An Open Letter to Jon Markman.

Your annotation to Reminiscences about the rise and fall of William Crapo Durant brings to mind many consiliences. First, the story that Hans Sennholz told of his talk in Houston about his book on silver. After the talk, some Texans came up to him and said to him, "Professor, do you know how much money we made from your book–345 million." And Professor Sennholz responded, "do you know how much money I made? " $25.

Durant had an entrepreneurial career starting with his buggy whip business. He started General Motors, lost control, got it back, formed pools in the 1920s market, regained control, hired Sloane and Kettering to run the new General Motors, and then tried to bull the 1929 market up in 1929 and 1930 and declared bankruptcy in 1936. He ended his life running a bowling alley in Flint, living on a modest pension provided by Sloane.

Jon, with your writing gigs at the Journal and MSN, and your ability to write books of the caliber of Reminiscences, I don't think you will ever be forced to run a bowling alley, or live on a modest pension provided by the boy wonder who dropped out of Harvard to form the parent company to MSN.

I hope I am as fortunate as either you or Crapo, as I am an entrepreneur like him, and have been too early and had too little capital to hold on to the General Motors of my career, including Navtech and Etrade and Rex Radio, to say nothing of my various once number 1 performing forays into the hedge fund business, either one of which would have made me billions if I had the helping hand of a Sloane, or a bailout from the government.

Thanks for the memories and the story about Durant, who rightfully belongs in the entrepreneurs hall of fame.




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