Brad's Books and Organizations





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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Forward Looking Weekend Reading

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I view it as a good thing when people start writing about solutions rather than problems.  Here are several good ones for you today.

Remain Aggressive: Will Herman is a long time friend (we’ve known each other since 1984), a fantastic CEO, and a dynamite board member.  He’s also a huge Patriots fan so his Belichick quote: “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse” is expected.  He also reminds us of the old Warren Buffet standard: “Be fearful when others are greedy.  Be greedy when others are fearful.”  If you are a CEO, read carefully.

Focusing the Organization: I got to know Bill Flagg pretty well through the sale of RegOnline to Active.  I wish I’d gotten to know him earlier – he’s got a great brain for business.  He also makes a very strong case for “short, sweet, focused, and achievable” quarterly goals.

What is school for? I’m a daily reader of Seth Godin’s blog and a huge Seth fan, even since I met him at Yoyodyne in 1996.  #15 is especially charming (“defang the proletariat”) as is #27 (“make sure the sports teams have enough players”).  It’s vintage Seth in the path in which it takes your brain.

And – to end with some humor, here’s mega-endurance-man Dean Karnazes with When All Else Fails…

Some Weekend Reading in Between Sleeping

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Amy is in Mexico on vacation with her sisters and I’ve been spending most of the weekend in bed.  Sleeping.  I twisted my ankle running on Tuesday and had an intense week so I think I’ve come down with a strange sleeping sickness that I’ll call “the ankle twist.” 

I did manage to read through my RSS feeds this morning and found some good stuff for you.

Forecasting Sales in 2009: Will Herman is a semi-retired spectacular entrepreneur and CEO.  He’s also an old friend who has put up with me since 1984.  Whenever he writes something on sales (or selling) I read it carefully.  So should you.

Creating Silos: Eric Norlin is blogging up a storm around his ideas for the Glue Conference.  His latest post talks about the endless proliferation of application and data silos in the enterprise and on the web – and what can be done about it.  Glue is happening on May 12-13 in Denver, Colorado – get sticky and register now – it’s only $395 (use the code “early1” and get $50 off.)

Some Company Rules: Walter Knapp, the COO of Lijit, espouses some rules for managers and non-managers.  I particularly like #589: No one is ever too busy to return an email.

Don’t hide behind your board: David Cohen talks why a CEO should never start any sentence with “The board said …” or “The board decided …”

WordCamp Denver (Feb 28th, 2009): WordCamp in coming to Denver for the first time, on February 28th.  Matt Mullenweg will be keynoting.  Alex King, one of Colorado’s WordPress developers extraordinaire, will be presenting on the Carrington Theme Framework

What makes a great salesman? Pete Warden is most of his way on his migration from LA to Boulder.  While he’s quick to state that he “really suck(s) at selling”, I think he’s protesting a little too much.  He has a great expose on why Ron Popeil (the “I can sell you anything infomercial guy”) is so good at selling.

It Doesnt Take Much: Micah Baldwin explores whether or not the Boulder tech scene is like high school and – if it is – what you can do to break into the clique of your choice.  One option – just email me.  Remember Walter’s rule #589.

Now I’m heading back upstairs to try to finish reading Daemon before I fall asleep again.

Saturday Morning Reading

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It’s 2009, people are getting ready to get back in gear, and there’s a lot of good stuff floating around the blogosphere this morning.  Here’s some of it.

Economic Recovery Plan: Philip Greenspun has some prescriptive ideas about what the US needs to do to dig itself out of the ditch.  I agree with some of it and disagree with some of it, but it’s all stimulating.

Another Resume Tip: Whenever there is a downturn, the number of resumes that flow through my inbox increases dramatically.  Many of the companies we’ve invested in, including most of the Foundry Group investments, are growing so I’m happy to get these.  If you are a software developer, Joel Spolsky has a superb suggestion about how to shape your resume so I’ll pay attention.

Putting The Band Back Together: Fred Wilson has a nice post where he hypothesizes that when times are tougher, serial entrepreneurs tend to swarm together around the best opportunities.  The music metaphor of “putting the band back together” applies nicely.  Fred’s got some good hints about how to think about equity in these situations.  We are seeing this regularly also – one of our recent seed investments and another that we are closing early in January are cases of “getting the band back together.”

Google, why are you tracking links in my Gmail message? I’m not sure I care about this, but Dave Taylor does and I know that a bunch of other people, especially those of you that haven’t given up on your privacy, probably do.  It’s an interesting issue.

Why Government Investment in Broadband Is Justified Now: I hope one of the legacies of Obama is a real national broadband infrastructure in the US that is better than anywhere else in the world.  So does Tom Evslin; he has some good suggestions around it.

The $100 Fund: The crazy cats at VC Wear are giving away $100 in t-shirts for the stupid Twitter apps you can come up with.

My Holiday Project: A Twitter Search Engine Built on Windows Azure: Dare Obasanjo isn’t going to win a t-shirt from VC Wear for this one.  He explains his experience building a cloud based app for Twitter on Microsoft Windows Azure.

Burnout: Jon Fox of Automattic / Intense Debate realizes he was burned out and does something about it.  Are you burned out?  I hope you aren’t anymore and did something like what Jon did over the holiday break to recharge.

TechStars Meetups soon in NYC, Boston, Boulder, Paris, and more all the time: TechStars 2009 is starting to get rolling.  There are lots of pre-application meetups happening – follow the TechStars Meetups page if you are interested.

It’s too windy and cold to run outside today so I think I’ll go do my 1:45 run on the treadmill while watching The Matrix.  I always take the red pill.

Live as if you would die tomorrow, learn as if you would live forever

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Yup – that’s a Gandhi quote that came from Om Malik’s great post What I Learned This YearI encourage you to read it slowly and ponder it.  With it, I begin my suggested Daily Reading for you, as Om has kicked it off with a “what”.

Holiday’s and Communication: Jud Valeski, Gnip’s CTO, gives us a framework for “why” people twitter and blog.

What does the BoulderTwits graph mean: Pete Warden helps with a “who” as he does a neat visualization on Boulder Twitters based on data he’s putting together.  Boulder is aggressively pulling Pete toward it – I predict he’ll be here full time soon.

Making an IRS Section 83B election: If you are an entrepreneur, Dave Naffzinger explains the importance and process of filing an 83b election.  I was involved in an acquisition in 2008 where the founders did not file their 83b’s (even though the lawyers provided them to file – they just blew it off) and I expect they will never start anything else again, including a lemonade stand, without filing an 83b.

Florida, the Next Hotbed of Venture Capital: Ah those professional writers at the WSJ have such clever titles.  This is an article about the Florida Opportunity Fund, a $29.5m “fund of funds” that will invest in VC funds that commit to investing in Florado-based business.  I’ve learned a lot of this through my relationship with the Utah Fund of Funds (one of Foundry’s LPs) which has done the state-based fund of funds correctly (compared to a lot of other states which has done this incorrectly.)  I’ve been working, as part of my role as co-chairman on the Colorado Governor’s Innovation Council on putting together a plan for a Colorado Fund of Funds (similar to the Utah one).  It’ll be interesting to see if they get it right in Florida.

The Editor Dilemma: Fred Wilson has a good post up explaining two things.  First, he talks about why he doesn’t spend time working on spellin, grammer, and verbige on his blog.  He then goes on to describe a product (or maybe just a feature (limited wiki editing on blog posts) that he’d like to see.  In doing this, he explains (by demonstrating) how he uses his blog as flypaper to attract interesting entrepreneurs and discuss new ideas.  Gracefully done Fred.  I’ll take that feature to also.

Daily Reading As The Year Winds Down

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I’m always amused at how many “lists” appear at the end of the year.  I’m anti-list – I never read them and I no longer am willing to contribute to them.  So – for some non-list reading for today, I present to you the best of what I read this morning on the web.

Washington Is Killing Silicon Valley: Michael Malone nailed it in this article.  “If Mr. Obama is serious about getting the country out of this recession using something more than public make-work projects, he should restore the integrity of the new company creation cycle: rewrite full disclosure, throw out options expensing, make compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley rules voluntary, and if he won’t cut it, then at least leave the capital gains tax rate alone.”

Day 2 Giveaway 6 – iMenorah: It’s Hanukkah (how do you spell that again) and all good jews with iPhones need the iMenorah app.  Dad – I knew there was a reason you should have gotten an iPhone instead of a Blackberry.

Keystroker V2: Drive your co-workers insane in 2009 (if they aren’t already insane).  Thanks Ryan.

Introducing the BUGvonHippel! The gang at BugLabs has shipped the BugvonHippel module (named after MIT professor and my SM / Ph.D. advisor Eric von Hippel).  I first wrote about this in January 2008 – it’s awesome to see it released.

Bristol Palin’s boyfriend’s mom arrested in drug case: Even though this is completely and totally irrelevant, I couldn’t help myself.

Windows Live Writer 2009: Release Candidate: I love Windows Live Writer – I’ve been using it as my blog editor for a while.  The new RC is up on the web with fancy new UI and some fun features.

Will This Economy Finally Push the Toyota Way Into Software Development?  Good short thought piece about Agile software development highlighting Rally Software.  My friends at Rally have had an awesome year and I’m really proud of them.

More Companies Are Cutting Labor Costs Without Layoffs: Would you rather have layoffs or try some creative things like salary cuts, furloughs, four-day workweeks, elimination of 401k matches, and unpaid vacations?  While large companies are aggressively pursuing these options, it’s worth pondering for smaller companies that are flirting with trying to be cash flow positive.

See – no lists.  I didn’t even number these posts. 

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