Sticky Baked Korean Chicken Wings

My friend Stephen made these and sent me the recipe.  They are super easy and really good.  I made a huge batch so I doubled the sauce.   The one below is for about 30 wings.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Take the wings and cut them in half.  Toss them in salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.

In the meantime make the sauce.

Put 1 cup ketchup, 1 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp. honey and 2 tbsp. gochujang sauce (this is the key) in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil while whisking.  Then turn it down to medium and let this sauce boil down for 15 minutes will it get thick (whisking on occasion).

When the wings are done pour the sauce over the wings.  Make sure they are fully covered.  Then turn the oven up to 450.  Back another 15 minutes until crisp.

Serve in a large bowl with a mixture of chopped cilantro, chopped scallions and sesame seeds over the top.

Voila.

Sticky Baked 
Chicken Wings

Chef Matt Jennings of Townsman in Boston means business when it comes to his food and his beloved Patriots football team. For the ultimate game-day snack, he tosses chicken wings that he bakes in the oven (instead of deep-frying) in a spicy glaze he makes with gochujang, the Korean red pepper paste.

  • ACTIVE:
  • TOTAL TIME:
  • SERVINGS: 8 TO 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

Brick and Mortar woes

I might have been a bit too early to this party but I have been expecting the demise of the large brick and mortar retailers for years and have written it about it countless times.

Macy’s closed another 100 stores this week.  The Limited closed all 240 stores and will only keep an online presence.  There will certainly be more as history has shown when one giant falls the rest seem to follow suit.

All fingers are pointing to the growth of ecommerce from the titans such as Amazon but I don’t necessarily agree.  There is no doubt that more people are making their purchases online but if you look at the data we have barely scratched the surface.  What we are seeing might be a combination of things.

We are seeing new companies come on to the scene and take over some of that brick and mortar which means grabbing some marketshare.  They have seen the next generation and have created environments and brands for them to buy.  More than anything the old guard has done nothing to innovate.  They have continued to operate like 1980 where in order to hang your brand in their store it will cost the company to do that.  When Ralph Lauren has garments hanging in Macys and they do not sell, it is up to Ralph Lauren to make up for that loss.  Brands got hip to that and created their own destinations on line or in their own brick and mortar but mostly on line to sell their products.  The majority of the websites for large department stores are terrible.  They have not created environments that make consumers want to come in and enjoy the show.  There are plenty of stores across the globe who have been innovative in brick and mortar facilities that make the consumer want to continue to come in and make a purchase.

If you look at enterprise companies such as Verizon or Facebook we will see more M&A’s over the next decade as those companies realize that they need to bring in agile companies who can help their organizations become forward thinking, keep their marketshare and innovate.  The department stores have not figured that out.  Nordstrum’s is the one store attempting to do that by making investments and purchases such as Trunk Club but once they are under their umbrella it appears as if they do not know what do to with them in order to create excitement, customer loyalty and how to use their platform to rethink old school ways.

There are plenty of companies who have continued to rethink themselves as all brands have to in order to survive year after year but the department stores look like they just killed themselves.

 

Present and Attention

One definition of attention is notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.  I have been thinking about being present for the past few days.  Then I had breakfast with someone who talked about attention.  It can be a combination of both.

Being present is something that I have been very aware of for years.  One of my biggest concerns when I had children is that I wanted to be present in their lives.  I knew that I could easily find myself falling into a vortex of a 24/7 work head and it was important to me to put the kids first and foremost once they came on to the scene.  Now with our phones attached to our hands it is really hard for many to be present particularly the younger generation.  I see it in meetings, I see it at restaurants, I see it everywhere.  It is amazing how easily we can get distracted with the moment when the moment where you are interacting with people is much more important than the screen you are looking at.

Attention is another thing.  It is not only about paying attention it is also getting the attention of the right people.  As founders navigate the world of funding or even finding the right people to bring on to the team it is about being able to articulate their vision clearly to get the attention of the right people.

Both of these are concepts and words to think about in 2017.  These words can also be connected to the importance of taking care of yourself from taking time off to think clearly, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, making time for friends and family.  I am definitely thinking a lot about present and attention as the new year has begun.

Wellness in France

I remember the first time I went to Europe was in college.  I took a semester abroad in London and then journeyed over to Europe a few times while I was there and then for an extended trip before returning to the states.  I still remember how enamored I was with the European lifestyle. Long lunches, short work days, eating and family first, etc.  I just seemed to good to be true and it ends up I was right.  Years of smoke and mirrors in regards to each countries GNP but the traditions of enjoying life are set in stone.

Each country is small in comparison to US which make the majority of them insanely homogenous and not very friendly to outsiders that don’t look the same or behave the same.  France has not been very open to immigrants to say the least and we have witnessed what happens with that behavior.  Regardless France has universal health care, incredible school lunches, generous vacation time and more.  It is hard not to be enamored with the French lifestyle.

The latest and greatest in France is a law that goes into effect that puts a ban on work-related email after hours.  Perhaps not the best analogy but some countries in Europe do not believe that homework makes a difference and everything should be done within the school hours.  Supposedly this law will push more employees to connect during business hours and create a clear distinction between professional and personal life.  It is their way of preserving French traditions yet understanding the realities of the world today.

These days our personal life tend to blend in with our professional lives although the rapid speed of wellness and health is making its way into companies and our personal lives at lightening speed.  There is something to be said for sleep, balance, taking care of your own mental health, making sure that you don’t ignore those personal relationships for work and more.

Not sure a law will be passed like this in the US anytime ever but it is interesting to see what other countries are doing to seek balance in the 21st Century.

Let’s hope that 2017 is the year of the people

The political upheaval around the globe is disturbing.  There is a rightful fear for women when it comes to abortion, gender equality and more.  There is a movement that almost has the winds behind its sail in the legalization of marijuana.  There is a voice from the black community that they are no longer going to take police discrimination or any kind of discrimination.  The black community is focused on breaking the glass ceiling all around.

And then there are politicians who are so focused on staying in power that they are not so focused on the desires of the people.  Many are looking to pull us backward not move us forward.  I am speaking about anything from equal pay to the internet access to LGBT rights to access to healthcare.  When you move forward it is literally impossible to move backward.  Thirty years ago I had to stand in line at a bank to deposit cash and now I don’t even have to go to a bank.  That is a broad generalization of once you get access to good change then you aren’t interested in returning to the old ways of the world.

Things are changing from artificial intelligence to new forms of energy to bitcoin to ecommerce to communication.  The list is endless.  I hope that this is the year of the people.  That the people will rise up over the noise of politicians and owners of large corporations who are so scared of change and have golden handcuffs that they are more interested in pulling us back and stifling change.  Perhaps it is their age but the next generation (and that includes the millennials) are not going to operate like many of these leaders of today.  We need a new generation of leaders who embrace technology.  Who could care less about interracial marriages, gay marriages and support abortion rights, legalization of weed and new energy.  Again, the list is huge but you get the picture.

We can’t repeat history when dictators became the voice for the people.  Our nation is based on checks and balances.  I hope that the voice of the people outweigh the voice of the politicians and bankers who are thinking about keeping the power and lining their pockets.

What’s ripe for change?

Technology has touched almost everything but some verticals have had more change than others.  As I think about my investment thesis for 2017 there are a few areas that interest me because I believe they are ripe for change.

I am still very interested in the cannabis space.  The consumer products is what I find the most interesting and being based in California is also a bonus.  The state is big enough to build a very large business without every having to go into other states but it will be easy to move up the coast to Oregon and Washington.  The biggest issue here will be capital.  Most institutional investors will not be investing in this area because of their LPs.  Eventually this will change but right now the majority of investors are people like me.

I have been a fan of the real estate sector for years and it shows in my portfolio.  There is a lot more opportunity in this space particularly when it comes to building.  There will be changes in the next decade in urban living from rethinking space from new materials to new innovations around innovating old buildings.  It is an area that I spend a lot of time in and as much as the past decade has changed the foundation for architects, real estate owners and contractors with software and products there is much more to do here.

The other area is the art.  The art world has been slow to change but the consumers have changed quickly.  New collectors are across the globe and how they operate and collect is a bit different than the traditional way that galleries and auction houses operate.  This particular industry is like turning around a cruise ship but eventually it will get there with smart founders who get the space and connect with the forward thinkers in this vertical.

The farming industry, when it comes to waste, is just starting to hit strides.  I have seen a lot of start-ups in this arena the past year and expect to see more.

Of course there will be outliers but my thesis has always been geared toward areas that are just starting to change.  I invested in healthcare and education years ago and certainly there is much more to do there but it is an area that has become so saturated with new ideas and change that I no longer feel comfortable jumping into it.  The investors that spend the majority of their time in those spaces are much more equipped than I am to invest in that arena.  As a generalist I have to look into areas that are still underserved.

As always, looking forward to what’s next.

new years eve

I have never been a fan of New Year’s Eve.  The celebration of leaving one year and moving into the next.  Yet there has to be a point where one year separates from the other.  Years reflect a time of each of our lives.  A good year, a bad year, the college years, the teenage years, our 20’s, our 30’s, our 40’s and so on.

 The last ten years has been the start-up years.  Technology has changed everything.  Every vertical has been touched.  We seem to be running at a faster pace than before with access to constant information.  Our world has become flat as that information comes in from around the globe 24/7.
The political shift around the globe, particularly here in the US, makes me wonder about the state of democracy.  It also makes me wonder about the future of the next ten years.  The next ten years won’t look like the last ten.  2017 is the beginning of that shift.  I just feel it.
I am not necessarily excited about this shift but cautious, curious and a bit fearful.  I am truly an eternal optimist and that has worked well for me over the years.  There is always plenty to be optimistic about but this year but for the first time ever I feel as if I am walking on egg shells due to the political upheaval here at home.
Goodbye to 2016.  A tumultuous year that moved too quickly from the pace of technology that I feel we will look back at this year as a fork in the road that sent us down another path.  That is how life works.  Change, movement and shifts.  As I said, cautiously optimistic.

moving into 2017

Last year I made a commitment to myself to make changes in my life.  I was running at a speed that worked when I was 30 but not at 55.  Age helps you recognize a lot.  It has taken work to get to a new place but at the end of the day it all comes down to a mental shift.

I have now been investing in companies for a decade.  It is incredible how many people I have met, how many investments I have made and how much I have learned.  Mistakes, failures and wins.  Reality is you learn the most from those experiences that don’t turn out as planned.  I don’t like to lose.  I am insanely competitive.  Somehow I believed that if anything went sideways that I could use my super powers to get in there and fix it.  Obviously unrealistic and certainly not practical but it is how I have operated my entire life.
Only once I realized it was okay to lose an investment, learn from the experience and not hit it out of the ballpark it was then I became a better investor. It allowed me to become less crazed and exhausted.  It has allowed me to focus differently.
Age is also a factor.  As much as I am concerned (to say the least) about the state of democracy in 2017, I am excited about a new attitude.  It will always be a work in motion but that is how life works.  This attitude allows me to shed things in my life not necessarily with ease but certainly with less angst.  It feels positive.
I am hoping that 2017 is a big turning year for not having to succeed at climbing every mountain that comes my way.  I am not putting away my climbing gear but I do plan on using it less often.