Feld Thoughts

Thought Leadership vs. Cult of Personality

Feld Thoughts

In 2011, my now-partner Chris Moody (and then-CEO of Gnip, which I was on the board of) kicked my butt about my endless statements about hating marketing. His thoughts on recasting “marketing” as “thought leadership” appeared on this blog in a post I Don’t Hate Marketing. It remains a great example of one of the reasons I blog, which is to think out loud, get feedback, learn, and iterate.

Women Who Venture

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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

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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.

The Roger Federer of Marathoning

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Eliud Kipchoge runs on his way to break the historic two hour barrier for a marathon in Vienna, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours, although it will not count as a world record.

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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.

Sell More Faster

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When we started Techstars in 2006 we had one core goal in mind – helping entrepreneurs succeed. While it started as an experiment with one accelerator in Boulder, we now have about 50 accelerators annually around the world funding 500 startups a year.

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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.

ProLon Day 5

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Today’s the last day of my ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet. I wrote about my start in a post titled ProLon Day 1. I was a little nervous about trying this so I figured I’d blog about it to bust through any anxiety I was having about trying it. I find myself very happy with it on Day 5.

Why Gross Profit Is More Important Than Revenue

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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.

Do More Faster, 2nd Edition on Give First

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In 2010, David Cohen and I wrote a book titled Do More Faster. It was filled with stories and advice from founders, investors, and mentors from around the first two years of Techstars. This was the first book I wrote. David and I learned the joy and pain of writing a book.

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.

The Chernobyl Podcast

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When I wrote the post Every Lie We Tell Incurs a Debt to the Truth I expected to get some feedback. I got more than I usually do (mostly by email vs. blog comments) and much of it was thoughtful. One person pointed to the video I embedded, which I thought was great.

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.

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: 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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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.

Harry Stebbings on the Give First Podcast

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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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Did Abraham Lincoln Invent Pancakes?

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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.

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Stillness Is The Key

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Ryan Holiday’s new book Stillness Is The Key is out. I have a copy on the top of my infinite pile of books at home along with a copy on my Kindle. I’ll be reading it this weekend. For a moment of inspiration today, take a look at his launch video.

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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.

Oblong + Looking Glass 2D to 3D Magic

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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.

Wartime CEO

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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.”

Next Generation Video Conferencing

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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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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.

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.

Tariffs and Hardware Startups

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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.

How to Build a Successful Startup Ecosystem in your City

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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.

Book: Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

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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.

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: Recursion, Permutation City, and Fall

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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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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.

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.

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.

Mental Health Hints for Entrepreneurs

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Recently, I read a well-written article in Fast Company by Jon Dishotsky titled We need to be more honest about what tech culture is doing to our mental health. In it, he had a list of lessons he has learned over the years. Look out for your wake-up call Create routines that prioritize mental health Work in line with your body’s rhythm Make time for silence Find space to unplug Give your emotions credit Cultivate (and listen to) your inner circle.

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.

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.

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.

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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University of Michigan Joins the Global EIR Network

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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.

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.

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.