Soggy In San Francisco

I arrived this morning to a downpour and a city that feels exceedingly waterlogged. I’m sitting at a coffee shop in Berkeley in advance of a talk I’m giving on Startup Communities, a topic that to me suddenly feels even more relevant than before given the self-inflicted chaos going on at a macro level in America. As things unfold, I’m calmly pondering the next 20 years as I put the final touches on a presentation for a talk at the Greenspring Associates annual meeting later this week.

My partner Ryan is going to the NewCo Shift Forum while I’m theoretically covering SaaStr (and doing a brief speaking bit tomorrow there and then at the Strictly VC event.) While reading Fred Wilson’s post Capitalism At A Crossroads, John Battelle’s efforts and conference spiked in relevance to me. But it’s too late to shuffle things this time around.

Last week was sunny in LA at the Upfront Summit. Mark Suster and team did an amazing job – I think this was one of the best two day conferences I’ve ever been to. If you want a quick taste, read Mark’s recent posts titled Why Was Winter in Venture Capital Funding so Short? and How Glenn Beck Won the Audience Over at the Upfront Summit.

My version of VC Conference Season ends on Friday, as there are endless opportunities in the next few months to spend two days to pretend to work while sitting with a bunch of other people at a conference, waiting to participate in a 30 minute panel or doing a fireside chat. I’m wrapping this week up and then I’m done for a while, as I shift my extra energy to maker mode. In this mean time, I’m pretty sure I won’t need a shower tomorrow to fit in around the bay area – I’ll just need to go outside and walk a few blocks.

Also published on Medium.

  • Ben Wright

    Brad, looking forward to your talk at Saastr. Coming from Boulder myself sf seems to be completely under water today

  • Thanks for calling by SkyDeck @ UC Berkeley this morning. I really enjoyed your talk and thought your advice around spending 80% of time committed to your highest probability opportunity and 20% to experimentation, as opposed to hedging bets too broadly was really solid. Enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂

  • Richard

    What am I missing with the all the acalades for Glenn Beck? I listed to his rambling at the conference. What did you learn from it? That the solution is listening to each other? This guy is the carnavile barkers of carnavile barkers who has been pushing 10 year survival foods and doomsday forcasting since 2008. I can’t imagine what value a VC could gleam from his diatribes. Enlighten me.

    • He reached out after the ass kicking boot was on his foot. That is hard to do.

      He said he was wrong. That is hard to do.

      People want to see him kick liberals like they are a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. He didn’t. Hard to do.

      • Richard

        Please. Apologizing to a group of strangers after being paid by that same group of strangers to perform is hardly courage. There was absolutely no substance to this dog and pony show. Glenn Beck creates and recreats his personality when the his act runs stale. This is all that happened. That said, I heard from several attendees that this interview was the highlight of the conference. Cmon people.

    • I really want to believe the words the Glenn is saying. I really want to believe that he is sincere and trying to end the noise and hatred. However, I looked as his website today and this is what he wrote yesterday.

      “Democrats have been throwing temper tantrums on Capitol Hill since before President Trump was officially sworn in on January 20 and have given every indication we shouldn’t expect their obstructionist behavior to end anytime soon.”


      Talking about temper tantrums and having the audacity to call the Democrats obstructionist while we still have an 8 judge Supreme Court, and have memories of government shut downs and debt ceilings that are still fresh is pretty disingenuous. Heck, just check out the professionalism of his headline on that link. So…yeah, Glenn, you’ve still got some work to do.

      Is there a word in German (there’s always a word in German) where you don’t trust/respect the person, nor do you believe in anything they say, but that doesn’t make the words that they are saying any less correct?

      Glenn is right – we do need to stop this madness. However, it’s hard to believe that he’s sincere in stopping it.

      • Take it from somebody that had a family member watch him rabidly and now refuse to watch him.

        He has changed.

        No he is not going to be a lapdog. No he is staunchly Republican. No you did not somehow change his mind on his views.

        And Yes the Democrats have been throwing temper tantrums on Capitol Hill. What does Republican behavior have to do with whether or not that is true? Yes, you might justify it with their behavior, yes you might say theirs is worse.

        But that still does not change the underlying situation.

        That is what makes me the saddest, people justify behavior by saying somebody’s is as bad or worse. So it escalates. Just like it does in the Middle East.

        I think Reagan who one of his best friends was Tip O’Neal to be the last administration to reach across the aisle. Clinton was close until the whole damn Lewinsky thing happened.

        Since then I just say both sides are wrong, we can debate degrees.

  • Mariah Lichtenstern

    It’s pouring in LA right now, too. The sun must have come out just for UpFront.

  • Only thing worst then landing in SF downpour, is to ride a red eye back to NYC only to catch the same exact storm in the form of a blizzard. Talk about paying twice! Loved your interview by Harry, btw.

    • Ugh. And I expect I’m about to be in a different one in Utah …