An interview with Nadia Eghbal on company building and financing the unfundable, yet indispensable, open-source projects startups are built upon.

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You founded your own company, went through an accelerator, sold it, and then became a VC. Now you’re an open-source community evangelist. What was that journey like?

We had the typical accelerator experience: in for 3 months and your goal is to raise a round. My co-founder was doing the fundraising, and it was hard. Every time an investor was like, “Well, why doesn’t the platform look like this and do this?”, we would take all of that advice to heart, and we would go back to the drawing board and add all these features. …

Last year, when we launched v.1, we also launched a Slack room and did a series of meet-ups around the country. We wanted to have all the conversations and people interested in in one place. We wanted to answer questions in person; we wanted to meet you and get to know you in person. Something really interesting happened that we didn’t expect: people used it as a resource. In the Slack, people started making connections, starting up channels for specific topics, and supporting each other.

As progressed from an idea to applications to investments, our bandwidth for…

A little over a year ago, we invested in eight companies under the banner. At the time, we recognized that this might be a one time thing. We wanted to create a different funding instrument and a broader definition of what success could look like for a VC-style investment. We wanted to see what effect, if any, a group of founders focused solely on getting to profitability v. attracting more VC investment might have on their growth and survival rates. The eight companies we funded were selected from a pool of over 500 applicants.

“Before, I was focused…

Talking with Basecamp’s founder Jason Fried about maturing as a CEO, focusing on what’s important, and avoiding the cult of starting up.

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Photo by Andrew A. Nelles

Early in your career, there was an air of picking fights. Over the years, that’s mellowed out. Where did that come from, both the fighting and mellowing out?

The internet brings the ass out in all of us. When we first got started no one knew about us. When no one knows about you, a good way to get some exposure is to pick a fight and go against an entrenched player or brand or company. We didn’t like what was going on back when we launched 37signals in 1999. If you go to, you can read our original…

An Interview with Matt Haughey, Founder of MetaFilter

MetaFilter, started in the late ’90s as one of the original group blogs, grew into a small but active community site. When AdSense came out in 2003, it suddenly started accruing revenue. By 2005, Matt was making double his salary and was able to quit his day job to focus on MetaFilter full-time.

In 2012, a reconfiguration in how Google ranked pages caused MetaFilter’s revenues to drop overnight. During the next few years, Matt struggled to keep MetaFilter afloat. Just over a year ago, Matt stepped back from his day-to-day role. …

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