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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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Fred’s Rant on Liquidity

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Fred Wilson has an incredible post up this morning titled We Need A New Path To Liquidity.  I don’t agree with everything in it, but it’s a great, heartfelt post in the context of the gigantic Internet elephants stomping around trying to reconfigure themselves and consolidate things while accidentally crushing all the pretty little toys gathered at their feet trying to get (or having gotten) their attention.

I’m rushing off to go spend the morning with a bunch of my friends at one of the elephants so I don’t have time for a more thoughtful post – go read Fred’s to get a starting point for the discussion and I’ll try to join in later today.

Free WiFi At Starbucks

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Starbucks announced that today that you can hang out, drink coffee, eat high calorie baked goods, and surf the web for "free" for two hours (assuming you are drinking coffee and eating high calorie baked goods.)  This is due to a very smart move on AT&T’s part where they have displaced T-Mobile as the WiFi provider at Starbucks stores. 

I’m really surprised that T-Mobile let this deal get away from them.  I happily pay $10 / month to T-Mobile for WiFi service – the two places I use it 99.4% of the time are Starbucks and the United Red Carpet Club.  If AT&T takes the Red Carpet Club deal, T-Mobile is going to lose that incremental $10 / month from me.  I realize that "free for two hours" at Starbucks might not have kept me paying this $10, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed (or done anything) for a while.

Mac World Was So Yesterday

One Comment

Oracle buys BEA Systems for $8.5 billion.

Sun Microsoft Systems buys MySQL for about $1.0 billion.

Gregory Reyes – Brocade’s ex-CEO – gets 21 months in jail for backdating stock options.

What was it that Apple announced again yesterday?

What Happens To CPM’s When The Economy Turns Down?

Comments (2)

Here’s the start of the conversation:

Nerd 1: “Man – those Facebook ads really suck.  They are completely irrelevant.  And – well – embarrassing (e.g. almost porn.)”  I can’t imagine that they ever get clicked on (except the porn.)”

Nerd 2: “Yeah, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s all CPM based so all that matters right now are page views.” 

Nerd 3: (also co-founder of a generation one search engine): “Yeah – that worked really well the last time around – until the economy went south.  Then – CPM rates became asymptotic with zero.”

It went on for a while (along with additional sushi and saki consumption.)  It was interesting.  And important.  And chilling for anyone relying on CPM-based ads only.  Maybe it’ll be different this time.  But that’s what “they” said the last time.  Don’t forget to be sitting in a chair when the music stops playing.

Smart and Interesting People in Reston

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I’m in Reston, Virginia today at the The New New Internet Conference.  Brian Williams – the CEO of Viget Labs – invited me to speak on a panel after spending some time this summer in Boulder with the TechStars gang. 

A lot of my friends that live in Silicon Valley rarely stray out of Silicon Valley.  “Center of the startup universe” is no longer a cliche – rather, it’s like a scab that has been picked so many times it no longer will heal.  Silicon Valley is a critically important place in the world for creating companies, but it’s not the only place smart people that are doing interesting and important things hang out.

Last night at the pre-conference dinner I found a bunch of this type of person including dudes like Ryan CarsonFrank GruberTim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Rohit BhargavaOm Malik hung out, teased me about my clothing, and had a conversation with James Surowiecki that I snooped on. 

While Silicon Valley is on a fault line (literally and metaphorically), it’s important not to forget all the other interesting stuff going on “not in Silicon Valley.” 

For example, at this conference there is a “Government Track” with topics such as “Web 2.0 at the State Level”, “Current Web 2.0 Initiatives within Government Agencies”, “Virtual Government: Real Life Uses for Second Life”, “Intellipedia”, and “Let my data go! Making the case for transparent Government.” 

Now – before you go “yawn” or “Government 2.0” – remember my premise that the next 36 months will see massive crossover adoption into the enterprise (and government) of the consumer Internet innovations we’ve seen in the past 24 months.  Assuming that is correct, the dollars that will be spent are going to be massive and much of it will happen in Fortune 5000 headquarters and large government agencies that aren’t based in Silicon Valley.

A wise man once told me “go visit your customers.”  Today, he might say something like “son – buy a plane ticket and fly somewhere other than the center of the startup universe just to see what is going on and how people are thinking about this stuff.”

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