The Profile: The creators of the Internet’s red-light district & the messenger of love
Good morning, friends.
I’m excited to try something new this week. My friend Ali Hamed, who is the co-founder of investment firm with CoVenture, has agreed to do an “Ask Me Anything” chat with The Profile readers today. (Ask him a question here). CoVenture invests in early stage startups, and they finance loans originated by niche lenders. It also operates CoVenture Crypto, a multi-strategy cryptocurrency asset management firm.
Ali recently wrote the following post titled, “How I Built My Network, Before I Knew Anyone.” Here’s an excerpt:
(1) Find ways to help people first — even if it’s just writing research reports they never asked for, or making an intro they didn’t realize they might want. Make sure you walk away from every interaction thinking: “how can I help this person?”
(2) Make yourself easy to be helped. Send forwardable emails, ask specific questions, and send three available times.
(3) Once you get introduced — be prepared, make a positive impression, and follow up. I can’t name more than 2–3 times in my life I didn’t send a follow up email with an action item after a meeting.
(4) Keep grinding until you find your inflection points. Sometimes they’ll come easily, and sometimes they take time. And once you find one of those people who will act as your inflection point — make a crazy positive impression on anyone they intro you to (even if you don’t want to take the meeting).
👉 If you enjoy reading profiles of the most successful people and companies, click here to tweet so others can enjoy it too.
— The creators of the Internet’s red-light district [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The messenger of love
— America’s favorite judge
— The most controversial athlete alive
— VR companies get real
— The janitor with the billion-dollar idea
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The creators of the Internet’s red-light district: For years, Backpage.com was the largest portal for sex on the internet. Michael Lacey and James Larkin — two ex-newspaper men — brazenly cashed in on the sex trade through their joint venture. Now, they’re in a vicious, never-ending fight with the Feds. United States v. Lacey is a dangerous case, with potential consequences for freedom of the press as well as the future of Silicon Valley as we know it. (Wired)
“When freedom of speech hangs in the balance, the state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix.”
The messenger of love: The Bräutigamseiche, or Bridegroom’s Oak, is the only tree in Europe with its own mailing address. Every day, the 500-year-old tree receives dozens of lonely-hearts letters, and single people arrive from near and far, hoping to find a match. The tree is believed to possess matchmaking powers, and legend has it that its longest-serving mailman Karl-Heinz Martens is responsible for more than 100 marriages. Martens was a middle-aged divorcé who did not believe in fate. But that was before the tree changed his life, too. (The Atlantic)
“On the internet, questions match people, but at the tree, it’s a beautiful coincidence, like fate.”
America’s favorite judge: For more than 20 years, Judith Sheindlin, or “Judge Judy,” has dominated daytime ratings — by making justice in a complicated world look easy. She is acidic and surly and cruel; she is obsessed with competence, has no patience for equivocating and appreciates good manners. Her black-and-white approach is why people continue to watch. “There’s so much gray,” her producer says. “I think people just want to listen to somebody who’s just going to say it straight and be honest.” (The New York Times)
“She tells the truth, and she makes decisions based on what she thinks is right, not what other people think.”
The most controversial athlete alive: Over the course of her career, Hope Solo has been called the most controversial female athlete alive, won gold in two Olympics and one World Cup, and spoken out frequently about women’s equality. There was the domestic violence arrest. There was the time her team shunned her for weeks. “Hope Solo is not tied up in a nice, neat package with a bow, at all,” says Lesle Gallimore, her college coach. “Don’t ever be surprised by anything she says. That’s rule number one.” (Elle Magazine)
“I didn’t throw anybody under the bus. I believed in myself.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
VR companies get real: Virtual reality has been the next new thing for five years and counting. Clunky headsets, a dearth of content, and lack of consumer interest have caused VR to stall. Can this technology finally catch on? It is tempting to write off virtual reality as yet another overhyped fad. Yet that would ignore the technology industry’s long history of fallen pioneers paving the way for someone else’s breakthroughs. (Fortune Magazine)
“I think there is just a reality that a lot of the creativity doesn’t happen in a big corporation.”
The janitor with the billion-dollar idea: Richard Montañez was a janitor who had a 4th-grade-level education, and couldn’t read or write. But he was a janitor with an idea — one that would make the company billions of dollars and become one of history’s most celebrated and iconic snack foods: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Here’s how Montañez went from cleaning toilets to being one of the most respected execs in the food industry. (The Hustle)
“I realized there’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’ when you believe you’re going to be the best.”