Lawyer Up

The Social Network only came out this past weekend, but alarming statistics have begun pouring in from legal firms located near Ivy League schools.  This huge spike in inbound document requests likely stems from the fact that the geniuses of each campus were just introduced to the term "Lawyer Up." Rewind to just last week and picture this: 3 roommates in a dorm room, beers in hand, Dorito dust caking their fingers, all attention focused on their whiteboard.  On the white board is an idea that has the potential to change their lives and the world for forever and for good. The toast themselves, their idea, and the friendship they've enjoyed that led to this discovery and they then set about making it happen.

But, this week, the week after The Social Network, things have looked different.  Still roommates, beers, Dorito-dusted fingers, and a white board, but the beers are untouched and the white board is blank.  (The Doritos still dusting the room, you can't get rid of the Doritos.) The conversation is cagy and the big idea, that is right in front of them, is yet completed.  You see, there are also 3 lawyers in the room.  Each has advised their client to not say anything but just observe what the other "co-founders" might do next.  Each lawyer has a drafted LLC, LP, buy-sell, and golden handcuff agreement in their leather folio waiting for the moment that genius happens and their client becomes the next Zuckerberg.

Across the nation, Lawyering Up is finally giving the excess of law school graduates something to do after graduation. The daycare for mid-twenties something that many law schools have become truly has prepared this new crop of opportunistic "next big things." Mimicking Justin Timberlake, they're taking their geek friends to clubs and reminding them that a million dollars isn't interesting as they inviting their cute paralegal friends to join the party.  With pizzazz and gusto that their litigation class taught them, they're declaring "this is our time!" as they order another round of shots.  Passing the bar has a whole new meaning for these hangers-on to these soon to be 'accidental millionaires.'

So, if you have an amazing idea, the first thing you need to do is not work to make it a reality, no, you need to get yourself some representation.  Don't be the Winklevosses of this story, be the guy that has suited men falling behind him as he wanders the computer lab.  Take a queue from the movie that defines your generation, get out there with your whiteboard and Lawyer Up.

Peanut Butter or Curry Paste?

Excited about being up and showered and ready to kick start this week before my alarm had even gone off, I quickly grabbed a little breakfast to take with me on my walk to the office this morning at 6:15. I quietly grabbed a bagel and silently spread on some peanut butter and wrapped it up in a paper towel, ready to go. It was shortly there after that I found out that our jar of Peanut Butter looks a lot like our jar of Curry Paste, but Curry Paste doesn't taste that great on a bagel.

Profile Expectancy

Facebook knows when we are going to die. It is the newest feature of the site. I logged into Facebook this morning, as has become the usual, there was a new alert at the top of the screen about some of the new changes that have been added to the site and my account. As a curious connoisseur of social media, I clicked the “more info” button to see which of my privacies had most recently been breached.

I scrolled through the usual tweaks and notifications that corporations were now keeping tabs on my Facebook likes and status updates. I read about my place on the “open graph,” the continued authorized fishbowl life I was agreeing to, and how it would help Mark Zuckerberg make my “web browsing experience even better than before.” All things that I am okay with as I have been continually numbed to my privacy needs and now feel the need to live in public.

But then I saw it. The last item on the list was simply labeled “Profile Expectancy.” The brief description was vague and required me to follow the link to “Read More” to understand what exactly the new “Profile Expectancy” feature entailed.

“Facebook has teamed up with the best Actuaries around the world to accumulate and process the ever increasing understanding of who each Facebook Profile represents, the lifestyle and habits they have, and based on this information, calculate their expected date of death, or as we refer to it, their Profile Expectancy.

A User’s Profile Expectancy can be shared or kept private, completely in the control of the User.  Understanding our Users’ Profile Expectancy has been extremely helpful in our forward looking bandwidth and server planning and will save the company billions in years to come. Additionally, should a User choose to make their Profile Expectancy public, they will be able to use their customized link to streamline their approval process and receive discounts for life, health, and disability insurances from our list of approved providers. To see your Profile Expectancy, click HERE.”

I have never been more nervous about clicking a link in my entire life. Did I just read that Facebook, based on the information they’ve gathered from my Profile and my internet activity over the past 5 years had worked out my actuarial life expectancy.  By clicking HERE I would be faced with the my expected “Profile Expectancy” and therefore faced with a prediction of my end of my days. What a sobering thought brought to me by Facebook. With the next page load, I would be know my expiration date.

As my mouse hovered over the link, I began thinking: Did my Gowalla check-ins at the gym offset the pictures from my friend’s bachelor party? Where the late night log-ins and early morning status updates evidence of my lack of sleep and therefore responsible for a shorter Profile Expectancy? Could I tweak by User behavior going forward and increase my Profile Expectancy? Was it too late to mend my ways or could I still live a better life? Did I even want to know what my number was?

And then I woke up.

And then I vowed to quit reading Mashable, TechCrunch,  and Robert Scoble before going to bed.

Wrong Train Home

Last night was the first (and hopefully only) time that Annie or I had ever got on the wrong subway, and of course the one time we do, we take a family of Russian tourists along with us. Annie and I were celebrating a great friend's birthday in Brooklyn. I over indulged in the incredible lasagna and followed that up with a big slice of ice cream cake. It was a good night but the gym is going to be a beast tomorrow. As we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Manhattan, Annie and I compared notes and continued the conversation from the birthday dinner: schooling choices. Needless to say, there were a lot of different opinions voiced by those at the party.

So as we swiped our MetroCards and briskly walked down the stairs to the C Train, we were still deep in conversation. So deep in our conversation that I was completely startled when a stranger stepped into my personal space and in broken english with a thick Russian accent asked which train he and his family needed to take to get to Times Square. Fortunately, both Annie and I have the NYC Subway map on our iPhones (there truly is an App for everything) We pointed out to him that the C train would take him to 42nd and 8th and they could walk the rest of the way. He nodded and said thank you.

Just as he turned to translate our brief conversation to his father (a Vladimir Putin look alike), the C train pulled up. Annie and I hopped on and waved our hands for the Russians to follow us. Putin and his wife and their two sons smiled graciously as they sat down and again thanked us for our help. Annie and I got a warm feeling knowing that we were helping some visitors to our city have a better experience.

A few stops later, that warm feeling disappeared. A few stops later, the names of the subway stations were unfamiliar. A few stops later Annie pulled out her iPhone to indeed confirm that we had jumped on the wrong train. Instead of the Manhattan bound C train, we were on the way-the-heck-out-in-Brooklyn C train. We had passed more stops in the wrong direction than the number of stops it would have taken us to get home. And we had taken the Putins along for the ride.

As we approached the next stop, with fear and trepidation, I walked over to the son who spoke English and informed him of the news. His eyes got wide and and he quickly passed along the news. This is the part of the story where I was really hoping that Mr. Putin didn't also have a pet Siberian tiger or an obsession with guns. In a flurry of Russian and wide eyed glances, the family followed Annie and I off the train and through the station, up an elevator, and down a couple flights of stairs to the correct Manhattan bound C train. As we arrived on the platform, our Russian friends stood a little further down from us and entered the subway car through a different door.

As we rode this C train back past all the stations we had just passed, Annie and I wondered how we could have thought that Hoyt/Schermerhorn was on its way to Manhattan. We had to laugh a little at the way things had turned out and could only hope that when the Putins return home, they'll tell the story of how some crazy people in New York took them on the wrong train home.

Lost In Translation

I knew I should have paid more attention in Spanish class. As I causally conjugated verbs and learned the tenses, I knew that there would be a real world situation that I wouldn't be prepared and would regret not taking class more seriously. That was of course before I got an iPhone.

This morning when I got the gym, I realized that I had unintentionally left my pad lock hanging on the locker door yesterday. I had already packed all my stuff into one of the premium lockers you only get if you arrive at the gym before 6:30 and there was a small Jewish man eyeing me to see if I was coming or going. I didn't have a lock to put on my door, so I was just about to roll the dice and leave it unlocked when I saw the janitor come around the corner to collect the used towels.

"Excuse me. I left my lock here yesterday, do you have a lost and found?"

"I don't..."

"Or maybe down at the front desk?"

"I don't... I don't speak english."

All of a sudden my Tuesdays and Thursday zoning out during Churros y Chocolate II in high school came rushing back to me and slapped me upside the head. "I should have paid attention!" I thought to myself. "How do I say 'padlock' in Spanish?" Grrr, very frustrating.

Not wanting to leave my things unattended for any longer than I had to, I went back to see that the little man had stopped staring at my locker and had found a premium one of his very own. I didn't want to leave my locker unlocked, it had my laptop bag, my wallet, my iPhone...

My iPhone! I flipped through my 5 pages of Apps to my back page (the page were Apps go to die) and found the "Free Translator Lite" App smiling up at me. I quickly pecked in "I lost my lock. Do you have a lost and found?" and it spit back "He perdido mi cerradura. Tiene usted un perdido y encontrado?" To ensure that I didn't butcher the pronunciation, I tracked down the janitor and held up my phone to him. He looked down and then looked back up at me and raised his hand in the air, one finger raised.

"Ah-ha!" (Translates well in English and Spanish)

He walked me over to a closet, smiled as he enter, and when he emerged, had my lock in hand.

The moral of the story? Sometimes it isn't always about working harder when you can work smarter. Especially when you have an iPhone.

Cream Cheese Chin

I got a new sport coat this week. I am a fan. Blue wool with a faint white pin stripe. Soft shoulders and an athletic fit. Rocking it with jeans, a button down shirt, my paisley pocket square, and my cowboy boots made me smile when I caught a glimpse in the mirror, it is everything I hoped it would be when I left the store in SoHo.

I was sitting in Starbucks this morning and enjoying a bagel and some cream cheese and excited to prep for the meetings of the day. I was sipping my Venti Drip (black, no room) and starring out the window at the flurry of activity going on outside on Greenwich Ave. While in my own little world, I noticed a woman step into my line of vision. Didn't pay attention to it as there were some cabbies arguing outside that had me entertained. But as I looked up, I saw the woman was starring right at me. When she saw that I had acknowledged her, she made a hand motion from her lips down to her chin and then swooped her hand away in an exaggerated fashion. I mimicked the action and felt a nice large glob of cream cheese resting on my lower lip. She smiled, grabbed her latte, and darted out the door.
My reaction began as embarrassment, but very quickly grew into gratitude. She had just saved me from sitting and working from my laptop for hours with a cream cheese cover chin. She had in fact put into action the rule that I live by in these circumstances:
If they can change it, tell them. If they can't, keep your mouth shut.
Horrible wart on their chin, smile politely.
Cream cheese on their chin, tell them.

Walk of Shame

As boarding group two had completed their boarding and the gate agent was about to allow group three to approach the podium, her phone rang. Shortly there after all of us still waiting to board learned that our pilot needed a new plane and a swap needed to occur.Instantly a line formed and began to snake through the gate area and into the LAX lobby. Though our flight is only delay 50 minutes total, apparently half the flight was making a connecting the moment our plane landed. As a content traveler, I didn't feel the need to hope in line, but got a good seat for all the drama, action, and comedy that is even now unfolding.
A couple in their early thirties provided my biggest smile of the morning. They walked up to the very front of the line, past the 50+ waiting passengers and stood next to the front of the queue. With a false innocence that I saw them rehearsing as they walked up, they attempted to lure a gate agent's eyes their direction. Quickly noticing what was about to happen, a slick haired, pin stripe suited, blue tooth wearing first class flier nudged his similarly dressed neighbor in line. "The line starts back there," the second executive sternly said to the not so innocent couple. Still trying to get their way, the younger man looked back with as much sincerity and naivety and asked, "oh, are you in line?" I braced myself for a chorus of 50 voices strong barking out "YES!" but the silence and dagger eyes said it all to clearly.
I smiled as I watched a whole new definition of "the walk of shame" unfold before my eyes. Ouch.

27 Random Things

Taking the bait and listening to the results of a poll I took and all that voted (Thanks Cristie,) I finally gave in to the fad and wrote my "25 Random Things about Me" (with my own over achiever twist.)

1. As I write, it is my birthday in London.
2. Finger food could sustain me for the rest of my life.
3. I do not use shaving cream, never have.
4. Will Smith is the celebrity that I am most frequently mistaken for.
5. I have a man crush on Josh Hamilton.
6. I got bored and taught myself to play guitar my senior year in high school.
7. My golf clubs were made in the 1960s
8. Pocket squares are my most recent fashion indulgence. Fanny packs are next.
9. Artificial cherry is one of only three flavors I dislike.
10. I am by far the most humble person I know.
11. My favorite book is a book of fiction. Other than that one, I only read nonfiction.
12. DVR has changed my life and made me a better human being.
13. I have unnaturally impressive flexibility and balance for a tall guy.
14. My cologne was discontinued. This makes Annie sad.
15. I bleed maroon.
16. I intend to have visited all 7 continents by the time I am thirty. 3 down, 4 to go.
17. My favorite painting is by a French artist. My favorite book is by a Brazilian author. My favorite song is about a small town boy born and raised in South Detroit.
18. I have been told I have the dance moves of a black man.
19. I have never seen a Korean Elvis in person.
20. I hate cheese pizza and vanilla ice cream due to their sheer lack of flavor.
21. I have read the entire Bible, verse by verse.
22. I am seven inches taller than my Dad.
23. I have kept a journal since 1997.
24. Rosemary is my favorite spice.
25. My favorite words are legendary and swagger.
26. I read the rules to understand how far I can push the envelope.
27. I am the luckiest guy in the world and have some of the greatest friends, most incredible family, and the love of my life Annie to thank for that.