Brad's Books and Organizations

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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 Matrix Wrecked Everything

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About an hour into Superman Returns, Amy leaned over to me and whispered “The Matrix wrecked everything.”  I yawned about 20 times during this two hours and thirty four minutes of this movie – it’s was as boring an “action/adventure” movie as I’ve seen in a while.  We are in movie hell this summer up in Homer – we walked out of Nacho Libre after 20 minutes and stumbled through the disappointing Click.  So far, only Cars has been satisfying.  When is The Matrix IV coming out?

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Thank You For Smoking

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I haven’t been out to see a movie in a while (I don’t know why – Amy and I love movies at the theater.)  Last night we saw Thank You For Smoking.  It was brilliant.

I thought the Christopher Buckley book Thank You for Smoking was an absolute riot when it came out.  The movie is based on the book and does a superb job of telling the same story while updating it a little.  Aaron Eckhart was phenomenal as the main character (a cigarette lobbyist) and William H. Macy continues to be the sleeper actor of the universe for his portrayal of the Vermont senator who wants to put poison labels on cigarettes.

The one liners were awesome.  Following are a few better ones to give you a taste.

  • Michael Jordan plays ball. Charlie Manson kills people. I talk.
  • My other interviews have pinned you as a mass murderer, blood sucker, pimp, profiteer and my personal favorite, yuppie mephistopheles.
  • My job requires a certain . . . moral flexibility.
  • You know the guy who can pick up any girl? I’m him on crack.
  • Don’t forget, I’m his father, you’re just the guy who fucks his mom.
  • We don’t sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they’re cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.

At 92 minutes in length, it also nicely broke the mold of movies that are 25 minutes too long.

March of the Penguins

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Amy’s making me watch March of the Penguins.  So far, it’s been about these totally bizarre looking birds that can’t fly and have chosen to live in the Antarctic.  It’s cold, windy, dark, cold, cold, dark, cold, and windy.  There’s lots of walking to the same place to get food – oh – it’s 70 miles away, they don’t have cars, and they don’t walk especially well.  There’s been a short romantic section that’s cute, followed by more cold, eventually some eggs, which occasionally break when they are transferred from mom to dad (since mom has to go get food again – yes – 70 miles away).  Eventually the eggs hatch and the babies are born, but the mom’s are away getting food (and some of them are getting eaten by seals.)  Did I say that it’s cold? The moms get back minutes before the babies starve, feed them, but then send the starving dads away to go get food (yup – 70 miles away.)  Oh – some of the babies freeze to death (it’s cold), the mom’s get devastated (especially since they have to tell the dad, assuming the dad survives the seals), and try to kidnap other babies (unsuccessfully.)  Seagulls make a special guest appearance and eat some of the babies.  Over the next few months, the moms and dads keep alternating going to the grocery store (70 miles away) to get food, although the grocery store (the ocean) gets closer as winter draws to a close and the ice melts.  Once summer arrives (in November!) and the babies turn into teenagers, the parents get divorced and the cycle begins again.

Morgan Freeman is magnificent as the narrator.  Lots of death.  Some happiness.  Beautiful photos.  And – according to Amy, “the babies are really cute.”

The War Room

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Think back to 1992.  “It’s the economy, stupid!”  Amy and I watched The War Room tonight, the brilliant documentary of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and the organization behind it, spearheaded by James Carville and George Stephanopoulos.  Carville’s quote was actually “the economy, stupid” and was part of a haiku that Carville came up with.

Change vs. more of the same
The economy, stupid
Don’t forget health care.

Carville is an absolute genius and unbelievably entertaining as a special bonus feature.  I’d team up with that dude any day just for the laughs.  Stephanopoulos reminded me of Sam Seaborn which – it turns out – was intentional.

Serenity: She’s Starting to Damage My Calm

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Amy and I saw Serenity yesterday, along with $10m worth of other people.  We loved it.  This morning, while I was running over the Brooklyn Bridge with Matt Blumberg, I asked him what he thought of it (he saw it yesterday also).  He was unambiguous – he didn’t like it.  I probed a little, found out he hadn’t seen the TV series (amazing show, but cancelled after a dozen episodes or so) and it was clear that he didn’t understand a lot of the movie.

It’s a fantastic movie.  However, I’m going to guess that you have to at least be familiar with the backstory to get it.  And – like other movies that evolved out of TV shows (e.g. The X-Files) I’ll bet that you have to love and have befriended the characters already to understand all the jokes, bantering, and double entredres.  If you haven’t seen the TV show, but want to see the movie, spend some time on the Firefly Wiki getting up to speed (c’mon – you’ve got to love a TV show that has its own wiki.)  Or – try the fan blog if you want to keep up real time with the chatter.  Or – go hardcore and watch the TV show Firefly on DVD in four days like Amy and I did.

Yes – Joss Whedon is a genius.  Jayne caused me to fall out of my chair when he said – referring to River – “she’s starting to damage my calm.”

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