Whim ‘n Rhythm and Graduating from College

Apr 22

In: Career management, Music, Personal

I was editing my YouTube account tonight and I stumbled upon the cool video above (or click here). It’s Whim ‘n Rhythm singing “Landslide,” an old Stevie Nicks song. Incredibly soulful.

I never played an instrument and I don’t sing very well. So, I’m often impressed by people who do have ability. I thought this video was really cool and wanted to share it.

I met Whim ‘n Rhythm last fall (more here), and they struck me as such a genuine group. We talked about career management for a bit. I was the old alumnus back on campus, hanging for a bit with some college seniors navigating job interviews for the first time.

Fast forward a few months. They’re now about to graduate from college next month. Classes end Friday and they’ll then start to study for their final finals.

They’ve probably already made their career decisions. I can only imagine how excited they must feel, but also, that they might be nervous about leaving school, starting a job, and/or the status of personal relationships.

All this made me think of the tail end of my college years. I really loved my undergrad experience. But, it was time to grow up and graduate. Working on Wall Street in NYC was a truly eye-opening experience and a real shock. But, I learned a lot from it and I had to develop quickly more grit.

So, if you’re about to graduate from college, there’s no question that your life is about to change. But, you’re about to embark on a new adventure and can have a huge impact on the world. You’ll run into challenges, but it is amazing how persistence will buy enough time for things to all, well, really work out for its best.

If there’s one bit of advice I have for that first year out of college, it’s this: stay socially connected. Make the time to meet new folks. Volunteer. Keep in touch with your college buddies. Create and nourish a community around you. I joined a Bible study and it made a world of difference for me, though it was one year too late. It helped keep me grounded.

And, those college classmates right now who appear to have it all together and are so confident as graduation looms? Well, I suspect nearly all of them are faking it. With a month to go until Commencement, trust me on this: everyone is both excited and anxious.

So, don’t feel bad if that’s how you feel.

Marathon Monday–Let Freedom Ring!

Apr 21

In: Family life, Personal, Sports

It’s a brilliant day for Marathon Monday here in Boston. The sun is out and the temp will be in the 60s. My wife and some of our kids will be at Heartbreak Hill to cheer on our friends.

Hard to believe that the following happened a year ago: bombings, carjackings, a city locked down, gun battles in the street amidst tossed grenades. Absolute insanity. A living nightmare.

We have many friends running this year’s Boston Marathon. Many didn’t finish last year when the bombs detonated and the marathon was halted amid the chaos. Many more, who are new runners, vowed to run this year. They trained during a long and icy winter.

Many are running for freedom, to show terrorists that they didn’t succeed in creating a climate of fear.

Last year, my youngest child and I were at Fenway Park on Marathon Day. We left the area about an hour before the bombs went off. Thankfully, we didn’t go to the Marathon finish line, which I’ve done many years in the past.

Then, came the manhunt for the terrorists, during which we were confined to our home, as we are a 5-min. drive away from the shoot-out area. I still remember the consistent drone of helicopters circling overhead. I listened to the police scanner all day, as a surreal day unfolded (more here).

Then, at long last, the end of it all: the last bomber was caught, and there was a whole city’s desire to buy drinks for 9,000 first responders. My favorite memory of those moments is this short video, which captured the spontaneous eruption of joy in the streets (or click here):

My best wishes to all the runners who race today for many, many good charities. And, of course, to the victims, the survivors and their families.

Easter Weekend

Apr 20

In: Family life

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The glare of a spring sun. An explosion of flowers on a neighborhood tree (see above). Air from open car windows while you drive, music on loud. An almost foreign feeling, as the sun warms your skin.

There’s nothing like the first warm weekend after a long winter. It is a time of renewal and a time for new life.

To boot, it’s Easter Weekend and Marathon Monday in Boston, making for a long weekend. For the first time in 20 years, I won’t be cooking Easter dinner, and I instead will be in charge of clean-up.

Some of my wife’s family will be coming over tonight for Easter dinner. They’re very kind. Some of my children will be putting on a home-spun play for them. Bit old school, I know.

Wherever you are, my personal wish to you that this spring will be filled with renewed energy, peace and clarity in your life.

Happy Easter!

Why Founders Really Matter

Apr 17

In: Entrepreneurship

The WSJ today published an article called “Drop in Tech Stocks Hits Startup Funding” (more here). The piece outlined how the NASDAQ correction is in turn affecting VCs and angels.

I’m not a pro at the public markets and its ripple effects, but I do feel strongly about this: time horizon really matters.

If your time horizon in owning equity is a few seconds or a few months, then, what the public markets do is really important. If the market is softening, it makes sense to unload your position ahead of everyone else (if you can).

But, if your time horizon is many years, then you can handle the short-term volatility. VC funds are 10 years-long, and so, we’re not paid to be traders. I would find it too nerve-racking to be eyeing a Bloomberg machine all day. Instead, I can think about the future and what trends might unfold and what business today can benefit.

Similarly, founders I know are committed: they pour their lives into their companies, and when things get rough, they bear down. Their time horizons are long and they’re willing to gut out the tough times. You really cannot replace that.

“Hired guns” usually don’t have as much persistence. You see various execs., who are hired later, often cycle into companies. Most don’t have the staying power of founders.

Founders really matter. They have extremely long time horizons.

Passover & ‘There’s More to Do’

Apr 14

In: Family life, Spiritual

I am sick as a dog today, but I wanted to write about Passover.

Whether you’re Jewish or not, I think it’s immensely important that everyone remember that freedom isn’t free (I blogged last year about Passover here and here).

And, our ancestors had to endure a great deal for us to be here, whilst the struggle against discrimination continues today. Elizabeth Ducoff, for example, Tweeted this regarding the recent shootings in Kansas:

I recently watched a moving PBS Series called “The Story of the Jews.” Most touching of all for me was a 90-second snippet. It covers Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel. An air raid siren goes off, and the whole nation pauses. Cars stop on the highway and the drivers get out. Everyone stands, in silence, at attention.

Video is below (or, click here). Watch min 2:00 to 3:30.

So, to all my Jewish friends, as you celebrate the Feast of Freedom: Chag Pesach Sameach!