Feld Thoughts

Venture Deals Online Course – Spring 2019 Registration Is Open

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We are running the Venture Deals Online Course again. Registration is now open and it runs from April 7, 2019 – May 31, 2019. It’s produced by Kauffman Fellows Academy and Techstars. We’ve run the course four times now and have had over 15,000 people take it.

Techstars MetLife Looking for Companies Addressing Mental Health

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I’ve been open about my journey with depression and the importance of addressing and destigmatizing issues around mental health.

Anti-VR

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A central theme of science fiction over the past 20 years has been the dystopian future of humans, laying on couches, connected to machines that feed them and process their waste, while they interact with a virtual world.

A Great Example of A Professor’s Involvement With A Startup Community

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I received a Silicon Flatirons email from Phil Weiser this morning in his role as Silicon Flatirons Founder and Executive Director. My partners and I, especially Jason Mendelson, have been very involved with Silicon Flatirons over the past decade. I have a chapter in Startup Communities that uses CU Boulder – and specifically Silicon Flatirons – as an example of a much better way than the traditional approach (circa 2012) for a university to engage with the startup community.

Simple, Complicated, and Complex Systems

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A Simple, a Complicated, and a Complex system walk into a bar. Simple says to the bartender, “Can I have a drink?” The bartender gives Simple a glass of water. Complicated says to the bartender, “Can I have a Rum Martinez?”

Book: The More You Hustle, The Luckier You Get

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James Oliver, Jr. has written a fun book that is part memoir, part advice, for what he calls Parentpreneurs (entrepreneurs who are trying to raise kids.) He’s got a website with a bunch of history about him, his journey, and the book.

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Techstars Studio and the Studio Model

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Today, Techstars announced a new initiative called Techstars Studio which will allow Techstars to source new company concepts from Techstars alumni founders, community leaders, venture capitalists, mentors, and corporate partners.

Book: Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

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I read Roger McNamee’s book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe the day it came out. While likely uncomfortable for a lot of people, it was excellent, provocative, and challenging all at the same time. I have not, nor have I ever been, an investor in Facebook. However, I benefited indirectly from, and indirectly contributed to, the rapid rise of Facebook as an early investor in Zynga.

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Birth of An Entrepreneur

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In the past 24 hours, I’ve gotten a bunch of emails with positive feedback about my 81st birthday tribute to my dad and the Storyworth history I posted on how we ended up in Dallas. I woke up this morning to another Storyworth history from him, this time titled Birth Of An Entrepreneur: Brad Feld. I read it and loved it, especially since it reflected so significantly on how integral he was to the entrepreneurial path I ended up on.

Matching All Colorado First Time DonorsChoose.org Projects

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Amy and I decided to match all of the funding for first-time projects in Colorado on DonorsChoosee.org. We are doing this through a gift from the Anchor Point Foundation and will be running it through the end of 2018.

Robin Hauser’s Film Bias at the Boulder International Film Festival 2019

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Amy and I are long-time supporters of the Boulder International Film Festival. The 2019 fes tival starts soon and runs from February 28 to March 3rd. Bias , one of the documentaries that we helped fund, is making its Colorado Premier and showing on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 10:00 am.

Book: Digital Minimalism

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Several friends have mentioned that I’d love Cal Newport’s writing. I finally got around to reading his most recent book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World and my friends were correct.

Money Doesn’t Solve Problems. People Solve Problems.

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One of our favorite VC firms to work with is True Ventures. I’ve made many investments over the years with both Jon Callaghan and Tony Conrad, and I love being a co-investor with them. Recently, Tony told me a great Jon Callaghan quote. “Money Doesn’t Solve Problems. People Solve Problems.” ” I’ve learned this lesson 7,345,123 times. Every successful company I’ve been involved in had a least one near-death experience.

Manage the Clock

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I used to be chronically late to everything, both personal and professional. In my twenties, before cell phones, I was one of those people that others referred to as having “Brad time” which did not correlate with the actual time in the world.

Public Service Announcement: Don’t Look at the Web Today

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I used to think April Fools Day was interesting. Companies and people brought out clever web jokes, many of them subtle and almost believable. Some were entertaining, some were cringeworthy, but few were offensive. Now, the who thing is just extraordinarily annoying.

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What’s Your Frame of Reference for a Downturn?

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A lot of people are predicting that 2018 was the peak and the beginning of a downturn / recession / whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I’m not a predictor so I have no idea.

What If Your Future Was Determined By The Color Of Your Eyes

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If you are looking for something powerful, creative, provocative, and beautifully done, go look at True Blue by Eliot Peper and team. In 2017, I wrote a post titled A Clever Short Story About Discrimination about the short story that Eliot had written. It was an idea that David Cohen had.

A Boundless Decision

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Life often involves tough tradeoffs. I love running marathons but I’m less happy about the body soreness and longer recovery cycles as I age. I’m excited about every investment Foundry Group makes, but I know not all of them are going to pan out. Entrepreneurs talk about “changing the world”, but the companies that emerge often ring hollow against this backdrop.

What Is Your 2019 Won’t Do List?

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In the world of entrepreneurship, there are endless things to do. Tasks, to do lists, new initiatives, new projects, and P1s. Leaders spend a lot of time planning, especially in the context of “we have to grow more, do more, and get bigger.” ” Lately, I’ve been suggesting to a few of the CEOs who I work with to make a “2019 Won’t Do List.” ” While this is a high-level list of things not to do, it can be on multiple dimensions.

Pioneer In Skirts Sizzle Trailer

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Amy and I are proud executive producers of the upcoming movie Pioneer In Skirts. It has been part of our activity supporting independent documentaries about gender diversity, especially in science and tech.

Going Home Without A Medal

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Sunday is the Knoxville Marathon. My plan was to run it, collect the finisher medal that has become part of the marathon ritual, eat whatever I wanted for dinner on Sunday night, and head home Monday morning. Amy and I are heading home today.

Startup Communities Everywhere in the World

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Amy and I are in Knoxville, Tennessee all week. We are with Ian Hathaway (my co-author of an upcoming book titled The Startup Community Way) finishing up the draft of the book. My plan was to end the week with the Knoxville Marathon on Sunday ( marathon #26 ) but I had a crummy long run on Saturday in Boulder and woke up this morning with a cold. While it could merely be pre-race hypochondria, I feel lethargic enough to consider downgrading to the half marathon.

Techstars Startup Weekend New York – Financial Inclusion

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If you are New York-based and interested in entrepreneurship around financial services, consider participating in Techstars Startup Weekend New York: Financial Inclusion on April 5th to April 7th at Rise on 23rd Street. When Startup Weekend first began in 2007 , it was primarily based on geography.

Disagree and Commit

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One of my favorite Bezo-isms is “Disagree and Commit.” ” I’ve seen it in articles a handful of times recently as the adulation around Amazon and Bezos’ management reaches a fever pitch.

Sphero’s Contribution to DonorsChoose.org

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Last month, Amy and I matched all of the Colorado first time DonorsChoose.org projects. So far, 103 projects have been fully funded, with a total of $25,722 donated. We still have plenty of matching dollars out there, so we’ll continue to run this match for a while.

Three Year Future Org Chart Exercise

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I’ve been doing a three-year future org chart exercise with the CEOs of a number of the companies I’m involved in between $25m and $250m in revenue. This can be done on a napkin, a sheet of paper, or a whiteboard. It should not be done in PowerPoint, Google Slides, or a fancy org chart maker app. It should be done in real time, without preparation, and in front of a small group, which could include co-founders or board members.

Rover and RVR on Pi Day

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Happy Pi Day everyone. If you love dogs, or robots, or dogs and robots, you’ll love the video below. Two companies we are investors in – Rover and Sphero – have teamed up on Pi Day.

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Give A Teacher Of Your Choice A Sphero RVR

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As part of the Sphero RVR Kickstarter campaign, Amy and I have decided to give away up to 200 RVRs as part of a new tier called the 2 RVRs for you + 1 for a Teacher tier. If you buy this tier, you get two RVRs. Then, you get to designate a teacher – any teacher – who you’d like to give a third RVR to. Our foundation (the Anchor Point Foundation ) will be underwriting this.

Mentors 18/18: Have Empathy. Remember That Startups Are Hard

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This is the final post (18) of the Techstars Mentor Manifesto. As with item 17, Jay Batson , a long-time Techstars Boston mentor, nudged me several times to finish this up and wrote a draft from his perspective. Following is item #18 of the Techstars Mentor Manifesto, in Jay’s words.

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Happy 81st Birthday Dad

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My dad turns 81 today. He’s one of my best friends. He loves the color green. And, a few of my other friends have a birthday today (happy birthday Dave.). Lots of people don’t realize that I grew up in Texas (did you know that 33.3% of the Foundry Group partners are from Texas?)

Implicit Gender Bias in Startup Funding

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While there have been many words written about gender bias in the context of entrepreneurship and funding, I thought the following TED Talk from Dana Kanze presented one of the best frames of references, supported by a real research study, that I’ve seen to date. In addition, she has some clear, actionable suggestions at the end of the talk to help eliminate the bias.

A Robot, A Puppy, and An Arduino

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Happy National Arduino Day from Misty Robotics. The post A Robot, A Puppy, and An Arduino appeared first on Feld Thoughts. Investments arduino misty puppies

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More Robot Pi

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It’s still Pi Day at least in Boulder for a few more hours. And, well, robots. Misty is making a lot of progress and is still available to pre-order at 25% off her retail price , which is just slightly more than $3,141.59. The post More Robot Pi appeared first on Feld Thoughts.

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Direction You Look is the Direction You Go

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A friend from a long time ago, who I hadn’t heard from in a while, sent me an email with a wonderful nugget in it. I just got back from Oahu and had an interesting experience on Waikiki Beach. My son and I were boogie boarding and there were several people taking surfing lessons out in the waves with instructors. As the intrepid beginners got up on their boards and surfed one of their first waves, the instructors would invariably be shouting directives to them.

Happy Bohemian Chanukah Queen Fans

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Queen was one of my favorite bands as an adolescent. The movie Bohemian Rhapsody was delightful. And this is even better. The post Happy Bohemian Chanukah Queen Fans appeared first on Feld Thoughts. Personal bohemian rhapsody Chanukah queen

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How To Deal With People Asking For Intros To Me

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I got the following note from a friend this morning. Over the past 6 to 12 months, I seem to be getting more requests from individuals in the City-1, City-2, and City-3 asking for introductions to you. Curious as to your preference in how to handle some of these. Many words on the web have been written about double opt-in email intros. This is the best and simplest way when you know the person asking for the intro and think the intro would be a good one.

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Gluecon 2019 Diversity Scholarships

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Amy and I are underwriting the Gluecon 2019 Diversity Scholarships through our Anchor Point Foundation. Eric Norlin, who runs Gluecon has had a simple goal around diversity at the Gluecon for many years. The goal is quite simple: to create as diverse and welcoming a conference environment as we can. The diversity scholarships are one approach to this. The Gluecon code of conduct is another.

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Happy Robot Valentines Day

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Day 1 of Sphero’s RVR pre-order campaign is off to a great start (> 1000 backers, > $250,000 in the first 24 hours.) It’s Day 2, but for some people in the tech world it’s always Day 1, so if you missed RVR, go take a look and jump in on the pre-order fun.

Meet RVR from Sphero

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Sphero has announced RVR , a go anywhere, do anything programmable robot. It launched on Kickstarter today and is available , along with a bunch of other fun pre-order options. Over the last eight years, Sphero has made a bunch of different robots.

The American Tailwind ?

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Every year, one of my favorite things to read is the Berkshire Hathaway annual letter. The 2018 version is out and, as always, is a beautiful thing to read if you have any interest in business and economics. I particularly loved Warren Buffett’s reflections at the end of the letter in a section called The American Tailwind, which follows: On March 11th, it will be 77 years since I first invested in an American business. The year was 1942, I was 11, and I went all in, investing $114.75

Scott Dorsey’s Attributes of Great SaaS Leaders

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A few weeks ago I was in Atlanta for Techstars Atlanta Demo Day and the Venture Atlanta Conference. I had a great time and it’s fun to see the vibrancy of the Atlanta startup community. My brother Daniel came with me and we had dinner with our cousin Kenny, who lives in Atlanta, so we got some nice, quiet, emotionally intimate family time. My favorite keynote at Venture Atlanta was from Scott Dorsey.

The Brilliance of Binary Stars

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I love the concept of Binary Stars. Ian (my co-author) and I are using it in our upcoming book The Startup Community Way which should be out in the second half of 2019. Amy gave me a New Yorker article titled Binary Stars: The Friendship That Made Google Huge.

Do You Love Your Job?

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My dad’s posts over the past two days put me in a reflective mood about work. I’ve been working hard around computers and entrepreneurship since the summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year at MIT. That first real job was as the first employee of Petcom, a company started by a husband and wife team that grew to about 20 people before the oil and gas market for software evaporated in 1985.

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