Thursday, October 21, 2010

Event At Hunch: Angel, Super Angel, VC

Fred WilsonImage via WikipediaFred Wilson and Chris Dixon remind me of each other, although I met Chris only for the first time yesterday, and it was my second time meeting Fred in person, although it feels like I meet him near daily since he blogs daily, and I drop by when I can. I greeted him at the very outset - "Hello Fred, so very good to see you" - and then pretty much left the space for the crowd. It felt like an AVC community thing to do. We already meet you most days, let others have a go at you now.

Fred is a VC. Rather, AVC. He is the most visible VC in the city, and one of the most visible in the industry. He is the only VC in his league who blogs daily. That makes him special. Fred has single handedly played a huge role in demystifying his industry. By now many more VCs blog regularly. I wish the contagion upon the flock of tech entrepreneurs. Actually I am exasperated there are not any top tech entrepreneurs who blog daily.

I admire Fred greatly. There are so many tech companies I got so excited about only to learn later on Fred had invested in so many of them. He has a super eye for his sector. He has a creative knack for opportunities that arise. He embodies excellence. I raised 100K round one for my pre-recession tech startup that was not web services. Now I a plotting on a microfinance tech startup that is not in his web services domain either, strictly speaking. So my admiration of Fred Wilson is not work on a potential work relationship. It is an appreciation of excellence and a good person. Bottom line, the guy is a legend in the industry.

For the longest time I thought the Wilson in Fred's name was Anglo. I still thought that after meeting him. Then one day in a comment at his blog he talked about his children having been raised Jewish, and how he is not a religious person, and I am like, so the Wilson is like the Ellison in Larry Ellison then. (Larry Ellison) I have actually liked him even more since, even though the politically correct thing is you should not be reacting to such details of someone's identity.

The mobbing of Fred Wilson that I thought might happen did not happen, it perhaps happens at conferences. This was a more intimate crowd. Fred knew many in the crowd. Many in the crowd knew each other. These were not people who were not going to meet Fred again in another setting. So there was basic sanity and decency.

Chris Dixon is a tech entrepreneur. He is CEO of Hunch. Hunch is not as talked about as it deserves to. It is the leader in the intuition search space. As the content on the web keeps growing exponentially, the intuition search space is going to become more and more important. So Chris is in a sweet spot, although he might have to wait a little while for a FourSquare like buzz. That buzz might never even come. But the value of the
Image representing Chris Dixon as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBasecompany will keep growing, stack over stack.

On his daily work on Hunch: "Some days are good, some days are not so good."

On Fred Wilson on gender: "Fred is a good guy."

What interests me more about Chris Dixon is not his leading tech entrepreneur status, but his super angel status. That is a new breed, and has been making a lot of news the past few months. The concept is so cutting edge even Paul Graham blogged about it only a few days back.

Chris Dixon is a super angel to watch.

Chris and Fred are on excellent personal terms. Tech is like politics in that both arenas have a thing for drama. And fights make for drama. And so there is talk of super angels and traditional VCs going at it. The truth is the entrepreneur will be best served in an environment where the angels and the super angels and the VCs are constantly talking to each other and building relationships. That would be the best investment environment in which to take a tech startup from birth, to early stage, to middle stage to late stage and possible exit.

So Fred and Chris getting along great is hopefully a trend, and not an anomaly.

Change The Ratio: Fred Wilson, Rachel Sklar

In The News

TechCrunch: Free As A Bird: Initial Thoughts After A Day With The New MacBook Air

New York Times: D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution: it’s not only presidents and United Nations officials who chip away at global challenges. Passionate individuals with great ideas can do the same, especially in the age of the Internet and social media..... One of the world’s largest grass-roots organizations is India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association, or SEWA..... anybody wrestling with poverty at home or abroad learns that good intentions and hard work aren’t enough. Helping people is hard. ...... Finally he told her she had to choose: him or the Congolese women. ....... An extremist Hutu militia invaded Namburho’s home a few years ago, killed her husband, raped her and then hacked off her leg with a knife. Then the soldiers cooked the flesh from her leg and forced her children at gunpoint to eat it. When her beloved oldest son refused, they shot him in front of her. ...... It’s one thing to support women rebuilding their lives, and another to see them emerge as leaders. ..... One man told her to put down a sign with the word “rape,” because he found it offensive — and all Shannon could think was that it should be even more offensive that so many Congolese women are raped. ....... the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools ....... It was an impoverished area, yet Nepali refugees were pouring in and sleeping on the bare ground, fleeing civil war in their country. Doyne couldn’t imagine what kind of conditions would be so bad that people would flee to where she was.

Clarence Thomas’s Wife Asks Anita Hill for Apology: Ms. Hill claimed that Mr. Thomas had repeatedly made inappropriate sexual comments to her in the workplace, including descriptions of pornographic films. Mr. Thomas denied the allegations and called them “a high-tech lynching.” ..... referring to Ms. Hill as “my most traitorous adversary” and asserting that liberal advocacy groups stooped to “the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct” to block his ascent because of his conservative views.

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Interview Excerpts: President Obama

Hacker News | Startup School 2010 Talks (videos) (Justin.TV) (YouTube)

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