Memoirs of a Minyan: The Abyss
The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
Editor's Note: "Memoirs of a Minyan" is a first-person account that follows Minyanville founder Todd Harrison as he weaves his way through Wall Street and beyond. This e-Book will publish each Wednesday over 18 weeks. Click here to read previous Memoirs chapters.
Chapter 15: The Abyss
My grandfather Ruby once told me that time is the most precious commodity; I never understood what he meant until 2002.
I worked furious 20-hour days, trying to create profits by day and Minyanville at nights and during weekends. I wasn't motivated by conventional measures of success; it was an internal need to channel energy in a positive way.
I knew 9/11 affected me. Subconscious seeds were planted that day, and they remained buried for years. At the time, I thought that if I could just burrow through, I would eventually arrive at a better place.
I reflected on losing Ruby, on finding out my father and business partner were both bipolar and on being at the epicenter of a massive terrorist attack. I thought to myself that nothing would ever stop me if I could just power though that period. If I could just power through...
My soul and spirit were damaged goods, an unavoidable fact that pounded home with each beat of my heavy heart. I didn't go out much, a rapid departure from the life I once lived.
My friends reached out, but who had time for that? There was too much to do, or that was my internal rationalization for stealing a few hours of sleep when I wasn't working. Eventually my phone stopped ringing and social invitations dried up. I barely noticed.
I couldn't continue at that pace and didn't want to. I remember looking into the mirror one morning and not recognizing the drawn, empty face that returned my stare. The events of Sept. 11 rocked the world and the reverberating energy was the genesis of a massive personal introspection and evolution.
I founded The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education as a tribute to my grandfather, who continued to guide me with his learned wisdom. It was a tangible manifestation of an intense love, a vehicle to channel benevolence in a suddenly unfamiliar world.
Benevolence. It glimmered briefly in the days following the attack but disappeared just as quickly when agendas took root. It was an opportunity for the world to pull together and affect positive change but instead, decisions were made that planted seeds of societal acrimony and social unrest.
I wanted to do more. I didn't want this written on my headstone: "He had a good feel for the market."
Someone told me to write about what I know and love, and I wanted to extend that to my life. I knew financial markets and I loved my grandfather. Minyanville and the Ruby Peck Foundation were the only solutions that made any sense.
I spent countless hours birthing both. It was an expensive reality, ultimately costing millions and absorbing every ounce of my energy.
The hours turned to days, days into weeks and weeks into months. Before I knew it, I was staring at the final stretch of 2002.
It was almost time to reset the clocks.
Houston, We Have Liftoff...
We launched Minyanville.com in October 2002 as a "financial infotainment and education" platform.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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