On January 2nd I’ll be moving to Boulder for three months to work for the Boulder-based gang of Mobius Venture Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund which invests in leading technology companies.
If you’ve been following the blizzard news, you’re probably saying to yourself, "Ben, you must have balls the size of coconuts to be moving to Colorado now." The answer is: I do.
How did this all come to be? My first "real" business meeting several years ago was with Greg Prow, then COO & Managing Director at Mobius, now CEO of Planitax. I didn’t quite realize my good fortune: my first business meeting would take place in the plush offices of a billion dollar fund in Silicon Valley! My meeting with Greg was surreal and his parting words enduring ("If anyone tells you to stop on your journey, don’t listen to them").
Later, Greg introduced me to his partner Brad Feld who ran Mobius’ Boulder office. Greg told me Brad was "just like me." Among other things, he started his first company in high school.
After I met with Brad for the first time in 2003, Greg said, "You should try to get to know Brad. I mean it. It won’t be easy with him in Colorado, but really try." I remember nodding and then writing at the top of my notebook: "Feld".
And it wasn’t easy. Brad generously introduced me to a bunch of interesting Bay Area people, but I still didn’t get to know him. Several times we planned one-on-one meetings when he was in the Bay Area, and he always canceled on me last minute.
It was only when we both started blogging around June 2004 that we could really get to know each other. Over the course of the next few years, through emails, occasional dinners, and lots of blogging, we’ve formed a nice friendship and he’s become a wonderful mentor and inspiration for me. I came to know some of his CEOs, his partner Seth, his wife Amy, and still other members of his seemingly infinite circle of influence.
I stopped in Boulder on my way back from Chicago last spring and I crashed at his place. We talked about my gap year. I told him that in addition to my active board directorship at Comcate, international travel, and writing, I wanted to do "something different". He invited me to hang in Boulder for a few months and help the Mobius gang, see a lot of companies and people, lay soft roots in Boulder, and learn a bit about the VC side of the business (I’ve only been an in-the-trenches entrepreneur). I gave it some thought while I trekked through Europe. It didn’t take long to figure out it’d be an amazing opportunity culturally (a city other than San Francisco), professionally (smart entrepreneurs and VCs looking to create cool companies), and personally (live on my own / wash clothes / cook).
So what will I be doing in Boulder? I guess the most accurate role description would be "entrepreneur-at-large" — I’ll be tackling a bunch of odds and ends related to Mobius portfolio companies and internal projects. I’ll also engage in broader Colorado entrepreneurial life. I will be full-time with them, although I will still have my hand in a variety of side projects.
I’m a big believer in the idea, "Surround yourself with high quality people and through osmosis their excellence will rub off on you." After Chuck Norris or Jack Bauer, I couldn’t think of a better gang to hang around. Brad, Jason, Seth, Ryan, and Chris — I look forward to the next quarter! Here’s to staying warm!
11 comments on “I'm Moving to Boulder, CO for Q1 2007”
Phenomenal–Boulder is a great city.
Have you checked out Greg Mankiw’s blog?
lots of Econ–you may like it.
Yep — Greg’s blog is excellent.
I think you’ll enjoy it out here, Ben. Perhaps we could meet up some day? I’d love to meet you..
Good place to eat:
Hapa Sushi on Pearl St.
Have a great time.
Boulder is a great city!! You will love it. My favorite part is that there is a 24 hour convenience store that carries only health food! It is quite a cool scene there. Enjoy!
January through March in Boulder shouldn’t be too bad, although I prefer it in summer or fall. I went to college there, and my daughter just graduated in December. It is a strange, fascinating place. Glad you’ll be in Colorado for awhile. By the way, we didn’t get any snow in the northwestern corner of Colorado when Denver and the front range had their blizzards. Colorado is like two or maybe four or five states in one. I get reverse altitude sickness when I go to sea level–all I want to do is sleep. I’m only truly happy at altitude.
Wow, it’s once in a lifetime op to work with a VC as cool as Brad. Make the most of it, Ben. I hate your luck.
Congratulations Ben – great that you continue to develop yourself and your vision at the edges/border. Awesome New Year !
Welcome to the Beautiful State! The secret out here is that the six feet of snow we got in ten days will take less than that to melt thanks to a few gorgeous days of sunshine.
I look forward to meeting you in person.
Have fun! I went to high school 20 minutes south of Boulder and graduated from CU Boulder thanks in large part to a leadership scholarship (from the President’s Leadership Class).
Boulder is a very special town to me and from what I’ve read about you on your blog, you should really enjoy it! I moved to the Bay Area immediately after graduating and the two cultures are very complimentary. I hope to read of about your time in Boulder in future blog posts!
Hey man. Welcome to town. Gimme a call before you get buried in fun.