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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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What’s Your Best Worst?

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I just got back from a much needed vacation – the sort of vacation you kind of think you need and then on day three of 14 hours a night of sleep you realize you really needed it really badly. We got home yesterday after a solid week off the grid and I was having trouble sleeping so I got up early to spend some quality time with my computer.

In the middle of a bunch of email I came across a gem from Elke Govertsen, the CEO of Mamalode. I met Elke in 2012 the weekend I was in Missoula to run the Missoula Marathon. She, along with some of her colleagues, were awesome hosts and while our relationship has been email only since then, I always smile when I get something from her.

The gem of an email was a link to a TEDxWhitefish talk that Elke just gave. Her note said is was on “self esteem, perspective and some of my struggles and solutions.” I fired it up and sat back to watch.

Fifteen minutes later I felt I needed to share it with you. Elke starts off strong and asserts that 85% of the world at any given moment is struggling with low self-esteem. Whether you agree with the 85% number of not, she analyzes self-esteem in a unique way. And then goes on to tell an extremely poignant story. Her story which includes a really shitty 2013, during which she completely wore herself out and then almost destroyed herself. During this time, she had to slow down, lie really still, and think a lot.

She came up with tiny little trick. Rather than try to “fix” your worst, she started to think about worst and best as a circle of goodness. Your best is your worst, and your worst is also your best. Instead of focusing only on your best, or trying to project a world to others that is your best, be authentic and actually explore both your best and your worst.

A line at 10:45 that I loved was “At a dinner party, instead of asking ‘what do you do’ ask what’s your best quality and how at some point has that been your worst?”

Elke continues to make the circle between best and worst, rather than have them on a line from best to worst. She has some powerful moments near then end, where she suggests we all “forgive and believe” and “live in the inverses where your best is your worst and your worst is your best.”

Enjoy 15 minutes of Sunday inspiration which will make you think a little differently today. Elke – thanks for sharing this with us.

AC/VC, Mamalode, and The Missoula Startup Community

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On Friday 7/6 I spent the evening in Missoula with a bunch of entrepreneurs. Amy and I were in Missoula for the marathon on Sunday and I decided to do a Meetup talk about Startup Communities. Normally we are pretty anonymous when we show up in a town for a marathon weekend, but I thought I’d try something new this time. Rob Irizarry and the Montana Programmers Meetup made everything happen – all I had to do was show up and talk.

The Meetup was excellent and there’s a great write up on the Start Bozeman blog titled Brad Feld on Building Startup CommunitiesBut before the event, I had dinner with Rob, Ryan Stout, Jake Cook, and Elke Govertsen, the CEO of Mamalode at the Iza Asian Restaurant.

I was totally, completely blown away by Elke and what she and her gang have created at Mamalode. It’s a great example of bootstrapping a startup in a town off the beaten path, just going for it, and building a real company. Elke and Rob are exactly the kind of people I mean when I talk about the need for entrepreneurs to be the leaders of the startup communities.

Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer recently dubbed Mamalode The Best Parenting Magazine in America. I’ll add another accolade – best talent for a bunch of entrepreneurs making a video response to Foundry Group’s I’m A VC. In this case, it’s the Mamalode gang doing AC/VC. The picture above is me watching it for the first time over dinner.

Our entire weekend in Missoula was great and when I think back to it, the evening on Friday has inspired me to do Startup Community stuff on the Friday’s prior to marathons going forward. I’ve got three coming up in October – St. George (UT), Burlington (VT), and Detroit. If you are an entrepreneur in any of those cities and want to put something together with me, just drop me an email. And Elke, Rob, and the rest of the Missoula entrepreneurs that I met – thanks!

Missoula Marathon

Comments (26)

Marathon #22 is in the books. I ran the Missoula Marathon today in 4:48:00. It’s my first marathon since the American River 50 Mile Race and it put the demons from the 50 miler firmly in my rear view mirror.

I was a little nervous going into this one as my longest run since the 50 miler was only 12 miles (last weekend). I’ve been running consistently up in Keystone the last month, but shorter distances because of the altitude (9000 feet), the hills (lots of them), and the trails (most of my runs). Last week was my first week over six hours of running and I got to around 32 miles, but I felt very light on the distance going into this marathon.

I knew I had a huge base from my training for the 50 miler but I hadn’t really started enjoying running again until the beginning of June. So I started off slow using an 8:2 pattern (8 minutes running, 2 minutes walking). It took a few miles for me to settle down but my goal was to do the first half in 2:30 and then see what I had in me.

 

I went through the first half in 2:31:38 right on target. I felt really strong and decided to just keep cruising to mile 18 and then open it up and see what I had left. Mile 17 was 11:34 and then the following miles were 10:19, 10:06, 9:57, 9:58, 10:11, 10:21, 10:02, 10:08, 9:14 with a 7:54 for the last 0.2. Eight of the last nine miles used an 8:2 pattern (I ran the last 1.2 without a walk break) so the times are even more powerful since my running pace during these segments was often sub 9 minute miles, which is very fast for me.

Basically, I scorched the second half. 2:16:22. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a big negative split (2:31, 2:16). While I was glad to be done, I had plenty in the tank when I crossed the finish and could have easily kept going for a while.

Missoula has been really fun. I can’t remember if I’ve been here before (I’ve been to Bozeman plenty) but it’s a neat town, the people are super friendly and smart, and there’s a budding startup community which I’m going to blog about tomorrow.

For everyone who has welcomed me here the past few days, thank you! For those of you who supported my random act of kindness for Justin Salcedo, we ended up raising $11,487 for him. Wow. Huge thanks and hugs to everyone.

And Amy, once again, you are an amazing sherpa. I couldn’t do this without you.

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