All posts filed under: Audacity

October 1987 Crash

I had hungered to be wealthy even when I didn’t become a millionaire before the age of thirty. So after leveraging our debt to buy Genzyme founder’s stock from Sam, then taking Genzyme public in 1986, I borrowed as much as I could on margin to buy yet more Genzyme stock. I believed by taking on margin debt, and raising the value of our Genzyme holdings, though heavily leveraged, we could better reap the fruit of all my hard work. Loretta asked me how low the stock could go before we lost it all. Genzyme had gone public at $10 per share and traded as high as $16 per share. I told her Genzyme had never traded below $7 as a public company and we could meet any margin calls as long as the stock was above $5.25 per share, which was less than half its current level, and 25% below its lowest price ever. On the other hand if Genzyme went to $30 per share as predicted by analysts we would become wealthy. Then …

Beginning Again

Life has its ups and downs. As I was approaching age forty, having lost my job, most of our net worth, and much of my industry reputation, it was time to begin again. Fortunately Loretta’s business was doing fine, the kids were doing well in school, and I had learned much from my dozen years in international business. Yet here I was in my late 30’s, having worked 70 or 80 hours a week for most of my adult life, with no job, no clear prospects, and my life in a financial shambles. Yet this was a time for deepening my practice of spiritual generosity. This could have been a time for succumbing to a scarcity mentality, but that is not my nature, so instead I focused on the sudden abundance of time in my day, time to spend with my wife, with my children, time to read all those philosophical and spiritual books I hadn’t gotten to read, time to think and re-evaluate my life. And thanks to Loretta’s and my financial prudence over …

New Hope

The week after the announcement of my termination as Chairman and CEO of TSI was in the WSJ a prominent Boston venture capitalist, who we pitched on numerous occasions but who had never invested, called to assure me there was life after public executions. He offered to invest $2 million from his fund in whatever I decided to do next. I began watching Steven Spielberg’s movie Hook, where Peter Pan has grown up to be a clever financier who dabbles in mergers and acquisitions, and forgets the essence of his being, until his nemesis Captain Hook steals Peter’s children and forces him to return to Never Land to remember who he is so that he can save his children. I must have watched that movie 20 or 30 times, long after my wife and children grew bored with it, but this was my situation. The movie Hook became a Delphic oracle explaining my fall from grace. Now I needed to rediscover my true identity, decide who to truly be, and find my right occupation for …

Prideful Fall

My 1993 Budget presentation to TSI’s Board ended with three definitions of success. The first Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” The second I called Bain’s definition: “A superior financial return for shareholders over an extended time period. Finding high growth sectors to maximize business opportunities; with a focus on relative market share, value creation, and high reward for high performance.” Finally one I called the Genzyme measure of success: “Building an important corporation faster and better than the competition; with great expectations, satisfying but not focusing on shareholders, stretching forecasts as far as you reasonably can, and then working like …

Mekong Pilgrimage

My world spiritual pilgrimage will continue next week as I fly to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam to travel with a group up the Mekong River to Ankor Wat. Our journey will include daily lectures by Yale professors on the religion, art, and culture of the peoples with whom we will interact. After a week traveling through rural parts of Vietnam we will cross over into Cambodia, where we will visit the killing fields, Phnom Penh, Angkor Ban, and Siem Reap on our way to the Buddhist temples of Ankor. I continue to work with my editor to revise and adapt my first book “Spiritual Audacity: Six Disciplines for Human Flourishing” which is currently scheduled for publication in September 2017. While I am traveling I have scheduled two additional blog posts from my website telling the story of my fall from TSI and my finding hope again. I hope those of you who are following my story which find these interesting. Upon my return from Vietnam and Cambodia I expect to begin blogging on generosity …

Baptism in River Jordan

I came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land to walk in the footsteps of Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to pray beneath ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, and more fully experience the Holy Spirit in my life. The Gospel of Mark 1:9-11 recounts that “in those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him.” On the twelfth day of this pilgrimage we crossed over to Bethany beyond the Jordan, to a site five miles north of the Dead Sea, where since the 5th century five Christian churches have affirmed as the site of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Given my disappointing experience of baptism at the age of thirteen, when I first professed my belief, I approached this second baptism without expectations, prepared to accept whatever the Holy Spirit had to offer me. I changed …

Astounding Growth

By 1991 Amgen had emerged as the largest biotech company on the West Coast, with a 61 times price earnings ratio and a $5 billion market capitalization. Genzyme had emerged as the largest biotech company on the East Coast, with $250 million in cash reserves, a 33 times price earnings ratio, and a $600 million market capitalization. TSI Corporation emerged as the fastest growing of the next generation of biotech companies. The accounting firm Ernst and Young, investment bank Merrill Lynch, and publisher Inc. Magazine offered an annual prize for Entrepreneur of the Year. TSI Corporation was a finalist for that award in 1990 and again in 1991. Imagine my sense of pride that the company I built had so quickly emerged triumphant. But rapid growth takes on a life of its own. Managers who joined for the career growth opportunities, investors who invested because of the rapid share growth, all lusted for more. In 1991 the Worcester Business Journal ranked TSI the number #1 fastest growing public company in Massachusetts. Against my better judgment, …