Marathon training week #5 and my threshold pace improved by a minute to 10 minutes per mile. 10% improvement over four weeks, not too shabby.
I’ve been teaching Startup Equity 101 Primer since last June. Taught it to about 100 people since then. But each class left me wishing for more. I wanted to go deeper. Last night I kicked off Startup Equity 201: Stock Options. There was a great turnout of about twenty five people, most of whom were entrepreneurs, some Enstitute fellows, some wimlink members, a few MBA students…all very smart to attend my class!
For everyone else, here are the slides I co-presented with lawyer Zeke Vermillion, partner at Adler, Vermillion & Skocilich, and one of the most thoughtful and kind lawyers out there who specializes in advising startups.
Here’s an iPhone picture Charles took of the class. It was taught at Tresensa office in Midtown Manhattan (big fan of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster). Here, I’m discussing the recent Yahoo-Tumblr acquisition and sharing my educated guess on how much founder David Karp would take home from this liquidity event.
Every time I teach a class on the topic of startup equity, I learn so much more about people’s interests and motivation. What motivates me is student feedback and facilitating a conversation with actionable insight. What interests me is the challenge to make the “unsexy” side of equity compensation – taxes, dilution, and negotiation – not so off-putting, dare I say even easy-to-grasp, and definitely not scary to the entrepreneurial minded.
It’s going to take hard work, and I’m eager to roll up my sleeves and do it.
Last week, I was robbed of my iPhone 4S, decorated with robot stickers and encased in lime green plastic, while I was jogging in the East River Park. A boy, no older than 13 or 14, grabbed it out of my right hand and ran away towards the ramp on South Street and FDR. Neither boy nor phone has yet to be found.
I’m okay, didn’t get hurt or anything, but I got spooked and avoided the park for a week. I let fear talk me out of some choice opportunities to absorb natural sunlight, smell the flowers, and enjoy spring.
I knew the right choice was to not be afraid, but I guess I needed a word of encouragement. My network of friends on Facebook responded immediately with words of support. They encouraged me to confront my fears.
So I packed in my belt pouch a loaner Windows 7.5 phone with Caledos Runner app running on it and headed straight to the park. I returned to the spot where I was robbed – right by the Historic Firehouse, south of Williamsburg Bridge, by a patch of flowers. At first, I ran past it. Then I circled back and ran right through it. As I retraced the steps where I was robbed, I yelled out lout to no one in particular, “Don’t be afraid!”
It’s a beautiful day in the park today.
About two miles in on my five mile easy run, a teenage boy came up from behind me and snatched my iPhone right out of my hand. It was about quarter past noon in East River Park, close to the Grand Street ramp on FDR Drive.
Out of nowhere there suddenly were two hands trying to yank the phone out of my hand. I said, “No, no, no. please.” To which he said, “No.” He took it and ran south towards the ramp.
I watched him run away. I can get a new phone. Google has all the information I need stored in the “cloud.” I know the grocery list I typed into Notes app before I stepped out for the run: gluten-free snacks, fruits, almond milk. I turned around, and almost as if on queue, it started to rain. Then it started to pour.
I ran back north. I told three runners I encountered. The first woman gasped and turned around to run back north. The second woman seemed unfazed and kept running south. The third person was an older man, and he told me to call 911 right away. A park ranger was sitting in a green van right by us, so I told him what happened. He looked concerned but not alarmed. I dialed 911 from his phone, but the call wouldn’t go through. I got the strange busy signal you get when you call a fax line by mistake. I decided to head home and try again.
There is a narrow bike lane, skinny enough for just two people to pass each other, bisecting the north and south halves of East River Park. I ran towards it, but as soon as I saw a disheveled man standing in the rain and looking absorbedly into the river — maybe an artist, maybe a homeless man — I turned around and decided to cut through Alphabet City instead.
I took a break from the pummeling rain and ducked into a grocery store on East 10th Street. The brown-eyed cashier girl took pity on me and lent me her umbrella, when I told her what had happened to me. I walked home with my almond milk, fruit, and gluten-free snacks.
After I got home and took a hot shower, I contacted the police. I ended up spending about three hours with the 7th Precinct detectives. Two plain-clothed detectives drove me around the block in Chelsea, where my iPhone was last located by Find my iPhone app. Grand larceny by a juvenile. There is a growing database of stolen iPhone serial numbers, just as there are databases of juvenile criminals.
For a good minute I thought about getting a dummy phone, a non-computing clamshell feature as a replacement. But probably not.
Saturday morning I ran 6.26 miles in 70 minutes, according to the Nike+ Running app on my iPhone. But seeing how it thinks I ran straight across the Atlantic Ocean in one unwavering line — from New York to the east side of Spain, I have to question its reliability.
If a girl runs along the East River –- from East 20th Street to Staten Island Ferry — and no apps is tracking it, does the run still count?
Later on Saturday night, some friends stopped by our place for cocktails and laughs.
We’re for divorce equality.
Last weekend I read a GQ article on Robert Downey Jr. You get the impression he’s kind of all over the place with his non-linear thinking and long digressions, but at the end he ties it all together. I mean, kind of. At a certain level, he knows he’s not too different from anyone else. He is human in real life, not a super hero he plays in the movies. He has problems, too (and oh boy has he had problems). Yet at the same time he has to believe he is better than everyone else. It is his conviction that he will win an Oscar. It’s just a matter of time. He has to believe, otherwise, it might be too hard to get out of bed and get yourself to the set for another long day in front of the camera. I think. He’s like a poster child for cognitive dissonance, or the discomfort you get from rationalizing two opposing ideas. He hides it well, with a winsome smile and a bit of Hollywood fairy dust.
I think about cognitive dissonance often. I try to recognize it in myself. These days I wake up and tell myself to have faith. Don’t mope, be grateful, be mindful, take action. Can’t do it without faith, though, in myself and in good outcomes. Believing in things you don’t see can create cognitive dissonance. And when I dwell on it, it makes stuck. That’s when I’m sitting on the couch blankly glued to the computer screen (err, like how I am right now), mindlessly clicking through a dozen browser tabs, scrolling through Facebook newsfeed again for the umpteenth time. Not actually doing anything.
To get unstuck is to do something.
I’ve done a few things since last week. Every morning I make a big ambitious list, and if I’m lucky I’d have crossed off half of them by end of the day. Today I was not as lucky. But I have been running quite a bit. Five miles here, four miles there, and today fast rounds around the track. Faster than last week, so improving. I’m starting to see muscle tone in my legs. This is new.
Last night I taught another class on startup equity basics. I dare say students learned quite a bit about stock options and grants, taxes and corporate structures. You can see my slides here. Today I edited a quick video lesson on easy Japanese phrases to say at a restaurant. Here’s the video on Youtube.
Have to admit I’m kind of all over the place. A recruiter called my resume “hoppy.” I’ve worked as a buyer, analyst, marketer, teacher, sales person, facilitator, et cetera. Yesterday someone asked me how I “position myself in the marketplace.” I thought about that for a second and said I try to deliver value everywhere I go. Try, as in sometimes yes, sometimes no. But that’s who I am. Kind of all over the place, trying to deliver value. And at the end I try to tie it all together.
This morning I listened to the latest “This American Life” podcast and ran 4.4 miles on the treadmill for an hour. Four miles were at my “easy” run tempo of 12:45 minutes per mile. By mile three I nearly forgot I was running. After I showered and ate, though, fatigue overcame me and I had to fight to stay awake. Now, several hours and a cup of tea later, the endorphin rush has kicked in, and I’m almost hyper with more energy than I’m used to.
Yesterday I made my first video resume for a teaching position with Fluent City. If your name is Sam or Deborah, you’ll learn how to introduce yourself in Japanese when you meet someone for the first time by watching this video.
I made up the video lesson impromptu and forgot to translate どうぞよろしく (Douzo yoroshiku). It’s a shortened version of どうぞよろしくお願いします (Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu) for which there really is no direct English equivalent. Roughly translated, it’s an expression for wishing goodwill from the person you just met.
Speaking of goodwill, I was heartened by this morning’s AVC.com entry for a selfish reason. In the last lines, Fred uses the feminine pronoun to describe an ideal entrepreneur/investor:
Better to invest in laughing stocks. Becuase she who laugh lasts, laughs best.
Most VC’s are men, and most VC-backed entrepreneurs are men, so when he used the feminine pronoun, he purposely picked a gender minority as a model character, as an expression of goodwill and sponsorship, I believe. On that note, I hope you at least get a laugh — even a smile would do — from watching my first Japanese video lesson. I’m thinking about making more.
Tired, sweaty, and windswept. But determined. To run a Marathon in the fall. Training program is a significant time commitment of at least 10 to 12 hours a week for the next twenty-two weeks. I step closer to achieving my goal every day I complete a training session.
I’ve done plenty of crawling in my life and still walk plenty more; it’s time to run.
Yesterday I completed a three mile run outdoors before running twenty more minutes, faster, on the treadmill. This morning I ran on the East River Park track in intervals, then jogged another two miles.