We went to the client and said, “Look, we’ll pay for the loss. We’ll give you all your money back, but it’s going to wipe out half of our equity. We need time to pay you off.” They agreed. Then the crash of 1987 happened. Imagine what that was like, with half our equity gone and the crash threatening a real deep hole in the overall wealth effect. Fortunately for us, in the beginning of 1988 we were the lead manager in the Maxim Products’ IPO, which ignited the technology IPO market. Business came back very rapidly, but we had some pretty difficult times until then.
This business can be highly cyclical, which is why in this firm and in my past businesses we’ve had a revenue source that is diversified by both industry and product mix.
Summary Reflections Beyond business, I always keep in mind that we’re only on this earth for a short period of time, so I don’t look at success in life through a certain filter. Success in business is only one element of a diversified lifestyle, which is something I was extremely interested in having as soon as I got out of school. That’s exactly why I decided to move to the West Coast right after I graduated from Harvard, rather than going to Wall Street like all my other classmates.
The pursuit of sports in my early childhood influences my ideas about how to live a successful life. I like being outdoors as much as I can. I like having access to the outdoors: it was one of the most powerful motivators for me to get out to the West Coast. I also feel that family is very, very important. I’ve got five great kids and I’ve got a great relationship with all of them. I’d say that being a father has been as rewarding as, if not more rewarding than, any other thing I’ve done in my life.
My objective is to be a great parent first, to make an impact in the world second, and then to focus on a few activities at which I can really excel. I’ve tried to make an impact in skiing and cycling from an organizational standpoint. I’ve tried to contribute to the art world, mainly through the New York and San Francisco Museums of Modern Art. Through Empower America, I’ve tried to help the conservative cause that, economically, is mainly entrepreneurially oriented. Obviously, I also try to make an impact in the entrepreneurial segments of business. That’s why I so enjoy starting this new firm and continuing to play a role in entrepreneurial activity in the technology space.
My proudest accomplishments are my kids. Next are the businesses I’ve started and the successes they’ve become. Third is having a certain amount of success in terms of reshaping and restructuring competitive skiing in this country—and I’ve only just begun attempting to do the same in cycling.
Advice to Entrepreneurs If there’s one thing that I would implore younger entrepreneurs to think about and focus on, it is patience. Most people want what they want now. They want it quicker than it’s going to happen. Having patience doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard. You just have to understand that things don’t happen overnight. People who stick to their knitting and