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Steve Schlafman

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Monday, December 24, 2018 - 11:53am
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” -Meg Wheatley The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. It symbolizes family, friends, vacation and of course plenty of good food. I also enjoy it because it marks the end of the year and […]
Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 5:18pm
Several weeks ago, I was introduced to a talented young man who, like me, is passionate about personal growth and technology. He has been developing a new system grounded in research to help people drive change in their lives personally and professionally. Before our video call, I visited his website, twitter feed and his other […]
Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 4:23am
I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining Primary Venture Partners as a Venture Partner. Over the last six years, Ben and Brad have been co-investors, thought partners and friends. Ever since the fall, they have been helping me think through a number of paths I have been exploring. That discussion evolved over many months, to […]
Monday, May 21, 2018 - 11:35am
Raising money from VCs is an important step in the company building process. It marks the beginning of a long-term relationship that can last longer than a decade. In my experience investing in and advising countless founders, company building is not rainbows, unicorns and lollipops. Startups are filled with adversity, challenge and struggle. That’s why it’s critical […]
Monday, April 16, 2018 - 5:10pm
Last week, I bumped into a buddy who runs a fairly large venture-backed company. I asked him how things were going. Rather than getting the common response, “everything is great,” he explained that he had spent the last few quarters developing a new product only to discover the customer response has been lukewarm. He said […]
Friday, December 1, 2017 - 7:30am

Yesterday, I was thinking back to my experience in high school. While I had some amazing teachers and treasure many of the lessons that I learned, I wish I had been taught more fundamental ‘life skills’ during my adolescence. That reflection prompted me to write the following tweet: Less than twenty-four hours later, the tweet […]

Saturday, November 25, 2017 - 5:05pm
Several months ago while I was on my Vipassana meditation retreat, I was captivated by the idea that change is a constant. By unplugging for ten days and increasing my sense of awareness, it became very apparent that objects around us and within us, even at the tiniest levels, are always in a state of […]
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 7:35am
(My dad this summer in Woodstock, NY) I recently read an excellent essay by Andrew Kortina titled, “They Say the #1 Killer of Old People is Retirement.” In this piece, he discusses the importance of finding purpose and meaning deep into life. Andrew outlines a confluence of factors that are causing mental and financial hardships […]
Monday, October 30, 2017 - 7:30am

Earlier this month, my good buddy, Mike Karnjanaprakorn, Founder / CEO of Skillshare, stopped by our place in the Catskills for a few hours. He was just coming off his seventh ‘Think Week.’ Over lunch, Mike explained the inspiration behind this annual ritual and outlined the basic structure he has used over the years. He even wrote a useful blog post about his experience a few days later.

Mike initially got this idea from Bill Gates, who takes these weeks several times a year to find inspiration and go deep into a few areas of interest. Bill would also read a variety of essays and briefs written and submitted by Microsoft employees and researchers. In fact, Bill dedicated one of his Think Weeks in the 90s to understand the coming wave known as the internet (see his memo, “The Internet Tidal Wave”). Several other friends have recently taken a Think Week. This includes Dan Teran from Managed by Q who swore by his experience diving deeply into the future of work.

Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 11:35am
Last week, I published a blog post titled, ‘Decoding the Qualities of a Great VC.’ The spirit behind the piece was to spark a conversation about what makes a good venture investor and whether that can be predicted. It was generally well received until I saw this Tweet from Nathalie Molina Nino, CEO of BRAVA […]
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 11:35am
Last Friday, I was talking with Parker Thompson of AngelList and creator of Startup L Jackson about a range of topics from investing in pre-seed companies to building a venture firm from scratch. Towards the end of the call, he asked what I thought are the attributes of a successful VC. Rather than answering on the spot because we […]
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 7:30am
10 Days of Silence for a Lifetime of Wisdom Dhamma Dhara, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts Three weeks ago, I returned from a 10-day Goenka Vipassana meditation retreat at Dhamma Dara in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Goenka (1924–2013) was a Burmese-Indian teacher of Vipassanā meditation. His teaching was notable for emphasizing that the Buddha’s path to liberation was non-sectarian, universal, and scientific in character. He […]
Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 5:10pm
Last weekend, I was hanging out at my twin brother’s house. It was early in the morning and wanted to kill some time so I decided to browse his vast book collection. I came across one of our most cherished books from childhood, Where The Sidewalk Ends by the legendary artist and writer Shel Silverstein. As I […]
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 7:35am

Everyone struggles with something. For me, it was anxiety, addiction and imposter syndrome. For a long time, I was afraid to seek help because I was worried about what others would think of me and how they’d react since I was extremely functional in all facets of my life. I ultimately healed myself and transformed my life over several years through mediation, nurtrition, radical candor, sleep, exercise and positivity. I also turned to a variety of support communities which were a huge source of strength, meaningful relationships and perspective. I credit much of my transformation to these groups. There’s no way I could have improved my mental health all by myself.

Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 7:30am
Last month, while I was on a cross country flight, I read Ray Dalio’s seminal document, Principles, for the second time this year. For those of you who don’t know Ray, he is the Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest and arguably most successful hedge fund. Ray runs Bridgewater according to principles that he […]
People call me Schlaf. I'm a VC in NYC with RRE Ventures. My values guide me every day: intellectual curiosity, hard work, honesty, humility, empathy, and transparency. I blog about trends in tech, cool startups and life in NYC. You can follow me @schlaf.