Oh... I mean... Chatter.
In my old apartment, I had a huge desk up against a wall that, I admit, I never really moved. When I finally went back there to sweep, I found some fuzz and bones that, at one time, was a mouse who chewed right into an extension cord and zapped himself. Had I never swept up back there, I never would have noticed him.
In the same way, I'd never notice Donna Bogatin's blog, "Startup Chatter" either, except that she constantly links to TechMeme stories, making her one really angry pilot fish who never generates her own insights. That's the only way I know that she's still blogging, and still, for some bizzare reason, hating on Fred Wilson and every Union Square Ventures portfolio company.
Her latest target is Daniel Ha and Disqus, which just launched at the end of last October. She rips on both the company and Fred, who backed it, because of a "spoon-fed puff piece" that appeared about the company on Louis Gray's blog. She attacks Fred for being "consistently, disingenuously mum regarding
meaningful insights about achieving what really matters to the
investors in all of his portfolio companies: A BIG PROFIT ON THEIR
This is what bothers me. The Brooklyn boy in me gets pretty pissed of when she calls Fred Wilson "disingenuous." Fred's been a mentor, friend, teacher, and supportive angel investor, and it just irks me to see her talk trash about a really great guy--and a great investor. After taking her to lunch a while back to try to open up a dialogue, and then promptly getting ripped on again the next day, Fred doesn't bother with her, but I can't let this go.
Because Fred Wilson and Union Square Ventures (along with David Hornick's VentureBlog) opened up the world of venture capital investing to entrepreneurs in a way that no one had ever done before--not with PR speak, but with an honest and sincere day to day account of the behind the scenes thinking that goes into running a venture fund. Plus, he's consistantly one of the most insightful bloggers out there and, unlike Donna, full of original and useful ideas.
Donna's big gripe about Union Square Ventures is that she thinks they're not focused enough on building real companies with real revenues. Has she even looked at their portfolio? Of the 19 investments that they've made, at least 6 of them (FeedBurner, Etsy, Indeed, Oddcast, Tacoda, and Instant Information) were generating multiple millions of dollars in annual revenues. Of the other 13, del.icio.us was sold 9 months after USV invested, which was the choice of the founder and majority owner, but could have been built up into a people powered search engine (which, last I checked, is a real revenue model), 4 are recent investments, and the rest are in various stages of building up scale--a necessary requirement for significant revenue generation for some of the plans of these companies. (Google had to get to signficant scale before they had enough search traffic to monetize against.)
And the silliest thing about her comments is how she speaks on behalf of the USV investors about what really matters to them. Nearly all of the USV investors reupped in the firm's next fund. With exits in Tacoda, Feedburner, del.icio.us, and nearly guaranteed (b/c of significant revenue traction) big exits in Indeed and Etsy, not to mention the potential of their other portfolio companise, USV's doing just fine in terms of creating revenue generating businesses and ones with successful exits.
So, basically, she has no idea what she's talking about.
Actually, that's not the silliest thing about her comments. The silliest thing about her comments is that she's now trying to make a business helping NYC startups as an advisor. How wise do you think it is for someone advising startups and offering to make introductions to VCs here in NYC to constantly rip on the #1 VC firm in the city? If that's the kind of advising she gives herself, I'd hate to hear what she has to tell startup companies.
That's part of the reason why I feel the need to respond to her comments as well. Ever since I started nextNY, I feel very protective of the NYC startup community and I've been really wary of self-proclaimed experts looking to profit off of newbie startups--especially when you can get these services for free.
If you're a NYC startup and you want feedback on your pitch, biz plan... anything... You can join the nextNY list and just ask for a small group of folks to meet up with you about it. What you'll get is an experienced group of current entrepreneurs, investors, developers, etc. who are part of the over 1700 folks involved in nextNY. They'll be happy to sit around a table with you and give you excellent feedback on your idea--better feedback than I'm sure you'll get from the crazy cat lady of the NYC tech blogging community.
I can't wait until she rips on Path 101--that will surely generate tons of unintentional humor.