Every answer exists as long as you can remember it before something else distracts you.
I almost forgot this.
Don’t regret anything that once made you smile
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It all started one summer day in Miami, Florida. I was attending FOWA 2010 for the first time, and in fact my first web technology conference.
I used AirMiles to fly down and was planning to stay in a hostel, but found a nearby private room in a hotel for a tiny bit more so opted for it instead, and it turned out to have quite a lovely view.
It was the second day of the conference and I was running late for a morning workshop. I hopped in a cab and he drove a little quickly but I wasn’t going to complain. I get to the conference building and make my way to the room I was directed to. I walk in and there he is in all his glory - Fred Wilson. He was standing at the front of the room, and to my horror he had already started talking.
I hate being late, absolutely hate it. I’m usually at places well-before a planned time so I have time to relax and feel things out first. Not this time. Fred standing at the front, me standing at the back - everyone else sitting. Shit. I quietly move into a corner to wait for a good time to sit down. There were a few seats available in the small room holding 40+ people, who were mostly keen to hear Fred minus two developers sitting in front of me. They were attempting to quietly discuss bug-fixes they were working on their laptops.
I gave the stare of death to the back of their heads hoping they’d quiet down — eventually it worked… Fred looked irritated by them too.
I had never heard of Fred Wilson prior to discovering the FOWA conference, and then looking at the workshops he was one I know I had to go to. The other workshop I picked was on metrics tracking with Neil Patel of KISSmetrics.
I had wanted to talk to Fred. Something I’m not sure if he had detected was that I was extremely hungover from the night before, thanks to the open bar and excess of free drink tickets sponsored by Microsoft, PayPal, and ???. I don’t normally drink so at the time I couldn’t believe I let myself get that way.
Anyway, my nerves weren’t fully firing so it didn’t feel like it went great but it went okay-enough in my mind.
So I had wanted to talk to Fred — but I wasn’t ready to tell him or anyone my ideas. I was still locked up from having close friends in the recent past starting to do my ideas, and I had been royally fucked over in the more distant past which affected me and my health for many years afterward — why I finally got into yoga.
I just knew I needed to talk to him, whether to start him recognizing me, to get a feel for him, to perhaps start building trust with someone in the evil soul-wrenching business world, or to start to getting over a deeply-rooted fear — I just knew it needed to be done and benefit would come of it.
It was a short casual conversation but important. And I didn’t tell him any of my ideas. I did however tell him of my past of being screwed and that I was locked up by it — I might have even said ‘fucked over’ because of how strong I felt - but I can’t remember now. If I did then maybe Gary Vaynerchuk’s talk the day before had some influence on me …so I’ll blame Gary for my cussing. :P That was my first exposure to Gary as well.
I’m not worried about this at all though. I was being human, I was letting myself feel. I’ve talked him since then and even told him about a dream I had involving him … I questioned myself after sending it, but his reply included a smiley — so maybe he was just being polite or maybe it was a *smile to not offend creepy guy* … But I’m laughing about it now, so I’m happy.
The end thing he said and one of the only pieces of advice he could give based on what I told him was … ”Get a prototype done” … and those words have resonated with me since. Taking into account that you need a thorough, well-thought out plan that’s long-term, and a well-enough developed prototype for someone to understand fully what’s going on and its potential. You also need to be a very strong player of the team you should have been planning for a long time. You need to let them know your potential.
Remember to very heavily put weight in the fact that investors are investing in you — or you and your team — and remember too it takes time to develop yourself and a team. So give yourself the time. If the current idea that you’re learning everything for doesn’t workout for some reason, then you’ve still improved yourself and understanding of things and you will have a better go at whatever you focus on next.
I’d just like to end this in saying Fred seems very genuine in his efforts, and that he’s a feeling and considerate being. Please still do have the understanding and awareness of the toll that business can take on your soul, which brings me back to the advice of enjoy what you’re doing. If you can’t find a way to enjoy it then you should stop. Hell, there were months where every week I would cuss off business and vowed myself to doing and instructing yoga for the rest of my life.
Please make sure you’re aware that investors don’t sign NDAs and there are people out there who don’t care about their karma and will copy your ideas, so try to get a feel for them them over a longer period of time; NDAs are pretty much ridiculous anyways as it has to be worthwhile to sue someone, and it takes a lot of time, effort and energy to do so.
It’s hard to understand that when you haven’t been through it intensely before that you’ll be better off in most cases — when you don’t have many resources anyway — to find a way to personally deal with your anger other than attempting revenge or legal justice — and one good way that I tell everyone, do yoga.
So if you don’t already you should read Fred’s posts at AVC. The commentary sparked by the topics very often are much more valuable than the original insights Fred gives too, so don’t shy away from taking some time to read them.
And I don’t allot myself a lot of time to read blogs right now either but I try to regularly check Mark Suster’s (http://bothsid.es/) and Chris Dixon’s (http://cdixon.org/) blogs as they always have great things to say.
So that’s how my man crush developed and since then every once in awhile Fred will say something on his blog that reinvigorates my said man crush feelings.
Groupon apparently declined a buyout offer from Google of $6 billion.
Google will be able to create and acquire something better for cheaper, and they will still be getting into the game - along with probably everyone.
Groupon making $2 billion a year (if it’s true) and growing that I feel will be difficult. There will be a plateau level, and that plateau initially will be surpassed by businesses experimenting with Groupon and Groupon-like businesses. LivingSocial’s recent $175 million investment is an easy example of competition in the market, and there will be others. There will be other less obvious competition to the Groupon model as well.
There’s a possibility that Groupon has acquisition plans of its own. If they know the game as well or maybe better than Google, then it could make sense to go it on their own. Perhaps they will grow another year or two to try to get higher offer — I mean what’s one year to see trends when the founders probably have already banked a good chunk of millions each already.
Google should invest $1 billion jumping into the market though - or just give that to me…
Also, Groupon might be waiting to IPO. What will the market value a company who grew to $2 billion revenues so quickly at (and with large amount of that being profit)? But my theory is there will be a plateau or ‘normal’ market share that will be settled back down to after the initial excitement and experimenting that is happening by businesses trying it out. This heightened level might last 3-7 years which leaves lots of billions of revenues and profits to be made, but after that it’ll shift.
There’s also the possibility that Groupon has plans for strategic partnerships, however I don’t feel that controlled ecosystems (think Facebook, Apple, etc) are very strong ecosystems long term. With technology now making it so easy to shift services you need to make sure your service (for consumer or business) are benefiting your users 100% otherwise you won’t be able to maintain a sustainable ecosystem.