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This is my personal & professional blog.  It's a place for me to think out loud and learn. I'll sometimes talk about things I don't understand as a way to begin to understand them. I'll often be wrong, short sighted, and unclear. When you see this happening, please point it out!

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Staying Healthy

Daily health seems rather intuitive to me.  Eat an apple and your vegetables.  They are from mother earth.  Excercise...move your legs and get the heart rate up; you feel euphoric afterwards. Don't eat more than a single stick of butter per day.  Dry your hair when it's cold outside.

Don't drink much Coca Cola; it makes you burp like Homer Simpson.

What isn't obvious?  But is effective?  Doing a headstand for 30 minutes daily?



Humble Successful Entrepreneurs

I've had the good fortune of meeting and working with some incredibly successful entrepreneurs.  I find the best of them know that the aspiring entrepreneurs they interact with can be more successful than them.  The worst think they have a monopoly on good ideas and success.

Which one are you?


Making Dessert Beautiful Again

Dessert is yummy.  It should be a requisite part of every meal.  Certainly every dinner out and about on the town.

But somewhere along the line, dessert got broken.  I'm not sure who to blame, probably the French.  Their foreign policies ruin everything.  Whatever the cause, the world has changed and restaurants haven't kept up. 

Restaurant owners of New York, hear me now:

Dessert is no longer meant to be a 1000-calorie symphony of chocolate of varying colors and sweetness.  The gluttony is over!

Dessert is meant to cleanse your palette of the meat and cheese you just ate.  And to remind you that you’re human and it’s gooooooood to be human in 2009.  All without causing muffin tops.

Instead of charging me $10 for a the largest brownie this side of the Cascades, charge me $4 for a handful of delicious mints.  250 calories max.  I'll choose dessert every time!  And so will my legion of Twitter followers.

Alternatively, charge me $10 for dessert.  But make it a bowl of fresh fruit.  Fresh fruit is great.  It's light, it's sweet, it's healthy.  And it's kind of sexy because it says you care about what you put in your mouth.  What's sexier than that?  Tattoos?

Know of restaurants following my advice?  Tell me about it!  Are you a restaurantaur that needs my brilliant advice on how to run your restaurant?  Hit me up and know that I will work for food.


What to buy in this economy?  Distressed!

If you didn't just lose $8 billion dollars and if you've a bunch of cash sitting on the sidelines, you might just love this economic environment.  Cash is king again.  Suddenly every $1.00 buys you $1.40 of investment stuff.

You've got a $1.40, what do you buy? 

Every asset class looks hopeless: public securities are falling and will continue to fall.  GOOG looks cheap, but it will get even cheaper.  Residential real estate is dropping nearly as fast as public securities.  Already, homes are selling for below replacement cost throughout the country.  Commercial real estate, logically a laggard on the way down [ah, the benefit of long-term leases], needs to fall.  And will.  Lots of main street businesses, now full of high fixed costs from years of prosperity, will die because of compressed margins.

Buy only distressed assets.  If an asset doesn't have the word distressed before it, don't buy.  Wait till it does.  It likely will. 

Distressed simply means you have the seller over a barrell.  Well technically, it means the seller is bankrupt or on the way there.

In today's environment, companies are going bankrupt not because they can't extract value from their assets but because they paid too much for their assets.  This means the assets aren't dead; rather they throw off cash when you don't have debt service.  To compound the problem, there is no liquidity in the market.  This simply means all the money (to holdover sellers till better economic times return) and buyers (to buy assets) have disappeared.

When buying distressed, you pay less than 30 cents on the dollar.  This means you no longer need to pursue alternative investments (with 6x leverage) to get 20% IRR.

When they talk about the rich getting richer, I think they mean in times like these.



Cafe Tasia is a great place to Eat

Cafe Tasia rocks my world.  It's one of my favorite places to eat in the East Village.  It's cheap, it's thai (my favorite type of food), it's authentic (well at least it makes my taste buds dance in a way that seems foreign to me), it's dimly lit and just a little bit romantic, and, for occasions when you're in the zone or without an umbrella on a rainy day, it delivers.  Perfect 4th date place.

My favorite?  Minced Chicken with Thai Basil.

Of course, Yakitori Taisho is pretty good as well.

I never thought I'd blog about a restaurant...but in this case, I couldn't resist!


Learning vs Doing

I'm sick of learning.  I'd be quite satisfied with not learning a single new thing for years.  That's because learning often gets in the way of doing.  And life is about doing, not learning.

Learning is great in your teens.  The same way idealism is great in your teens.  Twenties are about doing and translating that knowledge and idealism into impact.

I've felt this way for a while...reading Jack Cheng's blog post about learning made me want to get it out.


Great PostSecrets This Week




How VCs Adjust to a Bad Economic Climate

This market environment is bad.  Bad for everyone.  Not just this guy Sumner Redstone (I'm sorry but if you're named Sumner do you deserve to be a billionaire?).

I think it's also bad for entreprenuers.  I don't care what my hero what Paul Graham says.  Bad market environments mean the bar is higher and the margin for error reduced.  VCs begin to behave as if they're investing their own money.  Angel investors suddenly remember it is their own money.  Companies are less receptive to business development deals and partnerships (unless they can be justified on a cost-basis/improve the bottom line).  Exit opportunities shrink.  Acquirors don't have as much cash burning a hole in their pocket.  When an opportunity to exit does appear, acquirors care much more about price, driving your r.  The so called benefits (increase in the availability of talent, less competition, the necessity to forge your company in the crucible of bad times) don't make up for these drawbacks.

VCs adjust to this market.  And quickly.  They leverage the reduced demand for deals to drive down valuations.  They invest in later stage deals and reduce the number of seed stage deals.  Revenue and profitability (or a path thereto) are pivotal.  Because exit opportunities are reduced, venture capitalists reserve more capital for follow on rounds in existing portfolio companies.  This means they invest in fewer companies.  What a bunch of sheep.

Of course, life is short.  And big companies generally suck.  Do quit your job and start a company today.  Ian just did.

Come talk  to the Connectors Group, we'll help.  Or submit your business idea to Shot Put Ventures.


Keeping in Touch with People

I love my friends.  They are reason enough to live (I was going to say raison d'être but I'm not that much a tool).  I absolutely hate aging but I do love accumulating these wonderful friendships with people along the way.

To date, I've been horrible at keeping in touch with them.  I think about them often but I don't just call them.  Jack Menzel and Juliet Hsu for example.  I long to know what they're up to now (Juliet must be at grad school building Arhictectural Marvels and Jack must be rooming with a strange Indian, Google man that he can't quite love the way he does Juliet).

I have friends that call me randomly.  And it's the greatest feeling in the world.  Not to mention effective.  Our relationships stand through years and across the continent.

I'm fixing this.  At least to some extent.  And I'm using a most efficient method: scheduled, monthly phone calls.  I'll set up a day and schedule whimsical conversations with everyone I love, back to back.  

This is not nearly as romantic as the random phone call.  And I know several of my friends will not be amused.  But I'm giving it a shot.  Have a better solution?  Do tell?

Sooooooooooooo, if you're a friend of mine that I've lost touch with, expect an email asking for a monthly conference call.  And know that I'm doing it because I care and want you to be a part of my life.  And if you don't, schedule a call with me!


Dec012008 is growing?

In my spare time, I like to go to and look up traffic patterns on random websites.  I spend more time doing this than you can imagine.  And I love it. 

I've clearly missed my calling as a quant guy on Wall Street.  Or simply counting and stacking small bills at a Bank of America banking center.

Anyhoo, here's my latest discovery: Evite traffic is up 41% over the last year.  Evite!  Can you believe it?

I'm surprised because Evite is now 10 years old!  It's a battle-scarred veteran of the first dot com bust and is continuing to grow and thrive 40% year over year today. 

I'm dying to know what features besides mobile integration they've added in the last 5 years.  The site looks the same as it always has.  Perhaps IAC is much more brilliant than I give them credit for or perhaps even they couldn't mess this one up.


More stats about Evite from here:

18 million registered users

Monthly Stats
10 MM unique visitors
156 MM monthly page views
500K events created monthly
17 MM invitations sent monthly


Pablo Neruda

I prefer prose to poetry.  The rhythm and abstraction of poetry leave me wanting more.  But not poetry by Pablo Neruda.  It's filling.  And sometimes carnal.

Love Poems by Pablo Neruda is a must have.  Three that I love:


Facing you
I am not jealous

Come with a man
at your back,
come with a hundred men in your hair,
come with a thousand men between your bosom and your feet,
filled with drowned men
that meets the furious sea,
the eternal foam, the weather.

Bring them all
where I wait for you:
we shall always be alone,
we shall always be, you and I,
alone upon the earth
to begin life.


The Queen

I have named you queen
There are taller ones than you, taller.
There are purer ones than you, purer.
There are lovelier ones than you, lovelier.

But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets
no one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
at the carpet of red gold
that you tread as you pass,
the nonexistent carpet

And when you appear
all the river sound
in my body, bells
shake the sky,
and a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,
only you and I, my love,
listen to it.


Sonnet XVII (I do not love you...)

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.



Thanksgiving Post Secrets

Although they have nothing to do with Thanksgiving!  See the rest at


My Favorite Scenes from The Office

Jim sends faxes to Dwight from Dwight in the Future

Dwight's Perfect Crime

"What is my perfect crime?

I break into Tiffany's at midnight. Do I go for the vault? No, I go for the chandelier. It's priceless. As I'm taking it down, a woman catches me. She tells me to stop. It's her father's business. She's Tiffany. I say no. We make love all night.

In the morning the cops come and I escape in one of their uniforms.

I tell her to meet me in Mexico but I go to Canada. I don't trust her. Besides, I like the cold.

Thirty years later, I get a postcard. I have a son and he's the chief of police. This is where the story gets interesting: I tell Tiffany to meet me in Paris, by the Trocadero. She's been waiting for me all these years; she's never taken another lover. I don't care, I don't show up. I go to Berlin. That's where I stashed the chandelier."


I Heart Mark

John Battelle interviews Mark Zuckerberg at Web 2.0.  Battelle asks hard questions.  Mark talks about the evolution of Facebook.


SquareSpace: Delivering on a Bold Mission

SquareSpace hosts this website.  Anthony Casalena is the founder of SquareSpace and one of my heroes.  He's quite the man.  I aspire to build something he is willing to use.

SquareSpace launched a new website and I just had to share the following excerpt from their About Page.  No doubt Anthony & co. handcrafted and argued their way to the following elegant and bold prose:


Software for perfectionists. Created in 2003 and located in lower Manhattan.
Squarespace powers web experiences for over 20 million individuals each month.

Squarespace, Inc. is a privately held publishing software company based in the Soho district of lower Manhattan.

In 2003, after being unable to find a way to elegantly publish his personal website, Anthony Casalena began work on the software that is now the Squarespace Platform. Since its inception, Squarespace has blossomed into a product that powers tens of thousands of sophisticated websites for businesses, bloggers, and professionals worldwide. Squarespace has been mentioned in both the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek, as well as on countless other blogs and news sites. Our small team consists of solely bio-worthy names, and due to our entirely organic revenue growth, we operate free from the restrictions and obligations of organizations controlled by outside investors.

Squarespace is defined by our insistence on software that provides an unparalleled user experience from a robust core. Every pixel of Squarespace’s software is engineered and animated to be flawless. Squarespace was conceived to be — and will remain — a departure from the sea of free products and thoughtless services that pollute today’s web marketplace.



Barack Obama: POTUS

Barack Obama inspires me to be more. 

I'm not the biggest Barack Obama fan but I am a fan.  I'm in awe of his campaign for President of the United States.  I'm awestruck by how he's inspired and mobilized Americans and people around the world (there are Obama action figures in Toys R Us, people continue to sell Obama pins and shirts in Union Square, and people actually hooted and hollered in joy in the streets on Election Night).  I admire his ability to move forward practically and not lose site of the big picture.  I love that he's young and carries a Blackberry.  I'm seduced by his rhetoric, especially his speech about race.  I aspire to emulate his penchant for honesty.  His raw intelligence makes me proud to be human.  His personal history is remarkable and unbelievable.

I can't wait to see what impact such a man exerts in the single most powerful position in the world.

To celebrate, I'm going to Washington DC for Obama's inaguration.

I remain disconcerted by what it takes to become President or otherwise hold political office.  But, in this moment of hope, I'll leave those thoughts for another day.

If you love Obama, read this by Marc Andreessen.  And be sure to read our new President's own books:  Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope.




I think the most under rated human emotion is courage.  And I think, no matter the goal of your road (joy, health, love, impact, power, wealth), you'll find it better achieved when pursued with courage.

Enough said.



More Postsecrets

I'm addicted to these.  Even the sad ones.



I'm a Human Supremicist!

I love humans.  And I struggle to understand the role that animals and pets and plants and trees should play in the world. 

I'm an avid recycler.  Living in Seattle made me so.  And recycling is such a sexy concept to me economically speaking (reusing scarce natural resources makes things cheaper).

And, like Bob Barker, I think it's a really good idea to spade and neuter your animals.  I might disagree if I actually knew what that actually meant physically :).  And I do think it's really gross to see genital dog parts walking the streets...maybe we could invest in science that makes everything look pretty when the spading and neutering is complete?


But after that it's all pretty muddy.

Some vegetarians don't eat animals because they want to be nice to animals.  Is that common sense or crazy?  And if humans are suppose to eat soy goo instead of animals, what do we do about animals eating other animals?  Certainly, we can't have that.

I also don't know how to priortize taking care of stray animals versus helping homeless humans.  Human life is more valuable than animal life, right?

Perhaps I should just take a nap.


Beijing Olympics 2008