Thank you, Andrew Parker

Andrew wrote a post yesterday about leaving Spark Capital.

While this was known to many of us for the last few months, seeing the words written out yesterday made it real I suppose.

I first met Andrew when he was an associate at Union Square Ventures. We worked together on the Tumblr investment and also another company called Bug Labs. Both in NYC.

A few years later when Andrew called me to say he was leaving USV/NYC and heading to Boston because of his wife’s medical residency program. I am pretty sure we made him an offer on the spot. If not, maybe a few minutes later.

He introduced me to Joel Spolsky which led to our investment in Stack Overflow and Trello. Andrew also led our investment in Carta as well as many other extraordinary companies.

From the earliest days at Spark, Andrew always made it his work to serve the entrepreneur and to be a guiding light at our firm.

Over the last decade of working with him, I know Andrew to be one of the smartest and more importantly finest people I know. I am grateful to call him my partner and will always be part of Spark.

Thank you, Andrew for everything.

New Orleans

We made a brief weekend trip to New Orleans last month. I don’t know the city well but between recommendations from Twitter friends and Foursquare we found some amazing places to eat and listen to music.

It’s a very cool city with incredible architecture, art, food and of course music. Even though our visit was short, I am glad we had the opportunity to explore outside of the French Quarter (especially during the day). The Garden District and the six mile walk down Magazine Street was wonderful.

I’m not sure when we will get back to New Orleans but I hope the next visit is longer.

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(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw, Leica M3; Film: Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Tri-X 400; Developed and Scanned: Richard Photo Lab)

Beyond Facebook for photographers

It’s a reoccurring message.

Photographer friends of mine are moving on from Facebook and feeling social media fatigue. My friend Om recently wrote about giving Flickr another chance. And Jakob is leaving social platforms and returning to his blog.

I get it, although I’m not there. I do feel fatigue at times and as a result I deleted my Facebook account completely last month. I still participate on Instagram and my beloved Twitter most days. I feel like the value of community is very much worth it for me. But I am careful about who I choose to follow and engage with. And I’m paying more attention to my usage with screen time.

One thing I do feel is under appreciated in this online discussion about photography are photography books. Five years ago my bookcase had very few photography books. Today I have a few dozens, ranging from photo books created by friends of mine to the iconic books from Robert Frank and HCB. Last week, my friends Johnny and Rebecca Patience sent me A Life In Pictures featuring Steve McCurry’s work. It’s an absolutely a joy.

So if you find yourself a little tired of online life, get to your bookstore and pick up a few photo books. You will be glad you did.

Weekend in Vermont

Last month, Lauren and I spent the weekend in Vermont to celebrate our anniversary.

With each visit, we are reminded how much we adore Vermont. The wide open spaces, beautiful mountains and disconnected from city life. The perfect place to get outside and explore, or just sit by the fire with a book and a hot cup of coffee.

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(Color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra 400. Black and white photographs made with a Leica M3 and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab). 

Jack Dorsey’s thoughtful discussion with Sam Harris

Jack Dorsey was recently interviewed on Sam Harris podcast.

Now in full disclosure, I like Jack a lot personally and professionally. And I was on the Twitter board of directors and remain a shareholder. But I have very difficult and mixed feelings about Sam Harris.

I enjoyed Sam’s insightful & provocative book Waking Up a great deal. But while his intellect and insight are remarkable on many topics, his views on guns (written shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre) and Islam are really tough for me to handle. I personally know a number of folks that like Sam so I’m trying to look past my serious discomfort and yet coming up short.

Okay with all of those disclaimers/disclosures out of the way, what I really want to talk about was Jack’s discussion with Sam.

The conversation was really excellent. Sam pushed Jack to explain their policy and why they ban certain behaviors and certain individuals.

Without addressing any specific individuals, Jack made it clear that Twitter doesn’t ban people based on a given tweet. They ban based on behavior (publicly and privately on the platform). I’m not sure that will ease tension amongst the alt-right paranoia but it does attempt to demonstrate that these banned users are doing more than what meets the eye. Furthermore, I believe, while Twitter makes mistakes, they deserve the benefit of the doubt based on their track record.

Other items Jack shared that I thought were interesting:

-Twitter increased the character count from 140 to 280. It turns out most tweets are under 140 characters but the replies often can require 280 for more nuance and context. That sounds like a very healthy thing.

-There was a lengthy part of the discussion that centered around the making conversations on Twitter healthier. Jack was super focused on this.

-Jack discussed his desire to do things out in the open and the benefits of learning in public

-Jack feels that the “like” button is empty and would rather see something else.

I’ll end this post with my favorite Jack line from the interview.

“I want to get to a world where people are walking away from Twitter feeling like they learned something new that benefits them”

Well said. Great discussion. Highly recommend it.