Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Every year Brad and I go on a father and son weekend from a Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The place does matter. We just hang out and shoot the breeze.
I absolutely love the weekends we spend together. Brad teaches me a ton. I teach him a little.
A few years ago we spent our weekends at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. I loved the weekends. I got to hang out with his Foundry Group partners , Seth Levine,Ryan McIntyre, and Jason Mendelson.
These four guys are really smart. They grasp concepts, trends, patterns and bullshit as fast as Purple Martins catch insects.
I always came back from these weekend invigorated. I love to learn new things. I always feel I understand the technology world a little better.
Last year we both got sick just before we were scheduled to go to Memphis Tennessee.
However, the most important reason for going to Memphis was that Brad was born on Blytheville Air Force Base in Blytheville, Arkansas during the Vietnam War. He expressed a desire to see the place of his birth. Blytheville is 70 miles northwest of Memphis on Highway 55.
We will get to Memphis one day. However, this year when he asked me where I wanted to go I said Las Vegas just because the weather would be perfect, the food would be good, the walking would be great and experiencing the energy of the crowds would be fun.
Brad pays for everything. It is his treat to his Dad. Mom is not here. He tries to get me to overeat. He always succeeds.
We had ice cream twice on Friday, once before dinner at Café Gelato in the Bellagio and once after dinner at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.
The Ghiardelli’s chocolate hot fudge sundae is overpriced but memorable. I remember a weekend with Brad at South Beach Miami where we were at the Ghiardelli's on Lincoln Road four times in one weekend.
In 1985, when Brad was at MIT he started Feld Technologies, a software and hardware company that installed office software, hardware and networks.
I hired Feld Technologies to build a network and install all the software and hardware for my large Clinical Endocrinology practice Endocrine Associates of Dallas P.A.. The installation lasted 15 years and put the practice 10 years ahead of other free-standing medical practices.
When he finished dealing with four doctors, a diabetes education center, a nuclear medicine center, an osteoporosis center and an obesity center he said, “Dad, I will not deal with medicine or doctors ever again.”
Unfortunately, our healthcare system desperately needs Brad Feld to grasp the problems and teach the government, healthcare insurance industry, hospital systems, physicians and patients how to fix it.
He refuses to pay attention to the problem.
There are no big thinkers out there.
Nothing was planned for this weekend. Brad sent out a Twitter telling his 197,000 followers that he was taking his dad to Las Vegas and does anyone have any suggestions for us.
Within three minutes we had a few dozen suggestions. That’s the power of social networking.
A fellow named Ryan Negri reached out and suggested Mon Ami Gabi for dinner. It is across the street from the Bellagio. He said he could get us a table on the patio over looking Las Vegas Blvd. I had not heard of the place but it sounded cool.
We were running late for our reservation so we took a cab. The restaurant was just across the street from the Bellagio. The taxi porter that put us in a cab asked us why don’t we walk because it is just across the street? We didn’t know it was across the street.
The cab driver took off without saying a word. We asked him how long he was waiting in the holding area for the fare. He told us three quarters of an hour. He did not say a thing in protest.
Brad blew me away taking out a $20 bill and giving it to the cabbie. It made the cabbie’s night.
It also made me aware of the many acts of kindness my son does for so many people.
It is consistent with his philosophy of giving without expecting to receive. The magnificent power of that philosophy is that you receive much more in the end than you give.
This is a part of his business philosophy and will be the main theme of an upcoming book he is writing in his series of books on the Startup Revolution.
Cecelia and I are very lucky to have such a wonderful son. I hope all you readers can tell I am a big Brad Feld fan.
On Saturday, after exercise, we tried to get tickets for the Rod Stewart Show at Caesar’s Palace and Absinthe. Both were sold out. We are both pretty resilient. We decided to opt for dinner at Nobu, plus after dinner ice cream.
After failing to get tickets for a show we headed downtown to see Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. Anyone going to Las Vegas and staying on The Strip should take a cab to The Downtown Project. Tony Hsieh started www.Zappos.com on a shoe string and sold it to Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion dollars.
He bought 60 acres of dilapidated Downtown Las Vegas after he moved Zappos.com to Las Vegas’ old downtown city hall. The plan was to transform the acres into a new kind of urban renewal project. It is very cool to people with an open mind.
“Tony Hsieh promised to spend $350 million to create his own utopian community, a place of inspiration and serendipity where everyone could become smarter and, of course, happier. He wasn’t leading people into the desert, exactly.”
He hoped to turn the Downtown Project into a thriving hub of high-tech creativity. When he started in 2012, his pitch was, “What if you could play SimCity for real?”
The media confusion started with the use of the word utopian community.
“Hsieh often said he wanted his $350 million to generate a “return on community,” not just a return on investment.”
“Though Hsieh’s camp used the word often at the Downtown Project’s inception, officials later removed all mentions about “return on community” from the Downtown Project website, adding the word “connectedness” to cut down on confusion.
“Tony Hsieh said he views the Downtown Project as a startup — an endeavor that often comes with mistakes waiting to happen.
“Every startup makes a ton of mistakes,” Hsieh said. “There have been investments that we’ve made and they’ve gone out of business.”
Hsieh’s key to moving forward?
“Learn and adapt quickly,” he said.
Our first stop was Container City. It is a section of the property made up of restaurant and shops. The business spaces are made up of newly constructed shipping container piled on each other. There are multilevel spaces with playgrounds for kids, dinning area tables and open areas.
I had a great hamburger. Brad had fried tacos. We had a long conversation at lunch.
Brad and Tony are friends. Tony invited us to hang out with him at his Trailer Village down the street from Container Village.
This Airstream Trailer Village is more novel than the Container Village. It is in a large parking lot. It has security at the entrance. Once you get approval to enter you enter a walkway lined with artificial turf and covered with an archway made of wooden slatted park fencing and artificial ivy. Tony and Jennifer greeted us halfway down the makeshift hallway as we entered the village.
This space is something special in this day and age. It is kind of like a hippie, flower child experience of the 1960 in a much more cultivated and sophisticated way.
He has the periphery lined with Airstream Trailers and Wooden House Trailers. There is a large center common space for entertainment and hanging around.
Tony told us they show movies and have entertainment on most nights.
On Sunday morning, we had brunch with a fellow who reached out to Brad in a classy way. Ryan Negri is a 33-year-old entrepreneur who sold a company he started at age 24. He and his wife moved from Newport Beach California to Las Vegas 14 month ago after he sold his company.
He is working on getting involved in the start up community is Las Vegas. Brunch was delightful. Ryan impressed me a very bright a fast thinking entrepreneur. I predict he will go places.
After brunch headed to the airport, concluding another fabulous father,son weekend.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone
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