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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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Happy 74th Birthday Dad

Comments (12)

My dad is one of my best friends. His birthday is on Saint Patrick’s Day and it has been a bright green celebration for as long as I can remember. He turned 74 today and we had dinner tonight at Oak at Fourteenth with Amy, my mom Cecelia, my sister-in-law Laura, my brother Daniel, and their daughter Sabrina. We had a wonderful evening and it reminded me once again of the importance and delight of family.

I’ve learned many things from my dad during the 46 years I’ve been on this planet. Following are a few pivotal ones that have shaped my life.

Age 10: I told my dad I didn’t want to be a doctor like him. I didn’t like how hospitals smelled, I was bored when we did rounds together (I just wanted to sit in the corner and read), and I didn’t like being around sick people. He told me that I could do anything I wanted to do.

Age 12: I hated learning Hebrew and thought being Bar Mitzvah’ed was stupid. My dad didn’t fight me on how I felt, but he told me tradition was important and this was a seminal jewish tradition. I procrastinated as long as I could and then crammed over the last few weeks. He sat with me, coached me through it, and was patient with me when I continued to fight the process. My Bar Mitzvah was a powerful learning experience, and, while I eventually became an atheist, am glad that I participated in the key jewish tradition.

Age 17: After two months at MIT, I was ready to quit. All of my friends had gone to UT Austin, including my girlfriend, and I was homesick and lonely. As we wandered around Concord, MA on a beautiful October day, he told me to give it a year and if I still didn’t like it, I could go somewhere else. But he told me I’d be short changing myself if I didn’t give it a year. By spring time I had fully embraced MIT and never looked back.

Age 21: Dave Jilk (another Saint Patrick’s baby) and I started Feld Technologies. My dad was our third partner, sat on our board, and contributed continuously as a mentor to us as we figured out how to create and build a company. He personally guaranteed a $20,000 line of credit with his bank which was our beginning working capital (which we stupidly used up immediately, although that made us realize we had to be profitable and cash flow positive from the beginning because there was no more money to tap.) Almost every year Dave, my dad, and I would go away somewhere for an annual meeting. I remember these weekends fondly as they shaped the path of our business. My favorite line from this period that I remember from him was “if you aren’t on the edge you are taking up too much space.”

Age 24: My father resisted the easy temptation to say “I told you so” when I got divorced. When I dropped out of a PhD program, he told me he supported any decision I made. When I was feeling sorry for myself, he’d remind me cheerfully that “everyone pees in the shower.” His unambiguous support of me, at a period of darkness in my life, was priceless.

Age 29: When Amy and I decided to move to Boulder, the first words out of my dad’s mouth were “that’s a great idea.”

There are many more like this, but this should give you the sense for it. In addition to being one of my best friends, he’s been an incredible mentor, business partner, and supporter. I love his sense of humor, his joie de vivre, and his endless curiosity. He always lights up any room he’s in, is always learning, and keeps on trying new things.

Dad – happy birthday. You are awesome. Green suits you.

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    One

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sin-Jin-Lee/2051481 Sin Jin Lee

    Great post Brad.  That is nice to hear that you have such a rich and fulfilling relationship with your father.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sin-Jin-Lee/2051481 Sin Jin Lee

    Great post Brad.  That is nice to hear that you have such a rich and fulfilling relationship with your father.  

  • Vivek Chandrasekhar

    Oh well well great post Brad. I’m sure he must be damn proud of you just as you are about him. Interesting to see another engineer son and a doctor dad. Another one would be me :)

  • jerrycolonna

    Happy belated-Birthday Dad…give him my love.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    Count yourself lucky Brad to have parents around to see the success you’ve made for yourself.  I’ve fought a lot of the plans my dad had for me, but unfortunately he is not around to see my success and see that I made the right choices.  Still, the better you understand someone, like a parent, you can find the wisdom in their decisions, even if they aren’t right for you.

  • Joylie06

    Very nice post. I think it is great that you have such a close, happy relationship with your father, and the rest of your family. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=623830868 Blaine Light

    Hi Brad, 

    Thanks for sharing that heartwarming post. It really hit home, because I also have a great relationship with my dad, and he is also pushing me to be great as I am about to graduate college.  Thanks for the reminder of what’s really important in life.

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    Hey  hi….Belated Happy birthday…hope you enjoyed a lot. Thank you for sharing.

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