Brad Feld quotes and sayings
December 1, 1965
As a company grows from 25 to 50 to 100 to 200 to 500 to 1000 people, the characteristics of who is the very best talent in leadership roles will change. It's rarely the case that your leadership team at 1000 people is the same leadership team you had a 25 people.
Part of the power of having startup communities is it continues to challenge the status quo. So for many of these cities that were once very important and powerful that today are struggling, startup communities are a way for them to rejuvenate themselves.
For a long time, I've ranted against naming your startup community 'Silicon Whatever.' Instead, I believe every startup community already has a name. The Boulder startup community is called Boulder. The L.A. startup community is called L.A. The Washington D.C. startup community is called Washington D.C.
Technology doesn't address everything - for example, air travel still sucks.
If you don't have a VP Finance on your team reporting to you, do yourself, your team, and your investors a favor and go hire one right now.
I'm a strong believer that you can build great companies in time of both greed and fear. But you have to be paying attention and operating under the right assumptions. You don't have to believe history repeats itself, but you should accept that history rhymes.
I have shifted my mindset in terms of how companies should... focus on building amazing products. If you have amazing products, the marketing of those products is trivial.
I love using a targeted acquisition approach in conjunction with a business that has a clear strategy and strong organic growth.
I often get asked how I write so much. As any writer knows, the answer is to write a lot more than you actually publish.
Taking a great new idea with an entrepreneurial team that wants to create something significant and trying to build a real company is what is interesting.
If you aren't going to make your revenue plan, it's unlikely you'll make your EBITDA or Net Income plan. You don't even have to get complicated and look at Gross Margin or more derivative metrics - if you are off in Q1 and have any sort of growth expectations , you are going to miss for the year.
I've been using email since 1983. I started with MH and Rmail, then cc:Mail, then Microsoft Mail, with Compuserve mixed in. Eventually, I ended up using Pine for non-Windows stuff and Outlook for Windows stuff. For a while.
As I continue to believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are the key drivers to our economic future, it's frustrating to hear such little cogent discussion around it.
When the entrepreneur is obsessed with the product and the company has organized all of its activities around that, it's very powerful.
Boulder is a very smart community.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, I was an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Kauffman Foundation working with Jana Matthews on 'learning programs for high growth entrepreneurs.'.
If you're in a city where there's no clear startup community, the goal is not raise a bunch of money to fund a nonprofit; the goal is not get your government involved. The goal is start finding the other entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to being in your city over the next 20 years.
We should explore ways to make us a more amazing species. A more fascinating society. We should embrace our innovations and evolve with them.
By 2002, I realized that what was classically called a rollup strategy was not generally effective, at least not for me.
I've been traveling more and feel like I've figured out a comfortable way to do it. The biggest shift is that I spend my traveling time 'in the moment,' I don't over-schedule when I'm somewhere and instead focus on longer time with less people. I also give myself plenty of me time on the road.
When everyone starts sounding the same, that's when you know the words and phrases have become clichs. Instead of speaking in clichs, I encourage people just to be themselves, let their passion burn brightly, and go work on things they love spending their time on.
Governments spend all their time trying to get big companies to relocate their headquarters, and they end up subsidizing the move with tax breaks. And companies that relocate their headquarters are often not meaningful job creators.
Ever since I learned about the concept of garbage collection in 6.001 at MIT in 1984 while using Scheme on HP Chipmunks, I've always thought of dreaming as the same as garbage collection for a computer.
I wonder if, as the tech to deliver content continues to evolve, we will start seeing the one season / 6-8 hour show that ends at a peak moment rather than is cancelled because it sucks.
Accepting that part of the process of writing is deleting a lot of what you write is soothing, at least to me.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a strong advocate for diversity across all dimensions.
Twitter has always been that refreshing place where I can quickly find out what is going on in my tech world. I follow mostly entrepreneurs and VCs - some who I know and some who I don't know. I have a few companies in my feed. But no newspapers, no magazines, and no mainstream media.
I have trouble sleeping maybe one night a year. On that special night, I get up and read on the couch until I fall asleep.
I especially love right-now sci-fi: stuff that happens in current time but incorporates a scientific breakthrough that is currently being explored.
As a teenager, my dad taught me about the idea of unintended consequences, and I've had the experience, and how to deal with it, pounded into my soul over the years.
A lot of times, when I interact with someone for the first time, I don't want to see the presentation.
December used to be very difficult for me. For many years, I fought the transition to the new year, was generally exhausted at the end of the year, and just wanted to hide. I described myself as a 'cranky Jewish kid who felt left out by Christmas.'.
I think one of the brilliant parts of our democracy is how resilient it is. We are each allowed to have our own beliefs and, as long as we follow the rule of law, we can express them however we'd like. This is a unique characteristic of the best democracies and one I value tremendously.
I regularly see leaders change what they say because they get bored of saying the same thing over and over again. It's not that they vary a few words or change examples, but they change the message.
'Sunspring,' the first known screenplay written by an AI, was produced recently. It is awesome. Awesomely awful. But it's worth watching all ten minutes of it to get a taste of the gap between a great screenplay and something an AI can currently produce.
In 2013, when Google announced that Kansas City would be the first city in the country to have Google Fiber, I bought a house in the first neighborhood that was being wired up with Google's gigabit Internet.
From pitch perspective, the more you wear your idea, the more it fits you and your comfortable with it, the easier it is for somebody like me to say tell me more.
I'm not deeply involved in politics, but about 25% of the people I interact with in politics went to law school.
At Foundry Group, we always look for companies that we think build magic into their products. Occipital has been one of those companies.
My optimism holds that the good guys eventually come out on top.
A typical leader has - a natural tendency is to be defensive in the face of a crisis. The first reaction is to blame someone - or something - else. Often, the blame is aimed at something abstract or non-controllable, which often has nothing to do with the crisis but is adjacent to whatever is going on, so it's an easy target.
I love dreams.
It's not about having a Silicon Valley attitudeit's about having an entrepreneurial attitude. It's about partnering with other organizations in and around your area. It's about thinking big with entrepreneurs that sit next to you in your coworking space. It's about collaborating with tech gurus, social media wizards and community leaders at cool business events. It's the people that make a community an entrepreneurial onenot the locationand it's up to you to contribute.
Failure is sometimes the best option if you view the process of entrepreneurship as a lifelong journey.
Usually, the first three months post acquisition are up and down. The acquirer and the acquiree are trying to figure out how to interact. The founders of the acquiree are usually tired from the deal process and adjusting to their new reality.
Make sure the thing you are working on is something you love.
A rite of passage in America when you turn 50 and have good health insurance is a colonoscopy.
While I live a busy life, the pace ebbs and flows.
The pitch should be very clear about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and why I should care. If you can cover those things quickly and precisely, it's easy for me to decide whether I want to spend more time with you or not.
I don't think enough people have accepted that the machines have already taken over. They are patiently waiting for us to catch up with them. Our world is now interdependent with the machines, and more entrepreneurs should be working on the symbiosis between the two entities.
My initial desire to blog came from something that's always been my approach to investing - I'm a nerd, and I love to play with the technology, and part of my approach has really been to understand things both at a user level and at a reasonably deep tentacle level.
This is something I've struggled with a lot: how to relate to the fear in a constructive way. It's not that you eliminate the fear. We have all the fears. That's natural; that's human beings. But how do you deal with the fears, how do you engage with your fears in a way that's productive?
It's time to focus on what I care about and not let the noise take over my brain.
I think 'Shoe Dog' by Phil Knight is the best memoir I've ever read by a business person.
In my world, historical revenue is the least interesting thing to consider in an acquisition strategy. The goal is to acquire technology that is on your product roadmap or people that fit culturally within your organization and help you execute on your roadmap faster.
I don't read newspapers or watch the news on TV, deliberately to avoid the noise.
I'm very comfortable in the U.S. and Europe, but I feel completely out of place in the rest of the world, mostly because I never spent time outside the U.S. and Europe until I was in my 30s.
Having read my share of tell-alls over the year, including some that were passed off as autobiographies, I mostly feel sad - sometimes for the writer and sometimes for all the people in his way. I hope that the process of writing the tell-all gives some release and closure on what clearly was an unpleasant and unfulfilling life experience.
While we should certainly be investing in our own STEM education, we should take advantage of the thousands of international students who come here to study and are ready to fill these gaps immediately upon graduation.
If I have a golden touch, I'd also say that I have the opposite of whatever a golden touch is, because I've had a lot of things fail. I think part of the experience of being successful is that you have to have a lot of stuff not work.
Kauffman Fellows is not necessarily for people just entering the venture industry but for experienced VCs looking to accelerate their growth. The program is centered around established innovation leaders - if you are looking to grow and become a better investor, you should think about doing this program.
While I'm a venture capitalist who invests in early-stage tech companies, I often feel like a professional emailer and conference call maker. I try to spend most of my time doing whatever the companies we are investors in need me to do.
Many people, companies, and organizations are trying to protect the past at any cost. We see this regularly in business as the incumbent vs. innovator fight, but I think it's more profound than that. It's literally a difference in point of view.
When I was in my mid-20s, running a successful company and clinically depressed, I was afraid to talk to anyone other than my psychiatrist about it. I was ashamed that I was even seeing a psychiatrist.
I can now check Oregon off the 'marathon in every state list.'.
I would say my whole universe is probably categorized as guerilla marketing. For a long time, I had a line which was, 'Whenever I hear the word 'marketing,' it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth.'.
I was afraid people wouldn't take me seriously, or would stop respecting me, if I talked about how bad I was feeling. The only people I talked openly about it with was my business partner, Dave Jilk, and my girlfriend - now wife - Amy Batchelor. They were amazingly supportive, but even then, I was deeply ashamed about my weaknesses.
I separate the world of startup communities into two constituencies - leaders and feeders. The leaders are entrepreneurs and the feeders everyone else.
If the crisis lasts moments, rapid action is critical. But if it's simply the beginning of a broader issue, especially one where the root cause isn't known yet, the worst thing a leader can do is act immediately.
When we raised the first Foundry Group fund in 2007, we took over 100 first meetings. We told our story several hundred times. As part of it was a slide called 'Strategy.' I still repeat the elements of that slide regularly, a decade later, as our core strategy has not changed.
If you are feeling some December blues, or even depression, don't fight it. Instead, do something for yourself. Be reflective. Let the emotions exist. And be encouraged that, like me, you can get to a better place, but it can take time.
My wife is a writer. She grew up in Alaska. She told me she was moving to Boulder and that I could come with her if I wanted to. We were married at the time, so I chose to come with her.
Ultimately, the goal is to use acquisitions to compress time on product development and get people on the team, especially in senior roles, who can help build out areas of the company they have experience in.
Think about it for a brief moment. Suspend disbelief. Wind the clock forward 100 years. Do you think, as a species, we will still be struggling with the things that vex us today? Will we still be arguing about the same stuff? We will still be eating Cocoa Puffs? We are at the end of the beginning.
I read a lot of science fiction and biography - these are my two favorite genres. My favorite science fiction writers are Hertling, Suarez, Gibson and Stephenson, but I enjoy many others. I dislike reading business books, although I skim a lot of them.
While I've had plenty of ups and downs, dealt with my share of failure, and struggled through emotionally difficult periods, I'm fundamentally an optimist.
The quest for stability or homeostasis is silly. We should accept that we live on an incredibly dynamic planet in a rapidly changing environment, and do our best to have the most amazing experiences we can.
Building a startup community is not a zero-sum game in which there are winners and losers: if everyone engages, they and the entire community can all be winners.
So many companies talk about increasing the number of prospects at the top of the funnel, but they spend remarkably little time making sure actions are taken - on a daily basis - to make sure these prospects convert into paid users.
I love near-term sci-fi. I especially love right-now sci-fi: stuff that happens in current time but incorporates a scientific breakthrough that is currently being explored.
Often, entrepreneurs don't build a board until they are forced to by their VCs when they raise their first financing round. This is dumb, as you are missing the opportunity to add at least one person to the team who - as a board member - can help you navigate the early process of building your company and raising that first round.
Immigrants have historically been an entrepreneurial bunch.
You can't motivate people, you can only create a context in which people are motivated.
I believe that all men and women are created equal, but it took our country until 1920 to acknowledge this for women. And then it took until 1964, the year before I was born, to outlaw discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. And same-sex marriage became the law of the land in 2015.
I have no idea what the economics of the movie business is, especially with all the new Amazon, Netflix, Showtime, AMC, SyFy, and HBO series. But I am intrigued with what feels like a new type of show - the six-to-eight-hour movie. It's a little too long to watch in one setting, but you can watch it over a three- to five-day period.
I'm hugely intrinsically motivated and have always believed that I'm fueled and motivated by learning.
I'm always fascinated by the dedicated monitors in a hospital. Non-standard cables, funny button shapes, odd LED colors, and lots of extra controls.
I no longer really ever like to be pitched. Instead, I prefer to engage in a relationship as part of learning the other person.
Joseph B. Wirthlin
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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