Didn’t your parents tell you?

Airports are interesting places. Most people are there just getting ready to move from one location to another in this huge space where you are interacting with people that you have never met and will most likely never see again.

We had already sat down on the plane and I was just watching the people board. This adorable young four year old child was running in front of his parents to get on. He had his hands down his pants. His mother yells out to him to get his hands out of his pants. He essentially yells back that he doesn’t want to because it keeps his hands warm down there. The passengers just laughed.

I had just spent a few hours in the lounge because our flight was delayed. I happened to sit back to back with two “dudes” who were starting a company. I can tell you all the information except the name of the company. They are doing about $100K a month, they need to write a deck to raise more capital, they are sort of making up reality, the VC’s they are working with are the best in the business and hang out with the elite. This is what I listened to for hours. The thing is I knew a lot of the people they were talking about. They were seriously mansplaining. I kept thinking “damn, didn’t your parents teach you anything”?

My first job out of college was at Macy’s. I went through the training program that at that time lasted a few months. It essentially taught you how the company ran and where all the bathrooms were. One of the first things they taught you is not to speak in the executive elevator which is a rickety old school elevator with an elevator attendant.

They told a story of two young men riding the elevator with Ed Finkelstein, who was the CEO at the time. The two young men wondered outloud who Ed Finkelstein was because the one thing they did know was he signed their checks every week. Dumb clucks perhaps but Ed did not take to this and hence the lesson was taught to each incoming class….elevator behavior.

There was a small part of me that thought about calling the VC and telling them what I learned at the airport but decided I would let those two men create their own hole. I figured if they were so forthcoming at the airport that their behavior will get them into other trouble down the line.

They had their hands way down their pants.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Great story.I wonder a lot lately especially on the mixture of feelings around Freshman representatives in Congress, whether this is all some strange mashup of youthful exuberance, deep ignorance, and just wishful self empowerment.I want to like them in spite of everything, and likewise blame their ignorance on public education, their exuberance on youth but maybe I should write it off to their not listening to their parents!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Perhaps you should!

    2. P Donohue

      The key word is Freshman. Wisdom comes with time, none are born with it. Experience is a masterful teacher. However, youth and inexperience must have some value or VCs would not prefer to pile into companies founded by such?

      1. awaldstein

        the intersection between net natives and a new future and experience is the very formula for diversity and success and new ideas in my mind.i find it for myself through beginners mind:http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

  2. LE

    When I sold the ‘company’ (note the quotes) that I started out of college my father in law (at the time; now ‘ex’) was really pissed at me. Why? Because he didn’t find out until the day of the sale, when we closed. My thoughts were ‘loose lips sink ships’. I was afraid that exactly what you are describing might happen. He’d say something to someone inadvertently that would torpedo the deal.To this day I don’t detail anything that I am working on with anyone, even my wife (but for different reasons) until I can show her the money is in the bank. Really.Along the same lines I am always amazed at things my wife (and my ex wife) use to tell me about other men. Things that women told them. That she told me (and I loved to hear).

  3. LE

    One of the things I learned as a kid was to never open my mouth when my Dad was talking to someone about business or really anything.Why? Because I was not smart enough to know why he was saying what he was saying. The reason. So the idea was not to correct him even if I thought he was in error.Afterwords he would typically explain the logic behind whatever game he was playing but eventually I was able to figure out why he said what he said.

  4. Anne Libby

    OMG I remember the first time my manager gave me the “don’t talk in the elevator” rule, for me this was in banking.One of my recent exposures to oversharing in the airport was a juicy half of a phone conversation that a financial advisor/trust administrator couldn’t shut down as he walked down the jetway and boarded the plane. He was generous with first names, family relationships, and some pretty specific details about an impending transaction.I mean, hang up the phone!

  5. Pranay Srinivasan

    Such a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

    1. Gotham Gal

      for sure!

  6. Eric Woods

    Sadly, this can’t be blamed on youth or gender. Recently, a friend sent me an OMG text from an airport lounge. The woman next to her was on a corporate board call on speaker phone such that everyone within earshot knew what was going on.

    1. Gotham Gal