Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last night...

I heard a women outside the apartment start screaming "Let go", "Let go"....desperately.

I ran over to the window, and she is yanking on her dogs leash, which has a massive rat in its mouth. At first I thought it was a squirrel. It was dark. But its size loomed. The dog was shaking it and the lady continued to scream at the top of her lungs and yank at the leash.

I was thinking that a rat ran across the side walk as I've seen them do and the opportunistic, pit bullish dog wheeled around and grabbed it. Best day of its life, until she started yanking on the leash. But it didn't let go.

I thought to go out and help, but help who was what I wondered so I watched. Then it started to bleed
which I know because she said "ah,
There is blood everywhere". Still the dog held on. 

The rat was so big that it was dragging on the ground as the dog shook it while the taught leash held its head high. 

The rat was clearly dead now. The dog had served his instincts well.

Finally the women's shock must have subsided because she stopped yelling and muttered to the dog, "you are such a bastard"

And I went back to the couch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Put your money where your mouth is!

Tis the season to voice what we stand for...election season. How we believe the world should be. From dinner party arguments to the polls we stand by candidates or against others on the foundation of what we believe is right. From the basics of integrity to the the specifics of economics, from Roe vs Wade to healthcare - we take a stand and speak, write and vote accordingly.
The question we must ask ourselves is do we act accordingly?
There is no clearer way to examine or follow our actions then by paying attention to how we earn, spend and invest our money. I remember my aha moment of my own cognitive dissonance a few years ago when news came out about Apple's use of production lines that were less then optimal in the human rights department. I remember being disappointed and angry at Apple but I also noticed that I was passionately expressing my disappointment using an iPhone, a Macbook and an iPad. Which may have been ok, except I went on the buy more Apple stuff. Why...because I liked Apple stuff.
We have this opportunity of taking powerful action through the wheels of commerce. This action may seem subtle, but its not. We live in a world of stuff and we are not going to give it up. We like our lattes, our smart phones, our cars, our exotic food, our vacations. And if we look close enough we can see the dotted line between the things we like and the values and principles we believe in.
I believe that corporations are necessary because when I look around and notice all those things things in my/our life that seem integral to our success, creativity, well-being and fulfillment, I see the wheels of commerce. Yes, I also believe that corporations have tended to take the less then social and environmental road while making these wheels turn, however corporate strategy has evolved and there is plenty of evidence to show social and environmental mission(as opposed to obligation) within the corporate community.
We can effect change by standing behind the companies who have these missions by buying their products and investing our money and our careers with them. This togetherness will lead toward a powerful sea change, with downstream influence on the issues we toss back and forth across the political aisle.
Underlying our the decisions that drive the flow of our money is "not having enough", our most primal survival instinct lurks. So it’s good know that there is plenty of evidence these days showing that those companies who are faced with a decision between doing good or realizing profit, those who choose good are reporting that they end up making more. This reality which is expressed much more eloquently by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has been noticed and adopted more and more by those in the C-suite. Sustainability is a panacea. It means preserving the environment as much as it means producing a profit again and again over a long period of time. Not to be confused to hauling in a short term chunk of cash with no succession plan.
So the good news is if we invest in and work with those socially and environmentally mission driven business’s, we will effect change, feel fulfilled and enjoy the fruits.
Express yourself!!

P.S. I write this from a Macbook and I manage a fund that invests in companies that have social and environmental missions. It invests in Apple. Since that aforementioned cognitive dissonance, my research has shown that Apple has realized the error of their ways and acted accordingly.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bob and Donald

Trump is so much fun to talk about isn't he?! Maybe that's why he's doing so well. For the life of me I can't seem to find anyone who likes him, so it's really mysterious why he gets so many votes...although I recently started to hear comments like  "Well, I suppose I'm going to have to vote for "Trump".

So what about Bob. Bob (don't call me coach ) was my college squash coach. He also coached Donald for the first two years of Donald's college career at Fordham. 

According to a recent article in the Daily News - "Members of the squash team were in awe of Trump's extravagance when he took out his golf clubs and started carelessly hitting balls into the river on one of their trips..."

"... and while at Fordham from 1964-66 Trump propagated the same misplaced emphasis on winning he has during his presidential campaign. Winning squash matches. Winning over women."

During my Fordham career almost 30 years later, the squash program depended heavily on donations from alumni, and so Bob founded the Hopkins fund named after a Jesuit who had been fiercely dedicated to Fordham racquet sports.  Back then Trump was a famous or infamous - I can't remember - real estate tycoon, and yet according to Bob...he never gave a penny to the Hopikins Fund. Bob's annual (or whenever the questions came up) declaration of this fact was sharp and flowery! 

Further stories go that right when Trump was listing his company on the New York Stock exchange under the ticker DJT(a few years ago a comedian talked about how Donald labels everything like one labels their underwear for camp) in the mid 90s, a wallstreeter who played squash at Fordham introduced himself to Trump accordingly, and the reply was something along the lines of " I give all my money to fordham, not a dime to Wharton". When called for verification Bob used the phrase "not a dime". Needless to say Trumps IPO ended in Chapter 11, with a $100 investment receiving $10.

Bob passed away a few years ago. He's missing the show, which he could probably do without. The show that has us mesmerized!