(REPOST) This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post

By Chris Clarke via Orce

Originally posted on Chris’s Blogfire here.

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people. This sentence expresses the unwillingness of the writer to be silenced despite going against the popular wisdom. This sentence is a sort of drum roll, preparing the reader for the shocking truth to be contained in the next sentence.

This sentence contains the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

This sentence claims that there are many people who do not agree with the thesis of the blog post as expressed in the previous sentence. This sentence speculates as to the mental and ethical character of the people mentioned in the previous sentence. This sentence contains a link to the most egregiously ill-argued, intemperate, hateful and ridiculous example of such people the author could find. This sentence is a three-word refutation of the post linked in the previous sentence, the first of which three words is “Um.” This sentence implies that the linked post is in fact typical of those who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence contains expressions of outrage and disbelief largely expressed in Internet acronyms. This sentence contains a link to an Internet video featuring a cat playing a piano.

This sentence implies that everyone reading has certainly seen the folly of those who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence reminds the reader that there are a few others who agree. This sentence contains one-word links to other blogs with whom the author seeks to curry favor, offered as examples of those others.

This sentence returns to the people who disagree with the thesis of the blog post. This sentence makes an improbably tenuous connection between those people and a current or former major political figure. This sentence links those people and that political figure to a broad, ill-defined sociodemographic class sharing allegedly similar belief systems. This sentence contains a reference to the teachings of Jesus; its intent may be either ironic or sincere.

This sentence refers to a different historic period, and implies that conditions relevant to the thesis of the blog post were either different or the same. This sentence states that the implications of the previous sentence are a damned shame. This sentence says that the next sentence will explain the previous sentence. This sentence contains a slight rewording of the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

This sentence contains an apparent non-sequitur phrased as if it follows logically from the reworded thesis of the blog post. This sentence is a wildly overgeneralized condemnation of one or more entire classes of people phrased in as incendiary a fashion as possible which claims to be an obvious corollary to the thesis and non-sequitur.

This sentence proposes that anyone who might disagree with the wildly overgeneralized condemnation is, by so disagreeing, actually proving the author’s point. This sentence explains that such people disagree primarily because of the author’s courageous and iconoclastic approach. This sentence mentions the additional possibilities that readers who express disagreement with the wildly overgeneralized condemnation are merely following political fashion or trying to ingratiate themselves with interest groups. This sentence is a somewhat-related assertion based in thoughtless privilege and stated as dispassionate objective truth. This sentence explains that if the scales would merely fall from those dissenting readers’ eyes, they would see the wisdom and necessity of the author’s statements.

This sentence invites readers to respond freely and without constraint as long as those responses fall within certain parameters. This sentence consists of an Internet in-joke that doesn’t quite fit the topic.

[This parenthetical sentence was appended some time after posting as an expression of gratitude for the post’s many visitors and an apology that server overload has prompted the owner’s closing of comments, at least for the time being.]


The Umpire Whispers “Please Play” (David Foster Wallace)

Yesterday while sitting on top of the snowy cliffs of the Hudson river valley, my buddy Eric, one of the wiser people I know, related the following passage from David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”. The protagonist is relating “a really unpleasant dream that had been recurring nightly and waking me up in medias for weeks and was beginning to grind me down and to cause some slight deterioration in performance and rank. . . .

if only life were this simple

if only...

In this dream, which every now and then still recurs, I am standing publicly at the baseline of a gargantuan tennis court. I’m in a competitive match, clearly: there are spectators, offiials. The court is about the size of a football field, though, maybe, it seems. It’s hard to tell. But mainly the court’s complex. The lines that bound and define play are on this court as complex and convolved as a sculpture of string. There are lines going every which way, and they run oblique or meet and form relationships and boxes and rivers and tributaries and systems inside systems: lines, corners, alleys, and angles deliquesce into a blur at the horizon of the distant net. I stand there tentatively. The whole thing is almost too involved to try to take in all at once. It’s simply huge. And it’s public. A silent crowd resolves itself at what may be the court’s periphery, dressed in summer’s citrus colors, motionless and highly attentive. A battalion of linesmen stand blandly alert in their blazers and safari hats, hands folded over their slacks’ flies. High overhead, near what might be a net-post, the umpire, blue-blazered, wired for amplification in his tall high-chair, whispers “Play.” The crowd is a tableau, motionless and attentive. I twirl my stick in my hand and bounce a fresh yellow ball and try to figure out where in all that mess of lines I’m supposed to direct service. I can make out in the stands stage-left the white sun-umbrella of the Moms; her height raises the white umbrella above her neighbors; she sits in her small circle of shadow, hair white and legs crossed and a delicate fist upraised and tight in total unconditional support.

The umpire whispers “Please Play.”

We sort of play. But it’s all hypothetical, somehow. Even the ‘we’ is theory: I never get quite to see the distant opponent, for all the apparatus of the game.”

How to win a Fulbright Scholarship (A.K.A How to score a fully funded, employer approved adventure to study whatever you want where ever you choose.)

The world is your oyster

The world is your oyster

Most people think that you need to be a 4.0 student to get a Fulbright. Not true.  You don’t even have to be a student!  (I was neither.)  You just need to be passionate enough about 1) researching your cause and 2) being an ambassador for America to convince the Fulbright committee that 1) you are worth funding and 2) will make good use of your time abroad. In hopes of encouraging a more diverse group of people to apply, I offer up my top 10 tips for potential applicants. I only have a sample size of one, so take them with a grain of salt.

1) Pick a topic of great interest to both the US and Host governments.

-Grant writing 101: You are asking these governments for money. Pick something that they care about.

-I chose “The effect of Globalization on the Italian Textile and Fashion Industries.” Italy’s family textile businesses are getting decimated by low-cost, Asian imports. The Italian government wants to know how to make those businesses more competitive. Guess who else is worried about low-cost, Asian imports? You got it, Uncle Sam.

2) Pick a relevant and timely topic.

-It’s better work on something new and exciting than to pick a topic that’s been beaten to death.

-“Globalization” was about as hot as it gets in 2006. Another girl in my class studied “the Slow Food Movement.” The Italian Fulbright committee was basically asking for her autograph.

3) Pick a topic that is personally relevant.

-You need to convince the admissions committee that you are PASSIONATE about whatever it is you propose to study, be it textiles or sea snails. Since there are no deliverables attached to the funding, the committee needs to know that you are going to follow through on your work.

-I talked about seeing Italian textiles manufactured first hand by a family business while I studied abroad in Siena back in college. I also showed my commitment to the garment industry by working an internship at Dolce & Gabbana.

4) Pick a topic that leverages your unique skills.

-Are the skills you have particularly relevant for the task on which you propose to work? They should be.

-I studied industrial and competitive dynamics 80hrs a week for two years straight on Wall Street.

5) Bring skills that aren’t available in the host country.

-Similar to #4, except that not only are you qualified for the job at hand, no one else in the host country can tackle the problem.

-Italy doesn’t have a crazy culture of excessive work, so there are very few people there that have spent 80hrs a week trying to understand why some companies succeed and others fail.

6) Bring back unique skills that benefit the US.

-Uncle Sam is footing at least half the bill for you trip, so make sure he is getting something out of the deal (in addition to all of the good will you are going to create!)

-As mentioned in #1, I brought back a better understanding of how small and medium sized businesses can compete with low cost foreign competition. I’m putting it into practice right now by starting my own business.

7) Secure as many solid affiliations as possible.

-Nine months is NOT a lot of time to produce anything meaningful, especially when you are air dropped into a foreign culture/language you may know nothing about and may not function “efficiently” in the first place. Fulbright wants to know what you are going to hit the ground running. To do so you are going to need some support/infrastructure.

-Most people have some connections from their current university or with their professors from study abroad. I didn’t have either so I just cold emailed over 75 professors at business schools all over Italy. I included examples of my work and offered to work on their projects for free. I ended up with my own office (and wonderful secretary) in the best business school in the country.

8) Use every possible question, no matter how small, to convey the value you will bring. Every word counts.

-This is obvious.

-I think I wrote entire paragraphs in one line spaces.

9) Read everything on the website and talk to past grantees.

-You can learn a lot by looking at who has gotten grants for what in the past. Talking to past grantees will give you an idea of what to expect.

-I definitely got help from my buddy who was a Fulbright.

10) Stick it out.

-The application process can be boring and tedious and easy to blow off. Don’t blow it off. It’s worth it. You’ll thank me later. I promise.

I’m published by Harvard Business! “Are you the bottleneck in your organization?”

Hi all!  It took a while but (a small sliver) of my Fulbright research on entrepreneurial decision will see the light of day courtesy of Harvard Business Online.  Here’s a snipCelebration baby!pet:

“You may be the reason your company isn’t growing. You are micromanaging — and it’s stifling the organization you are trying to build.  Our research tells us that the very management style that enables a founder to get a company off the ground — a zealous focus on tactical execution — often derails growth down the line. Lost in the heat of battle, many entrepreneurs fail to adapt their management style to the evolving needs of their growing organizations…”

Check out the article over at HBR to see what the 100+ seasoned venture capitalists and serial entrepreneurs we interviewed said about how to balance growth and control.  Or check it out because you want to know what the heck I was doing in Italy for nearly a year!  Either way, let me know what you think and thanks for clicking!

Be well!


PS.  If anyone is interested in seeing the rest of my research, I would be happy to send it to them!

The CEO Question: Interview with Aris Constantinides of NBGI Ventures

Yesterday, I sat down with Aris Constantinides , founder and Investment Director of NBGI Ventures- a leading U.K. venture firm focused on investing in medical technologies. I wanted to get his thoughts on whether or not founders become bottlenecks in their own organizations. His response:

“Do founders often become bottlenecks? Actually, it’s the norm. The question is why.

Find below Aris’s thoughts on why so many founders get in the way of their own success, including seven questions VCs and entrepreneurs can ask themselves to avoid sinking their own ship. Thanks Aris!

The primary reason founders become bottlenecks is personality. Many founders just can’t let go.

In the beginning, founders run all aspects of the company. What makes the good ones good is their ability to let their organization grow on its own. The founder himself is no longer the center of everything, but plays the functional role to which he or she is most suited. For example, a scientific founder may turn into a chief scientific officer or chief evangelist. More often than not, this is what occurs. It’s not that founders outlive their usefulness; it’s just that the role for which they are best suited often changes. Our founders are incredibly passionate about the technology and are usually the best people to have in the market. We absolutely don’t want to lose them.

We call this issue the “CEO question.” Can the founder of a startup become the CEO of a rapidly growing company? Do they have the skills? Are they capable of becoming an expert manager? Asking these questions is the duty of Board of Directors. The board has the necessary bird’s eye view. They should see where the bottlenecks are and take action. Here are seven questions we ask when evaluating a founder’s ability to grow with his company:

1. Are common tasks unduly delayed? It’s always troublesome to see a founder get derailed by minor details. As the company grows, it’s easy for a founder to get pulled in 1000 directions if he or she lacks focus or the ability to execute.

2. Does the founder have a clear vision for long term growth and a tactical plan to get there? Founders need to see past the initial product. The ability to leverage early wins into future victories is what makes a long term CEO.

3. Is the founder hiring to complement his or her weaknesses? We expect our technical founders to make strong technical decisions but we are have real confidence when they make strong hires in commercial, sales, and marketing.

4. How many direct reports does the founder have? Anything above five or six reports is suspect. What do you need more than commercial, finance, manufacturing, R&D, clinical, regulatory, HR?

5. Where is the founder spending his or her time: managing/delegating or inventing/marketing? Investors sleep better at night if we know that our founders are also worrying about hiring and building out the organization. Many founders are already off thinking about their next business before the first one has been executed!

6. Is the founder consistently hitting internal targets and milestones? If a founder can’t stick to his schedule in the early days, delays are only going to get worse as complexity increases. Has the company planned accurately and executed without significant delay?

7. What operations are outsourced? Outsourcing is a great way to grow the organization. Entrepreneurs need to do a serious self-assessment and ask themselves, ‘What do I do well?’ Everything else should be outsourced or hired into the company. If you want to meet targets, you need to focus your efforts on what you do best.

Ode to Twitter: Please bring my account back to life?

Hi Twitter,

I love your service, can I please start using it again?

Having just read your terms of service for the first time, I am assuming that my account was suspended because I recently started following a lot more people. It’s true. I wanted to try using twitter in a completely new way. As you can see, I had been using twitter on a very small scale, just following people I knew in the real world. It was cool, but I couldn’t really see what all of the true twitter followers were getting so excited about- it felt like status updates. So, I thought I would try different “twitter strategies” to see if I could derive more usefulness from the tool. I read a few blog posts, and the consensus seemed to be that power users are much more liberal in extending their connections. So i did just that- I spent the past several days running persistent searches on various different types of keywords that interest me (entrepreneurship, venture capital, fred wilson). I followed no names and big wigs. I followed without fear of reciprocation. A couple of times I even used a tool that did this for me (I hear this is bad etiquette, sorry!). Sometimes I cut people that didn’t follow me back. Other times I would keep them. I was a twitter scientist.

I was thrilled. I had found a whole new side of twitter! I told my friends how cool I was and what a better experience twitter could be!

And then you shut me down. Sadness. All of that work for naught!

So. I apologize for getting into the gray area of your TOS. But I would love my account and followers and followees back. I was just starting to “get it.”


Netflix: The Best Stuff I’ve seen on Culture, Corporate or otherwise, I’ve ever seen

Thanks to Blake for passing this on.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

-Antoine De Saint-Exupery,
Author of The Little Prince

How Early Do You Have to Get Up to Swim With the Sharks?

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Image via Wikipedia

I pinched this article from the NYtimes.  Make of it what you will.

How Early Do You Have to Get Up to Swim With the Sharks?
Published: Sunday, July 13, 1997

RISING early. Sages have said it brings health, wealth and the proverbial worm. Aristotle said it leads to wisdom. The 18th-century English theologian Matthew Henry warned: ”Those who would bring great things to pass must rise early. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty.”

Maybe that’s why Robert A. Iger, the president of ABC Inc., is sneaking around at 4:45 A.M. in the dark (trying not to wake up his wife, the news anchor Willow Bay), so he can beat everyone to the gym at 5 A.M., and be in his office by about 6, to surf the Web.

Or why Howard J. Rubenstein, the public relations mogul, once jogged in Central Park with a Dictaphone at 5:15 A.M. (until his secretary had trouble transcribing a tape that had all sorts of panting on it).

Call it seeking the competitive edge. Of course, they are not the only ones who try to beat the dawn. But by the time many have had that first cup of coffee or rustled a child out of bed, an exclusive club of early birds, many of the city’s movers and shakers have already armed themselves with layers of information; raised their heart rates and limbered their muscles; reviewed the schedules for the day (and many times the week); awakened personal assistants with detailed messages, and sharpened all sensoriums, so they can hit the day running.

The theory being that every battle is won or lost before it is fought.

Or as the real-estate developer Sam Lefrak puts the motto of his life: ”I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead”

Taken as a class, they are a calculating lot, primed and focused, zealots of timing and detail who build snooze time and daydreaming into the schedule. The morning peace can be exploited for polar virtues: accomplish basic tasks to make the rest of the day free or to contemplate and lay out strategy before the onslaught of midday clutter and interruptions.

They have morning rules and rituals. Perhaps drawing on the wisdom of abstinent prize fighters, the publishing star Judith Regan says she won’t have sex during the work week. Peter Vallone, Speaker of the City Council, goes to Mass seven days a week.

Perhaps future social historians will hold them up as human exhibits of the information age. There is more information available, so there is more to digest to get a handle on the world and be competitive. Most of these early birds have read two to four newspapers, browsed the Internet, channel-surfed the television stations, absorbed news radio, listened to voice mail, sent and read E-mail and even had one to three meetings, before 8 A.M.

”There is so much to know now,” said Ira M. Millstein, who at 6 A.M. is reading corporate governance of companies in Third World countries and has filled the desk of his assistant, Sally Sasso, full of faxes by 7 A.M.

And, let’s put it this way, no one is going to bed early. While some may be in bed by 10, most go to sleep from 11 P.M. to 1 A.M. Beyond a certain time, some of these people — by their own admission — are not exactly scintillating. One, who will remain nameless, is known to doze off at dinner parties. Mr. Iger concedes: ”Don’t find me at 7 or 8 at night. I’m a little tough to deal with.”

Some see religious roots in early rising. Abraham, after all, is said to have risen early to sacrifice his son Isaac. But it is clear the modern phenomenon is about pure competition.

”I don’t consider what I’m telling you to be normal,” Mr. Millstein said of his early rising, ”but I bet I’m the earliest.”

”Am I the earliest?” asked Mr. Rubenstein, who admits, ”We’re all a little crazy.”

Dr. John W. Rowe, the president of Mount Sinai Hospital, contends: ”I may not be the earliest riser, but I bet I’m at work the earliest.” That would be 7 A.M., when, he says, he expects his assistant to have coffee brewed for his arrival.

It doesn’t matter who is the earliest, but they all may have something on the rest of the city. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ”He who rises late may trot all day, and not overtake his business at night.” And what is even more awful is that what was considered early then may be even earlier now.

Remember: Benjamin Franklin didn’t have E-mail.


46, president of ABC Inc.

WAKE-UP TIME 4:45 A.M. to an alarm.

MORNING ROUTINE ”I have everything organized the night before. Let’s put it this way: It’s all designed so I don’t have to turn any lights on. I leave the apartment at 4:55 and arrive at the gym and work out until 6. See, the trick is to arrive in full workout attire. You have to arrive at the gym and hit the machines.”

EXERCISE ”I’m addicted to the Versa-Climber,” he said. He works out on it for 35 minutes and then lifts weights. An annoyance: ”There’s a select group of die-hards who are there before me and I don’t know how they do it.”

MORE ROUTINE When the workout is over: ”I walk across the street to my office, where a number of daily newspapers are waiting for me. I spend about an hour reading newspapers, E-mail, surfing the Web, watching tapes from ‘Nightline’ or screening a show. It’s my quiet solo multimedia experience in that period of time.”

He showers in his office, where he also has suits, shirts and ties. ”My suits are all over the place. That’s what weekends are for, shuttling suits.”

BREAKFAST 7 A.M. in the company cafeteria with a few ABC executives.

BEDTIME ”It’s about 11 P.M. or 12 A.M., or later. ”When we’re in reruns I try to go to bed closer to the 10 or 11 A.M. range,” he said.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”I think people have their own rhythms. In my case it’s my morning. I’m less ornery. Don’t find me at 7 or 8 at night. I’m a little tough to deal with. People discover your routine and attempt to gain access to you. It’s a disturbing trend, but the phones tend to ring more than I would like.

”Our lives are filled with many more distractions and many more assaults on our time. Before, all we had to care about was mail and phones. Now there are faxes, E-mail, videocassettes to screen, plus the phones and mail. And the sheer volume of information written about our business has exploded. There is so much more to read.”


32, communications director for Mayor Giuliani.

WAKE-UP TIME An Upper East Side resident, she says she wakes up at 5:30 A.M. but then hits the snooze alarm and rises at 5:45 to WINS or CBS news on the radio.

”I’m very, very efficient. I like to sleep up to the last minute. If I was normal I’d get up earlier, but I like those last few minutes.

”It’s good to wake up to the radio, because it’s like I already know what’s going on.

”I basically roll out of bed, put on my running clothes, and put on a hat and hope nobody sees me.”

NEXT She’s ready to jog, but before she goes she calls the police desk at City Hall to find out about any incident that may have happened around the city from the police officer on duty. She may take notes or follow up right then, calling other people in the administration. She’ll quickly scan the headlines of all the papers.

CAVEAT At 6:10 A.M. she’s out the door to run. Unless the Mayor calls.

”There have been unfortunate times early in the morning when he has read the paper before me and he’ll call at about 5:30 A.M.” she said.

At that point, she said, she will read The New York Times, Daily News, Post and Newsday. ”Then I’ll make sure I have available any commissioner who could brief the Mayor at his morning meeting so he’s prepared for the rest of the day or he can take whatever necessary action to address the issues.”

EXERCISE She takes about a 30-minute run either on the lower loop of Central Park or on the Reservoir, and if she has extra time she runs the full loop of the park.

NEXT ”Come home. It’s about 6:45. Then I’ll read the papers again for another 15 minutes.”

BREAKFAST ”A glass of grapefruit juice or cranberry juice. When I eat breakfast with any kind of food I become hungrier throughout the day.”

EXIT STRATEGY She’s out of the house by 7:15 A.M., and then goes to a meeting at Gracie Mansion or City Hall.

Each day, Mayor Giuliani has a meeting of his senior staff at 8 A.M. for one hour, either a breakfast meeting at Gracie Mansion or a meeting at the committee-of-the-whole room on the second floor of City Hall.

”I really prefer the Mayor’s breakfast meetings up at Gracie Mansion. It’s exactly 15 blocks and I can walk.

”You know there’s a science to the mornings,” she said. She is referring to the chronic congestion on the East Side subway lines.

If she has to go to City Hall, Ms. Lategano is on the train downtown. ”If I leave the house at 7:15 A.M. it only takes 15 minutes to get to City Hall, but if I leave at 7:30 A.M., it takes half an hour,” she said. ”If I’m feeling lazy I do take a cab.”

BEDTIME Falls asleep halfway through David Letterman, about midnight.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”The mornings are a great management tool, because everyone at the 8 A.M. meeting is prepared to brief the Mayor on any issues relative to the city that day, and it’s early enough to have a jump on the day.”


43, president of the Regan Company, which produces projects for film and television. She has handled books by Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and Christopher A. Darden.

WAKE-UP TIME Generally 5 A.M., but as early as 3 A.M. She always wears big white cotton pajamas to bed. When she wakes up she immediately starts leaving voice mail messages for her assistant, Angelica.

EXERCISE ”I get on the treadmill, which has a phone headset on it, and walk and don’t run.”

She starts leaving messages for her other employees, dictating their tasks for the day. If she’s not on her treadmill, she’s in the Jacuzzi. Either place, she’s making calls.

”I never go to the reservoir to run. Yuck. It’s like rush hour on the reservoir.”

RULES OF THE MORNING ”I never have sex during the work week. Boyfriends are not part of the mornings. We get him out of the house as quickly as possible.” Ms. Regan’s boyfriend is David Morey, a corporate consultant who lives in Washington.

BREAKFAST Ms. Regan is the mother of a 16-year-old boy, Patrick, and a 6-year-old girl, Lara. Breakfast consists of egg whites and daughter time. ”We sing and play and hug and rock. I tickle her and joke with her and then she gets dressed and I have 10 minutes to talk her into brushing her teeth.”

NEXT ”I read The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post, (all the papers pretty much, except for The Daily News, which she says called her ”the most obnoxious woman in New York”). ”I channel-surf. I pretty much have the television going all morning.”

BEDTIME ”I only sleep four hours a night. When you have children, you get used to their biological clock. My children don’t sleep, so neither do I.”

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”Work starts the second I get up. I either work or play with my kids. I have to. I had a brutal custody battle with their father and I value my time with them. I have a lot to do. I’m a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown 100 percent of the time.”


65, the head of Rubenstein Associates, a 150-person public relations firm.

WAKE-UP TIME 4 to 4:30 A.M.

NEXT He puts on his running clothes and enters his office in his Fifth Avenue apartment. He switches on all the lights and the television set and starts flipping through the channels for news.

”It feels like midday,” he says.

He sits in the office until 5:40 A.M., working. He brings home several valises full of paperwork, all color coded in files.

”I organize my phone calls for the day. I look at all my unreturned phone calls. I prioritize them, color-code them and then write a line or two about each subject I have to talk about.”

He also organizes his meetings for future days, signs checks, looks at his diary, thinks about switching or adding a meeting for future days. He handwrites notes. He analyzes the week’s calendar.

EXERCISE At 5:40 A.M., he does about 20 to 30 minutes of stretching, then he and his wife, Amy, run four miles around the Reservoir in Central Park. That’s five days a week; the other days, he works on a stationary bike or treadmill in his home.

Mr. Rubenstein said he used to take a Dictaphone with him while he ran. But he stopped when his secretary said, ‘What’s with all this panting?’ ” When he did run alone, he said joggers he knew would catch up to him and ask him to ”talk to the Mayor” if something needed to be fixed in the park. He hated that.

NEXT At 6:30 or 7 A.M., Mr. Rubenstein does call one of his assistants, who is already in the office, to go over the day.

BREAKFAST Oatmeal with skim milk and coffee with his wife, Amy.

At work, he usually has a breakfast meeting at 8 A.M. ”I like them because no phones are ringing yet and I don’t feel pressure,” he said.

BEDTIME 10 to 11 P.M.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”It’s a full-time day before the day starts. I have almost four hours of focusing on the day without interruption. You go into the day way ahead.”


57, president of Tishman, Speyer Properties, international developers and property managers.


EXERCISE Gets out of bed and immediately starts to exercise. In bad weather he will use the stationary bicycle and treadmill. Otherwise, he jogs, preferably three miles, with one of two ”reasonably steady running partners.”

People who have seen him jogging in Central Park say Mr. Speyer seems to be having business meetings while he’s running. But he says he tries to avoid that.

He has even tried to dictate when he’s running. ”But I got strange responses from my secretary when I brought in the tape.”

Many times, he takes a cab to different parts of the city and then gets out and runs home.

”You get a sense of the pulse of the city that way,” he says.

BREAKFAST 8 A.M. Usually a breakfast meeting. ”When the clock turns to 8, I become a business person,” he said.

BEDTIME About 11 P.M. or midnight.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”I think every minute is precious.”

RULE He never calls Carole Karpel-Sekaloff, his assistant for 30 years, before 7:30 A.M. ”And she never calls me until then, too,” he said.


70, senior partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, an international law firm with 11 offices and 600 lawyers, whose clients include General Motors, Westinghouse, General Electric and Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.


NEXT Makes coffee with hot milk and goes to his desk at 5 A.M. ”Since I’ve been about 9 years old or earlier, I’m at a desk at 5 A.M. I remember when Martin Block was the D.J. and I would listen to the ‘Milkman’s Matinee’ on WNEW.

”I read lecture notes or an agreement that I’m working on, or a speech or an article or a complicated opinion letter. Anything complicated that requires undivided attention is part of the morning.”

He uses a fax machine to send material to his office.

THE VIEW During the week, he splits his time between his Fifth Avenue apartment and his home in Mamaroneck, N.Y. In both places, he said, it was a priority for his offices to have a view.

”My desk in New York overlooks the park. My desk in Mamaroneck overlooks the Long Island Sound. At first I sit myself down and look out and contemplate and think. It’s peaceful and focused. There are no phones ringing, no people, no computers.”

RULES ”I don’t call any associates or partners until 7 A.M.,” he says, laughing. ”I hold back my anxious calls. I have mercy. I call at 7. That’s acceptable.”

(By the time Mr. Millstein’s assistant, Sally Sasso, comes to work at 8, she has a pile of work on her desk.)

EXERCISE Around 7 A.M.: Work out on the exercycle and stretch and flex.

BREAKFAST Half of grapefruit, coffee, toast or dry cereal.

NEXT Then he goes to work. In New York, he either walks or takes a cab to the office. In Mamaroneck, he gets driven to work and reads the papers in the back seat.

”By that score it’s about 8:45 A.M.”

BEDTIME 10:50 P.M.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”I wouldn’t know how to do it otherwise. I’m getting a jump on everyone. It’s a competitive advantage.”


From Ghana, the Secretary General of the United Nations. (A peacemaker in a world of sharks.)

WAKE UP TIME: 7 A.M. ”I’m not one of these 4 or 5 o’clock guys.” But during crises he will go to bed at 2 A.M. and wake up at to reach people in other time zones.

ROUTINE ”I wake up and get the news. I listen to the radio: to the BBC and Radio France Internationale and then read The New York Times and The Washington Post. The first sections. I need the international aspects.”

EXERCISE ”I then get exercises done on the treadmill. I walk and sometimes I feel energetic and get on my rowing machine.”


BEDTIME Around 11 P.M.

PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING ”You have to pace yourself.” He said since he became Secretary General in January, his life has changed. ”Drastically,” he said. ”It’s become very hectic. The first time I heard the phrase ‘time is the enemy,’ I laughed. Now no one has to explain it to me.”

”You have to organize and structure your time in such a manner that you give sufficient attention to the many issues that come across your day.”

Theories, Outrages


Andre Balazs, the hotelier who just opened Nica’s, a bar-restaurant. Goes out at least five nights a week and wakes up from 6 to 6:15 A.M.

”The key is you got to get out of any place by midnight. It’s reverse Cinderella. I really believe this. If you’re out after midnight, the tenor changes and after midnight it’s all about who you’re going to go home with. It’s not very rewarding professionally.

”Years ago, I spent a lot of time with Andy Warhol, and it impressed me that he took his socializing very professionally and paced himself by always being at home at midnight. Andy never burnt out.”


Don Hewitt, executive producer of ”60 Minutes.” Awakes at 5 A.M. and is usually at work by 6 A.M. Reads The New York Times and The Washington Post, then goes to the cafeteria and reads more newspapers.

Why does he get up so early? ”Basically I’m up because I can’t sleep. I go to sleep around 11 P.M. and I listen to the first item on the news. I’m awake and I can’t lie in bed.”


Brian McNally, owner of the restaurant 44 at the Royalton Hotel. In bed around 3:30 A.M. and up near 10.

”I have some cornflakes with a couple of cigarettes and then get into the shower. Sometimes I’ll go out to a cafe and read the newspaper and have coffee and a twisted bagel with sliced tomatoes and lots of salt and pepper. It’s good in the Village: no one gets up until that time.”

”It kills me to get up at 5 A.M. I can’t think straight. I hate those people who are jogging and walking the dogs. It’s depressing. Don’t they have a life? I mean, in principle, I like the morning. You know, there’s sunshine and fresh air. It’s just, what is with the jogging and chirping?”


Don Imus, radio show host. Awakes at 4:17 A.M. and goes on the air at 6 A.M.

”I come over here to the Kaufman Studios and read The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Daily News, and I think about what it all means and whose life I can ruin, and there’s not much time to do it. And though I’m on the air for four hours there are a lot of commercials, so it comes down to seven or eight minutes that I can make someone furious.”

”Most people who I have talked to in the 4 and 5 o’clock area wake up and stare at the clock throughout the night. There was a time, 10 years ago, I had a substance situation, and I had to have an alarm. But no more. I don’t drink or smoke and I just wake up.”

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Project Natal for XBOX 360

As my friend Andres would say, the future is in the mind.


We’ve come a long way.

Entrepreneurship: The easy part…

New Yorker Cartoon

Courtesy of Robert Weber and the New Yorker