Brad Feld

Month: October 2006

24 Is Almost Here

Oct 24, 2006

The Season 6 Trailer is up.  Jack is “almost” back.

As I was reading NY Times Science section today in the bathroom (the only place I bother reading physical newspapers and magazines anymore) I came across a superb explanation of the Periodic Spiral.  As a young nerd, I was fascinated with the periodic chart and – even though I didn’t like chemistry very much (I was a physics guy) – I spent hours staring at it.  I could easily lose an entire day to the Shockwave version of the Periodic Spiral.  Did you know that strontium has a molar mass of 87.62 and that Y (atomic number 39) is yttrium?

On Friday, I did a podcast with David Cohen and Kimbal Musk on angel investing.  David and I have done a few angel investments together (Solidware Technologies and ClickCaster), I’ve got a long history of angel investing (over 50 since 1994), and I’m an investor in Kimbal’s new company Me.dium (part of my “dynamics of information” theme.)  Plus – we did the podcast at The Kitchen – my favorite restaurant in Boulder – which happens to be owned by Kimbal and was previously the location of some of my “for-profit philanthropy” in the form of a previously failed restaurant called Triana (once hot – now not.)  So – there was plenty of “angel karma” in the room as we talked.

David’s show notes do a good job of summarizing the podcast, as does Scott Converse’s post Is Angel Investing good? (Scott is the CEO of ClickCaster.)  My favorite line is that some angel investment is like “for-profit philanthropy.”  Fortunately – a number of the angel investments that I’ve done – including several with my good friend Will Herman – have been successful – making all the for-profit philanthropy ones nice tax writeoffs.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to raise angel money, or an angel investor, or someone considering being an angel investor, I recommend a listen to the podcast.

CNET has an article titled Putting blogs to work for Wall Street about one of my investments – Collective Intellect.  I imagine Don Springer – Collective Intellect’s CEO – either smirked or grimaced when he saw the subhead “Collective Intellect has a goal: Make bloggers work for The Man.”  Don, his partner Tim, and the Collective Intellect team have been working on part of the “dynamics of information problem” as applied to public company information.  It’s hard and intriguing stuff that they are well suited for after their tour of duty at WebMethods by way of the acquisition of their first company – Dante Group.

Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002 and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.  Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written an essay called After Pat’s Birthday that everyone should read regardless of their political ideology – and reflect on what Kevin has to say.  Thanks Dick for pointing it out.

Once again, Google announced financials that are incredible.  If I’m on the exec team at Yahoo or Microsoft, I’m having a drink tonight wondering what I’m doing wrong and what dramatic moves I can make to try to regain some momentum and take some of it away from Google.  Hint – publishers, publishers, publishers.

I Love My Mother

Oct 19, 2006

I received the following postcard from my mom today.

Love ya mom.

I’m not in Steve Wynn’s league, but I’ve definitely damaged some of my own art (think dropping it on the ground, putting tape over the corner of something and watching the painting peel off when the tape is removed, and the occassional scuff mark.)  So – it was with horror (and a gret deal of sympathy) that I read Nora Ephron’s amazing story of watching Steve Wynn accidently put his elbow through Le Reve – a Picasso painting that Wynn owns that he had just agreed to sell to Steven Cohen for $139 million.

Now – that’s throwing an elbow that even Charles Barkley would be proud of.  Wynn was apparently incredibly gracious – merely exclaiming “Oh shit.  Look what I’ve done.  Thank God it was me.”  While I would have substituted “fuck” for “oh shit”, I’d like to hope I would have had the same calm reaction.

The New Yorker had a good interview with Wynn on this.  He’s decided to keep the painting.  In the face of $139 million and an incredible Picasso, it appears that Wynn kept his cool the whole way through.  Wow.

I finally had my bizarre TSA / toothpaste confiscation experience.  It was bound to happen – I’m just surprised it took this long.

Yesterday I went through security at DIA.  Like a good little traveller, I had put my toothbrush, toothpaste, and bacitracin (for the cut on my knee that is still healing) in a small ziplock bag.  I took the ziplock bag out of my carry on bag and put it in the grey storage tub, along with the contents of my pockets, my shoes, my laptop, my spare laptop battery, and my coat (ok – it was three tubs.)  The person behind me bumped me and pushed my stuff forward as he was trying to undress and get all his paraphernalia into a tub.

I went through the metal detector and got a polite wave from the TSA screener.  I then stood and waited for my bags (and tubs).  And waited.  And waited. 

Eventually, the TSA guy came over holding my little ziplock bag.  He asked if it was mine.  I said “yup.”  He said “your toothpaste container is 4 oz.”  It was a Tom’s of Maine plastic see through container and it was obvious that it was less than half full.  I responded “yes – but there’s not 3 oz of liquid in there – my guess is there is less than 2 oz.”  The nice TSA man responded “I’m sorry – but if the container is larger than 3 oz, it’s not permitted.” 

While I was a little baffled, I was cutting it close and didn’t really feel like arguing.  So – I shrugged.  My TSA friend then said “if you’d like, we can mail it to you.”  I responded that I thought this was a poor use of taxpayer dollars and he should feel free to either take it home with him or throw it away.

At my hotel (The W in Seattle), I asked them if they had any toothpaste.  I now have a very nice micro-toothpaste tube (1 oz) that I expect I’ll have no trouble smuggling onto the plane later today.