The Emmy Award Winning 2008 Minyanville Festivus for Children's Education

By Todd Harrison  DEC 08, 2008 7:45 AM

The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity, problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
--Melody Beattie

© Allan Tannenbaum

It’s a fine line, this gratitude thing. In the midst of what is widely considered the worst year in the history of global financial markets, there aren’t many smiles floating around.

It’s indeed a tough time as social mood shifts and frazzled folks try to find their way.

Pain is prevalent, almost to the point where you don’t want to share good news for fear it will be interpreted as a victory lap.

People are ornery. Patience is thin.

Many axioms have emerged in Minyanville over the years.

The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.

Time is the arbiter of all fate.

What goes around, comes around.

In order to get through this, we need to go through this.

Think positive.

Each carries wisdom passed down from more austere generations and many have been learned anew as society weeds itself from an era of conspicuous consumption.

This story is not about "me." It's not even about Minyanville. It's about you—about us—about sticking together, believing in dreams and doing our part to be a part of the solution in whatever form that may take.

The Minyanville mission is to affect positive change through financial understanding and allow folks to laugh while they learn. The cornerstones of that initiative—content, community and critters—all play equal parts in the final franchise.

The integrity of our content prepared ye faithful for the financial malaise, guided them through the capital market destruction and shifted its lens to identifying possible paths and potential solutions as we prepare for the new world order.

Our community is the finest collection of human capital on the planet; a trusted network that believes there is a better way to live and do business, a brighter future to look forward to and an individual responsibility in helping us get there.

The Emmy-Award Winning Critters—take a bow fellas!—engage audiences of all ages, remove intimidation from the educational process and provide necessary smiles in terse times.

Someone once said that a little levity goes a long way and that has proved true, now more than ever.

Old school Minyans know we tell this tale with utmost humility and profound gratification. It's been a long, hard road  and there is no pride, per se, just heartfelt appreciation for the journey we together share in a team effort towards a common goal.

We’ve hosted events before, each slightly different but all sharing the same roots.

There was the 2004 Minyans in the Mountains in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Minyans in the Mountains Deux followed the next summer in Ojai, California .

A throwback MIM3 in Vail, Colorado in the summer of 2006 was followed by an awesome Critter’s Choice Awards in December to benefit children.

And then there was last year's Festivus, an old-fashioned hoe down in the heart of Manhattan. We made a conscious decision to skip our mountain sojourn as we felt it was in poor taste into the teeth of a recession. We're an inclusive—not exclusive—community.

Instead, we focused our efforts on helping kids in the good name of my grandfather. The Ruby Peck Foundation is a tribute to my best friend and moral compass, a way for us to connect and smile still.

Thank you all for all you do to support tomorrow's leaders, healers, dreamers and visionaries. A dream is only as powerful as those who believe in it and without you, there would be no us.

I speak for the entire family when I express our heartfelt gratitude for your continued support. There are millions of Minyans throughout the world and we’re the second fastest growing financial website on the planet.

We can affect positive change and we will affect positive change.

Setting the Stage

The first week in December was circled on the Critter calendar for a long time, with The Emmy Awards on Tuesday and Festivus on Thursday.

The master plan was easy enough as we mapped year-end—win the award and host a snazzy soiree for a wonderful cause. All along, I reminded myself of the immortal words of Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein.

"This... could... work!"

When we first found out about the nomination on November 3rd, a powerful anticipatory energy emerged. It was unspoken at first—superstition runs deep in the 'Ville—but we referenced it with increased frequency as time passed. "It’s an honor to be nominated," we repeatedly told ourselves, "it's our first time out of the gate."

Meanwhile, we had our hands full at MVHQ. Stocks plunged as credit froze, calling into question the very survival of our finance-based economy. Our foremost priority in Minyanville is to help folks navigate this difficult environment and the effort took an emotional toll on us all.

Sleep became increasingly difficult as the kinetic energy built. "New approaches to financial and business reporting," I whispered to President Fish in the privacy of his office, "how do we not win the hardware?" I said it for two reasons—first, to put it into the universe and second, to toy with my best friend of 21 years.

Everything seemingly came to a head at the same time. As we left the office Tuesday morning and headed to The Rainbow Room, we asked Jill what the registered attendance was for Festivus.

"We’re at 400," she said with a nervous smile, "we sold out last week at 300."

The seven of us walked across town, engaging in small talk while others were in deep thought. I occasionally glanced towards the sky and rubbed the gold bracelet my grandmother gave to Ruby for their 40th wedding anniversary.

We arrived at Rockefeller Center and took the elevator to the top floor.

"We’re 65 floors closer to Ruby."  I said in the strongest voice I could, "That’s a good sign."

The Envelope Please

We sat at table thirteen, front row to the left of the stage. I live on the thirteenth floor in my Manhattan apartment, which I also took as a sign. I reminded myself that I was looking for signs but it didn’t matter. You have to believe in your own dream and profitability always begins within.

We ate lunch as The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences handed out the glistening goddesses and we anxiously eyed the program. We chatted softly between ourselves but as our category approached, silent tension grew. It is a wonderful thing to be nominated and for a precious few seconds longer, we still had a chance.

The legendary Bill Small stepped on stage and said "Our next category honors some of the more creative examples in business and financial reporting being broadcast over the air and on the web today."

They showed clips of the three nominees—, Minyanville's World in Review and—before Mr. Small continued.

"The vast majority were not network entries that were nominated but newspapers and magazines who are doing remarkable work on the Internet—television on the Internet, excellent work—so to my colleagues at CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN, you might take a look at that and see why they get nominated and you don’t."

He began to unseal the envelope and my heart stopped beating.

"The Emmy for new approaches to business and financial reporting goes to…"

I shot up from my chair and planted a kiss on the cheek of Kevin Wassong, my best friend and someone who left a high profile professional perch to chase his dream. The next few seconds were a haze as I found myself on the podium surrounded by our Emmy-Award winning team.

"I am Todd Harrison, the founder and CEO of Minyanville, although at this point I feel like a cross between Sally Field and John Belushi in the cafeteria scene in Animal House."

I took a deep breath; I was overwhelmed with emotion. Think Rod Tidwell during the Larry King interview in Jerry Maguire. I’m not gonna cry... I'm not gonna cry...

"You know they say that a dream is only as powerful as those who believe in it and it is with humility that I accept this on behalf of not only our team and Kevin Wassong and everybody up here and the partners who believed in us but the entire Minyanville community around the world that believes that we can affect positive change—and we will affect positive change—if we stick together in this world."

I paused, trying to maintain composure for one more sentence.

"And... to my grandfather Ruby," as I kissed the Emmy and held it towards the sky, "This is for you."

We were ushered off stage to the photo gallery and didn’t hear what happened next.

Bill Small smiled as he stepped to the podium. "I wonder if anyone is left in the office?" The crowd laughed long. "Their president gave me his calling card with pictures of Hoofy and Boo, who I expect don’t have executive positions."

Click here for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences official webcast (Minyanville begins at 46:15).

He continued on to the next category, but not without a chuckle.

Leave it to Fish to work the stage while accepting his Emmy. (Note: For the webcast of the Emmy Awards, click here. The Minyanville segment begins at the 46th minute).

The Purpose of our Journey

We often say that the destination we arrive at pales in comparison to the path that we take to get there. Team Minyan marched through Manhattan that brisk December afternoon and the world was wonderful as seven years of blood, sweat and tears suddenly seemed so very worth it.

Emmy spent the next few days with her new family. She joined team MVHQ for a few celebratory pops at The Four Seasons, enjoyed a night in my home (Phoebe was jealous), made her way to Larchmont on Wednesday and readied herself for Festivus, where she was sure to be the belle of the ball.

The professors filtered through the ‘Ville the entire week and by 4:00 PM Thursday, we were ready to let loose. We made our way to Hill Country BBQ where great grub, four bands and a wonderful cause awaited.

By the time
Yahoo TechTicker filmed a series of interviews with Snoop Tony Dwyer, Jeff Saut, Steve Shobin, Macke, Adami, Kevin Wassong, Tom Eggers, Jay Pestrichelli, John Mauldin, Prieur Du Plessis, Rick Schottenfeld, Rob Roy and others (coming soon to the ‘Ville), it was time to party.

© Allan Tannenbaum
The Children’s Aid Society Choir lights up our lives.

© Allan Tannenbaum
MV COO Tom “Ike” Eggers, Toddo, President Fish and CMO Charlie Mangano welcome ye faithful.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Event Coordinator Jill Jacinto and MV Office Manager Ariana Martinez flank our lovely team of volunteers who so graciously donated their time.

The room began to fill. Folks traveled from all corners of the world. South Africa. Venezuela. Mexico. Europe. They were from different places and different ages but none of it didn’t mattered.

We shared a common bond and moral compass—we were Minyans.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Professors Prieur Du Plessis and Bennet Sedacca talk tape while their queens hold court.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Tami Wassong and Lila Kerns Depew share some smiles.
© Allan Tannenbaum
The savvy soothsayin’ sommelier Jeff Saut gets into the spirit of the night.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Former NFL Players Don McPherson and Chris Gedney and three-time NCAA Lacrosse Champion Matt Palumb share some old school Syracuse stories.

© Allan Tannenbaum
President Kevin Wassong shares a moment with proud papa Larry.

© Allan Tannenbaum
The Sisters Torgman spice it up.

© Allan Tannenbaum

The MV mantra is that you’re a reflection of the company you keep.

We assembled Team MVHQ near the chop block for a quick note of thanks. President Fish thanked our sponsors TD-Ameritrade, Atlantic Advisors and BTIG and wished Pete Moses, CEO of The Children’s Aid Society, a happy birthday.

From there, I took the mic and told Minyans it's tough out there—we all know that—but for one night, none of it mattered.

For one night, we were there, we were together and we had much to be grateful for.

For one night, we could let go and hold onto something we can all believe in. Each other.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Toddo and President Fish enjoy their 21-year Emmy Award winning friendship.

© Allan Tannenbaum
The massively motivated fantastic MVHQ staffers gather around.

© Allan Tannenbaum
The faces of ye faithful.

It was time to mingle and muse as Minyan Mojo swept the crowd. Upstairs was grub, gambling and the silent auction. Emmy was passed around like the Stanley Cup but she didn’t seem to mind the least bit.

© Allan Tannenbaum
President Fish, Carlin West and Charlie Mangano surround the guest of honor.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Rick Schottenfeld and friends strike a pose.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Jeff Berkowitz, Adam Heine and Professor Smita Sadana snuggle with their new sister.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Toddo and Dale Schlather. Seeing old friends is good for the soul.

Downstairs was filled with more food, a packed bar and live music from four fantastic bands.

And there was dancing. And singing. And movin’ to the groovin’...

© Allan Tannenbaum
Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Bones...

© Allan Tannenbaum
President Fish as a Soul Man...

© Allan Tannenbaum
The journey.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Pass the jam!

© Allan Tannenbaum
Vanessa, Ed Bennett and May take in some tunes.

© Allan Tannenbaum
Woo Woo!

© Allan Tannenbaum

The Harrison clan celebrates a lifetime of memories.

A Tribute to Ye Faithful

As we enter the holiday season during these turbulent times, let us remember the purpose and promise of the very best things we believe in.

My grandfather taught me that honesty, trust and respect are the cornerstones of any successful relationship and I would like to believe that they're the foundation of the Minyanville community.

For the last six years, we've written about the financial news you needed to know before you knew you needed it. The cumulative imbalances and inevitable debt destruction
weren’t popular topics but the message was critical and the consequences severe.

Looking ahead with a conscious nod that time and price are the arbiters of our financial fate, we shift our focus towards identifying solutions that will help define our path through this process of price discovery.

Please share your best thoughts on potential solutions
and we'll do everything in our power to affect positive change through financial understanding.

Perhaps more importantly, we'll ask you to be a positive pebble in the pond of life.

Don’t underestimate how powerful a random act of kindness or passing smiling is.

Don’t fall prey to societal acrimony no matter how hard it gets.

Dare to dream, be good to others and better to yourself.

Remember that the purpose of the journey is the journey itself and this too shall pass.

Thank you for being a Minyan.

No positions in stocks mentioned.