Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


July 2008

Thoughts for the Day

I am starting a 100 push ups initiative.  I will not admit how bad my initial test was.  Let’s just say the road from here to 100 is looking long and troublesome.  But I shall push ahead!  Time to fend off the Hello Betties.

I wrote a business school recommendation for a friend this evening.  I cannot believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I graduated from b-school.  I guess it’s good that I still feel young.

I listened to this today at work: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 30.  More than just about anything out there, that work reminds me of being a kid.  My father is a huge classical music collector, I may have mentioned this before, and hearing this piece takes me right back to Hyattsville, MD around 6PM on any given night when I would be upstairs doing homework, waiting for dinner to be ready (thanks Mom), and Dad would be downstairs in the library listening to something like the Rach 3.  It might be my desert island music.

Big earthquake in LA today.  I go there a lot.  Or used to, before the baby.

Am now starting to feel the “working mom” time pinch.  There are about six events that I am trying to see if I can go to, and they would all require babysitting.  Balance: networking for business versus being home with baby.  Choices.  No good answers.

And other thoughts that crossed my mind: what’s for dinner?  What to do about the air in China?  How long will the current economic climate last before it gets better?  Cats or dogs?  I don’t believe in boxed risotto.  Texting is no substitute for talking. I have not finished a book in more than six months.  What is they key to customer acquisition on the web when you are asking said customers to pay?  I am hungry.  I am often hungry.  If foreign countries keep heavily subsidizing the price of oil, our current crisis will continue as those subsidies keep demand high throughout the world.  What the hell are we going to do?  Stay positive.  One day at a time.  Nope, that is not thinking big enough…what can we do about it in a big way?  What can I do?

The Little Mrs.

June cleaver Just sent the Big H a text message: “Your dinner is keeping warm in the oven.  I am turning in. XO”

Dripping with domestication, eh?  I am almost making myself sick.  But I also kind of like it…the cooking dinner that is. 

What’s next, greeting him with martinis at the door? 

Ouch, I tripped over my apron strings.

Great Products

A list of a few great products developed over the past many years…I tried to stay away from purely Internet-based products (too easy, but I do list products that would probably not exist without the advent of the Internet…it’s cheating just a little):

  • Listerine strips
  • The Blackberry
  • Camera phones
  • Bottles for water, (not bottled water…I am referring to the more recent movement of re-usable bottles)
  • Satellite TV on airplanes
  • Smart cars
  • Overnight delivery (now, how about affordable same day)
  • The iPod, obviously
  • DVRs
  • Purell
  • Energy Star Lightbulbs
  • Voice mail
  • Continuous spray sunscreen
  • The microwave oven
  • The Swiffer

What’s on your list?

I Just Like This Pic and Wanted to Upload It (the big H and me)


Umbrella Poaching

I was umbrella poached this morning!  I had just arrived in terrible Times Square on my way to work, and was standing waiting to cross the street when I noticed a strange presence behind me.  Times Square is usually pretty crowded (reason 1 why it’s terrible) but this was different…someone was RIGHT behind me.  I turned and it was a little woman poaching umbrella space from me!  She kind of avoided looking at me and then started walking when the light turned, but I had to laugh.  She literally sidled up to me to get out of the rain.  Could it have been my perfume?  No, I don’t wear perfume to work. 

How funny.  Welcome to NY, where you take what you can get. 

So You Think You Are A Trendsetter?

And you are STILL heading to the Hamptons for beach weekends away?  How sad.  You are SO five minutes ago.  I have a new destination for you.  It’s The Chelsea in Atlantic City.

Now don’t get all attitudish on me.  AC may have a terrible reputation (crime…people wasting away their retirement funds on slot machines…crime) but be bold!  Choose to see beyond the obvious and shed that lemming mentality!  Go to AC. 

The Big H has been slaving away for more than a year on this hotel.  It’s finally open, and I am shamelessly plugging it.  It’s going to be great!  Here are three reasons why it’s better than the Hamptons:

  • It’s closer: AC is a mere 2.5 hours away.  Drive out to Long Island for 2.5 hours and if you are LUCKY you’ll only have made it to Westhampton (the horror) in good traffic. 
  • It’s cooler: would you look at the rooms and the restaurants and the clubs and the beach amenities at the Chelsea? Where, I ask you, in the Hamptons can you dial up room service and have a tray of fried chicken delivered to you as you lounge away on a beach towel?  Ah, nowhere. 
  • You have the chance to win millions of dollars while visiting the Chelsea!  Just wander down to some other hotel to spend some time in a casino, and then stumble back to the non-casino Chelsea (much more civilized).  In the Hamptons, to the contrary, you can lose a million dollars just by going out to eat.

And the beaches are just as good.

So be a trendsetter.  Be an original.  Don’t be a lemming.  Check out AC.

Words To Live By

“Moderation? It’s mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise. It’s the devil’s dilemma. It’s neither doing nor not doing. It’s the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy. Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence-sitters of the world afraid to take a stand. It’s for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die. Moderation…is lukewarm tea, the devil’s own brew.”


Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Selecting a VC

We hear a lot of talk about what VCs look for in entrepreneurs.  But let’s turn the table for a moment.  What should a founder look for in a VC partner?  There are a lot of obvious traits – domain knowledge, sense of partnership, history of success…but what else should you look for and how?  Well, speaking from the dark side, if I were seeking a VC partner, here are a few things I would do:

Reference potential VCs at least as hard as they reference you. Talk to their current and former CEOs. Ask about the good times and bad, and how they behaved. Call their co-investors, and get their opinions. Ask your potential VC partner what their investment thesis is for your business. How much money are they looking to make? Does that align with your goals? This may seem premature for a young company, but it’s worth trying to understand what they are looking to achieve. Understand where your investment falls in their overall fund…are they at the end or beginning of investing the fund? How is the fund doing? When will they be fundraising again? See if they help you before they “should” be helping you. Do you get the sense their questions are trying to help them find reasons to fund you or not to fund you? Ask about their mistakes, where they lost money and why.

And see if they like donuts. I would not trust anyone who doesn’t appreciate a good donut.

Really Good Movie

Looking for a really good movie?  Of course you are.  Well boot up that Netflix or Blockbuster account and add Ali Zaoua, Prince De La Rue.  It’s part City of God (amazing movie) and part Hook (an unusual combination, I admit, but it really works).  It’s a wonderful, sad, incredible story.  The only thing I want to know, is what happened to the boys in real life.  Anyone know?

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