The Things That Go Unseen

Big product changes have been afoot among several OATV backed companies in the last few weeks. Some have been met with praise, others met with scorn. In all cases there’ve been bits of both as users embrace or resist some of the new features and behaviors offered up by their beloved services.

As users, we’re just like most. There are parts of each new rev of these products we love, and others we’d wished never saw the light of day. Some we embrace over time and others we pester the companies to roll back. With our user hats on, we appreciate the companies who engage openly in the conversations happening among us.

Seeing founders down to interns monitoring and responding to tweets, blog comments and emails shows a level of caring and community that endears us to these companies and their products even more. We continue to invest our time in them and their products because they invest their time listening to and working with us. 

But as investors, these product launches have an additional layer of meaning. Because what is often seen as new and, sometimes, surprising to users is actually the public manifestation of what has been bouncing around in the heads of founders and behind closed doors of the companies we back for years. 

All the new Explore stuff that Foursquare just rolled out? Dennis shared his vision for that the first time we sat down to talk over 3 years ago. Bitmarking? That’s been something the bitly team has wanted to build for years. 

As I look across our portfolio of companies many have just scratched the surface of the visions they have for the products they want to build and the impact they each hope to have on the world. They are working daily to lay the foundations for building the companies that can build the products that shape the future. Much of that is the thankless stuff that never hits the front page of the NYT.  

Seeing pieces of people’s visions make their way into the real world is a pretty amazing part of our job as investors. And knowing that there is so much more happening that others haven’t even seen yet, that no one may ever see, gives us a view into a part of the startup experience that most will never get.

I dig that.