My name is Phin Barnes. Grew up on hip-hop and hoops. I love products and services that move people. Partner at First Round Capital in NYC. We are seed stage.


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The design story of how @pentagram made it easier, simpler, more elegant to find your way around NYC (cc @bobulate)

You will never be ready so you just have to go

New Post: running a start-up is about doing EVERYTHING before you are ready. 

(via A start-up is about doing EVERYTHING before you are ready)

MBAs are not a fit for startups unless they prove it

(via MBAs are not a fit for startups…unless they prove it)

NEW POST: How a simple shelf made my mornings better (aka How the craft of digital UX can learn from physical spaces)

Culture is critical. Automattic has many policies designed to empower employees and remote work is just one of them. They believe individual workers know best how to be productive and that management’s job is to provide choices and get out of the way. If employees are self-motivated and empowered, remote work can accelerate productivity. However in autocratic or bureaucratic organizations the freedom of remote work runs against the culture. Of course remote workers will be less productive if they’re in environments that depend on centralized, rule-oriented, or committee heavy processes. But even then it can work if managers care more about results than pretense.

The keys to @automattic making a 100% distributed work force work - Rule #1 Do not treat your employees like children

How WordPress Thrives with a 100% Remote Workforce - Scott Berkun - Harvard Business Review


These are the students, and they are all Cooper Union. They are there to address the Board of Trustees, which “votes” today to determine if they end the 100+ years of tuition-free undergraduate education at the school. 

The only problem with the fact that the students showed up is that the Board didn’t show up. After telling these same students that the Trustees are dedicated to communication and transparency on Friday, the Board has moved the meeting to a secret location, where no one has to meet anyone’s eyes. That’s character.

It may seem to be a tangent, but it’s also of note that All the Cooper Union fits in that huge staircase, which has no function except (with three elevators) moving this many students into the tiny classrooms at the edges of the building.

The reason there’s so much empty space has to do with zoning laws that were designed — in spirit — to prevent a building this large from going up. By keeping a small number of usable square feet, but embedding it in a monstrously large unusable shell, the Trustees and the architects were able to meet the letter of the law (encouraging modest construction) and still find a way to spend $175MM on the building.

Coincidentally: it’s a building that had part of its construction contract awarded to a family member of the Board of Trustees. 

So here is All of the Cooper Union in a staircase atrium: a space deliberately designed to avoid function. But that space found a function today. Or it would have, if only the Trustees had walked the walk and showed up to the building.

After all, they built it.

The newest venture fund in NYC is run by students for students. @firstround brings the Dorm Room Fund to New York!


Clear, Rise and Solar are three examples of a trend of “gesture driven” apps with a flat UI. These are novelty apps for people lusting for the very latest in app design. Besides using a more flat UI style, which is a topic for a different discussion, all apps contain non-standard…

The home cooked story of the @firstround investment in @blueapronmeals #frc

A 3d printer that can print from recycled 3d printed objects from recycled plastic

Turn your water bottles  into 3d printed objects with this all in one recycling 3d printer -

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