Roundabout Discovery of Scorpions

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Technically, this entire post should really be a comment on someone else’s blog (you’ll find out which blog and post in a minute). Given how wordy I always am (this will be no exception), I couldn’t bring myself to even find out if I would be allowed to post such a big comment…

For sure, it wouldn’t be fair to his readers, who want to interact with him, to be taken in an entirely different direction by me.

Buried in this post about watching video podcasts on my iPod Nano was a mention of my dinner at Grand Central Station. Dinner that night was with Jamie Thingelstad (there, I’ve outed you Jamie). Jamie was the CTO of the first company I ever invested in (BigCharts), sold to Marketwatch, which was sold to Dow Jones, which was last week sold to News Corp.

Jamie still works there (though he left for a bit in between). Jamie brought along Jim Bernard who is the general manager for Marketwatch (now under News Corp’s control). Jim joined BigCharts more than a year after I invested, and I had not met him before that dinner, because we sold it to Marketwatch 14 months after my investment.

At dinner, we discussed a very wide range of topics. Among them was blogging (all three of us blog at least semi-regularly). While I’m a VC by profession (coming up on my 10 year anniversary of my first investment in two months!), I only blog about personal stuff.

Jamie mentioned that I should check out Fred Wilson’s blog (at the moment, the site loads very slowly on my very fast Verizon FiOS link, so have some patience, it’s definitely worth it!). This morning, as a follow-up, Jamie sent me an email with the link to Fred’s blog (obviously, he wanted to make sure that I read it) πŸ˜‰ and to Jim’s as well (linked above).

Trusting Jamie on nearly all matters (the one notable exception is his failed attempt to convert me to a Mac user) πŸ˜‰ I happily clicked over to Fred’s blog to take a peek. I have known of Fred for a very long time (from his Flatiron Ventures days), being a fellow New York based VC, but have never run into him directly.

The top post on Fred’s blog today (it might not be by the time you read this) is about giving in order to receive. It’s a wonderful thought, and there are some thoughtful comments on it as well, that are worth reading. That said, while I completely agree with the sentiment, and I practice it in all things every single day, in my personal experience, it doesn’t apply as well to the world of VCs as it appears to have worked for Fred.

For a quick disclaimer, you can read the testimonials on my site (they are ancient, as I haven’t bothered to update them in years), to know that I am not a vulture capitalist, and I truly care about and try to work very closely with my portfolio companies. I put in more personal sweat and blood than most people I know, as does my wife and partner, Lois.

My experience is that many (perhaps even the majority) of entrepreneurs aren’t all that interested in advice. That’s too harsh. They are interested in hearing it, so that they can have the appearance of a rounded view, but they became entrepreneurs because they knew best, and by golly, until they fail, they are going to do it their way. This doesn’t make them bad people, just stubborn, and sometimes, assuming ill-motives to advice givers, even when obviously undeserved.

Even that’s not the real reason for this long comment on Fred’s post. πŸ˜‰

As you can tell from my tag cloud, the two things I post about most often are Poker (I don’t write anything interesting, so if you’re a poker fan, don’t bother looking for advice, I just summarize my personal results to keep myself honest) and Music. Music (in particular live shows) have become a passion (bordering on obsession) for Lois and me over the past few years.

So, while reading through the giving to receive post and the associated comments, I see that John Maloney posted a link to the following YouTube video of the Scorpions. Given my penchant for Music, I clicked on it before reading the remaining comments (which I came back to later). I immediately liked what I saw/heard. I then watched another dozen videos by them and liked every one of them.

Then the big surprise. I see a video called Rock Me Like A Hurricane (performed by the Scorpions). I am plenty old enough to know that song really well. Obviously, not well enough to know it was by the Scorpions. πŸ™ In fact, I would have (foolishly) guessed that it was someone like Van Halen.

So I am now officially a Scorpions fan, and definitely want to see them live. I just checked their site for tour dates, and they just finished up a swing in India. Missed them by that much

I am also now officially a fan of Fred Wilson’s blog (the rest of the posts are interesting as well!), and I have now subscribed to it as well.

Thanks to Jamie for (unwittingly) introducing me to the Scorpions (and, oh yes, to Fred’s blog as well). πŸ˜‰

Of course, this brings Fred’s original post topic into clear view. I gave money to Jamie’s company, BigCharts, and through Jamie, I received the link to Fred’s blog, which led to the discovery of the Scorpions. Cool! πŸ™‚