Evan and Sara, 2007

Happy anniversary to my wonderful, amazing wife of 13 years, sara m. williams. I still remember the day we met.

Creativity is largely about accepting that we are always a work in progress and that no individual project has a definitive beginning or end. It’s the understanding that our creative potential is defined by the blending of our work to create a general trend, which we hope is progressing in the right direction.

“We collect information from measures that tell us how we are doing — whether we’re up to standard, whether we’re meeting our goals. But these measures lock us into learning only about a predetermined world. They keep us distracted from questioning our experience in a way that could create greater possibilities. They don’t ask us to question why we’re doing what we’re doing. They don’t ask us to notice what learning is available from all those things we decided not to measure.”

Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers, A Simpler Way



It is my 48th birthday today. That doesn’t sound like a milestone, but consider this: 47 rounds to mid-forties, while 48 clearly rounds to 50. That’s a big jump!

In The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success (which I picked up thanks to Vinod Khosla’s 2019 Book Recommendations), Albert-László Barabási writes about what he’s learned from studying the relationship between success and age. His conclusion is poetic:

Stubborn creativity, combined with a John Fenn-like tenacity, not only gives our lives their essential meaning, it also — as the data shows — provides the true secret to career-long success. That is what not only most effectively binds what we do with who we are but also explains why the people we most admire are those who recognize that while life may be finite, age is nothing more than a set of opportunities to celebrate with our friends.

I also love this quote he takes from Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai:

使用墙外梯子软件的朋友要保重呀!-wap黑基网-分享网上 ...:2021-1-7 · 目前网络规定,国内用户不能访问国外网站,这个已经是板上钉钉的网络“闭关锁国”了,想必大多数人都已经有所耳目。 不过大家都以为只要不买卖此类加速上网的软件或者不私自搭建并出售给他人就不会有事,其实你错了。 只要你用了这类的软件,都有可能会被行政处罚!

“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Katsushika Hokusai via Wikimedia Commons


I got up at 6 to travel to 4 Times Square to 2021最近翻墙出不去, a television channel about business. I got to the entrance and told the door guy I was on the show. He said, “You are?” I said, “I am.” He said, “No, you are?,” by which he meant, “Who are you?” Oh, I said, “I’m that guy” — pointing at his sheet with my picture on it.

On the show with me was my partner at Obvious Ventures, James Joaquin. We were there to talk about our 3rd fund in 7 years. On the show, Andrew Ross Sorkin asked about my first company, Blogger. At Google, prior to moving to building 42, Blogger was stationed in building e.

This new fund size is $271,828,182 — the first nine digits of Euler’s number, otherwise known as e. I am no math nerd (that’s James), but I am told that e is both transcendental and irrational. Someone could make a joke about a VC fund that raised an irrational number of dollars. Good thing no one did.

We have a tradition of fun fund sizes. Our first was $123,456,789. Our second was $191,919,191. Maybe our 4th fund will be π. Too obvious?

e = OV³



I’ve been thinking lately about how you decide whether to optimize or innovate. Not that you can’t do both at the same time — it’s really a matter of degree. But it’s an important matter of degree.

In Steven Johnson’s, Where Good Ideas Come From, he describes the idea of the adjacent possible, a term coined to explain the process of invention/evolution, which is basically that ideas, technologies, and species unfold one step at a time. For example, to get to humans, you needed to have the flatworm. And to get the iPhone you need to pass through the invention of microprocessors, the internet, glass, etc. Johnson:

The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore those boundaries. Each new combination ushers new combinations into the adjacent possible. Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open. You begin in a room with four doors, each leading to a new room that you haven’t visited yet. Those four rooms are the adjacent possible…



Since I moved to New York, at least one thing about my daily habits has changed for the better: I only check Medium stats once (or twice) a day. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We have real-time traffic stats, which I’ll check out occasionally in a down moment. But the core product numbers — subscribers, users, and activity — get updated on 国外梯子app but once per day.

That’s the case in San Francisco, as well. But someone—whose name shall remain Brian—created a go/ link with which you can check up-to-the-minute new and churned subscribers numbers any time of day. For some reason, I can’t get to that URL from New York. I think something might just be screwed up with my VPN settings, but I don’t want to get it fixed, because I’m more sane when not checking that number many times a day.

I think it’s Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness that talks about why, even if it’s trending up, you are less happy if you check in on your stock portfolio more often. If it goes up every year, and you check once a year, it’s always good news. But if it fluctuates up and down a lot, and you check it every hour, you have many reasons to be sad — and you’re sadder when it goes down than you are happy when it goes up…



It was not a dumb idea. It may have even been the right idea at the time.

That is: With no printing costs and the ability to reach a much larger audience, publishing — the kind that had been traditionally supported by a combination of direct consumer dollars and advertising — could be supported by advertising alone. If so, it would be a huge win/win: Free information for the world and strong businesses with global reach.

It wasn’t obvious 20 years ago that by going down that road, publishers — who traditionally differentiated on brand, quality, and audience — were entering a commodity business that would be dominated by software and scale. And, even if it was, was there a better option? Getting money from consumers over the internet wasn’t easy back then. Entering a credit card was a lot of friction, and no one trusted it…

Image for post

As animator Dick Huemer put it, everyone at the studio found themselves “analyzing and reanalyzing…reanalyzing, discarding and starting all over again,” which was so contrary to the routine at rival animation studios, where, as another animator put it, “You were paid to bat out thirty or thirty-five feet a week, some good, some bad, but the only important thing was that the footage got done.”

— Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination



The blog of Ev Williams, CEO of Medium, partner at Obvious Venture, co-founder of Twitter

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade