It has only taken one week to travel from Scandal to Salvation.
Today I listened to a couple of interviews regarding Paterson conducted by the New York Times with elected officials. It would appear from how the press is treating the transition, that both parties enjoy the civility of our new Governor.
There was always something smarmy about Spitzer. I felt while reading articles about him that he was not a very likable guy. He was tough, smart and tactical.
Regarding Paterson, I see the opposite is true. I think so little is known about him that people are generally just optimistic that he will do better.
Spitzer's campaign in public life might be over, but his appointment of officials and the agenda that he set in motion will supersede Client #9.
The coming weeks will be a good testing ground to see how the Democrats and Republicans will adjust to their new leader.
Good luck Paterson!
Monday, March 17, 2008
There is one podcast that I listen to every week religiously.
Its the Tom & Guests DJ Show on East Village Radio.
The music scene in NYC is so diverse, but through whatever circumstances I came upon this local internet radio station. They have a full line up of shows broadcasting 24/7.
Every Wednesday afternoon from 12-2 PM they play their records and cutting edge indie rock/electronic music.
Each week they profile a couple of new mixes and artists. Last week I heard for the first time a song "Entropy Reighns (In the Celestial City)" by Kelley Polar. It knocked me off my feet.
I loved the song so much that I even went to a record store and bought the album on CD.
Today was probably the first time in a year or two that I went to a store and put cash on the counter for a record. Up until now its just been through itunes.
What a great feeling it is to tear the saran wrap off a cd case. I kind of miss it.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The stock market makes me laugh sometimes.
Right now we are in a recession. I do not care if you are against the idea of a recession, but it is here. Get over it already.
This week I have seen some pretty funny things unfold, from Eliot Spitzer to a $200 Billion dollar band aid to a $19 Billion dollar loss (from Carlyle Capital). Our Dow has had a huge upward shift upon news of the Fed injecting some money, but one day later we see the Carlyle Group default on a $21 Billion dollar fund.
Its so ridiculous. I love it.
The Carlyle Group was trading on debt at 31 times cash value. These margins and the idiot bankers who support these ridiculous valuations are all crazy. I hope these big swinging dicks get fired and go into crazy personal debt. Its just obnoxious.
Meanwhile in my week review we have AOL buying San Francisco based Bebo for $805 Million big ones. Who uses this site? The English...and the list goes dead.
Tonight I will be at the Mashable party. See you there.
Well Spitzer, as if there is not enough crap written about you and Silda already (ps. I saw the Cramer clip - it made me cry too) I am going to write my own homage to you.
We saw you coming from afar (and track down every asshole on wall street). It was an affidavit, maybe something more...
The Street got scared, nobody was spared.
And the land before you trembled.
The Feds got sweet.
You were not so neat.
And Kristen gave you head.
You came, You saw, You conquered.
You got fucked, You got sucked, Now nobody wishes they were you.
Its sad to say, it won't go away. We can all have your girl for forty-five-hundred-dollars a day.
I wish you luck, even though nobody gives a fuck, except for Bubba, who will give you his all, from cell block 9 down the hall.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So I was looking at my stats on feedburner today. They are really pathetic. I will be the first to admit it. My stats are 29 subscribers.
The truth, for those of you long time subscribers (Hi Mom and Dad) is that I have not been writing enough lately. Maybe the content is weak? The stories too long or too short. Not really sure.
Last time I checked in with my trusty feedburner feed, I had 19 subscribers. Glad to see that 10 more people have been lured onto my subscription page.
Not sure what my goal for readership really is. If I get a million will that make Robert Scoble smirk? Will Jimmy Wales (with all his woes and girlfriend issues) be jealous? I guessing a big NO!
One problem stems from the fact that I have friends who just RSS my feed and google reader my blog, so their numbers (and my guess is that this is in the 50-60s of readers) do not accurately reflect the number of people actually reading this blog in sum.
Well as it is, to the 29 subscribers and the countless other readers, I salute you.
Apparently, my friends think this blog post already sucks and that instead I should be writing about Kristen, Eliot Spitzer's friend. Yeah, we're buddies.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The news blaring in my ears for over 24 hours has been that Eliot Spitzer got caught with his pants down.
What a fucking idiot! I love this character so much that it makes me want to burn all my fiction novels. Who really needs to escape to a fantasy world of gnomes, wizards and demons when we have a New York State Governor to ogle?
The best part about this "scandal" is that its old news. No its not old news that Spitzer got caught by the Feds, but its old news that a politician is crooked as the San Andreas fault (I could have substituted a million things here).
My biggest gripe is that as a Democrat taking back the house, it should have been a bigger priority for Spitzer to be on his best behavior. But alas, the Demos look weak right now. Their leader looks like a spaz and thats not all. It reflects poorly on Senator Clinton as a legacy who endorsed his candidacy. Luckily for me I am a 3rd party participant in this charade. I am a Republican. This makes me feel kind of bad for the democrats. Especially when their whip looks like such a bitch.
I hope this helps Obama in some way. I have always liked his tenor, strength of character and no-nonsense attitude towards politics. I am in a rough place now with the Republican nomination of McCain. I am not against him, but I have my reservations. This scandal makes me laugh since I am trying not to weigh in on either side until the parties have figured out their crap. Who will be the Demo's nominee?
There are all these delegates, super delegates, primaries and general election. They all piss me off. They are all a waste of time, money and emotion. Plus, the simple fact that we are a two-party system pisses me off even further.
To watch all the bickering between the Democratic nominees is painful. Clinton is looking hungry and angry at every turn. She is slinging mud at Obama during the recent debates, she is throwing up pictures of Obama wearing traditional African attire (and not taking responsibility) and now she (and Slick Willy) are declaring that Obama would make a great Vice President. Where does it end? Last time I looked, Obama was winning the primaries.
If the Democrats want a good chance at ousting the Republicans, they better pick a candidate fast. There is so much internal fighting taking place that McCain can coast until the Democratic National Convention.
Getting back to Spitzer...Considering that he prosecuted a prostitution ring last year indicting 16 people, its dark comedy to see him caught in a similar sitituation. Client 9. Room 871. Thats awesome.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
This week has been a blur.
Last week was pretty intense out in Phoenix. It was awesome meeting the family of investors, friends and portfolio company founders surrounding Knight's Bridge Capital Partners and Lindzon Capital Partners.
They were an awesome group. I can only hope that my circle of friends is as much fun in 15 years when I am 40. My hope is that we all have kids and that we aren't boring by that age. Anything above and beyond that will be a miracle.
I learned a couple of things out in Phoenix.
1.Its 80 degrees in late February/ early March.
2.Always wear sunblock.
3.Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Arizona are really spread out compared to New York City.
4.Never underestimate the power of golf. I sucked, but I actually had a great time playing.
5.The landscape of the Southwest is breathtakingly beautiful. I had the opportunity to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West - it was Boss.
6.New York rents blow hard. I can get a new 2 bedroom/2 bathroom for $1000/month out in Phoenix with Pool and jacuzzi. The security deposit is only $300 and there is absolutely NO greedy sleazy brokers fee.
But getting back has been great. The weather in New York has been pretty good (except for a slight flurry of rain) and the weekend is almost here.
Time really does fly.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Last night I had the pleasure to see Jonathan Richman (guitarist, singer and songwriter) and Tommy (his drummer) live at the Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
You might recognize these guys from the movie "There's Something About Mary" as the singing duo that hangs out in trees, in front of buildings and all sorts of odd locations whenever something odd happens throughout the film.
It has probably been 10 years (give or take) since I last saw that movie, but Jonathan has lost none of his vigor or talent.
There were a number of songs dedicated to artists, like Vermeer, Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso (my favorite). He was also adept at singing songs in multiple languages (Spanish, Hebrew, Italian and English). It was pretty awesome all the way around.
Its not just his virtuosity that rocks, its his storytelling capability. Jonathan crafts the oddest descriptions of events to make us (the audience) understand where he is coming from.
Springtime in New York has lyrics like "3 feet of snow on the sidewalk" and "the smell of sewage in the gutter along the bowery". He rhymes about prostitutes in Tijuana in another song (sung in Spanish) "Get him another drink. His eyes stare towards the Exit sign".
Dancing in a Lesbian Bar. Awesome.
The truth of the matter is that as of today I do not have one-million-dollars. It would be really sweet if I did, but what I do have is a virtual portfolio that starts me off with $1,000,000 big ones.
TheUpDown is a pretty cool concept. I first joined back in September and have spent a minimal amount of time on the site since then. My basic strategy for investing is through following trending (both up and down) stocks. Plus I look at myself as a long term investor rather than a short term day trader (that takes too much time/effort/stress).
This company allows its users to watch, chart, analyze and follow stocks, ETFs and fellow traders.
In the seven months since I first joined I have bought and sold only three stocks, while retaining shares in REITs (SLG, VNO) and precious metals (GOLD, IAU). My strategy has been simple: Find all-time highs and ride them.
Half the virtual money I have made so far has been through shorting REITs. Real Estate Investment Trusts just do not have what it takes to weather the recession in which we have found ourselves. Two years ago the housing market was seeing the first signs of depression. Two years ago REITs were beginning to reach their all-time highs. Even last year REITs were performing strong. However, as the recession is settling into the foreseeable horizon and more jobs are cut, it will be harder and harder for the REITs to squeeze out their profits.
Companies are shedding employees, companies are merging (Doubleclick/Google and Yahoo/Microsoft). These companies are seeking efficiency. That means slashing jobs and freeing up overpriced real estate. We will see these REITs and others take greater hits over the next 9-18 months as we weather inflation, sub-prime BS, globalization and $100/plus barrels of oil.
Alternatively, I have used the UpDown to model what would happen if I bought gold six months ago, before we were certain about this recession ( Can't believe that Bernanke and Bush deny any economic slowdown = idiots). I had a gut feeling that as inflation took hold, investors would be comfortable in the gold standard (why did we leave it by the way?).
The shares I bought have shot through the roof. GOLD has risen from $24.66 to $54.18 since I bought it in September (a gain of 120%). This is crazy and awesome. Too bad its not real money that I am playing with.
My virtual annualized returns are at a whopping 44.26% . I have turned the $1 Million into $1,254,640 .
The weirdest part about this service is that I can make some real money through my virtual trades. I am not sure where this money is coming from, but I have been paid through paypal $50.37 for having a good portfolio and continually checking in on my portfolio.
Monday, February 25, 2008
We are seeing a burst of activity from social platforms. Although they have become the talk of 2007, they are inevitably here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Where will they take us and what will be next are the two major questions I have been thinking about lately.
I try to look at where the web is going from a different perspective, so here are some rambling thoughts.
China, India and Latin American countries will dominate the next generation of web applications and companies. We (being US/ Anglophones) have greatly ignored these communities to date.
Although we are seeing a rise in tailored websites/communities targeting these massive cultures and languages, I am too far removed to see what the current companies are in place that serve this segement of the world ( over 4 billion people).
I want to see someone become the superpower of all superpowers that will enable us to all communicate across all platforms and languages. Right now I have no idea what the top web companies are in India or what the best social platform is in China. Spanish speaking countries have their own communities and cultures too, which unless I either spoke Spanish fluently, lived abroad or had many spanish speaking friends than I would not be able to connect with these companies/start-ups and phenomenon.
I only know a couple of things have spread beyond US soil. To my surprise, facebook is exceptionally popular in Denmark and most of Europe. I only know this because I have worked/been good friends with young Brits, Frenchies, Germans and Danes. However, I look at a company like Bebo and for whatever reason it did not spread in the US to great popularity, yet in the UK its a hit. On this same note, there must be equivalent web companies in Shanghai, Mexico City and Delhi that cater to young social networks that are very popular and unheard of in metropolitan New York City.
The next web will bridge this gap.
I have read some comments that mobile is the next big thing. As far as I know, its already here. Its not the technology that will be making the future, but how we choose to use it in our daily lives.
I like CouchSurfing.com because no matter where you travel to in the world there is someone with an internet connection, a spare sofa and an interesting conversation to be had. This network provides a refuge for the world adventurer. I was able to contact people while in Tbilisi (Repbulic of Georgia) and in Trabzon (Turkey) very easily and efficiently because this network saw across channels. The barrier for entry was minimal at most (email address, couch, access to a computer to check email). Knowledge of English to fill in the fields varies depending on the user, but its amazing how you can interact with someone in person without speaking a word of their mother tongue (my Georgian is worthless).
Providing a means of expanding knowledge is the most important technology that can or will exist. The potential is endless.
I hope to see more companies move into the void of creating international communities where language is not the major barrier for entry. Forums where we can communicate without having to speak spanish, japanese or english to extract information.
Nice night time ride back across Brooklyn. Scary going over the Williamsburg Bridge with it covered in ice. Saw one dude crash coming down the ramp. He was okay.
Joe is trying out his new polaroid camera. I think it looks pretty cool this little shot he took after riding.
Despite the winter weather I managed to break a sweat. Yeah me.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Tuesday I will be flying out to Phoenix for a week of sun and work.
It will be great to get away from all the snow, slush and gray that permeates the city of New York during the winter months of January, February and March.
Bright blue skies and 75 degree weather sound mighty tempting at this moment.
We will be hosting the first ever Knight's Bridge Capital Partners Golf Tournament, beginning on Thursday and culminating on Saturday with golf and a Suns game. I am looking forward to the Sun's game, since I am not much of a golfer.
This will be great way to get 50 investors together to talk about the market and some of our investments to date.
We will have some of our start-up companies present as well to talk about what they are up to. Speakers will include Brett Wilson from TubeMogul, Mark Seremet from Green Screen Interactive, Mike Lazerow from BuddyMedia and Alan Levy from BlogTalkRadio.
Very excited about the party, the golf, the basketball and the Sun. If you are in the area please send me an email or give me a call.
I hate to admit it, but I "borrow" my internet connection from my neighbors.
The result is that I am constantly shifting between whatever the strongest wifi connection is at any given moment.
Every damn webpage is loading slowly, I am reduced to low download speeds, I can not stream videos over the internet and skype is a waste of time.
The price I pay is one of quality. I am almost at the point of paying for a real connection, until then, let the internet be slow.
Whats the rush anyway? I used to use a 14.4k modem while growing up.
Beggars can't be choosers.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
It looks like shit outside right now. Its been snowing all day in New York City and now the snow is turning into rain/sleet and the white snow will quickly turn to brown rubbish.
The cold weather will freeze this city into a ridiculous ice mess. I can't wait for tomorrow morning!
David, my little brother, sent me this video of himself in a haircut commercial. He's a student in California at CalPoly San Luis Obispo. This area is most notable for the wino-movie hit Sideways and Solvang, that fake little Danish town.
This is what you get when you pay college kids $50 to act in your advertising campaign.
So, if you are ever in SLO and need a haircut go here.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This week I look forward to Tim O'Reilly's Money:Tech Conference to be held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
The list of speakers is impressive and the topics to be covered should be equally provocative.
Speeches by Jim Cramer (The Street) and Paul Kedrosky (Infectious Greed) amongst others should provide some helpful insight into how our economy, the stock market and technology will change in the upcoming year. The horror that we are seeing in the market appears to be here for the near-term and its anyone's guess as to when it will be lifted.
It will also be good to see many of the investment professionals all located in one place for two days to exchange ideas and projections about the market and its direction.
Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, Howard and others are seeing a slow down in activity around the start-up finance sector as consumers tighten their spending habits.
Its been almost a year since I first met Jason Knight, CEO of Wesabe (whom O'Reilly and Union Square Ventures have investment). It will be good to see how his progress has accelerated since our first meeting. The field of online-personal-finance has grown significantly; as more and more companies are springing up to fill this void. Geezeo, Mint and Wesabe have positioned themselves as industry leaders ( Mint is doing damn well in my opinion).
Looking forward to it.
After last November's Cranksgiving crash it was only a matter of time (and money) before I built a new front wheel.
The results are impressive. Its pretty sweet to have a rock-solid front wheel. The roads of New York City are treacherous at best. Potholes, pedestrians, taxi's and broken glass adorn the streets I ride each day.
There is no space for compromise in the world of track bikes. Either you are in the zone riding or you are smacking your face in the back of someone's car door. Thats why its so important to be on top of your game at all times. These many considerations are quite worrisome, which is why I will only ride my bike when I know its in optimal condition. New tires, well-oiled hubs, cranks and a taut chain are necessities that can not be ignored.
Monday, February 4, 2008
The game was watched. The Giants won and I lost a dollar.
That was my big bet for the season, that the Patriots would have the perfect season.
Robert Kraft was the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2005 at Columbia University. I am not really sure what he talked about. I think I was too excited to really care.
My friends and I really looked forward to the commercials. For me watching the Superbowl is like breaking into a bad habit. I do not have a television and have not been following sports or tv shows for the last 10 years. In essence, me watching football once a year is kind of like sneaking in a cigarette to a reformed smoker.
Growing up I watched way too much MTV, Nickelodeon and Columbo. Once I hit high school I pretty much stopped caring what was on the boobtube. There were too many fun things to do outside of the house that I just did not have time to sit around and veg-out.
To this day I am anti-television. I love watching good films, but asking me about LOST or American Idol will get you no where fast.
Back to the commercials:
They weren't really that funny. The only worthwhile ads that came on were for a little baby talking stocks. This was the most spectacular advertisement. I love hearing a one-year old talking about mutual funds. He even took some of his earnings and rented a clown for a couple of hours. Classic! Ironically, this was a commerical for E Trade. The most talked about failure of recent memory in the cheap, online trading sphere.
Talking babies won't save this one.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Yeah, its that time of the year again. Kickoff was five minutes ago and I have no clue who is winning.
If you have read my blog before, you know that I ride bikes frequently. Football not-so-much.
Therefore, like millions of other Americans I am taking to a comfortable sofa, drinking beer and paying attention to the multi-million dollar ads. I heard that Obama was going to have a spot. Looking forward to that.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the half-time show. Hmmm... Last year it was Prince? How much worse could things get? Maybe next year it will be R Kelly. Thats what I am looking forward to.
Who's playing who again?
Monday, January 28, 2008
Oh hell. What to do with Twitter?
I have been a fairly avid user of twitter over the last year. Its been good to me at times, but sometimes it gets really annoying.
The problem is noise and usability. Its so damn easy to use that people are twittering all the time.
"Taking a dump" "Walking the dog" "Fire at BricaBox HQ"
For all the noise there are a couple of insightful comments that arise through twitter. It enables me to glimpse into the lives of friends and colleagues without having to interact with them. Taking out social interaction by automating it might not be the best method for humans to coincide.
I follow Fred Wilson, but I have only met him once. I am also followed by 64 people. Half of these people I have never even met. Its kind of creepy that people want to follow me in the first place. On the flip side its endearing to know that someone cares enough to add me.
However, I am not sure what the future is for this service. While I was away in Denmark last December I turned off my blackberry. This in turn stopped all the twitter updates that streamed through my phone 24 hours a day. When I came back to New York I kept my twitter updates turned off. They are still off, but I check the website every couple of days to see what people have been up to.
The crowd sourcing of this web service is questionable. For me to really get anything out of twitter I have to be connected all the time. Unfortunately I am receiving plenty of worthless information all day long.
Howard twitters about bathrooms, I twitter about bars and my buddies twitter about drinking coffee.
Alley Insider even has a twitter of the day.
Where is this going? Not really sure. There is a utility to twitter, but the exit strategy is not clear to me.
Advertisements in the twitter interface are annoying. Annoyance leads to a lack of usage. So how will twitter make money? Corporate America could buyout twitter and harvest its users through branding, but I am not sure what else you could really do with this service. Perhaps its just another fad.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Here's one ibanker going crazy and I don't blame him for a second.
It looks like the failing economy is upon us. A recession is here and the two questions on everyone's minds are for how long and how deep.
Its really anyone's guess, but here are a few of my thoughts and indicators of note:
1. Yahoo is contemplating to layoff a buttload of people as we speak.
2. Bush and Bernanke can not comfort the United States, so how the hell will they comfort the entire world economy?
3. Its really late at night in New York, like 5 am and I should go to sleep soon.
4. The world markets are opening/closing this Tuesday anywhere from 5-10% down (Asia and Europe).
5. New York is really cold right now 25 degrees Farenheit, which leads me to believe that most bankers are going to be very bearish tomorrow (today in four hours when the market opens).
Will the world end? My sources point to a clear NO, however, if you have money invested, it would be a great time to move away from stocks and move towards ETFs. The market has taken a huge hit over the last three months since its late summer peak. The Downward Spiral that we are in may apex in the next 24 hours.
I am thinking about closing out a couple of positions and using that liquidity to buy on the cheap during the next week.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The first few races of 2008 have been announced on fixed.gr/nyc . Or at least they are in the process of getting organized.
I await the start of the racing season. It never really ends, not unless you stop riding, but why would you do that?
First race of NYC in 2008 will be held January 26 entitled "Capital Crimes" location and starting time TBD.
Second race: Valentine's Day, Thursday February 14th. Starting at the bright and early time of 6:30 PM this will make for a memorable valentine's day date.
Monstertrack 9, Weekend of March 8-10. Fuck yeah!! Can't wait for this years race. Its going to rock. It will just be the real racers. The colder the weather, the more ridiculous the riders. This should be a great turnout from all over the world too. I have some buddies from Copenhagen who will probably come out for the race.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Lately friends and colleagues of mine have been pondering: "Why don't you shave more often?"
The answer is simple. I do not think its necessary.
One of the best parts about being blond is that its hard to grow a decent beard. Now this variates from person to person, but in my case I could not shave for a month and it will never get that bad.
Its great. I shave like once a week.
I have an important meeting this afternoon and for it I am considering a shave.
There is a wonderful idea about men's shaving habits and the relationship to being a hipster. The idea goes that you shave once on Sunday or Monday. Let it grow for a while. Once you hit Friday and Saturday nights you will be in the best shaggy-hipster shape possible.
Too bad I am not a hipster.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Starting at some point in May, I was working with 3PAR (public, NYSE: PAR) as a real estate consultant to the company. This was back when I worked in commercial real estate at CresaPartners.
3PAR is in the process of expanding their operations around the country. They are adding increased capacity for their users and hiring a larger sales force.
Simultaneously, while I worked on the logistics of their real estate, the company was focusing on an IPO.
During the summer I opened a brokerage account at Charles Schwab with the intention of taking money that I earned while working as a consultant and playing with it in the market. Nothing sat very well with me this summer and despite the dow hitting a new all-time high I didn't bite.
Initially priced between $11-13/per share, the IPO saw the stock hit a high of $17.99 in its first day of trading. I couldn't get my bid in their on time, since I am not an institutional investor. However, I got in there around $17 only to see the stock slump day after day.
Today, January 14th is the first time I look back at the stock since December. Its now trading at an even $10. I've lost almost 50% of my investment in two months. Astonishing!
However, I still believe in this stock and might even buy some more. Why? Because, I know that the business is doing well and that it takes sometime for the true price to work itself out.
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse, seem to be thinking along the same lines as me, having recently rated the stock as an "outperform". They suggest that the stock may regain and surpass its first day trading price and strike out past $18 by years' end. I hope so too.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Today Howard, Kenny and myself are pleased to announce the formation of Knight's Bridge Capital Partners. Based out of Toronto, with decision makers in New York and Phoenix we are pretty damn North American in our approach towards investments.
The fund is $80 million big ones strong. Not all of the fund will be focused on early stage investments, but we have allocated about 10% towards start-ups.
Howard explains it all here on his blog.
We have rolled Biltmore Ventures into the fund as well. So I guess I don't need to change my linkedin or facebook profile just yet. Now it looks like I work at two funds. Maybe its my split personality.
Well, have to run. But things are on the up and up.