Anonymity... we think it exists, but it definately doesn't, not on the internet anyway. Like, for example, if you leave anonymous posts on a blog from far off places like Denver or Fordham... people will find out. Its just a matter of technological knowhow. :)
We know you're watching...
So we looked at real estate in Greenwich today for our new office. For those of you that don't know, my team is spinning out of GM... well, partially spinning out. Let's just say spinning enough to get all the benefits of working for yourself, building equity value in a long term entity, aligning yourself with clients, etc... but to at the same time, leave enough of a connection to build of off the great franchise that GM has built in private equity as well as off their financial strength. So, we'll basically do all the same stuff we do for GM, but organizationally, we'll be our own firm.
Ok, so now that I have all that out of the way, the end result for me is that I'll have to be a reverse commuter. After nearly eight years of working in the same office, all of the sudden I'll be hopping in the car for a 1/2 hour drive. I did the drive this morning, exactly as I would do it as if I was working up there. Its not bad at all. I got up early, hopped right in the car, and went to the NYSC in Greenwich. I worked out, showered, and then met my team at 8:15. We looked at a few properties, and I think we found one we all seemed to like. Its a very very cool space with a lot of potential. Its exciting actually--exciting enough where I think I'm going to start a new blog. So many VC's have interesting blogs tied to what they do. I like the idea of that, b/c it focuses the blog on a particular thing, and you don't feel the need to include lots of personal stuff. Maybe we'll call it plazablog, or maybe I'll just wait until I go to Stanford and I'll call it MBAblog or something like that. Ideas?
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?
Lots to post about... Let's recap...
Well, the Mets have gone to shit, and actually, they've been shit all year. Its just that the Braves have decided they don't want to be shit anymore and now the Muttsies find themselves an insurmountable 4 games back. Insurmountable in July? Have you seen them play lately?
And.. can I spew on John Franco for a moment? And no, I'm not going to say he's a nice guy. Well, he's nicer than Carl Everett, but who cares? I don't wanna see nice guys play--I want winners, and this guy has been the Number One Loser reliever for the last 20 years. I can't even figure out why he was a closer for so long. Its like when you play softball with people you don't know and one guy tells you he plays thirdbase. Yet, when he goes out there, he can't even make the throw across the diamond. Just because you say you're something doesn't make you squat. I think over the years the Mets could have had anyone closing for them and they could have been better... at least in the regular season anyway. As for big games, who knows, but this guy blew saves left and right... and not tough saves. He'd just come in with none on in the ninth and make his own mess. In fact, at times it seemed the only guy he could get out was Barry Bonds. And now, he makes over a million a year and he's taking up a spot that maybe could be filled by some up and comer in the minors.
Frankly, I don't understand how he gets anyone out. He throws two pitches. A fastball over the plate, and a changeup in the dirt. If I was facing him, and I saw an offspeed pitch, I just wouldn't swing at it. He never throws it for a strike. Wait on the fastball.. that's all you have to do.
When David Cone realized he couldn't pitch anymore, he quit. Sure, he came back, but he came back when the Mets really didn't have a lot of other options, so realistically, he wasn't keeping anyone back... oooh Mike Bascik. Big deal. John Franco is done and he's been done since... oooh... 1993. They never should have traded Randy Myers, and the idea that some washed up third tier closer is their Captain is ridiculous. I don't care if he wears a sewer worker T-shirt under his jersey and his dad got swollowed by an alligator. You're a bum!
Ok... best line of the day from Thursday's lunch with the team.
Marcy was talking about being really sensitive to smell when she was pregnant... Charles chimes in and says, "Oh yeah, pregnency hightens all of your senses."
Jeff the Intern quickly follows with, "Speaking from experience, Charles?"
Without hesitation, Charles responds:
"People like you never read anything and the some total of your knowledge of Biology comes from your own experience in the bathroom."
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Jeff the Intern.
In other news, I'll be implementing the following changes in my life:
1. No more random first dates just for the heck of it. I waste too much time going out with people on dates that go nowhere with people I'm not even that excited about. I need to focus more on friends, and people who I actually like.
2. Go to bed earlier. 11:30-midnight will be the new bedtime during the week. I waste at least a good hour of sleep doing nothing but chatting online, watching TV, or just sitting around. Its effected my time at the gym and my focus at work.
3. A few more hours at work. I have a lot of stuff on my plate and I haven't been executing lately. More hours and a little more focus wouldn't hurt.
4. More focused workout routine. I've been going to the gym, but there hasn't been a theme around my workouts, as opposed to when I was training for baseball. I need to create a schedule to follow of what I do when.
5. More time on the book. I need to get this book done, and if Mary the Publisher doesn't pan out, I need to hit the ground running on self publishing.
Alright.. that's all for now... I have a funny story from going out the other night, but I need to work on #5 for now.
So its 7:30A.M. and I'm at work. I had to come in and finish a memo so it could be on the CEO and COO's desks when they walked in. I don't really mind coming in early. I miss my gym routine, but I'll go after work now. I would never go in the middle of the day and shower there, because, for some reason, you never really quite stop sweating even after you take a shower at the gym... then you get that weird watery sweat that trickles down your forehead when you think you're done. Trust me, I know this stuff... I'm half Italian. As a nationality, we sweat second to none. Now, I have a few moments, so I'll just chat here for a bit.
Last night I went to the Philharmonic's Concert on the Great Lawn. I have to say, there are very few things in this city I enjoy more. Its really something to be laying down on a blanket in the middle of the lawn, surrounded by thousands of other quiet people, under the stars, listening to classical music. People bring wine, cheese, cookie pies... all sorts of stuff. I brought two pizzas and wound up sharing the leftovers with some of the concertgoers around us. I couldn't believe how excited this old lady was next to us over a slice of pepperoni. People love free stuff.
So it was me, Deirg, Jeff the Intern, and basically a group of Jeanne's friends. (I always go to call her "Jean", but she pronounces it "Jeannie".) Jeanne did the mentoring program and now she plays on the GM softball team. I had a lot of fun, and it was really good to have Deirg out with me. I'm always cautious there, because I don't tend to mix worlds with Deirg. Its not that I don't want people mixing with her... she's a lovely person. I love her... in fact, everyone loves her. My family loves her more than they love me, I think, which is ironic, because they think she saved my life when I had lyme. She's my best female friend and she's never even met half of the people I hang out with. I actually wish she met more of my friends, but she's... well, kinda shy or intimidated around new people. She's just more content to hang out with her closer friends than make idle chit chat with new people, and to a certain extent, I can appreciate that. It just makes it hard when I'm more of an idle chit chat guy and all the people I know are randomly dispersed.
So, I said the funniest thing yesterday about Martha Stewart:
"Its only a matter of time before she stabs someone in the shower with a pinecone shiv."
I'm seriously considering putting some material together to do some amateur standup. I think I have some great material.
A few routines:
--New Yorkers needing to step in front of the furthest person out when they wait at a streetcorner. By the time the tenth person gets there, they're three quarters of the way across the street already.
--Confirmation numbers: No one on the face of the earth has ever actually needed to use a confirmation number for anything. Why? Because whatever system they have that uses a confirm number, it also has your NAME!
I don't really have more on Martha, but I think that pinecone shiv thing is good enough to build around. :)