How We Got To Now

I'm a frequent reader of Fred Wilson's blog -- A VC. Fred has a post up about one of his favorite authors, Steven Johnson, and his new book entitled How We Got To Now. I have been looking for a non-business read after I finished Unbroken this summer, and so I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a copy to read on my kindle.

Johnson walks readers through simple innovations such as Glass, Refrigeration, and artificial light, and how these innovations have helped advance society even though they seem trivial today. I won't go into the specifics so you can enjoy Johnson's writing rather than mine, but it's worth picking up a copy and sharing with friends.


Beyond Typekit

It's probably too late to publish this now, but it's still worth noting. After a long deliberation process, I have decided to move on from Typekit. After 3 years with the team, an acquisition and growing to over 45 members, it's time to tackle a new personal challenge. I'm indebted to Jeff Veen, Bryan Mason, Greg Veen, and Ryan Carver for taking a chance on me. Very few people would give a 22 year old kid with no formal work experience a job. They did, and I'll always have their back. I'll take many experiences and life lessons with me, but nothing as important as the role culture plays within an organization and team. We built something special, and I'll always carry that as the gold standard wherever I go.

Internet Growth

Every time I see a graph like the one below shared by Asymco, I cannot be anything but bullish on the growth of the internet, and the businesses and communities that leverage this infrastructure. I'm also reminded that there is so much work to be done in order for everyone to have some type of connection. We're definitely still in the first chapter, but the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter.


The Growth of Web Fonts

Every month I check the HTTP Archive to view how the web is growing. This site visualizes some fantastic trends both past and present. In my role at Typekit I pay close attention to the growth of web fonts, or "Sites with Customer Fonts."


As you can see web fonts have grown substantially in the last year, and much of the increase occurred in the second half of 2013. It's amazing to see the growth of web fonts not only from a business perspective at Typekit, but also from a user experience and readability point of view. With the advancements in design tools and services, we're able to create a more performant and unique experience for all the viewports in which people access the web sites.

The growth of web fonts also correlates with the steady decrease in Flash implementations. While many designers still rely on the Flash to get the typography and design they desire, the overwhelming majority of large brands and highly trafficked sites and going with the latest web standards to expand their reach.

flash decline

Abnormal Returns

This past week I recently finished one of my many investment themed books: "Abnormal Returns" writing by Tadas Viskanta. I read Tadas' daily blog which provides great analysis and insight into the markets -- especially for someone who doesn't day trade stocks but still enjoys following trends.

If you're already a seasoned investor this book definitely not for you, but I'd highly recommend it for anyone not in the finance industry who's looking to manage their own accounts. Viskanta dives into asset allocation, true diversification, bonds, and much more.  While the overwhelming majority of the advice isn't new, it's always great to be reminded to stick to the basics and focus on the long term.

Notes from Stockoberfest

It’s almost a year ago now, but last October I attended a small conference in San Diego called Stockoberfest. As you can guess from the name, it was about stocks, the market, and investing. The conference was put-on and supported by Howard Lindzon, the CEO of Stocktwits. Just like Stocktwits, the theme of this conference was to get a bunch of like minded people together to share ideas, themes , and strategies. There wasn’t too much structure, which provided for some great tangential conversations.

Here are some notes and reminders that I found useful:

There have never been more tools available to the average investor. Software and other technology companies are completely disrupting the traditional finance industry. While it’s all still the same — stocks, bonds, options — the tools are now available to everyone, rather than just a small group.

Trends are everywhere. It’s about paying attention to the right sources, and constantly curating the information you’re consuming.

The public markets will eventually reflect what the venture capital markets are actively funding. Of course, this can obviously take some time, but these select startups will eventually become the next big IPOs and acquisitions. Follow these trends as they start to become mainstream.

Fixed income is crucial for riding through crises. There should always be room in a diversified portfolio for fixed income — no matter how bullish you are on stocks.

The chances we take

Bijan Sabet has a great post up on his blog about taking chances on people. It's a quick article, but I'd recommend everyone to ready it. Here's the best part,

"Many folks get to experience some of their goals because someone, somewhere along the way, gave them a shot. They took a real chance based on something they felt or saw (vs historical evidence per se)."

I can relate to this on so many levels. If Bryan and Jeff never took a chance on me, who knows where I'd be working. This is a great reminder that we too should give someone else a chance. You never know, it might change their life for the better.

Continuous growth

Throughout that period, every tomorrow has been uncertain. America’s destiny, however, has always been clear: ever-increasing abundance. If you are a CEO who has some large, profitable project you are shelving because of short-term worries, call Berkshire. Let us unburden you.

Mr. Buffett sure nails it right on the head with his latest letter to shareholders. I love seeing the kind of optimism about the future. Of course there will always be short term downturns, even decade long downturns, but the global economy has consistently prevailed time and time again. This is a great reminder to us all that, while we can look for short term trades, investing over an entire lifespan is where the real wealth lies.