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Posts Tagged ‘David Petraeus

2014

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Tragic begging and triumphant benevolence.  Paper gains and palpable losses.  Newfound empathy and noticeable disdain.

I’ll never forget seeing thousands of Syrian refugees – mothers who fled the Assad regime clutching toddlers – on the streets of Istanbul.  They had a small cup or piece of cloth in front of them, asking pedestrians for spare change in Arabic – a language Turks don’t speak.

I’ll never forget the smile on the faces of the BCNA loan officers who had given small business loans to immigrants in all of NYC’s boroughs.  These loans allowed these immigrants to realize their American dream through their corner stores, their laundromats, their beauty salons, and their restaurants.

I’ll never forget the phone call from a fellow investor that my first venture capital deal, Snapdeal.com, was about to announce an investment from Softbank at a $2 billion valuation.  Or, the text message about Hired.com, a deal that I had seeded at NEA, had closed a round at a $200 million valuation.

I’ll never forget the phone call from a portfolio company CEO that he had run out of money.  He was going to have to shut down his business and, in the process, I would lose all my invested capital.  He was in tears.  He had given it his all, sacrificing everything for his business.  He hadn’t even paid himself in the last few months to keep the company afloat – and he was broke.  I was, in the next 5 minutes, defeated and encouraging, confused and consoling.

I’ll never forget meeting General David Petraeus 1:1 in his office, and the many emails, discussions, and meals that continue to follow.  He’s a man who led our armed forces in Afghanistan and also was the Head of the CIA.  He was—and still is—the quintessential American hero: a gentleman, a class act, and a selfless leader.  But one mistake caused him to give up his career in government.  I think the world of him—and if he can make a mistake like the one he did, then I’m pretty sure anyone can.  We’re all just human.

I’ll never forget meeting Lance Armstrong in New York as part of a group dinner.  Because the event was off the record, I am not at liberty to share quotes.  However, I could tell Lance was noticeably frustrated at the doping scandal; not necessarily because he was upset at the backlash and the titles that were vacated, but because he still feels like he was wronged.  He had brought a knife to a gun fight.  And if everyone was doing it, then why was he the villain?

What a year 2014 was.  2015, you’re on the clock.

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Written by sheeltyle

December 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Quotes from the Academy

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I had the privilege of attending the Academy of Achievement thanks to the generosity of Wayne and Cathy Reynolds 2 weekends ago in San Francisco.  There were 150 extraordinary people all staying at the same hotel and interacting, dancing, and eating with one another for a full weekend.  I thought I would share some on-the-record nuggets of wisdom or shocking quotes from the honorees.

Admiral McRaven, former Commander of the US Special Operations best known for leading the operation that killed Bin Laden:

  • “At best, there was a 50/50 chance Bin Laden was in that compound.  In fact, some very intelligent folks thought it was 10%.”
  • “It’s the little things you control…the words of encouragement, the phone calls…that will define you.”

David Boies and Ted Olson, Boies represented Gore and Olson represented Bush in Bush v. Gore, but then they joined hands to fight Proposition 8 together in California:

  • “If two people agree, one of them isn’t needed.”
  • “It’s more credible to work with folks who are known to have different beliefs.  Us coming together drew a lot of attention, simply because we stand for opposite sides on many issues.”

Athol Fugard, South African playwright

  • “Beware of false pride.”

General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA

  • “Get the big ideas right. Communicate them effectively.  Implement them.  Then repeat.”

Thomas Keller, Creator/Owner of French Laundry, Per Se

  • “My first introduction into the world of cooking was as a dishwasher.  It was critical. It taught me discipline (without it, where will the food go?), organization (knowing where the plates go, where the bowls go, saves critical time), efficiency (have to do it quickly), repetition (which equals perfection), and teamwork (everybody needed everybody, including me)

Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH)

  • “My mother’s life advice ‘do whatever you want, but whatever you do, don’t become a federal employee.'”

And many, many more.

 

 

Written by sheeltyle

September 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm