03/21/19

The Long Teeth of VC Backed Firms

Today, dear readers, we speak of Rent The Runway as an exemplar for changing conditions in the world of financing and venture capital. Today RTR announced they had closed a $125,000,000 VC round led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.

This brings the total of VC funding (they also have $200,000,000 in debt) to $337,000,000 based on a valuation of $1,000,000,000.

Wow! RTR has come a long way since its 2009 funding by Bain of $1,800,000.

RTR has been working for ten years to become an overnight success. Some whisper RTR is being groomed for an Initial Public Offering, something they spoke of in the past, but not recently.

rent the runway

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03/16/19

Tarheels v Blue Devils

If you are a basketball fan, last night you were treated to a spectacular basketball game when the North Carolina Tarheels played the Duke Blue Devils. Duke took it 74-73 and the game was every bit that close as the Heels missed several opportunities to take the game.

This is the best rivalry in college basketball. It is a guaranteed dramatic struggle. There is no rivalry that has been as consistently excellent as these two teams.

Last night, the rivalry was made even better.

This year, the Tarheels beat the Blue Devils twice but those wins have to be asterisked because Zion Williamson did not play in those two games. [OK, injuries and staying healthy ARE part of the game and you have to play with the team who shows up and laces up. Fair point.]

This game Zion Williams came with a full strength performance of 31 points and one of the fiercest dunks ever recorded in the history of collegiate basketball.

This is guy is amazing.

Image result for images zion williamson

Duke starts a lot of freshmen. Coach K has come to grips with building teams around “one-and-done” players who will not stay long enough to graduate.

These Duke athletes are some of the best to ever play the game. Ever.

Roy Williams builds his teams around players who may never play in the NBA or who will not be leaving early.

This is a difference in style and strategy that translates into two competitive programs and teams, but with a different view of things. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Your Big Red Car thinks the Heels lost the game because the Heels Coach Roy Williams failed to call a time out and organize things when the Heels had the ball at the end of the game and were behind by a single point.

When the Heels did try to win it, they took a poorly selected three point attempt. Still, it had a chance to go in and we would be singing a different song if it had. It certainly could have.

The Heels, usually a good shooting team, went 4/27 on three point shots.

In spite of this, both teams could have won this game. When you win by a single point, every shot and every free throw was a game winner. But, if you shoot 15% from beyond the arc, you are likely to lose.

Now, let’s get onto the National Championship.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? Hook ‘Em Heels!

 

 

 

03/9/19

Real Men

I have been fortunate in life. I have enjoyed the tutelage of extraordinary teachers and had the example of great men starting with my father.

Leonard C Minch, 97, Rest in Peace

One of those men was the boxing coach at my alma mater, Virginia Military Institute. Every cadet took Rat (freshman) boxing. I hate to admit I enjoyed it, though I did bleed more than a little. You will note that the boxers are not wearing headgear. Coach King did not fool around.

The man on the right is Coach Clark King. This picture was taken a few years before I matriculated at VMI, but it could have been my class. That’s exactly the way we looked.

Coach King taught you technique, how to land a punch, how to take a punch, but he taught us all something more — he taught us how to be men, to defend ourselves in a hard world. The Vietnam War was going on at the time.

What I did not know was that Colonel King was a World War II Marine and had been awarded the Silver Star for heroism at Iwo Jima as a Second Lieutenant, platoon commander. The attached citation tells the story.

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These are the kind of men who taught us back in the 1960s. The kind of men who formed us and fired us in a hot furnace called The Virginia Military Institute. I am happy to report that the same transformation is underway as we speak. One of my Brother Rats is the President of the Board of Visitors. The school is run by an incredibly competent leader, General Peay. It is an infinitely better school than when I matriculated.

I am eternally grateful to these men and to my father who nudged me in that direction. [Thanks to fellow alumnus Dee Shannon, for the Citation for Clark King’s Silver Star.]

Real men. I am proud to have been in their company.

 

 

 

02/11/19

Smarter Than A Billionaire?

Another slightly gray Monday in the ATX though it will be 65F before the day is over.

So, do you think you are smarter than a billionaire?

Let’s use our friend Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, as our test sample billionaire. BTW, richest guy in the world and all that. Guy’s worth what? $140,000,000,000

If you have been watching the news, you are aware of some exciting changes in Jeff’s relationships. He is divorcing his wife of some quarter of a century, Mackenzie. Here they are in happier days.

Image result for images jeff and mackenzie bezos

OK, stop right there. Mackenzie is going to come out of this OK. First, Washington State is a community property state; there is no pre-nup; her next husband will be taller and more hirsute. So, don’t cry for me, Argentina. She gets half? She’s the richest woman on the planet.

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02/8/19

Princess Green — Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

Big Red Car here on a coolish Friday in the ATX researching one of my favorite persons — Princess Green who you may know as the electrifying, enervating, photogenic, uber-entertaining Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortex from New York’s Congressional District #14.

Related image

“Damn right I want to ban ICE, but not Vanilla Ice.”

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01/24/19

Ringworm — the Politics of Ringworm and Billionaires

Big Red Car here on a lovely Texas Thursday with sunny, clear skies and a bit of a chill in the air. Today, we discuss the politics of ringworm and billionaires as brought to us by the following snippet from my new favorite Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

True — the Big Red Car adores Alexandria the Great. She brings a brash freshness to the US Congress from New York’s 14th District.

In a long interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates at a Martin Luther King Day event, Alexandria said the following:

” … a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don’t have access to public health is wrong.” 

Damn, girl, speak it. Ringworm and billionaires! The Bronx shouting out to Alabama! Isn’t democracy great?

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01/2/19

The Budget of the United States of America

Big Red Car huddled in front of a fire in the 37F ATX, brrrr. Today we talk budget, budget of the USA.

OK, so the dirty little secret is that we don’t really have a comprehensive budget to run the USA; we have a series of Appropriations Bills — twelve to be exact.

Huh, Big Red Car?

Image result for images us capitol

It looks so peaceful, doesn’t it?

Yes, so, let’s dig into it, shall we?

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12/27/18

Big Red Rules – Plumbers

Big Red Car here on a sunny, chilly Thursday in Austin By God Texas wishing you a Happy New Year and talking plumbers.

On the tail end of renovating several bathrooms (to the studs), a kitchen, a powder room, and a utility room, I am conversant with plumbers.

So, we need some rules, don’t we? Some Big Red Rules on PLUMBERS.

A baby named Tempe, a newly renovated bathroom, and a direct-to-consumer startup towel company called “Weezie Towels” co-founded by this girl’s mother. No, she is not a plumber.

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