Three Cops On A Train

Three cops get on a the subway at 59th street. I get on with them.

So they were all dismissed.

They’re still yours, though.

Yeah. Five resisting arrest…

They are talking shop. Short but constant bursts, like a three-way drum circle. No officer dominating even thought one is clearly senior.

Second shift. I worked second shift last night. Everyone has to.

Yeah, I saw it posted on the wall.

It isn’t casual banter, to kill time. They are intent. As though this train trip is their only chance to map out a maze they are in.

That lady in [some office.] She’s the worst. She sent me to the 17th floor!

My brother-in-law told me…you gotta go to the office on 31st street.

The train stops. They all step out to let new passengers on first.

On the subway platform, in public, there is no talking. Maybe because they are on the lookout. Or maybe because, on the outside, there is no admission of how confused they are.

The philosopher Weber defined government as the group that “claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” People debate whether or not the police exercise restraint. But no one seriously questions their right, when absolutely necessary, to use “physical force.” Which means that these three men, stealing a moment to pool knowledge and figure out what the fuck is going on…they are our government.

The cops step back in and resume immediately.

No one told me. Guess I’m just disposable.

You just figuring that out now?

Saca tu machete.

Predicting The Pivot

Let’s say you have an amazing life story that would make an incredible movie (you do, of course you do.) And let’s say you get a meeting with a studio head, one of the few in Hollywood who can greenlight a movie instantly. You pitch him the story and he loves it. He’s crying, you’re crying, and he says “This is the best story I’ve ever heard! I’m greenlighting this right now.” Then, still sniffling, he will wipe eyes and say…

“What else you got?”

Why? Because he knows that this movie he just greenlit is not going to happen. Not really. Oh, he’s going to spend real money on it. But the chances of it turning out the way you pitched it, if at all, is almost nil. The main actor will have a conflict, the director will quit, the studio head will get fired…as Nicholas Cage once said, the fact that a movie gets made at all is a miracle.

The studio head wants to know is if he’s crying because of the story or the storyteller. When it’s time to change, dare I say to pivot, everyone involved will expect you to make the new (possibly unrelated) idea just as moving as your first one. Movies only make money if the audience responds to the finished product. No one cares about your original pitch, or the pain it took to make the film. As the expression goes, they’re either crying or they’re talking. Once you’ve lost them, you can’t get them back. Which means that the pivot has to be as compelling as the original pitch. So the studio head is asking “can you make me cry again?”

I told this story to a VC friend of mine. We were discussing my tech start-up and his potential investment. At the end of the meeting he smiled and said “this looks great, send us your term sheet, and…what else you got?”


What It’s Like to Be Right About the Big Bang: Genesis of a Viral Video

Imagine that you have spent 30 years of your career working on a single project, dedicated to a single idea. Imagine that there have been doubters along the way. Imagine that you, yourself, have occasionally been unsure about whether it’s all worth it.

Imagine what it would feel like to find out that it is.

Now we know what that’s like—or, at least, we have a good idea. Yesterday, as part of the big announcement that the Big Bang’s “smoking gun” has been found, Stanford posted a video to YouTube. The brief production features the physicist Chao-Lin Kuo paying a visit to the home of his colleague, the fellow physicist Andrei Linde, to tell him that all his work had paid off: New evidence supports the cosmic inflation theory that Linde has been championing for decades. The theories he has honed and advocated are likely correct. He has, to be scientific about it, hit the jackpot.

Read more.



This man was given $25,000 to shoot an ad for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Instead he spent all the money on disaster relief in the Philippines.

Impressive, and good on the studio for not turning him down.

(via tanya77)

"Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out—it’s the grain of sand in your shoe."

— Robert Service (via trevorloy)

Akira Kurosawa and Toshio Mifune on the set of Red Beard (1965).

Akira Kurosawa and Toshio Mifune on the set of Red Beard (1965).

(Source: toshiromifunes, via hellabasic)

Rio: resort in the foreground, favela in the background, Christ the Redeemer in the distance watching over all.

Rio: resort in the foreground, favela in the background, Christ the Redeemer in the distance watching over all.

Tags: rio favela



When I was an entrepreneur raising money I tended to make a classic mistake: trying to convey all the amazing things we were doing in great detail. This is a terrible strategy. Why? Because too much detail buries the story of your business and also makes your business seem, well, complex. And…

Exactly right.  I often compare the entrepreneurial fundraising process to dating:  the only point of the first meeting is to evaluate whether you want to go on a second date.  Getting down into the weeds at the first meeting is akin to showing your date the last 10 years of your tax returns on the first date.  Tends not to work so well. ;-)

I imagine this goes both ways. The fundraiser reveals just enough to get the “second date” and learns enough from the funder to decide if there should be one.

"Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

— William Faulkner