Archives / June, 2008

Any search groupies out there?

I’ve been mulling over a few ideas in search advertising. Curious if anyone out there has come across any companies innovating in the search value chain (I’m thinking about things like Yield and Clickable). 

Just the beginning

In case there was any doubt how far advertising on the Internet has to go, consider that The University of Phoenix is the single largest brand advertiser on the Internet (with some $20m in monthly spend, which is pretty minimal in the context of brand ad spending) and that Internet advertising per household (dollars spend on online advertising divided by total US households) was $288. Compare that with $818 on newspapers (or just over $1k on "direct telephone") (sourced from Mary Meeker’s TechTrends June 2008).  We’ve got a long way to go, baby!

Inside the Foundry psyche

There are a couple of posts up this morning that I’d like to point you towards. The first is over at Mendelson’s Musings (written by my partner Jason Mendelson) that talks about our work with Nancy Raulston, our team’s executive coach (direct post link here). I’m fortunate to work with a group of partners that believe (as I do) that part of building a great firm is building a strong foundation for communication and feedback. We take this work very seriously (starting with the 360 degree review that Jason describes and continuing twice a year at team off-sites where we Nancy facilitates a group review) and even base a portion of our compensation on this work (literally putting our money…

After the no

Last month I wrote a post that tried to share the venture perspective of turning down a deal (see "Saying ‘no’ can be hear to do").  In that case I was referring to a specific deal that was particularly hard for me to turn down, although in the post I was trying to generalize to the many potential investments that we take a serious look at but don’t end up closing.  While there’s typically less anguish around it, saying "no" to deals is something that occurs with frequency inside any venture firm. The comments to this post got me thinking about the other side of the equation – specifically what should entrepreneurs who have built up a relationship with a…

My new Netflix Roku rocks

Pardon me for believing that Netflix introduced their new movie streaming box just for me, but with my DVD player recently dying and my Netflix account basically wasting away how could I think otherwise when Netflix rolled out the ability to stream movies directly to my living room.  The fact that it had an HDMI output (which happens to be the only spare cable I have running from my TV at the moment) was just gravy. Seriously though, I was pretty stoked to add this to my account (and for only the cost of a $100 piece of equipment).  I know the hard core Apple users out there are going to tell me I should have bought the AppleTV thing,…

Don’t be afraid of maps

I’ve spent a bunch of time with a handful of the TechStars teams in the last few weeks. The first week of TechStars was a complete whirlwind (lots of new people to meet, presentations from a bunch of big tech vendors, learning the lay of the land in Boulder, etc).  Now the teams have caught their collective breath and are starting to realize just how quickly the summer rolls by when you’re creating and building a business. While it’s fun to run and gun during the early stages of business formation, I’ve always been insistent that the teams that I work closely with map out their work for the summer early on. It’s not something that’s set in stone but…

Me on w3w3

I was recently interviewed by Larry Nelson from That piece is now up on the w3w3 site, and is (in my humble opinion) worth a few minutes to check out.  I talk about what it’s like to work at Foundry Group with Brad, Ryan, Jason and Chris as well as about the role of company advisors (inspired by recent posts from this blog on that topic – here and here).  Enjoy!

Plugging my partners – Soul Patch in Boulder on June 21st

While I’ve always dreamed of being a rock star (who hasn’t?!?), my partners Ryan and Jason actually are (at least when they are done with their day jobs).  I wrote about their recent Soul Patch album here.  The guys are playing a gig on June 21st at Redfish Brewhouse in Boulder.  They start at 930pm – sharp.  It’s a onetime event, as the band resides in Boulder, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  I told them that I’d shamelessly plug their gig on my site as payment for missing the show.  Like Brad, my wedding anniversary is the 21st and I won’t be in Boulder that night. If you go, take pictures so I can see what I missed!

Life without email?

For most technology professionals (really most professionals of any kind) email is so integrated into our work that we can hardly imagine life without it.  Sure, it can be a distraction at times and – especially if you carry a wireless device – hard to escape from.  But it also greatly enhances productivity, allows us to communicate quickly and effectively and to have asynchronous interactions with a great number of people.  I know in my own work life I send and receive between 200 and 300 emails a day.  And since I’m already tied up on the phone or in meetings for at least 5 or 6 hours in any given day, email allows me to be significantly more productive…

The role of company advisors (Part II)

Part II of a series of guest posts by Gerald Joseph on the role of company advisors. If you missed it, see Part I here. There are various types of advisors with differing skill sets and motivations. The key is to work with Advisors that have skill sets that help solve your company’s current and near-term problems. Here is a fractional categorization of the various types of Advisors Startups usually encounter in the Venture community. The Researchers – these are the inquisitive minds we find in Academia. They are our professors, faculty advisors, and fellow students. They ponder the proverbial "What if’s?" and "Why not’s?" that are responsible for much innovation. They are best utilized during the product/service development, design,…