In today’s Fage time, it’s mid-April

I measure time in Greek yogurt expiration dates. It’s not that I worry my yogurt will expire, or that I eat it particularly slowly. In fact, I consume exactly one 35.3 ounce container of Fage 0% Greek yogurt every week — a ritual I’ve continued since my freshman year of college. Perhaps I’m a creature of habit, perhaps my options remain limited. …

The chaos of self-doubt is real. (Elias Hampp, Unsplash)

Over the past few months, I’ve joined a few new communities. I got a job working in venture capital as an early-stage investor. Along with this role comes the community of my new team, as well as the extended venture capital community of fellow non-partner investors. I joined a new book club focused on legal issues I care about. I started doing more freelance editing. Much to my chagrin, I accepted an invitation to Bill Nye the Science Brides, a private Facebook group for people who were supposed to get married in 2020, but didn’t due to the pandemic. …

Middle school Leah raising the roof about a science project, along with my middle school brother and cousin (and our very patient grandfather).

Sounding like you know what you’re talking about is cool. Actually understanding what you’re talking about is cooler.

As early-stage investors, we are tasked with generating opinions about inherently uncertain markets and ideas; this process requires informed (and often outsized) confidence. To develop this confidence, we have to see a lot of companies, in hopes of knowing a little about a lot of things. Going deep on every idea would result in stagnation.

These realities lead many investors to quickly call out what’s wrong with a founder’s idea before listening to what they’re being sold — a skepticism that’s counterproductive…

Tryna see the forrest through the trees

People often ask me how I got into VC. It’s a difficult question to answer because the truth isn’t sexy or fun. Getting hired in VC was a winding, frustrating, and often draining process during which I repeatedly convinced myself this wasn’t the path I wanted to take, then reignited interest. I’m happy to share the nitty gritty with anyone who asks. While I was lucky to have a few investors believe in me, more often than not, interview processes left me exhausted and underwhelmed.

When I wasn’t “looking,” the opportunity to join NextView Ventures arrived. Getting an offer was…

I am so excited to share that today I joined NextView Ventures as a Senior Associate on the investing team, based in New York City, the town I’m lucky enough to call home. Thank you to NextView for this awesome announcement!

Why NextView

NextView is a seed-stage, generalist venture capital fund led by brilliant, kind, and curious individuals. Their exceptional reputation is built on their successful investing record, and their unwavering commitment to supporting the founders they invest in—both as leaders and human beings. In an industry often shrouded by platitudes and false promises, NextView is the exception. They are honest, accessible…

Conversation starters that don’t trigger coronavirus anxiety

A couple smiles and waves at the camera on their laptop.
Photo: AleksandarGeorgiev/E+/Getty Images

There’s a spontaneity to social life in quarantine. Just a few weeks ago, before the coronavirus forced us all inside, trying to pin down a dinner with friends could sometimes feel like playing Tetris — and everyone involved knew it would be rescheduled at least twice anyway. But now, hunkered down at home, calling a friend on a whim feels normal.

There’s just one hitch: Whenever I get a friend on the line these days, the first question is nearly always, “How are you holding up?” Or, “How is quarantine treating you?” …

A quote from my late mentor, Lauren Alix Brown

Oh, how times have changed. If the past week has taught me anything, it’s that the lens through which we see the world is never stable, nor objective. In journalism, we call this “framing.”

When brainstorming how to approach a story — be it breaking news, academic research, or cultural commentary—debating the framing has always been my favorite part. In the newsroom I worked at, we spent at least 15 minutes messaging back and forth about framing for every story. Is Facebook’s redesign really a tech story? Or is it a reflection of sociocultural shifts in Gen-Z attention spans? Or…

Focus on small victories

Anything is possible. Photo: Michelle McMahon/Moment/Getty Images

Brethren, it has been a week. A month. A year. And it’s only March.

In such complicated and anxiety-provoking times, simple wins mean a lot. I’ve got a tip that involves avocados — a prime culprit in the wellness movement.

For a long time, I found avocados very annoying. They barely taste like anything unless you douse them in hot sauce. Certain grocery stores price them like tiny mounds of green orgasms. Toast tastes better with jam, peanut butter, plain butter, or olive oil. Fight me on it.

And yet, I began regularly consuming avocados a few months back, when…

At the troubled luggage startup Away, private messaging and group chats were effectively banned

A woman throws her arm up in frustration as she stares at her laptop.
Photo: FG Trade/E+/Getty Images

One detail still haunts me from that explosive report on workplace dysfunction at the luggage company Away that the published last month: Private messaging, for all intents and purposes, was banned at the luggage startup.

“Employees were not allowed to email each other, and direct messages were supposed to be used rarely (never about work, and only for small requests, like asking if someone wanted to eat lunch),” wrote the reporter Zoe Schiffer. …

A journal Lauren gifted me in 2018

This week has been shit. This week has also been, in some ways, pure love.

On Tuesday, October 29, Lauren Brown passed away at age 37 (her birthday was two months earlier, in August). Breast cancer killed her, but to me, and so many people, she is still so alive.

Lauren was invincibly fierce. She was hilarious, and obsessed with bunnies. She unlocked the door when I was sitting in the office privacy room sobbing. She listened to my anxieties, then told me I needed to make a decision: grow up and face my fears, or live in perpetual uncertainty…

Leah Fessler

Investor at NextView Ventures. Journalist. Thinking about gender, equality, and pugs. Formerly at Chief, Quartz, Slow, Bridgewater Associates, Middlebury.

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