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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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Cell Phone Suggestions For Europe Trip

Comments (38)

I’m spending some time in Europe (Paris and Tuscany) this summer and trying to figure out the best cell phone approach for me and Amy. We are both iPhone users – me on AT&T and her on Verizon. In both cases, the “use your US iPhone in Europe” seems like a total fail on pricing so we are looking for other options. I’m also a Google Voice user (that’s my main phone number) so I’ve got more flexibility than she does. In both cases, we care about voice, data, and SMS, but don’t have to have an iPhone (e.g. Apps are nice to have but not critical).

Basically, I’m looking for solutions for three different approaches:

1. US iPhone user who uses her cell phone number as her primary phone number.

2. US iPhone user who has Google voice as his primary phone number.

3. US iPhone users who doesn’t care about the primary phone number.

Suggestions?

I Love Google’s Style

Comments (22)

Today Google announced that they had now raised the limit on number of contacts to 25,000 (from 10,000) for all Gmail users (including Google Apps users.)  Boom – done – deployed for everyone – and announced in a short and to the point blog post.

70 days ago I wrote a post titled Dear Google, I Have More Than 10,000 Contacts where I bitched loudly about this problem. I have about 6400 actual contact records and the other 3600 had been autofilled by Google’s magic “create a new contact record whenever you respond to someone” feature. This is a great feature as I get 100+ emails a day from people I’ve never communicated with before who I respond to. Suddenly, I couldn’t add any new contacts at all.

Impressively, Google Entreprise Support responded immediately to me. I learned that this issue was high on the priority list and being worked on. Several weeks ago, I was contacted again and let into (under NDA) an early adopter program to test out the new feature. Magically my contact limit was raised and everything worked as planned. And then today they rolled it out to every single Gmail user. Wow.

While I’m psyched with the feature, I’m really impressed how Google handles stuff like this. No one at Google was defensive about the issue – they just addressed it directly. No one said “we don’t support that” – they said “we are working on it.” No one made a big deal about it – they just did it, tested it, and rolled it out. For everyone.

Well done Google.

Rethinking My Social Graph

Comments (40)

I’ve had a number of interesting conversions about the intersection of the virtual and the physical world since I wrote the post Did Someone Ruin Foursquare For Me Yesterday? Kashmir Hill in Forbes did a quick email interview with me titled Venture Capitalist Gets Creeped Out by Foursquare which captured a few new thoughts and I spent some time the other night at a TechStars Mentor dinner talking with Alex Rainert, the head of product for Foursquare, who had spent some time digging into this issue to try to figure out what was going on.

When I reflect on this, it’s clearly a “me problem” and not a “Foursquare problem.” Specifically, I’ve been chaotic and much too promiscuous with regard to my social graph. I don’t have a clear rule set about who I accept as friends on different services (I pretty much accept everyone) and as a result don’t have much control over what I broadcast. When I reflect on this, I also realize that it has rendered services like Facebook and LinkedIn largely useless to me as an information consumption mechanism.

Given my social network promiscuity I realize that I’ve fallen into a broadcast-only trap. Basically, I’m broadcasting on all the various services I use, but not consuming much new information, except on Twitter. When I extend this to my overall information consumption pattern, I realize that a lot of signal is once again getting lost in the noise, especially around the RSS feeds that I try to read regularly versus the endless amount of web media that is now distributed by RSS.

Toss in Quora, Stack Exchange, Disqus, and a few other high signal services into the mix and my approach has broken down. While I’m still able to manage my email, I’m struggling to get the right kind of utility out of my social graph.

As a result, I’ve decided to make one of my Q2P1s to rethink and re-architect my entire social graph. While this will require lots of effort, my expectation is that I’ll get two clear benefits out of this. First, I’ll reset how I use my social graph. But more importantly, I’ll get a better handle on the dynamics – and gaps – that exist in using and managing a very active social graph. Once again, I get to use my corner of the universe as a laboratory and hope to find some new important technologies and companies as a result. And I’ll blog the experience so you can help me figure it out while learning from what I do.

Time For A New Phone System For Foundry Group

Comments (42)

We’ve decided to implement a new phone system in our office. When I posted about our search for our video conferencing system, we got a ton a great feedback so I’m once again looking for your help.

We’ve been using an older version of Cisco’s Call Manager (VoIP based) that we’ve had for the past decade. While it has worked flawlessly and has a ton of bells and whistles, we simply do not use them. Occasionally someone will transfer a call and that’s about it. Call Manager is currently fed by two T1′s that flex between voice and data. We have a total about about 20 phones in the office.

Our goal is to rip all of this out (including the T1s) and replace it with something much simpler that has low to no incremental cost beyond whatever hardware we buy up front. We’re currently considering two different possibilites, one were we have no phones at all and everyone uses cell phones and a second where we continue to have a physical phone (or just a headset) and use cell phones as a backup.

Scenario #2 is where we’re looking for input.  We are looking for a system that would involve no hardware at the office (save for possibly having phones/headsets on the desks) and that would not require dedicated T1′s as we want to use our existing Comcast line for this.

We’ve so far spent time exploring Google Voice but have had too many complaints of unacceptable voice quality for it to be a viable solution today.  While Skype is another possible solution we have existing numbers that would need to be ported (or at least forwarded in some way) so Skype doesn’t feel like a great option either.

Thoughts or suggestions?

 

Disabling Horizontal Scroll on the Mac

Comments (17)

I love when the combination of Google Search and the a great discussion board quickly solve something that has been driving me batshit for a while.

I finally stopped procrastinating and started the final two day edit push on Venture Financings: How To Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer And VC. However, for the last month I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the horizontal scrolling thing that happens within Microsoft Word 2011 on the Mac when I accidentally brush my fingers horizontally on the magic mouse. In an effort to continue procrastinating (which I clearly have succeeded at) I went looking for a solution this morning.

Two minutes later I found it after typing mac word 2011 horizontal scrolling with mouse into Google. The post is on the Apple Discussions board and titled “Topic : Magic Mouse – Disable horizontal scrolling ?” The solution is:

Run Terminal (in your Applications/Utilities folder)

Paste the following command into the Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse MouseHorizontalScroll -bool NO

Turn off your magic mouse with the power switch and wait until it disconnects

Turn your magic mouse back on

I have now banished horizontal scroll from my life and exhausted my last good reason to procrastinate right now.

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