Prof Bill Fitzgerald

imageRIP A very special person much missed by family and friends.

Thanks for all your help and inspiration.

The Magic of Quad

Quad designed wonderful hi-fi and it still works so well and even allows me to play my iPad using the BBC iRadio App. I bought the Quad 606 amplifier, pre-amp amp and tuner from a hi-fi shop in Cambridge, UK. They had been traded in and were in good working order, or where they? I took them up to Quad in Huntingdon and Peter and Ken Bunting serviced them. That is right – they serviced hi-fi equipment that was made thirty years ago. Sadly I had been slightly misled but a few weeks later I collected (and paid for the service and replacement parts) and they are as good as new. Some people want to update some of the parts, but why? They are designed to be reliable and so they are.

The 63 ESL speakers are delicate beasts and large. I made the mistake of buying the first pair I found from a dubious “dealer’ in Cornwall. Then I found a specialist near Leicester and they have been re-built to the highest standard. The specialist re-builds the 63s or you can take them to Quad in Huntingdon who will replace the panels with new ones made in China. I wonder if anyone thinks that they can tell the difference. One speaker settled in and has never made a non-musical sound. The other has made a few burps and hisses but I am instructed to keep them switched on – to keep the electrostatic charge on – and to use them. The sound is glorious and so different from little speakers however clever their wi-fi or bluetooth.

I have yet to have the aerial set up so the FM tuner is untried. Quad did fit a new battery and replaced the part that had got slightly corroded after thirty years of service.

So here I am typing away on the Internet and using the World Wide Web invented by a British man and listening to hi-fi designed and built in Britain. The CD is by Roksan another British product but this time designed British people who came from Persia and named their products accordingly.

Anyone knows what Quad stands for? Quality and Dam the costs!

Founders of Twitter

There were four founders. The initial split has not been disclosed but should be available in the prospectus. At the time of the IPO the founders’ shares were:
- Evan Williams 10%: (left 2010)
- Jack Dorsey 4%; (left 2008)
- Biz Stone 10 millions shares; (left 2011)
- Noak Glass no shares; (left 2006).

Biz Stone sold shares recently.

The pictures in the papers featured the first three but Noak Glass was not seen. It must have been amazing to watch your wealth double in minutes and know that many of your team who had worked so hard to build Twitter would also have enjoyed the same satisfaction.

To sell or not to sell is not easy. There are a number of people in Cambridge who floated companies and thought they should not sell any shares and then watched as  their gains disappeared.  It is quite amazing how few companies are sold in Cambridge, UK, when the Stock Market is booming. As my co-founder said in 1987 – “It is the best time ever to sell and business” and “We could work (and our team) for another ten years and not be as well off”.

How did she know? Guess that is what marks out the great entrepreneurs – timing, their ability to bring everyone together and to close a deal. Happy days but such intense work. It is not the hours or hard work – lots of people do that all their life; it is the intensity of continually striving to be better each and every day. I did it once. Ever again? I wish but doubt it.

Armistice Day at Clare College

Made very welcome at Clare College where a short service was held in the ante-chapel. I arrived late – must be getting older and need to speed up the old cycle. Finished the day with a wonderful concert in the OCR at Trinity College. Learnt that barristers work very hard and earn millions and can work past the usual retirement dat. As always it will only be the ones on the top of the pile!

Remembrance Sunday

Time to think how lucky I am that my parents did so much for me. In Cambridge, there are many people with the same special parents but not everyone is so lucky.  There is a memorial at Sedbergh School to the three VCs.  My Father used to read the names on the war memorial seemingly searching for a name but, as so many like him, he never told us who or why.

The service War Memorial at the junction of Hills Road and Station road was very special although some were so keen to get too and fro from the station that they could not stop. Silence at Cambridge Rugby Club with all the youngster learning the special bonds of playing rugby and then to Clare College for the last service of the day for me; another wonderful service and an amazing sermon. As I left the College, the disco was warming up in the vaults under the chapel so life for the young never changes! All on a bike and no need for a car, bus or tube!

Twitter by Bloomberg

Logo_post_bPrint Back to story
Twitter’s Debut Mints Fresh Crop of Millionaires
By Sarah Frier – Nov 7, 2013
Twitter Inc. (TWTR) co-founder Evan Williams is now a multibillionaire on paper, after shares of the short-messaging website rose 73 percent on the first day of trading.

The stock surged to $44.90 at the close in New York from the initial public offering price of $26. Williams, the largest individual shareholder with a 10.4 percent holding, owns a stake valued at $2.56 billion.

Williams, who co-founded San Francisco-based Twitter in 2006 out of his failed podcasting startup Odeo, is among the biggest beneficiaries of the IPO. Others include early backers such as Rizvi Traverse Management LLC, which holds almost 16 percent valued at $3.82 billion. Insiders held onto their shares, anticipating that Twitter will deliver on promises to Continue Reading »

How much did Fred Wilson and www.avc.com make from Twitter?

Fred Wilson on his great blog www.avc.com – a must read for all entrepreneurs – gives frank insights into the geek world but is always shy about his carry percent. I have not looked at the figures but I guess that as one of the first VC investors in Twitter, his firm, USV, probably invested some $10million and turned that into $1bn. With a carry percent of the usual 20% he will have given a great return to his investors and walked away with a substantial profit some of which he will have cashed in at the float.

How does he and his partner pick these great winners? He wrote on one of his recent blogs that USV has a hit rate for big winners of 1 in 3. That is amazing. In my little portfolio of 12 companies, I am seeking to find one that returns my cash let alone goes mega.

The biggest problem I have faces is trusting people – assuming that everyone really wants to be a successful entrepreneur and will devote five years of their life to build a company and hopefully a great company. Fred Wilson writes that he always takes up references and talks to many people before investing. I have just relied on people in Cambridge being honest.

One company has just outsourced support to India and two execs are working part-time to keep the website active. The first founder left after going through £14million. We backed his co-founder to learn too late that he had little regard for the money of the investors or the jobs of his team. It took a couple of years to rumble him as I guess we just did not believe that we had been so stupid. Another £6m down the tube.

One of the many lessons is to back a geek(s) who wants to learn how to manage. If the key person is not a geek then he cannot build the business and does not carry the charisma of an Envangelist. It was a sad day when the office closed and I was offered an umbrella for my troubles. I guess the umbrella cost hundreds of thousands. Better put it up in a gale and let the wind take it away.

When we bought the assets from the receiver for £1 we thought that they original team could not have p*****d £14m against the wall – there must be something there. It took another £6m to find out that we should have invested in one of the early USV funds and let Fred Wilson and friends work their magic!

1 : 9 : 90

It is time to get back to the 1% and start being a creator again. iPads are fine but they do make it too easy to be part of the 90%of people who consume. It is such fun to sit on the sofa and search for Quad 63 ESL speakers and pick up all the threads It is amazing how long you can flick through all the sites until your eyes begin to hurt. So it is back to trying to be part of the 1% creators. Maybe one of the 9% group of curators will take an interest in my posts and give me feedback to improve the 1%.

Chris Dixon for 90 mins

Another great interview.

http://video.pandodaily.com/aQL/a-fireside-chat-with-andreessen-horowitz-vc-chris-dixon/

So eloquent until asked one of those sill questions about some “dreamy thing”. He ends up stuttering that he was not briefed on the question and finally says that he wishes he could sit down one Saturday and just watch sport. He never stops.

Amazing guy and well worth the time!

Bill Gates on Steve Jobs: We grew up together

Getting rave reviews so will try and watch asap.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57584072-10391709/bill-gates-on-steve-jobs-we-grew-up-together/

Keeps going to adverts and high on emotion…….

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50146679n