What do you do?

Hello, friends.

How do you answer the following question?

What do you do?

Seriously, I ask because it’s a question I struggle with answering. If I’m honest and accurate, it’s complicated and varied.

Right now, I’ve landed on saying, “I manage a portfolio of small businesses.” If someone is interested in learning more, they’ll ask, and I can get into more of the details.

In other news, Calm Capital turned three last month. Marty and I spent time reflecting on what’s gone well, what hasn’t, and the lessons learned so far. What a journey so far. The more days we have under our belts, the less credit I take for any progress.

Have you crossed any milestones recently?

What is new with you?

I watched the AND1 documentary on Netflix. Have you seen it?

Regardless of how much you like basketball, if you’re a student of marketing, it’s worth a watch. Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • Launching is about finding an “in.” The founders took a big dream and executed the smallest idea (T-shirts) in the beginning.
  • As Ogilvy said,”… it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand.” These words were exemplified by AND1 using its biggest failure to create a marketing hall-of-fame idea in the “AND1 Mixtape”. Amazing idea. Flawlessly executed.
  • Brands are built by living up to a promise.
  • I’m not sure it’s accurate that Nike’s street ball killed AND1. However, beware of larger, better-funded competitors who can out-execute your playbook.

If you end up watching it, let me know what you get from it.

Do you follow any investor/finance-type authors and practitioners?

I hope to learn more about it this year and would enjoy any recommendations.

Speaking of this topic, I enjoyed this memo from Howard Marks and this interview with Bill Gurley.

In some family news, my oldest son had his middle school Science Fair project presentation two weeks ago. He did a wonderful job designing his experiment and creating its materials.

Oh, his experiment? It was how weight distribution impacts momentum on a pinewood derby car.

Everything was crude and unpolished, as it should be for prototyping.

The interesting development was how hung up he was in the presentation (not being perfect). He’s given hundreds of presentations during his schooling thanks to a classical curriculum. Why was this time different? Age? Stakes?

During his dry runs, he couldn’t get through his talk standing in front of his mother, me, and his brother. Finally, we suggested he film himself, giving it with no one in the room. He did. After analyzing his trials on video, he gave himself notes and refined his talk. The next day, he nailed his presentation.

Thank you. Yes, we’re proud of his effort and how much he learned.

How’s your family?

Talk soon.


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