Today, I met Bono.
In fact, not just met him, but sat in a meeting with him for an hour... right across from him in fact. And yes, he wore sunglasses at the meeting.
Bono is joining some former Silver Lake and Blackstone Partners, as well a guy from Electronic Arts and a guy that helped architect the Apple turnaround, to form Elevation Partners, and I met with their team, along with Jeff Barman and Jeff Reals.
In terms of what I think of them, I thought of a potential fantasy baseball trade that I got offered earlier in the day. Rich tried to trade me A-Rod for Adrian Beltre. Now, in terms of the pure stats, you could argue that Betre is having a better year than A-Rod easily. In fact, the only mitigating factor is A-Rod's 19 steals. However, when you consider how far the Yanks are in first, its probably not likely that he'll swipe too many more.
However, thinking about this in terms of the pure stats proved difficult. In fact, the fact that I would be trading for A-Rod really clouded the whole thing and made it difficult to think of logically. Was I only interested b/c it was A-Rod? Was I too worried about doing just that that I discounted his real impact?
The same can be said here. Its very easy not to take this group seriously b/c of Bono--just the same as its really easily to get blinded by the celbrity factor. I actually think they have something here, and I have to say, Bono said a lot of smart things about the nature of investing in content... how it needs to be both creator friendly and fan friendly as well, for people to create lasting, lucrative models in the future. Music companies in the past had a stranglehold on distribution, so they could screw the artist and screw the public, but the internet punched a hole in all that. These guys want to create businesses around the idea that what's good for the artists and the consumers might also be very profitable as well.
I do think that he'll be engaged in this company and that its not a fly by night thing. Here's a guy with a lot of political capital to risk... someone who really values his ability to do the right thing by people. I don't think he's going to let 100% of the driving to the finance guys, b/c I don't think he wants to be dragged down by them if he doesn't agree with what they're doing. All and all, I think its interesting stuff and work taking a look at.
Did I mention he wore the glasses?
Today, I met Bono.