* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

So here's the thing ...

I've been around here, off and on for years.  You kids, get off my lawn.

So Joel announces StackExchange just got $40M VC financing.  That's great, good for all around.  BUT - does anyone remember Joel's post, back when he actually wrote things for joelonsoftware, about how he would NEVER take VC funding ever?  Anyone remember that post from many years ago?  Remember all the carefully thought out reasons why taking VC money was poison?

I'm not just beating up on our benevolent host here - anyone remember the 37 Signals (Basecamp) crew back in their early days?  They published a book online in PDF format as a paid download - "Getting Real", I still have my PDF copy.  They published a few blog posts that went on and on how doing the self-published PDF paid download was the only thing that made business sense, publishing books on dead tree paper was awful and not worth the time for the money involved, publishers (like Joel's early take on VCs) were vampires that sucked everything out of you - anyone remember that?  Of course, once they hit the Big Time, they published a new book - "Rework" - and it was in dead tree and Kindle format, via a traditional publisher only.

I just find this all interesting.  Discuss.
Mitch & Murray (from downtown) Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
 
 
I guess if I was him I'd note that those comments were about FogCreek, which presumably has no VC ownership and is still privately owned and note that StackExchange from the beginning was a partnership with others and never fell under that deal.

If FogCreek does have VC ownership though, then I'd say that things change.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, January 25, 2015
 
 
Ducknald Don Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 
I skimmed the article Ducknald Don linked to and I didn't see anything about *never* taking VC. Did I miss it? Or did he say that somewhere else? Perhaps the OP could link to it?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 
+1 to Scott.

Times and circumstamces change, so just because someone says something ten years ago about one business, doesn't mean they have to apply the same rigid rules to another very different company, with different partners and a different business model.

As an aside, anyone who follows the startup scene would likely think that an investment from a16z was not something to turn down, especially when you consider their wider protfolio of investments.
Scorpio Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 
In Business you have to be prepared to change. Businesses that don't adapt die.

I'm not surprised that Joel is not using the same thinking as from 2003.

It would be different if Joel's post was about not using VC for ethical reasons and those ethical reasons that prevented taking VC were still valid.
koan Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 
As soon as I hear someone say "always", "never" or are to passionate about their opinions, I start taking what they say with a grain of salt.  The real world is just to complex to be able to make sweeping generalizations about almost anything.
Doug Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 
-koan
"It would be different if Joel's post was about not using VC for ethical reasons and those ethical reasons that prevented taking VC were still valid. "

I went back and read Joel's post from 2003.  And although he doesn't say he's against VC funding for "ethical" reasons, he lays out his reasons pretty clearly and they all seem perfectly applicable today,, nearly 12 years later.
Richard McBeef Send private email
Monday, January 26, 2015
 
 

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