Brad Feld

Month: January 2008

Today’s WallStrip might be the best ever.

Julie and her friends act out what people that are heavy into public equities are thinking.

A day doesn’t go by without yet another stupid software patent appearing.  At least people are writing about them. 

Amazon (via just received a patent for Error processing methods for providing responsive content to a user when a page load error occursPrior art disclosure only goes back to 1999.  This one should be easy to gut if anyone feels like it.

The best part about this patent are all the entertaining comments on Slashdot about it!

Barking at SEO

Jan 30, 2008
Category Technology

If you don’t know what SERP is, don’t bother reading on.  But – if you care about where your site shows up in the search engines, take a look at Ted Rheingold (CEO of Dogster’s) post on Recommended Free Online SEO ToolsI’d spend some time on this but I’ve got to go pet Brooks.

Intense Debate just did another release and wrote up some of the features in their post Comment System MakeoverThey are on a regular release rhythm (about twice a month) and pushing a lot of new features and performance enhancements.

In an effort to be recursive, please leave me comments on your experience with Intense Debate as a user as they are looking for as much feedback as they can get (both good and bad is helpful.)  And – if you have a blog, while you are adding Lijit as your search capability, give Intense Debate a try as your comment replacement system.

I love it when companies I’m an investor in use an acquisition strategy.  My good friend and long time co-investor Fred Wilson calls it a "venture rollup."  It’s very different than a traditional "rollup" or "consolidation" (which is typically revenue based.)  Fred described it really well when talking about NewsGator’s acquisition of FeedDemon in 2005.

When he (Feld) finds a sector where he’s early in the development of the market, he gets in, figures it out, builds a management team, and then gets busy convicing others to join the party. That’s the play book for the venture rollup.

Todd Vernon – Lijit’s CEO – talks about why BigSwerve is important to him.  While BigSwerve is a tiny company (the founder Raj Bala and some outsourced developers), they’ve done some very interesting things that address my Dark Matter of the Blogosphere thoughts from last summer.

As a special bonus, if you want to see the magic of Lijit, continue reading.  When I started writing this post, I remembered that Fred had coined the phrase "venture rollup" a while ago but I couldn’t remember what post it was on.  I went to his site and did a search via Lijit on "venture rollup feld".  The first result was the post I wanted.  I then went to Google and did "venture rollup feld".  No where in sight.  I then did "a vc venture rollup feld".  Result #4.  Lijit wins. 

If you have a blog and don’t use Lijit for search, try it and make yourself (and more importantly – your readers – happy.  And to those of you out there that want to add to the blogosphere’s dark matter and tell me the period goes inside the quotations, I know – it just looked funny because of the hyperlinks.

How I Describe Alaska

Jan 29, 2008
Category Places

When people find out that I’ve spent a lot of time in Alaska, they often ask me what it’s like.  After struggling to describe it in a simple way that anyone in the lower 48 can relate to, I finally came up with something several weeks ago.

Alaska is an order of magnitude larger than Colorado and has an order of magnitude less people.  Plus it has an ocean.

A company I have a small investment in has been struggling to get the most recent version of their software shipped.  A few weeks ago I ran into the CEO who grabbed me and said "we are almost ready to go live."  I looked at him and said "when is the release."  His answer was "Friday."

I gave him a Bronx cheer and said "when on Friday?"  He looked at me like I was an alien.  I clarified – do you mean "12:01am on Friday, 4:59pm on Friday, or 11:59pm on Friday."  I then clarified some more: "and I mean in Mountain time."  We agreed that 11:59pm on Friday was a good time (which they missed, but they got it out a few days later.)

At my first company (Feld Technologies), our client base got to the point where we were often doing multiple releases of different software on a weekly basis (we were a custom software company but used a very traditional software engineering approach to our projects.)  For a long time, we used dates to mark releases (e.g. "Friday.")  After way too many 11:59pm releases (where our clients definitely were not sticking around the office to wait for us) and missed Fedex deadlines (this was back when you had to Fedex the disks to the clients in another state because modems were too slow to transmit the files), we learned that a release has both a date and a time.  We also learned that the external release is – at the minimum – date + 1 of the "internal release" especially on systems with live data.  We also learned that the only appropriate days of the week for a release are Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.  I’ll let you guess as to why this is.

As I work with new startups and first time entrepreneurs, I see people learning this lesson over and over again.  I think it’s just going to be part of the endless education of new software entrepreneurs that you never really learn until you are in the real world.

Who is That?

Jan 27, 2008

I have a handful of chronic grammar problems.  I received the following email yesterday:

You seem like an intelligent guy.  But you insist on referring to your friends as, "that."  If you’re not just trying to fit in by using bad grammar (as everyone else seems to do), show everyone how smart you really are.

"To all my friends that are . . . ."
"Since they are the ones that . . . ." 
"(Name) that is . . . ."

How about using the word, "who" instead of "that" when you refer to people?  "My friend who will be . . . ."  "To all my friends who are . . . ."  "Since they are the ones who . . . ."

To which I responded:

I have 12 grammar problems.  Then / than, who / whom, accept / except, …., and that / who!  Thanks for calling me out on it – I’ll try harder but given that I’m 42 and can’t seem to get my brain wired for these few things, I’m probably screwed for life.

Thanks oh vigilant grammarians for keeping me on my toes.

While I’m usually amused by the copyright gaffes I see, I laughed out loud when I saw that Google News was still Copyright 2007 (thanks to dschwartz for the tip.) 

Dear Mr. Google: It’s almost February 2008.  Oh – and make the date a variable! 

I guess I should be nice since I’m sure some of the companies I’ve funded haven’t fixed (or variable-ized) the copyright dates on their site.