Category Archives: Personal

Blogging when I have something to say

I started blogging on a daily basis on the 24th of March, 2015, with the intention of writing 1000 consecutive daily blog posts. As of today, the first day of 2018, it has been over 1000 consecutive posts.

During this time, I’ve discovered both the joy which I find in writing, and the value which it provides in helping structure and express my thoughts.

I’ve also discovered that it’s a great way to share my ideas with readers including, among others, current and prospective entrepreneurs, existing and potential co-investors, limited partners, and members of the tech community.

I’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the blog, and will therefore continue to share my thoughts here. However, I will not stick to a daily blogging schedule.

The first reason is that I’ve reached my original goal of writing 1000 consecutive daily posts. However, despite reaching this goal, I would continue if I felt that the benefits of daily blogging relative to non-daily blogging outweighed the costs. I’ve discovered that, for me, they don’t.

Specifically, daily blogging forces me to say something even when I don’t have something to say. This, in turn, lowers the quality of the experience of my blog readers, and it doesn’t feel authentic to me.

That said, blogging on a daily basis was the right thing for me to do during the last more than 1000 days. It has helped me grow tremendously.

Similarly, blogging when I have something to say is the right thing for me to do moving forward.

Thank you to each of you who read this blog.

Happy new year

It has been a great year. In fact, it’s been the best year of my life.

While the year, like all years, has had its ups and downs, the birth of our son overrides each of these joys and pains.

We don’t plan on having a new child every year, so we won’t get to experience this joy every year.

However, we will hopefully get to see our son grow, together with all of the experiences that that entails. As long as that happens, it’s likely that each successive year is going to be the best of my life.

Happy new year.

Visions require sacrifice and repeated communication

Leaders are often portrayed as people who have a vision. And this is indeed an important part of leadership.

However, more important than having a vision is communicating it so that other people instill it as well. This requires two things.

The first is dedicating the majority of your time towards the communication of your vision. If you don’t display this sacrifice, others will question how much you value your vision, and will therefore be less likely to believe in it.

The second is repeatedly communicating your vision across different channels, whether in person, over video, over audio, or in writing. It takes time for any one person to instill your vision, and it takes a lot of time for a lot of people to do the same.

In other words, the message behind your vision is only part of the equation. The sacrifices you make to repeat the message, get other people onboard, and hopefully get them to repeat the same message to others are what transform your message into a vision.

Strong relationships create big opportunities

I was recently thinking about the big moves in my personal and professional life, when I realized that each of them was initiated by the referral provided by a strong relationship.

From my entry to college and grad school, to each of my work experiences, to the most important of them all which is meeting my wife, each began as a result of the opportunity created by a strong relationship.

Of course, initiating these opportunities isn’t enough. In each case, I followed through with a combination of dedication and hard work. However, the first step was taken by a strong relationship.

They know who they are, and I’m grateful to each of them.

This says a lot about the importance of strong relationships in creating big opportunities.

I wonder if the same is true for most people. I imagine it is.

Mike Maples

Mike Maples is a co-founder of Floodgate Capital, where he has backed companies like Twitter and Lyft.

This is an excellent interview hosted by Tim Ferriss, featuring Mike Maples. It covers not only investments, but also practical lessons from and advice for life.

It’s a great listen as we close 2017 and approach 2018. I recommend listening to the full 109 minute interview here.

Christmas Day

Christmas was one of my favorite holidays as a child.

We had a big Christmas tree in our living room, and I really enjoyed decorating it, as well as waking up to the presents underneath it on Christmas Day.

Fast forward several years, and now we get to do the same for our son. As he’s less than 9 months old, our Christmas tree is much smaller. And since he can’t decorate it or pick up the presents from underneath the tree, we did the former and handed the latter to him.

History rhymes, and that’s sometimes a beautiful thing.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Facts and stories

Some stories are based on a comprehensive review of all available facts. However, most stories are, at best, collections of cherry picked facts pulled together with the goal of convincing the reader to adopt a particular view. At their worst, many stories don’t contain any facts.

However, the facts are always there. Sometimes they emerge and a story based on cherry picked facts, or no facts, collapses. Sometimes they don’t and such a story continues.

Which outcome prevails depends on a combination of the power of the people telling the story, the availability of the facts, and the degree to which a comprehensive review of the facts supports a single view.

In the context of startup investments, most news articles about startups are stories. A startup’s financial statements and KPI’s represent the facts.

Making versus reading the headlines

When I read the headlines in the tech news, sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough. There are so many people working on world-changing projects that reading about the amazing things they’re attempting to do and doing is humbling.

Upon deeper reflection, the feeling of humility relative to the goals and outcomes achieved by others in the tech community cedes its place to a feeling of gratitude for all that they’re doing. When producers produce, it’s primarily consumers who benefit, so I’m grateful to all the producers.

Finally, the feeling of gratitude cedes it way to questioning why I am not contributing more.

A great way to test whether you’re doing enough and thinking big enough is to ask yourself whether, if done well, the projects you’re working on will also be featured in the headlines.

Rather than read the headlines, your life gives you the opportunity to make them.

After a career in venture capital

It’s been 10 years since I started investing in technology startups. When I first started as a 21 year old, I was very young. While youth is an asset in being a user of and understanding the latest technologies, it’s a liability in terms of understanding how businesses and the people that work within them operate.

Now that I’m 31, although I’m still younger than most startup investors, I’m at a better balance between understanding both the technology side and the business side of the equation. I imagine that, around the age of 35 to 40, your understanding of both sides reaches a similar level.

After that, while you continue to grow wiser in terms of understanding people and businesses, your understanding of current technologies begins to decline. Taking most venture capitalists as a proxy, my intuition suggests that it’s difficult to be a great startup investor after the age of around 60.

I used to think that I would invest in startups for the rest of my life. I’m now coming to realize that, if I live long enough, this is unlikely to be the case. That’s the downside.

The upside is that I’ll get to try something new after the age of 60, give or take a few years. In line with the skills that I’ll have at that age, it will likely require a more limited understanding of the latest technologies, and a greater understanding of people and businesses.

I wonder what it will be.