Dave McClure has a great post up today titled VC Evolution: Physician, Scale Thyself. It’s a long ramble, as is Dave’s style, on a bunch of issues around the evolution of how VC works and scales. I’m an investor in Dave’s fund and have believed in him from the beginning so it’s cool to see him continue to push the edge of things.
Archive for the ‘VC Post of the Day’ Category
I love it when Joe Kraus blogs. I don’t know Joe very well – mostly through my partner Ryan McIntyre (who was Joe’s partner at Excite) but I’ve greatly enjoyed our deep dinner time conversation (the last one I remember was a Vegas one that was the Dick Costolo / Eric Lunt leaving Google party which was – eek – a long time ago).
Joe’s blog today is called The Caller ID Test. TechStars Boulder Demo Day starts in 25 minutes and this post is super relevant for everyone in the room – both entrepreneurs and investors. It’s a simple one – when you see the caller ID from the person on the phone, do you want to answer? If not, think hard about what that means.
I discovered Josh Breinlinger’s blog this morning via a tweet from @stefanobernardi. I added it to the Ask the VC blogroll and read through VCs are liars. And so am I. And – Josh is right – it’s super hard to say “you suck” or “your team sucks” as a reason for passing.
I’ve written more about this in the post on Feld Thoughts titled It’s Hard To Tell Someone They Suck.
Scott Weiss, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has an excellent post up on GigaOm titled The CEO’s Weekly Checklist. I’ve gotten to know Scott over the past few years via the board of Return Path. Scott was co-founder/CEO of IronPort (acquired by Cisco) and built a very significant and powerful company – his checklist comes from his experience growing as CEO from the beginning of IronPoint to an over $100 million company.
On the heels of Yahoo suing Facebook for patent infringement followed by Tim Armstrong at AOL saying “hey Wall Street – look at me – I’ve got great patents also“, Andrew Parker (Spark) wrote a post that brought me out of my “intellectual property depression” titled Open Source and For-Profit Companies.
I’ve been thinking about advancing innovation in the software industry since I was in a PhD program at MIT Sloan School in the 1980′s studying under Eric von Hippel. Eric is one of the best thinkers I’ve ever encountered around this topic and Andrew’s post – which articulates a trend of for-profit companies open sourcing core pieces of their products – is powerful support of many of Eric’s theories.
Andrew’s money quote is:
“But, the most important part of Dan’s observation is that open sourcing the product inside a business is now becoming normal, and that’s wonderful. Dan seems to be slightly pessimistic about this new world of corporate-controlled open source projects (I take that hint from his desire to rename this phenomenon), but it’s 10X better than having 5 companies all building the same product independently of each other in a closed manner, like what we saw in the column-store DBMS market over the past decade (Vertica, and companions).”
The construct of “intellectual property” – and the government’s right to grant an exclusive license to companies (e.g. a patent) as a way of “promoting innovation” has completely broken down in the software industry. Interestingly, this is happening at the same time that “being open with source code instead of protecting it through trade secret” is also occurring and both accelerating innovation as well as enhancing value in many new companies.
We are in a very complicated place in the evolution of the software and Internet industry. I hope we don’t fuck it all up. Thanks Andrew for weighing in with a clear example of something that is very positive for the ecosystem.
Oh – and if you want a dose of sarcasm beautifully written, check out Mark Cuban’s argument that he hopes Yahoo Crushes Facebook in its Patent Suit. His money quote:
“This is what patents are for, right ? To protect companies with original IP from smarter, faster, aggressive companies who catch the imagination of consumers and advertisers. What else could patents be for ?”
Mark’s serious comments are worth reading carefully.
“Seriously, there are industries where patents are used fairly to protect intellectual property. The technology industry is not one of them.
Change is needed. However, its not going to come from our government. The lobbyists have taken over. One of the symptoms of the illness patents have caused the technology industry is the explosion of lobbyists pushing the agenda of big patent portfolio holders. They are not going to let our lawmakers give an inch.
Rather than originating in Congress, its going to take a consumer uprising to cause change. What better way to create a consumer uprising than to financially cripple and possibly put out of business the largest social network on the planet ?”
There were very few VC posts today – I’m guessing most VC bloggers are either sleeping late, at SXSW (and possibly sleeping late due to their hangovers), or not blogging today (yeah – I know the third one is – well – a tautology).
Mark Suster (GRP) has a great post up titled Never Negotiate Piecemeal. Here’s Why. It’s great advice and perspective on the art of negotiating.
As I sit here in Boulder watching MI-5, taking care of Amy, avoiding SXSW, and catching up on RSS and email, I came across a post from Albert Wenger (USV) that rang true. It’s titled A Rational Internet Venture Valuations Bubble and is insightful, clever, and though provoking. Easily the best VC post of the week.
Ryan McIntyre, one of my partners at Foundry Group, has a delightful post up this morning with a short (4 minute) video about the founding and startup of Excite on his blog titled Ctrl+Alt+Compete Documentary. Ah yes, Excite, one of the first search engines (can you name the very first one? I’ll give you a hint – it was created at SIPB.) I love this story – it serves as Saturday morning inspiration for anyone in school thinking about starting a company. He even references Gopher which made me chuckle out loud.
My favorite phrase – “we were unencumbered by reality.”
I loved Bijan Sabet’s (Spark) post today titled Patience & Persistence. In it, he talks about how OMGPOP’s new game Draw Something is blowing up after nearly four years of making some, but not a ton, of progress. He starts out strong:
“When you go to a tech meetup, tech party, or read tech headlines, it’s easy to get swept away into thinking things are soaring for a number of startups. Company xyz now has a zillion users, another company just went viral, overnight sensation, etc. It’s easy to fall in love with those headlines or worse, it’s easy to be distracted. The truth of the matter is that it hardly ever goes straight up and to the right.”
Go read the post to hear the story. This is very consistent with our view at Foundry Group that it often takes up to three years for a new company to figure out where the magic is going to be. As investors, we are very patient through those first three years, keeping the burn rate low but continuing to fund by ourselves if necessary as long as we believe in the entrepreneur. One of the reasons we love working with Bijan and his partners at Spark is because they share this point of view.
Remember – it can take a long time. Be patient. And persistent.
Fred Wilson (USV) and Joanne Wilson (Gotham Gal) have the two best posts up today. Each one involved another person.
Fred’s post - The Management Team – Guest Post By Jerry Colonna – is by – wait for it – Jerry Colonna. If you don’t know Jerry, you are missing out. Jerry was Fred’s partner at Flatiron Partners and an amazing VC in the 1990′s. I had the joy of being on several boards with Jerry and can’t think of anyone I’ve ever worked with who understands people better. Jerry’s post wraps up Fred’s MBA Monday series on the management team and is a dynamite finish to an excellent post.
Not to be outdone, Joanne Wilson has a great post up titled Caren Maio, Nest.io, Woman Entrepreneur. It’s part of Joanne’s Women Entrepreneur Monday’s series and highlights Caren Maio, CEO of Nest.io, and a member of the first TechStars New York program. Caren is spectacular and Joanne does a nice job of explaining Nest.io while shining a bright light on the awesomeness that is Caren.