Becoming a leader of men

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In terms of leadership, I’ve done some hard things.  Building teams, reorganizing a company, dealing with failure (and success), letting people go, navigating competition, etc.

But I suspect all of that will pale in comparison to what’s up next: this weekend I begin my career as a little league coach.  Starting Sunday, I’ll be leading a troupe of 5, 6 and 7 year-olds (including my son) on a journey to understand and enjoy the game of baseball.

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the coaches I had growing up, especially when I was really little. (I didn’t start playing baseball until I was 8, which is pretty different than 5, so I don’t have any direct comparisons to go on for this).  The more I think about it, the more I respect the coaches I had as a kid.  In particular the volunteer dad coaches (including my own) who had never done it before, and probably had no idea what they were doing either.

I’m really excited and also nervous.  As much as I played baseball as a kid, I honestly never really thought about it from the coach’s perspective.  From fundamental things like “hmm, what actually happens in a baseball practice” and “what are you actually supposed to teach 6-year-olds about baseball” to more subtle things like “how do build a good ‘bench culture’ that is lively and supportive”.  So there is a lot to figure out.

Not to beat a dead horse about the Internet being awesome, but already I’ve started to find some help online.  For instance, as Theo and I have been watching more baseball recently I’m realizing how actually complicated it is, and one question in particular has been tough to explain: force outs.  So I googled “how to teach kids force outs vs tag outs” and lo and behold I came across an excellent post on teaching the difference between a force out and a tag out, from a blog on teaching baseball to kids (with the tagline “Read how I fail so you don’t have to”).  Thank you Internet!

So, off I go.  If anyone has any tips on being a good coach and building a good/fun team — in general or for tiny person baseball in particular — I would love to hear them.

Dropbox and personal data

More and more, recently, I’ve been noticing web services that use Dropbox for storing user data.  For example,1Password, OneName and Diaro. With all the talk about user control of data, data liberation, privacy, etc — I actually feel like this is is a super nice approach, at least for some use cases. I am more comfortable… Read more »

The sweetest pitbull

I had crazy week last week. On Monday, I went to NYC for the day for work, and was overcome by a strange dizzy feeling.  Walls spinning; hard to concentrate; nauseous.  I thought — maybe I’m just dehydrated. I took a rest during the middle of the day; I drank a lot of fluids.  I made… Read more »

The open internet and the freedom to innovate

I spent the last two days in meetings with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his staff, discussing their proposed Open Internet rules (aka net neutrality).  Monday’s meeting was with a group of NYC VCs, and Tuesday’s meeting was with group of NYC startup CEOs and GCs. Coming out of these meetings, and after working on this over the past several months, a… Read more »

Joi’s 9 principles of open innovation

I spent the day Tuesday at the Civic Media conference, put on annually by the MIT Center for Civic Media and the Knight Foundation.  In addition to being a gathering of a fabulous community of civic hackers and builders, it’s also where Knight announces the winners of the NewsChallenge grant contest each year (here are… Read more »

The FCC open internet vote

Yesterday, the FCC met to vote on its notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the Open Internet.  As was generally expected, the commission voted, along partisan lines, to move forward with their plan for Open Internet rules — a plan that, as currently designed, would allow for fast lanes and slow lanes on the Internet.  (You can see the summary fact… Read more »

FCC’s response to the VC open internet letter

Over the weekend, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sent a response to the letter that over 100 VCs and angel investors submitted last week.  In the letter, we stressed the importance of an open internet as a foundation for the stunning levels of investment and innovation we’ve seen in the internet applications sector over the past… Read more »

Defending the open internet

Over the past few weeks, the future of the open internet has come into sharp focus, as the FCC’s 2010 open internet rules were struck down in court, and then plans for new rules from the FCC came into public view.  Amidst fears that the internet is f**ked, debate has raged about what this all… Read more »

Turning 35

Today I turn 35. 30 was certainly a milestone, but somehow 35 feels more solidly different than 30 did (or maybe I’m just 5 years in to being used to 30-level grownup-ness).   Closer to 50 than to 20.  Gives me shivers thinking about it that way. For a while now, it’s seemed that every… Read more »

I don’t know how to shop anymore

The sole is starting to peel of from my snow boots, so I’m in the market for some shoe goo or Gorilla Glue.  I’d really like to get it today because the flapping sole is getting annoying. As I was thinking about this just now, I realized that I don’t know how to shop anymore…. Read more »

Total freedom in exchange for total surveillance

Today I signed up for TSA Pre-Check.  I gave the some (rather minor) details about my background and scanned my fingerprints.  In two weeks, I’ll get a known traveler ID, and will then be able to skip the line and keep my jacket/shoes/belt on when traveling domestically. Convenience in exchange for surveillance.  It’s a trade I’m gladly… Read more »

Pond hockey

Happy New Year everyone. I love new years.  It always feels to good to turn the page and have a shot at a fresh new year. And new years in New England is always so so cold — which I think really helps mark the beginning of the real part of winter and the turn… Read more »

Pebble: first impressions

Last week, having been inspired by (of all things) this awesome and awful samsung gear commercial, i ordered a Pebble smartwatch. I can’t remember the last time I wore a watch — maybe it was 20 years ago in high school.  My standard line for the past 10 years has been “why do I need… Read more »

Winning on trust

“It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go round.” — Joseph Stiglitz, In No One We Trust The week before last, I visited Yahoo! to give the keynote talk at their User First conference, which brought together big companies (Google, Facebook, etc), startups (big ones like USV portfolio company CloudFlare and lots of way smaller ones), academics,… Read more »

Momentum on my mind

A few weeks ago, Brian asked Brittany and me: “do you think it’s better to build your career around skills or around ideas?”. Brittany immediately said “skills” and I immediately said “ideas”.  We argued about it for a few minutes, and ultimately we both agreed that skills and ideas are both important (duh) and that you can… Read more »

The Regulation 2.0 challenge

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining Meetup.com GC David Pashman‘s NYU Law class on Internet and Business Law for Technology Companies as a guest speaker.  Over the course of the past semester, David’s students have played the role of internet company General Counsel, working on a variety of legal and public policy issues — everything from… Read more »

Competitors at the time

At USV, we talk a lot about how the landscape is changing, as more entrepreneurs and investors get behind the idea of building networks around problems, communities & verticals.  And that means that we are seeing more competitors in each space we look at, especially compared to what it looked like when USV invested in… Read more »

The no list (or, do less better)

Saying no to things is something I’ve always been bad at.  I have always been (and to some extent, have prided myself on being) more of a “why not” guy than a “why” guy. This has many of advantages — I’m open minded and I end up doing tons of interesting things w interesting people…. Read more »