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April 19th, 2014

1.5 hrs from home and about to ride into a storm. This could get dicey! #training #triathlon #cycling #colorado #fitness #htfu If you liked this post...Instagram #picoftheday ironbrandonshow...

IronBrandon is dedicated to triathlon, running, cycling, swimming and the people who get out and do it...

Bible Belt from Prairie Artisan Ales. E-PIC. #beer #beerrunner #trainracebeer #yum #delicious #wow If you liked this post...Instagram #picoftheday ironbrandonshow 2014-04-11 23:45:39Instagram...

IronBrandon is dedicated to triathlon, running, cycling, swimming and the people who get out and do it...

April 18th, 2014

I’m getting my miles back up, which feels good. I still feel a slight disappointment at my lack of speed, but I’m appreciating just being able to be out there.

Still, I need to recognize that there IS progress being made. I just came home from a 7.15 mile run (leaving me at 25 since Monday – this will be my highest mileage week since May after tomorrow’s 10 miler).

I ran roughly the same course 13 days ago – I did do a bit longer run today, but the XC part of the course was the same. I’m pretty pleased to see the difference in overall pace: I ran .65 further today in a run that was almost exactly the same time!

TODAY: 7.15miles in 1:07 (9:34 pace)

THIRTEEN DAYS AGO: 6.5miles in 1:08 (10:14 pace)

Sure, that’s nowhere where I was a year ago, but it’s actually a pleasant surprise to see that there is some definite progress being made.

The post Recognizing Progress appeared first on Go the Distance.

Eggs Mimosa with Artichoke Tapenade on Simply Recipes

So pretty! 

Have you ever heard of eggs mimosa? Neither had I until my French sweetheart introduced me to them. They’re like deviled eggs, except they’re not deviled. Instead, you stuff hard boiled egg whites and then grate the yolks over everything, resulting in a gorgeous platter reminiscent of the puff-like brilliant yellow mimosa flowers that abound in Provence and along the Mediterranean coast.

Continue reading "Eggs Mimosa with Artichoke Tapenade" »

Well, that was nice

t__m__i posting in runners
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No it wasn't. Yes it was. No it wasn't. I must do my research properly.
Today's wodge of Comrades training took me to the Broadmeadow marathon in Stratford-on-Avon. A stunningly beautiful course. What does that mean? Yes (oh noes!), off road . And it is stunningly beautiful - I particularly remember a stretch of hedgerow in blossom with bluebells underneath, which I enjoyed for quite a while as the path next to it was too uneven for me to run on :/ The view of Warwickshire hills was indeed remarkable as I turned my ankle after 15 miles and had a full-on teary sweary tantrum which lasted a good half an hour ("WHY don't I do my research, WHY didn't I go to Milton Keynes or do my own training run, STUPID STUPID STUPID") (etc, at length, until I got it out of my system).

SIX HOURS it took me, well, just under (triumph!). By contrast Rome took 4:40 and over 10 minutes of that were spent in the bogs, plus another 5 spent queuing for drinks. After checking with the organiser I opted to take the "proper" 9am start, rather than one of the earlier ones. There would be a celebrity starter! David Troughton, a FOAF of the organiser - I had fond memories of his magnificent turn as the cluelessly ambitious Dr Bob Buzzard in A Very Peculiar Practice. (The idea would be that he would, as a Shakespearian Ac-tor, deliver the traditional Henry V speech at the start, but he couldn't quite remember it so it was more of a double-act in the event).

For the first mile, a doctor named Baz, dressed as a clown, kept me company and chatted about Comrades and fancy dress running. Then the first incline appeared and that was it, I was last.
Hey ho, I always say to my beginners, "no-one minds if you're last as long as you're not taking the pis trying your best" - and having been a marshall I know that by and large this is true (particularly on an agreeable sunny day in the countryside when you have something to sit on). A lot of the course was out-and-back so I did still get to see other humans now and then, but imagine my delight when I realised two ladies were behind me! Actually no. I didn't remember overtaking them (one of them had bright purple hair...) so I just spent ten minutes worrying that I'd got lost and skipped some of the course. By this time I was too fuddled to remember that I was following the course on my Garmin and that deviations were announced to me with a loud farty buzzing noise, so if I'd got lost I would have noticed. I had got lost at least three times already so....

Anyway, we leapfrogged for a bit and then I also overtook a senior gentleman, and a bearded chap in a faded "Medics on Tour" tshirt who was walking along delving about in his snack bag. Who-hoo! I wouldn't be last back! I could stop feeling guilty about wanting to see Bob Buzzard and not wanting to get up at 6! The icing on the cake was overtaking one last group, two ladies, a bloke in a 100 Club tshirt, and his spaniel ("he's only done 34"). Out of the final 5!

But the best was yet to come. The last section was a hairpin along the old tramway and then back through the carpark to the cricket club. The moment the finish marshals catch sight of you heading in up on the tramway they give you a big cheer, which is great because you know it's just for you, and then when you finish a couple of minutes later - they offer you a big bottle of cider. Whch you couldn't take into the clubhouse obv. as there was a bar in there, so I had to drink it there and then, well that's my excuse anyway.

What I learned:
Turning your ankle can hurt like a monster and then be fine in five minutes
Christmas pudding carbloading doesn't bring on my runners' trots
I should not take up orienteering any time soon
The bluebells are out!
There is a pressing need for a non polluting solar-bicycle-hovercraft hybrid so that people can enjoy the countryside without fear of turning an ankle
There are dogs out there who have done more marathons than me
Garmin course support (bzzp) is a lifesaver for people who can't read and think and walk at the same time
You can be pleased about doing something even when you didn't enjoy it all of the time and wouldn't do it again
Cider is a great recovery drink when your feet hurt like ****

What's easier to hire for in NYC?   Developers or salespeople?

Well, let's see...  if hiring is a function of the top of the funnel--the number of leads you get, you have to imagine that at least finding larger pockets of those people is helpful to the process.

There are two meetups of Ruby devs that total over 3,000 people in NYC.  There's an iOS developer meetup that hosts over 4,000--and two more than have more than 1,000 each.  

In terms of companies, the average NYC founder can name a bunch of places off the top of my head that have over 50 engineers--Google, MLB, Gilt, Spotify, Foursquare, Etsy, Mongo, Appnexus, Shutterstock, Yodle, Meetup, Squarespace, Quirky, Shapeways, Stack Exchange, Refinery29, Aereo, Smartling, Tapad, Taboola, Yext, all the agencies, all the banks, etc, etc.  

Ok, so who has over 50 salespeople?

Who are the top sales leaders in NYC?  It feels like the revenue engines of NYC are pretty under the radar compared to the teams that write the code.  Is it me, or are the top CTOs in NYC much more of a startup household name than the folks at the top of the sales organizations?

And I thought NYC was supposed to be all about salespeople and not developers?  So where are they?

There are a few burgeoning groups out there that are starting to take shape--but they're quite small in comparison to the size of the overall population of salespeople.  Why?  If anything, there's just as much turnover in sales orgs, if not more--so wouldn't salespeople want to connect with others to check out new opportunities.

And sales is changing a lot.  The number of tools available to sales groups has skyrocketed--so keeping up with best practices seems more of a challenge than over.

It can't be a time thing.  Don't tell me time is money, because the average developer is putting in just as many sheer hours as anyone in the organization, but they still find a way to interact with the community.  Plus, sales teams aren't all about hours--they're about the productivity of their hours.  If anyone knows about how to leverage knowledge and tactics into better output, they do--so I'd assume they'd understand something learned is something gained later on.

So why is the community of salespeople so fragmented compared to engineering, design, founders, or VCs?

On Monday, I've got a best practices event going with top sales folks from H.Bloom, Offerpop and JW Player and it's something I'd love to discuss with the sales professionals in attendance.  Hope to see you there.  

April 16th, 2014

Sydney, meet Angus (ok Gypsy, just go with it). #horses #kids #kidsofinstagram #brave #family #love #latergram If you liked this post...Instagram #picoftheday ironbrandonshow 2014-01-19...

IronBrandon is dedicated to triathlon, running, cycling, swimming and the people who get out and do it...

April 15th, 2014

Gorgeous and very windy day for a ride. #cycling #fitness #triathlon #training If you liked this post...Instagram #picoftheday ironbrandonshow 2014-04-19 22:15:24Instagram #picoftheday...

IronBrandon is dedicated to triathlon, running, cycling, swimming and the people who get out and do it...

Asparagus Ham Strata on Simply Recipes

You know those times when you make something so good, you can’t wait for an excuse to make it again? This is one of those times. Wow. Perfect for a spring family gathering, such as an Easter brunch, Mother’s Day, or a graduation. This ham and asparagus strata is basically a breakfast casserole, taken up a notch or two. It’s a layered casserole with cubes of rustic bread, eggs, Gruyere cheese, milk, cream, diced ham, and asparagus.

It feeds a crowd. You can easily make ahead. Leftovers (if you have them, which I seriously doubt) will reheat beautifully for days.

Continue reading "Ham and Asparagus Strata" »

April 14th, 2014

Last week, there was a Business Insider article measuring the percent of female founded companies that NYC seed funds invest in.  

Brooklyn Bridge Ventures came in first, with a whopping 61%.  

Lerer Ventures was second, with just under 20%.  

So, clearly, I'm making some kind of a portfolio-wide bet there, right?


Well, it's gotta mean something, right?  


The funny thing about stats is that you can basically come up with a stat to justify any argument or position--and the whole female founders in tech conversation has a ton of numbers that people put out there as various types of proof and justification, or blame.

You would probably be surprised on where my views are on some of those conversations.  

Take the most widely used number--that way fewer women are getting venture funding than guys.  That, statistically, is true.  It also doesn't take into consideration many important factors:

One, venture backed companies are a tiny hiccup in the grand scheme of entrepreneurship.  Most companies don't ever raise venture capital and they do just fine.  I scratch my head over why raising venture is put on such a podium.  Do we discount the billion dollar company that Sara Blakely built at Spanx because she didn't raise venture, instead opting to start the company with $5k of her own cash?  That's just silly.  If we look at the larger pool, women run around 30% of the businesses in the US, and they equally co-own just under 20% on top of that.  So women own or co-own almost 50% of all the businesses in the US.  That's a much better picture of female entrepreneurship than the 2-4% of venture capital dollars going to women.  

The main driver of the skew towards men getting venture capital, statistically, is that far more men are pitching.  Of course, you can take into consideration all sorts of things like encouragement, perception--like what would you think your chances were if you see that a firm has never funded a female--but the fact remains that once you actually pitch, your chances don't appear to be any worse than when guys pitch.  I guarantee you that if you ask any of the firms listed in the Business Insider article, and ask them if their dealflow is 15-20% women and they'll say no.  That means you actually have a *better* shot, statistically, of getting VC investment at these firms, statistically, once you actually pitch.

Once again, that's all stats and doesn't really explain anything.  I don't think these funds are actually trying to fund by gender.

What I do think is going on is that men and women start the pitch process at different stages.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times in my career where a woman has pitched me with "just an idea" that wasn't built yet.  Guys, on the other hand, do it all the time.  I believe that women seem to succeed in the funding funnel at a higher rate because they're actually pitching later in their development--when they've got a product, more research, more customer traction.  There are all sorts of socialized norms that play into why--perceptions of risk, failure, expectations, etc.  Guys, in general, feel pretty invincible most of the time and don't mind getting turned down for their idea--and they'll come back again and again showing whatever progress they made.  

In my own case, I do tend to have a bias--and that's industry insight.  I really like it when an entrepreneur has a unique perspective on the industry he or she is working on.  Wiley Cerilli of Singleplatform had been working as the head of sales at Seamless for 10 years.  Chantel Waterbury of chloe + isabel spent 15 years in the jewelry business and had been a Cutco salesperson.  Adam Sager at Canary had worked in and around the security industry for over a decade.  Ellen Johnston of Makr has a decade of senior creative experience.  I tend not to back the type of founder who thinks that code and design alone breaks down all industry barriers--which means that the average age of the founders I've seeded has been around 33.  

If you go for people with some experience and insight, you are definitively going to get more females.  That's because if you're funding 21 year olds, there tends to be less industry insight present so what makes up for it is a build.  They made something that seems to be working as opposed to knowing what will or should work.  Because software development skews so male, the younger you fund someone, and you make that builder versus expert tradeoff, the more likely it will be that you're funding guys.  Women in tech, from what I've seen, tend to become entrepreneurs when they feel like they've gathered up the experience to give them the right idea--i.e. later in their careers.  

So, if nothing else, my skew towards female founders probably has more to do with experience than gender.  

Another factor in my results has to do with my willingness to fund first time founders.  Only one of the 13 founders that I've backed in this fund, and none of the seven I backed at First Round, had previously been the CEO of a venture backed startup.  If you're only backing repeat founders, of course you're going to skew more male, because that's who founded startups in the past.

Lastly, six of the eight founders that counted as part of the BI study were part of mixed teams--where there were both male and female founders.  If it wasn't for those teams, I'd be right in the middle of the back with about 15%.  Why so many mixed teams?

I think it has a lot to do with the personality of the guys I've funded.  They seem to be much more open to sharing the spotlight, focused on building teams that come at problems from multiple perspective, and they think a lot about culture.  In other words, they have a vision not just for a product but for the company behind that product.  When you think ahead about what your company looks like, it gives me a lot more confidence that you'll actually be able to build it.  

So, before you label me (or congratulate me, which I think is the weirdest thing) as an investor that is looking or more willing to fund women, you should be applying the following labels first:


  • Experience friendly
  • First time founder friendly
  • Thoughtful team builder friendly


In truth, that's what's actually driving my investments.  I couldn't really care less what gender you are as long as you've got the ability to make my investors a big return.    

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