Bird by Bird

Sometimes things can get overwhelming. Tasks can seem too big to even begin. This, of course, is not true. Every journey begins with a single step, etc. My wife recently pointed me to this great passage by Anne Lamott which puts it yet another way: ‚ÄúThirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years… Continue reading

Cryptographic Identity

Last week I wrote about the inherent tension between data portability and privacy, and suggested that one solution would be an exportable “privacy context” that could travel with ported data. Such an approach, however, would require a notion of identity that is broader than a single account at a single company. Rather, it would require… Continue reading

Data Portability and Privacy

Earlier this week, I spoke at a Justice Department / Stanford conference about antitrust issues in the tech sector. Our panel included Patricia Nakache from Trinity Ventures, Ben Thompson from Stratechery and Mark Lemley from Stanford. If you are interested you can watch the whole thing here: The main point I tried to make was… Continue reading

Proof of Transfer (PoX)

Last week, the Blockstack team formally rolled out their proposal for a new mining mechanism for the Stacks blockchain called Proof of Transfer (PoX). In addition to the blog post, you can read the full PoX white paper and the Stacks Improvement Proposal (SIP-007) that details the idea. PoX is a way of building new… Continue reading

The Friendly Wake-up Call

Last year around this time, I had a major medical scare which shook me pretty hard. The details don’t matter, but the takeaway was that afterwards I felt lucky to have not had a more serious problem, despite a bad situation that was totally avoidable. I dodged a bullet. It was a wake-up call. Last… Continue reading

Getting Alignment

I am flying home from Europe today (by way of Reykjavik) and as a result, have a lot of time to catch up on things. I have spent the bulk of the day writing up a handful of strategy docs relating to some of our portfolio companies and subsequently chatting about them. In every endeavor,… Continue reading

Water

I am in the Netherlands this week, catching up the Leap engineering team which is based here in Utrecht, and attending an IoT conference that Helium will be at in Amsterdam. I have always loved it here, primarily because of the close relationship to the water. The Dutch have for centuries harnessed the water, both… Continue reading

Regulation and the Tech Industry

Azeem Azhar has a great post up about the brewing conversation about regulation and the tech industry. There are two main points that stand out to me: 1) In digital systems, ML/AI and data network effects create feedback loops that enable the biggest companies to keep getting better, faster: and, 2) Regulation favors large incumbents… Continue reading

Mutuality

7 years ago on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, I wrote this post about the ideas in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Today I went back to the letter and re-read it, and a different section stood out at me, one that is really profound well beyond the context of civil rights: “Injustice anywhere… Continue reading

Digital Bearer Assets

I spent time over the past few days with several entrepreneurs who are building crypto or “web 3” applications well outside of the financial space. One of the takeaways for me was of the important role that digital “bearer” assets will play in creating new experiences in web 3. By bearer assets, I mean that… Continue reading

Broadening Access

I spent the morning today at MTA headquarters, judging the “Accessibility” category of the NYC Transit Tech Lab competition, organized by the Partnership for NYC. Here is the view from the 20th floor of MTA HQ at Bowling Green: Ostensibly, the theme of the day was accessibility in the sense of things that could improve… Continue reading

Form, Storm, Norm, Perform

I was out with some friends over the summer, one of whom is a college soccer coach, and we were talking about what it is that makes great teams great. I love talking to to coaches and people who have played for great coaches (just ask Ryan about how I always bug him for Coach… Continue reading

The Discuss on Twitter WordPress Plugin

Discuss on Twitter is a WordPress plugin that uses Twitter as the commenting system for your blog. I’ve been developing it over the past few weeks along with Fred Wilson and Kirk Love as part of the launch of AVC 3.0 which went up yesterday. It’s currently live on this blog, as well as AVC… Continue reading

Iterating from Scratch

A few years ago I wrote about one of my favorite product sayings: “Half, Not Half-Assed“, which comes from my favorite book on product development & teamwork, Getting Real (from the team behind Basecamp). I actually first got hooked into this thinking when I saw one of the Basecamp founders, Jason Fried, talk at a… Continue reading

Automated Personal Finance

Today I’m finally switching off of Capital One because of their broken integration with Plaid. For those who don’t know, Plaid is a service that makes it easy for apps to connect to your bank account. So, if you want to do anything interesting that your bank doesn’t offer (spending analytics, smart transfers, etc) and… Continue reading

Write, and Go Outside

I am feeling reflective at the beginning of this new year, as often happens to me. Today and yesterday especially so, as the kids are back to school but USV is still on break, so I have a few really free days to catch up, reflect and think. I’m about to go out on a… Continue reading

Getting Right for What’s to Come

Fred and Albert just posted their annual posts on predictions and issues to tackle for the coming decade. Both are great, and thinking about all that we will need to do to in the coming decade is both inspiring and intimidating. Before I can even think about those kinds of things and how to approach… Continue reading

Adversarial Interoperability

As I make my way through the various predictions & reflections that accompany the new year, one stands out: the EFF’s 2019 Year In Review, entitled “Dodging Bullets on the Path to a Decentralized Future“. I have long been disappointed that there have seemed to be two separate and parallel conversations going on: the “traditional”… Continue reading

Slides: Crypto @ Harvard Kennedy School

Last week, as I have done for the last several years, I gave a guest lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  The class is DPI-662: Digital Government: Technology, Policy, and Public Service Innovation taught by my old friend David Eaves and the topic in recent years has been on Cryptonetworks and Blockchains. I… Continue reading

The Butter Thesis

At USV, we talk a lot about our investment thesis.  The USV thesis is a set of ideas that has guided our investing over the years.  It is a tool we use to help ourselves know what to look for, and to help companies who fit into it to find us. Despite all of the… Continue reading