Thursday, March 27, 2008

BlackRock - Redux

Larry Fink, the Chairman of BlackRock, was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal the other day. BlackRock, along with Highfield's Capital, is backing PennyMac, a new fund formed to acquire non-performing mortage loans from banks and other financial institutions. Larry and the other founders of BlackRock transformed what began as a tiny fixed income shop, beginning with 8 people in 1988, into a trillion dollar global asset management firm - a firm which was grounded around the concept of risk-management. (A concept that was not utilized by many Wall Street firms, as evidenced by the shellacking of Bear Stearns.)

Speaking of BlackRock, my friend, Chris Poe sent this photo of me with Ralph Schlosstein, one of BlackRock's founders, which was taken immediately prior to the screening of "we are BlackRock" in New York City at Gotham Hall.

You will note that the reason I am having a less than stellar hair day is because I was sweating profusely prior to the screening of this latest film, all the while, trying to look calm and collected.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Girls' Ice Hockey - Should they play at the Boston Garden?

Today's Boston Globe reported that the Massachusetts Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association had scheduled the state hockey finals for high school boys to be played at the Boston Garden, home of the Bruins. The girls, however, are relegated to another site, which is not the Garden.

The finals for both boys and girls high school basketball state finals are at the Garden (also home of our beloved Celtics) - and so, inquiring minds might ask, why are the girls playing high school hockey not at the Garden?

The girls will play at the Harvard facility - a top notch rink. However, it is the signal and message which is unfortunate: you do not deserve to play where the hallowed traditions of the Bruins lie... you do not deserve to be where the boys play.

Arguments have been made that ice hockey for girls is an emerging sport (many more high schools offer ice hockey to boys than girls) - but that is the same tired argument that was used decades ago for women playing sports at all. That girls need to "earn" their stripes. However, girls pay tuition, practice, and put in the kind of effort that the boys do.

It is remarkable that in 2008, that this conversation and observation is even being made.

On another note - here at 50 Eggs, we were commissioned to produce a film project for BlackRock, the wildly successful asset management firm. The 42 minute film chronicled the history and entrepreneurial path of 8 founders who came together and grew the business into a global brand of over 5000 strong.

After completing the project, it became apparent to me that BlackRock is a different sort of place with real people who are fiercely dedicated to serving their customers (whether the customer is a large pension fund or a municipal worker - a fireman or carpenter). What was striking was the crew also came to this same conclusion. There were several people who worked on the film (our line producer, our photographer, our sound guy) who all asked: where can I get a BlackRock fund?