Monthly Archives: February 2004

Caroline Waxler authors book on investing in sin

My friend Caroline Waxler just released what is sure to be a best selling book: Books: Stocking Up on Sin : How to Crush the Market with Vice-Based Investing

Caroline is extremely talented — a former Forbes business writer that now produces documentaries and reality TV for VH1.

I have not read the book yet, but here are two good reviews:

“Finally, in my old age, sex is paying off for me. Caroline Waxler’s book gave me many ideas on how to choose as close to a sure thing as you can in the stock market. I never thought that I and my entire family would benefit from Viagra and colored condoms.”
–Joan Rivers

“Vice is nice when it comes to making big returns in the stock market. Caroline Waxler shows the investor the next great money machine. A riveting read and a revolutionary investment approach. Profit from it.”
–W. Randall Jones, founder
Worth magazine

Go Caroline!!!

Cathy Brooks

Cathy Brooks

Who would have known that Cathy Brooks can sing?

I certainly didn’t until I heard Cathy belt out a show tune at Christine Herron’s wedding.

Cathy formerly was the booking agent for TechTV and before that she has been a journalist and executive at numerous television and radio stations around the country.

She is currently living in San Francisco while working as the Vice President of Business Development for Porter Novelli

Books: Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority

Books: Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority by John McWhorter

This is certainly one of the top books I have read in the last ten years.

McWhorter, a young but well-known linguistics professor at UC Berkeley, uses this book to talk about race. McWhorter is black. He’s incredibly accomplished. He’s extremely intelligent. And he writes a book on a topic (race) we have all read so much about yet adds a perspective that I have never heard — at least never heard articulated so well.

This is a must read book for anyone in America that is concerned about the plight of the unfortunate.

Summation: Read this book. I mean, really — read this book now!

Upcoming Commonwealth Club event on social networking

this is worth checking out:

Commonwealth Club presents:

Networking.Dot.Com: The Future of Networking is Online

Monday, March 22, 7:00pm

Ben Smith, CEO of
Valerie Syme, Executive VP of Marketing and Business Development and co-founder of Tribe
Dr Mark Granovetter, Professor of Sociology at Stanford University; author of “The Strength of Weak Ties”
Jas Dhillon Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Zero Degrees

Auren Hoffman, Moderator, Chairman of the Stonebrick Group

The latest place to meet new friends and business contacts isn’t in the flesh. It’s online. Whether you’re part of a tribe; linked in or just spoken for, you’re part of the latest wave of people who are using the internet to leverage their social and business networks. It’s all based on the principle that it’s not your strong personal ties that land you the new job or get you that contract, but it’s those weak ties, those second and third degree connections that do the trick. But how does it work and how can you make it work for you? Is the future of networking truly online?

Venue: Trader Vics in Palo Alto
4269 El Camino Real
Palo Alto

Time: 6:30 Registration; 7:00 pm Program; 8:30 pm Reception & Networking

Cost: $20 for members; $30 for non-members

RSVP at:

Books: Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading Problems at Any Level

Books: Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz

this is a good book on how the brain works, why dyslexia affects so many Americans, and what we can do about it.

i did not know much about dyslexia before reading the book — but now i have a good overview.

i didn’t finish the book because it started getting much more dyslexia-specific. but the meaty parts are at the beginning and the book is worth skimming.

Boycott Leap Year

Everyone is talking of boycotts nowadays. It seems like every organization over 20 people has a boycott list. I guess everyone needs something to boycott — but I’ve been without one ever since New Kids on the Block faded away.

I’ve been thinking long and hard and I finally came up with my cause — leap year. Leap year is an extreme annoyance. It is too confusing. Next February 29, 2004 should be March 1!

Leap year was authorized by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., because it was assumed that the year had 365 1/4 days, with a 366-day leap year added every fourth year.

My thoughts — who cares if we are 0.25 days out of alignment each year — it will take generations to make any difference. And the weather in San Francisco is so screwy that it really won’t matter.

To make matters more complicated, an Anglo-Saxon monk in A.D. 730, the Venerable Bede, calculated that the Julian year was 11 minutes and 14 seconds too long, an error of about one day every 128 years. You’re probably saying — who cares? My thoughts exactly — and no one did care until the end of 16th Century. In 1582, the accumulated error was estimated at 10 days, and Pope Gregory XIII defied all logic and made a universal announcement that the day following Oct. 4 would be Oct. 15.

To make future adjustments for the error (about three days every 400 years), it was decided by the powers that be that years ending in “00” would be common years rather than leap years — except those divisible by 400. Makes sense? So 1600 was a leap year and so was 2000, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not — and neither will 2100.

So I’m going to boycott the next leap year. I’m leading a delegation to the United Nations to force the world to treat 2/29 as 3/1 and I will send “Happy Normal Year” card to everyone I know.

Then we’ll add a minute at the end of every day — which will give us about 365 extra minutes a year — or about 1/4 of the day. And then the world will rejoice as we can start boycotting new and exciting things – like shaving.

Christine Herron

Christine Herron

Christine is a founding partner at Cycle Partners, a provider of strategic analysis and high-impact execution to growth companies. Previously, she was the founder and CEO of Mercury2, an international trade logistics software vendor, which delivered groundbreaking trade automation applications in concert with a worldwide network of policymakers.

Earlier, she drove Internet products and strategy initiatives for NetObjects, including very early WAP support, XML adoption, and ECMA standardization. At Microsoft, Christine was on the initial Internet Server Marketing team during the height of competition with Netscape Communications. Christine started as an investor with Geocapital Partners, where she helped to raise a top-ranked mid-sized fund before the Internet bubble and focused on early Internet infrastructure and network management software.

Christine ranked one of the Top 20 Women in Technology by AltaVista in 2000 and is a frequent speaker on globalization and emerging market dynamics. She now serves on the advisory boards of TEN (the NASA Ames Research Commercialization Center) and Space Jockeys LLC. Christine holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from Columbia University.

Christine is getting married this saturday to Shannon Newton (pictured as well) — Of course, she’s a ton of fun!

LinkedIn data analysis

Do you think you are getting too many LinkedIn requests? I had a sneaky suspicion that I was getting a bunch of requests, but I wanted to empirically check how many I was receiving.

So I tracked every request I got for a month.

In the last month I received 25 requests – which is almost once per day (and more than once every business day). A summary of all the requests I received are below.

Some highlights:
# Requests: 25
Number where I was the intended target: 2
Number that I initiated: 0
Number that I was just a link of the chain: 23

Of the 23 …
Number that I forwarded: 9
Number that I declined (thought they were inappropriate): 14

Of the 25 … number of hops:
Two: 2
Three: 2
Four: 6
Five: 15
(commentary: because I was hop #3 in a 5 hop chain of most requests, I was less likely to forward the request because I have no relationship either to the person initiating the request or to the intended target)

The data:

2/15/05 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone wanted to recruit a former CEO for a manager position in Teaneck NJ. i declined.

2/13/04 — 3 hops. i was hop #2. one VC wants to meet another VC. i forwarded.

2/10/04 — 4 hops. i was hop #2. good recruiter looking for a candidate. i forwarded.

2/9/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #4. someone wanted to pitch work to someone across the country. i declined.

2/9/04 — 4 hops. i was hop #3. someone wanted a job. i declined.

2/8/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone trying to pitch Microsoft. i declined.

2/6/04 — 4 hops. i was hop #3. some guy wants to connect to a former coworker. i forwarded the request.

2/6/04 — 4 hops. i was hop #2. friend wants to sell something to Washington Mutual. i forwarded the request.

2/6/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone trying to reach the asst to the CEO of Starwood to sell them something. i declined.

2/5/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone trying to reach the CEO of Princeton Review to pitch them something. i forwarded the request.

2/4/04 — 3 hops. i was hop #2. person trying to connect with an old business colleague. i forwarded the request.

2/4/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone i do not know wants a job from someone i do not know. i declined.

2/4/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. someone wants to learn about a company five hops down the chain. i declined.

2/3/04 — 5 hops. i was hop #3. Some guy wants to sell camera phones into starbucks. i declined.

2/2/04 — 5 hops — i was hop #3. some guy wants to introduce a new piece of software to another guy. i declined.

1/29/04 — 2 hops — i was hop #2. someone i never heard of is moving to SF and wants to connect. i declined.

1/26/04 — 5 total hops. i was hop #3. guy looking for a job. i declined.

1/26/04 — 5 total hops. i was hop #4. someone looking to get into the wine and food industry. i forwarded the request.

1/23/04 — 5 total hops. i was hop #4. someone looking for consulting work. i declined.

1/22/04 — 4 total hops. I was hop #3. looking for a candidate to hire. i forwarded the request to a friend who is the potential candidate.

1/21/04 — 5 total hops. I was hop #5. Guy wanted to reach me. wanted to get involved in Lead21. i accepted him. he immediately became a Lead21 member

1/19/04 — 2 hops (guy requested me directly). wanted to sell me something. i declined.

1/19/04 — 4 total hops. I was hop#3. some random guy wants to meet michael yang. i declined.

1/17/04 — 5 total hops. i was hop #3. someone looking for a job. looked unqualified. i declined.

1/14/04 — 5 total hops. i was hop #4. job seeker wanting to get in touch with a recruiter friend of mine. looked legit so i forwarded it on.

Book review: Woodrow Wilson

I was fortunate to listen to Woodrow Wilson by Louis Auchincloss during a few car trips to Palo Alto.

Woodrow Wilson is a very complicated historical figure — and it is hard to read this book and still have a very flattering opinion of him. Though many neocons today are often called “Wilsonian”, I don’t think that accurately expresses Wilson’s philosophy.

Summation: it is certainly worth at least listening to this book on tape.

Kirsten Bartok

Kirsten Bartok

Besides being fabulously beautiful and a great dancer, KB is a partner at Alpine Investors — a leverage buyout shop in San Francisco. She was previously a venture capitalist for JPMorgan Partners and also worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. She has an MBA from Stanford Business School and a B.A. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kirsten, 31, is also on the Board of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is the chairperson of San Francisco Annual Rebuilding Together.