Anyway, I show up, and the first thing I say to Fred is "Happy Birthday Fred." When I see Rachel I say it is great to see you. It is good to see you again, says she. An hour and a half later a rapper stands on a table, sings, and then gets everyone to sing Happy Birthday Rachel. And I am confused.
For a guy who has never celebrated his own birthday and would like to keep it that way. It is a cultural difference. I grew up in a culture that celebrates a ton of festivals - it is a communal culture - but not birthdays. Then I show up in Kentucky, and the Senior Class President is like, Paramendra, you are more individualistic than any American I ever met. I end up having personal space issues with brown people. Zuck did not invent social. The brown people have always been nosy, nosy, nosy.
My official birthday is not my real birthday, it is that of my favorite movie star Amitabh Bachchan. So when the day arrives on Facebook, I am looking for ways to turn it off. Finally I gave up and put out a blog post: Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan. Amitabh, the most recognized face on the planet. There is no excuse to not have heard of him.
Rana June Shobhany
Amitabh Bachchan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Amitabh Bachchan - IMDb
Amitabh Bachchan: Blog
Amitabh Bachchan (SrBachchan) on Twitter
Even before I got in, while I was standing outside, waiting for them to open up the gate to the back room, I got talking. I met yet another person who recognized me from the Fred Wilson blog comments sections. Happened a few more times over the course of the evening.
Rachel Sterne whizzed by. I was seeing her for the first time, but recognized her immediately. Social media. When I finally got to talk to her later in the evening, I said, "You are Professor Rachel Sterne!" She also said something "comment." Fred is killing it.
The guy who was standing next to Fred said something about having been to Nepal. He knew about the crown prince episode. Fred didn't know. Well, in 2001, it was like the Columbine shooting, only in Nepal it happened inside the royal palace. The crown prince mowed down his entire family, and then shot himself. There are all sorts of conspiracy theories to this day that refuse to die.
"I went to school with the guy," I volunteered.
Much later I got to meet The Gotham Gal for the first time.
"Your entire family blogs. You. Fred. Your daughters. Is it your or his father? Your brother," I said.
"We don't talk to each other anymore, we just read each other's blogs," she deadpanned. That cracked me up. I burst out laughing.
Oh my God, I kid you not, I saw Hugh Dornbush.
The rapper said his name was "XV, that is 15 in Roman."
"There is someone called Jennifer 8 Lee," I volunteered.
Fred Wilson is the most visible pillar of the New York tech ecosystem. He is important if you do business with him. He is even more important if you don't do business with him. I would kill to have someone like Fred on my company's Board.
My microfinance startup is in an exploratory mode, as in, we are not officially launched. It is me and two other guys. I sent out an internal blog post mail weeks back saying our fourth person has to be female.
Women Are Better: Rates of violence committed by middle-aged women have skyrocketed since the 1980sI am selling one per cent of my company for 100K. But before that I am seeking a 10,000 dollar personal loan before I incorporate. That 10K goes into round one post incorporation. The idea is to burn that 100K and do enough work so as to be able to raise millions from Vinod Khosla's microfinance fund that he is working to put together.
I am going to be an ass when it comes to doling out Board seats. The intention is to give out as few as possible. But I'd give one to Fred even if he does not invest.
Web tech is not saturated, will never get saturated, because web tech is to do with the human mind and the human mind is never going to stop being curious. But in a way it is saturated enough for me to look into the next big things: clean tech, nanotech, biotech, microfinance. Web tech would still be the fifth item on that list. Microfinance gets saturated when there are no more poor people in the world.
Kiva is a non profit, and it is great, I love it. But we want to be for profit. Kiva is not high tech enough. We don't want to be the ones responsible for the next big things in tech, but we want to be using the latest in tech to the cause of microfinance. For now social gaming at this end and mobile phone banking at the other end look like great fits.
A microfinance startup is a great fit for me personally. It allows me to relate to the Global South in a concrete way. And it also allows me to leverage my number one strength: large scale group dynamics. I am absolutely the number one talent on the planet when it comes to large scale group dynamics. I have a track record. Like Eminem says in a song, many fishes in the sea, but nobody quite like me.
I am going to be a billionaire. Because that is the best way to serve the people I want to serve in the best way I can. My company is going IPO. It is like this. You raise early stage money. Then you raise VC money. But if you want to keep doing the next big things, and if you want to ride the imagination wave, and if you want to do truly big things, then there is not a VC on the planet who has enough money to give you. At that stage you have to go public. And I intend to go public.
Larry Ellison still owns 25% of Oracle. That is the model I have in mind. I am going to want to own a huge chunk of the company because that is how you ensure you reinvent the company every four, five years. You take your company through paradigm shifts.
I had a cupcake.
Meeting Rachel Sterne reminded me of this song.
Looking forward to the Blip.TV party Friday.
On the train ride back home I had a smile on my face that just would not go away.