Love and Venture Capital

If you’ve missed me, it’s because I spent a week in Australia. Ten days ago, after being there for a few days, I came down with salmonella poisoning. I’m finally starting to feel normal again although I’m still exhausted. This has easily been the sickest I’ve ever been.

While I was gone, the gang at Reboot put up the Reboot Podcast #45 – What’s Love Got to Do with It?- with Fred Wilson and Brad Feld which was a delightful conversation between me, Fred, and Jerry Colonna.

The three of us have a 20+ year history that gives me joy every time I think about it.

I first met Fred in the suburbs of Boston at Yoyodyne in 1996. It was also the first time I met Seth Godin. I had just started working with Softbank and had been commanded to go to Yoyodyne and do “due diligence” by Charley Lax. I had no idea what Softbank or Charley wanted in the way of due diligence, so I went, hung out with Fred and Seth, and wrote Charley an email after saying “Looks great – Seth is awesome” or something like that. Softbank (and Fred – via his new firm Flatiron Partners, which was partially funded by Softbank) invested.

I first met Jerry in a conference room at NetGenesis in Cambridge. I was chairman and we has three product lines at that point: NetForm (an HTML form filler that was getting its but kicked by Allaire), NetThread (which was super cool but getting its butt kicked by something – maybe again Allaire), and NetAnalysis, which was the first weblog analysis tool and became the focus of the company. We sold NetForm to a company called Virtuflex (which went on to become Channelwave, which I became an investor in) and NetThread to eShare. Jerry, again through Flatiron (he and Fred had become partners), was an investor in eShare. I joined the eShare board as an outside director. eThread was acquired by Melita International in 1999 after a crazy ride that included a midnight negotiating session on the 173rd floor of some building in midtown Manhattan to try to merge with iChat. I remember walking about at around 2am with Jerry, completely wasted and frustrated. Welcome to 1999.

Over the last 20 years, the three of us have worked on lots of things in different configurations, but I’d put the deep friendship we’ve developed ahead of all of our business deals. We’ve won and lost together, had great moments as well as deep disappointments. But throughout, we’ve stayed best friends.

I enjoyed making the podcast, I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Also published on Medium.

  • My sympathies. Just got back from Pakistan where a good deal of time was spent dealing with ongoing food poisoning.

  • What caused the salmonella? Sushi? Fish? Just curious..

    • The buffet. Probably eggs. At least I didn’t eat the salmon mousse.

      • Salmon mousse… its a trap! yep, eggs are usually a pain.
        maybe some day our devices will be able to analyse this before hand.

      • Monty Python references ALWAYS get bonus points.

  • I feel you man, had bad salmonella just before my most important golf tournament couple years back and had to cancel it unfortunatelly.
    Got it the day before after my practice round from tartar sauce that I had with my schnitzel (because we were in Austria).
    Really sucked.

    On the bright side, maybe if it didnt happen, in the grand scheme of things, I would have never stopped playing and didnt get my company started 🙂

    BTW really like and appreciate your book, helped my understand a lot of things previously unknown to me!

    Cheers from Stockholm,

  • it seems like most every day i think about that story of you and the bagel and Len saying “they can’t kill you and they can’t eat you”. it is so good.

  • Petey B

    Sympathies as well. I got salmonella back in the late 80’s and it was the sickest I had ever been. Lost 15lbs in 3 days on a 160lb frame. Was bordering on being very dangerous. Glad you feel better.

  • Dean Laffan

    Listened to it this week, great episode !

  • Randall Makin

    Thanks for soldiering on in Aust Brad. Even though you were uncomfortable. It was appreciated..and inspiring.

  • What an incredibly insightful podcast filled with interesting anecdotes and help for budding VCs! I hope you will do a weekly podcast!