Andy Weissman

Partner at Union Square Ventures

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 01, 2015

Discussion

Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
Hi - I'm Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures. I have been in the venture and internet business for about 15 years, so happy to talk about the olden days or the present or about music, books or culture, please ask me anything you want
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@aweissman What are the 3 best and worst things working in Venture Capital?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@bentossell best: constant stimulation, great people, never ever boring. Worst: constant stimulation, LONG time till you know when your investments decisions work out, and the uncertainty
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@aweissman @bentossell can you say more about "constant stimulation" and why it is one of the worst parts of the role?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@metacool @bentossell I find one of the downsides is just not having enough time to reflect, think, daydream. The constant activity can get in the way. As a friend of mine one said, sometimes life gets in the way of living
Julien Genestoux@julien51 · Founder, Superfeedr
@aweissman @bentossell Good one: I *hate* very large feedback loops...
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@aweissman Thanks for joining us today. During your career to date, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Flip side - what's the worst?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@ems_hodge best: it's not where you start, but where you end. Worst advice: don't ever have regrets
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, Andy! Your partner at USV, @fredwilson, recently wrote a piece about the opportunity in building a business based on lists. This topic is particularly interesting to me because Product Hunt is essentially a collection of lists. What's your take on this? Who's doing it well and what areas of discovery or search are most ripe for improvement?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@rrhoover I feel like the transformative list product will be one that isnt about lists explicitly ....In other words, lists are a utility. Maybe hard to emotionally connect with people around that
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@aweissman as you know andy, I and @twentyminutevc are massive fans of yours, my question is what element of USV do you think has made you the go to place for smart money in NYC? Also, Kickstarter as an investment? How does that payoff when they have no exit strategy according to @ystrickler by the way would absolutely love to have you on @twentyminutevc in the future!!
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@harrystebbings I think we are nice people and are known for sticking with companies throughout their lives. Kickstarter will figure things out I am sure, and we are patient
Jeff Tierney@jeffreytierney · Software Engineer, Spring
Is a dream a lie if it don't come true? Or is it something worse?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@jeffreytierney only if you waste your summer praying in vain
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Andy! Thanks for joining us. What's something you used to fundamentally believe that you now see as misguided?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@eriktorenberg what a heady question. I used to believe some things were black or white but now see everything is somewhere in between
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting out in the venture business?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@eriktorenberg embrace extreme uncertainty
Kunal Tandon@kunaltandon · kunaltandon.com
@aweissman can you give some insight into all the different hats you wear as a VC- how much of your time goes into meeting with potential investments, recruiting for existing portfolio companies, working with struggling portfolio companies, etc?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@kunaltandon I've never thought about this but I know realize I should. I would say 30% new investments 70% existing companies but as a firm we each are (and I certainly am) am close to capacity. Also, it does seem that more time is spent with companies that are still getting their footing than ones that that are in the groove
Jonathan Libov@libovness · I can lift 100 lbs. right over my head
@aweissman What thing or trend in tech have you been most confident would come about but never did? Put otherwise, what trend were you the most wrong about?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@libovness As Jeff Spicoli said "I know that dude!" Most confident that didnt - the primacy of instant messaging and IM bots. Been wrong about too many to count . . .
Diego Rodriguez@metacool · Partner, IDEO
@aweissman What are some non-software products that you really love?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@metacool the blank cassette tape :) and the NYC subway
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people that have had the greatest impact on your life?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@katesegrin this is a hard question to answer bc some of those i do not want to name and the impact they had was also in not what to do
Whitney McNamara@whitneymcn · Amateur. Enthusiast.
At this particular point in time, best Scarlet -Fire?
Whitney McNamara@whitneymcn · Amateur. Enthusiast.
@whitneymcn Though riffing on the significance of the Dead as a business would be acceptable, too.
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@whitneymcn I am partial always to 5 8 77 but this summer was under the notion that 3 22 90 could be the one
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@whitneymcn so what about this - maybe something all startups should strive for is, as Garcia said: to be like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Have you had any mentors in your career? If so who :) and how did they guide you?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@ems_hodge interestingly (or not), the best mentors I have ever had didn't even know they were my mentors! And was simply guided by seeing behavior that made me think "that's how I should be acting"
Jeff Tierney@jeffreytierney · Software Engineer, Spring
Who plays Andy Weissman in a movie about the NY tech world?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@jeffreytierney one can only hope that movie never gets made. That being said, I would like to play Abbie Hoffman in a movie about him
Ty Danco@tydanco · Angel investor
Best beer, and favorite Phish tune?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@tydanco HEADY, Reba. Yours?
Ty Danco@tydanco · Angel investor
@aweissman @tydanco The one that is in front of me(hopefully Heady Topper) and YEM.
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello @aweissman Favorite recent new music artist? How do you see the startup landscape changing in the next 5 years?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@neeeharika hello! new artist: Circles Around the Sun. Start up landscape will be interesting and more robust but also different. Feels like there used to be: startups and incumbents, and the metaphor for the former was fast and nimble and for the latter was slow and unwieldy. But now: the incumbents are .. . . Google, FB etc. Also the more traditional "old media" incumbents know what's going and are trying and in some cases doing this as well. And, to top it all off - alternative fundraising and crowdfunding platforms as a new channel for startups to help grow etc. Net net: gonna be interesting
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
Well this was really fun and fast paced enough that I couldn't multi-task! Thanks alot everyone
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@aweissman What are some of your most recommended books?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@bentossell Steve Martin, Born Standing Up. Lethem - Fortress of Solitude. And of course, On the Road
Heath W. Black@heathwblack
@aweissman @bentossell YESSSS!!!! There are two quotations from that book that I think about almost daily: “Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.” “Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Which product in USV's portfolio do you wish everyone on Product Hunt knew about? Bonus: I lived in Union Square when interning @ApolloJets. Favorite restaurant in that area?
Andy Weissman@aweissman · stuff
@andrewmettinger the one I wished everyone knew about is the term sheet we signed the other week - soon enough though. Fav rest: the falafel guy on 16th street