The Profile: The financier trying to save his hedge fund & the world’s largest crypto exchange
This edition of The Profile features Anthony Scaramucci, CZ, and more.
Good morning, friends!
My high school offered a “magnet program,” a specialized curriculum with a particular focus. There were two you could choose from: science or performing arts. Naturally, I wanted to do both.
I got accepted into the science program, but the performing arts portion required an audition with the directors of the school’s theater program. I still remember every torturous second of that audition.
I had memorized a monologue, and as I entered the room, I felt the words evaporate from my brain. Palms sweating. Stomach in knots. Heart pounding. Brain on fire. I greeted the two “judges,” and laughed nervously. The following interaction took place:
— “Hi. What do you have prepared for us today?”
— ”Um … So I had a monologue, but I completely forgot everything…”
— ”Is there anything else you have memorized that you can perform?”
— ”There’s a singing component to the program. Can you sing anything?”
— ”Oh gosh, I did not realize that…”
— ”Can you sing literally anything? How about, ‘Happy Birthday?’”
Let me tell you that I still have nightmares about my rendition of “Happy Birthday” that did not get me accepted in the performing arts magnet program.
Years later, I took an acting class taught by one of the judges during my audition from hell. Our grade in the class would be determined by a performance we put on at the end of the semester.
As I was preparing my monologue, my teacher told me, “Before you step on that stage, you have to get into character. You’ve got to talk like that person, act like that person, and feel the emotions that person feels.”
I studied my monologue for weeks before getting up in front of my classmates. Two seconds before my “performance,” I thought I was going to throw up. But then something weird happened — it felt like someone else took over as soon as I opened my mouth. The nerves went away, and I felt confident because I wasn’t up there as the introverted Polina. I was up there as my very outgoing character.
This phenomenon is referred to as “an alter ego,” which I’ve written about at length here. Beyoncé described it as: “That moment when you’re nervous and that other thing kind of takes over for you.”
I recently did a fireside chat for my upcoming book HIDDEN GENIUS. I had to speak. In front of an audience. It reminded me how far I’ve come from my “Happy Birthday” days. To summon confidence, I used to have to pretend to be someone else — someone much more confident and self-assured. Now, I’m just … myself.
Actor Cary Grant put it well: “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until, finally, I became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point along the way.”
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— The financier trying to save his hedge fund
— The romance novelist who cracked the code
— The fresh face of MLB
— The world’s largest crypto exchange [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The footwear company that boomed during the pandemic
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The financier trying to save his hedge fund: Anthony Scaramucci is no stranger to failure. He is perhaps most famous for being President Donald Trump’s communications director for 11 days before he was fired. He was let go from his first job at the real estate investment banking unit of Goldman Sachs. His investment firm SkyBridge almost failed during the financial crisis. Most recently, he’s been dealing with the fallout following Sam Bankman-Fried’s 30% stake in SkyBridge. “I’m like a f---ing cockroach. If you think I’m going down after the nuclear bomb goes off, you’ve mis-sized me,” he says. Can Scaramucci pull his hedge fund back from the brink? (Bloomberg; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I’m not gonna let Sam or anybody, any bad outcome like that, dissuade me from further risk-taking or some big opportunities.”
The romance novelist who cracked the code: Romance novelist Emily Henry has sold 2.4 million books collectively and spent a cumulative 145 weeks on The New York Times best-sellers list. Her fourth romance novel, Happy Place, comes out next month, and two of her books, Book Lovers and People We Meet on Vacation, were recently optioned for films. Here’s how she cracked the code and got Gen Z binging her books. (New York Magazine)
“You don’t have romance without earnestness and optimism and sincerity. It just doesn’t work.”
The fresh face of MLB: Julio Rodríguez, a 22-year-old baseball player for the Seattle Mariners, is seen as a rising star in the sport. Rodríguez has a close relationship with Ichiro Suzuki, a former Mariners player who is now a guide and mentor to the team. Despite his youth, Rodríguez has already signed a record-breaking 17-year contract worth $400 million, and is seen as a potential face of Major League Baseball. Could Rodríguez help the Mariners turn the team around?
“The skill set, the personality, the aura around Julio? If I have to throw a name out there, could he be Willie Mays?”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The world’s largest crypto exchange: Most casual observers think of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, as a trading-tech titan, a data-driven juggernaut run by the ubiquitous Changpeng Zhao, or CZ for short. Zhao has cumulatively, logged countless appearances on cable business networks, released myriad statements touting the health of his business, and appeared at live events worldwide, professing that users’ crypto is secure in their Binance accounts. Through several weeks of reporting, examination of financial filings, and interviews with investors, Fortune assembled a wide-ranging picture of Binance’s business. (FORTUNE; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
The footwear company that boomed during the pandemic: Ugh, people freaking love Crocs, the slip-on clogs I find so very ugly. The stock prices and sales of Peloton, Etsy and Zoom have dropped since their sharp rises in the pandemic, but Crocs’ stock has soared 167 percent since January 2020. Crocs said in November that it expected revenue from its namesake shoe line to reach more than $5 billion in three years, a nearly 90 percent increase. It sees its adjusted operating margin staying around 26 percent even as other consumer companies are feeling a squeeze in their profits. Here’s how Crocs became an unexpected pandemic success story. (The New York Times)
“You go in for the shoe, but you stay for the community.”
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