05/23/19

Tesla Dips

I am a huge fan of the Tesla story — brash entrepreneur starts electric car company.

The story is four fold:

 1. Car — great car

Image result for image tesla car

 2. Elon Musk — irrepressible entrepreneur

Image result for images elon musk

 3. Disruption of, perhaps, the most well-organized and entrenched industry

 4. The stock, TSLA

Today, we talk about the stock. You will recall some time ago Elon Musk got in trouble for whispering he had backing to take the company private at $420/share. Several million dollars later, a few US Securities and Exchange Commission scoldings, a bit of public humiliation, the story came to be — well maybe Elon Musk didn’t have the requisite backing.

Continue reading

05/18/19

A Letter — The Greatest Gift

So, the other day, the Big Red Car is talking to one of his brilliant CEO clients and they get talking about Mother’s Day and how everybody waits until the last second to get an appropriate Mother’s Day Gift.

“My Mom is the greatest Mom in history. I need to hustle out and get her a gift,” says the CEO, a very busy CEO dealing with high level CEO stuff and crushing it. He was talking about the classic struggle of picking a gift that befits Mom’s unique greatness, one of the greatest struggles known to mankind.

“Ahh, do you want to know a great secret?” asked the Big Red Car.

“Of course.”

“Write her a letter.”

The clouds part. The seraphim competes with the cherubim for the best tunes–and a bit of hip hop because even the Heavens are woke these days.

Related image

Continue reading

04/16/19

Intellectual Testosterone

Big Red Car here after a trip to Lexington, Virginia for the Business Leadership and Innovation Summit at the Virginia Military Institute. I love a road trip and this was a good one.

Road trips give me a great chance to reflect on thorny issues without the press of other matters distracting me.

Today, I write to propose the addition of a bit of intellectual testosterone to our diets. Here is a world figure debating the wheat crop; with a trice of toadies on a warm day.

Continue reading

04/15/19

The “B”s Have It — Biden, Bernie, Beto, Buttigieg

Today is the day we talk politics, more specifically, the Democrat Presidential Primary. We talk politics one day per week until the election.

[The Dem Convention is in Milwaukee on 13-16 July 2020 at Fiserv Forum. The first debate is in June 2019, only two months from now. The DNC has the campaign penciled in for a dozen debates though there were more than 40 in 2007-8 when Obama was vying for the nomination.]

Continue reading

03/30/19

Where Are We From?

So, a pal of mine asked me, “What has shaped your life? Where are you from?”

We were drinking coffee, I swear. He was also a trade school grad (what one calls a fellow military school graduate).

So, I said, “I won the lottery on parents — both of my parents were World War II veterans — and I went to Virginia Military Institute.”

VMI is one of those places that develop you. One of those places that holds you down and stuffs you full of suffering and character. Suffering builds character.

First, they dissassemble you, then they reassemble you from the broken parts, then they fire you in a hot furnace, then they test you, then they throw you out into the world — armed and dangerous — to put to work what they’ve taught you.

Same thing they’ve been doing for almost two centuries.

Come graduation, there will be far fewer graduates than when you matriculated. It is not for everybody and not everybody can make it. It is a stern, unforgiving test and if you graduate you will know that you have accomplished something hard. That hardness will be in you.

You will never have an association as that of your Brother Rats — men who have been through the same furnace and emerged intact.

It all starts right here. From this point on, VMI owns your butt. I was the first Rat — the lovely term they use to refer to freshmen after they shave your head — in my class to “sign the book.”

610_0208

This is also your last look when you leave. It will still be there fifty year later when you come for your 50th Reunion.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Image may contain: text

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.