The Annual Dinner

After spending most of the day at littleBits yesterday, I finished it with an annual tradition that is one of my favorites.

At 6:45pm Amy and I met Joanne Wilson, Fred Wilson, Matt Blumberg, and Mariquita Blumberg at Marea for dinner. Fred and I are both on the board of Return Path, the company Matt has been running since he co-founded it in 1999. For over a decade, we’ve been having an annual dinner as a group when Amy and I are in NY, usually in the fall.

Joanne generally picks the restaurant and Amy and I are happy to defer to her excellent taste. We are staying at Columbus Circle so this year Joanne picked something within walking distance for us. As Amy and I were walking home around 9:30, we each commented on how wonderful this tradition is.

I woke up this morning thinking about annual traditions. I’m not a Hallmark holiday person, I don’t like Christmas (although I’ve learned not to be grumpy about it), Thanksgiving crushes my soul, and I’ve never really understood Easter. I’ve learned how to give awesome presents on Valentine’s Day, but I think that’s more because I’m uxorious and well-trained. So I like annual traditions that are out of step with everyone elses.

When I reflect on our dinner, and the conversation, the six of us are enjoying marking the passage of time with this tradition. We are all getting older together, a little softer looking (at least me and Matt),  greying at the temples and in the beard (again for me and Matt). We started doing this before Matt and Mariquita had kids and when Fred and Joanne’s kids were pre-teens. All three of Fred and Joanne’s kids are now out of the house and they are starting the empty nest phase of their life.

While it’s amazing to watch time pass, it’s even more powerful to experience the passage of time together. While we all interact regularly, this annual dinner, which is a deeply engaged three-ish hour meal, gives us a chance to really be together, in the moment, and share what is going on. When you link it together over a decade of more of three hour slices, along with all of the other interactions, it allows us to know each other in a uniquely intimate way.

I felt real love and real joy last night. Joanne, Fred, Matt, and Mariquita – y’all are awesome friends. Thanks for being part of my life.

  • So you’ve got the little kids startups, litteBits,- although they are growing past little :), and bigger kids Return Path…and a lot in-between.

  • CamiloALopez

    Life (personal and professional) is about relationships! Great post!

  • “Uxorious”… Where was I when they were teaching that word? At least, I now have a name for my “condition” 🙂

    This is a very good post Brad. It brims with sincerity and authenticity.

    When I read something like this, it *deeply* motivates me to be more and to do more.

    Keep it coming.

    • Thx Mario. Uxorious is one of my favorite words, and favorite feelings!

  • Love that, and love when you share these kinds of experiences … The constellation of your lives across the new media landscape is a beautifully intertextual techno-tapestry.

  • I love reading about the joys you find in life. You are always learning about yourself, it’s so great 🙂 And p.s. Little Bits is amazing!! My daughter loves them.

    • Awesome on littleBits. It is a great product and company.

  • Whoa, “Thanksgiving crushes my soul.” Really?

    • Long story but yea.

      • Got it. Aside from holidays in general, I also agree traditions are powerful. For me, it’s something that you can plan around, can look forward to, and the other people also feel the same. It’s cool you all build this in. I think it provides a huge amount of comfort.

  • it is a great tradition but i ate and drank too much that night!!!

    • As did I. I followed it up with dinner with Jenny Lawton, Amy, and a bottle of Sake last night. Time for a diet.

      • Rick

        BTW… Did you get my think you note?

        • I’ve been on the road for ten days so I don’t know.

          • Rick


      • or a lot of running

  • i love these dinners!

  • i like too sepatu safety