Turning to page 40

It took me a few minutes to start writing something after putting in this title “Turning to page 40”. I re-read the many emails, Facebook private and wall messages, skype IMs, SMSs, twitter messages and greeting e-cards I received over the past 24 hours. I am grateful for all of these, a big Thank You to you all. One of my journalist friends nailed it: “Just wanted to chime in and wish you a great year … and decade, I suppose!”. A great decade is what I am wishing myself today, I guess for the first time. I only have a vague souvenir of my turning 20, I remember the 30 transition because of the great wines (and the headaches) we had, but for some reason I find that turning 40 is a bigger deal. Sort of not being old yet, but not being young any more. My good friend Reid Hoffman took the same turn a few weeks ago, and I’ll have to confer with him on his thoughts on the matter (happy belated birthday to you Reid :-).

This new decade coincides with two other important milestones. One is personal: in 2 weeks, my beloved wife Bernadette and I will have been married for 15 years, and I have to send a big shout and much love to that beautiful, wonderful and wicked smart woman for having put up with me for such a long time. And for having supported my sort of unpredictable career moves – from being a CTO in France to becoming a VC in Silicon Valley 7 years ago, and then leaving the comforts of the “dark side” to launch SoftTech VC, kinda my own startup.

That is my second milestone: about 3 years ago (and a few months), I decided to start this firm and invest my time and our family’s money into early stage startups, more precisely consumer internet startups located in Silicon Valley. Web 2.0 did not exist per se then, nor was it as obvious as today that there was a tremendous opportunity to help launch capital efficient consumer services that would leverage a more mature Internet, one that was widely available, and where monetization opportunities were real (at least in my mind). Three years, 25 deals and 5 successful M&A exits later (Truveo/AOL, Userplane/AOL, MyBlogLog/Yahoo, Kaboodle/Hearst, Maya’s Mom/J&J’s BabyCenter), I am still very bullish about the myriad of early stage investment opportunities that are in front of us. Yes, there are pockets of over-invested areas in the consumer space, and yes, some valuations got me to wonder wtf some investors were thinking (*), but that does not mean that we are entering Bubble 2.0. That’s what I am betting in getting ready to make my next batch of 25 early stage investments in the next few years. And I hope that I will have the same sheer luck of meeting exceptional, smart and passionate entrepreneurs – some of which I decided to join and support, and others I wished best of luck to.

(*) I remember distinctly hearing these same discussions when KP & Sequoia invested in Google, and when Accel Partners invested in Facebook. So these valuations do make sense sometimes…

So thanks again to all for your kind wishes, and cheers to the new decade :-). I am off to a meeting with my lawyers now, writing some of the first paragraphs of… page 40.

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Owyang (congrats on the new gig Dude :-).

Tags:


  • http://jackiedanicki.com Jackie Danicki

    Jeff, I’m so glad to see you return to your blog! I’ve missed your posts.
    Also, I wanted to say that one of the most striking things about you is how much you obviously treasure your wife and the partnership you have with her. I don’t think we’ve ever spoken about her in our too-rare face to face chats, but it shines through so brightly from online observation. It’s wonderful that you two are providing such an incredibly positive example to your children of what a good relationship looks like, and how it works. Too few kids get that, and yours are amongst the luckiest. No matter what you achieve in business, no matter how mad your VC skillz are, the job you are doing in raising your children is the most noble work on the planet. It’s a pleasure to watch from afar.

  • http://codorniou.wordpress.com Julien

    Jeff: all the best for the next 40 years, and congrats for your last exit.
    very best regards.
    a tres vite
    Julien.

  • http://web-strategist.com Jeremiah Owyang

    Congrats to you, the photo is so wonderful due to the great looking folks!

  • http://altaide.typepad.com/ Jacques Froissant (Altaide : le recrutement 2.0)

    Congrats Jeff et Bienvenue au club des forties !

  • http://profile.typekey.com/rodrigosepulveda/ Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz

    hey congrats ! 3,5y to go for me :)

  • http://labnotes.org Assaf

    Pretty impressive to look back at all you’ve done. Happy birthday!

  • http://profile.typekey.com/spacejockeys/ Christine Herron

    So lovely to see this note….have a glorious birthday!

  • Celine Lacombe

    Joyeux anniversaire de la France ou nous sommes maintenant installes. A tres bientot j’espere, n’hesite pas faire si tu es par la. Moi je passe les 30 bientot… Encore joyeux anniversaire!

  • http://www.8asians.com John Lin

    Congrats on 40 successful years!

  • http://www.didierbeck.com didier

    Hey Jeff, already 40?? You are joking, eheheh :-) I wish you all the best privately and professionally, a lot of fun and exciting deals, some good and bad exits (just to remember you from time to time that investing is linked with risk :-), and further on a good time in the Silicon Valley to spread our marvelous French wines and evangelize a bit our US friends also in this field.
    Take care, Didier

  • Francisque

    ha ouais 40….qd même :)….Joyeux Anniversaire et à bientôt !

  • JM Frangos

    Joyeux Anniversaire Jeff! Most people realise at 40 that they are no longer bullet proof, but you sound like French wine, you might well be entering your best vintages from page 40 on! En tout cas, c’est ce que je te souhaite. Bises a Bernadette!
    Jean-Marc.

  • http://www.ventureblog.com David Hornik

    Jeff, happy birthday and congratulations on surviving and thriving. I look forward to many more panels before we turn 50.

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    Wait ’til you hit the biog 5-0. That’s a good one. -:)
    All the best Jeff and congrats on making those smart investments.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dmc500hats/ Dave

    congrats jeff & apologies just getting around to wishing you a happy b-day only now!
    glad to hear such a positive outlook for the future, and all the best for your business & family :)
    take care,
    - dmc

  • http://www.sergetheconcierge.com Serge Lescouarnec

    Jeff
    Joyeux Anniversaire
    (tres en retard)
    You are so much younger than me.
    In the past year, I have been musing on passing the 50 year post.
    I have even offered a panel for South by Southwest Interactive titled ‘Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet’.
    Have a great week-end
    I hope we have a chance to meet soon.
    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’