Here it is Sunday night, less than 48 hours before…

Here it is Sunday night, less than 48 hours before Pre-Term starts, and I am still working on one last deal in Seattle over Labor Day weekend. Did we really move? Shouldn’t I be out partying or something in preparation for the next two years? Instead I am on the phone at 9:30 tonight trying to close one more person for a startup team. As with so much in the startup world, timing is everything.

We just returned from hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in Canada with our good friends Eric and Kim. Wow! The hike was like a huge adult jungle gym, complete with eight story ladders down to ultra-narrow swinging bridges, knee-deep mud pools that slow you down to a kilometer per hour, and the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen. The varied terrain and obstacles, not to mention that we did it in four nights, made the trip a real challenge. Pictures soon.

Sep 6, 2004

We arrived in Palo Alto on Saturday evening after …

We arrived in Palo Alto on Saturday evening after an 1,100 mile drive from Seattle! Life is as much about the journey as the destination, so we stopped off at Mount St. Helens, Crater Lake, and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Camping under the Redwoods was wonderful – but in the end we really just wanted to get to our new home. I’ve owned several condo’s – but never a house. Four walls and a roof never felt so good. Not to mention which, the location can’t be beat. We have a yard that’s big enough to garden but small enough to maintain. A house we can paint our own colors. And restaurants, shopping, parks, and friendly neighbors all within walking distance.

Our old friend Home Depot is a mere 7 minutes drive away. Next to Grandma’s apple pie, there’s nothing quite as comforting as seeing the same old aisles of home improvement materials just where you expect them to be.

It’s decidedly enjoyable working on deals up there (Seattle) while down here (Palo Alto). I’ve become a much better phone person given a few days off email and a slow link till the DSL gets turned on. Ironically, but not surprisingly, people respond much faster on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, I love email, but there’s nothing like a voice on the other end to get things done.

A real exercise in concentration and focus, every minute counts. Time is the most valuable asset; do you take the time to enjoy painting or pay someone to do it? Garden or hire a gardener? I think we’re making good trade-offs while enjoying and customizing our new place. Not much school lately, but I’m sure that will change soon.

I see that Blogger now provides integrated Google AdSense for bloggers. Martin Tobias and I have been discussing this for a while – and now Blogger’s done it. So we don’t have to do the code manually any more. Monetizing blogs — this is just the beginning.

High speed wireless Internet at the Lexus dealer in Redwood City. I almost wanted to bring my car back in again tomorrow so I could surf the net without pain.

Had lunch with a very interesting individual working in the systems management space. I was introduced to Mr. X, as we’ll call him, by a VC down here. We’re working in related but I think complementary areas. It’s always fascinating to hear another entrepreur’s perspective on raising capital, hiring people, and the speed (or lack of speed) at which business moves.

Speaking of lunch, no move to a new city is complete without a short commentary on the food. Restaurants – so far very good, and LOTS of ‘em! Three Seasons was a B. Very tasty food, pricy, sporadic service. Sushi Ya at 380 University Ave was a B. We never have high expectations for sushi because we’re used to Izumi in Kirkland, Washington, which has some of the freshest fish anywhere. But Sushi Ya is a place we’d go back to for a reliable Japanese dinner.

Aug 24, 2004

We’re moving tomorrow! It’s amazing how much stuff…

We’re moving tomorrow! It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in even a two bedroom place living there for two years. I can only imagine after we have two dogs, three kids, etc. Yikes!

How do you evaluate a moving company? Perhaps Judy’s Book, which Ignition recently funded will provide answers. The devil’s advocate in me asks: Why isn’t this just an extension for Zagat’s?

One incredible disappointing part of the moving process is the whole way that real estate transactions are handled. Lots of paper to be signed and notarized. This is my fifth real estate transaction and I don’t understand why the escrow people continue to get things wrong – your zip code, your mailing address, your closing date, etc. etc.

The other amazing thing is that 2 real estate agents earn 3% each on the transaction. That’s $30K on a $500K place. The agent I used here, Lacey Clark at Source Real Estate, only charges 1.5%. Seems like the real estate sales market is ripe for some agressive pricing.

Aug 17, 2004

OK so it’s not exactly a free golf membership. It’…

OK so it’s not exactly a free golf membership. It’s only $38K per year, or approximately $104 per day.

Aug 15, 2004

I met with Yatin Mundkur today, a GP at Telesoft V…

I met with Yatin Mundkur today, a GP at Telesoft VC, who clued me in on what I am really getting for my MBA dollars. You guessed it, yes: A cheap/free membership to the Stanford Golf Course!
I had heard this before, but sometimes you need to hear things a few times to really get them. I better work on my game.

All kidding aside, Yatin is a great guy. We talked about systems management software and I am a firm believer that there is a lot of money to be made bringing the maturity of management tools seen on other platforms to Linux. Problem is, many of the smaller companies out there have an interesting feature, maybe an interesting product, but that is it. They have a hard time really scaling sales. A very interesting play would be to do a rollup of five or six or ten small management companies/products into one larger entity and turn that into a real systems management powerhouse on Linux. If you see someone doing this, just remember, you saw it here first! If you’re interested in doing it, drop me a line; I’d love to work with you and I’m sure Yatin would too.

feinleib AT

Aug 10, 2004

First of all, I did read Snapshots From Hell, The …

First of all, I did read Snapshots From Hell, The Making of an MBA. Yes, economics, and statistics, and modeling, and all those sorts of things can be hard. But is that really the point of an MBA? It’s a useful skillset to have but if that’s all you get out of your MBA, and I say this, having not even gone to one day of class, you’re really missing out. That said, it’s worthwhile reading this book just because it’s another data point to use perhaps not in figuring out whether to get an MBA, but how to make the most of the experience while you’re there.

Second of all, the most frequent question I get when I tell people or remind them that I’ll be at Stanford this fall is, “Dave, tell me again, WHY are you getting an MBA?” I’m sure there’s a certain set of MBA students for whom making the decision to go back to school was very easy. Their employer is paying the bill. It’s a great opportunity, etc. There’s also another set for whom the decision was very difficult. The decision is difficult because you have to ask yourself, “What is the opportunity cost of going back to school?” Or perhaps more importantly, “how can I most effectively turn that cost into tangible, quantifiable benefit?”

I have three reasons for going back to school:

1. Traditionally, even though I’m a business guy now, I’m still thought of by many as a technologist. An MBA says, “you’re a business guy.”

2. I got in to Stanford and have always wanted to go there. Why Stanford? I’m an entrepreneur and investor and there is so much activity in that area going on related to Stanford that it’s the obvious choice.

3. I’ve always felt I’ve never taken enough risks in my life. Venture investing is about making calculated risks, about removing as much risk as possible from the deal. Going to Stanford follows that principle. It’s a way for me to try something new and different, to vastly expand my network, with minimal risk.

Now for the good stuff, GOSSIP.

- Yes, we did buy a place in Palo Alto and sell our place in Seattle.

- Yes, I am working on a new company in the enterprise software space. And I’m interested in hiring engineers to work on it.

- Yes, I went to LinuxWorld to see what was happening there and the turnout was amazing. More on that in a later post.

- Yes, I get some really interesting reactions when I tell people I am getting an MBA. These two were diametrically opposed:

General Partner, VC firm: “Dave, the first two people I ever fired were both MBAs. One was from Harvard, the other was from Wharton.”

General Partner, VC firm: “Dave, you have to go. This is absolutely the best thing you will ever do.”

feinleib AT

Aug 6, 2004

I’ll be covering three areas here over the next tw…

I’ll be covering three areas here over the next two years:

1. My experience as a Stanford GSB student

2. Interesting people, startups, ideas, and technology

3. Gossip.

Stay tuned!

Aug 6, 2004