Feld Thoughts

Women Who Venture

Feld Thoughts

I recently met Renata George through a referral from Katie Rae (MIT Engine CEO, previously Techstars Boston MD). Renata told me about a book she was working on called Women Who Venture and asked me if I’d write the foreword. I was honored to be asked to do this. The foreword I wrote follows.

Every Lie We Tell Incurs a Debt to the Truth

Feld Thoughts

I watched HBO’s Chernobyl the past few nights. I finished it last night, took a deep breath, and said out loud to myself, “that was spectacular.” ” One of the final quotes that stuck with me is the title of this post.

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The Give First Podcast

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David Cohen and I are doing a podcast together called Give First. Readers of this blog likely know that this is the mantra of Techstars and the title of an upcoming book of mine that will be published in 2020. While I’ve been interviewed for many podcasts, I’ve never hosted one before.

Venture Deals Online Course – Spring 2019 Registration Is Open

Feld Thoughts

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.

Why Gross Profit Is More Important Than Revenue

Feld Thoughts

I’ve been thinking a lot about gross profit (and gross margin ) lately. Yeah, I know I can be riveting, but stay with me. When I was in Boston a while ago (it was very cold, so it must have been January), I had a wide-ranging conversation with Eric Paley. This was before the IPO Summer of 2019 when all conventional valuation metrics have entered the land of “suspension of disbelief” which is short-term good and long-term well-we-will-see-…-eventually.

Harry Stebbings on the Give First Podcast

Feld Thoughts

Today’s Give First podcast features Harry Stebbings of the 20 Minute VC and a partner at Stride.vc on committing to building a network & giving first.

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Holograms Are Open For Business

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In February 2017 I met Shawn Frayne, one of the founders of Looking Glass Factory , a Brooklyn-based company with ambitions to make holographic interfaces a reality.

Dream Tank Summer Programs For Kids in Boulder

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Imagine that when you were a kid, someone told you that your dreams are important for the world and that what you do matters right now. Dream Tank Kids Exploring the Techstars Boulder Accelerator.

Boulder Community Health Takes On The Mental Health Stigma

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This first appeared in the Boulder Community Health Foundation Summer 2019 Magazine in an article titled Taking On The Mental Health Stigma. I started the second week of 2013 in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. Within two hours of arriving, I was in my hotel room, the shade closed, the door locked, and in bed with a pillow over my head. I couldn’t deal with anything at all. Having been here before, I knew I was in a deep depression.

Book: Recursion, Permutation City, and Fall

Feld Thoughts

I didn’t read much last month, but I got an email this morning from someone who mentioned that I’d like Greg Egan’s Permutation City. I read it in April when I was in Japan on my Q219 Vacation with Amy but never really blogged much about it.

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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.

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.

When Technologists Use Their Powers For Good

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Xiao Wang , the founder, and CEO of Boundless , recently gave a speech at the 2019 convocation of UW’s Information School. It was 15 minutes long and I thought it was extraordinary. Xiao – nice job weaving in a Mary Oliver quote at the end.

Wartime CEO

Feld Thoughts

I read Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things last weekend. This is the third time I’ve read it. It gets better each time. If you are a CEO and you haven’t read it, buy it right now and read it next weekend. There are endless gems in the book, many of them from Ben’s own experience. My favorite of all time, that stays with me through all the work I do, is his distinction between “peace time” and “war time.”

Did Abraham Lincoln Invent Pancakes?

Feld Thoughts

I love weird Internet memes. Recently, I plumbed the depths of this one with my friend Quinn. Go to your Google browser and type “did ab” and see what comes up for you. If it’s “Did Abraham Lincoln Invent Pancakes” then the Internet is working as expected.

Anti-VR

Feld Thoughts

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.

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.

Oblong + Looking Glass 2D to 3D Magic

Feld Thoughts

In the super cool thing category, it’s always fun to see two companies we are investors in easily put together a demonstration of the integration of their products. Oblong is a master of spatially interacting with 3D data on a 2D display.

Next Generation Video Conferencing

Feld Thoughts

I’ve been a remote worker for many years. As a result, I think I’ve used every flavor of video conferencing and screen sharing going back to Carbon Copy and PC Anywhere. Today’s bell of the ball is Zoom, which has an outstanding video and audio conferencing experience.

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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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Book: Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

Feld Thoughts

Jerry Colonna has written a “must read for everyone on planet earth book” titled Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. Seriously, go by it right now. I’ll be here when you return. Regular readers of this blog know that Jerry and I are extremely close friends and have been for 23 years. I first met Jerry when he was beginning his partnership with Fred Wilson at Flatiron Partners. But, I didn’t meet him through Fred.

Mary Grove on the Give First Podcast

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David Cohen and I just released Episode 4 of our Give First podcast. We interviewed Mary Grove on the origins of Google for Startups & Startup Weekend among other things.

How to Build a Successful Startup Ecosystem in your City

Feld Thoughts

I participated in a one hour Crowdcast yesterday with Techstars and 43 North about How to Build a Successful Startup Ecosystem in your City. Some of the thoughts from my upcoming book The Startup Community Way are in the hour, along with a bunch of things Techstars is doing around this initiative. powered by Crowdcast.

Tariffs and Hardware Startups

Feld Thoughts

If the majority of your understanding of how tariffs work is from Twitter, CNN, or Fox News, I encourage you to go read Trump’s China Tariffs Hit America’s Poor and Working Class the Hardest. And, if you think China is paying the U.S. directly for the tariffs, well, no … We have a lot of hardware companies in our portfolio so I’ve been living in the world of “what to do about tariffs” for several quarters.

Money Doesn’t Solve Problems. People Solve Problems.

Feld Thoughts

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.

Matching All Colorado First Time DonorsChoose.org Projects

Feld Thoughts

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.

A Month Off From Blogging

Feld Thoughts

I’m back from a month off from blogging. Like any good vacation, I feel refreshed. Blogging has been a daily habit for me during the week. I occasionally miss a day and take the weekends off, but the routine has been, in general, a good one for me around my writing. Amy has an equivalent activity called “morning pages.” ” This is a private blog using an ancient technology where she uses a writing stylus on bound parchment.

Book: Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe

Feld Thoughts

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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Simple, Complicated, and Complex Systems

Feld Thoughts

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?”

University of Michigan Joins the Global EIR Network

Feld Thoughts

I’ve been working on the Startup Visa since I first wrote about it 2009 in my post The Founders Visa Movement. After a decade, it’s clear that our federal government has broadly failed us on this front. In 2015, I announced the Global EIR initiative to try something different. Today, I’m happy to welcome the University of Michigan to the Global EIR network.

Deeply Vulnerable Writing on Startup Failure

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Jasper Nathaniel recently wrote a long, detailed post titled When Your Startup Fails. It may be the most vulnerable and honest post I’ve read on failure, certainly in a while. I spent the day yesterday in Grand Junction at Techstars Startup Week West Slope. After a full day of meetings, events, and talks, I ended up at dinner with a half-dozen CEOs of startups in the area (Grand Junction, Carbondale, Eagle, and Telluride.)

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.

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

Feld Thoughts

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.

Bad Entrepreneurial Cliches: Strong Opinions Loosely Held

Feld Thoughts

Michael Natkin at Glowforge recently wrote a great post titled Strong Opinions Loosely Held Might be the Worst Idea in Tech. I have never liked this entrepreneurial cliche. While I have a large personality, I don’t have a temper and I’m not argumentative. I try hard to listen (although I’m not always great at it), try to express my thoughts as “data” rather than “opinions”, and try to evolve my thinking based on the inputs that I get.

Manage the Clock

Feld Thoughts

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.

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.

What Is Your 2019 Won’t Do List?

Feld Thoughts

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.

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.

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.

Entrepreneurship For All in Longmont, Colorado

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Amy and I recently decided to support Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) and their national expansion to Colorado through our Anchor Point Foundation. EforAll’s mission is to accelerate economic development and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship in emerging communities.

CSbyAll: An Interactive, Crowdsourced Timeline of the CS Education and Diversity in Tech Movement

Feld Thoughts

The modern computer science education movement, commonly referred to as Computer Science for All or #CSforALL , has been gaining momentum nationwide since 2004 and is poised to be the most significant upgrade to the US education system in history. History is recorded and codified through the journalism, social media, and public policy, and tends to emphasize the voices of those already in the public eye.

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.

The Future Is Not What We Anticipate

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Stan Feld at his 60-year Columbia Reunion. My dad had his 60-year reunion at Columbia this weekend. He looks great. This morning, I did a talk with Om Malik at the Startup Iceland 2019 conference. Om was in a hotel room somewhere and I was in my office in Boulder.