Memoirs of a Minyan: The Genesis of a Dream
The purpose of the journey is the journey itself.
As the co-hosts bantered about tax stimulus and Street psychology, I played along and played my part. When the camera turned towards me, I represented my thoughts as clearly as I could.
“Fund managers are chasing performance,” I said in reference to the rally, “I see it and respect it but I don’t believe it’s going to last. Bubbles don’t end with a V-shaped recovery.”
The Morning After
I settled into my turret at 6:00 AM the next morning, powered up my systems and found six emails waiting from Jim. They began early in the morning and I read them in chronological order. The first was innocent enough, something along the lines of “Hey man, thanks for doing the show.”
As I scrolled through the correspondence, his stream of consciousness began to shift. He became increasingly agitated and, by the sixth email, outright rude. I read his final email a few times.
“I had you on my show, the least you can do is write a column for TheStreet.com. If you don’t want to respond to me, then FINE!”
I didn’t know if the invitation to be on his show was a trap. I was at a crossroads -- I wasn’t concerned that his internal fires were ablaze but I didn’t want to bite his hand; he still had money in the fund and he had our investor’s ears.
I told Jeff that I would write a column if it would calm the furor. Maybe it was a legal thing given TheStreet.com told my readers I was coming back -- I don’t know and I really didn’t care. I wanted to make peace with Cramer and move on with my career.
I agreed to write year-end piece chronicling what was, what is and what would be. It was a strong column; I wanted to represent my voice in a manner consistent with what was built. While I wrote with the intention it would be one and done, it reminded how much I loved to write and how much I missed the forum.
After the column posted, the Editor-in-Chief Dave Morrow called and asked if we could talk. “Sure,” I replied, “Swing by tomorrow after the bell.”
When he got my office, I left my traders on the desk and ushered Dave to a conference room. Once there, he expressed his regret over what happened, apologized with sincerity and asked me to come back to TheStreet.com.
I told him that I needed a few days. I knew why he was there and it had nothing to do with my best interests. Still, it was something that I wanted; perhaps needed.
I spent some time chewing through his offer and asked for another meeting, this one at a restaurant. There, over a Grey Goose martini, I laid out my thoughts to the top brass of TheStreet.com.
“Why don’t we partner on a professional product, one that’s geared to the hedge fund audience? I’ll provide content, you guys run the back-end and we’ll whack up the revenue.”
“Great idea!” they exclaimed after conferring, “Let us put our heads together and we’ll get back to you in a few days.”
Later that week, we again met and they laid their cards on the table. “3% of the gross revenue,” they said, “We’ll give you 3% of the gross revenue.” I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was clearly under-whelmed.
“I don’t think so,” I answered before realizing I was speaking, “That’s not going to work.” They asked what it would take to get the deal done and I told them I would need to think about it. I returned to my office where 200 positions awaited and tried to focus on the task at hand.
While I was surprised by their opening offer, I knew that was how the game was played. I spent the rest of the week asking myself difficult questions and weighing past transgressions against my desire to again write. When push came to shove, I was willing to swallow my pride.
I called Dave the next morning and told him that it wasn’t about the money and I was willing to move forward -- but I didn’t want to target a professional audience and would again write my regular column.
I wanted to write for those who wrote my grandfather letters on his deathbed. I wanted to write for myself and release the hurricane in my heart.
“We can’t do that,” he suddenly said, “We can’t have our best writer on the old site while we’re launching a professional product aimed at hedge funds.”
I was prepared for many things but I was shocked by that latest twist. “We have nothing left to discuss,” I said as I hung up the phone, disgusted at myself for being so vulnerable.
It was a good idea and they knew it.
They were going to launch it with or without me.
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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