My Back Pages

For many years, I have been a reader of this blog. I’m excited, and humbled, by the opportunity to now be a contributor and to announce here that I have joined Union Square Ventures.

In early 2007, when I joined up with John Borthwick and began discussing something that would later be called betaworks, we spent hours talking about how the next phase of Internet growth – that was social at its core and operated in real time – would change every way users experienced and distributed media and content. So, we built a business that focused on end-user participation, data openness, two-way content creation, community and connectedness. John had the foresight to understand how meaningful these concepts would become and how to translate them into some awesome products.

Now as part of USV I’m working with an amazing and diverse group of people who are dedicated to transparency in thinking, open dialogue and deliberation as process principles, and a belief in the power of networks created by the Internet. USV’s goal is to find and support people and companies with that same set of principles.

The USV “thesis” is remarkably similar to that of betaworks, only reduced to a more appropriate 140 characters. Given that overlap, we co-invested with USV numerous times over the years, from Tumblr to to Kickstarter and more.

My friend Nina Khosla once told me that when thinking about the web, she gets most excited not by the services that offer the greatest utility but by those that create meaning for users. She writes: “What web product last made you cry as you used it? What web product makes you laugh on a regular basis? What web product brings you new friends? What web product makes your other friends closer? What web product creates new interests for you? What web product allows you to actualize on your passions?”

I’ve been lucky to have built and supported a few services that answered her questions. Now it’s time to find some more.