The Profile: The CEO behind this year’s biggest IPO & the CEO who secretly communicated with a TV anchor
This edition of The Profile features Kevin Plank, Martin Scorsese, Rene Haas, and more.
Good morning, friends!
I’m working on a Profile Dossier on Josh Waitzkin, a man who has made the art of learning his entire career. Mastering a new craft is his craft, his muse, his raison d'etre. He’s done this with several domains, including chess (became an international master at age 16), Tai Chi (a two-time world champion), and Jiu-Jitsu (a black belt).
Today, he’s mastering a new skill: foil surfing, the sport of riding a surfboard which has a hydrofoil attached to the board instead of a fin.
As I was delving into his life and philosophy, I learned a really interesting lesson that I’ve been thinking about all week. It’s about “the right conditions” to start something.
For instance, many people ask me how on earth I was able to write a book while having a newborn. It’s “inconvenient,” “hard,” and “not a great time.” I’ve heard it all. Truthfully, I never know how to respond except for: “I know it wasn’t the right time to write a book, but when is the right time?”
For many of us, the answer is “never.” There’s always something going on that has the power to dissuade us from taking on a long-term project. In turn, we settle for waiting for the “perfect conditions” to start a company, write a book, or move to another city. Waiting around for the perfect conditions makes us psychologically reliant on external events.
I’d love to offer you an interesting framework I learned from Waitzkin to combat this sort of thinking.
Waitzkin says it all starts in childhood. He noticed that parents would often tell their kids they couldn’t go play outside because it was raining. It was “bad weather.” "We're externally reliant on conditions being perfect in order to be able to go out and have a good time,” Waitzkin says.
So to show his son that he controls whether he has fun or excels in something, Waitzkin takes him out to play during every rain or snowstorm. “I wanted [my son] to have this internal locus of control,” he says. “To not be reliant on external conditions being just so.”
I loved this idea, and I wanted to share with you. Maybe it’s not “bad weather.” Maybe it’s not “a bad time.” Maybe it’s not “bad luck.”
Maybe it’s perfect.
ICYMI: The Profile staff writer Simran Bhatia interviewed four-time NBA champ John Salley. (Below is a short excerpt, but you can check out the full Q&A here.)
Who is the greatest of all time?
SALLEY: The best in our lifetime is Michael Jordan. The best in the ‘90s, the best in his position, what he’s done for the NBA, sneakers, commercials. Michael Jordan made it so that athletes are looked at as celebrities. It used to be that a movie star was a movie star. An athlete was an athlete. Now, athletes are superstars.
Kobe would say that he would never be better than Michael, because without Michael there would be no Kobe.
— The CEO behind this year’s biggest IPO [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The legendary film director pushing for radical truth
— The CEO who secretly communicated with a TV anchor
— The man who turned miniature art from a hobby into a career
—The 1% who become Citadel’s summer interns
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The CEO behind this year’s biggest IPO: Rene Haas is the CEO of British chip-designer Arm, which just held the largest public offering since 2021. Since taking the helm of the company in 2022, Haas increasingly has to play statesman as well as CEO, managing relationships among competing customers and across borders. To do that, Haas, who is 61, must juggle chip-making customers who are battling each other to profit from the surge in computing demand and in artificial intelligence. Arm—and Haas—must stay neutral if they want those customers to keep it as an essential circuit supplier. (WSJ; Complimentary link above, but reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“He’s not your archetypal brash, ambitious American CEO, but there is ambition there.”
The legendary film director pushing for radical truth: At 80, film director Martin Scorsese seems eager to fit everything together: not just the movies he’s seen or made, but the books he’s read over a lifetime, the seemingly random encounters he’s had at turning points in his life, the evolving, and the unfinished project of his own spirituality. His latest is an emotionally intense adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 Killers of the Flower Moon, about the sinister, systematic murder of members of the Osage Nation in early 1920s Oklahoma. He has lots of movie projects he wants to get to, among them an adaptation of Marilynne Robinson’s Home. He would also like to make another movie about Jesus, after having met with Pope Francis. “I don’t know what it’s going to be, exactly. I don’t know what you’d call it. It wouldn’t be a straight narrative.” (TIME)
“What is he doing with his life? He’s spent a lifetime figuring that out, and he’s nowhere close to being finished.”
The CEO who secretly communicated with a TV anchor: Under Armour founder Kevin Plank gave television anchor Stephanie Ruhle a private phone with a special email address to communicate with him, sent her confidential financial information about the sportswear maker and enlisted her help to refute concerns about slumping sales. This article digs more deeply into their close relationship. (WSJ; Complimentary link above, but reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“The personal relationship between Ruhle and Plank did not mean that Ruhle was not acting as a journalist with respect to her dealings with Under Armour.”
The man who turned miniature art from a hobby into a career: In March 2020, Danny Cortes was already facing a crisis — he was out of work, in the middle of a divorce and serving a four-year probation sentence for selling drugs — when Covid hit. He found himself isolated and devoting an unhealthy amount of time to Instagram looking at … miniature art. Then, he started tinkering. In under three years, Cortes has emerged as a sought-after artist, his miniatures collected by hip-hop stars and professional athletes. And the icebox, which has become his signature piece as his work evolved into more elaborate urban scenes, sold at Sotheby’s in 2022 for $1,890. (The New York Times; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I loved that when I worked on a piece, I didn’t think about my problems — my divorce, the pandemic. It was an escape — like I’m meditating, literally floating.”
The 1% who become Citadel’s summer interns: Hedge fund Citadel takes its summer internship program very seriously. It encompasses an 11-week program to prepare interns for the often secretive world of trading and market-making, earning about $120 an hour along the way, or $19,200 a month. During the program, interns are each assigned a big project, as they work alongside the two firms’ army of staff who collectively generated $35.5 billion in revenue last year. A few select interns receive offers to come back within weeks after the program to take full-time jobs, while others rejoin part-time as early as their sophomore years. Here’s what it takes. (Bloomberg)
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