January 8, 2014

Book Short: Faster Than The Blink of an Eye

Book Short: Faster Than The Blink of an Eye Michael Lewis is one of those authors for whom my general point of view is “read whatever he writes.” Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt  was no exception.  It’s a book about the high-frequency trading business, how a difference in microseconds can make a difference, and how the complexity of trading has led to enough confusion that virtually no one on Wall Street actually understands how it works any more. I am a capitalist through and through, and I never begrudge Wall Street for making money, even though I do have moments where I doubt the amount of value that finance creates relative to the amount of income they swallow up.  However, that all goes out the window when there is evidence that some pocket of Wall Street isn’t playing by the rules.  I define “the rules” as either the law, or as something more like “a basic sense of morality and fairness.” Some of what has been going on in the high-frequency trading business, as Lewis describes in this book, may or may not be legal (let’s assume it is), but is almost certainly not following a basic sense of morality and […]

January 14, 2010

Jump Starting Start Ups

      As I mentioned in some recent posts, I’ve really enjoyed sharing the Return Path story with the tech start-up community in New York through groups like the NYC Lean Startup Meetup .     Next week I’m taking the Return Path story on the road to Silicon Valley where I’ll be presenting to Startup2Startup.  Startup2Startup is a group of Silicon Valley geeks, entrepreneurs, and investors dedicated to educating and helping the next generation of Internet startups. They meet monthly over dinner to discuss relevant topics in technology and entrepreneurship, connect with new people and companies, and share our knowledge and […]

December 28, 2009

Learning How to Stop

Learning How to Stop This is my last post about thoughts I had coming out of the NYC Lean Startup Meetup that I spoke at a couple weeks ago.  Being lean, the discussion went at this event, means not doing extraneous things.  While it’s true for startups that it’s important to make great decisions about what to do up front, it’s also true — especially as companies get larger and more important older — that organizations and individuals have to be vigilant about stopping activities that become extraneous over time. This is HARD.  Once things — product features, business processes, […]

December 21, 2009

Innovating in New York City

Innovating in New York City Last week I wrote about speaking at the NYC Lean Startup Meetup.  One of my other key takeaways from this, which I’ve known for a while and have been meaning to blog about, is just how vibrant the tech startup community is here in New York.  I know others have been blogging about this like mad – Fred has some thoughts here, here, and here, and Charlie has some here and here.  Chris Dixon’s seminal post on this is here. (I even blogged a bit about why NYC is a good place to start a […]

July 9, 2009

Opening Night

Opening Night My brother Michael, internet marketer by day and a writer by night, had his first play produced last night off-Broadway at the Manhattan Repertory Theater’s SummerFest.  The play is a romantic comedy called Fallout, and it’s my favorite thing he’s written of about 8-10 works I’ve read over the years, both screen and stage plays.  This is the first time I’ve ever had a bit of a “behind the scenes” look at an Opening Night, and it was fun to be a part of it.  When I think about entrepreneurial pursuits in business, I’m not sure this even […]

November 11, 2008

Why Do I Have to Be Frisked to Go to an NFL Game?

Why Do I Have to Be Frisked to Go to an NFL Game?   I am freaked out about terrorism as much as the next person, but our obsession with security has gone too far.  Some of the airport-related security is dumb enough — I can’t hijack a plane with my shampoo any more — but at least there’s some logic to the general premise.   But the major pat-down I got last weekend when I went to see the Chargers beat the Chiefs was just silly.  It certainly didn’t make me feel more secure sitting in the stadium.  It […]

September 22, 2008


Closure This past weekend was a weekend of closure for me. As I prepare to leave the city after almost 17 years and the apartment I’ve lived in for almost 15, we had my two original roommates from this apartment in town for the weekend with their families for a bit of a farewell party. Times certainly have changed – from three single guys to three families and 7, almost 8 kids between us. Sitting around and noting that all three couples had either gotten engaged or first started dating within the confines of Apartment 35B, then saying goodbye as […]

September 15, 2008


Spooky Note: Jonathan is a colleague of mine in our Authentic Response research business. [Me] Hey, I heard you moved back to New York (from Boston) [Jonathan] Yeah, the travel was getting to be too much. Plus, a buddy of mine was looking for a roommate [Me] Where’s the place? [Jonathan] Murray Hill [Me] Oh – I lived there years ago. Where? [Jonathan] Near 2nd and 34th [Me] What building? [Jonathan] It’s a small walk-up – you wouldn’t know it – 633 Second Avenue [Me] NO WAY. I used to live there. Which floor? [Jonathan] Third [Me] Yup – that […]

September 11, 2008

7 Years On

7 Years On My last September 11 as a New York City resident. I walked down to the World Trade Center site this morning as I have each of the last six 9/11s and rang The Bell of the Unforgotten, which is the New York City Fire Department’s port-a-memorial that they bring out for the day. As a long-time member of the lower Manhattan community, the day always bring out a lot of reflection for me. Seeing the memorial flood lights on tonight will do the same and bookend the day. The main thing I was thinking about this morning […]

September 1, 2008

Back to…

Back to… I’m not in school any more, and as far as I can tell now, schools start before Labor Day for the most part, but it still feels like tomorrow is “back to school” for the working world. Business still hums along in August, and we’ve certainly had our hands full with one of the busiest months ever at Return Path, but somehow, the traditional end of the summer season still manages to have the trappings of a European August, with lots of people on vacation or doing more “work from home” days than usual. As all that draws […]