The Bar Has Been Set For Lengths Gone To In Order To Secure Seed Capital

[caption id="attachment_77416" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="Home?"][/caption] Want to get in shape? Want to save money? Want to impress industry execs with your problem solving skills and can-do attitude? Want to hole up and pound out a business plan for the [hedge fund/private equity firm/boutique investment bank/whathaveyou] you want to get off the ground? What if we told you there was a foolproof way to accomplish all those goals and more, that it wouldn't cost you a thing, that you might even have some fun doing it, and that there'd be free cereal and Coke involved? Would that sound like something you'd be interested in? Then, congratulations, you're already halfway there. Step 1 was getting on board, Step 2 is choosing the investment bank or asset management firm that's lax on night security and moving in. Eric Simons wanted to get straight into the thick of it, so after high school, and a short period crashing on couches with friends at the University of Illinois, Simons accepted a slot in the inaugural class of Imagine K12, a new Silicon Valley incubator focused entirely on education. His plan? Start a company that builds tools allowing teachers to create and discover lesson plans, and share them with students and teachers...But his initial idea wasn't quite working. Imagine K12 was a great place to get mentorship and learn how startups are built, but he and his ClassConnect partners had been given just $20,000 by the incubator, and after the four-month program ended, the money was gone. When his friends left to go back to college, Simons needed another solution. Imagine K12 is hosted at AOL's Palo Alto campus, and everyone involved gets a building badge. As it turns out, Simons told CNET, the badges kept working, even after the program ended, giving him ongoing access, along with a face that had become familiar to others who worked there. "I couldn't afford to live anywhere," Simons recalled. "I started living out of AOL's headquarters." For someone with neither money nor an aversion to sleeping on others' couches, the AOL building had plenty of allure. "They had a gym there with showers," Simons said. "I'd take a shower after work. I was like, 'I could totally work here...They have food upstairs, they have every drink on tap. This would be a sweet place to live.'" Note that Simons said he would work there. After his four months in the incubator, he was used to toiling away at ClassConnect inside the building, and with other programs, from the Stanford-focused incubator StartX to AOL's own First Floor Labs also taking up space there, there was no shortage of non-AOL employees shuffling in and out all the time. But Simons was intent on launching his startup, so why not find a desk and pound away for 12 to 16 hours a day? "There were so many people going in and out each day," he said. "They'd say, 'Oh, he just works, here, he's working late every night. Wow, what a hard worker.'" Having spent several months legitimately working in the building, often quite late, Simons had noticed that although there were security guards with nightly rounds, there were at least three couches that seemed outside those patrols. Plus, they looked fairly comfortable. He claimed them. This was his routine: He'd work until midnight or later, and then fall asleep around 2 a.m. on one of the couches. At 7 a.m. -- and no later than 8 a.m. so he'd be safely out of his field bed before anyone else arrived -- he'd wake up, go down to the gym for a workout and a shower, and then go back upstairs and scarf a breakfast of cereal and water or Coke. Then he'd work all day, finally waiting until everyone else in the building had gone home before returning to one of his three favored couches. "I got a really good work ethic," he said, "and I got in shape, since I had to work out every morning." Simons could probably have crashed elsewhere, but he wanted to see how long he could make the AOL squatting work. Some friends knew what he was doing, and they thought it was funny. But no one helped him, other than a couple buddies who discussed strategies with him on how to evade security. And then came that fateful morning with the 6 a.m. yelling. "One of the guys who manages the building came in at like 5 or 6 in the morning," Simons lamented, "and he scoured the entire place to find me. And he ripped me a new one. He was pissed that I was treating it like a dorm. Which was reasonable." No one called the police, Simons "continues to go to the AOL building for meetings to this day," and a venture capitalist, Paul Sherer, threw some seed money Simons' way, based on the fact that the guy lived out of the place. ("Tenacity and commitment are key attributes of a great entrepreneur," Sherer said. "Eric has these in spades as demonstrated by his willingness to do whatever it takes to get his company off the ground.") This could be you. Meet The Tireless Entrepreneur Who Squatted At AOL [CNET]
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Want to get in shape? Want to save money? Want to hole up and pound out a business plan for the [hedge fund/private equity firm/boutique investment bank/whathaveyou] you want to get off the ground? Want to impress industry execs and potential investors with your problem solving skills and can-do attitude? What if we told you there was a foolproof way to accomplish all those goals and more, that it wouldn't cost you a thing, that you might even have some fun doing it, and that there'd be free cereal and Coke involved? Would that sound like something you'd be interested in? Then, congratulations, you're already halfway there. Step 1 was getting on board, Step 2 is finding an investment bank or asset management firm that's lax on night security and moving in.

Eric Simons wanted to get straight into the thick of it, so after high school, and a short period crashing on couches with friends at the University of Illinois, Simons accepted a slot in the inaugural class of Imagine K12, a new Silicon Valley incubator focused entirely on education. His plan? Start a company that builds tools allowing teachers to create and discover lesson plans, and share them with students and teachers...But his initial idea wasn't quite working. Imagine K12 was a great place to get mentorship and learn how startups are built, but he and his ClassConnect partners had been given just $20,000 by the incubator, and after the four-month program ended, the money was gone. When his friends left to go back to college, Simons needed another solution. Imagine K12 is hosted at AOL's Palo Alto campus, and everyone involved gets a building badge. As it turns out, Simons told CNET, the badges kept working, even after the program ended, giving him ongoing access, along with a face that had become familiar to others who worked there. "I couldn't afford to live anywhere," Simons recalled. "I started living out of AOL's headquarters."

For someone with neither money nor an aversion to sleeping on others' couches, the AOL building had plenty of allure. "They had a gym there with showers," Simons said. "I'd take a shower after work. I was like, 'I could totally work here...They have food upstairs, they have every drink on tap. This would be a sweet place to live.'"
Note that Simons said he would work there. After his four months in the incubator, he was used to toiling away at ClassConnect inside the building, and with other programs, from the Stanford-focused incubator StartX to AOL's own First Floor Labs also taking up space there, there was no shortage of non-AOL employees shuffling in and out all the time. But Simons was intent on launching his startup, so why not find a desk and pound away for 12 to 16 hours a day? "There were so many people going in and out each day," he said. "They'd say, 'Oh, he just works, here, he's working late every night. Wow, what a hard worker.'" Having spent several months legitimately working in the building, often quite late, Simons had noticed that although there were security guards with nightly rounds, there were at least three couches that seemed outside those patrols. Plus, they looked fairly comfortable. He claimed them. This was his routine: He'd work until midnight or later, and then fall asleep around 2 a.m. on one of the couches. At 7 a.m. -- and no later than 8 a.m. so he'd be safely out of his field bed before anyone else arrived -- he'd wake up, go down to the gym for a workout and a shower, and then go back upstairs and scarf a breakfast of cereal and water or Coke. Then he'd work all day, finally waiting until everyone else in the building had gone home before returning to one of his three favored couches. "I got a really good work ethic," he said, "and I got in shape, since I had to work out every morning."

Simons could probably have crashed elsewhere, but he wanted to see how long he could make the AOL squatting work. Some friends knew what he was doing, and they thought it was funny. But no one helped him, other than a couple buddies who discussed strategies with him on how to evade security. And then came that fateful morning with the 6 a.m. yelling. "One of the guys who manages the building came in at like 5 or 6 in the morning," Simons lamented, "and he scoured the entire place to find me. And he ripped me a new one. He was pissed that I was treating it like a dorm. Which was reasonable."

No one called the police, Simons "continues to go to AOL for meetings to this day," and a venture capitalist, Paul Sherer, threw some seed money Simons' way, based on the fact that the guy lived out of an office building. ("Tenacity and commitment are key attributes of a great entrepreneur," Sherer said. "Eric has these in spades as demonstrated by his willingness to do whatever it takes to get his company off the ground.")

What are you waiting for?

Meet The Tireless Entrepreneur Who Squatted At AOL [CNET]

Related

Former Madoff Employee Pleads Guilty To *A* Madoff Securities Scam Just Not *The* Madoff Securities Scam

You know what has got to suck? When you decide to start charging stuff that doesn't fall under "business expenses" to your corporate card and engage in a few other amateur hours scams that probably wouldn't have been found out (or, if discovered, not taken to the authorities because your boss had high tolerance for fraud) but then they are because the CEO of your firm had to go and engage in the largest Ponzi scheme on record, which shone an uncomfortable light on company personnel and all of the cheese, popcorn, and salsa of the month clubs you joined (for example).  Craig Kugel knows what we're talking about. The son of a longtime trader for convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other criminal charges Tuesday, but denied any involvement in the decades-long fraud. Craig Kugel, the son of David L. Kugel, a former supervisory trader in Madoff's proprietary-trading operation, admitted to filing false forms that claimed people were on the Madoff payroll when they didn't actually work for the firm and to not declaring as income personal expenses charged to the firm's corporate credit card. Those individuals were paid salary and benefits, but weren't actual employees, he said. "I am sorry for my lapses in judgment in committing these federal crimes, but I want to make clear I had nothing to do with the Madoff Ponzi scheme and I was never involved in the Madoff trading operation," Craig Kugel said at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan. Ex-Madoff Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy [WSJ]

UK Hedge Fund Manager Sets Unreachably High Bar With Resplendent Private Residence For Chicken Friends

Crispin Odey is the founder of Odey Asset Management, a sausage brand ambassador, and a guy who unwittingly made fellow hedge fund manager Philip Falcone's life* a living hell when he pulled this stunt: ...Odey has upped the ante for poultry accommodation – he’s building a temple for his chickens for which the stone alone costs £130,000. The Palladian-style chicken house, designed by Christopher Smallwood Architects, has won planning approval from the Forest of Dean District Council, and will sit on the hillside above Eastbach Court, Odey’s Grade II-listed home. The temple’s roof – adorned with an Anthemia statuette – will be fashioned in grey zinc; the pediments, cornice, architrave and frieze are in English oak; and the columns, pilasters and rusticated stone plinth are being hewn from finest grey Forest of Dean sandstone. Naturally, the doors will be painted in the Odey Asset Management founder’s favourite Hague Blue – “to match the doors around Eastbach Court”, according to the plans...“The temple will be a lovely place when it is finished at the end of the year,” Odey said from a grouse moor. “The chickens will be grand.” Nice for the chickens, but obviously this gesture makes Phil look like a deadbeat by comparison, as he merely allows his pet pig Wilbur to live in his apartment and has never even suggested getting her her own place. You can bet someone will be printing a copy of the article and placing it prominently on top of someone's morning paper, and god help that someone if he doesn't get on the horn about building her the god damn Taj Mahal, ASAP. Crispin Odey’s chickens come home to (a luxury) roost [Telegraph via FT Alphaville] *And the lives of all deep-pocketed animal owners.

Woman Who Helped Sam Israel III Fake His Own Death Still Has Only Nice Things To Say About His Passion In The Sack, Department Stores

Remember Debra Ryan? For those who need a refresher, she was the woman behind the man that was Sam Israel III, the hedge fund manager who, with the help of DR, faked his own death in 2008 to avoid the prison time that was coming his way as a result of scamming investors in the Bayou Group out of $450 million. Several months after Israel was caught, Ryan penned an article for Marie Claire, explaining that she'd gone to great, illegal lengths to help him stay out of the big house because of all the "blazing sex life" they had, which see wasn't ready to give up. Though she was clearly not ready to move on ("I should just see it at face value and say he [screwed] me," she noted. "But I can’t let go") one would have thought that time and the three years probation Ryan was sentenced to would have helped her get over the guy who used to sneak up on her "while wearing glasses on his penis."  Apparently, though, such is not the case, as evidenced by Debra's contribution to a new book about Israel by Guy Lawson called Octopus, in which we learn that she is still carrying a torch for the guy the burns nearly as the fire in both their loins. "The next morning was Debra's birthday. She and Sam woke and made love-passionate, frantic, intense love. But as soon as they joined up with the Nicholses the atmosphere turned claustrophobic once again. Debra wanted alone time with Sam. But the Nicholses wouldn't leave them be for even a moment. Left with no choice, the two couples went for a stroll through the historic section of Zurich...wandering the old city was pleasant and exciting for Ryan. "I was starting to have a nice time," Ryan recalled. "Sam always wanted to spend money on me but I wouldn't let him. but this time he took me to a nice clothing store and bought me a bunch of new clothes. He was a great shopper- he could pick out clothes from the rack and they'd fit me perfectly. As we walked in one store, Sam turned me around and grabbed my face and kissed me with so much passion. We started to make out in the store, on the spur of the moment. I had never done that before, and I have never done it since. It was the best kiss ever." Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con [Amazon] Related: Claim: Sam Israel’s Investors Gave Him Money Because They Liked Animal-Loving Cokeheads Who Looked Good In Women’s Underwear And Cowboy Boots Related: Hedge Fund Manager Who Faked His Own Death Has A Few Theories About Other Famous Murders, Real And Imaginary

Harvard Business School Alum Has A 4-Point Plan For Fixing The Election Process In The United States

On November 6, 2012, as the results of the presidential election rolled in, a member of the Harvard Business School Class of 2010 considered ending it all. "The thought crossed my mind to jump off my penthouse apartment balcony," he wrote his fellow classmates yesterday. Sure, he had a lot to live for: friends, family, the earthly delights afforded to him by living in Southern California ("surfing, mountains, 78 degree sunshine, and hot babes everywhere"), as well as a new company and all that came with it (relationships with celebrities that straddle the line between "friend and service provider," as well as invites to "the VMAs and private concerts in Vegas"). But he also had a lot of reasons to be good and angry at the world, including but not limited to: the state of California being "filled with so many hippie liberals" he just might snap and in doing so "choke out a street bum," people who "sit around with their hand out and expect to be fed," and, most vexingly, the reelection of Barack Obama. And while he did not in fact end up leaping from his penthouse balcony apartment that night, make no mistake, he was and is exceedingly pissed about the direction this country is going, which is south on the Pacific Coast Highway right straight to hell. And whereas the endless stream of bums and hobos and hippies he encounters each and every day the second he steps out of his penthouse apartment probably would take the easy way out, because that's what they do, he's better than that. So instead, he went to bed, got up, sat down at his computer and channeled his anger into something productive: a list of suggestions for how we can get America back on track and in four years, rest it from the hands of the commie holding it hostage, like forcing candidates to use bullet points and telling people who don't believe in capitalism to pack their shit because in 20 minutes a van is coming to ship their non-contributing zero asses off to a country where it's not actually a "privilege" to live. First, though, some life updates, because it really has been too long.

Former Online Brokerage Chief Offers Handy How-To-Guide Re: Getting Banned From The Securities Industry

Regardless of what you think of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a good rule of thumb is that if you are regulated by the agency, you probably don't want to go out of your way to unnecessarily insult and/or anger it. In fact, to play it safe, you might want to just show the place complete and total deference, whether you're violating its rules or not. This is an attitude that many a hedge fund manager has adopted over the years, some of their own volition, others by strong advisement. Then you have Sheldon Maschler. The former chief trader of Datek Online, who in 2003 paid a $29.2 million fine and was banned from the securities industry, took a different approach. From Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson's new book, Dark Pools: During the hearings, Maschler displayed a stunning irrevenerce toward the regulators. One day, he showed up in bathing trunks and a T-shirt that read NASDAQ SUCKS. The judge, outraged, tossed him out, telling him to come back in a different shirt the following day. Maschler did as ordered-- wearing a T-shirt that read NASDAQ SUCKS in different colors. Regulators were quickly crawling all over Maschler's ragtag office. One day, a typical one in the market for Datek, each trader sat staring at his Watcher in Maschler's basement, all decked out in their standard work uniform-- baggy shorts, T-shirts, tennis shoes or flip-flops. Suddenly, they all noticed an odd presence in the room: two men in crisp suits looming over the stairwell door. Maschler exploded like a grenade. "Who...the FUCK...are YOU!" he screamed, jumping from his seat and jabbing his Macanudo in the air. "We're from the SEC," one of the suits said. "We're looking for Sheldon Maschler." "Who the FUCK let you in!" "The door was open." "If my fly was open, would you suck my dick?" The Datek traders buckled in their seats, struggling to contain their laughter. "Now get upstairs and RING THE FUCKING BELL!" Maschler roared. The two SEC officials sheepishly crept back upstairs-- and rang the bell. Maschler pressed the intercom buttom. "Hello, who is it?" he said calmly. There was a pause. Then, "It's the SEC." "Come on down!" Maschler greeted them warmly, all smiles, backslapping. "Now, wasn't that easier?" he said, waving around his Macanudo and blowing smoke into their faces.

Barclays' (Now Former) Head Of FX Strategy In Asia Has A Moment

Have you ever had construction going on nearby your home? Was it loud? Annoying? Did keep it keep you up in the middle of the night? Did you seriously consider opening your window and screaming "Hey! Shut the hell up down there!" or even confronting the people making all that racket face to face? Olivier Desbarres can relate. Or at least he can half relate. Because while most of you were probably talked out of making some sort of scene, either by your significant other or your own impulse control, on October 20th Desbarres decided to go in another direction, the one that involved introducing himself to the construction workers building a house near his own by screaming "I'm gonna go after you, I will haunt you, I'm gonna burn your fucking house down, I will find your fucking family," a task he noted would be fairly simple and straightforward ("I can find [them] very easily," he explained, "I'm a man with resources"), in case there were doubts (a fairly reasonable concern, as there are a lot of people in Singapore and how were these guys supposed to know he had an army of Barclays researchers at his disposal?). Still worried that the group wasn't taking his threats seriously on account of the casual look he was sporting that morning-- shorts and sandals-- Desbarres then picked up some sheet metal and launched it in their direction, presumably to demonstrate he meant business.* Although that would have been a good time to make his exit, at that point Desbarres noticed that one of the men had been recording him without his consent, leading to: “You’re filming me? You think that’s good? Put your fucking phone down because I’m going to wait for you to come out and take that phone and shove it up your fucking ass.” According to one local publication, this whole thing started because the construction crew began working at 8:45am one day in October instead of 9am, the time Desbarres preferred. In related news, according to a person familiar with Barclays' policies concerning construction site meltdowns, "We consider such behavior and language unacceptable. It does not meet the high standard of conduct that we expect of our employees." Desbarres, who is no longer with the bank, has not yet returned Dealbreaker's call for comment.** Foul-mouth foreigner threatens workers and warns he will hunt down their families [Stomp] Barlcays Far Too Candid Camera [Sunday Times via Ian Fraser] Barclays Capital Appoints Olivier Desbarres as Head of FX Strategy, Asia-Pacific Ex-Japan [BarCap] Related (re: Barclays employees losing their shit in public): Barclays Global Head of Investment Banking Writes Tear-Stained Letter To Son’s School, Demands Teacher’s Firing For Trash Talking Barclays, Making Son Cry *Insane ranting + shorts + sandals can leave room for interpretation re: is this guy serious or not; insane ranting + shorts + sandals + grabbing whatever shit from a construction site is within arm's reach and throwing at people is generally-- though not always!-- pretty clear. **Possibly because we called in the middle of the night local time and he is on his way to New York to throw a piece of sheetrock at us; you know how he gets when his sleep is interrupted.

Hedge Fund Manager Who Faked His Own Death Has A Few Theories About Other Famous Murders, Real And Imaginary

Remember Samuel Israel III? For those with short memories, SI3 is a former hedge fund manager who faked his own death in June 2008 with the help of his girlfriend, Debra Ryan, who later wrote an article explaining her actions by noting that she and Israel had "a blazing sex life" that was hard to walk away from (Ryan shared colorful anecdotes that included all the times Israel would "[jokingly] sneak up on her, once while wearing sunglasses on his penis"). For Israel's part, he had pretended to kill himself, incorporating a line from M*A*S*H into his fake suicide note, in an attempt to avoid the prison stay that was coming his way, on account of having taken Bayou Group investors for more than $450 million. At the time, he became something of a minor celebrity, whose business card, prominently featuring an egret, was auctioned off on eBay but since ultimately being sentenced to twenty years behind bars we'd heard nary a peep from the guy. Luckily, Andrew Ross Sorkin recently flew down to Butner, North Carolina for a little chat and it's a good thing he did because Israel had a lot he wanted to get off his chest. After offering ARS an "orange Life Saver," discussing his own version of a playoffs beard ("Mr. Israel...was wearing a tan prison uniform with his hair grown out, a mass of silver and brown curls sprouting from the sides of his bald head. 'I’m never going to cut it until I get out,' he exclaimed"), and talking Ponzi schemes, SI3 got down to the real matter at hand. About halfway through, the interview turned bizarre when Mr. Israel, on the verge of crying, announced: “I took a man’s life. I shot him twice.” I asked for more details. The story is recounted in “Octopus,” but the author, Mr. Lawson, doesn’t appear to believe it. In the supposed slaying, Mr. Israel describes himself defending a known con man, Robert Booth Nichols, who claimed to have once worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and has since died. Mr. Nichols was undertaking a secret trade at a German bank and was ambushed outside by a cockeyed “Middle Eastern guy.” Mr. Israel says he shot the ambusher in the hip and then in the head. He looked at me, shaking, and said, “I’ve seen someone with their head blown off maybe two feet back — as close as I am to you.” Mr. Israel recognized my skepticism. When I asked him what happened to the body, he said, “Bob made a couple of calls.” Again, I looked at him quizzically. “These people can do anything. They can get rid of a body,” he said. “Come on,” he added, looking at me as if I didn’t understand. “They can kill presidents.” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. “The J.F.K. thing,” he said. He went on to tell me that he had videotapes of Kennedy’s assassination and that one was stolen by the F.B.I. “I know it makes me look like a crackpot,” he said. “But I know it’s real. Look into my eyes — I don’t care if people think I’m crazy.” Egrets. A Con Man Who Lives Between Truth And Fiction [Dealbook]