Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flight 1549, Violinist in the Metro

<<<<<Who knows where this is?

Sunset from my office

The photos of the passengers on the wings of US Airways plane that landed gently on the Hudson River were surreal. Maybe for most who fly, the thought of a water landing is pretty remote-or at least we want to believe that it's remote. But today, those on that plane found out that it can happen and that under certain circumstances everything can turn out fine. It's too soon to really know exactly what happened but what is known is that the veteran pilot coolly and calmly set the craft down and the crew and passengers handled the situation in an orderly way. It's good to see something that could have been a terrible disaster (imagine if this had happened after sundown or if the pilot couldn't control the plane and it hit a building in New York-anything could have happened) ended happily. Tomorrow, when I board the plane for Florida, I wonder if I'll feel any differently.

Well the depression has even hit Dubai so it must be really real. Construction of the world’s tallest tower has been delayed as the developer who is readjusting their plans “to better reflect the current market trends and match supply with demand.” It’s a novel idea, matching supply with demand, don’t you think? It’s something that for a long time drove the real estate industry up until the “Wall of Capital” movie started showing at “A Theatre Near You.”

Private Equity International has just published a 300-page book called “Investing in Infrastructure, which offers detailed analyses from 55 industry professionals who are shaping the global infrastructure fund investment world. It also examines investment techniques & strategies, asset management, legal developments and timely financing know-how. Without wanting to insert a link here the url is (

While I have some friends (and one brother) that are attorneys, I couldn’t pass this up. In New York Magazine’s Year-End Double Issue there’s a special section “The New York Area’s Best Lawyers.” It’s an advertising supplement and I want to share some of the lines that come directly from the ads (Note: These are trial, not real estate, lawyers):

1. “We are aggressive with our adversaries, but compassionate with our clients.”
2. “We never back up, we never back down.”
3. “It’s my obligation to do everything I can do get my client their piece of justice.”
4. “The firm’s calling card is its ability to handle high-stakes advocacy.”
5. “When we take clients on, it’s a life and death situation for them. What’s died is their hope for quality of life and we get that back.”
6. “The relief that you can give someone in the courtroom is more than satisfying.”
7. “You pay your fair share, or you go to trial.”
8. “The privilege of representing seriously injured claimants and helping them lead a life of dignity and financial independence is the highest reward a trial lawyer can receive.”
9. “Solving our clients’ legal problems efficiently and with our eye on their business needs is our number one priority.”
10. “I’m proud of the people I represent.”
11. “The best way we can act as truly effective advocates for our clients is to mix a mastery of the medical issues with a passion and empathy for the clients’ plight.”
12. “What we do is a constant reminder to ourselves and our staff of just how privileged we are to live in this society.”
I’ll stop with that one and will not comment, or show you, any of the photos in the ads. They too are something to behold.

I wonder if law schools now teach a advertising/promotion and one-liner course? “Everything is marketing.”

Thanks to a good friend of mine for sharing this with me. I wanted to share it with you.

Violinist in the Metro
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle-aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?


Where I'll be:

Jan. 16-18: Ormond Beach, FL for the first Felix Family Annual Birthday Celebration
Jan. 26: Chicago
Jan. 27: Madison, WI
Jan. 28: Washington, DC
Feb. 17: Atlanta, GA
Feb. 18: Raleigh, NC
Feb. 19: Chapel Hill, NC to attend the Kennan-Flagler Center for Real Estate Development’s Annual Conference and Real Estate Challenge Case Competition.
Feb. 22-29: Vacation in Mexico….totally offline!
Mar. 10-13: Cannes to attend MIPIM, host the second annual MIPIM Summit TV show and attend INREV's Annual General Meeting.
Mar.24: New York to moderate a panel at the IGlobal Forum Real Estate Private Equity Summit
Mar. 25-26: Washington DC to attend PREA's Spring Conference
April 1: Champaign-Urbana, IL to attend my son’s DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) recital.

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