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Showing posts from January, 2012

A Defense of Bain and Private Equity

Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and private equity firms in general have come under suspicion, criticism and attack for their business practices. Since I have been employed by four different firms that were majority owned by private equity, including a firm owned by Bain Capital, I feel compelled to respond to what I believe is baseless , factually inaccurate and/or disingenuous attacks.

In the mid- 1990's, I was CFO of Stream International. Bain Capital was the majority owner of Stream. Mitt Romney was at Bain at that time. I met him a couple of times and found him to be cordial and informed about our business, even though it wasn't one of the businesses he was directly involved in.

Stream performed manufacturing and services as an outsource provider for a number of the world's great technology firms. Companies like Microsoft, Dell, Novel, Sun, Hewlett Packard, Fujitsu, Palm, IBM, Apple and Compaq. At the peak of the firm, revenue was over $1 billion annually. One of keys to S…

SOPA Legislation

I sent the following letter to Senators Hutchinson and Cornyn and Representative Culberson.

Dear Senator:

As a long-time investor in e-commerce and Internet businesses, I want to provide my view on the proposed "SOPA" legislation.

Despite its clever name, this legislation has little to do with preventing copyright and patent infringement, and everything to do with old media companies trying to grab power.

Over the last twenty years America's growth has been powered by enterprises like Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Oracle, Dell, EBay, WebMD, Facebook, Google, EMC, and Twitter. New ones are emerging continuously like Fusion IO Tumbler and Square. What have the movie companies produced? Saw II? Halloween IV?

This is the creative destruction of capitalism and the free markets at its finest. Don't let the declining industries handicap the innovative ones.

Thank you for your consideration.


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Ethanol Subsidy

In a rare example of good judgment and good policy, Congress let the ethanol tax subsidy expire.Various estimates place that at about $6 billion.Not much when the annual hole exceeds $1 trillion, but it is a good place to start.

New York Times

Today's New York Times (Jan. 2, 2012) editorial criticized Republicans for including the Keystone Pipeline in the legislation extending the payroll tax cut. In the Times' view, it isn't environmentally responsible, won't create the estimated number of jobs and delays the move to green energy sources. The urge more time for studying the potential environmental impact.


First, who knows if the number of jobs to be created is exaggerated or not? It doesn't matter - we know that a number of jobs will; they are high-paying jobs, and we need all the jobs we can get. Second, this project has been studied to death. "Study" in this case means "stall" until the proponents give up. But most importantly, their argument employs a false choice. It isn't a choice between a pipeline and anything. We need all the energy we can get to become energy independent. And, if one believes in the electric car, as I do (qualification: like the Tesla; not th…


Relaxed with a Partagas that had been in my humidor for years.  A corona perhaps?  Too fat for a lonsdale, a little short for a Churchill.  Anyway, nice smoke.  Burned smothly and evenly, tasty and not too strong.

Just what I needed for a little relaxation.

Christmas cards

Just made one more review of all the Christmas cards we received this year.  Perhaps it has something to do with our long-time friends, or that we are all getting older - I don't know.  But clearly we received many more cards this year with an openly Christian religious point of view.

A reaction to political correctness and the banal "Happy Holidays"?