Brian Watson

I'm an analyst at Union Square Ventures.
I split my time between Brooklyn and the internet.

Paying It Forward

USV (& friends) invested in a company called Crowdrise yesterday — there’s a great crowdfunding argument, but it’s also important for another reason.

In an earlier life, I spent time at the JPMorgan Chase Foundation working on a program called Chase Community Giving.

The project’s goal was to leverage the brand’s extended social media reach (at that time ~2.5mm Facebook Fans) to let them vote and crowdsource the nonprofits that receive grants from the foundation.

While great in theory, I learned a valuable lesson that year — a vote is not an action — as the winning charities garnered votes (i.e. The Harry Potter Alliance*) but weren’t representative of larger issues like healthcare, global warming, etc.

Crowdrise is a platform that empowers people to donate to causes you care about through action (marathon campaigns, “challenges”) which, I believe, is a more efficient model of giving back and a better way to think about paying it forward. 

*I do love me some Harry Potter tho.

When You Know Too Much

I’m just finishing Made to Stick.

When you know too much, the challenge is to share less data and create more ideas that are useful and lasting.

Beyoncé doesn’t tweet, but she shares beautiful photos that give you a glimpse into her work and personal life.

The trick isn’t to make new ideas — spot moments, share them selectively, and do it your way.

Just take more photos.

explore-blog:

Happy birthday, Maya Angelou! Celebrate with her little-known and lovely children’s verses about fear and courage, illustrated by Basquiat.

This is my favorite book of all-time.
In college, I discovered a love for Basquiat, and I went home over the summer and told my mom about it. She was surprised to hear that and brought out this book to remind me that I’ve always had a love for poetry and Basquiat.
I had forgotten about it.
As a little kid, this was my favorite book. My mother and I and used to read it together. Angelou has even said that she wrote it “for all children who whistle in the dark and who refuse to admit that they’re frightened out of their wits” In many ways, I was that kid. It taught me to be confident, be curious, and to just go for it.
When I graduated from college, she gave the book to me as a gift. I have it with me in Brooklyn, and it’s my favorite thing that I’ve ever owned.
Happy birthday, Maya.

explore-blog:

Happy birthday, Maya Angelou! Celebrate with her little-known and lovely children’s verses about fear and courage, illustrated by Basquiat.

This is my favorite book of all-time.

In college, I discovered a love for Basquiat, and I went home over the summer and told my mom about it. She was surprised to hear that and brought out this book to remind me that I’ve always had a love for poetry and Basquiat.

I had forgotten about it.

As a little kid, this was my favorite book. My mother and I and used to read it together. Angelou has even said that she wrote it “for all children who whistle in the dark and who refuse to admit that they’re frightened out of their wits” In many ways, I was that kid. It taught me to be confident, be curious, and to just go for it.

When I graduated from college, she gave the book to me as a gift. I have it with me in Brooklyn, and it’s my favorite thing that I’ve ever owned.

Happy birthday, Maya.

(via npr)

/music
Made this the other day. It’s an auto-updating collection of my favorite music on SoundCloud. The #nowplaying section is a list of my Likes, and the #rotation section are a collection of songs that I played that month.
If you want the code, just ask. It’s pretty easy to make your own (especially on Tumblr). 
Check it out: http://brianwatson.me/music

/music

Made this the other day. It’s an auto-updating collection of my favorite music on SoundCloud. The #nowplaying section is a list of my Likes, and the #rotation section are a collection of songs that I played that month.

If you want the code, just ask. It’s pretty easy to make your own (especially on Tumblr). 

Check it out: http://brianwatson.me/music

The College Graduate

Getting into college with Kanye West’s Dropout

I wrote my Columbia admission essay on Kanye West’s The College Dropout. I found the original submission, and I thought I’d share it with the world.

ZoomInfo
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A Trip to Ikea | Brian Watson x VSCO Grid

Experimenting with a photo-journal from the weekend. For the full set, check it out here.

All pictures taken on a Nexus 5 with VSCOcam (Preset F2, to be exact).

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