Brad Feld

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Making The Rounds

Feb 10, 2009

I’ve been spending more talking in public recently.  I always try to be accessible to entrepreneurs and spend time in interesting venues where I learn something, but I hate conferences.  So it’s always a balancing act for me to participate, be “content”, but not use up 100% of my extrovert energy and end up hiding under a table somewhere trying to recover.

Last week, I did the first of my podcast series with Phil Weiser.  If you don’t know Phil, he’s a one of the most significant assets that CU Boulder has and has become a very close friend.  He runs the Silicon Flatirons program, is a professor at the CU Law School, is driving a lot of entrepreneurial activity at CU, and is co-chairman with me of the Colorado Governor’s Innovation Council.  Phil asked if I’d endure a long series of questions over a handful of interviews with him and I said yes, so he is publicly interviewing me on a variety of topics of his choosing, with questions he makes up and doesn’t tell me in advance.  The first interview was titled “Feld on Finance” (I’m sure someone will enjoy the alliteration) – you can read the summary or listen to the podcast if you are interested.

Immediately after the interview I attended and participated in last week’s Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup.  This has turned into an incredible phenomenon – over 400 people attended.  Hats off to Robert Reich for starting this up and stewarding it through its growth into something remarkable that should be on the must participate list for anyone in the Boulder / Denver area interested in software / Internet entrepreneurship.  At the end of the night, I took questions from the crowd for about thirty minutes.

I then headed to Los Angeles to spend a few days supporting Amy in some of her activities at Wellesley, including some very exciting stuff we are involved in with Wellesley and Madeleine Albright (Wellesley ‘59).  We’ll talk more about that soon.

I decided it was pointless to have a weekend so I spent Sunday causing trouble at the Silicon Flatirons’ Conference: Imagine the Internet’s Future.  Rocky Radar has an excellent summary of Day 1 (Sunday) and Day 2 (Monday – which I didn’t attend).  I just saw a draft of Phil Weiser’s post conference summary – it’s very provocative and captures the issues extremely well so I’ll link to it separately when it’s up.

Monday morning I went to a top secret meeting in downtown Denver that I can’t talk about because I was told a bunch of times that it was confidential.  I do think I can say that it involved a cross section of the business community, but titled strongly toward “big companies” / “traditional businesses” vs. tech / entrepreneurship.  I found it fascinating in direct contrast to the events of the previous week, especially the entrepreneurial ones that I had been at. While the room was filled with very smart and experienced people, I was amazed at the negative, oppressed, and almost helpless tone.  It stood out in stark contrast to the entrepreneurs I hang out with, who recognize the challenges of the macro environment, but are optimistic and determined to make stuff happen, regardless of what’s going on.

To cap it off, on Monday afternoon I heard some remarkably great news out of NewsGator.  The company just continues to land huge customers at a crazy fast pace.

The sun is starting to come up – I am so pleased to be alive.