Christopher Dean – Taking Flight With Urban Airship

One of the real joys of being in the early stage venture business is that I deal with numerous companies that are rapidly growing AND hiring. As such, I love helping people that I know find the right company and position within our portfolio.

The most recent example for me is the announcement last week by our portfolio company, Urban Airship, that Christopher Dean has joined as Chief Revenue Officer. The company’s blog post is here:

Christopher (aka “CD”) and I have kids that attend school together and so we have known each other casually for years. When I heard about CD being allowed to “pursue opportunities outside of Skype”, I was early in calling him about what he wanted to do next. I was thrilled that he was on the market.

I literally had 5 companies that I thought would be interesting to him and I arranged for him to meet the founders. Some were a fit and some were not, but in the end he joined Urban Airship as CRO. Here is my favorite line from him during this process (I’ll paraphrase): I really like revenue. I like big revenues.

Well CD, I like big revenues too! You have joined a ‘True’ Rocket Ship and the sky is the limit. Good luck to you!!

Forbes 30 Under 30 List

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 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!

Thoughts on a Sunday 12/18/11

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!

Thoughts on a sunday 12/11/11

Thought #1
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 :).

Thought #2
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 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,