For those keeping up with the news, Washington continues to reel from the financial meltdown on Wall Street and Main Street while HBE staff found itself again in the middle of the action. After taking Alex Counts to the Main Treasury CFC kick off, we were very fortunate to squire Bob Shiller around town to discuss his new book, The Sub Prime Solution (Princeton Press, 2008). Some of you may know Bob as the founder of the Case Shiller Index or as the author of Irrational Exuberance (Princeton Press). He is currently the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics at Yale University.
We began our day at Fannie Mae to room full of more than 200 people. We found out later that another 550 tuned in via a podcast and on a conference call. After wowing Fannie staff, we dashed to Jury’s for lunch with the CFA society (@150 attendees) then found ourselves in the DC office of Al Jazeera for an interview.
After a brief break we went to the Hay Adams for a lovely cocktail reception in Bob’s honor with the wonderful NYC and DC folks from Fiduciary Trust. Bob’s talk to about 75 clients, prospects and staff was so “hot” that the fire alarm went off right when he finished. We scurried out side to greet DC’s finest and alas no real fire. Friday found us at the IMF (200+ employees SRO) for another packed house as Bob continued to lay out his ideas on how to fix this mess we are in. His concept for a continuous work out mortgage was in the Sunday NYT (September 21st). We hope to work with Bob again in Washington and we hope in NYC as well.
Mathematical Modeling of Humanity!
This week (September 22nd) was jammed again with more great events at Treasury (50+ folks) and Noblis (75+ attendees). We were fortunate to bring Steve Baker a twenty year veteran of BusinessWeek to both of these groups to discuss his new book, The Numerati, (Houghton Mifflin 2008) a term he coined to describe those men and women out there who have infiltrated every realm of our lives using our own data to profile us as shoppers, workers, patients, voters, terrorists and yes even lovers! Clearly this is scary as our privacy is at stake but Baker points out some of the benefits as well. This modeling of who we are with every key stroke and cell phone call is not going away; better to understand it. You may also want to check out Steve’s blog (www.blogspotting.net)
That same evening we hosted nearly 30 of HBE’s Board members and good friends at the historic Sixth and I synagogue to hear Tom Friedman discuss his new book, Hot Flat and Crowded (FSG, 2008). More than 800 people attended and listened to Tom outline what he views as the five big issues facing the planet today. Remember, all of this is happening with the financial meltdown as backdrop! We left with our signed books and with the idea of a sobering mission for the USGOV and US corporations to take the lead on going green. A big task that we all hope we are ready to tackle.
Wednesday early AM found us at the EPA with our good friend, Tim Clark discussing his book, Epic Change. We are working to help produce the leadership forums at EPA and Tim had great reviews from EPA staff. We have worked with Tim before and hope to bring him to DC again. That evening found us with our old pals at Merrill Lynch for a Washington Networking Group event featuring local PR guru and writer Robert Deigh discussing his new book How Come No One Knows About Us? (a good book for HBE to read and heed!). Thursday found us in the beautiful new HUD auditorium with Alex Counts of Grameen Foundation. More than 75 folks attended this event and Alex was a huge hit with these young legal fellows. We were graced with the presence of our good pal, Rob Couch, the HUD GC who was clicking away on his blackberry with folks working on the $700 billion bail out!
Friday we were back at Treasury Executive Institute with the avuncular Tom Allen discussing his very interesting book, DeClassified -50 Top Secret Documents that Change History (NGS, 2008). Tom’s tales of spys and counter spys and the various docuemtns exposing these plots kept more than 60 TEI attendees rivetd. Tom was so well liked by TEI staff that we are inviting him to some of our upcoming events.
Friday night, HBE Staff conked out while watching the debates. Perhaps it was information overload or sheer exhaustion from keeping up with all of these great writers all over town.
Look for more news soon as October is even busier!