Captain's Blog: Stardate: 11/14/08
Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer meets up with Sandy Weill, runs into Hillary Clinton and visits India for Fortune's Global Forum.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- GENERAL (Tso): Who's chicken? Did you sell everything in the market backdraft, (love that movie) last week? Baby I hope not, a big day from Goldman (Charts, Fortune 500) and Wal-Mart (Charts, Fortune 500) helped stocks come roarin' back on Tuesday. Both companies simply said the sky is not falling. Okay. Still, expect the market to continue to do the topsy-turvy, standard deviations for a good long while.......Whew!
So, sorry it's been some time since I last wrote (not blogged please), but I've been everywhere (man.) I feel the love though. SOME people really give me a hard time for not writing!!!......First I want to tell you that I passed an important date, that being October 27, 2007. Porquoi? Well that marks, the TENTH year anniversary of Streetlife/Captain's Blog!!! Can you believe it?!?!? Time flies when....doesn't it??? (Did you get me a cake?) Any of you all read it the whole dang decade???? I'm sure you did. Given the endless capacity of this medium , there was a lot of space to fill, AND a lot to go, so I will Carry On! ("Love is coming to us all....")
TAKES ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE: (Here's some of those I chatted with over the past couple weeks.) Former Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500) CEO Sandy Weill came by to visit us in late October. The date was October 24th, for those of you who follow these things (!!!!) Sandy didn't want to talk about Citi and in fact did not do so, instead wanted to talk about his charitable foundation, the National Academy Foundation Leadership, which sets up programs (or academies) in schools that connects students to business. We did get the feeling though, that Sandy wasn't sorry he was no longer CEO of the bank......
Had drinks with Dave Wirtschafter, president of the William Morris Agency, (Disclosure alert: I am repped by WMA.) Dave was shaking his head about the writers' strike. Not good for anyone. He was talking about packaging big events, not stars.....Had lunch with Linda Robinson, yes THE Linda Robinson, the power PR persona, (and husband of Jimmy Three Sticks, or Gentleman Jim, or James Dixon Robinson III, former CEO of American Express.) Linda really knows pretty much everything that's going on, on Wall Street. We talked about who might be the next CEO of Merrill Lynch (Charts, Fortune 500). Wonder if Larry Fink will take the job, right? We dined at Milos where we ran into Senator Hillary Clinton who was lunching with daughter Chelsea and celebrating her 60th birthday, which was the next day. (The Senator told me how much she enjoyed being on the cover of Fortune. All right Hil, but be advised, we might put Dick Cheney on the cover next!)........
Had dinner with Dave Roux (of Silver Lake Partners) along with his wife Barbara, the other night. Both of them are well, class acts and have a bit of smarts to them too. Silver Lake is continuing to expand despite turbulence in the capital markets. Big mega-deals in private equity will be hurt but not focused ones, as in tech, was Dave's message. (Loved telling daughter Margo Roux about Kabuki .....you see it a lot in business, no???).....
Sat next to Chad Hurley (co-founder of YouTube) on an aereoplane....bad luck for him! A prisoner for five hours sitting next to one of those yucky journos! (I tried not to bug him!) Chad's a helluva an interesting guy; full of amazing ideas, but not full of himself. (An artiste, right Brooke?!?!?) Chatted with the music man on the same flight, Dave Goldberg of Benchmark (Twang!).....Had a quick pop with Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite (that's a capital S!!!!) we talked about Nebraska football of course!!!! Oh, and CRM software baby!!! Now Zach, can you get Captain's Blog on your dashboard?!?!?......
Spoke with Prince Alwaleed by phone from his tent outside Riyadh, which is always fun. We talked Citi of course (read about it here...) As for other stuff, he told me he has to set up a meeting with Jeff Bewkes, (incoming CEO of parent company Time Warner (Charts, Fortune 500)), and that the appreciation in his Apple (Charts, Fortune 500) holdings were simply off the charts. Hope to get back to the Persian Gulf soon.......Had a great dinner with all the folks from BMW North America at Craft, (YUM!) The diesel cars these guys will be making are truly amazing. You know I hear only HOT people drive BMWs? Is that true? (Tee Hee!!!).......
Ben Stein came by. I call him Dr. Droll. I really do get a kick out of him. He talked about the fact that someone is going to make money buying subprime bonds, and that he didn't think this financial crisis was going to be so bad. Whew!!!!......Finally Debi Brooks from the Michael J. Fox Foundation came by. A pretty impressive person really. She was a star salesperson at Goldman and then decided she wanted something more out of life. Some dream. Others act. (I Write...)
FORTUNE: Hope you enjoyed the latest cover: "What Were They Smoking?" I really think this issue has great stuff. LOVE the PayPal Mafia picture and story. And Instant Classic! The next issue of Fortune will look.....VERY DIFFERENT! I hope you love it, I really really do!!!
"I AM ON A LONELY ROAD AND I AM TRAVELING, TRAVELING, TRAVELING, TRAVELING, (Looking for something, what can it be?") (Right Peggy?) So I embarked to Delhi for the Fortune Global Forum. A big honking deal!!! India is exhilarating and, well, challenging. I've never been as you can tell. We had an incredible turnout of CEOs and major 'wigs, like John Chambers, Lloyd Blankfein, and Michael Dell, and many more----like Bridgette Radebe, president of Samda! (To hear what they have to say, go to our website...)
Had an incredible dinner at Gautam Thapar's house, (he of the Thapar group of companies.) Incredible lights décor, music, and food. My bike ride through Old Delhi was in a way the highlight of my trip. What an amazing crush of people, sights, smells and colors. You just can't describe it. Tip: The Delhi airport is chaos to the next dimension.......Went on to Singapore after that, and thanks to Uncle Nick (that would be mon frere), met a whole bunch of luminaries for background meetings: Tom Lembong, Dave Conner, former Citi guy who runs OCBC, one of the biggest banks in Singapore with over $100 billion in assets, also Philip Wang, and Ray Zage. Heavy hitters all. Themes? Much of the money that goes to China, flows out to other nations in Southeast Asia like Indonesia and the Philippines. Also the story is not over there.
LOOSE CHANGE: Is "Aeon Flux" the best movie every made? Okay no. How many people saw "American Gangster" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" on the same weekend? Cool no?.....Love Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno!! How cool is he???......Did I really see Duke playing basketball last night??? I have to tell you, I am getting over college basketball. Like college football so much more. Although, I dunno: Georgia/Auburn football. Duke/Wake basketball, both pretty good! Bottom line: SEC football. ACC hoop. As O says: There was nothing like going to UVA in the 1970s!!!!.........Love my San Diego Chargers!!! Vroom!!!!!!