I wish I'd said this...

Quotes from the home front

"I would rather die of oldness than from falling off this cliff."

Sammy Kroner, age 8

"It's completely pointless to walk to both poles. I've done it. I know it's pointless."

Rob Swan, first person to walk both the north and south poles

"Dude! Is your dog supposed to be on the roof?"

Sammy's friend, when he saw Calvin on our rooftop

"I want to hear about your adventures from you not from a newspaper article."

Jeff Anderson, before Ken went on a cylcing trip in Spain

"He goes around to people saying, 'Listen. I can make your money grow. But I get to keep a little bit.' "

Sammy Kroner, age 6, describing what his dad does for a living

"I wish I could visit Paris for the first time again."

A wistful Richard Grinold, after I told him Jennifer and I were making our first trip to Paris

"Is this sports, or is this soccer?"

Art Greco

"If Mommy and Daddy didn't have jobs, we'd live on the sidewalk and carry a sign."

Amber Kroner, age 6

"You can teach a squirrel to fly, but it's a lot easier to hire an eagle."

Richard C. Grinold

"Some things are better to have done than to do."

Terry Anderson, on cycling the Mt. Tam Double Century

"UC San Diego is a great research university. The difference between a great research university and a great university is the undergraduate. We want to be a great university."

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, explaining why so much is being spent on the undergraduate experience at UCSD

"The only way to herd cats is to lead 'em with a bunch of cat food."

Bobby Robbins, Univ of AZ President, on using funding as a tool to steer faculty

"Is there a heart so cold that it can hate cycling?"

Terry Anderson after being told that Ken isn't enjoying cycling

"With a puppy, every day is precious."

Sammy Kroner

"One should never confuse the edge of a ditch with the horizon."

Richard C. Grinold

"Can I wook a the wama for a widdow bit?" (Can I look at the llama for a little bit?)

Amber Kroner, age 4

"A baby is not a CD player."

Richard Grinold, after we moved to SF when Ryan was 5 days old

"This is the land where good cuisine came to die."

Russ Koesterich, when asked for a Princeton NJ restaurant recommendation

"If you're not prepared to work on Saturday, then don't bother coming in on Sunday."

Craig Kreeger, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, on the US work ethic

"The path to humility is usually humiliation."

Ian O'Rourke

"He's so smart that I would never get into an argument with him. I was always afraid he'd prove I don't exist."

John Ortberg on theologian Dallas Willard

"Life is tough. But it's tougher when you're stupid."

Richard C. Grinold

"Have a nice trip. See you next fall."

Matt Scanlan, after a colleague stumbled on a curb

"You won't inspire people by sending them a text or an email."

Rob Swan, first person to walk both the north and south poles

"You can have anything you want [in life]. But you can't have everything you want."

What Terry Anderson told his kids

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Matt Scanlan, on the sales process

"It gives me hope to look into the eyes of old people."

David, a slave rescued by IJM, to Jennifer and two others at the IJM Liberate celebration

"My suitcase vomited its contents all over the floor."

Jonathan Adkisson, describing his hotel room scene

"You know things are going crazy when the real doctors are reporting to the rich doctors"

Don Putnam

"What's manicotti again?"

Sammy, while working up tears over having manicotti for dinner

"When I sat down to write this speech, I found myself thinking, 'Wow...I can't believe my cousin is getting married in an hour.'"

Maid of Honor's toast at Brent and Kara Willard's wedding

"He's got one arm. You don't need to say, 'He's missing an arm and two legs.' He's got one arm!"

Overheard a guy talking on the phone in a very exasperated tone

"One cannot truly see beauty unless it's filtered through the crystalline light of pain."

Terry Anderson on the pain of cycling

Quotes from the office

"I'm horribly bearish gold...and I've been for two days now."

BlackRock portfolio manager Kayvan Malek, after gold fell 7% in two days

"The top 9 priorities are investment excellence. I'm not sure what the 10th priority is."

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO

"If the answers were clear, they wouldn't call it research."

Nobel laureate Robert F. Engle in a 2013 email

"If you're on the phone, can you please hit mute, 'cause you're conflicting with the voices in my head."

Rich Kushel, BlackRock ExCo member, commenting on background noise during a conference call

"Our 747 hit an air pocket, but the pilot had to convene a committee to get permission to turn on the 'fasten seat belt' light."

My boss Richard Grinold, when our governance structure made it take too long for us to make a decision during market turmoil; result was that I was put in charge, marking the beginning of my career climb

"You heard about the forest and the trees? These guys are examining the leaves under a microscope."

Richard Grinold after coming out of a fixed income research meeting

"There's no reason to stand in the way of a locomotive while waving a Valuation flag."

Richard Meese's way of saying that we shouldn't bet exclusively on value when panic is driving the markets (after same crisis as above)

"Reputations take a lifetime to build, but they can be lost in 15 minutes."

Pattie Dunn after appearing on the cover of Time magazine

"Alpha was like oxygen at BlackRock. We didn't realize how important it was until there wasn't any."

Insightful junior PM at BlackRock

"It takes years and years to develop a good reputation. It takes but a moment to lose it. Tiger Woods is finding that out this week. Maybe his wife found out first."

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO (Dec 2009)

"At least you'll look good in the coffin."

Barbara Calloway, on eating food with lots of preservatives

"Just go outside SF. Can the gov't ruin paradise? The answer is yes."

Senator Phil Gramm, over coffee in BGI's SF office

"That was a bar you could stub your toe on."

Bryan Smith, BGI currency trader

"Just send him to NY. He'd fit right in here."

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO, after being told about an employee who'd received two written behavior warnings

"Red flags precede war stories."

AIMCo board chair Mac Van Wielingen, encouraging the board to pay attention to stuff that's happening

"We look for niceness, brightness and fire in the belly when we hire around here."

Fred Grauer, original CEO of BGI, on BGI'as culture

"One of the most de-motivating things you can say to anyone at BGI is, 'That's industry standard.'"

Blake Grossman, CEO of BGI, commenting on BGI's culture

"He's a guy in a Spinal Tap world who goes to eleven because it's one notch higher."

BlackRock researcher Duncan Shand, explaining that a colleague is noisy but not malicious

"Is there a point to this, or are you trying to find it?"

Richard C. Grinold, BGI's Head of Research

"We've all heard the Ned Johnson quote that 'I can't believe that the masses of Americans would be satisfied with getting average returns.' At Fidelity these days, I think they'd be DELIGHTED to get average returns."

Blake Grossman, BGI CEO

"I tried jumping out of the window, but I was on the first floor. I'm thinking of climbing onto the roof."

Matt Scanlan, after a meeting in which bad news was delivered

"We sucked less."

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, commenting on our previous year at an ExCo offsite

"Size is the enemy of returns."

David Dominik, CEO and founder of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital

"Fixing social security today is like convincing someone who doesn't have a toothache to have a root canal. You've gotta be a damn good salesman. It's gotta hurt first."

Senator Phil Gramm

"The difference is like drinking wine versus drinking vodka. Drinking vodka is all about the result, but drinking wine is all about the process."

Rich Kushel, BlackRock ExCo member, on a project that required him to get two groups to cooperate

"The only real out-of-sample data is tomorrow."

Richard C. Grinold, BGI Head of Research

"Let's stop this discussion. I'm about to have a 360 review moment right before my 360 review."

Rich Kushel, BlackRock ExCo member, after he pulled himself together from a tantrum during a meeting

"You can't compound average."

Dennis Stattman, pioneer in global investing

"We invented a fly-swatter and the market thinks we invented a bazooka. That gives us leverage."

Richie Prager, BlackRock's head of trading, on creation of BlackRock's ATN

"The key to not gaining 10 pounds is to not gain 5 pounds."

Richard C. Grinold, BGI's Head of Research at an MD offsite, on controlling expense growth

"The art of diplomacy is letting other people have your way."

Quintin Price

"Alpha is a drug, everyone's hooked and we're pushers."

Bruce Goddard

"Hope is never a great business strategy."

Richie Prager, BLK's Head of Trading, on hope to find reinsureance companies to take a certain risk away from BLK

"The history of acquisitions at Goldman is unblemished by success."

Jim O'Neill, CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

"At this stage of my career, my job is to take the oxygen out of bad ideas."

Richard C. Grinold, my boss for most of my career

"The only thing that would make me more excited is if I found out my wife is rich."

Frank Porcelli after an SAE update

"We use the term 'directionally correct.' But saying that if you've got 10 and you add 90 you get 11 is directionally correct. But it's also very wrong."

Richard Grinold during the 2002 MD conference

"Culture eats strategy for lunch every day."

Sheldon Egelhorn, UC Regent, at UCSD Executive Committee meeting

"It's hard to be clever about anything when you have to be clever about everything."

Ernest Rady, UCSD trustee, founder of American Assets, philanthropist, asking for an investment committee offsite to discuss the big issues

"The embedded players don't understand that they're taxi drivers in the age of Uber."

Don Putnam, commenting on changes in the asset management industry

"One benefit of being a leader is that you can break all the rules."

Charlie Hallac, BlackRock co-founder, on calling a meeting that someone else should have called

"The first casualty of any conflict is the plan."

Clay, Navy Seal team leader

"A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed late."

Clay, Navy Seal team leader

"Use another sub-personality to let people know when you need something else [a different behavior]"

Stupidest advice ever, from a highly paid BLK consultant

"Look at how he's standing...he's absolutely balanced."

Another great insight from the same consultant