Ep.59 – COMIC BOOK PUBLISHING with GEVIAN DARGAN
In this episode of "Wealth, Actually", we get to dive into the comic-book industry with Gevian Dargan. Gevian is about to launch his comic imprint, Animated Concepts, which is focusing on getting some of the great comic stories from people of color that are out there, but not getting the attention they deserve. The industry itself is going through significant upheaval as the economics of developing IP come under considerable question and distribution systems face significant challenges with digital competitors and a new view of what makes a cool (and monetizable) story.
Gevian and I tackle this subject as well as the magic of growing up with the excitement of going to your "local", discovering characters and forming tastes. It's this formative development that we wonder aloud that might be missing and may make it difficult to develop the next Marvel, DC, Harry Potter or other franchise.
Here's Gevian on the "Thinking Critical" podcast talking about reaching new black comic readers. (This is a terrific interview BTW)
Here's the outline of our fun conversation (we recorded for over an hour, spoke for two and probably could have gone on all day):
Quick introduction- what are you're doing now and dramatic foreshadowing of your Animated Concepts project-Where did the love of comics come from? Talk about the relationship with the Comic Book ShopWhere you used to buy comics and where you buy them now? Challengers Comics + Conversations: www.challengerscomics.com; First Aid Comics: www.firstaidcomics.com; Dark Tower Comics & Collectibles: www.darktowercomics.com;Alternate Reality Comics: www.myalternatereality.comFavorite Characters / and what drew you to them?RobinShazamFavorite Issues/ StoriesFavorite Artists Who are the artists and writers we should really be looking out for?History, Craft, and Business of Comics (Diamond, New Readers, Promotion, Writing, Drawing, etc.)-How the COMIC BOOK industry has become so tribal politically, whereas before it used to be Marvel vs. DC vs. Indies (just weird now)MCU vs. DCEU What does the future of the comic industry look like?Animated Concepts - Tell us the concept behind it and what are your plans for it?How do we keep in touch with you? INFO@ANIMATEDCONCEPTS.BIZ (Focus Groups are forming in July- reach out to Gevian for more information)FACEBOOK: GEVIAN DARGANTWITTER: @GEVIANDARGAN
A quick aside: many of you know of my love of comic books and the myth-making engine of that industry. My pal, Jim Harberson, and I (written under a pseudonym) dipped our toe in the water of the industry with our book, Stay Alive. We wrote our first (the horror/comedy, Stay Alive) and published it through the UK-based, Markosia Enterprises. It was a great experience to work with the multitalented and super-nice Stephen Baskerville. His art is amazing. The industry itself is tough. It's opaque and the chances of publishing, let alone success, are slight. Here's our first foray . . .
and here are some of Gevian's favorite covers:
Ep.58 – ASSET PROTECTION 101 with IKE DEVJI
As businesses and business owners struggle COVID-19; impact on operations going forward, I thought it would be useful to revisit the issue of asset protection for wealthy families. Liability is around every corner and the best laid plans can be wrecked with a car accident, an employee suit, or the discovery of asbestos in an investment property.
Joining me is IKE DEVJI to discuss some of the ways to address this issue. He is a prominent attorney in Scottsdale, Arizona who focusses on asset protection for executives, business owners, athletes, entertainers, and other high visibility people that can be the object of creditors. Ike has personally practiced from Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona for over 17 years as an Asset Protection-only lawyer and helps protect a national client base of thousands of clients representing nearly $6 Billion in personal assets.
He can be found at
PRO ASSET PROTECTION DAVIS MILES MCGUIRE & GARDENERTwitter: @IKE_DEVJILinkedin: IKE DEVJI
A) What is there to worry about?
Here are some real examples of the “impossible” that actually happened and resulted in large claims:
Parents away for the weekend return to find that a teenager died at their home during a party their child had from the drugs he brought with him;Chiropractor adjusts a patient’s hip and the woman dies on table from cardiac arrest-he is sued for wrongful death;Long time, most trusted employee of medical practice molests a minor female patient during treatment;Employees of moving company get drunk and severely beat another employee and lock him in company truck in company yard over weekend;LLC for real estate development is pierced and a passive member is held jointly and severally liable for the actions of the other members;Dentist works on elderly patient who goes home and dies of unrelated heart attack hours later, dentist sued for wrongful death.
B) What are Ike's three layers to good Asset Protection planning?
Clean LivingIdentifying the risks that are part of your daily life (and business)Being a good citizen and acting responsibly where at all possible Avoiding behavior that would cause harm and get you suedPutting in processes and procedures around riskier behaviorInsure against the risks you can reasonably identify (and afford)Put structures around and compartmentalize your wealth
C) What are the big tactical missteps people make that Ike sees?
1. FAILING TO ACT (Timing)
(AKA - waiting for the tort to happen)The importance of the term: Fraudulent Conveyance
2. THINKING YOU’RE NOT RICH ENOUGH
Many larger high net worth families can absorb a large hit to their net worth and not suffer a reduction in lifestyleFor those people with net worths in the 500K-5mm range, a $1mm settlement can have catastrophic consequences on lifestyle
3. RELYING ON YOUR TRADITIONAL ESTATE PLANNING
4. TOO MANY EGGS IN ONE BASKET
What happens if an accident happens on one investment property but you own 8 others?
5. SQUARE PEG ROUND HOLE – USING THE WRONG TOOL
6. DRAGGING LIABILITY INTO YOUR PLAN
Ike brings up a terrific example where having your business own your vehicles may be great tax planning in allowing you to deduct those expenses, but it can be terrible asset protection planning if they are used personally and cause a lawsuit. The assets of the business will have been exposed to the action.
7. RELYING ON GIFTING TO RELATIVES (SEE ALSO FAILING TO ACT)
8. USING UNPROVEN, POORLY STRUCTURED TOOLS OR SCAMS LIKE “FRIENDLY LIENS”
9. RELYING ON INSURANCE ALONE OR FAILING TO ADEQUATELY INSURE. WHY CAN’T WE SIMPLY INSURE OUR WAY TO SAFETY?
Premiums are expensive The "Business of Insurance" to collect premiums and try to pay out claims as little as possible)If you look hard enough you can find liability everywhere - there isn't enough any to insure away EVERY risk.Having a good P&C Insurance expert is important to makes sure that you have enough insurance to cover high probabilit...
Ep.57 – DIVORCE in the COVID-19 World with EVAN SCHEIN
With the tensions brought on by the confinement, new roles and financial pressures of the Coronavirus, I thought it would be good to take a new look at one of the greatest threats to wealth . . . Divorce. High-end family law attorney, EVAN SCHEIN, and I got to sit down and talk about what is happening in the world of divorce. Evan is an expert in the field as Partner and Head of the Litigation Department of New York-based divorce firm, BERKMAN BOTTGER NEWMAN and SCHEIN. He has seen it all in the space.
Here is a quick outline of what we covered:
Are confined spaces and the quarantine causing an increase in the interest in divorces- what are you seeing in your practice?How has the lockdown impacted the process of divorce?What is the process looking like in the new Zoom Conference world?Is there anything new in the legal landscape of divorce?Planning before the wedding generally- what are best practices? What is the best way to be a good client?Asset titling is this still a useful tool?The use of trusts- has this expanded in this day an age?What is the best way to integrate other advisors? Wealth Advisors, Lawyers, Accountants, Business Advisors, Agents?Pre and/or post nuptial agreements- how should one think about pre-nuptial agreements? How do you have that uncomfortable discussion?If you are feeling like divorce is becoming an option in your relationship, what should you do?How do you advise people in communicating with the children in this difficult circumstance?Any crazy stories that you can share?Personalities in the divorce practice?
Finally, (since I'm running this!), Evan and I take a quick tour of our favorite sports teams and how they are dealing with the sports disruption.
EP.56 – Mehlman/Castagnetti POST-COVID PREDICTIONS
The political consulting firm, Mehlman Castagnetti, put together an interesting presentation on what a post-COVID world is going to look like. HAVEN and I synthesized some of the highlights and broke down what we saw as important. The link is above and it's useful to have in front of you as we deliver our comments.
Here is a quick outline of what is covered:
SECTION 1: WE WERE NOT PREPARED
"Recreational government" is neglecting what the true government functions are.
Our system is overly focussed on luxuries and there doesn't seem to be any political will until disaster is upon us.
SECTION II- M/C's PREDICTIONS
#1- New Psychology- what will the population's mindset look like going forward?
#2- "Deglobalization"- Will there be a retrenchment?
#3- Freedoms Trade-Off: Can you be worried about the virus, the economy and political freedoms at the same time?
#4- "Techlash" - will the suspicion of tech companies persist? It may pause but will return in earnest when our situation stabilizes-
#5- Asset Bubbles as search for yields and stability becomes paramount.
#6- COVID Inequalities Widen Social Divisions
#7- Initiatives will move away from the state
SECTION III: REASONS FOR HOPE
#1- Americans Stepping Up: Fauci, Front- Liners, Community
#2- Innovators Stepping Up
#3- Government Trying to Step Up- Even If Incompetently
OUR BIG ASK-
More Cooperation Between Public and Private Spheres as we look for solutions to the virus and revitalize the economy?
A reminder that you can subscribe to the podcast on most major platforms. More from Haven on his PUNDIFICATOR blog below. . .
And "Wealth, Actually" can be found here:
EP.55 ESTATE PLANNING & TENNESSEE TRUST LAW with AARON FLINN of the WALLER LAW FIRM
The COVID-19 phenomenon has created worldwide economic upheaval and problems for many business owners. One area where the coronavirus has created opportunity is in the field of estate planning.
I was able to speak with AARON FLINN about the opportunities that exist right now. We will go into some of the tools in his toolkit (including the use of preferred jurisdictions like Tennessee) to help successful, and often complicated, families take advantage of a difficult economic environment.
Aaron is a partner of WALLER, a full-service business law firm based out of Nashville, Tennessee with offices across the Southeast and Texas. He specializes in trust and estate work, wealth preservation, business succession and family office structuring.
Why is right now is an optimal time to review estate planning affairs and wealth structure?
1) The shutdown has been a rare quiet time to think about the how families want to set up future affairs and have internal discussions about the investment, use, direction and purpose of the wealth.
2) Lower valuations:
With markets generally lower across the board, the valuations of most family assets has decreased as well. This provides added flexibility when using estate planning tools and government defined exemptions to shift wealth out of an estate into the ownership of the next generation.
3) Generationally low interest rates:
As the government has lowered interest rates to stimulate the economy, many of the standard interest rates used in estate planning have fallen as well. Government defined "Applicable Federal Rates" (AFR's) are the lowest they have ever been. The amplify the effectiveness of even the simplest of planning techniques.
As part of that planning, there are lots of instruments, jurisdictional choices and legal devices to effectuate a family's wishes. What makes Tennessee an interesting state for families to consider?
The Friendly Trust Environment of Tennessee
The theory behind Tennessee's trust law
The interaction of the Bar, Trust Industry, and the Regulators
Specialized control of a trust's investments - why is that important?
Involving Trusted Advisors on Distribution Decisions - why is this important?
Why does the use of an Independent Trust Company for administrative purposes make sense?
Avoiding State Income Tax on Accumulated Income and Capital Gains
How does this work with clients from other states?
What should we think about with source income
Self Settled Trusts
Flexibility for Family wishes
Specialized Protection for Independent Advisors
Special Purpose Entities (SPE) for investment direction advisors
Special Purpose Entities (SPE) for Distribution Advisors
Tennessee as an Excellent Environment for Private Trust Companies
What is a Private Trust Company?
In building these out what is the best way to ensure the multi-generational success of this flexible structure?
Jurisdictional and Regulatory "Understanding of the Space"
Well-suited legal and corporate fiduciary support located locally as required.
COMMENTS or QUESTIONS
Aaron can be contacted here: AARON FLINN
Additionally, I can be contacted here (FRAZER RICE) or here (FRAZER RICE) for further comments and questions.
Ep.54 POLITICAL SCIENCE FICTION: WHAT IF THE ELECTION IS DELAYED?
What if the 2020 election was delayed or cancelled? Haven and I take on this scary, and not-out-of-the-question, possibility . . .
The mechanics of a delay or a cancellation are complicated. Here are three good articles for context on the topic from:
Anthony Fisher, from Business Insider ("We need a backup plan to ensure all Americans can vote in November's presidential election. Our democracy could depend on it.") and . . .
Ian Millhiser from Vox ('Can Trump Cancel the Election?")
Haven Pell on the Pundificator (World War Three at a Time)
Here is an outline of the potential chaos.
Fighting The Three Political Wars and where an Electoral Dysfunction may fit in . . .
Novel Coronavirus / Covid-19~1.8/2.0 MM cases in the world 525k/550k in the US~110,000 deaths in the world 20,000 in the USLimited testingVaccines a long way offContinuing though perhaps diminishing fearGenerally good compliance with lockdown, social distancing etc.Dueling Daily Trump and Cuomo briefings. Discussion politicizedR’s lean toward reopeningD’s lean toward public safetyPeople’s lives vs. the stock marketReopening the Country16 MM filed for unemployment in three weeks. Highest by a multiple of 10Stock Market down 36% peak to trough (2/19-3/23)21% peak to today (2/19-4/9)Same today as June 2019, April 2018, November 2017Significant concerns about small businesses e.g. restaurantsSignificant and disruptive long-term changes possible to highly likely Remote workResiliency of supply chains over costAnti-globalist sentimentBusiness travelTourismWhen country reopens how fast will people/customers come backPolitics / ElectionsD primaries essentially fizzled out when Sanders withdrewBiden 49% Trump 43% RCP AverageDemocrats hate Trump more than almost any other President everRepublicans hammering Biden for gaffes, mental infirmitiesNo traditional campaigning during lockdown Conventions – will they happen? Do they need to?Ds Milwaukee 8/17-20Rs Charlotte 8/24-27Who wants to bring thousands of potentially infected travelers into a swing state? There are 535 House members and Senators plus the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Only 1/3 of the Senate runs, but assume each seat is contested. Eleven governors are up for electionHouse = 435 x 2 = 870Senate = 33 x 2 = 66President Vice President = 2 x 2 = 4Governors 11 x 2 = 22Total candidates = 962Countless candidates for state legislative seatsSince political candidates tend to be older and since they might not be observing public health guidelines, what are the odds on at least one if not several dying during the campaign?
EP.53 USING L.E.D. CONVERSION TO DRIVE REAL ESTATE RETURNS w/ JUDD STENSRUD
In this episode we dive into the world of real estate development and the use of LED conversions to save money and drive returns. Joining us is Judd Stensrud.
Judd is the founder and CEO of LUMEN GLOBAL. The firm uses energy efficiency to help drive real estate returns. Judd has an undergraduate degree from Duke University in economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago. However, it wasn’t until he got to Costa Rica in the early 2000's that he began to truly grasp the impact of costs within a vast portfolio of income producing real estate. Using these tools later in his career, Judd
Helped renegotiate a half billion dollar loan with The Bank of China,
Was the lead asset manager for The Plaza Hotel in New York, and
Led a process where Bill Gates and the Four Seasons Hotels invested over $300 million into a project that was his brainchild.
Recognizing the typical reasons that investors miss out on maximizing their profits led him to found Lumen Global.
Tell us a little about how your Costa Rica experience and how that impacted your view on managing real estate.How did this and your other experiences lead you to found Lumen Global?Process
What does Lumen do to add value?
While Lumen Global utilizes a number of energy efficiency measures to help increase your bottom line, we believe there is not a better available tool than converting to LED lighting technology.
Why? What is Your Process?
Energy Efficiency measures drop 100% to your bottom line.
Most deals have an IRR of 50% to over 100%.
Cash outlay, if any, is generally returned within one year.
We are a turnkey process… no work for your team.
We begin with a lighting analysis. We feel the best place to invest your money is through LED light technology.
We count all lights on your property.
We come back to you with an analysis.
We estimate how much you are spending per year buying lights and installing them.
We show your total spend on lighting per year and how much you will spend after converting to better looking LED technology.
Our analysis will show the turnkey cost to convert to LED.
Our professional bonded and insured electricians install the new material.
We process all incentive paperwork and use this to decrease the total job cost.
OutroHow do we keep tabs on Lumen Global?For those who want to use you or get involved, how do they contact the firm?
LUMEN GLOBAL WEBSITE
Ep.52 LEANNA HAAKONS- Sound Money Strategies in the COVID-19 Lockdown Environment
Leanna Haakons is a financial marketing expert, entrepreneur and author of bestseller, Young, Fun & Financially Free. In addition, Leanna is the EIC of TheWellthyMindset.com, and says Millennials those in their (20’s-40’s) don’t need to panic now because they should be thinking about their long term financial goals with plenty of time for their investments to bounce back. Leanna hosts a regular segment on Yahoo Finance and is a seasoned TV guest appearing on CNBC, Bloomberg, ABC News and dozens of other publications.
COVID-19 and Disruption
How has this impacted your business?
Cash flow (potential job loss / reduction of work)
What are you telling your clients and listeners on how to gear up for what looks like a rough set of months coming up?
Cash positions (reiterating the importance of having 6 months+ of expenses)
Evaluate Expenses (now is a good time to sharpen the pencil on things that you need vs the things that you want)
Leverage and borrowing- taking a hard look at the various interest rates that you have and strategizing around them.
For those that can, is this a good time to refinance your mortgage? (I'd say yes if you can)
Market drops and volatility
Saving for retirement and other goals based investing- (I'd argue that this is a great time to continue to do this . . . or start)
Is now a good time to invest? (I'd argue yes, if you have the cash flow and time horizon to be able to do so)
Using the time well
Going deeper into your field- extra study, zoom conferences, making new contacts within your field
Developing skills just outside of your field that can make you even more dangerous in your job (Examples: media/PR skills, coding, taking courses in important subjects like contracts etc . . .?)
Developing contacts outside of your field that might be helpful (industry associations etc . . . )
Developing expertise in your non-career interests (do you have a book in you, podcasts, painting etc. . . .?)
Can those be linked together in the future?
Spending time with family and friends (even virtually), so that your support community is in place during this time AND after.
Rest/exercise where possible
Coming out of the Abyss
Trying to envision what the future looks like in six months
If you have a business, what should you be doing to stabilize it?
What are the various programs out there that might be of help?
Leanna- how do we keep tabs on you?
Where should we find you on social media?
Leanna Haakons - Media Reel
www.blackhawkfinancial.ca / www.youngfunfree.com
Instagram @leanna_hawk / Twitter @leannablackhawk
Ep.51 THE AMERICAN CONSUMER’S NEW PREFERENCES
The country is in the midst of a debate between confinement and distancing in the name public health and the reopening of the country to re-establish the health and stability of the American economy. To that end, Haven Pell (PUNDIFICATOR) and I thought it would be interesting to discuss the ramifications of the choices American businesses are making right now. These are choices related to message, action and communication. Tracking off a study done by Glover Park Group in Washington, we look at some of the trends found in polling of what is important to Americans right now and what will be important in their decision-making around firms and commerce going forward.
COVID- 19: An In-Depth Conversation with the American Voter
Here are some of the main points that we discuss:
Business actions today will shape corporate reputation for years to come. Americans say they will remember who stepped up and made sacrifices for the greater good.Coronavirus has put debates on the social safety net and paid leave front and center. Americans want industries who receive aid to repay that goodwill in how they act and behave. Many worry about their health and the economy but prioritize the needs of those on the frontlines.Americans are grateful for services of essential employees and medical professionals and demand we do more to support them.Be deeply empathetic.It’s not business as usual, so don’t communicate as if it is.Identify what relevant capability or area of expertise you can deploy to play your part.Pass the loyalty test.Remember the lessons of 2008.
EP.50 DR. MAGGIE VAUGHAN, NYC Psychotherapist on Maintaining Perspective During the COVID-19 Lockdown
We are all trying to make sense of the difficult environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Uncertainty, economic difficulty, loss of routine, new roles and uncomfortable environments have us all on out heels. I thought it would be educational to speak with an expert who is on the front lines helping people deal with life's "normal" problems and the new set of issues that our friendly Coronavirus has dropped in our laps.
Dr. Maggie Vaughan is an award-winning, NYC-based psychotherapist with over 15 years of experience offering therapy to adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and relationships. She is also the founder and executive director of Happy Apple, a Manhattan-based psychotherapy center which provides an array of services to children, teens, families, and adults.
In addition to working with her New York clients, Dr.
Vaughan works online with clients in California, Delaware, and New Jersey, the
other states in which she’s licensed.
She holds degrees in political science, marriage and family therapy, and
clinical psychology. Her work has been
featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, The
Learning Channel, and The Huffington Post. Currently, she is providing consultation
to companies who employ essential workers, to help ensure the ongoing
well-being and adjustment of those employees throughout the social distancing
phase of COVID-19.
She can be found on Social Media:
INSTAGRAM: HERE and HERE
Here is the outline of our discussion . . . I hope you enjoy it and take away some useful points as you and your family adjust to our "little disruption."
What are your clients concerned about and are these issues amplifying problems they are currently facing in relationships and other issues?
Fear of the Virus:
Health issues for family (older members / pre-existing issues)Business / Job / Income issues - am I going to be financially ok?Safety issues for those who are aloneUncertaintyOCD / germaphobes - how do they get around this?How we take in information- people questioning the very information that they are receiving
The Break Up of Routine
(Much) Closer proximity to family, zero proximity to friends, colleagues etc . . .Work From Home (This is what you do all day?!?)New functions- home-schooling, houseworkDistortion of timeLoneliness - ability to perform job functionDifferent regions responding differently (NYC vs elsewhere- some more seriously than others- jealousy)
Working From HomeLoss of community with work environmentChange in the way people will work in the future- am I outmoded?Am I able to keep up my responsibilities for my employees, customers, vendors etc . . .
Strange phenomenon where inconsistent testing has created a weird set of haves and have nots Will people "want" to get it (like chickenpox) to re-enter society
Great way to re-evaluate prioritiesGood time to deepen relationships, re-establish intimacyCheck in on faded relationships, Hit the reset button on areas where communication had been ignoredInteresting dry run for retirement (living post career)Interesting time to think about business / side gigs / career
Using The Time Well
Exploring long set-aside interests or new onesGoing deeper into your field- extra study, zoom conferences, making new contacts within your fieldDeveloping skills just outside of your field that can make you even more dangerous in your jobDeveloping contacts outside of your field that might be helpful (industry associations etc . . . )Developing expertise in your non-career interests (do you have a book in you, podcasts, painting etc)Can those be linked together in the future?Spending time with family and friends (even virtually), so that your support community is in place during this time AND after.Rest/exercise where possibleDry run for retirement
Coming Out of the Abyss
EP.49 SCOTT JOHNSTON – Author of CAMPUSLAND
In the latest episode of the Wealth Actually podcast, we get to sit down with Scott Johnston the author of Campusland. This is Scott's second appearance on WA, but the first where Scott discusses his book. It made it to #15 on the New York Times best seller list and #1 in the humorous books section.
In the first part of the podcast, we talked about the incident at his alma mater that got him to write his newest book. We also dove into the business of being an author and the typical hurdles that new authors face. Finally, we spent some time reviewing the typical timetable and scheduling that goes into the production and launch of a book.
In the second part, we probed some ground around Campusland's subject matter: the new environment of the college campus and what that means today.
A description of the problem Scott saw on campuses and why it was great material to write about.The effect of wealth in the collegiate process both at the endowment and the student level.What are the numbers and the data behind the college environment?How did the admissions numbers game get so lopsided?When did the college campus environment change from the goals of inclusion and diversity of thought to other agendas?What is the impact on the politics of this country?Do alumni have any other options than to divorce themselves and their checkbook from their schools?Was the recent admissions bribery scandal to be expected?What is the impact of online learning? Coronavirus absences?The coming financial difficulties for smaller collegesCan a major university close down? Should it close down?What is the way forward? Are repurposed college campuses an interesting solution for our seniors?How do we keep track of you and Campusland?
Scott is on Twitter (@SJohnston60) and CAMPUSLAND can be found here:
WEALTH, ACTUALLY can be found below . . .
EP.48 CORONAVIRUS: What is “Normal” Going to Look Like?
First off, we're sending best wishes to our listeners. Hopefully, everyone is getting by with the onset of the coronavirus. We have a long way to go to get back to some semblance of normalcy, so take care of yourselves.
As always, Haven Pell's writings can be found here:
In this podcast, Haven and I take on the coronavirus' various impacts on society.
We got a taste of the generation gap when we heard about the spring-breakers in Florida:
John Branch — normally a sports writer, but with no sports to write, wrote an interesting article on the "late adopters" to the public health crisis that has changed the world:
Deniers and Disbelievers: "If I Get Carona, I Get Carona"
Between these two examples, we try to take the politics out of it and make sense of where "normal life" fits in the pandemic world now . . . and later when the world assimilates the new virus reality into everyday life.
Some of the activities affected in the virus' progression: rock climbing, Mardi Gras, strip club/lap dance, cherry blossoms, self-quarantine
The NYC experience (social distancing): Trader Joe’s vs Whole Foods and the recognition of crowding dangers for older people
DC walk- the parks getting used- packed, in fact!
"Essential travel": Essential to all . . . or to me?
Remote work: Positive developments to come from this experience
Remote work and the hope that technology (ex. Zoom) for the concept improve.
The difference between “in person” and “on camera’ skills
Media presences . . . is the online / on camera experience going to be even more important in regular jobs going forward if we are all teleconferencing?
Collegiate environment . . . What does college look like now that it's online. Are we going to be missing the personal interactions on campus?
How are we absorbing media on this? Is a little the right amount?
Should we hear from anyone other than professionals and analysts? We certainly like to hear from doctors on issues of "Public health!"
STAY SAFE, EVERYONE!
Ep.47 PARTISANSHIP – “Pre-Corona” thoughts on Hidden Common Ground
Housekeeping: Podcasts drop on Thursday usually in time for your commute- you can subscribe on most of your favorite outlets. HAVEN PELL's blog can be found here: PUNDIFICATOR
(Ep.47 was recorded in early December before the primary season and the onset of the Corona Virus and the market tumult . . .)
SUSAN PAGE in the USA TODAY from Early December on the Divided America- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/hiddencommonground/2019/12/05/hidden-common-ground-americans-divided-politics-seek-civility/4282301002/
The Divided America- Is "Partisanship" as bad as it feels?Centrists as the new radicalsRancor FatigueIs the skill of nuanced debate a lost art?Strong (economic) motivations for polarized partiesDoes instagram fame lead to argumentative success?Has the Bell Curve fallen to the concept of Long Tail (Niche) Marketing?Does cable viewership really tell you what the middle of the Bell Curve are thinking?Running out of money in the political process?98% of the job in politics is fundraising- is that right?Parallels in hiring- would you use the political process to hire someone?Is the popularity contest a good proxy for the skills in the job?69% of Americans deal with disagreements in a destructive way and it's getting worse! Public accountability for one's online presence . . .Philip Howard- has the country devolved with mindless compliance? Can individuals be responsible for their own thoughts? Outcomes vs Rules-Based rule-making? Has compliance culture created anger in the constituents AND the regulators? Am I only allowed to do what I'm told?Political parties as businesses. Third Parties . . . . Duopolies protecting themselves. Ross Perot. John Anderson. Jill Stein. Bloomberg and the ill-fated "path to the math."
WEALTH ACTUALLY CAN BE FOUND BELOW . . .
EP.46: DECISION by PR: Some Thoughts on Public Relations as CORPORATE STRATEGY-
Housekeeping: Podcasts should land generally land on Thursdays. You can subscribe to the podcasts on major podcast networks.
HAVEN PELL'S Blog can be found here: PUNDIFICATOR
On this week's podcast, we have some back and forth on the emerging prevalence of public relations and its increasing importance in corporate strategy.
Discussion outline below . . .
The Dangers of the "Spindustry".The use of avatars to represent climate change- are they created or natural occurring representatives.Naomi Seibt- as the counterpoint to Greta Thurnberg on climate change- is she a "created" representative. NYPOST: GRETA vs NAOMIThe Potential Damage to Unwitting Avatars (especially those pulled out of central casting)Coronavirus- Catastrophists vs. Slow Adopters. How did views change so quickly? (This was recorded before the Rudy Gobert news and the cancellation of the major sports events)The Innovation of Adoption Lifecycles- Innovators, Early adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards."Abundance of Caution" vs "Self Quarantines Don't Work in Democracies."How does one project calm and competence (before having proved these traits)?What happens when people have to actually rethink their lives?Is there a consequence to being over-confident?The Tylenol case- a good example of PR driving the corporate strategy.Crisis Management: Doing the right thing, being smart legally and defending the brand and the business. The tension between the PR strategy and the legal strategy . . .Strategy by Avatar may not work- I can't remember Naomi Seibt's name!!! ESG investing and Public Relations- how is reputation/PR scored?Is it reputation well understood in the investment world? Significant?
Ep.45: FANBOYS . . . Taking on Fanboys, Haters and the Cancel Culture
The Impact of Fanboys, Haters and Cancelling on Social Media and Internet Culture-
Haven and I hit these topics . . . .
Fanboys and Haters in Wealth Management and Financial Twitter
Hater Culture in Politics
Creating Adversaries as a Marketing Strategy (Us vs. the World)
Do Presidents make Markets or Economies (The Head Coach Analogy)
The "New News Cycle" and what it does to the markets
Brady, Belicheck and the Patriot Effect
Recessions and Economies in Political Cycles
Moneyball for Politics (Michael Lewis, Bill Clinton and other examples)
Binary politics and the destruction of nuance
EP.44: BLOOMBERG / NEVADA / SOUTH CAROLINA – Haven and I Analyze the First Debate and Look at the Democratic Party
A quick reminder to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play and Android! Podcasts normally drop on Thursday mornings before the EST commute. Haven's blog can be found here: PUNDIFICATORNothing on the blog or podcast is investment advice
The Democratic Party is in full swing with Bernie Sanders making an early run in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. However questions about his ideas and electability persist.
Joe Biden has stumbled out of the blocks. Elizabeth Warren tries to re-establish her initial leap forward.
Mayor Pete, Tom Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar are trying to build additional momentum as the make their case.
And Michael Bloomberg lurks with the great political equalizer . . . money. Lots of it made as he built his media empire. He also has a record of achievement as the Mayor of New York and as a poor debater after his performance in Nevada.
After watching Donald Trump sweep through a traditional Republican slate in 2016 and shock the world by beating Hillary Clinton in the general election, what should we make of this? What will happen in South Carolina, Super Tuesday and beyond?
Check out the latest polling at https://www.realclearpolitics.com/
HAVEN AND I TAKE A LOOK AT THESE ISSUES:
- The Democratic Party's tension between the need to "Beat Trump" vs. the negatives of "Buying the Election."
- What is the coming DNC dilemma with Bernie Sanders?
- Is the debate format counterproductive?
- What would be the advice to Mayor Bloomberg at this point?
- Without having the benefit of talking to him, what is Trump’s reaction to all of this?
Bloomberg's Presence Would Soon Be Felt . . .
EP.43 GLOBALIZATION: Haven and I take on the Emerging Trends in Globalization
Haven and I reached back into the archives (December) as we discuss GLOBALIZATION:
(To reiterate we are NOT providing investment advice, just a discussion of international relations issues that we find interesting)
We heavily reference the below presentation from Ken Mehlman's group. It is worth opening up in a new tab.
1) The World: Leadership & Direction Up for Grabs
2) Major Economies: Aging Fast
3) Internet Policy: Regionalism Replacing Globalism
4) Populism: The New Path to Power
5) U.S. Politics: Anti-Globalists Ascendant
6) U.S.-China: The Great Decoupling
7) Business: Evolving Strategies for Braving the New World
8) Government Economists: Fewer Fiscal / Monetary Tools
9) Leadership: New Global Players Emerging
10) Super-Disruptors: Climate, Debt, Technology & Urbanization
Other interesting issues pop up around our discussion of China as the news of the CORONAVIRUS was in its infancy and nowhere near the level of publicity that is occurring right now.
Another concept that we touch on throughout this presentation is "Are things better than we think?" Stephen Pinker has written a book on that topic . . . https://stevenpinker.com/taxonomy/term/4265?page=1
We also discuss Sarah Chase and the impact on the regression of trust in governmental institutions. . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Chayes
Enjoy . . . and don't forget to subscribe!
EP.42 CRYPTO-TAXATION: Prager Metis’ Peter Goodrich on the State of Crypto-Currency Taxation
This week we have a special interview with Peter Goodrich on the tax ramifications of working with crypto-currencies. We packed a lot of information and debate in this quickly evolving field.
PETER GOODRICH is a Manager in the Tax Department of Prager Metis CPAs, a member of Prager Metis International LLC. He specializes in tax planning, consulting, and structuring with domestic and international businesses, whether they are mature or startups, high net worth individuals, and trusts and estates tax planning. He assists and advises on complex business transactions. He has expertise in several industries including blockchain/ cryptocurrency, entertainment, manufacturing, defense contracting, technology, hedge funds, automotive, hospitality and real estate.
Here is a brief outline of what Peter and I covered:
1) Peter, how did you got into accounting and where did your interest in the crypto-space come from?
2) What we are talking about when we say "crypto"?
3) What makes the taxation of crypto currencies interesting/controversial? Is it a currency? Is it property? Is it a security? Is it a collectible? What rules apply? Are there meaningful differences between the different currencies?
4) The IRS decided that Crypto is essentially property with capital gains implications. Is there any nuance around that? Do the same "Long Term/Short Term" concepts apply?
5) Is there a difference in trading between crypto-currencies vs transacting for goods? I.e. if I buy a painting with bitcoin and sell it in bitcoin, how is that treated?
6) Everyone's situation is different, but if someone has a big gain, how should they think about it from a tax perspective?
7) We always worry about the gains, but can you take losses? The IRS determined that Crypto incorporates "property" tax concepts, but are there wash sales (which would be more of a "security" tax concept)?
8) Crypto-Currencies are supposed to be "off the grid"? Is this really the case? What about penalties for non-reporting! It looks like there is a disclosure box in this year's forms?
9) What are the state implications for crypto-taxation? How does one determine and deal with nexus for state tax purposes?
10) Vision for the future? Will the government eventually accept payment in crypto? Or adopt their won? Any other trends?
11) What's the best way to stay up to date on what you are doing and the direction of crypto-taxation?
Here are a couple of notices on cryptocurrency and taxation from the IRS and a good article from the American Bar Association (written by PARKER TAYLOR and his team from Hughes Hubbard and Reed) on the trustee and fiduciary issues related to cryptocurrencies and estate planning:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON VIRTUAL CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS
REPORT NO. 1433: IRS REPORT ON CRYPTO_CURRENCY
ESTATE PLANNING ISSUES WITH CRYPTO-CURRENCY
For more on this and other wealth topics, check out my book "Wealth, Actually" here:
SPORTS SPECIALIZATION: The “Pundficator” and “Wealth, Actually” take on the Pressure of Sports Success
Another reminder that the "Wealth, Actually" podcasts come out on Thursday morning before the EST commute. You can subscribe on most major podcast platforms . . . and now on with the show!
Remember Todd Marinovich? He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the archetype for early specialization and "guaranteed success" in sports . . . his story started out nicely, but ended in a horrible flame out. Here is a recent update on his progress from Rick Telander . . .
In this Episode, Haven and I engage our society's thirst for sports success, the pressure it puts on early sports specialization and the damage it can cause.
The role of sports in social mobilityHow colleges and the admissions process have played a role in sports machineThe benefits of team activities in overall developmentThe lottery-like odds of successThe nature of injuries and the risk of specializationThe benefits of specialization and the risk of being left behind
Let us know what you think!
THE FUTURE: “Pundificator” and “Wealth Actually” Discuss Themes Identified by a NYC Venture Capitalist
HOUSEKEEPING: Podcasts are scheduled to post every Thursday morning just before the EST commute . . . and now for this week's podcast.
Occasionally, you get to look at someone's vision for the future and it fires one's intellectual synapses. In this case, we came across a post at the beginning of the year that fit the bill. It comes from New York venture capitalist, FRED WILSON.
In this podcast, we take each of his prognostications in turn . . . his list of ten themes and the full (and interesting) post is linked below. Enjoy and let us which themes we should all be thinking about.
Fred Wilson: What Will Happen In The 2020s
1/ The looming climate crisis will be to this century what the two world wars were to the previous one.
2/ Automation will continue to take costs out of operating many of the services and systems that we rely on to live and be productive.
3/ China will emerge as the world’s dominant global superpower leveraging its technical prowess and ability to adapt quickly to changing priorities. Conversely the US becomes increasingly internally focused and isolationist in its world view.
4/ Countries will create and promote digital/crypto versions of their fiat currencies, led by China who moves first and benefits the most from this move.
5/ A decentralized internet will emerge, led initially by decentralized infrastructure services like storage, bandwidth, compute, etc.
6/ Plant based diets will dominate the world by the end of the decade. Eating meat will become a delicacy, much like eating caviar is today. Much of the world’s food production will move from farms to laboratories.
7/ The exploration and commercialization of space will be dominated by private companies as governments increasingly step back from these investments.
8/ Mass surveillance by governments and corporations will become normal and expected this decade and people will increasingly turn to new products and services to protect themselves from surveillance.
9/ We will finally move on from the Baby Boomers dominating the conversation in the US and around the world and Millennials and Gen-Z will be running many institutions by the end of the decade.
10/ Continued advancements in genetics will produce massive wins this decade as cancer and other terminal illnesses become well understood and treatable. "
SUBSCRIBE AND TELL A FRIEND ABOUT THE PODCAST . . .
MEGXIT: “The Pundificator” and “Wealth, Actually” take on the Royal Woes
It didn't take long for Haven and I to reach back across the pond for a topic to chew on . . . and this week we wrangle over the mess of the potential "departure" of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan (and son, Archie) from the official royal duties of the British Monarchy.
NY TIMES: The Crisis . . . . after the Crisis
Page Six opines! https://pagesix.com/2020/01/13/meghan-markle-reportedly-pushed-for-megxit-prince-harry-heartbroken
Canada Shrugs: https://www.wsj.com/articles/megxit-causes-global-uproar-canada-shrugs-11579136511
We take some time to go over
The implications of this kind of move to the families, the institution of the monarchy and Britain in general.The risks of a "Sussex Royal" brandThe poor Queen Mum having to deal with this . . . Some of the potential motivations behind it,And the likely chaos that could be coming in it's wake . . .
We also put on our family governance hats and mused as to what we would do if we were dropped into the family situation and could advise the Royals on a course of action. Hopefully it would produce some short term successes, lay the groundwork for future harmony and, finally, restore some stability and long-term planning and structure for the Crown and its relationship to the country.
Enjoy! And if you like the podcast, like, subscribe, comment and refer it to friends.
BEST/WORST of 2019 and Nostradamus-like PREDICTIONS for 2020: Haven (“Pundificator”) and Frazer (“Wealth, Actually”) take on 2019/2020.
Haven (https://pundificator.com/) and I (frazerrice.com) took on 2019/2020- here is a quick summary
Spring Forward, Look Back . . .
Amazon- the category 5 hurricane in American Consumerism- AMZN continues to charge forward.
Kylie Jenner- She sold 51% of her company for $600mm to Coty- this could be the apex of influencer branding.
The Federal Reserve- With the patina presidential intervention (and long term low rates), the independence of the institution is up for debate.
Online Privacy – Facebook, Google, Alexa Financial Institutions have called into question the public’s trust and opened the door to gov’t regulation.
(Extra Credit- I'm convinced that there will be a "Deepfake" incident that takes down a major public figure. When it turns out to be debunked (a la the movie "Rising Sun"), there will be a fundamental shift in the way people view the social media and the "trustworthiness" of video.
Nuclear Power will have a renewed place in the climate change debate
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will shine a glaring light on the China/Hong Kong tensions
Marvel/Star Wars will take a big breather after a big and "climactic" 2019.
. . . And the Knicks will continue to break my heart. . .
And Washington Sports in general
The Stock Market +29%
Populism both Right and Left
Political Industrial Complex and their new challenges
Political Industry Makes a ton of money in 2020
Longer from Journalism may start to come back . . .
Rumsfeld- Knowing about the unknown unknowns will be even more important
AND, FINALLY, MY POOR KNICKS . . .
My Poor Knicks
IMPEACHMENT: The “Pundificator” and “Wealth, Actually” take on Impeachment.
Welcome back to the "Wealth, Actually" podcast and Happy New Year!
As we start 2020, Haven ("The Pundificator") and I are taking on "Impeachment".
With Nancy Pelosi's withholding of the Articles of Impeachment from the Senate and the resultant delay in the Senate trial, Americans have had a couple of weeks to focus on the holiday season and away from this segment of political theater. Can Donald Trump withstand the latest attacks on his presidency? Will Nancy Pelosi and/or Mitch McConnell's constituencies pay a price for this political gamesmanship?
Here's the chance to review what is happening before the media cycle revs back up. First, here are some quick links on . . .
THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS:
THE ELECTION CLIMATE:
WE'LL TRY TO MAKE SENSE OF:
Where we stand right now in the processWere there other options?The probability of President Trump being removedWhat does removal mean? The strategy and tactics for the Democrats, Republicans and the President around this processPotential ramifications in the 2020 electionPotential ramifications for the use of impeachment in the future
We hope you enjoy it! And a reminder to subscribe- the podcast is on major platforms.
PS- I got the chance to be a part of Meb Faber's "Best Investment Writing, Volume 3. I created an audio version of Chapter 3 of "Wealth, Actually". The link is below. I hope you like it.
BREXIT: The “Pundificator” and “Wealth, Actually” take on Brexit
Haven and Frazer discuss Brexit and its Implications
First, some quick housekeeping: "Wealth, Actually" is setting the schedule to post content every Thursday. Interviews with entrepreneurs, experts, and tastemakers AND Haven Pell and I will take on noteworthy and timely topics. SUBSCRIBE today on most major podcast venues. Tell friends, leave comments and get in touch!
Second, HAVEN PELL and I are discussing Brexit. We take on . . . .
England's Political Process (and how we got here)Some of the Personalities Behind the Election (Boris et al . . . )Labour vs. Tories (and others)5 Years of Labour?Ramifications for the UK and the EUPotential Implications for the US (and the big decisions coming up in our electoral process)
Here are a couple of articles that are useful in understanding what just took place:
BRITISH ENDGAME: BRITISH VOTERS BACK BORIS AND BREXIT
Find Frazer's book here:
COLLEGE: Haven Pell (“The Pundificator”) and Frazer Rice (“Wealth, Actually”) take on “College”
In a new regular feature on the "Wealth, Actually" Podcast, Haven Pell and I will take on a topic. (For our first one, we discuss the concept of "College" in modern American Society)
With some fun questioning and debate, we'll try to make some sense of a subject that has some controversy, broad policy implications and a little bit of hypocrisy to unwind. Hopefully, it's weighty and important. We hope to tackle things that are both evergreen and timely.
MEET HAVEN HERE: https://pundificator.com/haven-pell/
In this first segment, we take on "College".
A broad, wide-ranging topic? You bet.
The pressure (on applicants and graduates)
The Insider vs the Outsider Viewpoint
STEM vs Liberal Arts
The Impact on Culture
A Year of Service
A Venue for People over 60?
Sports and University Life
Broader Ramifications on the Future of the U.S.
Look forward to WEALTH ACTUALLY and the PUNDIFICATOR as regular feature . . . as we take on current events and and some of the big concepts and issues facing society today. SUBSCRIBE, TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND LEAVE COMMENTS.
Leslie and Mark Begert, Co-Founders of Fabulingua
In this edition of "Wealth, Actually", I was able to speak with Leslie and Mark Begert of the newly launched, Fabulingua. The company helps to accelerate the learning of second languages through a unique blend of technology, storytelling and gamification. The program is initially focussing on English and Spanish, but the Begerts have big plans for the company in the future. Today we get to hear more about their journey, the nuts and bolts of the company, and, finally, what it's like being married entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
Here is the best way to learn about the company:
Device download link via App Store or Google Play Store: https://fabulingua.app.link/XMJRpLZ9h2
Leslie Omana Begert and Mark Begert of Fabulingua
Co-founders of Fabulingua, a company borne out of her deep linguistics and psychology training.
Fabulingua is devoted to providing a revolutionary way for kids to learn a second language.
It uses many of the features of traditional natural story reading and modern gamified learning techniques so popular today.
Raised in Barcelona, Leslie is a true polymath with academic backgrounds linguistics, psychology and anthropology from Oxford and Cambridge.
She further cultivated her professional experience at Goldman and L’Oreal.
She has turned her attention to developing a better way for kids to learn a second language by founding Fabulingua with her husband, Mark.
Mark began his career in finance and worked internationally (especially in China with wireless company, Linkstone) before locating in Austin.
He began focusing on the clean energy economy at Long Branch Capital and then Meridian Solar before starting Fabulingua
The Importance of being bi-lingual today . . .
How does FabuLingua work?
What if there are no other native speakers in the household?
There are many products out there (Rosetta Stone, Pimsluer, Duoligo)- what makes FabuLingua different and better?
How does the gamification work? How does the storytelling accelerate the learning process? Answers to FAQ's about the site can be found here: https://www.fabulingua.com/faq-fabulingua
What is the plan for the business? Where can we start seeing it?
Describe running your own business and entrepreneurship. How do you balance the raising a family with entrepreneurship? What is it like working with your husband?
What is the best way for us to keep track of your progress or try FabuLingua out?
Interesting Facts about the Begerts.
You will notice a new format for the podcast. I hope you enjoy it.
Extra special thanks to Matt Passy who has been extremely helpful in helping me reboot.
Please subscribe, tell your friends and leave comments,
Jasmine Nahhas di Florio, Effective Philanthropy in the Middle East (Education For Employment – EFE.ORG)
First, this is the first podcast with some formatting changes (including making it easier to subscribe via iTunes and Google Play) and the addition of music . . . let me know what you think of it . . . now back to the podcast.
One of the main themes in 2019 is the focus on effective philanthropy amongst the wealthy. Following the example of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among others, measurable outcomes, specific examples of positive change and solutions delivered at scale are more and more important to the people making philanthropic investments. Interested in seeing an example of a difficult philanthropic problem identified and addressed, I spoke with Jasmine Nahhas di Florio, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Partnerships, of EFE-Global. It's difficult to not be impressed by Jasmine's background and the accomplishments of EFE. Founded by Ron Bruder after a successful career in real estate development, Jasmine and EFE have devoted their efforts to providing opportunity and structure to men and women in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Listen with me as we learn about the problems in the area, the challenges overcome and some of the successes that they have been able to achieve in an area that many hear about, but few understand.
Below are some of the stories and links to EFE on Twitter and Facebook.
Jasmine Nahhas di Florio has over 20 years of experience spanning the nonprofit, philanthropy, government and private sectors. Having joined EFE in 2005, she has worked closely with the organization’s Founder and Chairman, Ronald Bruder, since its startup and is currently Senior Vice President for Strategy & Partnerships. Today, EFE is the leading youth employment and nonprofit job placement network in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, Jasmine ran programs for private donors in Afghanistan for Afghan Women Leaders Connect at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Arzu, a carpet social enterprise. Earlier in her career, Jasmine was a corporate attorney at the international law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, and she also served as an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Jasmine consulted the United Nations (UNFIP) on private-public sector partnerships. A Rhodes Scholar, Frank Knox Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, she is a graduate of the University of Alberta, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. She also completed the Columbia Business School's Social Enterprise Program Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals and currently serves on the board of the Middle East Children’s Institute. Jasmine’s expert commentary on economic opportunity, women’s empowerment and youth issues has been featured in The Financial Times, Forbes, Stanford Social Innovations Journal, and Finance Middle East, among others.
2) How did the EFE come about and how did you become associated with it?
3) We watch the news and intuit the the economic situation in parts of the Middle East / North Africa are desperate. How does this relate to the problem that EFE tries to solve?
(EFE's WHITE PAPER ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE REGION)
4) This seems to be a widely supported goal- what are the challenges in addressing the regions?
5) What are the different options for programs?
6) How do you select your initiatives?
7) Describe some of the successes?
8) What are some of the future initiatives that are being considered?
9) How do we stay in touch with you and find out ways to be involved with EFE?
Tyrone Ross, Cryptocurrency Guru and Wealth Management Industry Voice
Frazer Rice and Tyrone Ross in the studio for "Wealth, Actually"
Welcome back to the "Wealth, Actually" podcast.
(Reminder: There is no investment advice here!)
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have come back into the news as they have jumped around in price in the last two years. To help us understand the crypto phenomenon, I spoke with Tyrone Ross of Noblebridge Wealth. An extra special thank you to Tyrone for his unique insight, not only into cryptocurrencies, but in describing his personal journey in the wealth management space. There are powerful lessons to be learned here.
Tyrone is a start up investor and financial consultant. He has developed a deep expertise in the cryptocurrency space
He has been a go-to expert for many financial advisors as the space evolves. In addition to his cryptocurrency niche, Tyrone has carved out a burgeoning media and twitter presence with his outspoken and impactful views on the need for inclusion in the closed off world of financial advice. Tyrone is also officially the fastest person I have ever interviewed as he was an Olympic Qualifier in the 400m back in 2004!
(For those looking for excellent primer on the blockchain and how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies work, check out
BLOCKCHAIN BASICS: A NON-TECHNICAL INTRODUCTION IN 25 STEPS by Daniel Drescher. You will know more about how Crytpocurrencies and other technologies work [and their limits) than 99.9% of the public. I also explored the subject in two terrific WA podcasts with Blockchain investor, BART STEPHENS and the CEO and Co-Founder of the Kowala, EILAND GLOVER.)
Tell us a bit about your professional background . . .
Educational / Family experience
Olympic experience- what did you take from it? How did you use it?
How does that inform your advice to clients?
How did you get interested in cryptocurrencies?
Let's get right to cryptocurrency.
What is the appeal of cryptocurrencies?
How is the world adopting cryptocurrencies into use cases?
How do you distinguish between the use of crypto and investing in crypto?
Describe what the market has done in the last couple of years . . .
How do we distinguish between Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and the other currencies?
Who is equipped to parse through the differences?
Do you need to understand code? How many people really get the underlying structure of the cryptocurrencies?
Is blockchain- the technological underpinning behind cryptocurrencies and other uses- a better bet?
How would you get exposure to that space?
What are you telling clients?
Media and Marketing
When did you "know" you were an entrepreneur?
What was your marketing plan and how have you developed your practice?
We met through twitter and I am amazed at the power of that medium- what is your take?
Relationships within the #fintwit and media community (Josh Brown, Justin Castelli and Doug Boneparth, among others)- what are your impressions?
You tweeted an amazing video on the role of privilege and background in the investment community and lots of great media appearances- Where should these discussions be taking us? What's next?
How do we stay in touch with you?
DON'T FORGET TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF WEALTH ACTUALLY- THE LINK IS BELOW.
John Farr, Movie Guru and President of the Bedford Playhouse
We're back with another "Wealth, Actually" podcast. This time I got to speak with John Farr, a man who blended his love of movies with the world of movie house restoration. John Farr has helped restore one historic cinema (The Avon in Stamford) and did it again for the BEDFORD PLAYHOUSE in Bedford, NY. Boasting a half-century love of great film and a career in advertising, John guides smart audiences to smart films through his website – BEST MOVIES BY FARR.
Quick bio- what was your background?
Ties to Bedford, career in advertising to interest in movies and that industry . . .
Best Movies by Farr . . . tell us how this came to be and what it is.
How did you go from being in advertising to becoming urban planner / real estate developer / media mogul?
Concept of movie theater as cultural center for a town
Brief history of the theater and the closing in 2015.
History of Bedford Playhouse – opened in 1947,
It survived my frequent attendance! from 1980 on . . .
What happened in 2015?
Experience with the Avon Theater in Stamford, Jacob Burns in Pleasantville, how did that translate to Bedford?
How did you get the various stakeholders around a reinvigorated concept? How did you meet Ken Horn and how did he get involved?
Groundswell and Description of process post-2015.
What can we look forward to in 2019 and beyond.
What are some of the interesting features that we should be on the lookout for?
Favorite movies generally: Hitchcock, Notorious, Vertigo, Cary Grant
How do we stay in touch with the Playhouse, Best Movies by Farr and your other exploits?
Some additional notes on the history of the Bedford Playhouse:
The Bedford Playhouse is a former movie theater located in Bedford, New York which first opened its doors back in April 1947 to much fanfare. It operated continuously in the village for close to seventy years. It had a state of the art sound system and projection, “modern” air conditioning and an exterior designed to blend in with the historic village of Bedford. The owner and designer, Joseph H. Stearns, was a resident of Pound Ridge.
In 1983, the theater was divided into two smaller theaters, and much of its majesty and historic nature was lost. In early 2015, the theater closed.
A grass roots organization was formed under the leadership of Bedford resident John Farr, with the goal of transforming it into a not-for-profit arts house cinema, cultural center, and community hub. Over $8 million has been raised since then and construction of the new facility began in Spring, 2017.
Advising through Divorce with Storey Jones, Founder and CEO of dtour.life
I recently spoke with kick-butt entrepreneur, Storey Jones. She is an expert on divorce and family planning and has founded a company around her expertise. I'll let her bio from her startup DTOUR.LIFE tell the story:
"Been there. Done that. Survived and thrived. In 1998 Storey Jones married a technology entrepreneur. By 2001 his company had executed a successful IPO and then an accounting scandal brought everything crashing down leaving her in a highly complex seven-year legal quagmire that included every unimaginable financial and emotional challenge including a protracted high-conflict divorce and custody battle. Though she lost everything including her home, possessions, savings & retirement, she gained a purpose. She recognized the glaring chasm between the human experience of divorce and the legal system; she developed a new business model as a divorce consultant to assist men and women in becoming far more informed, prepared and supported as they navigate their own unique processes. She also worked closely with divorce legal teams to help their clients be better prepared participants in their own divorce.
After 12 years as a divorce consultant in the San Francisco Bay area, Storey has now leveraged that experience to build the first holistic end-to-end platform for divorce to bring innovation and technology to an outdated system. She is determined to change the experience by providing education and smart efficiency with expansive day-to-day tools that are designed so both clients and professionals can seamlessly work on and understand the same financial and other case-related data. dtour.life is designed from the ground up to fundamentally redefine this life transition for both spouses and professionals.
Prior to founding Lemon Tree Advisors and dtour.life, Storey was president of Addis, a bay area brand strategy and design firm where for 13 years she was integral to its growth and vision. Storey now lives in New York City with her teenage son; she has a B.A. from Colgate University."
We covered an enormous amount of ground and I'm excited for you to hear her story:
Tell us a little bit about your background and help us understand how you came to start dtour.life
"I have a business background and when I found myself quite suddenly and surprisingly in the middle of a highly complex, expensive and protracted divorce at a young age. I realize now how naïve I was, and through my process, I was horrified at the system, the inefficient process and the lack of accountability of the professionals. It was one of those classic “If only I knew then what I know now,” and I couldn’t bear to think of anyone else going through it with the blind faith in the system that I had, so I developed a divorce consultancy to work with families. I had a consultancy for about 10+ years in the SF Bay area. Then, during those years, with a front row seat to the day-to-day workflow process, I had my second epiphany when I realized what was actually the root cause of so much of the massive cost and protracted timelines…that is what led me to develop and found dtour.life…)"
How does the process of divorce typically play out?
There are four fundamental layers to divorce:
Who are the advisers that surround this process? Traditionally, everyone believes they just need a lawyer, is that still true? Are there other advisors to be considered?
I prefer a team model, and at first that might sound expensive, but in fact, it is the most efficient and cost-effective model. Every case has a unique set of factors be It the psychological dynamic between the spouses, the complexity of a financial issue, the ownership of a business, difficult child emotional or schedule issues, etc. As we discussed earlier, divorce is this huge lifestyle arc that affects every single aspect of your life. It so far exceeds simply the legal issues that I enc...
Personal Finance Author, Jonathan Clements
This is a special "Wealth Actually" podcast. I spoke with an author and educator that has had a major impact on financial literacy and wealth management. He is also a terrific guy to boot! Over the course of our discussion, While I felt like I was nodding my head in agreement a lot (that's the whoosh near the microphone), My guest's nuanced views on wealth and his consistent and deep writing taught me a lot about the importance of great advice, clear thinking and long-term planning.
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HUMBLEDOLLAR.COM. He’s also the author of eight personal finance books, including his latest, “From Here to Financial Happiness.” Born in England and educated at Cambridge University, Jonathan spent almost two decades at The Wall Street Journal in New York, where he was the newspaper’s personal finance columnist. He also worked for six years at Citigroup as Director of Financial Education for the U.S. wealth management business. You can find him on on Twitter (@ClementsMoney) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ClementsMoney)
FROM HERE TO FINANCIAL HAPPINESS
Tell us a little bit about your background
How did your career evolve?
How did writing become a part of it?
"From Here to Financial Happiness . . . in 77 Days"
Where did the need for this book come from?
"Just because it's not complicated doesn't mean it's easy!"
The Power of Compounding- why it's vital.
I'm impressed with the structure of the book and breaking down self-improvement steps in a series of days. How did you decide on that?
Enjoyed the saving for retirement section. It has to happen first even though it's a liability that is farthest away.
What works and what doesn't when trying to teach financial discipline to people whose
After tax, After fee, After Inflation (spending); why is it so hard for wealth managers to frame things in these terms?
Estate planning - necessary for everyone
Friendly debate . . . whole life insurance as a way to save for LTC (instead of LTC insurance); The emergence of HSA's . . .
Where should you expect an advisor to add value? Robo-advice, tax advice, sounding board, investment performance
State of the wealth management industry . . . fee compression, business models, the role of the advisor, consolidation, service standards
Humble Dollar- terrific blog on investing and general financial literacy- what can we do as a country to help make people make better decisions?
How can we get a hold of "From Here to Financial Happiness."
How do we find out more about your other writings?
How do we keep track of your whereabouts?
To find my book, "Wealth, Actually", click below!
The Impact Coalition’s Matt Posner: “Municipal Bonds: The Original Impact Investment?”
"MUNICIPAL BONDS: THE ORIGINAL IMPACT INVESTMENT?"
For this first WA episode, I spoke with Matt Posner the Director of the Impact Coalition. We attack a bunch of topics centered around the emergence of the municipal bond markets' increased relevance in the impact investing world. Matt is helping to coordinate through the efforts of the Impact Coalition.
THE IMPACT COALITION (www.theimpactcoalition.com) is working with the largest underwriters, investors, and state and local governments to build a new language to analyze public infrastructure projects. The Coalition allows market practitioners to have a universally recognized Social Rate of Return on projects that improve the daily lives of our communities, and as a result, lower the costs for those that are raising funds for the public good.
Matt has spent the last 15 years analyzing the intersection of public policy, financial markets and state and local governments. Prior to the Impact Coalition, Matt was Head of Market Strategy for a venture-backed start-up aiming to modernize public finance through technological advances, called Neighborly. During his tenure there, the firm successfully raised a Series A round and started an asset-management firm with a focus on socially responsible investing. It was during this time that Matt dove into the impact space and realized its true potential to help make positive community changes around the world.
Prior to Neighborly, Matt started a consulting and research firm, Court Street Group, which provides weekly analysis of public finance along with several municipal bond market veterans. He is an Advisor to that company and writes for them. He began his career writing about Nuclear Energy and was a Managing Director at a boutique public finance research firm, Municipal Market Advisors.
Matt has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance on infrastructure finance problems facing the country and spent years educating staff in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others, on public policy and market implications. Matt has been quoted on his views and published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Bloomberg News, The Bond Buyer, the Municipal Finance Journal, and the Government Finance Officers Association’s Government Finance Review, among others.
Matt doesn't lack for international experience! He spent most of his childhood abroad in Senegal, The Gambia, Bolivia and Peru. He is a graduate of Georgetown University with degrees in Government and History.
The format of our discussion is below.
Tell us a little bit about your background
How did your career evolve?
The Impact Coalition:
What problem was it formed to solve? Why do we need a new language for public infrastructure?
What does it do?
Who is a part of it?
Various issues in the Municipal Space
Vast number of public issues
Some universal language, some language particular to state law
Problems with indexing
Intensive manual reading and credit analysis
Predicting interest rates
Different levels of information
Emerging technology AI, ML
Active v. Passive Management
How would the IC's work help the RIA community?
What is there problem in dealing with clients fixed income needs?
Fixed income ignored?
Difficult to tell the fixed income story?
Difficult to tell the ESG story? Municipals: The Original Impact Investment?
Munis simply a tax free income play or something more?
International Investing community
Confused by lack of universal vernacular around public infrastructure
Interest in infrastructure- unsure about "impact"
Little experience in munis- Americans have long retail history- don't understand the disconnect
Grappling with increasing interest rates?
Better to go with high dividend equity infrastructure on after t...
Frazer Rice discussing “Wealth, Actually” on Bookstr’s Facebook Live Channel
Thanks to David Grasso, Scott Richmond and the team at Bookstr for having me on their Facebook Live channel. It's always a pleasure to discuss "Wealth, Actually."
A link to the book is here and don't forget to leave comments on the Amazon site.
Frazer Rice, Author of “Wealth, Actually”, on the Josh Jalinski Financial Quarterback show.
Here is something that is a little bit new! I was interviewed on my new book "Wealth, Actually by Josh Jalinksi on his Financial Quarterback show on 710 WOR ad on #iheartradio. We discussed estate planning, family dynamics, investing and a host of tools that could helpful in making good decisions about wealth. Thanks again, Josh!
To buy "WEALTH, ACTUALLY" on AMAZON, click BELOW . . . Feel free to leave Amazon Reviews (hopefully good ones!). They help the algorithm.
Ben Phillips, Chief Investment Officer of Eventshares
With the 2018 midterm elections around the corner, I spoke with Ben Phillips about the impact of policy on the investment world.
Ben Phillips serves as the CIO of EventShares, overseeing research and portfolio management for the U.S. Policy Alpha ETF (PLCY). Mr. Phillips previously worked for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where he had portfolio management responsibilities across several multi-sector total return funds. Prior to GSAM, he held senior investing roles at Providence Equity Partners and Lord Abbett. Mr. Phillips is a CFA charterholder and received an MBA and BSBA in Finance from the University of Missouri. Mr. Phillips works in the firm's New York office.
How do you think about investing at Eventshares? (What is the effect of Policy on the markets)
Government affects everything. How do you break this down and organize your thinking?
Once your themes are established how do you implement your findings into good investment ideas?
Onto the 2018-2019 political environment:
First, what do we make of the general political environment and the effect of Trump?
Second, what is the current thinking on the midterms?
Onto the specific policy themes that affect investments:
Policy themes outlined by Ben:
Trade: "Trade continues to be the biggest potential headwind to the market. We expect headline volatility to linger, as markets attempt to decipher if Trump is bluffing on tariffs. While negotiations play out, we prefer to hold U.S. focused companies with minimal foreign currency exposure."
Immigration: "Border arrests trended down in 2017 after Trump assumed office pledging an immigration crackdown. However, 2018 border arrests are increasing as the administration doubles down on its agenda and strengthens border enforcement. We expect this to impact U.S.-Mexico relations and be a defining issue in the midterm elections."
Trucking: "Electronic logging devices (ELDs) continue to be implemented, which we believe will slow trucker productivity. In our view, ELDs are compounding a driver shortage, which will force trucking companies to increase compensation and turn down freight. We prefer to own asset-light companies with exposure to the spot freight market, as well as companies involved in the intermodal and rail markets."
Defense: "The FY 2019 appropriations process is underway in Washington D.C. We continue to expect companies involved in the defense industry to grow their revenues over the upcoming years due to the long lead time of defense contracts and the added tailwind from foreign demand. In our view, aircraft manufacturers and shipbuilders are best positioned to benefit from increased spending."
Refining Spreads: "The U.S. energy boom continues to redefine the energy market. Drilling companies in the Permian Basin are extracting record amounts of oil, but pipeline capacity issues mean not all of it is moving out of the area. Trucking shortages (see above) are exacerbating the issue, causing some drillers to sell at the local Midland spot price to refining companies. The refining companies may then be able to capture the spread by selling the oil at WTI or Brent benchmark prices."
Financial Deregulation: "The Trump administration continues to focus efforts on dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. In our view, this will continue to benefit specialty finance companies, non-traditional lenders, and select regional banks."
"The Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be a long-tail policy. After years of fighting the ACA, Republicans appear slightly more willing to expand Medicaid and Medicare, but only under their terms. While risk reduction payments were recently in the headlines after a New Mexico court ruling, we don’t believe they will be stopped under the ACA. In our view, these two items will help stabilize the insurance exchanges and insur...
Bill Yoh, Family Business Expert and Author of “Our Way”
In Podcast #25, I was able to speak with Bill Yoh, the author of "OUR WAY".
In the book, Bill tells the story of Spike Yoh, the driving force behind Day & Zimmermann with un-sugarcoated candor. An embattled son becomes a patriarch. An untested employee becomes a CEO. A husband becomes a caregiver. A student becomes a teacher, and ultimately a student. Spike Yoh’s life story paints a vivid picture of the profound and very human forces that shape leadership. From a troubled childhood that would have propelled most into a cycle of broken relationships and self-doubt, he rewrote the rules of his own life, and in the process built his father’s company into a billion-dollar enterprise.
Author, Bill Yoh serves as a speaker, biographer and strategist, helping other family business owners navigate the opportunities and challenges that inevitably arise when personal and professional lives intersect. As a third-generation owner of Day & Zimmermann, his family's 43,000-employee, century-old family business, Bill has a rare and personal view of the complex and human dynamics behind today’s multi-generational family businesses.
Tell us a little bit about your background
How did your career evolve?
How did writing become a part of it?
How did the story and the principles of Spike Yoh become a focus?
Day and Zimmerman
Tell us a little about where Day & Zimmermann came from and what they do
Recount some of the fulcrum moments of Spike’s leadership
Importance of the motto
Difficulties that were surmounted
Involvement with the community (and family) and its importance to corporate mission
How did Spike first begin to involve the family in the decision-making around the family and the wealth?
What worked and what didn’t?
What moments in his life may have informed some of the choices made?
Process of succession of the business
Operational Succession v. Ownership succession
How was the future management of the business chosen?
Tradition v. Qualification? Inside v. outside?
Tenure v. new blood?
Direction- growth v. income? Focus v. Diversification?
Public v. Private?
How were family members chosen within that context?
Aptitude, Ability, Interest, Capacity, Temperament
Stories around successes and issues here
How was ownership succession chosen? Every one equal or each according to need, none of the above? Was there structure around the wealth to try to prevent bad habits/encourage good ones?
How did you surround yourself with advice around that? You obviously had formal advice (legal, banking, accounting etc . . .). But did you have a shadow cabinet or a set of like-minded executives with similar experiences that you could lean on for their advice? How was the board involved?
Was philanthropy part of the equation?
How were decisions made within the family? How was the process of socialization/buy-in?
How were the other stakeholders incorporated in the decision-making? (employees, customers, vendors, community)?
What are the issues you see with families with succession issues
What are best practices that you have seen with your family and others that can apply?
What are the various tools and communication practices that can be useful in helping families on that journey?
How does FAMILYTICS work?
How can we get a hold of “Our Way”?
How do we find out more about Familytics
How do we keep track of your whereabouts?
BILL YOH, AUTHOR
Podcast #24: Leslie Danks Burke, Founder and President of Trailblazers PAC
Today we were able to speak with Leslie Danks Burke.
She is a public advocate and the Founder and President of TRAILBLAZERS PAC : a political action committee dedicated to finding and supporting candidates for local political office beyond typical party ideology and structure.
Based in Horseheads, NY, Leslie's goal is to improve the quality of candidates and the political discourse in this country, one municipality at a time.
Their mission statement states: "Trailblazers PAC reconnects citizens with democracy by moving politics out of the back room and onto the front porch. We educate candidates on building an honest donor relationship with their own voters. We invest in candidates for local office who take action for clean government."
She is here to help us
make sense of the current political environment,
its impact on the current political apparatus, and
the direction of grass root campaigns going forward
Where are you located?
Interest in politics
Frustrations with the System
Consensus between parties being thwarted
Quality candidates scared off by a poor process
Lack of new ideas / good ideas thwarted
Impact of money
The Impact of Trump on the Political Industrial Complex
Big gov’t v. small gov't
Changes in the media and distortions in “story distribution"
Gerrymandering / obstructionist voting laws and other distortions
Schisms in voters along income, education and cultural fault lines
The pull of better economics (and weather!) in other states
How do you establish consensus-common ground
The Opportunities for Positive Change
What does Trailblazers seek to do?
What type of races are interesting
Is there an ideology?
Improving candidate quality/interparty dialogue?
Predictions for the future
How do we keep track of your progress?
Eiland Glover, CEO and Co-Founder of Cryptocurrency Innovator, Kowala
On Podcast #23, we have Eiland Glover, founder of Kowala.
He helps us sort through the cryptocurrency noise, sets out the problems to be solved, and challenges us to think about cryptocurrencies in the future.
Eiland Glover is the CEO and Cofounder of KOWALA, creator of the world’s first autonomously stabilizing cryptocurrency: kUSD. Eiland has spent his career creating systems and companies at the intersection of finance, technology, education, game theory, and human psychology. He is a firm believer that new technologies must be consciously designed and utilized to empower humans. In 2012, Eiland learned about Bitcoin and wondered why this amazing technology had not become ubiquitous. He co-created Kowala based on his belief that a decentralized stable coin is necessary for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
As a lead up to our discussion, we referred to broader issues that affect cryptocurrencies:
Outgrowth of the use of blockchain to add integrity in peer to peer transfers of digital information (and, more specifically, value)
That has led to the development of cryptocurrencies which have exploded in popularity in recent years most acutely in the last year.
Bitcoin, Ether, Dash, Ripple and many others have stormed the headlines as the curious have sought ways build on the promise of crypto currencies (and maybe get rich quick as well!)
However as we have seen in recent weeks, volatility, hacking and generally uncertainty have become a bigger part of the crypto currency picture
KOWALA'S kUSD VIDEO PREVIEW
Eiland’s background and how he got interested in the space.
A quick history of cryptocurrencies and their function and how we got to this point.
Bitcoin, et al- how did we go from intellectual exercise to solve integrity issues in peer to peer information transfer to intangible value transfer?
Obstacles of mass adoption of cryptocurrency
What does the business person who would like to embrace cryptocurrecy as a method of payment need to be worried about?
What does the casual cryptocurrency investor need to be worried about?
What does the consumer who would like to pay in cryptocurrency need to worry about? (wait for?)
Stable coin - its vital role in next phase of development in blockchain and cryptocurrency sector
Speed of transfer- How do you get the distributed ledger participants to ratify block transactions faster so that commerce can flow more smoothly?
Security of coin storage and value transfer- how does one minimize hacking, theft, double counting, broken hard-drives, lost passwords etc . . .
Non-volatile store of wealth? What is the value in being pegged to a country-backed currency? Why not just be in the currency itself?
Will countries “cut out the middle man”? And employ crypto currency features in their own currencies? Would that work?
Tipping point for adoption: will it be when it is common place to buy real estate with it? Candy bars? Used as wages?
- Different stable coins models, other coins compare to Kowala
Which ones are out there? What makes them good or bad?
Digital coins melded to different state-backed currency?
What happens if the USD goes haywire? Can that be a source of volatility?
How do miners help kUSD? As important parts of the blockchain ratification process, how do you keep them happy?
-How do we stay in touch with you, KOWALA, and kUSD?
(THERE IS NO INVESTMENT ADVICE IN THIS PODCAST OR POST)
Wealth Novelist and WSJ Contributor, Norb Vonnegut
Podcast #22 features Norb Vonnegut, wealth management practitioner turned novelist and journalist at the Wall Street Journal. Besides talking finance and the future of wealth management, we talked a lot about his fiction writing. He is the author of three Wall Street thrillers:
The Gods of Greenwich
He also works on non-fiction. As a contributing columnist for WSJ.com, Norb probes wealth management issues ranging from
The gender pay gap among industry professionals to
The clash between Wall Street and Silicon Valley for market share of investment management.
Norb knows what he is talking about. He spent ten years in Private Wealth Management in New York City, where he developed an international practice with over $1 billion in assets under management.
Norb, we both come from a wealth management background, but you have morphed into a formidable writer covering wealth management and other topics.
Take us through your background and how you got into the industry
How did you scratch the writing bug? What were your first experiences in getting published?
- Your work centers around adventures of wealth managers that get in trouble around their rich clients
Take us through your process in structuring plot and developing your characters?
What is it like to come from an industry and dealing with an editor and customs of the publishing industry?
What was it like to get your first edits and comments from your editor?
Your attention to the details of the industry reminds me of John Grisham or Tom Clancy. How do you research the ins and outs of the wealth details that make your novels vivid and “ring true”?
What are your plans for the series? Could this be the cornerstone of a movie or TV series?
You write a robust wealth management column for the WSJ- what is the process and timing for articles?
How do you and the paper decide what is newsworthy and how does that square with what is intellectually interesting to you? Or what might be a niche issue but could have significant impact?
Any plans for collecting your experiences/research for the broader reader?
Trends in Wealth Management
You must talk to a lot of professionals, clients and commentators- what are the broad trends that the industry is struggling to solve
Evolving business models
Justification for fees / compression issues
Active v. Passive (Commoditization of investment management advice)
Demographic shifts (aging advisor population)
Destruction of “free agency” (Dismantling of Protocol, who owns the client, does this affect advice?)
How do we stay in touch with you and how do we find/buy your work?
Podcast #21: Blockchain and Bitcoin VC Investor, Bart Stephens
Podcast #21 features a fascinating conversation with Bart Stephens on the emergence of Bitcoin and blockchain.
Bart is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of BLOCKCHAIN CAPITAL, the first VC firm to raise a venture fund through an ICO, and the most active VC investor in the sector, with 72 portfolio companies across three funds. Bart is also a Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Stephens Investment Management, a family owned and operated hedge fund and venture capital firm. Bart has a background of 20 years as both an operating entrepreneur and a venture capitalist. Bart earned a B.A. in Political Science from Princeton University.
We touch on a host of issues as I try to better understand the blockchain, its application to Bitcoin and its impact on industry in general. Interesting stuff as we try to peer into the future.
- Bart, you have a diverse background
You started out at E-Trade and come from a deep background of operating and investing in technology based venture capital.
What lessons did you pick up from your early experiences?
- Now onto the blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.
- The term usually is the second word mentioned after hearing “Bitcoin” and “Etherium” and other digital currencies that have become popular in the last 5+ years.
- But it’s the blockchain system of recording and verifying transactions and data that seems to be the exciting game-changer across many industries.
- Bart, perhaps a brief rundown of understanding what the blockchain is and how it works
Help us understand the problem that “blockchain” helps to solve.
From a 30,000 foot view, "How does it work?”
What are the terms we need to be familiar with?
What is the benefit of block chain’s decentralization and affirmation of data by consensus?
How does that disintermediate current manual processes and improve security over the system
Public blockchain systems vs. private systems- can you make money on the public systems or is it the private systems where you have to play?
What will Blockchain impact?
What is the general bottleneck or way of doing things that the blockchain fixes or makes more efficient?
Benefits for recording of events,
Helping with medical records,
Helping with identity management,
Helping with transaction processing
Improvements for provenance or basis tracking
Back to the currencies- where do you see the potential for Bitcoin, etherium and other ICO’s?
Jamie Dimon’s comment
Banking in underserved markets
More frictionless and cheaper e-commerce transactions
Impact on Western Union and traditional banks?
Conflict with money laundering, banking secrecy laws?
Where are blockchain advancements really going to affect financial institutions?
Where are the opportunities?
Describe some of the themes and businesses that are interesting
What are the dangers?
What seems like a fad or a business theme that is going in the wrong direction?
Is there a risk that computational power can’t keep up with the explosion of data?
Without centralized records, is that a problem?
What if we get an EMP?
What is the best way to follow the development of blockchain?
How do we stay in touch with you?
Nickerson PR Technologist and Virtual Reality Expert, Matthew Cooney
I recently spoke to Matt Cooney at NICKERSON PR about the development of Virtual and Augmented Reality. We charted the differences and Matt made predictions about the future of this technology on a variety of industries and businesses including real estate. This is fascinating stuff and vital as we try to understand where the trends in economic growth and employment are going.
Forming and engaging communities has been the common thread in Matthew Cooney's career path. He has built and scaled social media communities for organizations including the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at M.I.T., iRobot, and Monster. Prior to joining NICKERSON, an award-winning full service marketing and communications agency, as Director of Social Media and Emerging Technologies, he served as a subject matter expert on virtual reality technology at Dell EMC.
Today, he works at the intersection of real estate and emerging technologies, witnessing firsthand how virtual and augmented reality technologies are disrupting social media and the way we live and interact in both the real and digital worlds.
Samantha Wolfe provides quick definition of Virtual and Augmented Reality HERE and a list of the typical tools and interface points HERE
- How did you get started in the technology space?
- VR versus AR: what they are/what's the difference?
- What are practical applications for both?
- How are they being used? Entertainment, Education, Enhancement
-How can these technological concepts be developed?
-Who are the major players?
-Where are the hotbeds of innovation?
-What are the hurdles to adoption?
-Are there multiple approaches to the same problem?
-What are the security concerns?
-How does this intersect with the major leaps made recently with Artificial Intelligence? “Big Data”?
-How does this intersect with the advances made in robotics and exoskeleton/cybernetic technology?
-What does the future hold, both near term and within the next five years, and beyond?
-What is exciting in space?
-What is worrisome?
-What industries are are in the crosshairs?
-What will the impact be on social media?
-Specifically, how we consume and share content, and congregate and interact online?
-How do we keep up to date on NICKERSON and what you are working on?
Founder of Phace Bioactive, Marisa Arredondo
It is impossible to come away from a conversation with Marisa Arredondo and not be impressed. She is the founder of skincare and lifestyle brand PHACE BIOACTIVE.
After graduating from Stanford University, Marisa worked as an analyst on Wall Street for 12 years to research and invest in cosmetic, drug and biotech companies. There, she learned about skin biology, ingredient technology, and pH balance as it relates to anti-aging. She also graduated from Harvard Business School, where she conceived the business plan for PHACE BIOACTIVE.
You can also check out the brand here: PHACE INSTAGRAM and PHACE FACEBOOK
We touch on a host of topics:
The joys and hardships of entrepreneurship,
When she knew she was ready to give it a go,
The evolution of the business past the startup stage,
The evolution of the brand and using her unique experience to drive the story of the company
Learning how to manage people and processes and when and how to delegate
Getting ones arms around the marketing strategy and the importance of social media and TV.
Describe your how you discovered and developed your product-
What need did you see that needed to be filled?
How did your personal experience allow you to see this?
At what point did you see the competition and decide- I have something that’s different and better?
How did you know it was time to take the plunge?
In brushing up on Phace Bioactive, you are involved in every aspect of the company. It’s rare that a person is a good at one or two things, but you seem to be on top of the science, finance, marketing, distribution and many other facets of the company. How did your background inform these different areas of expertise?
When do you decide that it’s time to bring in other experts and delegate?
Once you felt like you had the product right, how did you think about your marketing plan?
Once you have the formula right, how do you make sure it’s manufactured consistently?
You had a great run on QVC where you presented extremely well- how did you get involved with them?
What made them attractive?
How did you prepare for that experience?
How do you know when you have good advisors around you?
How do you select them?
Who has been helpful in mentoring you as you reach various stages of business development?
How has the advice changed since you have gone from planning to liftoff to growth?
As an entrepreneur, what was the thing or things that you ended up being the least prepared for?
Or what was your biggest surprise?
What were you most prepared for?
How has your experience changed as you begin to manage more people?
What are the plans for Phace Bioactive’s future- where do you see your next avenues for growth?
I notice on the site that you have a section that deals with lifestyle branding around the product. How does that relate to your future plans?
What is the best way to find PHACE BIOACTIVE?
Hedge Fund Manager and “Betting On Zero” Producer, John Fichthorn
Podcast #18 gives us a chance to speak with hedge fund manager and documentary producer, John Fichthorn, about his documentary, "Betting on Zero". John co-founded Dialectic Capital Management, LLC in 2003 and serves as its Portfolio Manager.
"Betting on Zero" offers an inside look at the controversy behind multi-level marketing companies and the gamesmanship that occurs on Wall Street . The documentary follows Bill Ackman, principal of Pershing Square, and the impact on Herbalife after Ackman makes a billion dollar bet against the company. The film documents the short position and the conflict it causes between Ackman, Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson and Wall Street titan, Carl Icahn. BOZ also follows the stories of former distributors and employees of Herbalife and provides examples of the controversial impacts Herbalife has had on the communities it serves. The film is available on iTunes, Google Play and Netflix.
We cover a lot in a short amount of time including what made the story interesting for John and how he and director, Ted Braun, were able to get the amazing access. Finally, we hear about the business (or lack thereof) of documentaries and some of John's future plans.
[*THERE IS NO INVESTMENT ADVICE IN THE PODCAST]
Bill Ackman is a huge figure in the shadowy world of hedge funds and his flirtation with Herbalife has become the stuff of legends.
How did you become interested in the man and this particular trade?
Why was it important to produce a documentary on the subject?
You have a pretty high stress day job . . . How did you become involved with the project?
How was the team assembled? How was the director, Ted Braun, chosen and who were the other driving factors behind the project?
The film ultimately comes down to two strong-minded characters, Michael Johnson, then CEO of Herbalife, who believes in the promise and growth of Herbalife, and Bill Ackman who has bet a substantial amount of money that company will fail.
In short strokes, take us through why there is such a divergence of opinion as to whether Herbalife is thriving business or a recipe for failure.
The film takes great pains to present the various impacts that Herbalife has on its employees, customers and investors.
How were these constituencies assembled?
In a world of regulations, compliance and other red-tape snarls, I was stunned that Johnson and Ackman provided as much access as the did.
How did you get these two figure heads to agree to appear?
How did you get them comfortable with the idea of a documentary?
One of the key subplots, is there emergence of Carl Ichan, another famous financier, who emerges later in the process and seems to relish, not only profiting on the other side of the Ackman trade, but in embarrassing him as well.
How much of that goes on in finance? When the investments become emotional/personal?
When does it become a bet more than an investment?
Since the film was released, Michael Johnson has left Herbalife.
Governmental investigations haven’t yielded any particular smoking guns.
Without having to get too specific, what are the implications of these events?
What do you see going forward?
The film has a had a nice reception at the Southampton and Tribeca Film festivals.
And it’s now on Netflix . . . What is the plan for the documentary now?
I was part of a low-budget horror movie and I learned first-hand that movie-making isn’t for sissies.
Now that you have one under your belt, has it become an addiction?
Are there any other stories that you would like to see told?
What is the best way for people to see the “Betting on Zero”?
[*THERE IS NO INVESTMENT ADVICE IN THE PODCAST]
Jonathan Leaf, Playwright and Author of DECONSTRUCTION
I recently met and spoke with New York City playwright, Jonathan Leaf, about the challenges and success of his new play DECONSTRUCTION.
He has written numerous plays and most recently had a successful run for DECONSTRUCTION which played at the Storm Theater in New York City. I was lucky enough to see it and experience firsthand the intelligent thought provocation that his work achieves.
DECONSTRUCTION dives into the one of the main scandals in the field of literary criticism . . . "Set in 1949, the play imagines the rumored love affair between famous novelist Mary McCarthy and young aspiring academic Paul de Man. Later in his life, de Man gained worldwide notoriety as the foremost American promoter of deconstruction, a concept inspired by German philosopher Martin Heidegger. The story exposes de Man’s hidden past in war-torn Belgium, where he was suspected as an embezzler and Nazi collaborator."
The play has been extremely well received:
" . . .Jonathan Leaf's Deconstruction Bravely and Brilliantly Delves into the Difficulties of Truth . . ."
- Victoria Ordin, Broadway World
"... an erudite detective story, an inquiry into a man’s personality wrapped up in an in inquiry about philosophical concepts ... Leaf strikes a rare balance between narrative and thesis, between action and thought.
- Kyle Smith, The New Criterion
"Peterson and Dobbins handle their roles admirably, particularly as the emotional pitch of events escalates. Dobbins is a convincing McCarthy, shifting seamlessly between vulnerability and icy wit, while Peterson’s amorphous de Man manages to be both repulsive and pitiable. These subtleties are facilitated by Leaf’s smart script and the simple set, constituted largely of scattered books."
- Ian Tuttle, National Review
“ ... a REFRESHING and CONTEMPORARY take on love and philosophy.”
- Ed Malin, Theatre In The Now
Jonathan Leaf has been nominated for “Best Original Full-Length Script” by the New York Innovative Theatre Awards for his play “The Caterers.” His plays have been produced and performed at 59E59 Theaters, the 29th Street Rep, the Arclight Theater and The Mint. As a journalist and critic, he has written for “The New Yorker,” “The Weekly Standard,” “National Review,” “The New York Post,” “New York Press,” “New York Daily News,” “New York Sun,” “The American,” “Humanities Magazine,” “City Journal,” “City Arts,” “Forbes.com,” “NewPartisan,” “TheStream,” “EdgeMedia,” “ContemporaryThinkers.org,” and “Mosaic Magazine,” among other publications. A Tikvah Fellow and Yale graduate, he is the author of the play “The Germans in Paris,” which was the highest-rated play in audience surveys on TheaterMania.com during its run.
You can follow his exploits here: http://jonathanleaf.weebly.com/
We covered a lot of ground in a short period of time . . . here is the format of the podcast:
You grew up Trenton and went to Yale- where did you get bitten by the writing bug?
How did your experience as a teacher influence you?
Let’s talk about Deconstruction- where did you get the idea to take on this affair in 1949?
What are you trying to communicate to the audience?
What do you want them to think about or stubble with?
What are the themes that predominate in your plays?
Are there any taboos or sacred cows that are in your crosshairs?
When you sit down to write a play how do you go through the exercise?
Do you have a set process?
Then there is the process of producing a play- that seems daunting in and of itself.
Take us through the story of how Deconstruction got from the blank page onto the stage?
How does the casting process work?
Do you find yourself writing parts with certain people in mind?
What is the next step for the play?
You have written a well received book on the Politically Incorrect History of the 60’s.
How is that different from writing plays?
Given your playwright background, are you interested in TV or movies.
How does that differ from the play process?
Nutritionist and Entrepreneur, Ashley Koff RD
I recently spoke with Ashley Koff. A registered dietitian, Ashley is not only one of the top people in the nutrition field, but she's a terrific entrepreneur as well. We have known each other since college so it was particularly fun to catch up on her exploits. [In typical Frazer fashion, the last time we saw each other was in a NYC steakhouse . . . which must have been real fun for a top nutritionist!].
Ashley is a Registered Dietitian and one of the top Nutritionists in the country. In addition to major corporate clients and individuals, Ashley advises many Hollywood and TV productions on better nutrition. She is the author of two books and acts as a spokesperson for many brands. She launched the Ashley Koff Approved brand to house and manage the many facets of her practice. You can find information about her programs and projects at https://www.ashleykoffapproved.com/.
With all of that, I wanted to pick her brain on two fronts:
1) What are the trends in nutrition and healthy living that we should focus on and
2) How have you turned your expertise into a successful business?
When do people make the decision to see you?
How do you get them think about their goals? Number on the scale vs. performance/energy vs appearance goals?
When someone walks in to your office, what is your process to assess where they are and where they should go with their nutrition?
Once you have an idea of a person’s situation, what are the next steps in implementing a process for them?
Concept of a balanced diet- vitamins vs. calories vs. person’s physical attributes-
How detailed does your analysis go?
Picking a theme and sticking with it
Overflow of information- fad diets
Vegetarians vs. vegans vs. pescatrians vs Paleos
Herbs/Vitamins- how do you focus on the important details (and ignore the less important ones)
Speed of eating
Timing of eating
Grocery stores: Buying fresh v. organic v. what we normally see
Avoiding processed foods- what does “processed” mean now?
Restaurants: how do you teach good habits in navigating those environments?
Competing with time challenges when preparing foods
Budget issues- expensive to eat well
Demonization of Fat v. sugar and carbs
Fruits and vegetables- obvious benefits, but can you overdo it?
Are there true superfoods that you can’t go wrong with?
Clients are individuals, companies, brands, organizations in addition to media products-
How do you organize your time?
How did you come up with the AKA brand?
How do you incorporate employees or partners in your concept and vision?
What was the role of media and books in building your brand? Was there a big break?
Does social media work for you? How does that translate into business?
What are your broader plans?
Does that include a prepared foods line?
Mathlessness – America’s Fundamental Problem (ca. 2011)
(This appeared in Rick Lazio's Ignite Blog back in July of 2011 . . . I reread it and liked it, so I thought I would repost it.)
MATHLESSNESS - AMERICA’S FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM
by Frazer Rice.
Modern Americans are largely innumerate. They are, to borrow Richard Posner’s felicitous phrase, “mathless”- most can’t use or judge the effects of numbers.
Such ignorance would be of little concern, except that math permeates everything and ignorance of it imperils both America and Americans. For example, mathless Americans can’t understand or interpret statistics popularly discussed in the media, thereby disabling their ability critically to assess what’s reported. Nor can they comprehend the scale of the numerical problems addressed in government budgets, leaving them to the not-so-tender mercies of craven politicians funding government programs through deficit spending.
Most importantly, mathless Americans lack the quantitative tools to prosper financially and avoid bad investments, critical skills of self-reliance in a non-welfare state. If you want to see this in action, watch a lawyer try to equitably divide the bill and calculate a tip at a nice restaurant. It takes twenty minutes and they usually have to consult an accountant … by phone.
Consider the millions of people who bought houses they couldn’t afford. Cautionary tales abound about people making $50k/year who were living in $400K houses that are now in foreclosure. The analysis exposing such folly isn’t rigorous: Assume (optimistically) after-tax income of $37,000, or $3,125 per month, that the buyer paid 10% of the purchase price ($400,000) at closing, which leaves $360,000 remaining. With an interest-only mortgage of 5% (historically low, but a reasonable figure), the buyer pays at least $1,500 in monthly interest, which is nearly half his or her take-home pay (you do get to deduct the interest, but you don’t see that until the following year).
The above scenario is unmercifully tight, especially if income taxes or the cost of living increases and/or income declines. Financial common sense bristles at such a position. Unfortunately, most Americans lack such common sense. And that is the core of the problem: math can help lead logical decision-making by spelling out future realities that predatory lenders’ hawking teaser rates don’t want you to consider. Lotteries, casinos and the investment banks thrive in part because Americans can’t or don’t want to think about math. As Homer Simpson put it when told that having mayonnaise and whiskey at the same time was a bad idea, “That’s a problem for Future Homer.”
Obviously, one can’t prepare for every eventuality, but more mathematical common sense could have prevented people from committing what amounted to financial suicide. The ability to see the immediate snapshot of a mathematical situation isn’t the glaring problem for America. Intuition and the advice of others tend to get most past square one. The real issue is getting people to conceptualize the numbers governing their lives in such a way that they can anticipate future consequences of financial decisions. For that task they are ill equipped.
Mathless Americans are also increasingly outstripped by foreign competitors. There are 98.8 color televisions for every 100 U.S. households. Television is the most important thing in America! There used to be over 70 US TV manufacturers. However, in 1995, Zenith sold to LG. That brought the number of U.S. TV manufacturers to zero. Only tiny startup Olevia assembles Asian TV parts in this country.
In the business world, being deficient in math is going to be like running a race with no legs. According to Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds program, eighty percent of jobs created in the next decade will require math and science skills.
Furthermore, the American education system isn’t up to the task. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment,
Politics with Robert George, NY Daily News Editorial Writer
It was a treat to talk to my friend, Robert A. George, about the political landscape washing over New York, Washington, and the rest of the country. We cover Donald Trump and his initial stumbles, the departure of Preet Bharara, the future of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the re-election prospects of Mayor Bill DiBlasio among other topics. Lots of fun in the world of politics!
Robert is an editorial writer for the New York Daily News (and formerly for the New York Post) and a conservative/libertarian blogger and pundit. He was born in Trinidad and lived in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States. A graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, George worked for the Republican National Committee and, following the 1994 midterm elections, Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
In addition to his newspaper work, George also has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox and regularly appears on other political affairs programs. George has written for the conservative National Review, the libertarian Reason and the Huffington Post. He also sponsors his own group political/cultural blog, Ragged Thots. In addition, George occasionally moonlights as a stand-up comic and improviser.
The Donald, Leader of the Free World
Former US Attorney Preet Bharara looking skyward
Governor Andrew Cuomo feeling good about the future
Mayor Bill DiBlasio ponders the future
NYC Psychotherapist and Founder of “A Quiet Room”, Will Meyerhofer
I spoke on my podcast with noted psychotherapist, Will Meyerhofer. He deals with heavy hitters on Wall Street, the NYC legal world and entertainment professionals. He pulls no punches.
While I have written before on the psychological perils of legal practice and Wall Street (The Death of a Profession: Law's Long, Bitter Descent and Its Tragic Human Toll), there is nothing like speaking with someone who is in the trenches helping people deal with the modern (and misunderstood) strains of the professions. Will has been there and walks the walk.
Will holds a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, a JD from the New York University School of law and a Master of Social Work from the Hunter College School of Social Work. Since 2005, he has been operating his private practice, A Quiet Room, offering individual, couples and group psychotherapy from his home, a loft in TriBeCa, in Lower Manhattan.
In late 2010 Will released his first book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, an introduction to the concepts and philosophy underlying psychotherapy. During 2011, Will released a second book, Way Worse Than Being a Dentist – the Lawyer's Quest for Meaning, based on material from his columns on law and psychotherapy from AboveTheLaw.com. A former associate in the General Practice group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLC, Will is an acknowledged expert on psychotherapy and lawyers,
Will writes a regular column for the popular legal website, AboveTheLaw.com, as well as a blog of his own, The People's Therapist, reflecting a psychotherapist's take on the world.
Tell us a bit about your background . . . How did you go from working at a white shoe law firm in NYC to becoming a psychotherapist?
A sizable part of your practice comes from the worlds of NYC lawyers, Wall Street and business. These are intense people, many of them unique in their own ways. Are there any universal traits that surround them?
Why do they come to you?
What are your clients struggling with?
How do you discuss vulnerability for these types of clients.
Do you have a process to help them open up?
Are there times when they never open up?
Long hours + “talent” should equal success, which should lead to money, prestige, fame. What happens when their progress doesn't measure up to their expectation? How do you help clients who feel inadequate when their numbers don’t measure up to their neighbors?
What happens when they feel behind, passed over or a sense of failure?
What happens when the numbers and the trappings aren’t enough?
Are they trapped by success? Have they taken on more responsibility at work and at home and built golden cages?
Do they feel Impostor syndrome? I.e. How do they reconcile that luck can be involved with success? Do they belittle their own achievement?
Do they have trouble appreciating the forces that are beyond their control?
For the client that “feels unhappy” or “lost" and has trouble verbalizing their problems- how do you structure the conversation to get them to tell you their truth (even if they don’t quite know what that is)?
The practice of law is far different than what is portrayed in the media (and even in law school). Do you notice clients that feel cheated or misled by that phenomenon?
We know by conjecture the punishing hours involved and the litter of paradoxes and inequities. What else is it about the practice of law and finance that creates such hurt?
What traits in your clients seem to be universal?
How do you unwind depression and cognitive distortion issues from chemical issues? For the uninitiated, does one drive the other?
You deal with artists, writers and other creative types, is there anything about their endeavors that makes their problems different? Is the currency of their self-esteem different from the other professionals? Is financial hardship measured differently? And does it have more impact?
For those that need help,
Eddy Lui, Founder and CEO of 18Birdies
With the excitement of Tiger Woods' return in the Bahamas, it was time to do a podcast around golf.
Welcome to Podcast #12, where I spoke with Eddy Lui. Eddy is a fellow golf fanatic who has founded a new golf platform called 18Birdies. We were able to get a round in this summer at Winged Foot and then record this interview about the company shortly afterward. 18Birdies can be downloaded on most mobile platforms and their website is www.18Birdies.com.
The "Live Engine for Golf", 18Birdies is a mobile golf platform that enhances the experience between golfers & the courses they love to play. The platform incorporates cutting edge technology, social elements, and gaming to take golf into the next generation. A deeper discussion of the company can be found is his article in Golf Inc.
Eddy began his career at the global consulting firm Bain & Company and then at Fairlook Capital. He spent 20 years successfully building and growing technology startups, Now Eddy is combining his business experience with his passion for golf with 18Birdies.
I had a terrific time learning about his combination of golf, technology and entrepreneurism- three things that I enjoy. We go into detail about the the challenges of driving the business and have some fun discussing the state of the game and the frontiers of the sport for 'millennials" in an internet age.
The format is below . . .
Golf- tell us how you fell in love with the game
How did you become involved with technology and startups?
Let’s talk about 18Birdies- How does the platform help the golfer increase enjoyment?
Where does the technology come into play?
How does the social component work?
How does the gaming component work?
Discussion of bringing high end tournament experience to the everyday player
Multi-course tournaments/leagues, having the leaderboard in your pocket, expanding network of other golfers
Based in San Francisco, one of the great golfing cities in this country- how does that help?
How do you bring on brand ambassadors and get the word out?
Lots written on the decline of golf- How does 18 Birdies address these issues?
Steep learning curve in the sport: Too much time, Too expensive, Too hard to access (public/private; men/women, minorities )- how can 18Birdies address these issues?
Talk about your association with Matty18UndaPar and growing the game.
Bring social (and video) to a closed community- what are the challenges in breaking the "private course" code?
What are some of the other trends that you are seeing?
How do you intersect with the governing bodies? USGA, PGA, LPGA, MGA, AJGA
Talk about some of the golf professionals like Darrell Kestner and Kris Tschetter that surround the brand
Is 18Birdies something that can be incorporated into scholastic golf?
What do the next few years look like for growth?
How do you begin to bring in revenue?
Favorite Golfer? Tiger Woods
Who is your favorite of the Young Guns? Patrick Reed
Best Round of golf ever?
Strengths and weaknesses of your game?
Is Tiger coming back?
Who is going to have a big year next year?
How do we keep track of 18Birdies? 18Birdies.com and downloadable app on most platforms.
For more on TIGER WOODS' re-emergence . . . see his blistering 65 in the Bahamas below!
Bryan Sells, Election Lawyer and Civil Rights Expert
I was thrilled to speak with election lawyer, Bryan Sells a week or so ahead of the big confrontation between Trump and Clinton. We talked about the process and importance of voting and the issues with the current election and future trends in our country's voting.
Based in Atlanta, Bryan is a civil rights lawyer specializing in voting rights, election law, and redistricting. He represents individual voters, civil rights organizations, political parties, candidates, and campaigns. Before founding his own firm, Bryan was been a senior litigator at the Department of Justice and the ACLU. Bryan posts frequently on twitter at @SellsBryan and his firm's website is www.BryanSellsLaw.com.
-How did the practice of voting law get your attention?
-How did your background point you in the direction of election law? What were your other influences?
-Explain why it’s important to have a full and fair representation in the political process
Many people assume that voting is as easy as registering to vote and then showing up at a polling location and casting a ballot. However, many times it’s not that easy.
-What is the actual process of voting?
-How is it run at the federal, state, and local level?
-How and why can that get distorted?
-Where are the greatest injustices/blockades to access right now?
-What about the notion of dead people voting and “pre-voted” voting machines
-Redistricting and gerrymandering?
-One of the great unintended consequences of our system-
-How does it disenfranchise voters?
-How do we rewrite the rule book on this?
-Two party system continues to dominate- how do other parties and ideas begin to penetrate the system?
-Term Limits- what are the arguments for and against? Is it time to have them at the federal
-Finally, technology and voting? Are they the cause of or solution to voter fraud? Or a little of both? What should we be looking for when thinking about technology and the expense of voting?
With Trump's shocking win, let's see what I was thinking back BEFORE he took the nomination: Trump: The Yard Sale. This was published 9/7/2015- well over a year ago and with no expectation that Donald Trump had a chance (at the nomination!) . . . boy, I was wrong. but there was some interesting thinking in there.
This podcast was the first done by telephone. I liked the results and it opens the podcast to a bunch of interesting participants. Look for more shortly.
Andrew Peek, Intelligence Officer and Foreign Affairs Expert
Podcast #10 was a fun and intense conversation with Foreign Policy and International Relations Expert, Andrew Peek. Andrew is the Director of the Washington Program at Claremont McKenna and an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine. He is also a former Captain in the US Army and Strategic Advisor to General Joe Allen. He has written and appeared widely in the media and can be found on Twitter at @AndrewLPeek.
We conducted a brief primer on Foreign policy and the Election starting with a quick summary of what we know about the candidates' viewpoints and approach to working with foreign countries
We started with Hillary Clinton and the evolution of her foreign policy approach.
What do we need to know about Hillary’s world view?
What is the impact of her vast experience and relationships?
What is the impact of Bill’s presence if she wins office?
Our next line of discussion analyzed what we know about Donald Trump- what informs his world view?
How would he go about staffing his foreign policy apparatus?
How does the volatility and inconsistency of message play out on the world stage?
How would he relate to the military?
Finally we embarked on a quick tour around the world . . .
Terrorism in France and Germany - Nice, Normandy, Paris, Orlando, etc
Germany and Syrian refugee policy
Vlad Putin and Syria/Ukraine/east europe/Trump
Middle East / ISIS
It is a wide ranging discussion with terrific analysis from an expert who lives and breathes these issues and has helped form and implement foreign policy at the highest levels.
Blake Morgan, CEO of ECR Music, Driving Force of #irespectmusic
It was a genuine pleasure to speak with Blake Morgan about the state of the music industry . . . we spoke for an hour and could have kept going for much longer!
Native New Yorker Blake Morgan is a recording artist, record producer, and the founder and owner of ECR Music Group, a global music company which operates under an elemental principle unprecedented in the music world: all of its artists and labels own one-hundred percent of their master recordings.
On the heels of his sold-out eight-month run at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, Blake Morgan now embarks on his first large-scale West Coast solo tour of the United States. The New York Times calls Morgan “Disarmingly unselfconscious,” while Billboard Magazine writes, “Blake Morgan has a voice that was made to be heard on the radio…inspired songwriting and passionate performances.” The Washington Post adds, “He’s got killer pop-rock instincts, something that leaps out at you…a natural when it comes to fashioning sharp melodies and catchy choruses.” Blake Morgan’s 2016 West Coast Tour will run from August 22nd until September 3rd, with Morgan performing ten concerts in nine cities. Morgan returns to Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 3 on September 14th, for Season Two of his ongoing artist-in-residence concert series in New York City.
We covered a lot of ground . . . Here is a framework of the topics covered.
What is the process of developing musicians now?
How do people access music in this day and age?
How do you reconcile the different definitions of success in your artists?
How do musicians get paid now? What is the difference between “songwriting” and “mechanicals”
What is the role of outside interests? Sponsorships, merchandise, acting / books etc . . .
And how is that different from the past?
Regarding the impact of technology on the previous music industry business model, the dilemma it poses now for emerging musicians, and the impact of #irespectmusic . . .
How have the innovations of Napster on through to iTunes/ Pandora/ Spotify/ Youtube impacted artists
What are the positive and negative aspects?
How does this impact artists and their ability to earn?
How does the law protect artists currently? Is it outdated?
What have been your legislative efforts? Is this a chance for actual bipartisan work from Congress?
What is that political process like? How do you educate our leaders about the importance of music and protecting the artist’s livelihood?
What can the artists do to help protect themselves?
Finally a little discussion on ECR and future plans
What is your vision for the modern record label – what is its role and how does it work in this day and age?
What are the signs of optimism for recording artists in the future?
Where do you see the future of music going?
How can people support #IRespectMusic?
Blake Morgan (Facebook)
Blake Morgan (Twitter)
IRESPECTMUSIC.ORG and via hashtag (#irespectmusic) on most social media platforms.
Michael Devlin, Agri-Business Adviser to Urban Seed
I recently spoke with Michael Devlin, adviser to Urban Seed (www.urbanseedvegas.com)
We covered a variety of topics related to agribusiness and food policy.
Urban Seed’s mission is to become the premier supplier of locally grown, low carbon impact, fruits, vegetables, and micro greens in the local market using proprietary and innovative technology & processes with modular, easily expandable structures which provide opportunities for unlimited growth. Their philosophy is to prioritize the “Made in the USA” concept. Their proprietary modular system provides superior quality and larger volumes in the same footprint allowing Urban Seed to grow 30 to 50 times the amount of produce than that of traditional farming without use of chemicals or pesticides. Facilities will be as close to the customer base as possible to reduce cost of transportation & delivery which can run as much as 75% of total operating costs for traditional farm to market operations.
1) We went though a description of the traditional timeline from food to fork. Most produce travels 1,500 miles from farm to fork.
- High carbon footprint
- Nutritional values falls over time
- Shorter shelf life = high food waste
- Lower freshness = bland taste
2) We laid out a broad gamut of food production challenges:
- Burgeoning world population,
- Water scarcity,
- Global warming,
- High pesticide use.
- Lack of access to fresh produce is highly correlated to rising BMI - especially in poor communities.
- Where are some of the investment opportunities in the food world?
- We spend time defining the concept of urban farming
4) Finally, we describe what Urban Seed does
- Farm to fork in 12 hrs
- No chemicals - herbicides or pesticides
- All non-GMO seeds (why is this important?)
- Grown under glass with no supplemental light - very power efficient.
- 30x crop yield vs traditional farming
- Uses 90% less water
- Extremely Profitable - Each 6,500sf greenhouse generates $1mln annual revenues and ~$500k EBITDA
- Tax benefits for buildings / urban settings?Jobs?
Film Director, William Wedig
I spoke with director, William Wedig, who is starting to make a dent in the world of movies.
Having done work for brands such as PBS, MTV, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine and Time Magazine, his work has been shown on broadcast and cable television, in AMC and Clearview theaters, on Times Square billboards and in festivals such as Sundance and the Toronto Film Festival.
In 2012, William began his television-directing career. 145 shoot days, 550 script pages and 5,000 shots later, William completed directing 26 episodes of the half-hour action-comedy kids show, Team Toon, set for release winter 2013 on Cartoon Network.
Utilizing a mixed-format presentation, the show fuses live-action with animation to allow for the adventures of four friends whose imaginations tend to blur the line between reality and cartoon. Part Scooby-Doo-style mystery, part monster madness action, Team Toon was a technically challenging show as well as a lengthy and action-packed production.
Most recently, William co-directed and edited the show Exposure: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2011. Starring Brooklyn Decker, Irina Shayk, Hillary Rhoda and 14 other supermodels, the show is available on the Playstation Network and DVD.
In 2011, Wedig’s feature film, Forged, was released theatrically. Forged won Best Film at the HBO New York Latino Film Festival and the Outstanding Film Award at the Providence Latin American Film Festival, and screened in the Los Angles Latino International Film. The film stars Manny Perez and Emmy award winner Margo Martindale. Variety’s Ronnie Scheib said that the film’s “powerful ending build kinetically” and that lead-actor Manny Perez is “frighteningly convincing as a man ruled by desperation.” For more, visit www.ForgedMovie.com.
He also post-supervised Josh Crook's La Soga, which is opened at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival and was released in theaters in August of 2010 through 7th Floor.
In the fall of 2008, he completed editing on a one hour documentary for This Old House and PBS, The Life a House Built: The 25th Anniversary of the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project. The film details the experiences of volunteers and homeowners working to rebuild the Gulf Coast in connection with Habitat for Humanity in the summer of 2008.
William began his career with his thesis film from the School of Visual Arts, entitled Rise of the Dead. The film was released through Lions Gate Entertainment in November of 2007. The film has been described as a "smart and original take on an equally old genre" (Fangoria) and William's directing as "a breath of fresh air" (C.H.U.D.).
William was also post-production supervisor on Salvage, a horror-thriller, which premiered to a packed house at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The foreign distribution deal included a theatrical release and Echo Bridge Entertainment handled domestic distribution.
He graduated with a degree in film from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and lives in Brooklyn.
We covered a lot of ground in this one!
William's background- where are you from and how did you get to NY,
How did you get bitten by the filmmaking bug?
Take us through what you have worked on . . .
When do you know you have a project you are interested in directing? Are you writing it?
How do you read a screenplay and know if it’s good? If it’s for you?
How do you interact with the writers, producers, talent?
What makes a good partnership?
How would you describe your working style?
When did you know you were good? And could make a go of this?
How do you keep the business angle from overwhelming the creative process?
When do you compromise v. digging your heels in?
Impact of the Editing background- how does that help?
Surfing and SI Swimsuit work- what did you learn from those experiences?
Use of light, how do you make people or landscapes look good, how do you drive a story?
Animation- what makes that difficult or interesting?
Scott Johnston, Co-Founder of Wayin and LiquidSky
I recently spoke with Scott Johnston about his transition from banking to entrepreneurism and two of his technology projects.
WAYIN is Scott's venture co-founded with Scott McNealey. They help major companies aggregate and understand the date generated by consumers and their social media presence. That data can then be used by the company to better focus their marketing efforts and sell more efficiently.
LiquidSky is Scott's venture that seeks to more efficiently allocate the world's computing power. The company employs a subscription model and delivers computing and processing speeds on an "as-needed" basis. Liquidsky hopes to help people, businesses, universities and governments accomplish their computing goals without making huge equipment investments that could quickly become obsolete.
Scott and I have known each other for years having interacted in the political arena and on the golf course. In this episode we cover . . .
The transition from Wall Street to technology entrepreneurism
The genesis of Wayin- how does one take an idea and turn it into a business?
What problems does Wayin solve for marketers and advertisers?
Can Wayin apply to other arenas like politics?
How did Scott find the idea for LiquidSky?
How did he develop the talent to turn this idea from a twinkle in the eye to a viable business that could solve "Billion Person Problems?"
What is the impact of the video gamer? How big is that market? What is the impact of their influence on media production?
What are some tips and issues for investors to note if they are interested in investing or being involved in young companies?
Scott also collects his thoughts in his "Naked Dollar" Blog
CEO and Co-Founder of Beartooth, Michael Monaghan
Michael Monaghan, Co-Founder and CEO of Beartooth
What an exciting thing to watch the launch of a business. It represents the beginning of a new, scary and wonderful challenge. It also culminates years of innovation, planning, preparation and hard work. Today, Beartooth launches officially for the public. It is the brainchild of Michael Monaghan, a friend I have known for years. An idea borne out Michael's experiences both as a financier at Goldman Sachs and as a devout skier and outdoorsman, Beartooth builds on the promise of handheld phone use off the typical cellular grid. It is a tech company based in Bozeman, Montana! I spoke to Michael recently on his experience starting the business, the challenges of being an entrepreneur and probed to hear his thought process on a variety of new business issues. Below are some of the points that we covered:
An introduction into what the Beartooth radio does [How Beartooth Works]:
What does Beartooth do?
"Beartooth is a small device that works with an existing smartphone to communicate when you have no service. You can talk, text, use maps, and share location to Beartooth users within range when you have no cellular service. Beartooth also works as a backup battery for your smartphone.
Whether you are skiing fresh powder in the backcountry or dancing at Coachella, you can now reliably stay in contact with your group in ways that were previously unavailable. Beartooth allows for peer-to-peer communication between the devices, completely bypassing the Wi-Fi and cellular network."
What problems does Beartooth solve?
Where did you get the idea and develop the product/meet your co-founder?
How do you go from a Goldman Sachs background to an entrepreneur?
What is it like raising money?
What is it like having the responsibility of having employees?
How do you find and interact with investors?
How do you surround yourself with expertise? When bombarded with advice- how do you pick who you listen to?
What is it like dealing with the government and how did you learn about the various approval processes involved with a media product?
What is it like living and working in Bozeman? What are the pluses and challenges of Bozeman? How does Bozeman impact the attraction of talent/capital?
Beartooth sounds like it applies to rural and adventure settings- what are the uses for technology in urban environments?
What are the benefits of having "redundant" VHF/UHF benefits?
What are some of the technical features involved?
What are the applications to industry, leisure, military?
What are the real life experiences that could be enhanced with Beartooth? Festivals, skiing, hiking, lake, ocean, golf courses, vineyards?
Are there any potential information security benefits? (texts that don’t go through a plan/stored through iCloud? I.e. Device to device texting?)
Are there any battery life improvements that Beartooth adds?
How do you go about your marketing strategy? What are your marketing ideas? What segments are you working on?
Mass retail application?
To learn more about Beartooth, check out their website here: BEARTOOTH.COM
And check out more about their story below . . .
Beartooth profiled in OUTSIDE
Beartooth covered by TECHCRUNCH
Delaware Lawyer and Entrepreneur, John Williams
John Williams, Principal of the Williams Law Group and President of IncNow.com
I sat down with my colleague and fellow Emory Law graduate, John Williams, to talk about the differences and challenges of driving both a law firm and an online incorporation business. We spoke about trends in the legal industry and peered into our respective crystal balls about the direction of Delaware corporate law and the opportunities and issues that entrepreneurs face.
What percentage of the day is spent lawyering and what percentage is spent running Incnow?
What is does your law practice look like?
Delaware Corporate law; we hear about other jurisdictions -what is still advantageous about incorporating in Delaware?
Corp v. LLC v. Partnership- what steps should people go through in deciding which entity to use?
If I’m from New York or any other state, why would I have my business entity incorporated in Delaware?
Talk about the formation of your business Incnow- what need does your your business fulfill?
Having a law firm to deal with nuance associated with Incnow makes a lot of sense . . . Does that component get used a lot?
Challenges of running law firm v. start-up business? Benefits and challenges of being located in Delaware?
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg using LLC instead of a foundation for his charitable arm? Will we see that more? http://charitylawyerblog.com/2015/12/15/llcs-as-philanthropic-vehicles/
In addition to traditional S and C Corps, What about B-Corps also known as “Public Benefit Corps” that are chartered to have a broader purpose beyond shareholders- emerging trend or fad?
Increased scrutiny of entities and shell companies; increased banking laws and Treasury scrutinizing property purchases - what are you seeing in your business? What appears to be on the horizon on this front? (See some of my commentary on the subject from a past article here- Anonymity and Real Estate)
Delaware has always had a competent and efficient judiciary which is one of the attractions for many companies locating their corporate situs there . . .What else is Delaware doing to innovate?
Bankruptcy Lawyer, Steve Wilamowsky
In the latest Podcast, I speak with Steve Wilamowsky about the development and current state of bankruptcy law.
Steve Wilamowsky is a partner in Chapman and Cutler’s Litigation, Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group.
For over twenty years, clients have relied on Steve to guide them through complex corporate reorganizations, distressed asset transactions, and bankruptcy-related litigation.
We track his road into legal practice, go into detail about the landscape of bankruptcy law and muse about its future.
You can read more about Steve's background here.
Crime Novelist, Terrence McCauley
EPISODE 2: Crime Novelist, TERRENCE MCCAULEY
Crime Novelist, Terrence McCauley
Meet Terrence P. McCauley. He is a part of a new breed of crime fiction writers. This up-and-comer is one to watch. His acclaimed new thriller SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL will be published by Polis Books in July 2015.
Sympathy for the Devil (New from Polis Books)
Polis is also republishing Terrence's first two award-winning crime novels set in 1930 New York City - PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN.
In 2008, Terrence won the TruTV 'Search for the Next Great Crime Writer' contest. In 2014, he won three New Pulp Awards for Best Short Story, Best Novel and Best Author.
Terrence has had short stories featured in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Spinetingler Magazine, Atomic Noir and Big Pulp among other places. A proud native of The Bronx, NY, he is currently working on his next work of fiction.
(Topics: Writing process, influences, favorite three books, favorite three movies)
Architecture Critic Jayne Merkel & New York City’s Evolving Skyline
Welcome to the first episode of the Frazer Rice Podcast (Trust me . . . I'm working on getting a snappier title!).
Expect to see more interviews with artists, entrepreneurs, commentators and tastemakers from New York and beyond.
Today we have an interview with Jayne Merkel, contributing editor for the Architectural Record and author of the monograph, Eero Saarinen. We discuss the evolution of New York City's skyline and downtown redevelopment, trends for the future and our favorite neighborhoods and buildings.
Among the highlights . . .
Manhattan's newest and most controversial residential tower- 432 Park Avenue
An afternoon photo of one of NYC's "Old Faithfuls"- the Flatiron Building
A night photo of the Union Square Pavilion with the Zeckendorf Towers in the background
THE NEXT PODCAST WILL FEATURE CRIME NOVELIST, TERRENCE MACCAULEY, WHO WILL TALK ABOUT HIS NEW BOOK, "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL".