279: Own Your Mistakes: FeedBurner screwed up the other day. One of the new guys on the publisher team sent out a generic, unsolicited email to about 90 people who aren’t FeedBurner publishers. While it’s arguable about whether or not it was spam, it was bad form, stupid, and not FeedBurner’s style. There was some immediate chatter about it from a few of the people that received the emails and rather than defend it, Dick Costolo (FeedBurner’s CEO) immediately commented on each post he saw saying “we screwed up – we’re sorry” and then put up a public apology on the web site later in the day. Every company (and everybody) makes mistakes regularly. Acknowledging them immediately, apologizing, correcting them, and learning from them is less common.
280: Our New Investor: Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures posted the other day about Why USV Invested in FeedBurner. I’ve known Fred since the mid-1990’s and have worked and invested with him in a number of companies. Fred’s actually the guy that introduced me to FeedBurner a few days after I started blogging in May 2004. When I led the last round in FeedBurner, I was working on it with Fred – he describes in his post why he and his partner Brad Burnham decided not to do the financing with me at the time. However, they continued to help FeedBurner and Fred often said that FeedBurner was “the company he worked hardest for that he wasn’t an investor in.” Six months later Fred and Brad realized they made a mistake by not investing, owned it (see #279 above), and approached Dick about investing. While FeedBurner has regularly been approached by investors expressing interest, the company has no near term need for additional capital so we’ve simply passed on exploring it with anyone. However, Fred and Brad had done so much work for the company, had built a personal relationship with Dick, and were unquestionably able to add significantly to the group around the table. It didn’t take long to reach a deal that everyone was excited about. Welcome Fred and Brad.
281: It’s a Platform: I love FeedFlare – it’s a supercool new FeedBurner feature. FeedFlare by itself is plenty, but like every good company that is building out a platform, FeedBurner announced the FeedFlare Open API today. Now anyone can write their own FeedFlare’s – the nice people at FeedBurner made a list of 101 different ones that they’ve thought of already in case you are inclined to write a FeedFlare. Look for FeedFlares to start proliferating.