3 Websites for Early Stage Tech Investors

Peter Thiel reminded the TechCrunch audience this week how unique and impactful Silicon Valley is. He predicted it will continue to lead the world in innovation and disruption for at least the next two decades. He said he’d be “long on Silicon Valley” and “short on New York.” New York is developing a fantastic startup culture; but data shows that no one is close to Silicon Valley in attracting the best talent, churning out the best startups and attracting the most funding year after year.

Besides being the home of Y Combinator, the world’s most successful startup accelerator, there are many other websites and tools that originated in Silicon Valley/San Francisco which continue to make this the epicenter of entrepreneurship and venture capital in the world. Here are three really important ones, two of which got significant airtime at TechCrunch this year:

Crunchbase – What has been funded

Angelist – What is being funded

Product Hunt – What will get funded next

Crunchbase now has 2 million monthly users. They announced that 1,000 “Crunchbase Venture Partners” which include VC funds, accelerators, and incubators have agreed to keep their portfolio companies up-to-date on Crunchbase. It has the potential to be the broadest database of deal flow tracking as well as the most accurate. Spot checking it today I found several errors. But it is still the first source I check when looking up a tech company I haven’t heard of. Crunchbase then Wikipedia.

Angelist is now providing about $10 million per month in trackable funding. It has introduced a syndication model allowing groups of angels to pool capital into a “popup venture fund” that can provide significant funding comparable to a Series A round. The two largest deals so far have been close to $1 million, but it appears that Angelist has significant momentum and deal sizes will grow.

Product Hunt is a new San Francisco-based company which just raised close to $1 million in August. It provides an early warning radar system to identify on a daily basis new products that are being spotted which have potential.

Take this quick poll and let me know which site (if any) you currently use the most:

3 Amazing Sites for Tech Investors
Which of these sites do you use most?

Announced: $23 million venture fund in Provo, Utah

This may not seem like a big deal to some of you. Silicon Valley has many billion dollar venture funds, after all. But for startups in Utah, this is huge news.

A $23 million fund focused on seed investments of $100k to $1 million can provided a needed boost to dozens of companies. If even a single startup funded by Peak Ventures follows the path of billion-dollar Utah companies such as Omniture, Vivint, Ancestry, InsideSales, or Qualtrics, the ripple effects will boost the economy and entrepreneurship for years to come.

Most large venture funds focus on later stage investments–not in the seed round. In fact, only 1.5% of the $13 billion in US venture funding last quarter was reported to be seed stage funding.

From the Q2 2014 MoneyTree Report:

“Seed stage investments rose 46 percent in dollars and 20 percent in deals with $189 million invested into 55 deals in the second quarter.”

In that context, a new $23 million fund in one of the hottest startup areas of the country is a really big deal.

One of the best venture funds in the country is First Round Capital with offices in Pennsylvania and San Francisco. They too focus on being the first money into new companies. They are now on their 5th fund and have invested in hundreds of companies, including some well-known companies like Mint, Warby Parker, and Uber, as well as one of my new favorites, Lob.

Huge congrats to Jeff Burningham, Sid Krommenhoek, and the other Peak Capital partners for getting this fund organized and announced yesterday!

Tim Draper keynote at OnDC ’09–“Land of the free, home of the brave”

How free are we?

The government spends 40% of what we make.

We spend more for our average prisoner than for an average student.

Going through the airports, almost every time I get the probe.

Some construction permits take more than 6 years.

How brave are we?

There are more lawyers per worker than any other country. More bureaucrats per worker than any other country.

Average salary for a public worker is higher than for a private worker now.

Speedy trials? He shows picture of OJ Simpson.

Are we still free to own guns?

We’ve become very politically correct, except maybe me. But I’ve always thought I was correct politically.

How happy are we?

Do we all fit into a mold and become automatons?

Thoughts:

  • Pay increases for bureaucrats based on GDP growth, not cpi. (Right now, they are incentivized to create inflation, not GDP growth.)
  • Drop the border with Canada. They have oil. (And they want to do this.)
  • If a department can do the job with less, give them raises.
  • If a department fails, eliminate it.
  • Free trade.
  • Right to work. (Right to work states are outperforming the rest of the union by quite a bit.)
  • Leave venture capital alone. It works.

All these were VC funded: copier, semiconductors, PCs, Skype, etc, etc.

Also, solar panels, Electric cars, space launches, wind energy, genetics, etc, etc

The “Draper Wave” shows that the recessions are all part of an economic cycle. VCs create a bunch of jobs, new innovations, the market gets excited, and inflated, then the market comes crashing down. The Private Equity business comes in, buys companies, fires half their workforce. (He shows how VC funds create surges in innovation and jobs, then private equity comes in and fires lots of people, creating another recession.)

It’s time for another VC resurgence.

Viral marketing works. Hotmail has now reached 500,000,000 people. All web based email has reached about a billion. Skype has reached a billion even faster.

It’s a global game now.

The game has changed for governments too. Each government used to govern a geographic territory. Now we have competitive governance. Better communication, perfect information, simplified supply chains. Governmens have to compete for great businesses, for capital, for entrepreneurs.

As he goes around the world, he notices how governments around the world are doing a great job attracting capital and entrepreneurs. The U.S. is not. The U.S. is adding more difficulty, more regulation for entrepreneurs. Imagine if the world completely opened up, and you could pick and choose. You might pick Chile’s privatized social security, you’d pick something about Singapore, US freedom of speech, maybe Sweden’s ______.

He looked at the government spending chart at usgovernmentspending.com. It’s gone from 7 1/2% to over 40% in the past 100 years. That may be a good thing, but I want to see whether it really is.

He showed charts of government spending per capita (normalized per capita) In 1820, India, US and China were all dirt poor. He has charted spending over time, and he has determined that US GDP growth is hurt by the increase in government spending. He can show this correlation.

He spoke with SBIC head Seth Greene today about the government’s plans to invest in Infrastructure, Market, CleanTech. The government can:

  • make us secure (Tesla loan example)
  • create the market platform that works–Sarbox after 10 public years
  • encourage good behavior–such as green incentives

His fund used to tell entrepreneurs that if in five years they could do $20 million in revenue and $3 million in profits they could go public; but now, with Sarbanes Oxley, that entire $3 million in profits would be taken up by compliance, so the entrepeneurs don’t go public.

He thinks Sarbanes Oxley should only apply to companies of a certain size and only after they’ve been public for 10 years.

What the government should not do:

  • Do not invest equity capital
  • Do not regulate/tax venture capital
  • Do not scrutinize entrepreneurs
  • Do not hire and spend

Government does a great job of identifying problems: energy, security, health care, traffic, polution. I understand there is more traffic here (in DC) since the stimulus because everyone is coming here.

Business Solves problems:

  • Energy (EnerNoc, Konarka, GreenFuel)
  • Security (Lumena, SafeView, Tesla)
  • Health Care (Athenahealth, Epocrates)
  • Traffic, Pollution (Skype, Hotmail, Meebo)
  • Poverty (SugarCRM, SocialText, World of Good)
  • Education (Baiku, Google)

He ran though a number of companies that are solving big problems in energy. Oasys does water purification. Tesla lets you go very fast (0-60 faster than a gas car) and this is the wave of the future. When you drive an electric car past a gas station you realize you are driving by a dinosaur. (And gas does come from dinosaurs, so this is just the circle of life.)

Reva is the India version of the Tesla. I drove one around.

Technology just continues to march on. Think of all the inventions in the past 50 years. Airplane, etc.

Imagine all the inventions that may be coming. Clean air and water. Near infinite energy supply. Green buildings. Batteries that last. Self-navigation electric cars. Education holodeck. Space travel. Immersive 3-D entertainment. Genetic disease prediction. Cure for heart disease. Cures for cancer, aids and malaria. Non-invasive surgery and security. Near thought communications. (I have moved a mouse cursor with just my mind, with a new technology.) New life forms. Food drop.

Liquidity is a problem. Mark to market from FASB 157 is a problem for our economy.

We have set up something called XChange, to provide liquidiy.

My daughter said, “everyone was rich before, and now everyone is poor. What happened?” I had to think about it for a minute, and then said, it’s all about the deal. If we make deals with each other, everyone is better off. (He walked through an example of lettuce, tomato, beef farmer, etc, cooperating to make a perfect cheeseburger)

We are all better off if we are freely able to trade with one another. Let’s say there is a big wall between us and China. Our semiconductor would be a slide-rule. Except for Micron there are no memory semiconductors here in the U.S. We’d have no flat screens. Without China, there’s no memory. Without computers, there’s no software. Without software, there’s no new media. (We’d go back to hieroglyphics).

The biggest problem we have is friction to free trade. Tariffcs, customs, quotas, import duties, licenses, standards, subsidies. When you see these reported in the press, you know someone is trying to hinder free trade.

This is what I call the Sucking Sound of Socialism:

Good Words and Bad Words

  • When you hear Entitlement, think Opportunity.
  • When you hear Rights, think Earnings.
  • Government Intervention, think Business Solution.
  • Bailout, think “let losers die.”
  • Regulation, think Freedom.
  • Patriotism->Protection->Poverty think “Free Trade.”

Audience question about XChange, the private stock market. He said, this is only for qualified institutional buyers, so it doesn’t affect the individual investor, unless the government saw that it was working well and they changed their mind. This is a way a company can be traded among qualified institutions, it helps the entrepreneur who wants to buy a house, but can’t get the company public. It helps VCs, because we have a lot of portfolio companies that can’t get liquid yet, and our investors need some liquidity.

Sarbanes Oxley rules are all designed to protect the individual investor, the widows, the orphans, to protect them from themselves, I guess. So the XChange would only work for institutional investors. But I believe personally that individual investors should be free to do what they want.

Audience question about the new Tesla. Tim said the upcoming Tesla will be $40-80k. The high end will have a 300 mile range, the low end will be 120 miles. I see this as being the Great American Car. I see Tesla as the next GM. It’s very exciting. If you have new technology, Tesla can incorporate it in a matter of months where it may have taken GM five years. You’ll see more computerized things in a car, like iPod connections, computer stuff, etc.

Living Blogging AlwaysOn OnDC; Tony Perkins welcomes attendees

I’ll be live blogging the AlwaysOn OnDC Summit for the next 2 1/2 days.

Tony Perkins, founder of the Churchill Club, Upside Magazine, Red Herring, and Always On took the stage to welcome the attendees.

Tony is telling how he grew up in Portola Valley not far from where the Home Brew Computer Club met. He showed a picture of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak before they were 20. Tony recently read Barack Obama’s innovation policy and it sounded like a poetic version of what he stands for — promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Back to the Steves.

Arthur Rock invested $57,000 in their startup, which became Apple. He had previously invested in Intel.

All the great entrepreneurs that he has interviewed including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison — they don’t do it for the money. One thing these five have in common: none of them graduated from college. You never know where the next great entrepreneur is going to come from.

Interesting stat. 1/3 of all companies founded in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. He showed picture of Stephen Chen (co-founder of YouTube from Taiwan), Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun, from India), Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google, from Russia). He got a few degrees before starting Google.

He goes to Davos every year. They hold a Nerd dinner for all the nerds at the World Economic Forum. Each person gets 7 words to introduce himself. Sergey Brin said his parents were upset that he dropped his PhD program to start Google. His 7 words to introduce himself: “Mother says Google Smoogle, finish your PhD.”

Global entrepreneurship is good too! Tony shows photo of Niklas Zennstrom (Kazaa, Skype), Richard Li (Baidu), Masayoshi Son (Softbank was largest investor in internet companies in the first phase of the internet.). They gave Skype the company of the Year award in 2005. Niklas was having a board meeting that day. They beamed him in on the first ever public showing of Skype Video along with Tim Draper. Tim Draper invested in Skype and got his biggest return ever from it.

Tony says a key question for the future of our economy is: Are we importing intellectual capital? Is the US still the best place to pursue dreams? So far, he thinks that is still the case. But as soon as that intellectual capital stops coming in, it means we are over-regulating, aren’t creating a playing field that is good for entrepreneurs.

As a nation, our unemployment rate is too high. The stimulus has been something like $800 billion. VC-backed companies create jobs 3 times faster. 11% of all jobs are coming from venture-backed companies. 92% of job growth comes after IPO. So over-regulating the financial food chain like we’ve done with Sarbanes Oxley, or even talking about regulating the venture capital business, which I think is a bad idea. These things will inhibit job growth.

There is an encouraging idea coming out of the Administration–lowering the capital gains on long-term investments in small companies.

His final slide. “Goodbye PC Generation. Hello IM Generation.” People under 25 communicate more with friends via IM than they do with email. People over 55 almost all use email over IM. I could show also how the new generation communicates more over Facebook than they do with email.

The new generation grew up with the internet. He has a 24-year old daughter that got her masters in CS from Cornell. She asked him a couple years ago. “Hey, Dad, what was your email address when you were growing up.” They have radically different online behavior. They want to work from anywhere, their desk is their laptop. They want access to all data. In 1999 he wrote a book called “Intenet Bubble.” He had a list of like 215 stocks that he said people should sell because the party was about to end. So he said, “I’m not a drunked internet enthusiast.” He also said at the end of the book that after the bubble burst, 80% of the all the brands we will associate with the internet will be born after the bubble burst. That is happening.

New Platforms

Skype has close to 500 million users now. YouTube. Facebook. iTunes Store. Nintendo Wii. iPhone. Amazon Kindle. None of these platforms are owned by Microsoft.

He thinks the unemployment rate will be high for a long time because there are a lot of jobs being destroyed that are never coming back. But in this huge playing field that is being driven by the IM generation, and is entering into the workforce, there is a lot of innovation.

He is writing a policy paper for the President on GAAS (like Software As A Service) but it means Government As A Service. He thinks it should be a primary initiative. (Though, he said, it may need to be renamed a bit.)

92% of kids instruct their parents on how to be more green. He built a house, tried to make it as green as possible. He thinks green will be a big engine for growth. $11 billion has been invested in green companies. These companies will put a lot of traditional companies out of business.

Tony’s conclusion: “Today is the greatest time to be an entrepreneur….ever.”

AlwaysOn Venture Summit West, Dec. 6-7

I missed the Stanford Summit (AlwaysOn) this July, but I am registered for the Venture Summit West coming up next week. I look forward to catching up with some friends on the VC side of things and comparing notes with some friends who are CEOs who will be at this conference. I usually attend the AlwaysOn Summit in July at Stanford, but I missed it this year, being in the intense startup mode still at WorldVitalRecords.com.

This will be a fun conference, partly because social networking is all the rage, and my company has launched a social network for genealogists, FamilyLink.com, that is getting increasing traction, but far more because our We’re Related Facebook application is getting serious traction, and even though we launched it later than I had hoped (5 months and 2 days after the Facebook Platform launch, which I blogged about), it has far surpassed our expectations.

Our strategy is to aggregate and provide genealogical databases to customers worldwide through our paid service, worldvitalrecords.com, and to attract millions of users through viral marketing, utilizing our own social network and building apps for other social networks. Both aspects of our strategy are now working.

WorldVitalRecords.com hits record traffic numbers every month and our subscriber numbers are really starting to climb. (The monthly option at $5.95 per month seems to have helped.)

For viral marketing, we love Facebook. But we also love the OpenSocial concept (which I have not yet blogged about) and providing our apps wherever users are. If we end up with apps and widgets on every major social web site, the big question is will our family users be able to interact seamlessly with each other and share family content and communications as easily as if they were all using the same dedicated social network? During the Social Networking 3.0 panel at the July Stanford Summit, I think the answer from the Facebook panelist sounded like a “probably” but from MySpace it seemed like a no. They were discussing how portable individual profiles would be on the social networks, and whether apps would be interactive with apps on other social networks. Of course social networks (like MySpace) probably want to “own” their customers, but I believe customers won’t allow for that, and will demand portability of profiles and interoperability of apps/widgets.

If you are going to Venture Summit West, and would like to meet up to discuss the future of online genealogy and family social networking (or social networking in general), drop me a line.

Genealogy in India

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that World Vital Records’ India page ranks #3 in MSN for "india genealogy." I’m still trying to convince FundingUniverse.com to roll out 6 regional web sites in India, as suggested by an Indian entrepreneur who explained to me how startup funding might naturally happen in that country. I don’t know if I’ve blogged about it, but 3 years ago I read "India Unbound" by the first venture capitalist in India, Gurcharan Das. It is an absolutely incredible look at the economic revolution that has been occuring in India since 1991. I am very optimistic about the future of India, which will be the world’s most populated country by about 2030.

FundingUniverse Speedpitching Events: Raise Money for Your Startup

FundingUniverse.com now has about 1,000 angel investors in virtually every state. The company, which I helped found in early 2005, is holding its 5th speedpitching event today in Sandy, Utah. It has held events in 6 or more states and has plans to continue to expand.

I’ve attended several of these events representing the small fund we have at Provo Labs, as a potential investor.

The coaching and practice sessions have been extremely helpful. Imagine trying to get your entire business plan onto a 1-page summary that will be distributed. And then imagine being forced to tell your story in 4 minutes. That’s what all the entrepreneurs learn how to do.

After the 4 minute pitch, the investors get 3 minutes for Q&A. Then you go to the next table and give your pitch again. You do this 5 times before lunch, and then 5 times after lunch.

The goal is a followup meeting. The staff at FundingUniverse say that the vast majority of companies that have attended these meetings have had follow up meetings with the angel investors who heard their initial pitch.

One of my friends who has done two of these events said the most important advice he has is to memorize your pitch word for word. He and his co-presenters did this but the passion for their business still came through loud and clear.

A week after the February 2006 speedpitching event, he gave the pitch again to a strategic investor and raised $4.1 million. He credited going through the process of boiling down the company’s story into its very essence and memorizing it and giving it so many times for helping him close the deal.

I know 3 entrepreneurs who are presenting today, and I wish them all well.

I’m going to invite the staff from FundingUniverse to do some training for the 30+ companies at Provo Labs Academy, since many of them will one day seek funding from angel investors. Hopefully we’ll get that scheduled in the next week or two.

Investor Meetings: by Referral Only

Most VCs don’t have time to look at the thousands of unsolicited deals that are sent to them "over the transom," an interesting phrase defined by Wikipedia. Most only look at deals that are referred to them by people they know and trust.

So when VC Forum comes to your town looking for local deals that are promising, the Forum requires them to be submitted by a local VC firm that has of course screened the deals.

So local companies that want to pitch at the VC Forum events will need to have already gotten in front of credible people and started telling their story. You have to get noticed, you have to have a good team and a good story, and then you get the referral you are looking for.

The team at FundingUniverse.com has been very grateful for the support of hundreds of angel investors, VCs, sponsors, and entrepreneurs in Utah that have turned its online angel investor matching service and its Speedpitching events into key components of the Utah funding scene.

We heard today that all of the deals but one that were featured at Utah VC Forum event last week had previously attended FundingUniverse.com Speedpitching Events.

Many of the best deals that I have seen at the Speedpitching Events were looking for more money than is usually available from angel investors; so I’m glad to see that some of these are moving on to the VC arena. I hope the coaching and feedback they have received at the Speedpitching Events will help them land the venture capital they are looking for. I bet that it helped some of them get the referral they needed to present at this prestigious VC Forum event.

Top Writers Move to Startups

I thought it was interesting to learn on the same day that both Robert Scoble, the pre-eminent Microsoft blogger, and Om Malik, the top writer at Business 2.0, were leaving their positions to join startup companies.

Robert Scoble will join venture-backed podtech.net (I first learned about them when they did a great interview of Paul Ahlstrom from vSpring a few months back) and Om Malik has received funding from True Ventures, a San Francisco venture fund. Jon Callaghan, one of the CMGI venture guys who invested in MyFamily.com in 1998, is with the fund and will be on the board of Om’s new company Gigaom. Cool name.

v|100 Meeting Today — Ellen Levy from Stanford

vSpring Capital’s top 100 Utah venture entrepreneurs (the v|100) met today at Thanksgiving Point’s Garden Room for a lunch and social.

I saw dozens of people that I know (what a powerful gathering!) but only had a chance to briefly chat with a few: Dennis Wood (the most LinkedIn person in Utah), Phil Windley (the man who inspired me to start blogging!) John Pestana, Josh James and Brett Error of Omniture, Glen Mella (Control4), Cydni Tetro (NextPage), Brent Bishop (Dollar Tree and Content Watch), Gavin Christensen. I met Scott McDonough, now with vSpring, who was the President and COO of LoveSac.

I think the v|100 would have even more value if Corporate Alliance could introduce its learn-serve-grow philosophy to this group and if we were guided in our networking and given more time to network. We had only about 15-20 minutes before lunch and maybe 10 after before everyone was gone.

The invited speaker was Ellen Levy, a well-connected Silicon Valley entrepreneur turned VC who now runs the Media X program at Stanford and consults for DFJ, a top Silicon Valley VC fund.

Ellen came at the invitation of NextPage’s Tom Gno. They worked together at Paul Allen’s Interval Research Group as the internet was emerging. Ellen left and founded WhoWhere, sold it to Lycos, and has done a dozen interesting things since, including NeoCarta Ventures. I sat at Ellen’s table. She and Tom were apparently laughing at my name.

Speaking of my name, I’ve dropped to #6 on Google for “paul allen”, even though I recently switched domain names for my blog (from infobaseventures.com to paulallen.net), which should help my rankings in the long run.

What I really need is for a few hundred of my friends and readers to please link to my new blog site at www.paulallen.net, so that I can regain my former #3 position. Maybe even sometime, if my blog gets enough incoming links, I’ll be the #1 Paul Allen in Google. And then I’ll have to change my name from “The Lesser” to something else, maybe “The Prominent”. (I’ll accept nominations for a name change if and when this happens.)

Ellen said some very interesting things. First, she said that as a Silicon Valley VC she really thought she had her ear to the ground and knew everything that was going on. But in her role at Stanford as a “connector” between students, faculty, industry partners, and VCs, she actually feels that her access to information is even better. She encouraged everyone to do something in social entrepreneurship, such as teach at a university, or work with non-profits or do community service. (Because there is more to life than making money.)

She told us about the mission of Media X at Stanford and mentioned some of the 25 affiliates (almost all were very large corporations) who are interacting with Media X in order to map their R&D interests with the projects that are being done by the Stanford research community. She feels that she has made many connections that were win-win.

(I had hoped she would talk more about how small technology companies — not just huge corporations who can afford the annual fees — could partner with Stanford’s Media X.)

Ellen said Media X is sometimes described as an “intellectual match making service” and she seemed to like that.

She mentioned several topics that seem to come up frequently these days in conversations with industry:

  • Technology and the Aging. For example, how the aging population will change automobile transporation and health care.
  • Distributed Media and Online Content. This includes trying to understand consumers as publishers, the role of big media companies, how copyright should work, how people consume and manage information.
  • Human Machine Interaction and Sensing Technology. She mentioned sensors and RFID and the marriage of the analog and digital worlds.
  • Mobile computing.
  • Collaboration.
  • All Things Gaming. She said that the Online Entertainment industry is now bigger than the Movie Industry and that a lot of thought is going into discovering the role of gaming in learning. Should gaming principles be applied into enterprise software? The next generation that grew up on interactive games might not like the limited interactivity of SAP, for example.

Finally, Ellen made some interesting comments about time, which I found very timely, given the stage I’m at in my career.

She says that time is the most important resource of a risk-taking, company building entrepreneur, and that it is very important to be careful about how you use your time.

In 1999 she conducted a year long experiment, by journalling every day for a year about every thing that happened each day. She didn’t make judgements about what was worth writing about–she wrote about everything. She also took a photograph of everyone she met that year.

What she discovered was that she wasted a lot of time on things that she didn’t want to do and didn’t enjoy. At the end of the day she would write about everything she spent her time on and realized she had to waste time writing about things that had been a waste of time doing. She learned how to become a better director of her time.

Ellen believes that how you use your time will determine the level of impact that you will have in your life. She cautioned us against the tyranny of the urgent.

As I listened to Ellen talk about her 1999 life chronicle, I thought if she kept this up, she’d be the world’s greatest blogger.

She talked about how on a plane trip she visited with a man (has never seen him since) and asked the flight attendant to take their picture together since she was “chronicling her life” that year.

He was in magazine publishing and apparently told a friend about this woman, who told another friend, who mentioned it at a party, where a Wall Street Journal reporter found it curious. So she ended up being mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, which led to old friends finding her and other interesting things happening.

Now all of us can blog (chronicle our life) and use social networking services to meet new people and connect with old friends. But Ellen was 5-6 years ahead of her time.

(I found it interesting that she has served on the advisory board of eVite and LinkedIn.)

I also had feelings of regret while listening to Ellen, because I have been an avid journal-keeper since age 15. I have a couple dozen journals and then since 1991 I’ve been keeping my journal using Folio VIEWS software, with it’s amazing full-text retrieval capabilities.

I have found huge benefits from keeping a journal — personal, intellectual, spiritual, social and career benefits. But in the last 18 months, my schedule has gotten so full, that I have probably only written a dozen times in my journal. How ironic that at a time of life where I’m actually working on more interesting projects and meeting more interesting people and having more profound experiences than ever before that my journal writing is suffering for the first time.

I know some people keep a journal so their posterity can read it someday. That might happen, but in my opinion is quite unlikely. I think our descendants will be so busy (even more than we are) with what technology and prosperity enables that they won’t be all that interested in our 20th century chronicles. It might seem rather dull to them, compared to what the Always On world of the 21st century will offer.

So while I hope that a few words of wisdom from my writings might someday touch some of my descendants, I primarily keep a journal for personal benefits. It helps me remember people and events. It helps me be more grateful. It gives me perspective during difficult times. And as Spencer W. Kimball said about journalling, it helps me keep the Lord in remembrance daily.

I hope I can arrange my schedule (be a director of my time, as Ellen said) so that I can fit in consistent daily blogging and journalling.

I may have to return fewer phone calls and fewer emails in order to make time for more blogging and journalling. But as Phil Windley said today, I should let those one-to-one communications slip in order to do the more important one-to-many communications. That makes sense to me.

So let me apologize in advance to all the people whose phone calls and emails I might not return …