Explaining Southern California's economy

The iPad and long-form blogging

Apple Unveils Updated iPad In San Francisco

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In the first product release following the death of Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. introduced the third version of the iPad.

Regular readers of the DeBord Report know that I'm a big fan of/occasionally exasperated by Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist and avid blogger. Fred is a partner at Union Square Ventures in New York, with investments in companies like Foursquare, Disqus, and my new favorite search engine with a silly name, Duck Duck Go.

But Fred also blogs every single day without fail. Recently, he tackled the question of whether mobile devices can replace laptops for workers on the go. For some folks, they already have. I ran into our CEO in the elevator a few weeks back and somehow got to discussing my new briefcase. "This is my briefcase," he said, brandishing his iPad. 

It used to be inconceivable that you'd leave home without your laptop, especially if you had heavy content production on your agenda. I've heard tales of bloggers who can do their thing on tablets and even smartphones, but for the majority, I don't think the adoption of laptop alternatives has been that aggressive.

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Invest with James: Spreadsheets for kids — for real

Matthew DeBord

James can't wait to get his hands on a spreadsheet. Right after he gets done with Angry Birds.

Another great post from Fred Wilson, a successful venture capitalist and partner at Union Square Ventures in New York. This one has nothing to do with startups or high-risk/high-reward finance and any of the nice juicy VC stuff. This one is all about...budgets. Budgets...for kids! Here's Fred:

For a long time, probably the first fifteen years of our life together, [my wife and I] lived paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes it was two paychecks, other times it was one. For a brief period as I was starting Flatiron, it was none. I got shingles that year.

As our income went up and down, our spending had to do the same. I created "fredsheets" that we looked over, debated, discussed, and then adjusted and signed off on. Then we created budgets so that each of us would live to these spending plans. It worked. We always made it to the next paycheck. Many times by the skin of our teeth.

In the second fifteen years of our life together, we've had the pleasure of living in a different financial situation. But we still use budgets. We created budgets for our kids which they live up to. We created budgets for our real estate projects, our angel investing, art collecting, and so on and so forth.

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Watch out, Southern California! New York wants to do biotech, too

The guy in the video above is Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and a partner at Union Square Ventures in New York. (He also a very active and disciplined blogger.) I've blogged about Fred and his thoughts a few times here at DeBordReport.

Watch the whole thing to get a sense of his views on engineering, startups, VC — and where New York might be headed in terms of developing a more diverse startup community.

One of the things that means is biotech.

Biotech is a startup industry that Southern Californian already does and does well. Biotech is our version of Silicon Valley and information technology. And that's good, because biotech could be the next big thing. I went down to Orange County earlier this week to find out how and dropped by a new biotech incubator, TechPortal Orange, at the UC Irvine Medical Center.

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How to succeed in business: Get technical?

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José Goulão/Flickr

A meeting of computer programmers.

On Monday, I posted about a new startup called Codeacademy and whether it makes sense to think of programming as an essential skill, right up there with reading and writing and math. I based the post on thoughts offered by Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, at his blog, A VC.

But another USV guy, Andy Weissman, also posted on Codeacademy (at the separate USV blog) and commented on my post (making good use of Disqus, a commenting technology that USV has invested in). 

Yes, it's a bloggy, bloggy world.

Anyway, as if on cue, this story appeared in the New York Times — it's all about how the advertising business is desperate for people with "quantitative" skills:

A talent gap is growing between the skills that many new advertising jobs require and the number of people who have those skills. The dilemma, one familiar to many industries across the country, is particularly acute for jobs that require hard-core quantitative, mathematical and technical skills....The talent pool, advertising technology company executives say, is not a deep one. And those who have the skills are in high demand, often fetching annual salaries that can reach $100,000.

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Fred Wilson says we should all learn to program. Maybe not...

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Oli Scarff/Getty Images

People work at computers in TechHub, an office space for technology start-up entrepreneurs in London, England.

I've mentioned Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist and principal at Union Square Ventures, before. Not because he's a noted VC with some big strikes outs, as well as some big wins, in his background, but because he blogs every day and generally blogs very well.

Mind you, he often blogs about companies in his portfolio, including most recently, Codeacademy, an "online resource for people who want to learn to code," according to Wilson. In reading his blog, A VC, I find myself disagreeing with some of Wilson's positions, but he always seems awfully sharp on tech, tech culture, and the world of venture investing generally. He's obsessed with clarity and isn't afraid to share the nuts and bolts of his profession. He doesn't get gobs of traffic and many, many comments (using Disqus, an excellent system we have here at KPCC and that USV has invested in) for nothing.

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