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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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Cycles

Comments (8)

Now that I’m 42 years old, I’ve been around the computer industry long enough to understand that it runs in cycles.  I don’t know how long the cycles are going to be, when they are going to reach a peak or a trough, but I do know that things will get better, will get worse, will get better, will get worse, will get better, …

When I reflect on it, the long term trend over the last 42 years has been amazing.  There are lots of formal and informal studies and articles on this that all link to Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction and Clay Christensen’s ideas around disruptive innovation.  As the cycles play out, great new companies get created around new innovation, some reach escape velocity, some get absorbed into other large incumbent companies, and some disappear. 

Today’s New York Times has two short articles – one in Bits and the other in DealBook – that reminded me of this.

Our good friend Microsoft makes a key appearance in both articles.  Pondering the rise, fall, rise, fall, … of each of these companies over a 50 year period – both at a macro company level and within specific product groups – is a fun mental exercise (at least for me.)

When I reflect on the various companies we’ve funded over the past year I get really excited about the stage of the cycle we are in with the new Foundry Group portfolio.  Independent of who wins the upcoming election, I think the vector of innovation around software and Internet will be steep and many of the things we’ve been talking about for the past 20 years as science fiction are going to start to instantiate themselves as real products and services.  The relationship between humans and computers is once again changing rapidly and the number of different amazing things that I can envision happening in the next two decades is extensive.

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.

  • JohnB

    Microsoft's new Seinfeld Vista ad marks a new low in the cycle. “Pathetic” is too mild a word for the ad, what motivated it, and the company behind it all.

  • Ed_Daniels

    I agree that it is an exciting time in the business and technology cycles. We are seeing fascinating riffs on the social networking theme, but I am looking forward to some striking advances in voice I/O and general (machine) intelligence – perhaps initially from the gaming sector.

  • LEON RICHARDS

    My name is Mr Leon Richards, I am currently seeking private funding for a new company I'm setting up based in the online sector.

    Due to the unique concept of the website I can not disclose too much information about the project or send my business plan without a signed confidentiality agreement. Please can you let me know your company guidelines/procedures for this matter and if there are no restriction concerning this, also please can you provide me with the right representative for your company who can sign the agreement to move this situation forward.

    However, there are a few things I'm willing to disclose about the project. Firstly the company is seeking

  • Lisa

    On that same topic, read the pieces in The NY Times magazine on Digital Intimacy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Ed_Daniels Ed_Daniels

    I agree that it is an exciting time in the business and technology cycles. We are seeing fascinating riffs on the social networking theme, but I am looking forward to some striking advances in voice I/O and general (machine) intelligence – perhaps initially from the gaming sector.

  • JohnB

    Microsoft's new Seinfeld Vista ad marks a new low in the cycle. "Pathetic" is too mild a word for the ad, what motivated it, and the company behind it all.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aziz_griese5636 aziz_griese5636

    Perhaps you've heard of Smith & Tinker, Brad's latest game tech investment?

    They're going to turn your cell phone into a light saber. At least that's what I can interpret from their general description, below, and what Brad told me. I want a gree light saber!

    "reinventing play for the connected generation"

    http://www.foundrygroup.com/blog/archives/2008/06
    http://www.foundrygroup.com/blog/archives/2008/03

  • LEON RICHARDS

    My name is Mr Leon Richards, I am currently seeking private funding for a new company I'm setting up based in the online sector.

    Due to the unique concept of the website I can not disclose too much information about the project or send my business plan without a signed confidentiality agreement. Please can you let me know your company guidelines/procedures for this matter and if there are no restriction concerning this, also please can you provide me with the right representative for your company who can sign the agreement to move this situation forward.

    However, there are a few things I'm willing to disclose about the project. Firstly the company is seeking £100’000 start up investment for a very unique .COM idea. £25-30’000 will be spent on the initial design development of the website. Due to the innovative complex nature of the website it will have to be developed by a experienced team of webmasters hence the high quote. £50’000 will be spent on marketing and advertising, £10’000 for working capital and £10’000 for contingency. We aim to market the business throughout the UK, Europe, United States and Japan with an intense ecommerce marketing scheme and ad campaign
    The first year sales forecast for 2009 are £106’000 gross profit strictly on sales figures alone. These figures continue to climb reaching £600,000 in its third year. This forecast does not include advertising fees and web-link rates which will be a substantial income for the company. Secondly, the business plan and figures have been drawn up by a Chartered Accountant/Business Plan Consultant with many years experience. There are no direct competitors supplying this service at the moment so this company will be the market leader in this field with the potential to generate millions within 3-5 years. The system will be self automated which means very low running and maintenance costs.
    Last but not least depending the source of finance the company will aim to be setup or moved to a tax haven country preferably Gibraltar which means no taxes. Taking all these points into consideration an £100’000 investment at 20% would give a return of £196’200 within 2-3 years.

    If this sounds like a business opportunity which might interest you could you please contact me at lr3000@hotmail.co.uk or call me on 07533061665 so we can setup a meeting.

    Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,
    Mr L Richards

  • Lisa

    On that same topic, read the pieces in The NY Times magazine on Digital Intimacy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/RohitK RohitK

    I agree with u that evry thing has cycle..companies also have..This recession time also..in this time some companies stock had fell..but now they are growing agin as they have to complete the cycle…

  • http://toostep.com/ RohitK

    I agree with u that every thing has cycle..companies also have..This recession time also..in this time some companies stock had fell..but now they are growing agin as they have to complete the cycle

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/RohitK RohitK

    I agree with u that every thing has cycle..companies also have..This recession time also..in this time some companies stock had fell..but now they are growing agin as they have to complete the cycle

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