May 6 2007

Fanboy

Shortly after reading an article in the NY Times this morning by Bob Morris titled Global Yawning I received the following email from a reader of this blog:

I’ve noticed that I am skipping your blog posts with increasing frequency.  The reason is that the “What a great team! What a great product!” posts about your portfolio companies seem to be an increasing proportion of the total (it may not be true – I haven’t run the numbers – but “perception is reality” anyway).  At this point you may write a post that says that Newsgator is a crappy company but all I will see is “Newsgator” and I will move on.  As an entrepreneur, I would love to have such a dedicated, high-profile investor-evangelist. However, as a reader I feel that the “advertorial” content is starting to chip away at the foundation of your otherwise excellent blog.

Well said my friend (and thanks for the constructive criticism.)  It’s often difficult (at least for me) to walk the “fanboy line.” I always try to say something useful / educational when I’m cheering on my companies, but I’ll always acknowledge that I’m also promoting them.

The juxtaposition to Global Yawning hit me over the head.  Morris has an excellent essay with the killer quotes “How much green-standing can we stand?  It’s enough hot air to melt Antarctica.  In no time, an inconvenient truth has become an obnoxious one.”

I’m a huge environmentalist.  I have a conservation easement on all of my land in Colorado.  I’m on the board of the Colorado Conservation Trust and am actively involved in helping conserve land.  I was “green” well before green was in. 

But I’m now lost in noise and can barely read anything about global warming right now without my inner cynic coming out.  It baffles me that people fly across the country in private planes to prostelitize about being carbon neutral.  Morris points out some new problems with ethanol (more smog than gasoline) and mercury in the newfangled compact fluorescent light bulbs that create a different environmental problem.  Magazines increase their difficult to recycle page count with endless articles on how to be more green while advertising products that are most definitely not environmentally friendly.

I haven’t spent the time to separate fact from fiction – nor am I going to – but the dynamic is overwhelming to me.  When the noise overwhelms the signal, it’s time to take a giant step backward and look at what is going on.

I’ll keep being a fanboy for things I care about, but I’ll be more conscious about telling a story while I’m doing it.