Thinking about our investments in NYC

Charlie O’Donnell has a post today about the need for more early stage VCs in NYC. He believes there is a significant impact a firm can make if they are local and part of the community.

He also points out that we have been active in NYC and perhaps we should have an office in NYC.

Here are some thoughts that come to mind after reading his post.

0. On a personal note, I love NYC. I grew up in Long Island all the way through high school. My first girl friend was from queens. I went to a zillion shows at CBGBs. I’m also a yankees fan :) My parents still live there.

1. My partner Santo lived in NYC before moving to Boston. He has an apartment there. My other partner Dennis lived in NYC before moving to boston to join Spark. At any given week one of us are in NYC. I’m in nyc today too. (hey charlie: wanna meet at the ShakeShack for lunch :)

2. We are proud of our 10 investments & entrepreneurs in NYC and will no doubt make more investments there. I’m very excited about all of the innovation and creativity in NYC.

3. One thing to clarify from Charlie’s post is that we have made more than 21 investments. Several of our companies are in stealth mode or haven’t been announced yet. So the percentage of our investments in nyc isn’t quite that high.

4. We are about to announce a new addition to the Spark team. He’s another new yorker. He will be based in boston but still keeping his place in nyc and will spend a lot of time there as you can imagine.

5. I’ve been thinking a lot about location and proximity to our investments. Our NYC entrepreneurs tell me that they interact with me and my partners as much as if we were actually living in nyc. That’s good. It’s just not that far between boston & NYC. At the same time consider the opposite where two east coast firms invested in SF-based Twitter. But I am paying attention to this.

6. And while we are active in NYC we invest everywhere and simply look for the best teams on the planet with the best ideas (e.g. we have made 7 investments on the west coast, 2 in CO and even 1 in Ireland).

I think traveling is just part of the job. For all of us in this business. Startups and investors alike.

Love Vigilantes – New Order

I was listening to the Hype Machine the other day like usual and heard a cover of this song that I loved. Brought me back decades. Great song. Here’s the original.

Tumblr Search now searches your entire Dashboard

This won’t mean as much to those of you that don’t use Tumblr.

But if you do use Tumblr v4 beta then you are going to absolutely love this.

Tumblr now searches your Dashboard. Just click the “all posts” link as if you were going to do a Tumblr 3.0 style filter and then you will see the search box.

This rocks.

It would also be killer if it was on the new Tumblr home page.

The work of a critic is easy

The kids watched the movie “Ratatouille” today. They loved it. It’s a cute movie but there was a line I heard today that caught my attention:

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends” (via IMDB)

That line came from the fictional food critic character, Anton Ego, played by Peter O’Toole.

It’s a great quote and something that all of us in the startup world should remember.

Introducing Tumblr Explore

The home page at Tumblr has evolved several times since the company was formed less than a year ago.

It started as a page with the basic info on what a tumblelog is and then asks for email and password and then presto – you have your own site.

The home page then evolved to include a number of new things like Tumblr Radar which are the most interesting & popular things amongst the hundred of thousands of Tumblr powered sites and it included various groups like – Staff Picks, Music, Art & Artists, Sweet Themes, etc.

Tumblr just released a new home and I absolutely love it.

For the person that isn’t a Tumblr user yet, the information is very clear on what Tumblr is and how to get started. Clean and straightforward.

But the coolest thing they launched is a new thing called Explore.

Tumblr Explore shows off the latest posts or you can navigate by color. Stunning.

Within Explore you can also check out Tumblrverse which shows off the latest tumblr posts around the world.

Then there is the music part of the home page where they have teamed up with the Hype Machine to show you what’s hot on the Tumbr and Hype Machine.

With all of this new stuff, they also managed to keep Tumblr Radar and the various directories and groups. And thank god I’m still in the Staff Picks :)

Take a look at Tumblr Explore. This post doesn’t do it justice.

Great job David & Marco !