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Amy and I collect contemporary art. If you’ve been in my office, or my house, or many of the companies in Boulder we’ve invested in, you’ve probably seen some of it. We ran out of wall space long ago and now have a bunch of it in storage. So we started collecting sculpture a few years ago.
Sculpture is a lot harder for us – we know what we love when we see 2d art so it’s a quick decision. But we have different tastes in sculpture and struggle with “do we like it” or “do we love it.” We subscribe to the “buy it if you love it and want to live with it” approach and don’t really care what the future value potential is. Some of our art has gone up a lot in value, so I suppose we are probably considered good value collectors, especially since we often buy early in an artist’s career and then keep buying deep when we find artists we love. But that’s not why we do it.
One of our favorite places to hang around in New York is the Chelsea gallery district. Many of the galleries are priced out of our zone, but we’ve made friends at a few like Danese and have bought regularly from them. Others, like Bertrand Delacroix, are regular stops for us when we are into.
Yesterday we wandered into Bertrand Delacroix. I immediately fell in love with two pieces by Beth Carter – the red Horsechild above and the Minotaur below. We now own both of them – the Horsechild will keep me company in my office and the Minotaur will guard my office door.
I am so psyched about the launch of Sphero. I’ve got mine (one of the first 10 made) and the line is gearing up to start shipping them out soon. Today I saw some of the new things getting cooked up to add on to the product and they are super amazing fun.
Today is Finance Friday and post #2 has been drafted by the Finance Friday team from University of Chicago Booth and is waiting for my edits. I’m procrastinating so I thought I’d write one of my periodic public service announcement for entrepreneurs. This one is more specific than “ignore the macro economy” – instead, it’s “ignore the Dow and the stock market and get back to work on your business.”
Tom Evslin had a post up this morning titled Don’t Watch The Dow! that caused me to say “right on.” In 1999, 2000, and 2001 I had a my.yahoo.com page up with a bunch of stocks, including a number of companies I was an investor in, as my home page. I’d hit refresh 5,321 times a day, generating plenty of CPM-based revenue for Yahoo. I’ve written about the emotional ups and downs in the past so I won’t repeat myself here other than to say this activity had zero impact on the stock market (I couldn’t do anything about it), it didn’t change my short term decision making (I’m not a trader), and all it resulted in was sucking a huge amount of emotional energy out of me.
When the market went down, I felt sad. When it went up I got the emotional equivalent of a sugar high. When it went back down again, I was bummed. Up – smile. Down – depressed. Up – happy. Down – cranky. And this was all before lunch time. Maybe it was too much coffee or not enough sleep, but it got even worse when the market shifted from 1/8s too 0.01s.
As an entrepreneur, this was all noise. As a long term VC investor, it was also all noise. Sure – the broad cycles had impact, although lots of people disagree on what they actually mean (e.g. do VCs actually benefit long term from down cycles, are the best companies started in recessions when everything is cheaper and more available).
Over time, I’ve learned that none of the short term moves in the stock market matter at all in my life. It’s occasionally entertaining to turn on CNBC and see my friend Paul Kedrosky in the octobox telling all the other people that they don’t actually understand macro-economics, but it’s no different than watching McEnroe when he’s announcing a Nadal – Federer match. It’s just sport.
So – for all the entrepreneurs in my world, take Tom’s great advice. Don’t Watch The Dow! And if you think Scott Kirsner is being sarcastic in his post titled How the players in the innovation economy rationalize away stock market dives, take a deep breath and consider whether the use of the word rationalize is correct or not.
Now, get back to work on something you can have an impact on!
Today on Brad Feld’s Amazing Deals I’m bringing you another offer from the online academy Udemy.com. A few months ago, Udemy was responsible for one of my most popular deals to date, a suite of deals relating to startups. Today they are offering your choice of two courses for $75 (normally $250). Pick either Learn to Develop an iPhone or iPad application in 4 weeks or Learn Python the Hard Way. Both courses include multiple videos, lectures, and code examples.
If you were one of the 100+ people that bought the last Udemy deal, I’d love to hear your feedback on the course.
Last summer, my long time friend Martin Babinec and his colleague Nasir Ali asked me if I’d come spend a few days in Upstate New York talking about TechStars and entrepreneurial communities. I first met Martin around 1990 at one of the very first Birthing of Giants events and we were both early YEO members together. At the time, Martin had recently started a company called Trinet which today is a large and successful PEO. We’ve been friends for 20 years so it was easy for me to say yes to spend two days with Martin in Upstate New York and help him further his mission of expanding the entrepreneurial communities throughout the region.
Martin’s organization, Upstate Venture Connect, is hosting me on February 2nd and 3rd in Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. The full agenda is on the website and the public events include:
2/2/11: 4:30p – 5:30p: Sage Hall Room B9, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2/2/11: 6:00p – 8:30p: UVANY Capital Forum, Ithaca Country Club, 189 Pleasant Grove Road, Ithaca
2/3/11: 11:30a – 1:30p: Somewhere in Rochester (TBD, hopefully by 2/3/11!)
2/3/11: 3:00p – 4:30p: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester
If you are interested in getting together, go check out the agenda which lists who to contact and how to register for the various events. If you bring a copy of Do More Faster, I’ll happily sign it. And yes, I realize that it is very cold in Upstate New York in February. Hopefully we’ll generate some entrepreneurial heat together.