In the end, “Robocop” was too kind.
Forgive your loyal, unpaid servant, but not only was I trying to send out a hastily assembled marketing book for one of the finest companies I’ve ever had the privilege of introducing s, but I also had a long scheduled string of appointments in Michigan this week as well. Nothing like starting in beautiful, well capitalized, conservative Western Michigan on Monday and then working one’s way across the state, only to end up in moribund, corrupt and ultimately failing Detroit in Eastern Michigan. It’s not overly exaggerating to compare the two sides of the state to West and East Germany… they are that different in their economic viability.
Detroit is a wreck, and it’s a damn shame. There are hundreds of thousands of very smart people populating that Southeast Michigan region– engineers, technicians, deeply skilled manufacturing personnel, etc., etc. What hope have they, however, arrayed against the institutional, long embedded machine politics-corruption that destroys the rule of law and therefore any hope that a level playing field might be established for investment capital? Let’s face it, you’d have to be nuts to try to start a business in Detroit. There’s more atmosphere on the moon.
That said, I had a great time meeting the private equity personnel operating in that region. And the Tigers game was fun too. But nothing was as important– or moving– as my meeting with the esteemed, venerable Detroit Patriarch, Mr. Cain Thaler. It took a number of phone calls with his “people” to arrange a meeting, but let me tell you it was worth it. It’s not often you get to meet one of the guys who hung with Edsel Ford and the Dodge Brothers “back in the day.”
I had to wait outside the Marriott Motor Access area for half an hour as Cain’s preliminary security ran through their checks. They were nice guys, but pretty obviously ex-Special Forces, so I kept the chat to a minimum. When Mr. Thaler himself rolled up in his stretch Cadillac (of course) limousine, I was on pins and needles. When the door was opened by his personal bodyguard (a flat-faced Mongolian giant, six-ten, and about half that wide), rich, sweet and thick Havana-based smoke billowed from the back seat for what seemed like ten minutes but was probably more like 30 seconds. Finally, a gnarled, liver-spotted hand clutching an ivory headed cane (hint hint?) pushed out from the back seat. It was the man himself, the Legend.
Our discussion will remain between us, but let me tell you that he imparted generational value to me… business advice that I will cherish and pass to my own children, God willing. Thanks you sir, for your good will and your patience. I wish I could impart some of your wisdom to this crowd, but I will hold off, affording you the discretion you’ve earned.
I look forward to the next time we might share some bourbon whiskey, and some tales of the good days, when Detroit was America’s engine. My best to you.
I actually bought a farkakta load of SLV Leaps today. 2014′s and 15′s. A humbug schitload. I think silver is going to go berserk here, but the ride will be violent. SLW, EXK, AG and maybe SVM if you’re bold, SIL if you are not. God bless we are in trouble, but I take heart that there are still men like Cain Thaler — who remember that commie asshat Roosevelt — to help guide us back to the righteous path.
Best to you all.
30 Responses to An Evening in Detroit
Jake, I remember Detroit in the mid-70′s when we used to visit my Grandma (she lived with my uncle who was an engineer at GM). Tall shiny buildings, businesses with gated doorways and, most puzzling to a youngster who was just learning to read, brightly-lit signs that said “go-go”; years later I figured out what go-go dancers were lol! BTW, may I ask specifically which SLV leaps you bought? Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane and for your help especially while you are so busy at work.
I got the farthest out ones… which were, when I started Jan 2014′s. I have started to see 2015′s though and have a bid in.
You crack me up Jake.
The Dodge brothers are just kids…
Your writing is scarce, but fantastic when it comes…
Way to cherry pick your photo, by the way.
You could have just hitched a cap to 7 mile and shot some pics…
God I despise the city of Detroit and everything about it. For those that have never been, have a look.
@ Senator, you are the object of a mature man crush. Carry on.
As always Jake, thanks for the great post. I didn’t know Cain was such a venerable Detroit Patriarch.
Oh, Jake is embellishing.
I am no one important; which in Detroit’s political atmosphere is the highest compliment one can receive.
To be someone “important” in Detroit is nearly a guarantee of being corrupted, owned on getting something under the table.
It was good seeing you this week, Jake. Let me know the next time you’re in town.
Yes sir, most certainly will. Hopefully, I won’t be so distracted next time.
I’ll remind everyone the eastside of Michigan (especially Metro Detroit) is a landscape of high-end honey holes spattered amongst miles of decayed ruin. It can be quite surreal to sip a well-made martini surrounded by beautifully preserved early 20th century architecture.
Homes filled with hand carved oak accents adorned with copper gutters and leaded glass are modestly priced and up for the taking. Being a young, well-capitalized gent in this landscape is enjoyable and often exquisite.
Of course, the closer to the hood, the more important run flat tires become. It’s like Mexico City in that regard. To each his own I suppose.
I draw the line at mounting my ‘Cedes with .50 caliber full autos.
Many of those old houses that have been preserved fall more in the category of artwork rather than simply being described as a home or even a mansion. Tradesmen of those times fell more toward being artisans rather than mere carpenters.
What’s the sentiment like with the PE firms now, jake? I’m new to the biz and just inherited my first offering but there’s already rumblings of a few more big deals coming online in my space. Are the big houses looking for exit points now?
Also, any tips about marketing books?
Seller’s market, way more buyers than sellers.
If you have a half decent company, depending on your cash flow, your number should probably start at a six multiple.
The difference in East and WEst Michigan is glaringly easy to see when you tally the assets/liabilities of each society. There is probably more money on the east side, obviously more higher education with MSU, UofM, Wayne State etc, far more manufacturing infrastructure and maybe even a larger pool of skilled workers. The uncommon denominator is the level of morality in the general populace. West Michigan’s more conservative and fundamental roots will serve it well in becoming the new center of gravity the state….Until that area too succumbs to greed, corruption of those in power, and union control..
There’s a famous youtube called “Detroit City on the Move” that showed Detroit at its apex. The fall of Detroit from the date of that film (a 1965 Olympics bid video, I think) is absolutely staggering.
Ah! Here it is!
Who says Crime don’t pay?
Macau Junkets are making
money hand over fist.Money Laundering? You betcha!
Pays a fat Divi too! Keep the bets
light on this one or don’t bet at all.imo
Long massive amounts of Novagold calls. That puppy is headed to $10 in 2 months.
Interesting comment section.
Some people are quite odd, no?
I’m in Western Michigan. Been here all my life. If there is anyway I can help you prospect here drop me an email.
Which city? Western Michigan has become the craft beer mecca of America.
Truly good stuff.
Here’s a pic coming into the city for my most-recent Tigers game (few weeks ago): http://i.imgur.com/Z6Dma.jpg
I hate you with all my might for your idiotic political persuasion but this was a AWESOME write up…I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I think thres hope for you….If your can see the fact that progression of humanity’s evolution hindrances #1 and #2 are religion and nationality than you can be a good cause for humanity as you are a brilliant mind!