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Arnold Waldstein

Arnold has no idea I'm posting this. We're not close friends, I don't know him that well, we have no business interests together, and he has never threatened me with a bottle opener. Not yet, anyway.

I met Arnold through AVC.com, which is truly a blog community, where people have gotten to know each other and connected outside of the blog comments. It's weird and wonderful to be a part of.

I started commenting there on the first day back in 2004 or so, and it's been a great part of my intellectual life. I read lots of other blogs but only comment at a few.

So this guy shows up to AVC a few years ago and he's really smart and insightful. He's posting meaningful stuff, and other commenters pick up on it, and conversations ensue.

So I got to know Arnold a bit through what he was saying and the conversations he chose to participate and develop.

And then he starts blogging. He's a really good writer; he was a way of describing things in a non-linear way. It's like three-dimensional writing.

We connected in email, spoke on the phone, and met for a drink in Manhattan. Great conversation. Since then we've met a few times and email occasionally, usually about community.

Why am I telling you this?

First, I want you to consider hiring him to help you get your marketing, branding, positioning--your story--together. He gets it, and it's likely you don't. I haven't worked with him but I know he gets it from our ongoing discussions about community.

He's also a very experienced guy (not really that old, frankly). An older guy who can think circles around you and is completely current. I hate age bias (and experienced it out in the Valley this year), and a lot of people simply can't see that with age comes wisdom, experience, and insight.

Second, I want to point out the power of community. Real community. This blog has hints of community; our wonderful commenters are mostly imported from AVC, though the readers come from around the world. Real blog communities interact with each other, independent of the blogger.

Arnold gets community, which is something I've been studying for years but have intensified my interest over the past 6 months. People talk about building communities as part of their startup plans, like it's something that just happens. Sometimes it does, but it really takes a lot of work. I can't say I've completely figured it out yet.

So set aside some cash and a bit of equity and drop him a line. Or consider making him part of your leadership team. Go read his blog. Read his comments at his Disqus profile. You'll learn some important things, and maybe get soem great wine tips along the way.

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