always do, but all in all we seem to have survived it.

We’ve been meaning to do this trip for years and I’m glad we finally did it. I suspect that all of our kids will be back in Tel Aviv soon enough. And the Gotham Gal and I are certain we will be back soon too. Given how much technology stuff is going in here, it’s hard to ignore Israel as a center for technology innovation and venture capital investing. If only the flight was shorter and they had in air wifi. I’ll be back on the grid in the new year.

Happy new year everyone.

#Blogging On The Road

Out Of Office Away Message

I just turned on my vacation message on gmail. The Gotham Gal and I are off to the middle east with our kids for the next week and a half.

I love blogging when I am on vacation. I get up earlier than everyone else in my family so it's a time when I can relax and put thoughts down on paper (or web page as it were).

So the posts will keep coming and I'm hoping I can do some deeper dives than I've been able to do recently. The Gotham Gal is the travel blogger in our family so if you are interested in what we are doing and where we are going, check out her blog starting Monday.

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#Blogging On The Road

The Follow On Round Birthday Party

Rachel Sklar is one of the women leading the charge on #changetheratio, a cause I am totally and completely behind. She's also the editor at large at Mediaite and the founder of Charitini.

When Rachel saw that we are doing the AVC Donors Choose Meetup tomorrow (wednesday) night, she figured she'd tie that into her own Donors Choose Birthday Campaign and do an after party she calls the "Follow On Round". I like that name and the idea.

Here's how it works. If you want to come to the after party (whether or not you come to the AVC meetup), you need to donate a minimum of $20 to one of the classrooms on Rachel's Donors Choose Giving Page. That's it. Then you are then on the list.

The "follow on round party" will be from 9-12 tomorrow (wednesday) night at The Red Room at the Merc Bar in Soho. The bar is open from 9-11 thanks to sponsor Jess3 (a data viz agency). The event is also being supported by BirchBox, Rent The Runway and Fashism (all women-run startups) and they will be taking donations at the door via Square.

Here are the details:

DATE: December 8, 2010
PLACE: The Red Room at Merc Bar
TIME: 9 – 12, or karaoke
OPEN BAR: Yes, from 9 – 11 (Thanks to sponsor Jess3)
SPECIAL GUESTS: iPad DJ Rana Sobhany (hott) + someone who is 99% confirmed (TBA hott)
CUPCAKES: Obviously 
Here's where you donate:

The Gotham Gal and I will be there after we meetup with the AVC crew at Washington Irving High School. Should be a fun night in honor of a great cause.

#VC & Technology

Being Present

I've recently come back to yoga after a five year hiatus. I didn't realize how much my body missed it. I stopped doing yoga because I couldn't handle the mental aspect of the practice. I struggle with being present mentally for 90 minutes. In fact, I find it impossible. Even as I've come back to the practice, I look at the clock constantly, waiting for the class to end. I am working on this struggle because yoga makes me feel so much better and I am hoping I can come to terms with the mental aspect of the practice if I work at it.

I tell you this because being present is a struggle in everything I do and yet it is the most important thing you can do. Today is the 23rd anniversary of the day the Gotham Gal and I were married. And it is father's day. A pretty special day in our family. 

I got up early and took a long bike ride this morning and reflected on 23 years of marriage and almost 20 years of fatherhood. I thought about a time fifteen years ago when our kids were young and I was starting Flatiron Partners, the first venture firm I helped to start. I was working super hard and still had not made any money in the venture capital business after a decade in it. We had moved out of the city and were living in the suburbs. I was catching the early train and struggling to get home before the kids went to bed. The Gotham Gal had stopped working, was missing the city and feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Around that time, I attended an offsite of a larger private equity firm and there was a organizational psychologist who gave a talk on work life balance. He said something I'll never forget. He said that you have about ten to twelve years to connect with your kids and then they turn into teenagers, tune you out, then turn into adults and build their own lives. I thought about my kids who were five, three, and a baby and realized that time was short and I needed to be present in their lives in every way that I could. And I committed right there and then to do that. And I've done a pretty decent job of it. Not perfect by any means. But much better than my yoga practice.

Marriage is harder than parenthood. The Gotham Gal and I have been together for almost thirty years. I've heard every single one of her stories a dozen times. And she has heard mine too. Familiarity and comfort with each other is a double edged sword. We can finish each other's sentences but that also means the sentences sometimes aren't even uttered.

Being present in a relationship, whether it is with your kids, your spouse, or anyone important in your life is hard work, particularly for overstimulated type A personalities like me and many of the people who read this blog. 

Everyone is still sleeping in my house, but after I hit the publish button, I will be off the grid today and being present with my family on this special day.

#Random Posts