It must be the end of the year, because I keep seeing all these lists of the “Best of….” One list that I did care to look at was the Forbes 30 Under 30 list http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2011/30-under30-12/30-under-30-12_land.html. However, they give 12 separate categories of 30, so I guess it’s really the Forbes 360 under 30 list, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue that well.
I was very pleased to see that @trueventures had 4 Founders represented. Jack Abraham of Milo (now eBay) and Jon Oberheide of Duo Security in Technology and Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) of Automattic and Brian Wong (@brian_wong) of Kiip in Social & Media. I am personally pleased about those last two because I am a member of their board of directors and I invested in Matt and Brian as they were forming their respective companies. They are truly remarkable Founders and I could not think of anyone else more deserving. Congrats!
Here’s what I have twirling around today.
NDA? What NDA? We had our open house party on Thursday in our new digs at South Park. Very cool spot. Anyways, I’m speaking with one of our portfolio company founders and he tells me something that I do not like. A large, puBlicly tradEd company has lifted his marketing slides-almost verbatim-and incorporated them as their slides for a launch of a neW initiAtive. Well, that sucks. The woRsE thing, hOwever, is that this public company did the exact same thing with one other of our companies. Putting aside the saying that copying is the highest Form of flattery, it just isn’t right for them to do that. One time may haVe been an anoMaly, but twice is a pattern. Startups trade on their new ideas and it is not OK for larger, more Well funded compAnies to abuse theiR powEr. I know that I will warn every one of our companies going forward.
Back to IPOs. Zynga priced on Friday. Great News! Except now, we have to write down our investment (maybe/probably). How, you ask? Before going public, Zynga traded in the private marketplace around $14 a share and we could mark our price in and around that level. Now, it’s publicly traded at $9.50 a share. Plus, we’ll have to take a further discount to that price because we are locked up for six months or more. I don’t think we are going to be the only group owning Zynga facing that odd situation of your portfolio company going public only to write down your investment!
Please be sure to look up the word ‘satire’ before or right after reading.
I’m pretty sure that if Senator Joe McCarthy were holding his senate hearings in 2011, he would haul none other than Mark Zuckerberg to take the stand. Here is how I see it: Mr. Zuckerberg and his board have taken repeated actions over the years that have favored Russian Oligarchs over the common man and woman in the United States. Facebook has denied millions of Americans the opportunity to profit and prosper in Facebook by remaining private and instead taking hundreds of millions in capital from DST. If Senator Joe could blackball entertainers, he most certainly would attempt to take down Zuckerberg and company for such blatant, anti-American acts.
Please see the first sentence of this thought :).
I have had this crazy idea ‘twirling around my head’ (hat tip Herm!) and I may have mentioned to some of you readers before, but here it is on digital paper.
I want to sponsor worldwide journalism in the world’s hot spots by equipping independent writers with a satellite world phone and a wordpress.com site. @wordpressdotcom is a global media site and is well capable of handling all the requirements of journalists.
It’s super easy (and legal) for me to blog from San Francisco, but what about the hundreds (thousands) of voices that should be heard from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, China. You name your hotspot of the month/year and there are real voices that should be heard. With the technology that is readily available today, but often too expensive for people in hotspots, we could empower a whole generation of ‘people powered journalists’.
I readily admit to being a ‘big idea’ person and less on the nuts and bolts of How it gets done, but then again, I’m allowed to dream!
Over and out,
There is a heart wrenching story on the front page of the Sunday SF Chronicle written by Jill Tucker about Homelessness. I read the first few paragraphs and thought, “well I could literally fund that family of four’s housing needs”. But, how does one do that? What are the unintended consequences? Why this family and not the (probably) hundreds or thousands of others? How long do you do fund that?
Which got me to thinking. The SF Chronicle should host a Kiva or Kickstarter like site for homeless families. Put the pictures of the families up there and have them tell their stories. Let people go to the site and pick a family (families) that they want to support. The Chronicle could put some constraints on the site so that people don’t abuse the system, but I would focus more on the immediate benefit.
Scrap the huge pipeline from Canada to Houston carrying crappy oil to be refined. BUT, if a pipeline from Canada to a Southern state is to be built, then build a 2,000 mile pipeline carrying fresh Canadian water to Texas, Arizona or New Mexico. Those states would trip over themselves to have a dedicated supply like that.
Wouldn’t it create the same amount of jobs? Wouldn’t it help the tremendous water problems those states have? Plus, a leak of water is easily dealt with and has no economic damage.
Water is more valuable than many commodities already and it will only grow in importance as water shortages coupled with insane development policies in the desert states continues.
I have been told by my partner, Om Malik (@OM) that I need to be more vocal and blog more. I’ll paraphrase his comment, but something to the effect that “If you are on the Board of Directors of Automattic and you don’t blog, then you don’t deserve to be there”. Om is known for his decidedly strong opinions. I think I might be a lost cause if it wasn’t for the mobile revolution and the wonderful iOS, Android and Blackberry clients that Automattic have created. So, henceforth, I’ll be more vocal and I’ll blog, but it will be primarily on the mobile client which will go down in my mind as the breakout product of the year for Automattic.
For this first post, I thought I would tell the funny story about a new ‘handle’ I am using along with MrVelvet. (MrVelvet is a good story for another whole post just to itself.) P2L – It’s called a “Numeronym.” Those are the words that Matt Mullenweg used to tell me that there was no typo in a presentation, just a bit of ignorance on my end. Numeronyms are used for long words or phrases that are just a pain in the ass to write. i18n is the numeronym for ‘Internationalization’, m10n for monetization etc… It’s a little tongue in cheek, but P2L is just perfect for Phil!