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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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The Annual Dinner

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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.

VC Posts That Say What The VC Thinks About How It All Works

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Some of my favorite VC posts are ones that say what the VC posts that say what the VC thinks about how it all works. And – importantly – how it impacts the entrepreneur, his choices, and the dynamics between the entrepreneur and the VC.

Fred Wilson does this regularly. For example, see his post today on Valuation vs. Ownership.

My partner Jason Mendelson does the same. See his recent post The “VC Bargain”. Of course, Jason and I aspired to do the ultimate version of this in our book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.

You don’t have to agree with them. That’s what the comments are for. But they each say what is on their mind, why, how they think about it, and what the implications are for them.

If you want another example, take a look at my partner Seth’s post from last year titled I’m getting sick of the bullshit. And then reflect on the post from the anonymous entrepreneur that I highlighted yesterday titled My Startup has 30 Days to Live.

This shit is really hard and really complicated. It’s easy to have a surface view of it, to romanticize it, or to fall in love with the idea of it. Don’t. Do it because you love it. And find partners who want to go on the journey with you.

I’m going to hang out in the comments on Fred’s Valuation vs. Ownership post and Jason’s The “VC Bargain” post today. Come join me and tell me, Fred, and Jason what you think.

Build something great with me