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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More Questions from the Rally Cafe Interview

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Last week I did an interview on Rally Cafe with Chris Spagnuolo.  Some of the questions came from real time tweets to the show but we didn’t get to a handful.  Chris just emailed them to me – I figured I’d do a quick job of picking them off for those that asked or were following the show.

@jordanmuela What does Brad view as common themes in the investments (companies) that have failed? My failures have several common characteristics (note that these are applicable only to me – plenty of other entrepreneurs and investors have made plenty of money in these areas.)  I’ve consistently failed when I’ve invested in companies (a) in markets / segments that I know nothing about, (b) founded / run by people that I don’t like / enjoy spending time with, (c) that are “rollups” – where the company is trying to consolidate an industry focused on “rolling up” a bunch of small companies into one larger business, (d) based in Europe.  What “didn’t work” is one of the things that informs our thematic approach at Foundry Group.

@ksowocki What are Brad’s thoughts on the Lean Startup methodology coming from @ericries / IMVU ?  I saw Eric Ries present his Lean Startup ideas a month or so ago and really enjoyed it.  I’ve been a big fan of his blog and think he’s gone some great ideas.  I particularly like the notion of continuous deployment.  If you are interested, Eric is coming to Boulder on 8/19 and 8/20.

@ktinboulder Interested in hearing a bit more about the "Protocol" theme. I wrote a post about Protocol recently on the Foundry Group blog titled Theme: ProtocolOur current investments in this theme include Gist and Lijit.

@theagent How would "GLUE" companies become monetizable and how far is the horizon line for that activity. ie. GNIP.  I’ll give two examples from our portfolio: AdMeld and Gnip – as both are generating revenue today.  AdMeld runs an “Ad Network Optimization” platform for premium publishers (they “glue together” ad networks.)  They take a percentage of the revenue they increase above a baseline amount determined with the publisher.  They now have 140 million Quantcast-verified unique users, so you can imagine the revenue they are generating.  Gnip provides a data transport service for the real-time web (they “glue together” data between systems publishing data and systems consuming data.)  They charge a monthly fee for use of their service – think of them as “middleware software – delivered via a SaaS model – for the real-time web”.

@chadalbrecht What does Brad think are some of the most important leadership characteristics in an entrepreneur?  I only have generic answers for this one as I’ve seen and worked with so many different types of successful entrepreneurs.  Leadership – especially in an entrepreneurial context – is a complicated thing.

@GEOpdx Does Brad generally find himself dispensing advice on what he would need to see for him to be interested in a project? Sometimes, although most of the time I’m pretty binary.  Within our firm, we filter very heavily on our themes.  If something doesn’t fit in our themes, I try to say No in less than 60 seconds.  If it’s within our themes, I then spend a lot of time trying to decide if I want to be partners with the entrepreneurs.

@brijacob How important is pre-money evaluation?  I’ve never thought that pre-money valuation is that important in an early stage company.  I’m playing for huge outcomes so I don’t over-optimize on the margins.  Rather, I focus on a “fair deal” at the early stages for everyone involved.

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What A House Hit By Lightning Looks Like

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The parents of a close friend just had a direct lightning strike on their house.  It immediately burned to the ground and everything was lost.

lightningstrike

The simple advice from my friend if this ever happens to you is "get out fast and not go back for anything that is not a human being."  She also suggested that you check your home insurance to make sure you are covered for this.

Poetry in Motion

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I used to be good at tennis.  Really good.  When I was 11.  I treasured my Jack Kramer Autograph (until I got a Futabaya), never really wanted a T-2000 even though I loved Connors, and thought Ille Nastase was fabulous.  I grew up in the golden age of Connors, Borg, and McEnroe (and Guillermo Vilas, and Vitas Gerulaitis, and Eddie Dibbs, and the ever present Ion Tiriac.)  I could beat most 12 year old boys and almost all the 13 year old girls except for Heather Harrison who regularly kicked my ass.  I thought Prince oversized racquets were for old ladies.

I watched Federer bury Roddick last night 7–6, 7–6, 6–2.  My mouth was hanging open for much of the second half of the match.  Roddick hung in there for a while (there we no breaks in the first two sets although Federer manhandled Roddick in both tiebreakers.)  However, once Federer broke Roddick in the third set it was quickly over.

Federer makes the phrase “poetry in motion” come to life.  Charlie Rose has a long (about an hour) interview with Courier, Federer, McEnroe, Collins, Laver, and Nadal discussing the man who will likely become known as the best player ever in the game of tennis.  If you are a tennis fan, fire it up in your browser and listen while you catch up on your email this morning.

 

Selling Stamps Online

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I’ve got a large stamp collection that I’m considering selling.  The obvious – but relatively labor intensive – way to do this is on eBay.  I poked around looking for some other options, but didn’t come up with anything particularly credible.  Any stamp collectors out there willing to give me a clue?

Running In Munich

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I had a superb run this morning through the English Garden in Munich.  This is only the second time I’ve ever been in Munich – the first time was with my friend Bruce over 20 years ago.  While it was cloudy, it was a lovely morning, the park was fresh, green, and hidden from the city, and there were some wackadoodle surfers practicing in the small river under a bridge with a water pipe.  I discovered the incredible value of the map function of my new Garmin Forerunner 305 – without it I would have been lost in the park and would have never been able to find my way back, especially since none of the signs made any sense to me except the ones that said “GaragePark” which weren’t of much use and I forgot to leave myself a trail of bread crumbs.

BoingBoing has noticed that something weird is going on with the clock on 24.  Rick Stratton asked me – with regard to my post that the first 25,000 users are irrelevant, whether I was referring to “free, ad-based ‘consumer’ web services” or did I also lump paying enterprise web services users into the mix.  Nice catch Rick – I only meant the free consumer ones (e.g. my portfolio company Rally Software has less than 25,000 individual users, but ever one of them is very relevant, especially since we get paid for each one each month.)  Finally, Tali Aben saved me 58 minutes by blogging a great summary of a breakfast “fireside chat” with Bruce Chizen, the CEO of Adobe.

Time to go have breakfast.  If I remember correctly, I’ll be presented with a buffet full of meat and sausage choices, surrounded by cheeses.

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