Business Speed Dating

I spent the last week in San Francisco for the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference during which 25,000 individuals from across the healthcare sector descend upon the bay area. Startups, publicly-traded companies, investors, advisors, doctors, bankers and more all come west to attend presentations and meetings by day and cocktail parties and dinners by night. My calendar was packed with back-to-back 30 minute and hour long meetings – It is a little like speed dating for business. You meet with an interesting medical device company who is looking to raise capital followed by a meeting with an investor looking for an innovative medical device company that will put his money to work. My job is to introduce the two parties in hopes that I can generate a fee on any transactions that come to fruition. So while I participate in the speed dating, I am more of the matchmaker. After a long day of meetings, the ‘festivities’ begin. Many service providing companies such as law firms, private equity firms and banks including Mesirow, will host cocktail parties, occupying all the local bars and hotels, creating what is referred to as “the circuit.” This sort of evening speed dating entails quicker discussions, often sharing more ideas to spur business and investment.

Throughout the week, we met with some pretty interesting companies and a slew of investors. One company, Medsphere, has created an open-source electronic health record platform, employing the core code built by the VA that they were able to duplicate for free by taking advantage of the Freedom of Information Act. Ironically enough, they are now pursuing a Department of Defense grant, essentially taking technology from one branch of the government and selling it to another. Another company has developed a software and service platform to offer a telepharmacy service that would save hospitals a significant amount of time and money. All the while, hospitals such as North Shore LIJ are implementing venture arms that will provide capital for new technologies that will utilized by in their network as well as others. This corporate VC model is fascinating as the investors are also major customers, adding value in twofold. Innovation is slowly but surely finding its way into the healthcare industry and it will be exciting to see the significant changes that are ahead. Conferences such as this, while hectic and fast-paced, create opportunities to share ideas and promote growth for all constituents.

Baking Apple Pie Apples

Its the holiday season and considering two of my favorite activities are eating and spending time with my family, my girlfriend and I decided to bake apple pie for everyone to enjoy. Christina found a cool recipe for personal apple pies, each served in the actual apple so we ventured off to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients (we actually ended up going to three different stores but thats mostly because we are cheap and didn’t want to spend $10 on pie crust at Whole Foods when we could get it for $1.50 at Trader Joes). Here is the list of ingredients, which you can probably get all in one store (note one recipe makes 4 apples):

1 – pie crust
6 – granny smith apples
1/4 cup – sugar
1 Tbsp – brown sugar
1/4 tsp – cinnamon (more or less make adjustment as desired)
Melon baller
Instructions to follow:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cut off the top of 4 apples and use a melon baller to remove the inside, leaving around 1/4-1/2 inch thick shell (we dug ours too thin, causing the apples to become too soft – so make the edge slightly thicker than whats pictured). Keep 1-2 cups of the removed apple to use for the filling.

photo 1 (1)

3. Peel the skin of the remaining 2 apples and cut them into small cubes to be used as the bulk of the filling.

4. In a sauce pan, mix the cubed apples and 1-2 cups of the discarded filling from the apple shells with the sugar and cinnamon. Let sit over low heat for a 10 minutes, stirring every minute or two.

photo 2a

5. Scoop the mixed filling evenly into the apples and place on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet or pan.

photo 3a

6. Lay out the pie crust and cut into strips approximately 1/3 inch thick.

7. Lay the strips over the filled apples creating a latticework pattern and sprinkle the tops with cinnamon

photo 3 (1)

8. Cover the apples with a layer of aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

9. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

10. Place on a plate with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy 🙂

photo 5

A few takeaways – as I mentioned above, we dug our apples to deep, which caused the walls to be to soft. Additionally, we didn’t have enough filling to fill each apple to the top, causing some of the crusts to sink into the apples slightly, so saving the removed apple and adding it to the cubed apples should help with that problem. Obviously ours did not look as great as the original recipe but they sure tasted great and Christina and I had a lot of fun making them.

Good luck and happy baking!

Bargain Shopping – Thrifting

Since I was a kid, my mother has instilled in me a habit of bargain shopping. I have countless memories walking with her down the aisles of TJ Maxx and other discount stores or sifting through clearance sections as she refused to pay full price for what she “knew” she could find for less. Even when she found a bargain, she would haggle for a few extra percent because a button was loose or the color looked faded. At the time, this insistent need to find the best deal was quite bothersome to me (probably because she wouldn’t buy anything for me) but I now find myself on the other side of the table, stacking coupons and habitually thrifting. Its to the point where I will walk by a store I like and even though I may have stopped in just yesterday, I will think to myself, “there must be something new in the clearance section.” Rarely do I pay full price for anything, from electronics to clothing to furniture, using sites such as RetailMeNot or my outdated student ID to receive some form of discount.

I’ve recently established a personal rule to help curb my impulsive buying habits – while I’m permitted to browse, I’m limited to making an actual purchase until the following day. This is meant to prevent any rash decisions and allows me to contemplate the potential purchase, however, the rule seems to break down at thrift stores; I convince myself that if I leave the store, the customer that’s walks in behind me is going to scoop up that antique shelving unit or even worse, I’ll show up the next day and someone will be in line to buy it. Thrifting has become a hobby for me, particularly because NYC is saturated with quality thrift sores.

I typically will check out a few stores over the course of a month but lately, since moving apartments, Ive been in search for new furniture. Often times people will suggest stores like ikea to find reasonably priced furniture, however, a major concern with places like these is that while their furniture may appear nice, the quality breaks down extremely easily. A roommate of mine had a night stand from ikea (~$50) and after only a few months of ‘gentle use’ the door had fallen off and the top became waterlogged and warped. Another friend purchased a new couch from Bob’s Discount Furniture ($500) and not surprisingly, the springs broke rendering the couch more uncomfortable than the hardwood flooring. During my thrifting, I’ve come across dozens of quality couches, nightstands and all sorts of other furniture which are typically higher quality for much less. Oftentimes, the furniture found in thrift stores is made of solid wood using quality carpentry methods such as the dove tail joint (picture 1) while the cheaper options found at low-cost retailers are made of fiberboard wood (picture 2) which depreciates relatively quickly.

 dovetailfiberboard

The one caveat to thrifting is the commitment required to achieve a successful outcome. If you’re looking for a specific item whether it be by size or color, you’re unlikely to stumble upon it, but if you’re open to what you find or are committed to the search process, you’re bound to come across something of interest. I’ve had great success buying quality furniture in a variety of thrift stores and perhaps on a more limited basis, I have found some great second-hand clothing as well including a recent $60 purchase for a blazer which I found online for $900. Below is a list of a few of thrift shops I frequent.

Cure Thrift Shop

Housing Works

Angel Street

Vintage Thrift

East Village

My Non-Profit Organization – Requip Sports

My sister and I have been working on a non-profit initiative to help collect and redistribute sports equipment to undeserved communities. The program, which we named “Requip Sports,” works with outstanding high school leaders, who serve as ambassadors of Requip and act as liaisons to the community to organize local collection drives. Similar to the company Revivn, Requip promotes successive utilization over the life of a product, a form of recycling through shared economics, offering these underprivileged youth the opportunity to partake in team sports. In addition to the obvious philanthropic efforts, this project is a great opportunity for me to improve on my business fundamentals, from creating marketing materials to managing logistics. Ive attached a general solicitation form which we use to connect with these ambassadors.

Untitled

Dear John Doe,

I want to share an opportunity to support an outstanding social initiative which helps to provide underserved students and communities with secondhand sports equipment. Started in 2014, Requip Sports is non-profit organization building a unique platform to collect and redistribute athletic goods, providing underprivileged youth an opportunity to experience the power of sports. We are looking for motivated individuals, community organizations and local sports programs to assist in creating local equipment collection drives.

 Millions of children around the world lack the resources and funding to play organized sports while every year, millions of pieces of reusable equipment such as cleats and pads are discarded. Studies have shown that in addition to the obvious benefits of regular activity, kids who participate in sports attain improved nutritional awareness and higher self-esteem. Additionally, these kids are 57% less likely to drop out of school, 49% less likely to take drugs, and 37% less likely to become teen parents. Requip helps provide underprivileged individuals the foundation to participate in team athletics and appreciate sports, an experience that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to partake in.

Our goal at Requip is to connect these underprivileged communities with donated equipment by helping lay the foundation to support a local collection program. Requip will make setting up an equipment collection drive easy by providing volunteer ambassadors with the tools and necessary assistance to organize local campaigns. You can volunteer as a team, group or even take on the challenge by yourself – The Requip team will help you with the necessary preparations and will coordinate the logistics throughout the process – we just need your help getting the word out!!

We are asking for your help in selecting candidates in your community to work with Requip in this generous endeavor. If you or somebody in your community is someone who would be interested in working with Requip Sports, please send us an email at RequipSports@gmail.com or give us a call at 603-252-7448.

Thanks for your help!

The Requip Sports Team

Thinking of Summer: Then and Now

7 Summer Activities with a Grown-up Twist

As I began to break a sweat strolling around SOHO today, I realized, summer in NYC has finally arrived and frankly, it’s about time. For some reason this felt like one of the longest winters in years, and with today’s forecast finally showing 82and sunny, I’ve officially come out of my seasonal depression. This sense of summer brought back a rush of fond memories from my childhood that I keenly associate with the warm months, so I decided to compile a list of 7 summer activities recreated for city living.

  1. BBQs

BBQ

The thought of spending time with friends and family, playing games and grilling in a neighborhood backyard electrifies me although living in Manhattan seems somewhat problematic. Rather than a backyard, try hosting a BBQ in one of NYC’s parks, which were ranked #2 in a recent survey of 50 cities. Often times these public parks have grills for use otherwise you can buy a portable one here for $18 and grill out on your rooftop (the ‘emergency exit roof access’ alarms are often turned off (I’ve never had an issue)).

  1. Summer Movies

Movies

While I grew up seeing summer movies in air conditioned theaters, this would be too obvious of a suggestion to beat the heat. Instead, check out the NYC summer movie guide, which outlines new movies almost every night across the city, or plan your own outdoor movie experience; with just a few dollars, a shoebox and a smartphone you can build a DIY projector and host your own outdoor viewing.

  1. Ice Pops

Poptails

Everyone remembers hearing the jingle of the ice cream truck coming around the corner; the adrenaline rush of running inside to ask mom for money, hoping the truck wouldn’t leave without you, though running it down was not out of the question. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for the name but check out these fun recipes for a grown-up twist to a seasonal classic – summer “pop-tails.”

  1. Boating

Boating

I was fortunate enough to have friends whose parents owned boats but doubt many people are going come across a motor boat in Manhattan. While you may not be able to go jet skiing, you can rent kayaks for free on the Hudson River or rent paddle and row boats in central park and other places around the five boroughs. If you’re trying to sit back and take in the sites, check out these boat tours around Manhattan’s distinctive landmarks.

  1. Pick-up Games/Activities

AWE Coedball 2

I grew up playing dozens of outdoor activities with the kids from the neighborhood – capture the flag, baseball, basketball, man-hunt and stolen bases to name a few. Pick-up basketball can be found at almost any court around the city and if you’re looking to join an intramural team, check out ZogSports for basketball and other sports leagues. If golf or tennis interests you, head to Chelsea piers’ driving range or any of these public tennis courts.

  1. Swimming

Swimming

This is probably the most obvious summer activity but seemingly impossible to do in the city. While biking through central park with my roommate last weekend, I was astonished to find a massive public pool which then prompted me to investigate other swimming options around the city. Turns out there are a bunch of both pools and beaches. Take the subway out to Coney Island and try one of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, take a roller coaster ride at Luna Park and finish up with a swim in the ocean.

  1. Lobster Rolls

Lobster Roll

To be honest, I didn’t start eating lobster rolls till a few years ago but I’m addicted to the point that I have been heavily considering opening a Lobster Truck. Despite my late-start, lobster rolls are now a summer must; my girlfriend and I started off lobster roll season the other weekend with a cook off competition (the results were inconclusive). I would share our recipes with your but in case I follow through with opening the truck, I’ll direct you to this delicious and simple recipe (try adding Old Bay seasoning and you’ll never go without it).