Getting Help

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I’m on vacation this week, and we have some old friends and their family staying with us.  Last night we got to talking about therapy (like psychotherapy) and how valuable it has been for me over the past few years.

Maybe four years ago I started seeing a therapist on a bi-weekly basis.  There were a few specific things that were stressing me, and also a more generalized sense of anxiety that I wanted to work on.  And then, over the next few years a few specific difficult situations came up that we worked through.  My guy comes from a Zen / mindfulness background, which really works well for me.

When I think about what I’ve been working on and dealing with over the last few years, I can point to this first step of finding a therapist (I refer to him my “shrink”) as the single most important thing I’ve done.   It’s really amazing how much just having someone there to help makes a difference — whether there’s something specific going on, or nothing at all — having someone there to help just unlocks a lot of stuff.

At around the same time, I got a new primary care doctor, and also a new accountant.  Both of whom are amazing and have helped get things in better order, in terms of health and finances.

I remember thinking, back then, “wow, it’s OK to get help with things”.  That may be so obvious to people, but for some reason it really hit me as profound.  For the first time, I felt like I had a great team backing me up, helping me improve on all the things I wanted to improve on.

There is a lot of stigma around getting help, in particular around getting psychological help.  Like, what’s wrong with me that I need this, or why can’t I just deal with this on my own, or with my friends, or with diet and exercise.   It took me a while to take the plunge and get help for the things I needed help with, and I got stuck on all of those questions before I did.

But I can say without hesitation that getting actual dedicated help was the best thing I’ve ever done, and it has really unlocked a whole lot for me.  And if you think about it, it would be ridiculous to expect anyone who wants to excel at anything to do it all alone — the Patriots don’t coach themselves, and Roger Federer doesn’t go it alone either.  In those cases, it’s so obvious that help is good and necessary, and that’s true for your mind, your health, your finances, etc.

At USV, many if not most of our CEOs have an executive coach, and I can’t recommend it more.  A good executive coach can play the role of therapist in a lot of ways, but a dedicated, non-work therapist is a great thing too.

If it’s available, and if you can find it, I’d encourage anyone out there dealing with anything hard to get help from someone good.

The joy of fixing things up

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I am on a plane right now, watching home renovation shows on HGTV, thinking about how much fun it is to fix things up. Doing projects around the house (last year I built an exterior staircase and made new kitchen countertops, the year before that I built a mudroom), coding and buding apps, and working… Read more »

Getting in over your head

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I was out last night with some of the little league coach dads, and we got to talking about whether it’s better for our kids to be bumped up a level (but be at the lower end of skills/experience) or stay back a level and have a chance to really excel.  The consensus was that… Read more »

For web platforms considering a token strategy: cryptocurrency vs. dollars?

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A lot of founders / teams have been asking if they should be adopting a cryptocurrency strategy.  This is understandable given the frenzy of fundraising recently and the ongoing dialogue about the potential for cryptocurrencies as an alternative business model for web platforms. As “traditional” web & mobile platforms explore this option, there are a… Read more »

A little better every day

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I just got done coaching my son’s baseball practice. It has been amazing to watch this group of 7 and 8 year olds improve over the course of the season – learning the fundamentals and now starting to make some pretty great plays. I had a great baseball coach as a kid.  I’ll never forget the… Read more »

Entering the world of smart contracts

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One thing that’s interesting about yesterday’s Basic Attention Token sale is how quickly it went – $36M transacted in 30 sec. Lots of people were surely disappointed as they attempted to buy into the token sale only to have their orders canceled for missing the sale window. I haven’t nailed this down for certain, but I suspect… Read more »

Mechanics of the token sale

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In case you missed it, today Brave raised $36M for the Basic Attention Token.  They had allocated 30 days for the token sale, but sold out of 1B BAT in 24 seconds. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) ICO just raised 30 million dollars in 24 seconds. VC’s didn’t even have time to put on a sweater… Read more »

Open source leadership vs. corporate leadership

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As cryptocurrencies and blockchains have continued to gain steam (and attract capital), a common question in the air is, what type of leader does it take to be successful in this space? A common variant on that question is: “will [leader] need a grownup in the room once they get ahold of all that money from… Read more »

Regulating source code

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As more areas of our economy become computerized and move online, more and more of what regulators need to understand will be in the source code. For example, take the VW emissions scandal: These days, cars are an order of magnitude more complex, making it easier for manufacturers to hide cheats among the 100 million… Read more »

Cryptocurrenices: the native business model of attention

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There has been lots of attention this week on cryptocurrencies and blockchains, what with Consensus conf and the Token Summit and lots of related announcements. And with like lots of new things (thinking back to Twitter circa 2010) I find myself spending a lot of time explaining to people what blockchains and cryptocurrencies are, and… Read more »

The Service Recovery Paradox

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I’m writing this from a plane.  I’ve been in the air for an hour and everything is fine, but for a few minutes before the flight, things weren’t fine.  At roughly the time we were supposed to board (on an already late in the evening flight), the gate attendant came over the mic to announce… Read more »

Complicity

I had an interesting experience today.  As I was in the air on my way to San Francisco, I got a text from my Airbnb host saying that they had made a mistake and accidentally double-booked my room.  I ended up taking their offer to cancel and booked a hotel room (at a steep increase… Read more »

Flexing the platform for good

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been touching base with many companies and individuals in the tech sector to understand how they are reacting to the current political environment. Every company and community (of users, customers) is different, with its own sensitivities, priorities, and goals.  So it’s been really interesting to understand the very wide… Read more »

Cycles

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It’s clear that right now we are in a moment of upheaval and turbulence, that seems to have come upon us very quickly.  Pretty much everyone I know has been wrestling to unpack this for the past several months. I’ve been trying my best to understand the worldview of Steve Bannon, who is clearly an… Read more »

The Public Data Layer

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I have been thinking a lot lately about the increasing importance of the “public data layer” — meaning, data that we will need (“we” applied broadly, meaning the general public, NGOs, government, scientists, journalists) to make sense of what’s going on in and increasingly busy, but increasingly quantifiable world. First, some of the drivers here…. Read more »

Experience ↔ Design ↔ Policy

People often ask me how I ended up working in venture capital, and more specifically in a role that deals with policy issues (“policy” broadly speaking, including public policy, legal, “trust & safety”, content & community policy, etc.).  Coming from a background as a hacker / entrepreneur with an urban planning degree, how I ended… Read more »

Unintended Consequences

I’ve been struck recently by the power and surprise of unintended consequences. For example, a recent Slate article digs into flip side of the life-saving potential of automated vehicles: our reliance on car crash deaths for organ donors: “An estimated 94 percent of motor-vehicle accidents involve some kind of a driver error. As the number of… Read more »

Going after it

I’m in SF this week with the USV team – once a year we all come out here together, do a bunch of meetings and social events w our portfolio. Yesterday struck me — and it’s amazing how much of a surprise this is to me, after doing this nearly 5 years — with just… Read more »