The Bain Capital Files

I've posted about this topic before. I wrote down my thoughts about the Obama campaign trying to make an issue of Mitt Romney's departure from Bain. And I've written about trying to keep stuff private in the Internet era. Well this past week we saw those two themes come together in a single story.

Gawker obtained "more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested" and published them on the Internet this past week.

I will stay out of the issue of whether this was legal, moral, or right. What's done is done. And it is apparently not too damaging to Mitt Romney according to this reporter who went through most of the material.

But there's a lesson this for me and my partners. Everything we publish to our investors should be written as if it will someday be published in Gawker. And every action we take in structuring our business, our relationships with our investors, and our relationships with the entrepreneurs we back should be conducted as if it will someday be published in Gawker.

I think this policy will be good for us and others who choose to adopt it.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Internet is THE warning board which says …Watch…Watch again …your step, your words, your deeds, your deals, your sight, your friends.Watch every move you make.If you are a public figure or wanna be a public figure one-day….ordinary men are watching you and will have fun one-day if you don’t watch yourself.

  2. Boss Hogg

    Yes. I’ve said don’t write anything you wouldn’t want on the front page of the Washington Post. It may well end up there.

    1. fredwilson

      good rule

    2. Prince Harry of Wales

      Or the front page of TheSun, ol chap.

  3. Rohan

    New world. Everybody is a reporter. Everything is media. Everything you do is marketing. Every bit of self promotion is sales (cue: Kevin :)).No more ‘Oops. I let my guard down.’ The ‘guard’ is becoming extinct. Better be authentic and better do the right thing. Less personality. More character – more doing ‘right’ when no one is looking.And of course, if you make a mistake, better come clean first. And quick.

    1. fredwilson

      that last part is so true

    2. falicon


    3. Matt A. Myers

      The ego has no place in an open, whole, inter-connected society, and thus guards will hopefully weaken more and more. There’s a lot of work to be done, by most of us in this regard though. We need to feel comfortable naked. Most of us don’t, because a lot of us are ugly and many of the world around us are ugly and judgemental and unforgiving too – mainly because that’s because its their ego driving them and being judgemental, ‘protecting’ themself. Catch-22..

      1. Prince Harry of Wales

        Speak for yourself. I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable naked.

      2. awaldstein

        Hi Matt…I think of this a bit differently. Ego isn’t bad. All modesty certainly isn’t genuine. And humility can be just as much of a poise as bravada.It’s just feeling natural in your poise that makes the difference.

        1. Rohan

          @awaldstein:disqus Agree 100%. I don’t think ego is all bad either.I think of insecurities bringing out 3 kinds of people (massive generalization and simplification, of course). Those who are very secure and hence are the ‘nice guys’, and then the rest are the mix of those who either have confidence over insecurities and vice versa.Insecurities > confidence = Insecure over achieversConfidence > Insecurities = Driven ambitious individualsIn both cases, you have ego.. just used slightly differently.

          1. awaldstein


      3. ShanaC

        the ego needs to be there – how do you control the id running wild – naked, nude, and flashing, as I tell people all the time, are all different things.

    4. awaldstein

      Of course you are right Rohan. And this is of course, aspirational at it’s core.People are complex and messy and the aggregates of our foibles. I think that is what makes us interesting.

      1. Trish Fontanilla

        Aspirational indeed. I think if everyone was doing the right thing… perhaps those Twitter spam viruses of “someone wrote this really bad blog post about you” wouldn’t circulate as much. haha Funny part about that was I saw so many “high level” folks click that link.

        1. awaldstein

          It is enough for the majority of people to learn to think before they push [send].And to understand that everyone has a camera. Everything you every shared digitally, now even in analog, is flotsam and jetsam that will surface sometime most likely.I love a connected world. I’m aware that the time behind the doors of our homes is more sacrosanct than ever.

          1. Prince Harry of Wales

            That’s what I thought…ya know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Sacrosanct, my ass.

        2. Rohan

          I don’t agree with your point about less twitter spam because everyone was doing the right thing.Right is a point of view in most cases. And what is right to some will feel wrong to the others.. always.

      2. Rohan

        Aspirational. Idealistic. Naive. Guilty as charged. :)Would have made for a lovely conversation over dinner though.And again, I don’t disagree with our inherent complexity and messiness.. I just think they can be hidden less now – especially if we choose to be, or are ‘out there’. We better be authentic and accepting of ourselves..

    5. jason wright

      I would rather go underground than be subject to the the standards set by just another bunch of people.

      1. Rohan

        Boo. (sorry Jason :))You can never get rid of external standards. Doesn’t mean you can’t have, and live by your own.

        1. jason wright

          That’s like mean average.

      2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        U (me) r a social animal and can’t escape … unless you are one of those paranoids who can survive :-).

    6. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      new world?? where is it ? It is the same old world ever since the …bla bla bla time.u only change.

      1. Rohan

        I don’t find anything to be ‘the same’ actually.Geographically, technologically, socially, economically…..(list goes on) – all different.

        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          I may accept whatever techno..bla..bla…scio bla bla… econo bla bla …but not geo…I find it all the same … same spherical shaped … inclined 23-degrees ..rotating on its own axis … only you (we) change…

          1. Cam MacRae


          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            enjoyed the pic.Edit: One of the best replies I got in recent times…like a slap on the face…that is too without words …

  4. falicon

    Nice. I have operated under this assumption for a very long time now and it has served me well. The only place I hide is in plain sight of the public :-)If it’s something I am worried about coming back to bite me, I don’t share it OR I handle it in person.

    1. fredwilson

      does in person include the phone or skype?

      1. falicon

        For me…no

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Interesting, Kevin. I know some fairly influential people in the 55+ range with a similar policy but you are the first younger person or tech savvy person I’ve heard this from. (One client would pay to fly me in for a meeting rather than skype.)Anything in particular lead you to this?

      1. falicon

        for me, I think it’s a couple of things:1. I have a personality quirk that I just absolutely hate the phone (skype is an extension of that for me). I love in-person interaction, and I love async. communication…but I have a real mental block having to talk on the phone.2. I’m what I would call an in-betweener…at 38, I’m old enough to have gone through most all of my education prior to the internet…and in fact I entered the work force at just about the same time as the internet did (really lucky timing on my part)…anyway, as such I’ve got a mix of old-school in me as that’s how I was taught/mentored way back in the day ;-)3. I’m a big fan of body language and all the little extra things you can pick up in-person that you just don’t get any other way (even via something like Skype you miss so much because you can’t take in the whole scene/environment)…and you don’t get the before/after bits you get with in-person stuff (things like waiting for the start, leaving the meeting room, the extra little small talk, it all actually adds up to a much stronger relationship)….but mostly it’s just because I’m strange and really hate the phone…if I can’t communicate with you in person, then I prefer email or some other async. version (with lots of details)…everything else is a mucky middle that makes me uncomfortable πŸ˜‰

  5. William Mougayar

    Then how different is this from Wikileaks? They both released confidential documents. If Assange is guilty, is Denton too?

    1. fredwilson

      i never said Assange was guilty

      1. William Mougayar

        I was addressing this thought to those that believe he is.

        1. fredwilson

          then you addressed it to someone other than me

          1. William Mougayar

            I re-read what you wrote “I will stay out of the issue of whether this was legal, moral, or right.” I will do the same then, as that’s another discussion in itself.

          2. fredwilson


  6. awaldstein

    We live on the public stage in what we do and what we say or write. This includes what we say on the phone as well.Act like such is a great rule.I try to do this. I’m certain I don’t succeed completely,

  7. LIAD

    I’m sure originally a Buffet quote but can’t find the source, this from Chairman of Sears Holding Company in the introduction to their code of conduct: “If you would be ashamed to have your friends and family read about what you did at work today in tomorrow morning’s newspaper, then don’t do it.” – Applying this just to work is a mistake. It can and should be applied to everything.Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  8. leigh

    this goes for everything and anything. it’s all public or could be. you invite 5 people to an intimate conversation about x (think marketing, think shareholder, think personal dinner party) and someone could be recording on the phone assume they have a digital line and record all the conversations.on the one hand i think that it’s a more thoughtful way for us all to be. on the other hand, it’s going to have some strange cultural consequences as the more things become public, the more people will become private and the notion of people leading lives of quiet desperation will become more amplified and problematic.

    1. Prince Harry of Wales

      Spot on @leigh:disqus spot on. If only I knew that BEFORE Vegas.

      1. leigh

        lol — let the queen know that I”m available for consulting πŸ™‚

  9. Matt A. Myers

    Isn’t this done anyways? It all really depends on the reputation you care to have at the end of the day. If you want to attract cut-throat investors who would sell your children to make more money and you present yourself as being like-minded, then you’ll structure your speech around this. It’s all marketing-speak, all with intent of convincing people of risks, aspirations, and projected gains in a positive if not realistic light.Privacy doesn’t exist. People who think it does usually try to have a strong hold of control over the world. It’s interesting in interpersonal conversation when people, mainly those I’ve noticed who like to gossip and make judgements, highly defend their control mechanisms of the world and will attack as a coping mechanism whenever that delusion of control is threatened.Anyone who has something to hide usually thinks they have something to gain by having it hidden, whether that’s their ego protecting itself or something else. It could be true they have something to gain financially, or at very least feel there’s something they won’t lose.It always falls back to character versus reputation – how you react in a situations vs. what little stories and pieces of you do people hear and think they know about you?

    1. thinkdisruptive

      This is fallacious on the surface.Just because I don’t care to share everything doesn’t mean I have something to hide, or that there is anything wrong with not sharing. Obviously, we need to assume that anything we say or do can and will be shared, but that doesn’t mean it should be. (And, that goes to the legal, moral, right argument that Fred doesn’t want to have — hope we’ll do that somewhere.)I, for one, think there should be severe penalties for people private stealing data and disclosing it. Privacy should be held more dear, not less, in a world where everything is instantly sharable, and much more strongly protected as a result. It’s the only way we’ll live in the future without tearing each other apart. The fact that some are comfortable being naked is not a reason that all should be, anymore than some people being extroverts means that introverts should be forced to live that way too.… I see this as a nearly direct analog.I don’t apologize for valuing privacy, for being an introvert, for sharing what I choose to share and no more. That’s part of who I am. My right is that others respect that choice, and not poo-poo on it because they think it is a dated notion that will soon die.

  10. jason wright

    So we must live out our lives by standards set by Gawker and the like?

    1. Prince Harry of Wales

      And evidently by – front page, no less.

      1. William Mougayar

        Oh Prince Harry….@ccrystle:disqus has a new product for you. See above πŸ™‚

      2. jason wright

        There’s nothing particularly revealing about that information.

    2. fredwilson

      They aren’t setting the standards. We should be doing that. They are just shining a light on them

      1. jason wright

        Their light.

    3. Elia Freedman

      The world is full of Gawkers, whether a big website or a neighbor who’s a little too nosy.

  11. PhilipSugar

    Larger issue is that this is why nobody in their right mind would go into politics other than somebody whose lust for power is so high that it overcomes the bullshit you and your family have to go through.In years past I would have considered spending some of the last years of my career in public service (emphasize service). Now I would never even consider. So we are left with the narcissistic egomaniacs we have now. I found out this week the one politician I thought was pretty good had amassed $7mm while working at a $100k salary…..I wonder how that math works. At least my tax money didn’t go to Romney, although probably some of my retirement did.

    1. William Mougayar

      Well said Phil. It’s tough to get politicians that are business competent. For e.g. Bloomberg breaks the mold in being competent at both, and I’m sure there are a handful of others.You don’t learn business being in politics, but you can learn some politics after being successful in business.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I think a smart business guy avoids politics because being on the front stage comes with many drawbacks. If I was successful business person, then I would rather be influential from behind the scenes.

    2. Brad

      One night I got tired of listening to pundits and Wendy and did some research to look where all the tax money was going. Got pissed off and devised a plan. Too much money in politics. http://peoplestaxplan.blogs

    3. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      it is all about that bullshit.whether you are the bull or the shit.

    4. fredwilson

      Such a good point. Though somehow Blomberg has made it work with limited nonsense. Maybe its a NYC vs national politics thing

      1. JLM

        .I think that part of Bloomberg’s success has been his adopting a philosophy — an evolving philosophy — of governance rather than wrapping himself in the mantle of a party’s “one size fits all” platform.B has been a Democrat, a Republican and now an Independent and not one New Yorker really cares what party he is from. They accept, and truth be told WANT, his leadership.It would not be unreasonable to observe the fact that he was able to finance his own campaigns is the critical element in his getting his start in politics..

        1. ShanaC

          Sadly, this is why he can’t go national…

          1. JLM

            .Oh, yes, he can. You have to want it.Being and having been the Mayor of NYC may be enough for any man’s ambitions..

          2. fredwilson

            He wants it badlyHe just doesn’t think a third party candidate can win because Congress breaks a tie and he doesn’t think he could win a primary of either party I think its the latter he’s wrong about

          3. JLM

            .I think that Bloomberg could win the Republican primary in much the same way that Reagan (another former Democrat) and Romney won — run twice, win once.There are some dues to be paid and there are some positions to evolve. He starts with a huge advantage, the only Republican who could put NY and Florida into the win column. Huge advantage.There is much to learn about third party presidential candidacies such as Ross Perot, who delivered the Nation into the hands of Bill Clinton. Absent RP, nobody ever hears about BC..

          4. fredwilson

            He should have started this year thenHe’s 70 this year

          5. JLM

            .Age means nothing any more but you are absolutely correct..

          6. markslater

            really? i thought he didn’t want to run. I for one would love to see it.

          7. andyswan

            I hope Bloomberg wins before I kill myself with this 17th ounce of Dr. Pepper. SuperNanny!!!!!

          8. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            being in national politics needs a lots and lots of money … really lots of money and people who follow the ideology with lots of money … just ideology worth … dime a dozen like idea’s in entrepreneurial and VC world….

          9. markslater

            wish he could

        2. fredwilson


          1. markslater

            i’d love to see him run for pres. Maybe then i’d take an interest.Its a very worrying world when a publicly elected official can claim that a woman has the power to somehow “expel” the detritus of rape.people are worried about a wall for mexico – wall off these flyover states if you ask me……

        3. John Revay

          I wish he would run – he seems to be a no BS type of guy.Just does the right thing.I for one did not want him to take over after 9/11 – I was very happy w/ Rudy in place…….I was very wrong, Rudy was a good major – cleaned the city up, Mike Bloomberg is a Great mayor – at least my view from CT.

        4. Nicholas M. Cummings

          Bloomberg would run into the same problems that Jon Huntsman did: too practical, too reasonable, too moderate, too pragmatic. Today’s America is too much about red-team/blue-team to really think through the issues in a complex manner.One thing about the Republican primaries that stood out to me was when CNN made it sound like a bad thing that Huntsman funded his own campaign (instead of taking special interests money). The horror!

      2. LE

        Bloomberg follows the mold of “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” or more succinctly what I call “you have to be the crazy driver others watch out for”. Rather than trying to water things down you take very hard positions and deal with the flack.This works for a particular type of politician. Daley in Chicago was one. Frank Rizzo in Philly was another.

        1. JLM

          .Daley and Rizzo were two of the most corrupt human beings to ever have been in politics.I do not think the same of Bloomberg..

    5. JLM

      .I agree more with you than you do with yourself.Having said that, I will never stop hoping and being optimistic that folks — damn good folks — will step forward, in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, to guide our Nation.One of my classmates from VMI, Scott Lingamfelter, is running for Lt Gov in Virginia. He is a retired Artillery Colonel, a combat veteran and a 10-year member of the House.He is a damn good man. In addition to being my Brother Rat, I have the honor of having made the first financial contribution to his political campaign and career.I sent him $10,000 because I knew he was a great guy and would make a fabulous politician. He credits me far and wide for having gotten him off the launching pad.Best investment I have ever made.Go to his website and look him up. He will make a great Lt Gov of the Commonwealth of Virginia.Even while we — you and me — hold the cynical views we do. Never, ever, ever, ever give up. Let’s fight these bastards and these times until hell freezes over and then let’s lace up our skates.Meet me on the ice, my friend..

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup.Politicians don’t learn anything about business or leadership by being politicians for 30 years. But a successful business person or military leader can be a damn effective politician by learning the minimum required and focusing on getting things done for others which is why they get elected.

      2. John Revay

        great Lines…hell freezes over…..let’s lace up our skates….meet me on the ice, my friend.

    6. Ryan

      So you call Gawker’s outing personal financials “bullshit” and in the next breath explain you changed your vote after obtaining someone’s personal financials? How does that work?

      1. PhilipSugar

        One is a financial statement required by law and you know you will have to provide. The other is releasing private documents. Totally and completely different. Also btw I didn’t say I changed my vote. I was deeply saddened though.Basically if you’ve done anything, people could probably release private documents and without context I’m sure one could make you look bad.

    7. Lee Blaylock

      Give em hell Sugar. I agree. In April of this year, Congress is finally subject to the same insider trading laws as you and I are. It is called the Stock Act…. Appalling that until that act was passed into law, a congressman or senator could trade on committee information LEGALLY. and MANY did during the healthcare debates on both sides of the aisle. Same as when the DOT wants to put a new road in and watch our elected officials start buying land and flip it on that trade before the common citizen knows diddly. Also watch Pelosi squirm when 60 Minutes asked her about several trades during the healthcare debate. Rat Bastards. At least public pressure finally shut down that “loophole.”

    8. JamesHRH

      “The only problem with any candidate for President is that he wants to be President.”In 1968, when asked if he wanted to be PM ‘very badly?’ Pierre Trudeau answered ‘not too badly’ & quoted a Greek philosopher.Man, the 60’s were out there.

  12. Mac

    Sting and The Police have actually put this to music….making it easy for us to remember: ‘Every Breath You Take’

    1. fredwilson


    2. kidmercury

      one of my favorite creepy/stalker songs. but my all-time fave is morrissey’s “the more you ignore me, the closer i get”…

      1. Mac

        Not familiar with that one. Listened. Liked it. Thanks. How did you set up link in your reply?

        1. kidmercury

          i’m not 100% sure what you mean…..are you inquiring as to how the video got embedded? i just dropped the link and disqus did that automatically. sometimes disqus doesn’t do it or it takes a while for it to show up. but there is nothing special i did.

          1. Mac

            yes. thanks

  13. Tom Labus

    It’s best to operate as a public company from day one and that includes financials.

  14. kidmercury

    i don’t think it matters. the same people that were going to vote for him before are going to vote for him now, the same people that weren’t going to vote still aren’t going to vote, and no one’s going to jail (that’s only for poor people). for the vast majority of us this election is completely pointless, it only matters for the lobbyists and bureaucrats whose personal wealth will be largely affected by whether or not the candidate they’ve spent more on wins. the truth only matters if people care.

    1. Andre

      so do we concede or do we make reclaim our democracy? it’s crazy to think that the people think that or have conceded that we have no place in our democracy

      1. kidmercury

        people have already conceded. they accept these two candidates, nearly identical outside of branding, constitutes a real and meaningful choice. they ignore things like both candidates being funded by major banks and both candidates having identical foreign policy — which means identical monetary policy and identical philosophies on size/scope of government.

        1. fredwilson

          Well there is one difference that sadly matters to a lot of folks.

          1. kidmercury

            did you see the rethuglican memo on internet freedom?…you guys will probably hate it because it is anti-NN but i’m a big fan. could be a key issue for the people of fredland. for me it’s not enough to make up for the walking disaster that is mitt romney but i do find it positive that some libertarianism is creeping into GOP.

          2. fredwilson

            Yup. We are all over this and trying to decide if we want to get behind it

          3. kidmercury

            alright! i hope you guys choose to get behind it. does that mean fred could be voting for romney/ryan ticket????? hahhahaha…….i know it is such a disgusting thought to consider……i’m not able to bring myself to do it. gary johnson is running on the libertarian ticket and is a great candidate in my opinion — i bet some of your peers would love him. he is like ron paul but without the screaming army of kooks. of course he has no chance of winning but has a “hands off the internet (and everything else)” approach.

          4. fredwilson

            My vote doesn’t matter. I live in NYJLM’s doesn’t matter either. He lives in TexasThe folks in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado and a few other states will decide

          5. kidmercury

            how about congress? if the GOP becomes the “hands off the internet” party, will fred become a card-carrying republican????lol i am just joking around because of how terrible the thought is, especially since these morons keeping making these brain dead comments about rape and abortion……these people need a class in political correctness more than i do!but so long as foreign policy remains the same it is all talk. imperial foreign policy ensures deficit spending to finance the military, which means these issues are largely determined by US creditors. china, japan, and foreign countries that are lenders will say, “fine, since you can’t pay your debt, we get your internet” and it all shifts to UN control. the rethuglicans are talking about returning to a gold standard, if they price gold at some obscenely high price — over $12,000/oz — then all the gold the US treasury and the fed claim to have can be sent to china, japan, and other nations that are foreign holders of US debt, the debt problem is solved, and maybe rethuglicans can start to live up to their promises. but i am suspicious of this happening; it would almost be like the libertarians took over the GOP. romney is a crony fascist so i’m skeptical he will be a champion of states rights/national sovereignty instead of the UN agenda.

          6. fredwilson

            I will become a libertarian. In fact I think I am. Hell the Koch brothers want to legalize drugs. I can get behind a lot of their causes but the GOP ain’t one of them until they divorce the Christian religion.

          7. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            what is so bad about Christian religion … every religion is as stupid as Christian.

          8. fredwilson

            I agree with you. That’s jus the one they are married to

          9. Pete Griffiths

            They won’t do that any time soon. Religion is the opiate of the masses and they need opium.

          10. fredwilson


          11. Pete Griffiths

            “these people need a class in political correctness more than i do!”:) lol

    2. fredwilson

      Oh snap. Jail is only for poor people (and Madoff)

      1. kidmercury

        wanted to share here some great infographics on prison culture in the land of the free:http://www.usprisonculture….here is one that gets into race. i despise racial discussions, although these race stats should be viewed as class stats (there is a large overlap between race and class…..i think most race issues would be solved by solving class issues).https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.aka

      2. ShanaC

        madoff is when you screw over your own family – which he did.

        1. JLM

          .Madoff has no family.He savaged his wife. He destroyed his children.He is a monster and a sociopath..

          1. Wavelengths

            Yes. Although I think the term is psychopath, which is on the far end of the sociopathic scale.The horror is that he passed for a nice guy for so many decades, securing the trust and the money of so many people (and foundations that served the underprivileged).I find it terrifying that he was able to walk in all those powerful circles and no one knew who he really was.

          2. ShanaC

            Jewish life is very charity driven – and he manipulated that to the fullest. (I lost a job due to this fact, actually)

  15. Prince Harry of Wales

    Now ya tell me! Who knew they had cameras in cell phones?!!

    1. fredwilson

      Welcome harry

  16. Rich Edwards

    Which begs the question, what specifically are your considering doing different, other than being cognizant that material possibly being made public in the future? Is this about tone, or providing more context, or maybe being more guarded/less revealing in written communication?

    1. fredwilson

      Maybe a bit of all of those

      1. Rich Edwards

        So more a case of recognizing a paradigm shift, in terms of the expectation of privacy as an investor, than a specific issue revealed in the Bain disclosure.

        1. fredwilson


  17. Brad

    Sad day when being successful is looked at potentially being a negative.

    1. jvill

      You really think that’s the issue at hand here?

    2. William Mougayar

      Exactly. I skimmed over these so-called Gawkleaks, and all it demonstrated was Romney’s savvyness and diversification of investment, and the fact that he had a piece in a lot of Bain-led Private Investment transactions. This isn’t unlike VC’s who have small stakes in the companies their firm invests in.

    3. ShanaC

      if jobs had run, the Populist response would have been different. What did Romney make? His wealth is not the all american kind.

      1. fredwilson

        That’s an interesting point and gets to the debate Andy Swan and I had here the other day. He said investors create wealth. I said they don’t and that entrepreneurs do. That may explain why Bloomberg gets a pass for the most part on being rich.

        1. ShanaC

          a) not everyone gives him a perfect pass – back in the good old bad old days of occupy wall street they marched past his house. Primarily the reason is once you get rich, you stay in the arms of wall Street because what else are you supposed to do with your moneyB)To me that fact about Americans scream that our heads are screwed on straight. We like giving passes to those who build long term, Schumpterian, building life , sort of wealth. We think it is important as americans to encourage people to do this, so we give them lots of free social passes. I think a lot of the anger is due to the fact that we’re switching away from that source of wealth in this country and people see the everyday response as damaging to our national character. If the republicans saw that in advance, I think they wouldn’t be dealing with Gawker, because the character of that person would have already had a kind of vetting by Americans.

        2. Brad

          I can tell you as an entrepreneur the wealth is created many times with the investment. I could do it, but much slower. There has to be a respect to both sides as they are both incredibly important. Your self deprecating attitude is so respected, but don’t downplay how important you are to the entrepreneur and the market.

        3. JLM

          .The real answer is they both do in much the same way that an engine and gasoline create power.It is a dependent and symbiotic relationship. Neither can exist without the other..

          1. Mac

            But, since we recently learned that the entrepreneur “doesn’t build it on his own”, there must be a third-party everyone is overlooking.

          2. JLM

            .Haha, all I can tell you is that my guy is AWOL. I keep getting to work early thinking he may be there, but the guy is a no show.Oh, well.BTW, surfing down at Folly Beach..

          3. Mac

            No way! I was there for the PGA Championship and headed back Monday for the day. Any reason to be in the Charleston area is usually a good reason. Folly is always one of those good reasons.

          4. JLM

            .That ride down to Kiawah along Main or River off Maybank Highway is the loveliest ride in the world — huge, huge live oaks dripping Spanish Moss. Tunnel effect. The real South..

          5. Mac

            I couldn’t agree more. It’s a drive that’s worth the effort to see and one I never tire of making. One of the things I love about the area. My fraternity brother’s family owned Kiawah before it was developed. You should have seen it then. We had it to ourselves. Wonderful times.

          6. JLM

            .Damn good frat brother.I own some land on Daufuskie, the next island over. Still only accessible by ferry. It is wonderful.Did you ever read Pat Conroy’s book about his teaching experiences on DI? Great stuff..

          7. Mac

            Conroy’s a legend here. Heard him speak once. Never read The Water is Wide, only Prince of Tides and The Great Santini. My first job out of college was with Sea Pines Plantation where I became familiar with Daufuskie.Damn good frat brother is right. There were only three houses there at the time. We took a ten wheel drive army truck and cut the original layout that Pete Dye turned into the Ocean Course two years later. Incredible memories.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            You surf??? Long board?

          9. JLM

            .After a 40 year layoff to get in shape, I am back to the elements with the longest of the long boards. Do not tell anyone.As I write this I am still dripping seawater.New. Lease. On. Life..

          10. Donna Brewington White

            Very cool.Given your penchant for the poetic and the name of the beach, at first, I thought that it might be some sort of metaphor. Then I figured out it was literal.A lot of surfers in my life, including my husband.

      2. Brad

        Because Apple creates all their products in China? In comparison to Staples and Dominoes?I think that Fred’s response below makes more sense, he was an investor not the entrepreneur. This perception is what makes it unclear.

      3. JLM

        .Shana, shame on you — “not the All American kind” of wealth.What pure nonsense.Mitt Romney has a superb education and found his niche managing OPM. He delivered returns to pension funds, insurance companies and other institutions to fund their noble and critical causes and responsibilities.In the process, he made a buck.He was damn good.Some teacher will have a more certain probability of actually collecting her pension because of Mitt Romney.A L L A M E R I C A N, indeed..

        1. markslater

          gotta love this one:”He delivered returns to pension funds, insurance companies and other institutions to fund their noble and critical causes and responsibilities.”i like Romney and agree with you on his right to make a buck for sure, but putting noble and insurance in the same sentence is taking the piss.

          1. LE

            Are you speaking about a particular type of insurance?Insurance does serve a function for everyone (home, auto, life as well as health and commercial insurance).So why the problem with the use of the word “noble”?What “noble” purpose do the majority of things we have or do serve? Sports? Movies? Theater? TV? The Olympics? Insurance is certainly more necessary in society than any of those. Because nothing in society would be able to operate at all (the church, education, hospitals, the electric company) without insurance and risk management. And part of what they do is invest the money they take in as premiums and so they can pay out claims.(That said it’s probable that @JLM:disqus use of “noble” was tongue and cheek.)

          2. JLM

            .I would gladly concede the point that there is much not to like about insurance companies. You have to pick your insurance company to make that point valid.I did tons of business with insurance companies who managed pension funds — Ohio State Teachers’ Fund managed by Phoenix Mutual — for clients whose causes were noble.These guys were good stewards of their clients’ interests.Too broad a brush..

        2. LE

          Sometimes people who criticize people who grow up with a silver spoon (and I would consider if your father was governor that qualifies as a silver spoon certainly) don’t realize how many children who grow up with that spoon are lazy because they can be.

        3. ShanaC

          In American Culture – Carnegie and Rockefeller are treated differently than Morgan. This is despite Carnegie and Rockefeller being strikebreakers/whatever and Morgan effectively being the drucker of his era for GE. In fact, they all worked together!

    4. JLM

      .This is the greatest abridgment of the American Dream — the silly class warfare associated with success. It is pure nonsense. Pure cynical nonsense.The idea that America does not revere success is a silly lie being sold by those who cannot inspire.We have equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. The sense that a successful person should redistribute their after tax wealth is absurd..

      1. Brad

        Amazing how much we agree. Love the way you wrote this.JFK said it well, “rising tides lift all boats”. The two words that I think provide a great disservice to most Americans are “fair” and “should”.

      2. Elia Freedman

        I’m consistently amazed at how easy it is to distract this country away from the primary problem. Social security and Medicare/Medicaid combined are 100% of the gross receipts in the US. All discretionary spending, including military, is paid with debt. Who will solve this problem?

        1. kidmercury

          assuming the american people maintain their current levels of ignorance, the problem will be solved by china and/or the UN. put another way, they will issue a new currency to restructure the debt, and will impose more taxes — perhaps a global goverment tax (so you pay muncipal, state, federal, and global).

          1. JLM

            .Too true to be funny and too funny to be true..

      3. Pete Griffiths

        I sympathise with a great deal of what you say but we most emphatically do not have equal opportunity. In fact, incredible that it was to me, the evidence is clear that we have extremely poor social mobility.

        1. markslater

          ha – i was going to say – what planet is JLM on to think that there is equal opportunity – there most certainly is not.

          1. LE

            Ok then, what would you define as equal opportunity?You’re not doubting that there are people who came here with nothing, or started with nothing, and have been able to achieve something (economically as only one example). Immigrants in particular.

          2. kidmercury

            a world with a smaller government. government steals from the poor and gives to the rich, exacerbating income inequality and decreasing social mobility in the process.

          3. JLM

            .Nothing is perfect but there is no other country in the world where a half black and half white guy can become President. Or is there?.

          4. markslater

            i’d say maggy was equal.

        2. JLM

          .I did not mean to suggest that we currently have “equal opportunity” but rather that it is the appropriate objective rather than “equal outcomes”. I may have said that in a ham handed manner.In fact, we do have a forceful effort in that direction.Take our President — please — who is the unabashed product of affirmative action only because of his skin color.In fact, not one drop of the American slave experience flows through his veins. And it is only his skin color that differentiates him — half black, half white that he is — from any other person in America.And, yet, he was admitted to Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law School — would any man not admit that this was at least in part due to his apparent ethnicity though, in fact, he was a half white son of Africa and not an heir to the reparations of the American slave injustices.As a poor white boy, I was similarly treated though I made more of a mercantile deal with America. I went to a military school and traded 5 years of service including risking my life for an undergraduate degree in engineering and the GI Bill which provided me with an MBA in finance.A great bargain for me, subject to the draft in any eventuality, because I was intending to become a professional soldier under any circumstances.So while you may decree that all opportunity is not quite equal — and I would not argue against that generality — a poor half black guy can become President and a poor white guy can both get out of poverty and make their ways in the world.Education is the great arbiter of opportunity and anyone in America who wants one can get one. You may have to break a sweat.Is this a great country or what?.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            It is indeed a great country, which is why I live here. But contrary to popular belief in the US intergenerational social mobility is actually lower in the US than in many other industrialized societies.Comparisons with other countriesAlong with the aforementioned β€œDo Poor Children Become Poor Adults?” studyThe Economist also stated that “evidence from social scientists suggests that American society is much `stickier` than most Americans assume. Some researchers claim that social mobility is actually declining.”[17] A German study corroborates these results.[18] In spite of this low mobility Americans surveyed had the highest belief in meritocracy among 27 nations surveyed.[19]”

          2. ShanaC

            don’t remind me – I’m terrified of the future as a result. if there is low movement, how do I know that long term me and my own (family, etc) will be ok? And friends – god I have a couple of friends on foodstamps. How will they get out?

  18. Guest

    Warren Buffet had a line about how you should conduct business as if anything you do or say could be broadcast on the evening news…

  19. Mike

    It used to be how it would look on the front page of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Now Gawker and Deadspin are our new conscience.

    1. ShanaC

      nah, it is a return to the old school ways of yellow journalism – aka the beginning of journalism. It is kind of interesting to watch!

  20. Cam MacRae

    Gawker appear to be confused: On the one hand they say they lack the expertise to assess the documents, and on the other they allege Romney is engaged in tax dodging schemes.Tax dodging, or more properly, tax avoidance evasion (also noncompliance depending on who is doing the taxing), is illegal. That’s not an allegation one should make lightly, and certainly not an allegation one should make in the absence of evidence.So a tip of the hat to Gawker for sourcing and publishing these documents — their release is in the public interest after all. And a wag of the finger for making an unsubstantiated allegation — petty politicking at best.Edit: I meant to write tax evasion, not avoidance. Too many scotches — been a long day.

    1. JLM

      .Terms in the tax debate:Tax “avoidance” — arranging your affairs legally so as to minimize the amount of tax owed. Perfectly legal in the US. As an example, arranging to receive income on 1 Jan rather than 31 Dec in order to push the tax liability into the next year — legal.Tax “evasion” — arranging your affairs fraudulently so as to appear to minimize the amount of tax owed; or, failing to pay taxes owed. Illegal in the US. Lying and saying you received income on 1 Jan in order to push the tax liability into the next year — illegal.There is not a whiff or hint that Mitt Romney, whose taxes have been prepared by a formerly Big 8 tax accountancy and reviewed by an independent CPA, has ever engaged in even sophisticated tax avoidance let alone tax evasion.What he has done that unsophisticated financial journalists have completely missed is “asset protection” whereby he has moved assets beyond the reach of American courts.Much of what folks think they know about Cayman Island and Swiss accounts has much more to do with asset protection than any aspect of tax evasion..

      1. fredwilson

        I would bet you a lot of money that Romney has never broken a law. And I suspect you would not take that bet.

        1. Cam MacRae

          I wouldn’t even take that bet with respect to myself — audit hard enough and dig deep enough and you’re bound to find something.

          1. kidmercury

            i’m with cam on this wager. there are so many laws people accidentally break them all the time without even knowing it.

          2. Cam MacRae

            Simply breaking a law is way too low of a bar — I broke a handful of laws just tonight. I meant tax law specifically.

        2. JLM

          .Romney is a guy with a To Do List who just keeps checking them off.Why the hell would he ever cheat at anything?All American Dream, smart as hell, well educated, blonde cheerleader trophy wife, lots of sons and uber successful.The guy doesn’t need to cheat at anything.Change a few positions to suit his current political objectives? Guilty as charged though a bit of it is simple political evolution.Believe me, if Axelrod could find a bug on Romney or Ryan, we would be having insects for dinner tonight..

          1. fredwilson


          2. Pete Griffiths

            I agree. I doubt he has broken any laws. But from a political perspective what he has done may nonetheless prove extremely damaging. Imagine his returns being published and showing that he paid not taxes for five years. Sophisticates may applaud the ingenuity of his avoidance scheme(s) but the average Joe is going to be pissed that a guy can be worth and can earn millions and pay no tax. It will just look terrible.Given that he refuses to release more returns and given the heat is is taking for it, we can safely assume he has assessed the political risk.

          3. JLM

            .Deficit spending, voracious spending, national debt, credit rating, unemployment, dependent society (disability, food stamps), job killing programs, etc etc etcVa couple of years of tax returns.Yeah, I can see the balance. We should not rest until we get Mitt’s tax returns. Anything that Axelrod wants is for the good of the country.Bogus..

          4. fredwilson

            C’mon JLMAll of those complaints can be also laid at the feet of the second Bush administration. A pox on both houses if you ask me. And Bush was worse than Obama by a long shot.

          5. JLM

            .I think the big issue is one of degree — $2-400B deficits v $1.5t deficits.I am no defender of the Bush administration.If your argument is one of moral equivalence — both equally bad, then it falls on deaf ears.By any objective measure, Obama has failed to produce what he promised and has exacerbated a bad situation.He had complete control of Congress for 2 whole years and he produced nothing of consequence.Given his limited experience and talents, he set expectations way too high..

          6. Pete Griffiths

            Politics is not about reality. It is about perception. I agree completely that Mitt’s tax returns are a stupid distraction. But sadly such side shows are the meat and drink of our system. The real problems we face are extremely complex. The masses need easily digestible sound bites. Politicians, many of whom have no understanding of the issues in question, are only to happy to oblige. And so we have to listen to this cacophony of inane link bait.

      2. Cam MacRae

        Yeah, see my edit. Hopefully the noncompliance part was a clue that I meant to write evasion — bloody aussie on the turps again.

      3. Pete Griffiths

        “”asset protection” whereby he has moved assets beyond the reach of American courts.”could you elaborate on that?

  21. CliffElam

    No kidding. You read about how Oracle’s North American VP of Sales left because of an IM conversation he had?It’s a lesson that will keep getting learned over and over.-XC

  22. John Revay

    I once worked w/ a guy that when talking about sensitive topics… would say something to the affect……”now assume we have to explain this to an audience on national TV”

    1. Max Yoder

      Love it.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      ha… that depends whether the guy is national or no-one….the explanations will be different.

  23. vruz

    Running for President? I would vote for you! πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      Nahh. I don’t want to go grey prematurely

      1. JLM

        .Hair dye on me, Fred.I will support Fred but only if I get to be Sec of Offense..

  24. Elia Freedman

    The other corollary, besides knowing that every skeleton will eventually be found, is that the media isn’t anyone’s friend. It is there to build you up and then tear you down.

    1. fredwilson

      Oh god yes. Every one of our portfolio companies that has found themselves a media darling has gotten an earful from me on that. The higher they take you up the harder they want to take you down. It is sport for them.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Speaking of Twitter… πŸ™‚

        1. fredwilson

          Or FoursquareOr KickstarterOr EtsyOr TumblrOr Zynga

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            the taller you grow … the easier you are visible for good and bad.

          2. JLM

            .Fred, stronger than an acre of garlic in the W Tx sun. Nice, very nice, portfolio. Well played..

  25. Max Yoder

    I’m trying to play devil’s advocate to your policy, but I just can’t come up with a reason why speaking in terms that you’d be comfortable sharing with everyone could ever be a bad thing.I have a gossip policy: I will only criticize you to others if I’ve first lobbied that criticism to you directly. When I break my policy, and I do frequently, I always regret it.

  26. ShanaC

    A) we live in publicB) I don’t know enough people comfortable with their wild sides in public. For some reason, for many people meeting me in person, this raises comments.C) I do hope aspects of morality change so that we all are more comfortable living in publicD)The tax files are anger inducing because a lot of people see his wealth as a product of what happens in the movie “Wall Street” (airline gutting?) as oppose to Steve Jobs (I built a much shinier new computer). Americans like Steve Jobs – they want people vested in building a future. They think they can be that! Which to me, the populist anger is a sign that are heads are screwed on straight.

  27. laurie kalmanson

    there are businesses and investors that create wealth by creating growth and there are businesses and investors that simply redistribute it. i prefer the first.creative destruction, making way for new industries by clearing out old ones: we participate in that everyday in startup worldstripping pension funds and selling companies to break unions and rehire workers at lower wages without benefits: we are reaping the social whirlwind of that now –the death of the blue collar middle class in this country is directly tied to the emergence of the insane wing of the republican party, except their leaders direct their ire to those above them instead of to those below them

    1. JLM

      .I was in complete agreement with you until you took the wrong turn in blaming the death of the middle class on the “insane wing of the republican party” — that is just pure partisan nonsense.We have made some wrong decisions as it relates to balance of trade, trade treaties, unions, outsourcing, tariffs and other trade issues which have had exactly the impact you have described.In most ways, the unions created their own unique set of problems as they morphed from being representatives of their members to being a political force within the Democratic party.Cases in point:The Congress mandated that a certain percentage of imported cars must be produced in the US and that their constituent components had to be made in the US — a very good thing. Now BMWs, Mercedes, Toyotas — are made in the US.Who voted this in? Southern Republicans from the states that would get the new auto plants.Companies like Apple are making all of their products in China and other Far Eastern locations which allows them to reap the benefit of unfair trade and labor practices and yet they are an American company traded on an American stock exchange — a very bad thing.When Wisconsin passed a law that the union negotiated collective bargaining agreement was available to all workers — the underlying reason for the Wisconsin recall election of Gov Scott Walker — and it was in effect ratified by his success in the recall ——— 60% of the union members quit the union.The anti-Republican rant is reminiscent of folks who prefer to forget that it was the Republican party that voted in all of the American civil rights legislation in the history of the US.The Southern Democrats filibustered and voted against all civil rights legislation. That is the reason why the South is becoming progressively more Republican..

      1. Max Yoder

        +!That’s way better than a +1, for the record.

      2. laurie kalmanson

        i hear you. thnx.i do have major issues with a party that has put the rollback of women’s rights front and center on its agenda

        1. fredwilson

          Me too. And I suspect the majority of women in this country do too. Given that women are the majority, its not smart politics

        2. JLM

          .The whole women’s rights issue is a bunch of obfuscation. Let me see if I can tackle it. Last think before I head to the showers.The “issue” devolves into the issue of abortion and contraception.The issue of abortion is subdivided into:1. Live birth abortion;2. Late term abortion;3. Second trimester abortion;4. First trimester abortion;5. Morning after, week after abortion; and,6. Contraception.Ancillary issues include genetic engineering, parental consent in instance of minors, sonogram, adoption, counseling, rape and incest.The most overlooked issue is the ownership of the decision between the mother (seed donor) and the father (sperm donor). The fetus is a joint venture.If one were to reduce this into a matrix, there is much that would be easy to resolve — as an example nobody really thinks that a woman and a man should not have access to contraception.The phony nonsense that contraception is not readily available is silly. It is widely available including simple, pragmatic systemic practices.If we were able to attack the issues in this manner, we would be able to focus the debate on a more finely targeted disagreement, if any.Some important things to remember:1. The finding of a “woman’s right to privacy” in the Constitution was decided by a single vote in Roe v Wade. It will likely be overturned.2. The country is trending toward pro-life and continues to move in that direction. This is why adoption has to be in the debate.3. We are progressively more pro-life in our debate on the death penalty — in my lifetime I have evolved from being in favor of the death penalty to being violently opposed to it.This debate requires our best brains not our worst instincts. I cry every time I consider what we could lose in this debate — someone as wonderful as you.I am in fear of making the wrong decision. I am willing to be a bit inconvenienced to be right. I want to err on the side of life..

          1. fredwilson

            Bottom line. None of this is the governments business. A women’s body is hers. Not ours.

          2. JLM

            .I can agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment on this and a number of other issues but unfortunately that ship has sailed.Sometimes we cannot get the toothpaste back in the tube..

          3. Wavelengths

            I learned this past week from a woman in the Texas Tech Health Services building, Odessa, TX, that we have a major new “epidemic” in the Permian Basin — the locale that may be, as JLM said, the start of the economic recovery.The epidemic is young girls from small towns (pop. 2000, 3000, etc.) in the oil region turning up pregnant and looking for help. (Guess how many of those oil workers are male, and maybe “temporarily single” with families elsewhere?)Thursday the lead article in the Odessa American reported the imminent closure of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Odessa because 3% of its services are related to abortion. In a small town, where everyone knows everyone, a girl may intimidated about pursuing information or contraceptives.The issue of a woman’s right to choose her options is incredibly complex.The discussion today is about privacy in the era of the internet. I do believe that some things should be private. Government has become much more intrusive. A lead article in this month’s Texas Monthly is particularly enlightening.And yes, I do value life.

          4. fredwilson


          5. ShanaC

            Number one reason I am a big believe in the internet is this story.At thier age, younger, I was reading Go Ask Alice ( I knew what my risks were.

          6. laurie kalmanson

            i believe that a woman’s reproductive rights are a basic civil rightfriends who are women and men who were republicans have left the party over this big brother intrusion into a personal decision that is the opposite of principled conservatisma friend who had a pregnancy with an anencephalic baby and chose to terminate midway left her church after she was condemned for her choice and changed her doctor/hospital to an academic medical center because the catholic hospital where her doctor had privileges denied the proceduredon’t like abortion? don’t have one.related civil right: don’t like gay marriage? don’t have one.YMMV

          7. ShanaC

            A)There is no such thing as a day after abortion/week after abortion.There is also a medical difference between conception and pregnancy1) Conception is the moment where sperm unites with ovum and the chemistry of the ovum changes to block other sperm from uniting with it. At this point said new cell goes through mitosis and is considered a zygote. The cells in a zygote are still undifferentiated. (blob!)2) Said zygote travels further down the fallopian tubes, (…. changes into a blastocyst (… (aka slightly less but still mostly blob) and into the uterus, at which point it may or may not implant into the uterine wall. The act of implantation is the start of pregnancy, at which point the woman’s hormonal balance changes as to prevent rejection of foreign cell matter within the body’s internal ecosystem. it changes, in fact, to having a high progesterone balance (over other estrogens)1 happens all the time without progressing into stage 2. And there is good reason for that. Mitosis isn’t always a perfect process. Nor is meiosis, the process by which gametes (sperm and ova) are formed. When a zygote are 4 cells big and one has too many chromosomes, or broken chromosomes, or missing important genes that give you a nose, it is unlikely that it would survive birth. As a result the body rejects implantation.Sometimes the body rejects the blastocyst/embryo after implantation because of genetic incompatibility. Or broken chromosomes. Or the body just feels like it. This happens all the time within the first trimester, which is why it is customary not to announce a pregnancy until the second one.B) Hormonal birth control works by changing women’s hormonal balance to mimic pregnancy. Most birth control pills are made of different kinds of progesterone. Most of the time (99+%) said same hormones prevent another ovum from being released. The sugar pills are there because the guy who invented The morning after pill is just a super dose of hormonal birth control. Functionally speaking, it is the same as taking the entire pack of monocyclic birth control pills (not minipills and not sugar pills*) at the same time. This means there is no such thing as a day after/week after abortion. Plan B works by stopping A1 from happening by stopping an ovum from being released in the first place. When pharmacists decline to fill Plan B, they are in fact preventing you from using birth control. *minipill has less hormone, so this is a dosage question, not the way it works question. The sugar pills are only there because the doctor who led the stage 2 and stage 3 trials, Dr. John Rock, was a very devout catholic and though the pill should mimic the rhythm method in order to get the approval of it as a hormonal version of the rhythm method by the Catholic Church. They serve no actual function.C) The Barna Group (otherwise known as the leading polling organization within the evangelical community) has mentioned (and written a book about the subject) that millelials are leaving the church in droves. One of the six reasons why is the church attitude towards sex (which would include education about abortion, attitude towards homosexuality)… In other words, the country is not getting more pro-life. If anything, it is getting more secular, especially about sexual matters.D) Not all religious people in the US are pro-life, including some very religious people. There was a huge outcry when Rabbi Meir Soloveichik sat on the clergy anti-abortion panel and testified in front of congress. The reasons were 1) he is a Soloveichik (his uncle was one of the pre-eminent Jewish thinkers of the 20th century) and 2) the standard orthodox Jewish opinion is so complicated to enact that is functionally better to be pro-choice when it comes to enacting American law so that American law doesn’t prevent Jewish Legal works from not functioning (… – aish is on the right wing of the Orthodox spectrum as well) Other religious minorities in the US have similar issues as well.E) The abortion debate is a debate about what makes us human and at what point we stop being human as well. It is indirectly about life and death: the cells of a zygote die in a sense on the end of mitosis, and the human it becomes can reproduce, whereas a zygote can’t. Is a vegetable man human and should we unplug him from a respirator? How is this different or the same as an abortion, particularly a late term abortion as opposed to a premie baby? At what point is a pregnancy human? Acknowledging that this is a complicated moral debate and acknowledging that both the beginning and the end of human life is not so clear from a biological perspective would probably be helpful.F) I should not have to be writing this shpiel. A lot of what I wrote about is the stuff that is supposed to be taught in 7th and 9th grade biology and sex ed, and therefore shouldn’t even be politicized in the first place. Knowing how hormonal birth control works is knowing how your body (or rather, your wife and daughter’s body) works! The fact that there are religious minorities in this country that could have totally legitimate ways of understanding morality and the body that are different than most christian views is something that should be plainly obvious.G) before anyone goes and claims that roe will be overturned, I suggest people read the stories of people who have had abortions. (naral keeps a database: http://www.prochoiceamerica… Even better, you should read “The Story of Jane” (… about why a bunch of Chicago housewives would organize an illegal abortion collective and then learn to do a D & C themselves.H) Refusal to fill is legal to fill in five states (… Mississippi is one of them. Mississippi is also among the poorest states in the nation, and has one of the highest teenage birthrates and out of wedlock birthrates in the US. There is also 1(!) abortion clinic which is being threatened by the government to close (…. The state is effectively pre-Roe. I would bet good money that there are illegal methods rather than a safe D & C going through Mississippi.

          8. ShanaC

            Do not get me started on tranvaginal scans or Komen being lady-d***s. Particularly Komen. I’m already pissed at them for how they do their breast cancer outreach (I’m high risk, I can say that!). They pulled the PP s*** the week before I started needing groups like them the most. The pulling of funds from Planned Parenthood for women who were getting checkups is just beyond anger inducing. Especially because being poorer definitely does not help your survival rates – you tend to get diagnosed later!!

          9. Wavelengths

            I used PP for routine checkups for years, just because it was good care at a reasonable cost. As far as breast cancer — I’m low risk, no background factors, but I got diagnosed late, due to financial issues. Fortunately I apparently got caught in time.I think we are on the same page on this issue. I felt that, no matter your emotional state, you provided a very reasoned argument, and I especially appreciated you bringing in the Jewish perspective, which is more in alignment with pro-choice.Any choices in this arena are difficult, but since we each have to move forward and deal with the fallout from decisions in our own lives, it seems we should be allowed to make our own choices. I never see the religious right stepping in to provide daycare, housing, food, etc., for someone who had an unplanned baby at a difficult time.

          10. ShanaC

            I wanted to find a traditional argument for abortion that was clearly very traditional but not evangelical Christian. I’m most familiar with the Jewish ones (duh) but I am pretty sure that other traditions face similar dilemmas and come up with different answers than evangelical Christianity.I’m in an early screening program for BC. As a result, before I hit 30, I’ll already have had a number of mammograms. Such is life, as I have a strong family history. The week before my first one was when that story about PP and Komen came out. Lets just say that will make you very pissed when you are already stressed about the first one.

          11. Wavelengths

            [email protected] thread is probably no longer of interest, so here’s my personal email. You go, girl! I love your voice, your perspective, your fiestiness, and the element that you make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row.I used to live in Rahway, apartment below a Rabbi. Now in Texas, you know I can handle many cultures. Feel free to write.

          12. laurie kalmanson

            thank you

          13. ShanaC

            I got angry. Sometimes I am an angry feminist.I probably shouldn’t have gotten so angry. Sometimes I am much more to the left than I am willing to admit aloud…

          14. laurie kalmanson

            see also, theocracy

          15. ShanaC

            don’t get me started on that topic. At one point in my life I was thinking of suing YU to allow me into the bechina program pre-smicha. (YU has yet to ordain a woman).I’ve seriously changed quite a lot.

          16. laurie kalmanson

            i grew up militantly unaffiliated for related reasons, which was easy in nyc.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Whether or not someone agrees with your opinion or your politics, just the information that you cite in itself is a phenomenal educational experience.I stay away from most political writing because the strong bias on either side is intellectually frustrating — even when I agree.Something about the way you present things much of the time feels more enlightening than frustrating. At least to me.We are too small an audience, JLM.

        1. JLM

          .Thanks, Donna. Very kind of you.I am an optimist and believe that we all agree on much more than we disagree about.Even when we disagree, its is our ideas that differ not our hearts. We all want the very best outcomes.Let the ideas wrestle — best out of 3 — and then let’s take action. When ideas wrestle, better ideas emerge. And why not?Who is afraid of a good idea? Not me.When we do disagree, let’s do it without being disagreeable but let’s have a reason, not a raised voice, as to why we do disagree.I fear that sometimes we do not have all the information and that leaves us blind..

      4. Wavelengths

        As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”(BTW, wasn’t GWB’s West Texas oil company named POGO?)

        1. JLM

          .Arbusto, “bush” in Spanish.BTW, there is truth to the rumor that some of his investors were from the OBL family.Can you believe that?.

          1. Wavelengths

            As a born-again Texan, out here in oil country, I had to double-check my facts. I had seen GB’s name in association with POGO. Apparently I was a generation off. I really like “Arbusto,” but here’s a ref from Pogo Producing Company’s website:”Pogo Producing was established in 1970 as part of the Pennzoil Company, then under the control of William C. Liedtke, Jr., and John Hugh Liedtke. In the 1950s, the Liedtke brothers, in a partnership with George Bush and John Overbey, founded the Zapata Drilling Co. in Midland, Texas, and in 1963 they gained control of Pennzoil. The pair were the co-founders of Pennzoil Products Co. and Pogo Producing. ‘Pogo,’ an acronym for ‘Pennzoil Offshore Gas Operators,’ indicates the earliest focus of the company. At the time that Pennzoil spun off Pogo Producing in 1977, William Liedtke became CEO and president of Pogo. He had served as president of Pennzoil from 1967 until the restructuring turned Pogo into a separate entity.”As Fred is highlighting today, on the internet, we can find most anything.

  28. jason wright

    Not a hijacker, but any reaction to the Apple vs Samsung ruling in California?

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      1b does not make much of a difference…. it is all part of the drama (movie) you and me may want to watch.

  29. Pete Griffiths

    Well said.

  30. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Good post Fred. I thought you might tackle the Apple-Samsung ruling but perhaps in a future post πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      I am still sick to my stomache from that one. Values. I don’t want any part of those values

  31. Lee Blaylock

    This type of dumpster diving media coverage is in part the reason why so few of America’s best and brightest run for public office. It is oriented towards personal destruction and it happens on both sides of the aisle. It makes me puke.The net effect of this is that we too often get national candidates that aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, or who are completely over their heads when it comes to being the POTUS or the candidate for POTUS.Just in the last 30 years we’ve been gifted folks like: Biden, Dukakis, McCain, Quayle, Obama and Palin. 3 Dems and 3 GOP members who are Post Turtles as call them in Texas.What is a Post Turtle you ask? It is when you’re driving down a country road and you see a turtle on top of a fence post. It doesn’t belong there, someone had to help it b/c it didn’t get there on its own and it has no clue how to get down without falling hard.James Madison and other founding fathers clearly wanted our legislators to be “citizen legislators” and go back home to their districts after public service. That’s a foreign concept to about 99% of our politicians.

    1. JLM

      .Post turtle, haha. Good Texas saying.I will have to disagree with you on Dan Quayle. He got a bum rap from the press.I played golf with him a couple of times and he is one of the smartest, most gracious men I have ever met. Plus, he is a stud and could drive a golf ball out of sight.I once played with him, Darrell Royal and Tom Landry. Quayle handicapped the entire Congressional field and was right on every single race. Great fun.I like Dan Quayle..

      1. Lee Blaylock

        I like Dan Quayle as well as McCain, but as far as the best candidates for POTUS or POTUS lite, not in my book. That says nothing about them as a citizen though.The one that got the biggest bum rap from the media was GWB. The media, who were appalled at his Christian values like most every single president we’ve ever had except this current one (most don’t know that 39 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordained ministers), mistook his (many) malapropisms and confused that for a lack of intelligence. Funny they never mentions his grades were higher than both Gore and Kerry at Harvard AND Yale (not that that says anything). No president is perfect and he spent money like a drunken sailor which will haunt his legacy for years, but he’s the only sitting president in the last 100 years to gain seats in both the house and senate in mid terms. Like most Texan’s he loved being underestimated by folks who think they are smarter b/c they live in this place or that. Lyndon Johnson also had that same demeanor, but the press was a different animal then. They had moral fiber. W was also a citizen legislator like Bill Frist was. Wish we had less self serving politicians on both sides of the aisle.

        1. JLM

          .One of the great mysteries of the world is how this conservative Texas Governor became a profligate Presidential spender.He was a superb Governor..

          1. Lee Blaylock

            And one who’s close friend and ally was the (very) powerful Democrat Lieutenant Gov Bob Bullock. W knew how to reach across and aisle, but the culture of destruction and partisanship in Washington is epic. Goes back to the original premise of today’s post on Romney and Bain.

      2. Wavelengths

        At least you’re not shy about sharing your opinions.

  32. Leonid S. Knyshov

    There was an article published on PEHub last week… (subscription necessary to view today, but still cached in my Google Reader)The article disclosed IRRs for each Bain fund.It all began withBain Capital IVintage: 1984Size: $37 million (invested $38 million as of September 2010)Gross profit: $211.1 millionMultiple: 5.5xNet IRR: 60.8%Romney’s last fund appears to beBain Fund VIVintage: 1998Size: $900 million (invested $780 million, as of September 2010, with $56 million unrealized)Gross profit: $1.9 billionMultiple: 2.5xNet IRR: 13.8%It was certainly an interesting article. πŸ™‚

  33. Komal Sethi

    Fred, I too first saw the gawker post and thought there was not much there. But then I saw this :…I was curious as to your take on the management fee conversions in particular. This seems extraordinarily sketchy particularly for a PE firm. Is that something you’d consider legal and worth doing for your own firm?While the article points out there is only evidence it happend in funds after romney left, if he was ok with the scheme I find it very hard to believe he wouldn’t have used it back when he was at the firm, and I find the argument that he would have been unaware of a scheme that would grow take home management fees by 25% ridiculous.

    1. fredwilson

      We don’t do it

  34. Eric Friedman

    I 100% agree and think that any other way is living in denial as the potential for documents to be public is simply too great. I have instituted the same policies where possible and it has actually come into practice as I have had a few emails turned into blogs posts, and be proud every time.

  35. Aaron Klein

    A wise mentor of mine once said…”When writing ANYTHING, paste the New York Times masthead at the top of it and see if you like how it sounds. You’ll know what to do next.”

    1. Max Yoder

      That’s a neat idea.

    2. vivek

      reminds me of Buffett’s WSJ test

      1. fredwilson


  36. danielharan

    Are you or one of your partners considering a run for office?

    1. fredwilson

      not that i know of

  37. Leon Liebman

    For everything I have written, I have for many year assumed they will appear in a law suit. For a situation which you feel may well turn into a legal action pay even more attention to the content and its positioning. Remember, depositions are ahead.

  38. Clay Hebert

    Yes. In our “You Suck at Email” WorkHacks course we teach, Lesson 1: Email is Permanent – teaches the following:1. You can’t recall an email you didn’t mean to send2. Email lives forever, is easy to spread and can easily show up in discovery for a lawsuit3. Never email angry4. Double-check the “To” field. A corporate co-counsel at Eli Lilly once accidentally emailed “Alex Berenson” (NYT reporter) instead of “Bradford Berenson” (his legal co-counsel) resulting in an immediate front page NYT article about a $1B fine for how Lilly marketed Zyprexa. Oops.

  39. Terry J Leach

    Fred are you going to run for President? πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      not a chance

    2. laurie kalmanson

      draft fred 2016

  40. Ben

    FWIW, the exact Buffett quote is below. It comes from his 1991 Congressional testimony before the subcommittee investigating Salomon Brothers’ Treasury bond bid-rigging. Specifically this is regarding the implementation of new compliance procedures at Salomon and why new procedures themselves are not enough:”After they first obey all rules, I then want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper, to be read by their spouses, children, and friends, with the reporting done by an informed, critical reporter.”Footage of this brief opening statement is played EVERY year as part of the opening video at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.-Ben

  41. wilfra

    Wilson 2016?

  42. William Mougayar

    Good one Charlie. If you extent that to photos that blow-up after they are seen, you could test market it with Prince Harry and the Royal Family.

  43. Prince Harry of Wales

    Would this so called “cone of silence” disable camera phones? Pa-leeeze!

  44. fredwilson

    Fertile mind this morning!

  45. ShanaC

    that actually would be extremely popular.

  46. Rohan

    Upvoted. Really nice, Charlie.

  47. ShanaC

    We did something to create a plutocracy. And I wonder what it was and when it happened – when did we abandon responsibility?

  48. Elia Freedman

    Excellent statement, except I don’t think those voices get drowned out at all. They generally don’t go looking for the spotlight. Making progress, I believe, is pushing and prodding, back room deals and negotiations. Progress doesn’t seem to happen on the front page of the paper.

  49. JLM

    .It’s the obscene amount of money and the methodology of lobbying that has bastardized the system..

  50. LE

    “When I ran for Senate people went through my trash.”My first thought to reading your comments is “NFW!”.But then I realized that while it’s creepy to have your trash picked through I don’t think it’s entirely that bad that people are trying to uncover dirt about people that will be managing things for them. If legal (and picking through trash is legal as scotus decreed).After all, while certain people are investigated by the government for various reasons (buying a gun or certain appointments) I don’t believe there is really any vetting process for a typical politician other than what the press does or what the opposing party does, right? And in a world where we have had cases of people fibbing on their resume what’s wrong with digging around a bit? After all, it’s public service. You’ve decided to be a public servant.”Someone followed me around with a camera. It’s likely there were worse intrusions, where they discovered my deep love of torturing sheep with a fork.”Sentence two, while said in jest, is interesting juxtaposed against sentence one.

  51. Nicholas M. Cummings

    I upvoted, even though I grew up in Massachusetts and saw firsthand what a stiff Romney is. Nice perspective.

  52. John Revay


  53. ShanaC

    not my fault you’re an eligible guy?

  54. Pete Griffiths

    All governments rapidly degenerate into kleptocracies. The ideology masking the corruption associated with power may vary, but the abuse does not.

  55. Nicholas M. Cummings

    When I started seeing articles on how Obama and Romney use analytics to determine optimal campaign strategy that’s when truly I realized that the system wasn’t intended to benefit people anymore but rather to simply appeal enough to them to get elected. I’m appalled.

  56. Pete Griffiths

    You have just succinctly stated the recent criticism of him by The Economist.http://www.businessinsider….It is a piece worth reading

  57. LE

    “equivocating to reflect poor character”I think equivocating is necessary in a world where the majority of people aren’t intelligent enough to understand why someone may have different values or thoughts which results in a desire to jump on a politician for anything that they say.A good example is how everyone jumped on Todd Akin about the “rape” comment. Is he equivocating when backing off that comment? Should he be allowed to make that comment?Guess what there are millions of voters in the US. There is simply no way to not offend people or to truly speak your mind. It’s a careful balancing act. Politicians are watered down because they have to be.

  58. kidmercury

    kept voting for the two party system. and they still do it. the results are quite predictable.

  59. kidmercury

    he doesn’t even think taxes are bad. as a proponent of big government, he is implicitly in favor of high taxes. he just does it via inflation so he can blame it on others and so the stock market stays up.

  60. LE

    “When he suggests women have some magical biological function to “shut that whole thing down”, people just might jump on him”While the statement he made could very well be total bullshit, I did run it by one Physician (a woman) who non-scientifically could understand why it could possibly be true. And she wasn’t totally outraged at the thought of even considering the possibility either. By the way the press when reporting this issue quoted experts who said that the probability of getting pregnant when raped was exactly the same as getting pregnant anytime. And of course there is no way to scientifically prove that either, right?”partly because of the lack of any science to back up such a claim”While it’s nice to have science to back up claims that’s not always necessary when making an off the cuff comment.”partly because he’s suggesting that some rapes are ok.”Not true. He was not suggesting that some rapes are ok at all. He was suggesting that some rapes were not rapes. And in fact if you speak to people in the medical community you will find that it is not at all uncommon for women to sometimes claim that a rape occurred when it was not a rape. Just like people will lie for all sorts of reasons.My big problem with issues like this is that they are untouchable. You can’t even discuss them at all without people getting all worked up an irrational at the idea that you are even discussing them. Nobody wants to touch them at all.

  61. JLM

    .Akin is an idiot. Why any politician would ever let the word “rape” pass his lips is lost on me. Stupid beyond all comprehension.Romney is simply a better choice regardless of how anyone might categorize the choice.Anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist.Anyone who criticizes Romney is damning success.Obama has a very, very, very bad record.Evil. Lesser. Of.Works for me.

  62. fredwilson

    Kleptocracies! Did you see The Dictator? Kind of stupid but Sascha Baron Cohen really did on a number on the middle eastern variety.

  63. JLM

    .Of course anyone who knows anything about economics realizes that growth coupled with inflation is the way out of the problem.Always has been.Pay back dollars with quarters..

  64. fredwilson

    I don’t think we would but we haven’t had to face that

  65. kidmercury

    there is no more growth as there are no savings (which, in real economy, enables investment) and capital must go to serving debt. below is a chart that shows GDP growth per increase in debt is continuing to decline. put another way, we are at the end of the “opportunity” to steal from the future by saddling them with debt/inflation.http://sunhomedesign.files….

  66. JLM

    .Great graphic, wrong conclusion.The Clinton-Gingrich era showed the possibilities of just controlling the RATE OF GROWTH in Federal spending — not reducing one penny of underlying spending, just the rate of growth — and how it could rein in the deficits.If the corp tax rate is slashed, Obamacare is repealed, SBA is fully funded, energy policy is unleashed (drill public lands, declare peace with coal, unleash nuclear power, build Keystone, get out of the Middle East), wars are tidied up, work is recoupled to welfare, spending is curtailed including defense spending, SS and Medicare are reformed — the growth will be in excess of 7% and the lines will be reversed.Big. Brass. Balls. Required..

  67. kidmercury

    clinton-gingrich era was before “peak debt” — the ability of the world to take on more debt without having servicing interest reduce the ability to invest in growth. now it’s all about servicing interest. that’s why GDP boost per dollar of debt is declining and why the “just add more debt” solution doesn’t work. growth won’t come until the debt is cleared.put another way, there is no more room for debt to grow. we are in the process of learning this, though its inevitability will become much clearer over the next few years.

  68. JLM

    .You are using some powerful rose colored lenses to view the President’s performance. His record is the worst of any President in modern history.His soaring rhetoric has been replaced with a dirty, small ball campaign. Of course, that is the guy he always really was.By any objective standard, his policies are a disaster. One in 5 of our countrymen are looking for a job or a real job.Having said that I still like the guy on a personal basis though I would watch him carefully on the golf course.As to my tweets — @jlmtx, decide for yourself. I think the guy has underachieved..

  69. JLM

    .Peak debt and unicorns — same genus. Lovely to talk about, not real.We are only talking about the US here. American corporations are sitting on a ton of cash and have oodles more to be repatriated given the right tax deal. The right environment. The right President.We can easily work our way out of this — take just energy as an example. Drill, horizontal drilling, produce, frack, build Keystone, back off on coal, harness nuclear, capitalize on cheap natural gas. Huge differences.We shall see.

  70. JLM

    .Steak dinner at Peter Lugar’s on me, win or lose..

  71. kidmercury

    that’s exactly right, we will see……maybe 16 trillion in debt (and counting) is no big deal. or maybe it is. we’ll find out soon enough (assuming we’re not in the process of finding out already).

  72. Pete Griffiths

    Exactly. Rampant narcissism.