Let’s Get Weird, a SXSW Interactive Recap (2014)

Tech Zulu Event

As we know, long gone are the days of experiencing SXSW Interactive with just 9,000 other tech entrepreneurs and business brights – with 30,000 registrants in 2013 and the final numbers for 2014 still in the works. I know what you’re thinking. A recap? Of SXSW? That was ages ago!

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One million HTTP RPS without load balancing is easy


40 threads and 256 connections Thread Stats Avg Stdev Max +/- Stdev Latency 247.05us 3.52ms 624.37ms 99.90% Req/Sec 27.89k 6.24k 50.22k 71.15% 31173283 requests in 29.99s, 3.83GB read Socket errors: connect 0, read 0, write 0, timeout 9 Requests/sec: 1039305.27 As we and our collaborators prepare Round 9 of our Framework Benchmarks project, we had an epiphany: With high-performance software, a single modern server processes over 1 million HTTP requests per second.

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How I Got the Monkey Off My Back – Today Was a Good Day

Both Sides of the Table

As a result I didn’t write my first venture capital check until March 2009 – exactly 5 years ago. I divided success into the phases of venture capital and 18 months into writing my first check here was my view (details on each in the link above).

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The Case for Optimism and Risk at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

There is a battle between entrepreneurs who try to change the world and solve a meaningful problem and those who write take-down pieces with no apparent personal benefit other than attention. Mark Suster (@msuster) November 1, 2014.

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The Changing Structure of the VC Industry

Both Sides of the Table

Limited Partners or LPs (the people who invest into VC funds) have taken notice as 2014 is by all accounts the busiest year for LPs since the Great Recession began. Just 3 years ago there was talk of institutional investors “not being able to write small enough checks.”

The Silent Benefits of PR

Both Sides of the Table

Of course you need a new angle to get a journalist interested because they don’t simply want to write what everybody else has covered. In the write up of our success I was quoted as saying, “If I had $1 dollar left to spend on marketing I would put it to PR.”

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Why I Look for Obsessive and Competitive Founders

Both Sides of the Table

This blog started from a series of conversations I found myself having over and over again with founders and eventually decided I should just start writing them.It Obsession. The drive to succeed at all costs.

The Audacious Plan to Make Electricity as Easy as WiFi

Both Sides of the Table

It’s true the some VCs have started writing so many checks that they resemble stock pickers but the majority of us still have less than 10 board seats at any time and tend to go pretty deep so the result is that we care deeply about where we commit our time.

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Why Has LA Suddenly Gotten So Much Attention from VCs and Entrepreneurs?

Both Sides of the Table

” in 2014 the data seems pretty conclusive because LA has now become the fastest growing tech startup region by numbers of companies being started and those of us here have noticed this pace accelerating. An abbreviated version of this post appeared yesterday on TechCrunch.

What is the Definition of a Seed Round or an A Round?

Both Sides of the Table

So VCs started writing some smaller A-rounds. Marc Andreessen kicked off another great debate on Twitter last night , one that I’ve been talking about incessantly in private circles for the past 2-3 years – what actually IS the definition of a seed vs. A-round.

Why Your Startup is More Likely to Succeed if You’re Authentic and Passionate

Both Sides of the Table

In my Twitter bio is says that I’m “ looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs ,” which almost sounds like I was just looking for a cliché soundbite to describe myself.

Want To Live Life With No Regrets? Follow These 43 Life Lessons


Jackson Brown sat at his kitchen table, pulled out a pad of paper and began writing advice to his son, who had just entered college. A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. In the Fall of 1990, H.

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A Great Discussion with @skupor @davemcclure @msuster on Changes in the VC Industry

Both Sides of the Table

I wrote my version here and Scott wrote an excellent write-up of his views here. Mark didn’t get a chance to talk about that topic but since he’s writing about himself in third person here he can confirm that is 100% the strategy of Upfront Ventures.

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Finding an Investor Who is in Love with You

Both Sides of the Table

I write this because I know how difficult it can be to find a potential investor and to decide with whom you’d like to try to work. I often talk about what I’m looking for when I meet with an entrepreneur.

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Understanding the Underbelly of Online Marketing & Why You’ll Lose if You Don’t

Both Sides of the Table

You might write a piece now and then that catches fire but there is nothing repeatable that would be useful for a business. Simply write a great book?

What I Would Look for When Choosing a VC – Knowing What I Know Now?

Both Sides of the Table

So I thought I’d write about out with what I would look for in a VC knowing what I know now and why. Picking a VC is hard. You don’t really have much to go on to decide who would make a good fit. Reputation of firm? Of partner? Deals done in your industry?

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Killer Potato Salad Kickstarter Campaign Raises > $41,000


At the time I am writing this, he has enticed nearly 6,000 backers to commit over $49,500, and counting. For those donating at the $20 "POTATO MADNESS" level, Zack will, "write a (personalized) potato-salad themed haiku." So far, Zack will be writing 4 haikus.

The “inciting incident:” Movie scripts tell us how and when to look for investment.


None of the angels in my group is likely to write a check without hearing and believing a story about how something dramatic is about to happen. By David Steakley. If you are a screenplay writer, you are familiar with the dogma of the inciting incident.

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Equity financing: great for rapid growth startups


This class of investor typically writes checks from $50,000 to $250,000. We’ve spoken of financing a young company through friends and family, known as “inside angels.” There are three classes of equity investors for early stage businesses that we have not yet considered.

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How GoToMyPC Kicked pcAnywhere’s A$$


I hesitate to write about design, as I have never considered myself to be a "color or font" person. A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Noted American architect Frank Lloyd Wright famously cautioned his design disciples that form should not compromise function.

Epic Fail: Worst Networking Call Ever


If that were the case, I would not have been provoked to write this article. A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. I just suffered through the worst "can you help me" call of my career.

Why Most of Your Assumptions About Phone Calls are Wrong

Both Sides of the Table

billion by 2014. Only naive people believe that but for inexperienced entrepreneurs you can be fooled into the narrative by the press who sometimes write stories without the actual data.

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Early stage money: The problem with PPMs


In most cases, those entrepreneurs choosing to raise capital using PPMs retain specialists (many of whom are lawyers) to write their PPMs – a rather expensive undertaking. By Bill Payne.

Here’s What President of textPlus @Nanea Reeves Has to Say on Leadership, Mgmt, Women in Tech

Both Sides of the Table

I’ll try to get write-ups shortly but for now here is an overview of my interview with Nanea Reeves – President and COO of textPlus. Just back from vacation and also some work travel and want to get back to blogging so expect a few posts over the next couple weeks.

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Use “switching costs” to your marketing advantage.


Pull out a piece of stationery that had been sitting unused for over a decade and write in longhand? Know the cost to move from your existing platform, and estimate the switching costs for moving from a competitor’s product or service to yours.

Why ADD Might Actually Benefit Startup Entrepreneurs

Both Sides of the Table

So I might have to write a document, complete a spreadsheet, handle a negotiation or plan an event but somebody else is telling me when each task is due and we both hold me accountable for my work outputs. ” I write. This weekend I was reading the NY Times online and I came across this excellent piece about ADHD written by Richard Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry.

The Power of Getting the Band Back Together

Both Sides of the Table

You join teams that got good write-ups on TechCrunch, have great VCs, have star CEO’s, whatever. Writing a book will be fun. Startups are hard. You’ve heard that a million times. Those that we survive with become family.

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How do I Really Feel About Anonymous Apps Like Secret?

Both Sides of the Table

” I have been weighing in slowly on the topic over the past few weeks on Twitter but have avoided writing a blog post about it until now. By now you likely know that Marc Andreessen weighed in on anonymous apps in a 12-part Twitter diatribe. Anonymity.

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Why VCs Should Stop Trying to be Perfect

Both Sides of the Table

Sometimes those motives are positive (they really want the chance to work with you, they think you have unique skills) and sometimes they are less positive (their first-tier of “go to” referrals passed on the deal, they don’t want to write another check themselves, etc.).

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Honesty Is An Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon


Write down the three things you want people to remember about you.” A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.

Why Am I So Lucky?

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve seen you write a $10 million check before. I’m a cynic by nature. And I think it pays to be so. I sometimes wish I were an unbridled, happy-go-lucky, assume-the-best-in-everybody sort of chappy. Sadly, I’m not.

How To Snag Lunch With A High-Profile Entrepreneur


His advice is to, "Write a polite email that shows you’ve done some work to understand who they are and what they’ve done, and then say you would like to take them to lunch at their convenience to thank them for their contributions.” A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes.

Burn the bridges behind.


Frank Peters made his money writing software for Wall Street. By Frank Peters. I became an entrepreneur because I had to. My life in Corporate America wasn’t going so well. I never got fired, but I did quit one job the day before I was to be let go.

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Why Venture Capital is So Much More Compelling Now

Both Sides of the Table

It’s not hard to find people willing to write the narrative that “venture capital is not an asset class” or “venture capital has performed terribly.” I hope to publish that deck and a full write up in the next 10 days in partnership with Dan Primack at Fortune (if my write up doesn’t suck, I guess ;-)).

Some Reflections on VC Investment Decisions

Both Sides of the Table

I told my friend that I felt that in 2014 too many new VCs feel the pressure to chase deals, to be a part of syndicates with other brand names and to pounce on top of every startup whose numbers are trending up quickly. I know I can’t be in every deal and I know that the easy part of being a VC is writing the first check in a deal. If an accelerator is writing you they’re also writing 25 other VCs.

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