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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Taking A Month Off From Air Travel

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I am so totally, utterly, and completely sick of air travel.  If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve had to put up with me whining for the past week on my Denver to Seattle to Los Angeles to San Francisco to Denver travel fiasco (hint: not a single plane was on time.)  I hurt my back playing tennis ten days ago so the extra stimuli of lower back pain made the experience extra-special enjoyable.

I fly a lot – mostly on United (for the compulsively curious, take a look at my Daytum page which lists all my travel from the beginning on 2009.)  I usually refer to it as Untied.  I’ve decided to start referring to it as United-Sucks.

As I sit in the San Francisco Red Carpet Club waiting for yet another three hour delayed flight (sorry – the airplane broke – but guess what – we found another one – just wait a while), I decided I’m not going to travel by air at all in August.   I’m just worn out, cranky, and not doing anyone (especially my twitter followers) any favors by adding insult to injury.

Let’s see if a month of no air travel fixes my very bad attitude.

The Illusion of Progress

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I’ve had a busy July – lots activity in my portfolio, travel, and interesting stuff to deal with.  Most of the companies in my portfolio had solid Q2’s (recession?  what recession?), I’ve watched the TechStars teams in both Boulder and Boston grow up quickly, and the tech M&A market has woken up nicely.

At the same time, I watch the mainstream press report on the same old nonsense, our government struggle with “big issues” that seem to polarize everyone, and I listen to chatter in trains, planes, and automobiles about all the problems that exist.

This weekend I went on my annual “Feld Men’s Trip”.  This year we went to Chicago, ate at Mortons and Follia, went to a Cubs game, and had chocolate ice cream (twice) at Ghirardelli’s.


I was exhausted from the week so I slept a lot.  But, I did notice an amazing amount of activity in downtown Chicago and on Michigan Avenue on Friday and Saturday night.  Chicago was buzzing, everyone was enjoying the warm weather, and the mood was very positive. 

There’s dissonance between the broad sentiment echoed by the mainstream media that seems to hang over everything and the energy and attitude “on the street.” I can’t decide if it’s me and my innate optimism, if there’s an illusion of progress, or if there’s a massive disconnect between reality and what mainstream media reports.

I’m going to be in Seattle, LA, and San Francisco this week; my antenna is going to be tuned to the tone of the cities.

My Airplane Super Power

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I’m a big believer in super powers.  Each human has at least one super power even if they haven’t discovered it yet.

I fly on planes a lot.  While I’m looking forward to my own personal teleportation machine and that damn jetpack that I was promised in my childhood, I survive all the travel I do because of my airplane super power.  I can go to sleep immediately upon sitting down in my seat and sleep until the plane begins its final descent, regardless of the length of the flight.

While not quite as good as a teleportation machine, it’s pretty close.  I’m chronically sleep deprived because of my work and my running, so I get lots of catch up sleep on airplanes.  I also don’t notice the time passing between “start” and “end” of a flight – I just go to sleep in Boston and wake up in Denver.  Or go to sleep in Denver and wake up in Seattle.  Or go to sleep in Seattle and wake up in San Francisco.  Kind of like a teleportation machine.  But without the nasty side effect of potentially leaving body parts in Boston.

As a result of this super power, I can fly on any plane in any seat.  I usually spoil myself with first class (via an upgrade) if the flight is longer than three hours but for anything less I don’t really care one way or the other.  And I have no need for private planes since I simply sleep through the experience.

I’ve got a bunch of other super powers, but this is one of my favorites.  What’s your super power?

Where I Sleep

Comments (17)

I love living in Boulder.  But, I travel a lot.  And I like that also, especially when Amy comes with me.  I’m in Boston today for TechStars for a Day and then doing a bunch of stuff at MIT tomorrow.  Amy came with me and is doing her own thing at Wellesley.

I often get asked how much time I spend on the road versus at home.  I decided to track it – along with several other things (miles run, books read, and airplane flights) for 2009.  Following is where I have slept so far this year as of 3/10/09.


Boulder is obviously the big winner so far, but expect a lot more nights in Seattle, San Fran, LA, and Boston.  And probably a few in Chicago and New York.  I’m using Daytum to track this – it’s intensely cool.  I just wish it knew how to import data.

Going On A Trip

Comments (15)

No – not that kind of trip, although it might have made watching the debates last night more entertaining.  I’m hitting the road for 10 days to travel our great country, check out main street, see some American heroes, and subject myself to more airplane travel fun.  I wonder if I’ll stay in any of the same hotels as the presidential candidates.

I start this trip in New York, where I’ll be exploring the now famous Wall Street greed and corruption people.  I then travel to Bar Harbor Maine to run a marathon (sponsor me and support Accelerated Cure).  As part of this quest, I’m going to search for main street; it seems like I should be able to find it in Maine.  Then I’m off to Boston to return to my post high school roots, have a nerd party with some wikipedia worthy entrepreneurial friends, and explore the outer reaches of 495.   A quick trip by train back to New York and then off to Virginia and Maryland to make sure the leaves are turning the appropriate colors there before they completely fall off the trees.

I’m a PC and I love this country.

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