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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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Help – I’m in Email Group Hell

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Lately, I’ve been struggling to figure out the best way to have expanding email groups. I’ve tried all the obvious stuff and nothing is satisfying to me.

Historically, I’ve just used Google Groups. That’s great for things like the Foundry Group CEO list, where we control the list, but then we have to host it at a @foundrygroup.com domain.

For the Colorado CEO Jobs list, we were using Yahoo Groups for a while. Even with the new upgrade last year I find the UX to be terrible so I recently moved it over the Google+. Now I’m hearing complaints about not getting the emails which usually results from notifications being turned off, but you wouldn’t know that unless you were paying attention. And, if you don’t have a Google+ account, you can’t be on the list.

I tried Facebook Groups for another group – it had zero engagement.

What do you use? Any suggestions for me getting out of hell?

Games Where The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play

Comments (307)

By now the blogosphere, twitterverse, and even mainstream media is abuzz with the absurd decision that Yahoo has made to sue Facebook over ten software patents with the assertion that Facebook’s entire business is based on Yahoo’s patented inventions. My partner Jason Mendelson called this on 2/28 when he wrote his post Goodbye Yahoo! It was nice knowing you and Fred Wilson weighed in this morning with his post Yahoo! Crosses The Line.

My personal view is well known – I don’t think any of these patents are actually valid. Take a look at the analysis on PaidContent of The 10 Patents Yahoo Is Using To Sue Facebook, read the plain English descriptions, and then look at the filing dates. Now, try to make the argument that these are novel, useful, and non-obvious inventions of the part of Yahoo. For a less nuanced view, now read TechDirt’s post Delusions Of Grandeur: Yahoo Officially Sues Facebook, Laughably Argues That Facebook’s Entire Model Is Based On Yahoo.

I’m hopeful this is the beginning of the endgame of massive patent reform around software. It’s time for the entire industry to recognize that we are quickly shifting from a cold war (patents are deterrents) to a nuclear war that – like the one in War Games - the only winning move is not to play.

I’ve decided to let a week pass while I think about what the right response to this is. Software patents have the same polarizing dynamic that SOPA/PIPA had . Our government is, through laws and regulations – many of which make no sense, has created a construct with the legal industry that is untenable. Once again, we see an incumbent (Yahoo – and yes, I recognize the irony of calling Yahoo an incumbent) attacking an innovator (Facebook) with irrational weapons that have huge collateral damage, all in the name of “enhancing shareholder value.”

This is not a winnable game for Yahoo, the Internet, innovation, or society. Like nuclear war, the only winning move is not to play. However, Yahoo has now played. The next few moves are critically important.

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