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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Wake Up. Be Optimistic. Lead.

Comments (14)

Fred Wilson has the best post I’ve read so far from the 700 of so feeds I follow on how he feels about the election.  It’s titled Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States.  Fred – like me – decided a while ago to believe in Barack Obama and I’m sure he’s as happy as I am to see him elected president of the United States.

Fred states clearly the six things he thinks we’ll get from an Obama administration. 

  1. A world class management team
  2. Honesty
  3. A steady hand
  4. Diplomacy
  5. Fairness
  6. Leadership

I won’t repeat the details of each here – go read Fred’s post.  But – I’ll add one thing.  If you are an entrepreneur, an executive in a company, or in any leadership position at any level, these same six principles apply to you.  As Fred so clearly stated, "Like everyone else, I am dying for a leader we can believe in and get in line behind and follow."  Reflect on that statement as you go about your day.

  • Luca

    Your “be optimistic” captures another thing that we'll be getting from an Obama administration, even while it's not in office yet: a wave of uplifting optimism that we can get out of the doldrums we're stuck in, both domestically and internationally. We desperately need it.

    Anybody who listened to his speech last night and did not feel that sentiment must had forgotten his meds…

  • jamesoclark

    I'm totally with you on this. I feel like last night was just the beginning. I'm ready to help, support and put forth what I have to offer. Obama's leadership is inspiring.

  • http://nancycompton.blogspot.com nancycompton

    Brad – I read Fred's post earlier today and sent it along to the a circle of friends and family. Some share my joy that Obama is now our President Elect, some do not.

    Whatever their view, my hope is Obama's leadership will unite us as Americans as the Reagan administration did in troubling times. As Fred mentions, there will be times of challenge. I believe Obama has what it takes to surround himself with those best equipped to make the tough decisions our country will face.

    On another note, I was warmed by the grace with which John McCain delivered his concession speech and have no doubt he will support his Commander in Chief as they both work for our beloved country.

    It feels good to have the election behind us. Soon we'll be waving good-bye to the current administration and focusing on our future.

  • http://johncarmichaels.typepad.com/carmichaels_position/ John Carmichael

    Brad, we would all like to see all of these traits exemplified in the coming administration. I'm curious… what would you recommend we the governed, use as metrics for these ideals established? When compared to who?

    I'm not much for the touchy feely, I would like to pragmatically identify methods of determining the Bovine Scatological spin -vs- obvious and tangible critique or kudos.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if – as part of the transition process – Obama and his team actually put out a quantitative scorecard against which they’d like to be measured.

      I really have no idea what would be on this. The interactions between all the various policies and systems of government are completely overwhelming. I guess that’s part of the problem!

  • sigmawaite
  • Kelly Taylor

    “Leading effectively is less about mastering situations – or even mastering social skill sets – than about developing a genuine interest in and talent for fostering positive feelings in the people whose cooperation and support you need.”

    taken from HBR Sept 2008 “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership”

  • http://www.luckymountainhome.com/ massageam

    I hope what Fred says will come true in real life. We all expect good positive changes in the US economy which influence the world economy. Of course a lot of things depend not on Obama only.

  • Blake

    I agree in the six principals provided in your post. The election is over so I'll save the political explanations (mostly), for later. I am, however, unclear how people believe we will see any of these principals from his administration, when nothing in his past supports it. I guess it is similar to a VC's job though… to invest and believe in something that is totally unproven. However, I doubt most VC's would invest a significant asset into something with a checkered past. Maybe the risk / reward equation will pay off in our political landscape. Maybe not.

    I do wonder what the explanation will be (eg: Bush) if the sky doesn't open up and start raining skittles for all.

  • Kristina

    “But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

    Great speech Mr. Obama! This is what people would always want to have for their leader. Obama has shown a more certain instinct for the middle ground and gives the impression of listening to a broader range of views.

  • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

    Since this discussion is economic/business based, I will raise but one question. Does anyone else have a problem with his redistribution of wealth policy and the increase in the negative contribution rate of at least 40% of Americans?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Now that the election is over, it’d be awesome if everyone could stop using campaign attack language like “redistribution of wealth policy.” Both candidates espoused tax plan changes which can be classified as “redistribution of wealth”, making it an irrelevant phrase. I’m not really sure what the phrase “negative contribution rate” actually means, so I don’t really care that much about it.

      Given the current economic dynamics of our country (and the world), there is no question that we need to change our tax policies and our spending policies. As someone who has paid a lot of taxes throughout my adult life, I expect to have my taxes increase to cover the last eight years of profligate government spending combined with the current economic meltdown. That’s just reality; I can bitch about it all I want, but that doesn’t change reality.

      There are a wide range of things that I’d like to see that are inconsistent with the current state of our economy. As a result, I’m much more focused on clear leadership from people that can actually inspire action from the great people throughout this country and throughout the world. We haven’t had that leadership for a while; hopefully Obama can deliver on the hope that so many Americans are excited about. If that results in me paying more taxes and some other people paying less taxes, so be it.

      • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

        Let me be clear. I did not like either candidate for President as I supported Ron Paul – an individual that I believed had a viable solution to fixing the tax problems.

        Barack Obama talked at length about spreading the wealth around. Hence my term “redistribution of wealth policy.” Mr. Obama stated, “… I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.” To be sure, I would love for everyone to be wealthy. But I do not find it fair that those who are lazy and do not work are rewarded by those of us who do.

        When I referenced the negative contribution rate I was referring to an IRS statistic:
        The bottom 40% of Americans by income had, in aggregate, an effective tax rate that’s negative. Meaning, 40% of Americans received more than they gave in. In the same report, it stated that “The top 10% paid 70% of the total income tax. And the top 1% paid almost 40% of the total income tax.” I am not rich but I aspire to be so one day. I wish people, in general, would stop saying phrases like “tax the rich” and “they need to pay their fair share.” You know as well as I do that the only people hurt by that kind of rhetoric is the working middle class (of which I am a card carrying member).

        Thomas Jefferson stated that, “We will cease to function as a Republic when you take from those who produce and give to those who don't.”

        I do not care one iota about the Republican or Democrat party. I care about my wonderful country and her current state of disarray. You can't blame Bush for it all. Congress controls the money and they are a Democrat majority. Mr. Obama made a lot of promises and his policies are going to cost us more in taxes and in effect hurt the very people he proposed to help. We will not start doing better as a country, on the whole, until we stop bickering about the right and the left, Democrat and Republican and start focusing on the correct and what is good for America. Partisanship be damned! Both sides aided in getting us where we are today and it will take a united effort to get us out of this situation.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    Let me be clear. I did not like either candidate for President as I supported Ron Paul – an individual that I believed had a viable solution to fixing the tax problems.

    Barack Obama talked at length about spreading the wealth around. Hence my term "redistribution of wealth policy." Mr. Obama stated, "… I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." To be sure, I would love for everyone to be wealthy. But I do not find it fair that those who are lazy and do not work are rewarded by those of us who do.

    When I referenced the negative contribution rate I was referring to an IRS statistic:
    The bottom 40% of Americans by income had, in aggregate, an effective tax rate that’s negative. Meaning, 40% of Americans received more than they gave in. In the same report, it stated that "The top 10% paid 70% of the total income tax. And the top 1% paid almost 40% of the total income tax." I am not rich but I aspire to be so one day. I wish people, in general, would stop saying phrases like "tax the rich" and "they need to pay their fair share." You know as well as I do that the only people hurt by that kind of rhetoric is the working middle class (of which I am a card carrying member).

    Thomas Jefferson stated that, "We will cease to function as a Republic when you take from those who produce and give to those who don't."

    I do not care one iota about the Republican or Democrat party. I care about my wonderful country and her current state of disarray. You can't blame Bush for it all. Congress controls the money and they are a Democrat majority. Mr. Obama made a lot of promises and his policies are going to cost us more in taxes and in effect hurt the very people he proposed to help. We will not start doing better as a country, on the whole, until we stop bickering about the right and the left, Democrat and Republican and start focusing on the correct and what is good for America. Partisanship be damned! Both sides aided in getting us where we are today and it will take a united effort to get us out of this situation.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/webmaster webmaster

    Interesting concept for an elected official of the people. Good idea.

  • Kristina

    "But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree."

    Great speech Mr. Obama! This is what people would always want to have for their leader. Obama has shown a more certain instinct for the middle ground and gives the impression of listening to a broader range of views.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/massageam massageam

    I hope what Fred says will come true in real life. We all expect good positive changes in the US economy which influence the world economy. Of course a lot of things depend not on Obama only.

  • Blake

    I agree in the six principals provided in your post. The election is over so I'll save the political explanations (mostly), for later. I am, however, unclear how people believe we will see any of these principals from his administration, when nothing in his past supports it. I guess it is similar to a VC's job though… to invest and believe in something that is totally unproven. However, I doubt most VC's would invest a significant asset into something with a checkered past. Maybe the risk / reward equation will pay off in our political landscape. Maybe not.

    I do wonder what the explanation will be (eg: Bush) if the sky doesn't open up and start raining skittles for all.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jamesoclark jamesoclark

    I'm totally with you on this. I feel like last night was just the beginning. I'm ready to help, support and put forth what I have to offer. Obama's leadership is inspiring.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/nancy_c8303 nancy_c8303

    Brad – I read Fred's post earlier today and sent it along to the a circle of friends and family. Some share my joy that Obama is now our President Elect, some do not.

    Whatever their view, my hope is Obama's leadership will unite us as Americans as the Reagan administration did in troubling times. As Fred mentions, there will be times of challenge. I believe Obama has what it takes to surround himself with those best equipped to make the tough decisions our country will face.

    On another note, I was warmed by the grace with which John McCain delivered his concession speech and have no doubt he will support his Commander in Chief as they both work for our beloved country.

    It feels good to have the election behind us. Soon we'll be waving good-bye to the current administration and focusing on our future.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/sigmawaite sigmawaite
  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if – as part of the transition process – Obama and his team actually put out a quantitative scorecard against which they’d like to be measured.

    I really have no idea what would be on this. The interactions between all the various policies and systems of government are completely overwhelming. I guess that’s part of the problem!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/luca8090 luca8090

    Your "be optimistic" captures another thing that we'll be getting from an Obama administration, even while it's not in office yet: a wave of uplifting optimism that we can get out of the doldrums we're stuck in, both domestically and internationally. We desperately need it.

    Anybody who listened to his speech last night and did not feel that sentiment must had forgotten his meds…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kelly_taylo4868 kelly_taylo4868

    "Leading effectively is less about mastering situations – or even mastering social skill sets – than about developing a genuine interest in and talent for fostering positive feelings in the people whose cooperation and support you need."

    taken from HBR Sept 2008 "Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Now that the election is over, it’d be awesome if everyone could stop using campaign attack language like “redistribution of wealth policy.” Both candidates espoused tax plan changes which can be classified as “redistribution of wealth”, making it an irrelevant phrase. I’m not really sure what the phrase “negative contribution rate” actually means, so I don’t really care that much about it.

    Given the current economic dynamics of our country (and the world), there is no question that we need to change our tax policies and our spending policies. As someone who has paid a lot of taxes throughout my adult life, I expect to have my taxes increase to cover the last eight years of profligate government spending combined with the current economic meltdown. That’s just reality; I can bitch about it all I want, but that doesn’t change reality.

    There are a wide range of things that I’d like to see that are inconsistent with the current state of our economy. As a result, I’m much more focused on clear leadership from people that can actually inspire action from the great people throughout this country and throughout the world. We haven’t had that leadership for a while; hopefully Obama can deliver on the hope that so many Americans are excited about. If that results in me paying more taxes and some other people paying less taxes, so be it.

  • John Carmichael

    Brad, we would all like to see all of these traits exemplified in the coming administration. I'm curious… what would you recommend we the governed, use as metrics for these ideals established? When compared to who?

    I'm not much for the touchy feely, I would like to pragmatically identify methods of determining the Bovine Scatological spin -vs- obvious and tangible critique or kudos.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    Since this discussion is economic/business based, I will raise but one question. Does anyone else have a problem with his redistribution of wealth policy and the increase in the negative contribution rate of at least 40% of Americans?

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