Fred Wilson, Failure, Success, Blogging, Negative Capability

Everyone has been forwarding around Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson’s posts about how often and why his investments have failed. They are remarkable for their candor, for their argument that success depends on being able to change course quickly, and for Fred’s low failure rate (20%).

It made me wonder if the characteristics that make Fred such a compelling blogger — his willingness to think out loud, his openness to the possibility of failure, his simple enthusiasm for a dialog about ideas — also account for his success as a venture capitalist?

Maybe the essential quality of an entrepreneur or venture investor is what John Keats once called “Negative Capability,” the capacity to be “in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts,” rather than prematurely forcing a solution to a problem. In any event, what I really like about Fred’s blog — the first I ever subscribed to — is something like his Negative Capability.

It’s very easy to trace his thinking through problems, and he’s always thinking about important problems.