Venture Cycling through the winter

With some new readership seeing this blog for the first time, and some obvious questions hanging in the air about the content of this blog with the cycling season close to ending for the year here in Boston, I thought I would take stock and share some thoughts.

First, welcome to new readers on the Feedburner Venture Capital blogging network, which I have joined through the kind invitation of Brad Feld, the doyen of VC bloggers.

Today I was witness to a funny moment - bear with me, it is relevant. Sitting in Synagogue (not really a synagogue) one of our members stood up to give the Dvar Torah and approached the lectern. She hesitated and wondered aloud whether or not to use it because it seemed designed for people taller than her. This is a beautiful wooden lectern created by one of our members, and someone jokingly suggested, referring to the carpenter, "David's here - he can adjust it". We all laughed. The lectern is clearly not adjustable - the stand is carved to look like a tree. To make it shorter would require cutting down the tree... And then David rushed up to the front, reached under the sloped surface and to everyone's amazement, adjusted it. (Read on ... the relevance is revealed at the end.)

I have been in the VC world for six years (and on the receiving end, as an entrepreneur, for five years prior to that), but I started this blog just in June of this year, and it is about Venture Cycling as much as about Venture Capital. Venture Cycling was prompted by my involvement in Hazon, a Jewish Environmental non-profit based in NY whose board I now chair. I bought my bike in July and by Labor day weekend was at the annual Hazon NY ride - riding 120 miles over two days finishing in Manhattan. My blog over the summer reported on my training and progress towards this great experience. I have also been blogging about venture capital, and comparing the two activities.

As I bring these two elements of my life into public view on this blog I find it a gratifying experience, because it unifies two otherwise disparate parts of my life: my professional work and my community experience and involvement. Like many (most) venture capitalists, I have always brought strong values to my work, but also like many of us, the underpinnings of those values are not the focus of much attention. This blog allows me to muse and mull how intertwined these are. I am also grateful to another Jewish VC who brings these things together in his blog: Jacob Ner David, who is based in Jerusalem and was recently introduced to me by Yossi Abramowitz (himself a blogger who only has one agenda, but writes inspiringly about it). Jacob writes about his life as a Jew and a VC in a similar way, which is great, and there are others out there doing the same (whether Jewish or not, blogging encourages self reflection and a discussion of values which is refreshing and exciting).

Since this blog is centered on venture cycling, what am I going to write about over the winter? I am sure I will write about how much I miss cycling and about staying in shape to be a stronger cyclist for next year. However, I will continue writing about the VC world and my VC:VC series, about the wider environmental mission of Hazon, as I have been all along, as well as my other whimsical postings.

In the 1990s, before Microsoft was really using the internet, I heard from a Microsoft executive who reported on a finding from the product feature wishlines. These were telephone lines which anyone could call to request new features for the Microsoft products (mostly Windows and Office in those days). He reported that 25% of all requested features were for capabilities that were already available in the products. He was refreshingly self-critical about the already apparent feature bloat and the lamentable documentation, but it was nonetheless an eye-opening moment.

Like today's episode with the magically adjustable lectern in Synagogue, the features we want are often already there, and all you have to do is ask for them, or look for them.

On that note, I invite readers to contact me by leaving comments on my blog requesting any features or adjustments I might make, especially as the cycling takes a lower profile over the winter.

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