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My entrepreneurship teacher sent us some youtube videos on angel investors, and listening to the first one describe what angel investors are looking for, and how to get an investor--it is shockingly like every single how to be published panel I've ever been to.

Seems to me angel investors are basically your literary agents. Dealing with hundreds of inexperienced noobs, listening to presentations that don't describe the business, reading business plans that don't explain the business, and dealing with people who have an idea but no company but are still convinced it will be the next google.

The money is different, the product is different, but it sounds like the exact same dynamics are in play with wannabe entrepreneurs and wannabe published authors. And I thought I was leaving all this behind...
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I just got back from my first down and back trip to New York for a firm visit. It is a million degrees in my apartment.

I managed to get a carpool together for the trip, but there is a flaw in my plan. The fellow student who volunteered to drive...is that douchebag on the highway who comes right up on your bumper until you are so frightened you change lanes to get out of his way. The only reason we only ever got up to 87 was traffic. He would have gone faster if he could have. He talks on the phone while he drives. He texts while he drives. He snapchats while he drives. I AM NOT GETTING BACK IN THAT CAR.

I'm still really opposed to doing all this travel on the bus; we were stuck in solid traffic from New York all the way to Hartford on the way back, which is tolerable with a bunch of classmates and completely intolerable on the bus.

So I am looking at Amtrak for the future trips. It is possible to get $49 tickets a few weeks out. Only problem is only one other firm has sent us details. So I could guess when I will need to be around and buy cheap tickets. Or I could wait until they tell me and buy tickets for twice as much. ARGH. SEND US DETAILS, FIRMS.

Meanwhile, PwC took us all bowling at Frames, which has gone more upscale since the last time I was there. This plan required them to buy socks for all the women. If you've never seen a bunch of nervous, tired people in business suits (and skirts) bowl while drinking beer from a tower, you've never lived.

Also, being back in New York was very weird. Cause it made this whole Boston thing seem like a vacation. Like, oh! I'm home now. This is where I'm supposed to be. Oh, wait, I have to get in a car and go back to Boston? $&*#
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More scenes from my classes:

- I was trying to get a carpool together for the New York trips (solely out of my desire not to take the bus). One of the other New York candidates told me, oh, she'd much rather take the bus. I was like, okay. I mean, I hate it--I've had some seven plus hour trips, I've had some stinky trips, I've had some excruciating seats, and for going to a recruiting event, I just think I'd show up late, hot, and wrinkled. A little bit into this conversation it turns out...she's not taking the bus. She has a car. She just doesn't want anyone else to ride in it. And I was like oh! Dude! I wasn't trying to volunteer anybody's car, I was just seeing if there was interest. I have turned down giving rides to people I don't know very well, it's fine. She kept popping out with excuses, too. Man, what a bullshit way to say no thanks to the carpool idea.

- During this conversation, I brought up that one of my main concerns with the Bolt is that I've ridden it several times where there haven't been seatbelts. I know most people on the bus don't use them, but they're very important to me. At this point, the Russian kid breaks in: "You don't need seatbelts on a bus." Me: "...I'm pretty sure physics still works on buses. Buses have accidents--I've even seen a Megabus that had run off the road on the Boston-New York route. So I'm gonna stick with the seatbelt."

At this point he launches into a story about how he never ever wore a seatbelt, but the one time he did, he was in a terrible accident and it saved his life. So he knows God exists, cause he was wearing a seatbelt that day. We all pause listening, digesting that. And then I ask: "Do you wear a seatbelt now?" Him: "No." Me: "WTF? Oh, wait, are you waiting for god to tell you when you should wear it again?" Him: "Exactly!" Me: *headdesk*

- Later in the week, Russian kid (and he is such a kid) made some comments about how global warming wasn't real, and I was like, I'm not even gonna argue with you on that, because I don't think you really care. I think you just want to argue. Him: "Ooo, controversy!" Me: "No, you're just wrong. It's not controversial--you're wrong." And then I left.

- My econ professor has moved our test from Monday (our next class) to Wednesday on the small technicality that he has not taught us at all what the test is going to be on yet. This guy is just... I've taken econ before. Yes, it can be a little mind bending, but not really. It's not actually that difficult, if you're not dealing with equations (which we aren't). But he teaches it in an incomprehensible way. I only have a clue what's going on cause I've learned all of this before and listen to quite a lot of economic news (thank you, Planet Money).

Today was teaching us his system of predicting changes to interest rates, GDP, inflation, and the price of the dollar using a series of 11 interrelated graphs. Now, laying aside the fact that he explained this so quickly, and so poorly, that people were audibly going "WHAT???", and that he's explaining everything strictly mechanically without any conceptual underpinning, THIS IS ALL BULLSHIT ANYWAY. I mean, I can tell you what your rules say will happen to inflation if a wave of immigrants increases our labor force (actual class example), but I think the real world shows pretty well that none of this works this at all. I mean, why do you think we have the word stagflation? Cause this economics model said you couldn't have stagnation and inflation at the same time and yet, surprise! The seventies happened.

That and we're doing this business strategy game without him telling us anything about business strategy, so that is an excellent use of everyone's time.

I did really well my first semester and the second semester grades won't be out before the firms decide on whether to offer me an internship, so I kind of--don't care? I don't think I'm in danger of failing, but for real, there are only so many hoops I'm going to jump through. And if you don't think every single one of his factual misstatements isn't going to end up on the course evaluation, it's like you don't know me at all.

- My accounting professor is growing on me. We had our first test. After reassuring us repeatedly that he's not trying to trick us, I got the test and realized he is a LYING LIAR WHO LIES. There were trick questions all over that thing! Either that or I did a lot worse on it than I think...

- Yesterday I went to the first firm visit, a Boston firm that has a New York office, but is not recruiting from our program in New York. I thought, I might as well get information about the company. But it turns out the Boston office is a special snowflake, since it used to be a regional firm and kept its culture when it was bought, so the New York office is nothing like it anyway. This means I, and fifty of my classmates, dressed up in suits and nice shoes, then took the subway to North Station, then walked twenty minutes over locks in direct sunlight to show up at the firm wilted and sweaty. And I had a coughing fit during the presentation and had to duck out to get water. I was THAT GIRL. Hey, at least, since I'm going to New York, I don't really have to worry about making a good impression there?
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I am reading The Smartest Guys in the Room, about Enron. This is for grad school, but in a round about way--I made sure to be reading it when I went for my interviews, because if publishing taught me one thing, it's always be reading a relevant book when you go for an interview. Which lead to a fantastic conversation with my interviewer. I then set it aside, but now I've got to get it finished before I see the guy again.

But. I was thinking.

If I were Enron, the moment I got an acceptance letter to grad school, I would have calculated the net present value of my future earnings--assuming, of course, that I made partner at a big accounting firm--and book it all as profit right then. Then I'd write myself a big bonus on that profit. But, you say, I haven't actually gotten any cash flow yet. In fact, a bunch of cash is supposed to flow out.

No problem. I'd securitize the future earnings and sell slices of it, removing it from my balance sheet and turning it into a chunk of change. I'd secure financing for the tuition and other expenses. And I wouldn't monitor my expenses at all--I'd fly first class to Boston, stay at a fancy hotel, and hire consultants to do my schoolwork for me.

Then I'd fail out of school. But no matter, rather than writing off the tuition expense, I'd add it to the "snowball"--if I never got an official letter telling me I was kicked out, I'd just let it sit as an asset on my balance sheet forever.

Here's the thing with Enron. The press may have been fooled--and actually, a lot of it wasn't; there were a number of highly critical articles that came out from reporters that actually did their due diligence. Wall Street may have been fooled--but they wanted to be. When it comes down to it, Wall Street is just as much about short term gains as Enron was, and here's a company that promised and delivered 15% growth every year, regardless of underlying economics.

But nobody who had anything to do with the company was fooled. They may not have known about the actual illegal transactions, but everyone who dealt with Enron knew they were riding for a fall.


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August 2017

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