Showing posts from May, 2007

Blogging: Average Persons Way To Immortality?

I know that's an odd title, but I think it's true.

The Chinese have a great saying that puts everything into perspective:

"Every 100 years- All new people".

Think about that. It's effectively true. For the vast majority of people on Earth, their time here is nothing more than a blink of the eye and then they're gone. Poof. Dust. Forgotten.

Unless they write a blog.

I suspect that, 1000 years from now, your blogged words, thoughts, ideas, rants and tirades will, somehow, somewhere, still be stored in the Googleplex, or on the Internet (or it's equivalent) and accessible. Effectively the only thing left of you long after you're dead and gone.

I doubt anything else you do with your life will have that kind of personal staying power. Maybe if you write a book or record a song, but that's not something the average person does. The only other thing that might be really equal in representing you, and what is uniquely you is the DNA you pass on to you…

Hatchery's vs. Angel Investing

I've been watching what Brad and David are doing over at TechStars and I think they're really onto the right model. I've heard David say that it's the evolution of angel investing, and I think he's right. Especially in the high tech/internet/media sector.

I look at what I've done with ClickCaster, which was a traditional angel model. First the founder invests his own money/time/resources to get an idea to a certain point (a team that delivers, a market identified, a beta product in production) and then he goes for either angel money or VC money depending on how big his/her plans are. In high tech/internet, with the costs to get to the next level so low, it's usually angel money. Certainly less than $1m, and usually half that; call it $500K average.

So I'm an angel investor, and I've got, say, $50 or $100K into an angel round of an early stage startup. I've put a pretty fair amount of betting money into this one deal. Is that good? Is it t…

The "bad news for graybeards as entrepreneurs" meme rears it's head again- or - In defense of the over 40 entrepreneur

Well shit.

Here we go again. Now Valleywag says you can only do a really big win startup if you're in your 20's and then Fred Wilson back peddles (sort of) on his back peddle about funding in their 20's vs. over 40 entrepreneurs .

Bad news for the graybeards: a quick check on the great tech companies of the last three decades shows a pretty brutal rule. The most spectacular successes are launched by founders still in their twenties. The peak age: 26. Within a year of that age were Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Apple's Steve Wozniak, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Skype's Janus Friis, Chad Hurley from Youtube, and Tom Anderson from Myspace. Full post here
So I don't know if youth is an advantage in the tech/startup world, but it certainly isn't a disadvantage. And I see our job as being able to work with young entrepreneurs in a way that allows them to be their best while helping them where they need it. It's something we are working ver…

David Cohen on Vertical Social Networks.

David Cohen, of TechStars ( a huge supporter of entrepreneurship in Colorado ( , and Angel investor, has a series he and Brad Feld do called Big or Bullshit. He just wrote one on Vertical Social Networks.

His question is: Will they ever be big enough to be worthy investments? His second question is: Doesn't the aggregation of these networks contain more value?

On the first one, I say: big, not bullshit. Why? Community. We're communal animals and community has been part of how humans operate from the beginning. We're clever beasts though and we use our tools to improve community. I won't go through a history of it here, but I'll start with computers. In the early 80's, modems became available to the average person. What's one of the first things we did? We wrote BBS's(Bulletin Board Systems). Each tended toward specific communities. The whole social networking phenom of today isn't new, it's ju…

More on Mark Udall

I received an email from a good friend who I have alot of respect for about my last post on Mark Udall, Colorado Congressman. He's got his supporters it would seem.

I'm also impressed with Udall himself. I emailed him directly and in less than 12 hours got a response that was similar to what my friend sent. The email from Udall was a cut and paste, but hey.. it answered my question. Rarely do I get a response to an email when I write a politician, and when I do, it's not on topic or some lame 'we appreciate your input' and then a pitch for money. To be fair to Udall, here's what my friend sent:

Udall Supports Iraq-Afghanistan Spending Bill To Take America In A New DirectionI voted for the Iraq supplemental spending bill because it will make sure that America's soldiers get the equipment and resources they need and the top-quality health care they may require when they come home. This bill holds …

Mark Udall- Colorado Congressman- A Closet Republican?

I haven't been writing much about politics of late but I just found out that the congressman for my area here in Boulder, Democrat (?) Mark Udall, voted against the McGovern Bill to get us out of Iraq. One of 59 democrats to do so. And one of only 13 in districts that carried Kerry in 2004. From the blog:
Thursday the House voted on a slightly revised version of the McGovern bill. It would have mandated the beginning of withdrawal (”redeployment”) of U.S. forces from Iraq within 90 days and completion of the withdrawal (”redeployment”) of most U.S. forces from Iraq within 180 days after thatThe bill was defeated 171-255. 59 Democrats joined almost all Republicans in voting no.The roll call is here:

State District Rep. 04Bush04Kerry California28Howard Berman28%71%Colorado2Mark Udall30%67%Georgia13David Scott37%62%Illinois3Daniel Lipinski41%59%Nevada1Shelley Berkley42%57%Maryland5Steny Hoyer42%57%Pennsylvania13Allyson Sch…

Creative Commons in Boulder

I love this.

I've been a huge supporter of the Creative Commons movement over the last 3 years (we built it into ClickCaster from day one).

From their website:

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved."It looks like Andrew Hyde is putting together a get together for creative types in Boulder to talk more about it and, maybe, spread the word a bit. From his blog:
In Boulder there is a problem. There are hundreds of talented creative professionals working and creating some beautiful stuff, but you ask them to name some names at other companies they draw a blank. Our community, and design can only go so far in our isolated pockets. Let’s get together and start the conversation. I would like to invite you to the first Boulder Creative Commons. It wil…

Your over 40 and you want to start your first company. Now what?

OK, I've been doing this for a couple of years now and I've had enough people ask me about the experience that it's worth writing up a blog post on my observations for folks like me who are over 40 who want to do their first startup. Fred Wilson's post on mid life entrepreneurs (which initially implied it was less than positive to be an over 40 startup guy, then backed away from the premise in a second post) also got me thinking that this might be useful to the people that are thinking of doing this but aren't sure of what it takes.

There's a followup blog from Paul Kedrosky about how he disagree's with Fred and how the average ages of entrepreneurs is actually pretty broad. He blogs about it here. Some interesting facts from Paul's post.
The average age of Inc Hot 100 members is 41, but there is huge spreadU.K. data shows that while the average of entrepreneurs there is 36, there is little age difference between that group the rest of the working popu…

Fred Wilson on 'older' entrepreneurs

Fred Wilson, one of the with it VC's (in my book) blogs in two posts about entrepreneurs in their 40's and 50's doing startups. He addresses it in two posts. In the first he says:
One of them asked me - do you know any 45 year old entrepreneurs?Yes I do. But only one of the entrepreneurs in our current portfolio is older than 45. And he'll probably be starting companies until he dies. It's what he does.But the facts are pretty eye opening. Nine of our eleven entrepreneurs are in their 30s. One is in his 20s, and one is in his 50s.And man did he get some great comments! In the second he concludes with:
So I don't have any really good advice for the mid life entrepreneur going through a "what next?" crisis. But one thing I'd say is try to think like that late 20s/early 30s entrepreneur doing it for the first time. Don't let everything you've learned get in the way. Go for it with gusto and don't think too hard.Bravo Fred! I couldn'…