I was instant messaging yesterday afternoon with Andy Monfried. Andy is the CEO and Founder of an online advertising company called Lotame. Before that he was one of the first employees at Advertising.com which sold to AOL for hundreds of millions. Before that, we were usually on the same softball team at Camp Lake-Vu when we were ten years old.
He’s more ambitious than me. He filled me in on all the things Lotame was up to and all the things he had done that day. He was working harder than I could even conceive of. I said to him, “you could easily make over a hundred million dollars on Lotame.” My problem is I always look for shortcuts. I can’t imagine working that hard anymore.
Andy and I had lost touch after we were ten years old. About five years ago, by coincidence, we both realized we were working with Howard Lindzon on various projects so we all got together for breakfast. It was the first time we had seen or spoken to each other since we were ten. [Click above link for “53 Things I’ve Learned from Howard Lindzon]
“Holy shit,” I said to him, “you’re 8 feet tall.”
“And you haven’t changed a bit,” he said, which is sad since I was in 4th grade the last time I saw him.
I turned to Howard. “Andy was the best athlete in Camp Lake-Vu.”
Andy said, “it was a Jewish camp so you’re not really saying much.” And we all laughed because if three jews can’t make fun of themselves then who can.
Andy and I yesterday started talking about writing. He complimented some of my recent blog posts. “You are writing an amazing blog!” he said. “They should make a movie out of it.” I said anybody can write. “You should write a blog,” I said but he said he couldn’t. He didn’t want to offend anyone. But my point is that every day is a story.
For instance, yesterday morning at 4:47am I had the instant message conversation that resulted in this blog post: Stop Bullshitting Yourself. The post continued because there were great comments all day helping Ildar out.
Then I had lunch in the city with some friends of mine who are working on a massive transaction (more than a billion dollars worth) involving shares of a bunch of well-known private internet companies. It would be the biggest such transaction ever. Once the transaction is done, I can write about it. The story itself is shocking once I heard who the parties were on either side.
Then I had coffee with a friend of mine who had had prostate cancer. He told me what he had to do now in order to have sex. He had to shoot himself “down there” with a needle twice a week for 24 months and take Viagra every night. “The viagra makes me feel so flush though, I don’t like it.” I hope I never have prostate cancer but I’m 43 and I’m afraid to take the test. I feel even better now than when I was 20 years old. I haven’t even had a checkup since I was 17 years old. Why tempt fate now?
Then I started to get ready to go on the TV show “Kudlow & Company”. I had to go on at 7pm for five minutes. Which meant I had to start preparing at 2pm. I prepare at least one hour for every minute I know I’m going to be on NATIONAL TV. “Bring the heat!” Dan Holland, the producer, told me.
I really don’t like my appearances on Kudlow. I like Larry and think he’s got an interesting story but that’s never what we talk about. Once the live camera is rolling I feel like I have to get the words out quickly before it’s the next person’s turn to talk. And I don’t like to yell over people. I like Brett Arends and don’t want to yell over him. He was saying profit margins are going to go down. I was thinking, business people don’t really care about profit margins. They care about profits. And profits are going up. So go figure.
Larry asked about inflation. What I really wanted to say was, “maybe inflation will solve the national obesity problem. Less chips per bag. Less cookies per package.” And then I would’ve said, “And why are people buying stocks anyway? They are just going to sell them at the low and buy them back at the high. People should NOT be watching Brett Arends and me arguing about profit margins. They should be playing with their kids or reading a good book.”
But I felt shy about saying that so I said something about “there’s a revolution in smart phones” and that was the end of the segment that I prepared five hours for.
I’m afraid to go on TV. I’m afraid to be boring. I’m afraid people will think I look funny. I’m afraid I won’t say what I really want to say so my personality won’t come out. From TV I ran to catch the train home. There were no seats so I lay down on the dirty floor near the bathroom and imagined I was homeless and not allowed to sit with the other people.
Didn’t everyone on the train realize I was just on NATIONAL TV?? Shouldn’t some girl have whispered to the guy next to her, “I think that guy was just on NATIONAL TV. Let’s make some space or maybe you should just stand up so he could sit down. He looks homeless.”
I told Andy earlier that day that every day is a story. He should keep his diary about his business experiences so he could write about it later. He told me he was limited because he can’t write about his current day because he can’t piss anyone else off. I said the same thing to him. “I can’t write about today, really,” I said. “But I can write about stuff in the past.”
For instance, I told him, He’s CEO of one of the biggest online ad firms out there. But I can’t really write about that or the specifics on what he told me his day was like yesterday. But what I can write about is how when we were ten years old he was the first person everyone picked to be on their softball team and I was usually the last.
Every night I would stand in my backyard until it got dark and I’d throw the softball up in the air and try to hit it. Over and over again until it was past dark and my dad would try to get me in and I wouldn’t come in until I had hit the ball at least ten times in a row in the dark. I didn’t want to be picked last anymore. And I’d cry and my dad would yell, “stop crying!”
And I could write about how we’d all watch Andy take long walks around the camp with Joanie Berlin. Joanie Berlin was by far the prettiest girl in the camp. If she even said a single word to me I would clamp up out of nervousness.
But that’s all in the distant past. And now today is another day.
I can’t come up with other related posts. Help me out here. Can people put links in the comments for interesting things to read over the weekend? I need some good Internet reading material. Mind-provoking. That will be the related posts for today.