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The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part III


We're a reflection of the company we keep and, if Vail is an encapsulation of our community, we're very lucky indeed.


Click here to read The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part I and The Vail Trail Chronicles: Part II

Saturday morning arrived, a bit early for some, and we again gathered in the hospitality tent for breakfast, Barron's and cheesy burritos. There were a few war stories (and a handful of walk of shames) migrating between the table discussions but it was all good. By now, thy faithful were finding a groove as business cards passed seamlessly between the hands of newfound friends.

After Pepe Depew's brilliant "Five Things You Need to Know About MIM3" introduction, Michael Thompson, the director of research at Thomson Financial, took the podium for the day two keynote. He mapped out the constructive state of market fundamentals and provided an honest and intelligent Q&A forum. I always admire folks who are at the top of their game and aren't afraid to say "I don't know" when they aren't sure. I was struck by how forthright Michael was in his frank assessment of what's known and, more importantly, what's difficult to know.

(Michael Thompson)

The Media Panel was up next as Kevin Wassong , Richard Kosinski, Michael Nathanson and Michael Santoli discussed the digital landscape and the effects on how we consume media. Of particular interest was the trend towards "individual networks," a dynamic you will see manifest in Minyanville as we launch phase two of our evolution. As many of you know, it's long been my view that we will ultimately shape our information profile much the way we can currently shape a risk profile. That will come to life in short order and yes, it's very exciting.

("Next Generation Media featuring Kevin Wassong, Richard Kosinski, Michael Nathanson and Michael Santoli)

After the back-to-back breakouts (which got RAVE reviews), we pulled together the sharpest cookies in the room for the Macro Panel. Succo. Dwyer. Thompson. Pomboy. Reamer. Weldon. It was a packed house as they chewed through the dew and walked through our world. If I had a single regret from MIM3, it was not pulling the trigger on extending this panel. It was engaging, refreshing, honest and thought provoking. It was, in a nutshell, everything we strive for each day in Minyanville.

("Assessing the Macro Picture: Putting it all together" featuring John Succo, Tony Dwyer, Michael Thompson, Scott Reamer, Stephanie Pomboy and Greg Weldon)

After a kind introduction by John Succo , I stepped on stage to deliver my keynote. I won't recap it here as it'll soon be on Minyanville but suffice to say that I attempted to balance the financial grist with a mindful twist and remind everyone that the purpose of the journey is the journey itself. Fifteen short minutes and a few wet eyes later, all eyes began to shift towards softball.

It's no secret that Succo and I have a rather meaty softball rivalry. He took the first game in Crested Butte and I squeaked out a nail-biter in Ojai. And despite an afternoon storm, Minyans packed the Cascade lobby as we readied for a short bus ride to the diamond. Rain or shine, we said as we stretched our old bones, rain or shine. And as we pulled up to the field, the former gave way to the latter as we tossed balls and warmed up.

(President Fish warms up)

I captained Hoofy's Heroes. Succo was the skipper of Boo's Bandits. We lined Minyans up along the first base line and conducted a blind draft. I thought I was in trouble when Dr. J, President Fish, Santoli and Sean Mueller , the first four picks, pulled Boo from the grab bag. But in a twist of luck (or mean reversion), I nabbed Chachi, Lt. Dan and Eric Majeski with the next three picks. And then, in a tenuous moment, I drafted Downtown David Miller as my pitcher, who was boasting a 0-2 record as a starter at MIM softball.

(Choosing sides in a blind draft)

We jumped out to few quick leads, 1-0, 6-2 and, finally, 10-4 before Succo's squad tied the score in the top of the eighth. The game wasn't without controversy---Fokker plowed into me while I was covering second base (interference my foot!) and, while we were well ahead after seven (the agreed upon time horizon), we extended the game to nine innings.

(Succo and Toddo dispute a controversial out at second base)

So there we were, heading into top of the ninth with the score tied at ten-a Minyan times deux!

Minyan John Positano, a late edition to MIM by way of BTIG Bass, cracked a three run homer to give Hoofy's Heroes a 13-10 lead before Dr. J stepped to the plate and smashed a two run homer down the line (his second dinger of the game). The angst was evident when Alan Millstein stepped to the plate but, in a moment of redemption he won't soon forget, David Miller struck him out to end the game. (Visualize the double fist pump.)

(Hoofy's Heroes celebrate after taking the lead)

It was a particularly sweet moment as we hoisted the MIM3 trophy overhead and, in an unexpected surprise, I was presented with a baseball bat autographed by my late grandfather (the signature was lifted from his will). In all, there were no losers on the field as we gathered the keg(s) and made our way back to the Cascade. There was one more event in our midst and there was a whole lotta love to go around.

(Toddo hoists the trophy as Hoofy's Heroes celebrate the victory)

(Boo's Bandits celebrate a well-played game)

The Coach busses arrived at the Lazy J Ranch as the skies cleared and sunshine soaked the grounds. Some bee-lined to the skeet shooting, others to horseback riding and still others to a fly fishing course. As the band jammed in the background, horns and all, MVHQ huddled to pull together The Third Annual Minyans in the Mounatains Awards. And as nighttime fell, Minyans gathered at the fire pit to roast S'mores, listen to the storyteller and grab pointers from the astrologer.

(MVHQ announces the MIM3 awards)

It would be a fitting tribute to end these chronicles with our second ranch party but alas, that would be incomplete. As Vanessa, Charlie Mangano and I kicked back at the editorial house (a stunning five bedroom mountainside abode) at midnight, the last bus from the ranch pulled up with over 50 Minyans. While I'll leave the details to your imagination, I'll offer that the after-hours gig challenged Ojai in terms of laughter, fun and lots of rum.

I often tell people that trying to explain Minyanville to someone who hasn't experienced it is like trying to explain the sunset to a blind man. Our energy, community, spirit and soul come to life each year in the mountains and, if it's at all possible, we cleared the bar that we set a year earlier. It's one thing for folks to shake hands at the end of a conference. It's an entirely different thing for Minyans to hug each other tight and forge ever-lasting friendships.

I would like to thank everyone who made MIM3 such a special and memorable event. Vanessa and her team (Leah), Kevin and his crew (Charlie, Keleigh), our awesome editorial staff (Pep, Billy, Chachi, Spider, Farley), our most excellent interns (Neo, Ex-Lax, Porkchop and Lt. Dan), our outstanding roster of speakers and, of course, all ye faithful who trekked and schlepped to join us.

A dream is only as powerful as those who believe in it and not a day passes that we're not mindful of that fact. We're a reflection of the company we keep and, if Vail is an encapsulation of our human capital, we're very lucky indeed. We always say that "it's not where we go, but how...and with whom." And for that, we're blessed to be a part of such a vibrant community.

Stay tuned for alotta exciting news from Minyanville in terms of reach, functionality and content as we ready for the next leg of the critter adventure. This is the genesis of something truly spectacular and we're jazzed to be sharing the journey with you. Fare ye well, Minyans, and we'll see YOU at an upcoming Minyanfest!

MVHQ Goes West!
(Top row: Ariana "A-Train" Martinez, Steve "Spyder" Reiter, Jon "Chachi" Schwartz, Todd "Toddo" Harrison, John "Ex-lax" Spivak, Brian "Farley" Bauman, Charlie "Blue" Mangano. Middle row: Vanessa "Queen V" Ohayon, Kevin "Fish" Wassong, Kevin "Pepe" Depew, Bill "?" Meehan. Bottom Row: Nick "PigPen" Hughes, Jenna "Pork Chop" Drenten, Leah "Buttercup" Burke, Dan "Lt. Dan" Klebanoff.)

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