Dave McClure is No Devil

The more I read about this the more I’m angered by TechCrunch’s irresponsible reporting on Angel Gate. Unless, and I seriously challenge him to because he can’t, Michael Arrington can produce substantial evidence that collusion did occur he should issue an apology. I have every reason to believe that Michael showed up uninvited to a dinner of friends, got really pissed and hurt because they told him to essentially screw off and then assumed they were up to no good. Of course, that’s being generous. It seems more like he got so pissed he decided to damage their reputations using TechCrunch simply because he has the power to. The only place to find a balanced debate on this is the Quora thread. Then the post an innuendo-laden email bomb from Ron Conway regarding a dinner he didn’t attend.

All I got to say is screw Tech Crunch for writing whatever they damn well please simply because their founder got socially snubbed. It’s Tech Crunch doing the dirty Mafia type hits if you ask me.

End of updated rant. The original article below.

The recent crap storm about TechCrunch’s expose about back room Mafia-style price fixing by angel investors kept taking an unreal turn for the worse. First, I have to hand it to Michael Arrington for doing this. It takes balls to make accusations like this and pretty much turn the entire community against you. He has everything to lose and this is one sorry publicity stunt if it goes wrong. In the UK he’d be sued out of business for libel even on a blog. In some other country, he might never be seen again.

The first guy to fall under the bus is definitely Dave McClure. He was the first to respond and now he really got thrown under the bus. I spent the good part of the day with him last year when he came to Japan. That doesn’t make me an expert on him or make me privy to what he does for business but if does the things that people allege him of doing in this “Angel Gate” scandal this man definitely has the most elaborate smoke and mirrors act I’ve ever seen.

The Dave McClure I saw is generous with his time and despite his bad boy image he’s the most approachable guy on earth. I literally walked up to him in a crowded party, briefly introduced myself, and asked him to attend a startup event happening the next day. He did not know who I was and he did not care. He showed up first thing in the morning and stayed all day. He brought a Japanese startup founder with him, gave a great presentation and mentored people all day. The event was basically a workshop for amateurs throwing around ideas. If Dave was just pretending to be interested or being polite, I must be blind because he critiqued ideas and gave feedback like he was about to invest money.

I don’t know about the intricacies of the allegations or how this situation is going down now that Ron Conway threw down the gauntlet but Dave’s been on the grind. Dave does a lot of things that other people in Silicon Valley don’t like try to connect the Valley with entrepreneurs in Asia and other regions. He works hard, he gets his hands dirty, he’s more accessible than a lot of “classy” investors, and he’ll pick up the phone when you call.

I don’t know who else is implicated but if you look around a lot of people have got Dave’s back. That says a lot. These are the same people he would have been “screwing” if allegations are true. These people are also very smart. I don’t think you can really damage someone’s reputation if they’re the real thing. Dave sure was in the wrong place at the wrong time but the dude’s literally everywhere. If I needed advice I wouldn’t hesitate to ask him and anybody he invests in will get a great deal just because Dave McClure doesn’t do anything half-assed period.

Fire in The Valley, Fire in My Belly… and Yes, Mike, I Have Stopped Beating My Wife. – Master of 500 Hats

So A Blogger Walks Into A Bar…

One Year Without Alcohol

I went one year without drinking. There were three separate occasions I more or less got pressured into pretend sipping or an aperitif but otherwise I was sober the whole time and didn’t really obsess about it. It took a while for friends and people around me to realize I was dead serious about not drinking but once I established the fact, people left me alone. I ended up having a shot of tequila about one week after the anniversary. That seriously messed my head up. The alcohol felt like it got injected into my veins and took me a while to ground myself. For about a week after the tequila kept popping into my head.

Now I know why alcoholics and drug addicts need to stop cold turkey. It’s crazy but you spend all this time avoiding it and you don’t realize how much your commitment and reinforcement of values are doing behind the scene. One one level, you’re freed from all the baggage of keeping your “streak” going. On the other hand, you need to make sure all hell doesn’t break loose and wait for it to pass. I was never a heavy drinker though I always had a tendency to binge. When I stopped drinking my propensity to drink was getting more and more frequent. I abstained from alcohol a couple months before. This time I was slowly getting fed up with myself at how easily I’d go for a beer or two after work to relax, rather than just let the stress go, and then the tipping point came when I had too many drinks and totally embarrassed myself. Something inside me told me that I had to hit the “reset” button. So, I said to myself, “I’m not drinking for at least six months”.

What happens when you don’t drink alcohol? This is what happened with me.

  1. Slept way better.
  2. Felt way better.
  3. Went out less.
  4. Never stayed until the morning train at a party (this being Japan).
  5. People around you drink less.
  6. You manage to socialize with people at parties anyway (you just need to get used to it at first, if you’re shy and use alcohol to loosen up)

I know that recent studies claim heavy drinkers still live longer than people who don’t drink. These studies contradict each other every other month but I wouldn’t doubt the social component of drinking leads to better health. Still, I can’t really deny that I feel a lot better not drinking because the quality of life is way better when there’s no alcohol from last night in your system even without hangovers. It’s a lifestyle choice. Although that tequila shot puts me back on a new journey, I’d rather not go back to drinking although I’m not going to be fanatic about it. Just go with the flow and right now I’m not feeling alcohol.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine is a mid-life crisis movie. Three friends and a nephew go on a ski excursion when Lou attempts suicide to cheer him up. The dilapidated resort town of their youthful conquests is deserted and run down. As the situation degenerates into a train wreck situation, they find the hot tub in the backyard (where they just found a dead racoon) miraculously fixed. As they drink their way into oblivion the tub swirls them back into the 1980s in their youthful forms though they look young to everyone else.

There were some humorous moments but it’s pretty much a trailer movie, you know where if you see the trailer you saw the movie. The retro 80s fashion was definitely fun to see (and the women looked hot in their hair-spray and heavy mascara) but there wasn’t enough tension or comedic vehicles to carry the film through. It needed some kind of twist. Title was awesome, that’s without question.

Kick Ass

Kick Ass definitely blew me away (but not all in a good way). It takes the classic story of a nerd transforming himself into a super hero and deconstructs it in a modern, information technology-driven society where reality and real life can be blurred by personas created online. Our hero, to be known as “Kick Ass”, is a normal teenager geek that gets it in him to become a comic book super hero. The transformation begins by ordering a super hero outfit that consists of a diving suit and setting up a MySpace page to handle super hero assignments.

Of course, being a nerd, he’s totally unprepared physically and mentally so his first mission ends with him getting stabbed and beaten unconscious. As a result, his bone structure is fortified with plates and he becomes desensitized to pain. In order to hide embarrassment from being found in a super hero outfit, he corroborates a story with the paramedic that he was found naked. This leads to rumors at school that he is gay. The gorgeous girl he has a crush on takes an interest in him once she “finds out” he’s gay and makes him her bff.

Instead of giving up on the super hero idea, now that he has a high tolerance for pain and a taste of the exciting, crime fighting lifestyle, he clumsily forays back into the super hero business. This almost gets him killed and brings him into contact with real avengers (a father and daughter team) who are not afraid to kill villains.

That’s the setup. Any more would spoil it.

Call me old-fashioned but seeing a little girl cuss like a sailor while slicing mafia gangsters up in cold blood really disturbs me. The trailers, by necessity I suppose, really gloss this over. Artistically, it’s a bold move for the director to be faithful to the graphic novel’s depiction of it. However, with all comic book adaptations you have the problem of translating that into the big screen format. As a cross between a novel and comic book, readers are engaged in graphic novels so much that they fill in the blanks or “scenes between the scenes” and embellishing the artist’s rendition with their imagination. Drawings no matter how masterly executed have a way of softening violence and sex while emphasizing other aspects so when you do a literal depiction on screen, it comes across a lot stronger. The execution was well done though the characters needed a little more depth to me. Luckily the Nicolas Cage and Chloë Moretz (to a certain extent Aaron Johnson) brought that depth with them.

To me it was a cross between Super Bad and Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight, awesome depending on your qualms.