Why I Am Not in Business

November 10, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Dave was looking for shoelaces when I ran into him on the street yesterday. He can certainly afford them. After a successful career as a bond trader, Dave formed his own small investment company, and even in these hard times in the financial industry, with jobs, companies, and banks disappearing, he hasn’t had to lay anybody off.

He’d been walking for fifteen blocks and still hadn’t found shoelaces for his sneakers. Now he was on his way to Tip Top Shoes on West 72nd St., which would surely have them. I would have been annoyed; I might even have been curious as to why shoelaces had become so hard to find. That’s why I’m in academics and not business.

“I figure in this economic climate, people will be buying shoelaces,” Dave said. “They won’t be buying new shoes. It’ll be shoelaces. And Shoe-GOO, remember that?” I nodded, and he went on, “I should be looking for shoelace companies to invest in.”

It sounded like he was kidding. Maybe not. But that thought wouldn’t even have crossed my mind.

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