Why I Don’t Have To Follow VC Blogs Anymore

Two words: Mattermark Daily

When I started blogging in 2004 I think I was the third VC blogger after David Hornik* and Fred Wilson (if you were, or know, of another pre-2004 VC blogger, please tell me so I can update my historical recollection.)

I remember lots of people asking me why I was doing it. I heard plenty of trash talk from other VCs, especially second hand, such as “He doesn’t have enough to do”, “He’s not spending his time doing his job”, or “What a waste of time.” I didn’t care, as I was doing it – like Fred often said – to help me think out loud in public, learn about different things, and get a conversation going around topics I was interested in. In retrospect, it was also helping me “practice writing” and without all the practice, it’s unlikely I would have ever gotten in the rhythm of writing a book a year.

Today, hundreds of VCs blog. Some are focused on using content marketing strategies to build their brand and reach. Some seem to have a full time person on the team generating content for them. Some do it under their name; other’s do it on their firm’s web site. Even more have tried and never got past a dozen posts.

Regardless of one’s success, it’s become extremely hard to track all the new content coming out and sort the good from the bad. My somewhat up-to-date VC People Feedly collection has 139 feeds in it. But I stopped being rigorous about adding new people about a year ago and rarely added feeds that were directly on firm websites, so I expect there are probably closer to 500 active VC bloggers now. And, this doesn’t include the guest articles that regularly show up on various sites like TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Business Insider.

Rather than struggle to keep up, I’m just defaulted to relying on Mattermark Daily to tell me what to read each day. And, I always remember what I tell entrepreneurs: “It’s just data – and it’s often wrong.” Read a lot, but always apply your own critical thinking.

*Update: Naval Ravikant told me that he, Kevin Laws, and Andrew Anker were also part of VentureBlog (dating back to 3/2003). It now appears to be Hornik’s blog.

  • @brad you and fred were my first inspirations to begin blogging in 2005. i was not a vc then, but a founder going through my first exit. my blogging has thinned out, to about 2-3 posts per month, mainly due to twitter (http://cemsertoglu.com/2010/10/15/twitter-killed-my-blog/). thanks for keeping yours up.

    • Thanks – glad we were inspirations!

  • AB

    professor in my college actually used one of your articles to explain what VC really want. That’s how I got to know of you. All the way across in India

  • Completely agree! Mattermark does the best job in surfacing the best posts each day. I’m usually pretty good at keeping up with the latest blogs, but Mattermark finds those great lesser known blogs. And they do a good job picking the best articles from the massive amount of noise out there.

    PS I have no vested interest, just a big fan!

    • Especially thrilled you noticed we pick up articles from lesser known blogs… that is a particular passion of mind, kind of like finding an awesome indie band. Thanks for reading!

  • Mattermark Daily might be even better if they added the key point from each highlighted blog post (right now they succinctly describe what the post is about, but often not the key point). Much more effort to do this, but it would make their service even more valuable, IMHO.

  • Eric W.

    Same here. I actually pruned my feedreader because of the Mattermark and Quibb newsletters.

    • Thanks Eric, so happy to have you as a reader of the Mattermark Daily!

      • Eric W.

        My FOMO lead me to subscribe to 1000s of feeds over the years. I lived in google reader and then feedly. I was finally able to make the leap from quantify to quality, but that was many because I’m now able to trust that I’ll get the high-quality posts in your newsletter. Ironically, I’m not a fan of newsletters. I don’t curate as much content as I use to, but I do it enough to really appreciate what you guys have done. I think Nick handles most of that right? He rocks! Your team rocks!

  • Jake Schrader

    As a newbie to the whole VC space, I’ve found Mattermark invaluable as a jumping off point into the world of VC blogging. In fact it’s where I first heard of Brad Feld, whose work I enjoy. But if the circle gets too self referential then doesn’t it run the risk of no longer being as effective? I think what I’m saying is it’s fine if I rely on Mattermark to know what’s important reading on a given day, but I want other people to continue to work hard to discover things that will help me. Maybe I should start a blog called “Free Rider Founder”. Mostly kidding and I wanted to say that I was glad you’ve returned your self imposed sabbatical from blogging. Happy Holidays to all who read this.

    • Thanks – glad to be back. I think Mattermark is doing a great job so far of not being self-referential, but it’s good warning.

    • Thanks Jake, and that’s awesome you learned about Brad through our newsletter. We are always looking to mix in new writers, but it’s true certain people like Fred Wilson are just a lot more consistent about publishing… we’ve even had to apply a sliding scale to posts by him and also Tomasz Tunguz to make sure we’re not just putting in EVERYTHING they write!

      Really appreciate having you as a reader, and please keep the feedback coming. If you blog you can also submit your own posts to editor at mattermark dot com

      • Whoa! Hi Danielle and my apologies if I’m taking up space on Brad’s blog, I hope he doesn’t mind too much. One comment that really stuck with me in the last 18 months was from a founder turned VC who’s now at First Round. He said that when he was running Constant Contact he personally read and answered every user’s email or question until they got to some enormous number of users. I promised my co founders and team at Junction that I was going to do that as well. Receiving a reply from you to my earlier comment freshens my resolve, because it immediately made my affinity for your product much stronger than it already was! The content and analytics you offer haven’t changed, but my impression of the Mattermark brand is even more favorable than it was before because of your involvement. As a new founder and CEO who tries to learn one thing every day, this just became a really good day for me. Thanks for taking the time and you’re awesome!

  • Perhaps an indication of a bubble in VC land?

    Focus on profitability in 2016 and beyond folks!

  • The noise level on the internet is at an all-time high, and we do need filters.

    I have a system that works for me to stay informed:

    I limit it to two blogs that I read daily: Fred Wilson, Joanne Wilson; and two blogs that I read everytime they get published: yours and Mark Suster.

    I also have three podcasts that I make a point to never miss an episode of. These are TWIS, The Twenty Minute VC and Epicenter Bitcoin.

    The above keeps me busy enough, but if I need a “top-off” — and I often do — then I get it from the following sources, in this order:

    1) my carefully crafted Twitter feed

    2) the a16z newsletter

    3 and now Mattermark Daily.

    This gives me the flexibility to simply “stay afloat” or to drill down deeper, as time allows.

    • Good list. I’ve found the Twenty Minute VC to be just awesome.

    • DisruptLab

      Don’t forget Snippets from Social Capital. Chamath Palihapitiya crushes it.

  • tobias peggs

    yeah, 100% agree with this. A daily dose of signal in a sea of noise – the links there are my morning must-read every day. Q: do you know how they do the curation? Is it all hand picked or is there an algo involved (e.g. most shared / highest velocity on twitter that day, etc, ala my other still-great daily email that’s been chugging away for what seems like forever from news.me).

    • Mostly curated. Some data in the signal to help prioritize.

  • mtrajan

    Too many VC blogs leading to low SNR is a right diagnosis of the problem however mattermark daily is the solution feels a stretch. To me it feels like a simple aggregation of few blog post not as deeply curated. what is an example of curation in last week/month that you particularly liked ?

  • I tend to just follow specific writers and use curators like Mattermark or my for discovery. But often it’s important “who” is writing, not what — IMO. Here’s a list of folks that I follow to the point their blog triggers all the text to show up in my email: https://ifttt.com/p/semilshah/shared

  • Glenn Neal

    I went to Rockies Venture for many years in-mid 90’s and heard the trash talk about ‘a certain VC’, once even during main presentation of night (or course never heard this when certain ‘VC’ was there and name of certain ‘VC’ was not mentioned out loud). I can attest what Brad said was going on (I matched their comments with words in I saw from Brad in newspaper – though it was obvious who they were talking about). I never heard it specifically said about blogging, but definitely around ‘can you believe a person actually said/did that’ and heard that more than once. As a young ‘trying to figure things out’ (I am still here) entrepreneur, comments like that helped me tremendously on who I should listen to, and who not to listen all that deeply (with regard to the speaker not the subject). There’s a line from Seal’s Crazy “while those around him criticize and sleep.” I’m just glad there’s a place on the internet I can go that gives me energy, rather than taking it away.

    • My favorite reference from the mid-1990s – when I first arrived in Boulder – was being called “fresh meat.” I use it to describe how I was originally viewed by some.

  • Hey Brad – I started blogging not to market myself but to force learning on myself and bring clarity to my thinking (which only comes from writing).

    You’ve shared one of my blog posts before – love for you to add me to your feedly. http://paulbennetts.co/

  • Curation is a valuable service that is often under-appreciated.
    MM is doing a great job and they are saving us a lot of time.

  • Ben Wiener

    Couldn’t agree more- fantastic resource

  • billyjoerob

    Steve Jurvetson was one of the first, his blog shows posts going back to 2004 and I think it started before that.

    • What’s the URL? http://jurvetson.blogspot.com/ – this dates back to June 2004 but the last post was March 2008. Is there a fresher one.

      • billyjoerob

        No evidence of a fresher one. I remember reading his blog back before 2004, and that first post from July 2004 has 15 comments so he had already built an audience.

  • Michelle Tandler

    Agree – Mattermark does an awesome job of curation! Kudos to Danielle & team! I also rely on Twitter and Nuzzle to surface particularly great posts. Pocket Recommended is my newest curator to try.

    • Victor Muthoka

      I’m finding pocket recommended good.

  • Victor Muthoka

    Thanks for introducing me to Matter Mark.