Fortune Magazine
Captain's Blog

Captain's Blog, Stardate 10/19/07

Hank Paulson wants the Federal government to provide mechanisms for the market to work out problems, while Mort Zuckerman worries about U.S-EU relations, reports Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer.

By Andy Serwer, Fortune managing editor

(Fortune) -- It's all about the people: I've had a blockbuster couple of weeks running around all over the place sitting down with all kinds of cool people. Sometimes when I mention I've met so-and-so, folks write in and say: 'Stop name-dropping and tell what these people are saying!"

Okay so here goes: Was over at Mort Zuckerman's crib on Park Ave the other morning, (WHAT an art collection! Nice Calder, dude!) Mort is interested in the European Union and how the U.S. is getting along with those powers....Mr. S, a top banker at Morgan Stanley (Charts, Fortune 500), is concerned about his firm being able to make the transition to fully compete with Goldman (Charts, Fortune 500) again, "Place is worlds better with Mack here, but can we take it to the next level."

LeBron James (yup!) told me he was concerned about Cavs management surrounding him with enough talent to win it all. (And he kinda digs Bill Gates.)....Vin Gupta, CEO of InfoUSA (Charts), is VERY concerned about his Nebraska Cornhuskers (why do they keep coming up???) and would be happy to talk about databases and software until the cows come home. (Nice wine Vin!)

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of BT (Charts), told me that there are only three things a leader needs to do to run a successful organization: "1) Set the tone. 2) Set the Agenda, and 3) Hire great people." That was easy Ben. BTW, when he was at Lucent he was the boss of both Pat Russo and Carly Fiorina...I hear Richard Perry wants no attention whatsoever

Nice to do an event for the National Parks Foundation in Austin (love that town) with the First Lady and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. You'll be happy to know that Mrs. Bush laughed at some of my yucks -- very generous of her, she's one of the few, right? As for Hammerin' Hank, he obviously has a lot on his plate and it shows a bit. He suggested that it is important for the federal government to provide mechanisms for the market to work out problems, like the SIV mess (Funny how quickly SIV entered the lexicon?)....Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Harvard Management Co, told me he is thrilled to be moving back to California. (His wife is even more thrilled!) He feels like he is leaving HMC in a good spot (place was bustling!), and they are looking for his successor....

Books: So I'm finally reading "Five Families" by Selwyn Raab. It is THE book on the mafia. What a wonderful read it is...love it. Also reading "More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction," by Elizabeth Wurtzel (she did "Prozac Nation"), this one is kinda, shall we say, difficult. Annoying actually. Third one (you mean you don't read three books at time?) "Angels of Death: Inside the Biker Gangs' Crime Empire," by Julian Sher and William Marsden. Good update on the Hells Angels, (if you really want to check out the Hells Angels motorcycle club...go visit their website, WOW!!

Drug Store(y): So, an interesting tale about buying drugs from an online pharmacy. A friend of mine got a script from a doctor for some sort of sleep or anxiety med, I think it was something from the benzodiazepine class, (which might be a Xanax, Valium, Serex, Halcion etc.) Okay, so the person wanted a refill, but was embarrassed to ask doc, so they went online and ordered. Filled out form and hit 'send.' A few weeks later, the FDA sent this person a letter saying we know what you did and it's wrong!!! Kind of scary, no? And yet this person then contacted the online pharmacy and asked if the script was still coming and they said 'oh yes' and in fact it did come! So there. Okay. Sure.

Now, a few caveats: 1) This is anecdotal. 2) In no way am I condoning or condemning this activity, (free market versus U.S. regs, anyone?) and 3) Who knows what happens if you order one of your semi-synthetic opioids, such as Dilaudid, Vicodin, or Oxycodone. Actually I would venture to guess. You would get busted. So go Easy Edgar!!!!

Loose Change: So the last (horse) stable in NYC (Claremont -- said to be the oldest continuously operated stable in the United States) shut down recently, which is a damn shame. Can't believe some hedge fund guy didn't save it. My buddy, New York City Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, (Hi Adrian!) said the city is exploring the possibility of one or more of its stable operators setting up an operation under which horses could be brought to Central Park by trailer.

"We're obviously not interested in seeing horseback riding leave the park after 150 years," he was quoted as saying. Yeah but for now the bridle path that goes around the park is empty which doesn't feel right......Hey to Mark Mandel from C&W!.......Music: Okay, so I know I'm always a good ten years behind, but I am loving Son Volt......Also listening to Primus: "Jerry was a Race Car Driver"......And I know a girl who lives north of San Jose, who loves Green Day (tee hee)...... New breakfast song: "I want to live with my cinnamon scone. I could be happy the rest of my life with my cinnamon scone.".....Question my daughter has for Nintendo: Why no Game Girl???

Fortune's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Event: (Because the heart of rock and roll's in Cleveland -- did Huey Lewis sing that?). This from Deep Blue: "After attending my second battle of the bands I can say there is no lack of real talent in our workplace cubicles. The bands put on real show, from the stage presence of the Subliminals to the funk of Soul Focus, who were my favorites. As for individual musicians it had to be Joe Calzone of Calzone case - drummer extraordinaire! The song remains the same..."

And here's Deep Blue on the Citibank (Charts, Fortune 500) story and his take on the Patriots: "Anything less than firing Chuck Prince, I mean winning the superbowl is unacceptable." This my fiends (I mean friends) is a new art form! Top of page