There are few places in the world left uncharted, but there are many lives yet to be discovered. You can't really go to a place that hasn't yet been walked upon by many, but you can be lucky enough to have someone open up to you in a way they have not done with others. These are the times in my life I feel I have discovered real beauty in this world. There are no souveniers to be bought to remind you of these moments, and no digital pictures to be taken. I can only hope to visit these places within the hearts and minds of others again, to bask in the warm glow of their inner light. There are 8 million people in this city, and if you can get to know a handful of them really well--well enough to know their hopes, dreams, and fears, you should consider yourself very lucky. We too often fail to make other people secure enough to confide in us, and other times, we fail to confide in others enough to let them into our world.
Get out there and visit someone's life today, or you'll just wind up "sitting around in Terra Nova."
Ok, so this one is going to be a private equity related blog, so all my friends call go back to sleep...
I was thinking yesterday that there's a role that many larger LP's, especially people who are particularly focused on access or co-investments, need to carve out and put a person on. While most groups have a INVESTOR Relations person, no one seems to be filling the role of INVESTMENT Relations person. The primary job of a partner at a firm, in my opinion, should be investment screening and decision making. However, in a world where tons of money is being thrown at the asset class and access is an issue for some, there seems to be a need for someone in the group to focus on marketing themselves to GPs, as opposed to LPs. Now, sometimes that role isn't necessarily marketing, its just managing the role of being a good, value added LP. Like, for example, yesterday I was on an advisory call for Ignition Partners. It turns out that one of their new projects is a perfect fit for another firm that we're looking at, and there's a partner at that firm that has extensive experience in the space, not to mention a geographic proximity to the entrepreneur. I asked the Ignition guys if they were talking with this other group, and they weren't, buy they were interested in the introduction. I made the introduction, and their entrepreneur will be visiting with this other GP soon. Points to GM for actually having something valuable to add to their investment process! (as opposed to just playing the usual LP role of beating the GP up about fees) I got to thinking, and there are tons of ways LPs can form great relationships with GPs. One other area I think is key is just the regular communication. One of the things we'd like to institute here is to do regular calls with our GPs regarding particular sectors of expertise, what companies they've done in an area, what opportunities their looking at, and what their strategy is--in addition to hearing a little bit about which partners are focusing on it. Of course, we regularly keep in touch with our GPs, especially with regard to co-investing, but not necessarily around more formal reviews of different sectors. Sometimes, just being a well informed, knowledgeable LP is being value added. This way, when fundraising time comes around, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, and you know the spaces, the strategies and the partners all very well.
Some LPs have other aspects that make them a value added LP. We try to maintain a connection to the GM IT group in Detroit and help our investments leverage off of good introductions--as you can imagine, navigating the GM infrastructure for purchasing on the IT side can be a nightmare. We have helped make introductions to the right people before, but admittedly, you can never do that kind of thing at the expense of the time you should be spending making good investment decisions. Yet, it does give you a lot of intangible value to a GP, which helps on the co-invest and allocation side.
Upfront access makes this an issue, too. Its not just about being a value added LP when you're in the fund, but getting into a fund in the first place is even more important. How long will it be before LPs start hiring placement agents to start placing them into funds? Its nice to have the luxury of being at a firm that has been investing in private equity for 25 years, but for new entrants, its going to be tough during the next go around. Without examples of how you can be a good LP, how can one group differentiate their money from another? I think there is something to be said for having someone in your group tagged with the responsibility to promote yourselves as an investor, maybe even more so than having a client relations person. If you can promote yourself as a good investor and get access to top performing funds, you'll get the clients you want whether or not you have a good client relations person. Of course, it would be nice to have both. :)
Priorities and goals for the remainder of 2004...
1) Get book published, either through the publisher its at now, or on my own.
2) Get into Stanford's MBA program.
3) Start career guidence blog/website for college students.
4) Spend more time with friends and less with acquaintences... maybe host some dinner parties to combine this one and #7. Nothing like synergies. Dude... I could even combine it with #5!! wooooo
5) Buy a better digital camera and start capturing more of the best moments of my life... encorporate photos into blog.
6) Solve the laundry backup problem in my apartment... probably best done by actually paying to have it done.
7) Go back to cooking more and eating out less.
8) Finish third in my fantasy baseball league... The Jesuit Outcasts will win money this year!!
There is so much out there that I don't know and it overwhelms me. That is probably the single most important piece of knowledge I have gained by getting into reading blog feeds. Jeff the Intern (www.galaksy.com) got me into FeedBurner after I mentioned to him that there were lots of VCs and technology people writing blogs. I downloaded it two weeks ago, and I'm hooked. Moreover, I'm hooked on just collecting more feeds. Today, I found a Fordham grad (http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/) who founded the Silicon Alley Reporter. Turns out, he also practiced TKD (www.wmaa.com) with the club I went to that got its start at Fordham. Every new feed/blog I've found begets another two or three interesting blogs. The growth of interesting people you can get connected to is exponential, and all of these people have tangential interests--many in media and entertainment, technology, politics, etc. So, you could be reading some guy writing about Bluetooth, and then bounce over to his blog adapting a kid--because these are all real people with real lives. I don't have enough time everyday to explore all of the subjects I find interesting and read the thoughts of all the people whose brain's I want to pick. Part of the issue with reading blogs is that there's no limit to what you can read. When you pick up the Times, you can read it cover to cover and that's it. You're done. There's no more to read. With the internet, you can click around forever. How do you know when you're done reading blogs when every blog has a link to another interesting article they found and links to four more bloggers?
I'm sorry, but this is just fantastic... No wonder Puba is excited about the expiration of the assault weapons ban. :)
Pup shoots man, saves litter mates
PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) -- Nice shootin', Rex!
A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.
Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.
Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.
On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies -- one in his arms and another in his left hand -- when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.
Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.
The other four appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption.