I had a number of interesting conversations today, first at our weekly blogger’s breakfast in Berkeley, then with Rex Hammock at T-Rex, and then with Nick Denton at Barney’s in Berkeley. I watched the President’s speech and the followup with Republicans and Democrats. Then I got a direct message from Fred Wilson saying he was going to write about Iraq, to which I responded, glad to hear it!
Through all my discussions today I’ve been telling a story about Fred Wilson.
I’ve only met Fred once, we had a dim sum lunch in July in San Francisco. We’ve also had several back-channel discussions, some pretty intense. And of course I’ve been reading his weblog for a couple of years. How well do I know Fred? Not that well, but then consider the possibility that Fred is one of the leaders of his generation of tech investors. Compare how well I am getting to know Fred as compared to say John Doerr, the VC of the previous generation who I knew best.
In the past, the most I would have heard was a quote or two in a business publication maybe three or four times a year. The quotes would pass through N levels of filters, reporters, editors, copy editors, etc. How different that is from the way things work today, when I not only hear from Fred on a daily basis, but I also see pictures of people he meets through Twitter and Flickr, bits of music he likes, and random thoughts on the non-tech issues of our day, such as the war in Iraq.
In talking with Denton, who runs Valleywag, which gets a lot of flow, but doesn’t run ads (something I had never noticed before), we agreed that some things don’t change. There are still hierarchies of people, stars and gossip about stars, but something important has changed. Now we have the means to go direct, and that truly is an important difference.
And more and more I believe that the plan I outlined in 2000 and 2001 for making money on the Internet is the way it will shake out. It will be important to feel our way through it, and realize that the power we have to learn about each others’ lives and minds and feelings and foibles, is just the beginning of the changes the new environment is bringing about.
Postscript: Fred Wilson’s post about Iraq.