Building community bird by bird…these cafe owners learned how to attract a daily flock of seagulls before breakfast

This morning, I went down the street to a local cafe and waited outside for it to open. But I wasn’t the first to arrive. Strewn about the street, the sidewalk, and the crosswalk, 40 seagulls stood by patiently, clucking and talking to themselves. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen the seagulls. From our apartment a couple of floors above, I’d spotted them from above. Nearly every morning around the same time. They gathered. They waited.

At 7-o-clock on the dot, the doors to the cafe opened. The owner emerged with a bucket of what looked to be day-old…

In January, I left my job at Union Square Ventures to join a new startup (and USV portfolio company), Bolster. Here’s why I made the leap — and what I’m looking forward to in the years ahead.

For years, while working on the sidelines of great companies and entrepreneurs at Union Square Ventures, I’ve been obsessed with one thing: Team-building. How teams come together, how they fall apart, how, with just the right balance, you can unlock greatness.

As it turns out, building the best team for each unique business is exceedingly hard to get right. Early into my tenure…

A typical WFH workday…includes a mix of work gear, baby gear, and an always-jammed schedule.

I’m a new mom with an 8-month-old baby girl at home.

Well, technically, since I’ve been working from home, she’s always “at work” with me, too. One month after I returned to work from maternity leave, I got a new job, and for a long list of reasons, I decided to spend the following three months transitioning out slowly, doing a little of both. To top it off, I decided to keep breastfeeding, which, at six times a day, was essentially another job of its own.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about time management and prioritization. But I also…

After nearly 5 years, it’s time to officially say goodbye to this killer view from USV’s office.

At the end of the year, I’ll be leaving my job as General Manager of the USV Network after 5 years to join one of our portfolio companies, Bolster — an on-demand marketplace for executive-level talent. In that role, I’ll continue to build connections and community at the unique intersection of VCs, startup CEOs, and their executive teams. In the world of startups, five years is long; in venture capital, it’s only half of a fund cycle. But I picked up a few things along the way. Here’s what I’m thinking about in my last official week at USV.


“What exactly is the job description of the President of the United States?”

My brother asked this the other day, over a couple of beers. “I’ve been trying to figure this out for years,” he continued. “YEARS.”

“Well, what do you think it is?” I asked him.

“Honestly,” he said, “I still have no idea.”

We each considered this thought for a bit. As it turned out, neither did I.

“I know what I’d like it to be,” I acknowledged upon reflection. “But I’m not sure that’s actually what it entails.”

We spent the next 30 minutes spit-balling different ideas…

I was asked to write a blog post on my golden rules. Originally I thought this was going to be a post about little business tips and life hacks. This is what came out instead.

I suppose this post is for anyone who wants to live their life without too many guardrails. So here you have it, 10 rules I try to hold myself to on a daily basis. Thanks for the inspiration Hunter Walk.

  1. Do one thing every day that scares you.
    This Eleanor Roosevelt quote has been in my email signature since I was in college. Every once in…

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the American Revolution. What a time to be alive, I’d fantasize, to be a part of history as it was being written, to feel like every action taken somehow contributed to our nation’s independence. How thrilling it would have been, to stand up to the bullies in the British government and help to forge a new set of rules for a brand new country.

I used to imagine myself handing out pamphlets on the streets of Philadelphia, excited by the energy of a group of people on the precipice of something disruptive…

It’s been an interesting two months of living the isolationist lifestyle at home with my husband. The first was my ninth month of pregnancy. The second was our first month of life with a newborn. To top it off, my husband, who works as a sound engineer for Broadway musicals, has watched his entire industry take an indefinite hiatus.

This probably seems like a recipe for severe marital stress and disaster. But here we are — 60 days in — and so far, nobody has gotten hurt. And since both of us had time to shower and eat breakfast this…

For the past six months, I’ve been working on a new podcast called Everyday Experts, where I profile people from a variety of jobs and industries about the people and systems behind the work they do.

I know a lot of business podcasts already exist. But I wanted this to be different. Rather than look to people we might traditionally perceive as de-facto experts (such as, CEOs, renowned entrepreneurs, or celebrity figures), I wanted to help uncover great leaders in unexpected places. That’s to say, people you might come across in your day-to-day life, but not necessarily recognize as experts.

Every morning I wake up and the headlines look a little bit more like a post-apocalyptic novel. Today’s included:

Trump suspends most travel from Europe to try to limit virus

Tom Hanks and his wife both have Coronavirus

NBA suspends season after player tests positive for Coronavirus

I think back to the long list of worries that I shared with my husband before conceiving this baby, chief among them was: “Is it really prudent, to introduce a new human into our world right now, with so much going so wrong?”

And now, here we are — 3 weeks away from…

Bethany Crystal

GM @USV, alum of @StackOverflow and @NorthwesternU, board member at @CompSci_High and @NUalumni, co-founder of #BeyondCodingNYC

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