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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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Be In Love With Your Business

Comments (23)

Amy and I spent the last week in Tuscany with some friends, including Howard Lindzon. Howard is the CEO of StockTwits, a company we’ve been an investor in for a few years. I was an investor in Howard’s previous company WallStrip, met Howard through an introduction from our mutual friend Fred Wilson (it’s a pretty funny story, as are many things with Howard), and have worked closely together on a bunch of things including TechStars where Howard has been a great mentor and investor since the beginning.

We had an incredibly wonderful week last week and Amy has a great post up on her blog titled Our Revels. If you know Howard, you know he’s an always on, mostly hilarious, sometimes crazy (like a fox), super high energy except when on ambien guy. After four days of Tuscany, Howard was completely chilled out and more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him.

But don’t let this totally chilled out Howard fool you. He was on his computer a lot. Whenever I looked over at him, he was on the Stocktwits web site communicating with the stock community he’s helped create and loves. As the market was gyrating around he tweeted up a storm, put up a bunch of content on StockTwits, did some trades in his hedge fund, and wrote a few insightful (and funny) blog posts about the market including his discovery that the Tuscany VIX is always less than 10.

Howard loves Stocktwits. He loves his business. He loves stocks. He loves the community of people that care about stocks. And he’s creating a company – a really interesting and important one – around his passion. It’s wonderful, infectious, fascinating, exciting, and awesome. And yes, today is adjective day.

While Foundry Group generally avoids investing in vertical markets, we make an exception for our Distribution theme. One of the key attributes of this theme is that the company must be led by an entrepreneur who is completely obsessed with a vertical market. They must be thinking – every single waking moment – about how they are going to change the way the world interacts with the vertical market they are attacking.

Howard defines this type of entrepreneur. It was incredibly inspiring to be around. We had a blast doing non-Stocktwits / non-stock stuff, but when he was working he knew exactly what he was going to work on.

We have either recently closed (but not announced) or are about to close several other investments with entrepreneurs who have similar characteristics. None of them are in our Distribution theme, which is pretty cool, as the entrepreneurs are completely obsessed with the problem their business is addressing.

When an entrepreneur is trying to decide between a couple of different ideas, I often ask the question “which one are you in love with?” If there’s a quick response, then the answer is easy. If the answer is none of them, that’s the answer to which one he should pursue.

Howard reminded me of this again last week. Thanks Howard.

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  • Tim Leon

    Very appropriate for me today. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/tptperry Tom Perry

    please have howard put the asshat video back up

    • http://www.howardlindzon.com howardlindzon

  • http://www.howardlindzon.com howardlindzon

    Thanks so much Brad.  I do love Stocktwits. 

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      And it loves you!

    • http://freepository.com John Minnihan

      While I don’t have the exact same lens as Brad, I’ll concur that you bring a passion + sense of humor to all that do, making the folks around you *want* to get more of The Howard Experience ™

  • http://twitter.com/cselland Chris Selland

    so much goodness here

  • http://www.victusspiritus.com/ Mark Essel

    This is the kind of Monday morning news I can appreciate after a couple of weeks off (and mostly offline). Sounds like you gents had a blast.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    I think I hear that “You can’t really win in a vertical unless you redefine it”. I agree with that.

    Nice post. Don’t know Howard and not in his biz but this brought me closer to and more tolerant of some of my own obsessions.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup! Well said.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.kadas Péter Kádas

    Very valuable article, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/AndySack Andy Sack

     couldnt agree with you more Brad, healthy reminder

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  • Anonymous

    Good post and awesome photos on Amy’s blog.

    One thought on this graf: When an entrepreneur is trying to decide between a couple of different ideas, I often ask the question “which one are you in love with?” If there’s a quick response, then the answer is easy. If the answer is none of them, that’s the answer to which one he should pursue.

    See, I’m not

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    nice post! thanks a lot!

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  • chandra bose

    Go ahead, your thoughts are perfect!!
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  • http://www.coloradohealthinsurancebroker.com/ Colorado Health Insurance

    Thanks for sharing this thought it is truly important to love what you do or invest time/resources in.

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