Being Sad for Ivan Rabb Means We Should Celebrate the “One and Done”

A year ago, I said:

As of today, according to DraftExpress (a reputable source on pre-NBA talent), Jaylen Brown would be the 4th pick (or is the 4th best prospect, however you want to read it) in this summer’s draft. Ivan Rabb is 14th. Both would be considered “lottery picks”, draft picks for teams that do not make the NBA playoffs, just as Chris Porter could have been so long ago. …

If their draft positions hold, Rabb and Brown would get closer to $3M and $7M, respectively. …

Taking money now is the smart thing, if it is guaranteed. For any player’s long term development, he has to be in a good team situation in which he can grow (compare San Antonio Spurs vs Brooklyn Nets) – this is something a player has much less control over and thus, has much more risk. The money is guaranteed while the opportunity to play, be liked by a coaching staff, is not. …

Other than having your draft position go down, costing you literally millions of dollars, if you get booted to the second round as Chris Porter, you will not have a guaranteed contract, or a contract at all. …

If a player stayed in school in order to complete his college degree and then dropped out of the first round, I would say he wasted the point of going to college. Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, get in the draft now and go to summer school in the future.

Last night, former Cal Bear Ivan Rabb was picked in the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies, 35th overall. That likely means no guaranteed money, no guaranteed roster spot, and extensive time in the D League.

Rabb went from the projected late lottery as a freshman with guaranteed money and a chance to play to now having nothing.

And for those who look down upon the one (year) and done athlete, how do you feel about someone who lost millions of dollars by doing the “right thing”?

This isn’t much different from the example of Chris Porter over 15 years ago. Last year, I recommended: “Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, get in the draft now and go to summer school in the future.”

I’m sorry Ivan.

My Facebook at Work Launch Analysis – September 2015

As with my Minecraft post, I do have an ego-driven need to see my insights proven correct. (Don’t worry, I know I am often wrong) Below is a slide deck I put together in an interview with Facebook for Facebook at Work (now called Workplace) in September 2015.

After 1+ years and only thousands of paying users and questions about what how the site should be used, however, perhaps my Slide 5 was onto something.

Facebook claims it has already signed up “thousands” of paying subscribers to Workplace Premium, spokeswoman Vanessa Chan told CNBC. Facebook’s name recognition and user familiarity could be a major asset that should help it muscle into the marketplace. But the social media site needs to overcome the perception that the site is a productivity killer at work and convince employers that staffers will be using the tool for work, not social purposes.

Silicon Valley Business Journal – April 2017.

Me Talking about Vietnam and the Social Media Scene on the Xpansion Podcast

Recently, I had the honor of talking to the Xpansion Podcast with Fiona Huang and Justin Taillole about my experiences leading social networking startups in Vietnam – I spent over 7 years there, learning, grinding, and enjoying my time in a rapidly growing 3rd world country.

Listen above and I would love to hear your comments!

Here’s the official Xpansion description for the episode:

Vietnam, the 3rd most populated country (93.95 million) in Southeast Asia. With a population average age of 28.5 years old, young Vietnamese are crazy about social media. Without a doubt, people there are heavy Facebook users. Before Facebook went viral in Asia though, Cyworld had been the social media that gained most tractions in Asia. Originating from Korea, Cyworld was founded in 1997. After acquired by SKTA, a Korean telecom company, Cyworld aggressively expanded to Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan amongst others.

If you are curious about how social media was ran in Vietnam, do not miss out on this episode of Xpansion. We’ve invited Michael Nguyen, the COO of then Cyworld Vietnam. Michael is born and raised in the U.S. by Vietnamese immigrant parents, went back to Vietnam in his mid-twenties and set up Cyworld’s operations. He successfully grew the user base to 4 million. During his stay in Vietnam, he founded Mimo and FriendsPlus. Mimo is a microblogging social network similar to Twitter and later a popular dating app, which Michael successfully exited.

In this episode, Michael shares his story of running social media companies in Vietnam. From his experiences, you will learn:

  1. The cultural differences between the young professionals of Vietnam and the U.S.
  2. How social media in Vietnam used to be monetized differently.
  3. How national-owned telecom companies in Vietnam affects startup survival.
  4. Why managing government relationships is a big deal in Vietnam.
  5. What are some challenges Vietnamese startups are facing.

Post-MBA Guide: 10 Steps to Refinancing Your Student Loan

After graduating with a MBA, I started to look into refinancing my student loans. My financial situation wasn’t terrible, but not amazing either. Over $100K in loans, little cash on hand, and close to 7% (fixed) interest rate from FedLoan Servicing. (Note: links to SoFi and CommonBond include my referral code – if you find this post useful, I appreciate the click. As I remember, each services gives a referral bonuses to you – $100 to $200 – and to me)

Here’s what I did to narrow the gap down to 3.5% (fixed) over 5 years. Note, some of the later steps will likely apply only to those with a good credit score of 725+, US nationality, and a reasonable track record of credit history:

  1. Research Providers: I started the process by searching Google, but also looking at Reddit, Credible, and Student Loan Hero.
  2. Get Baseline Estimates: I looked through a list of services that offered refinancing, looking for the top filter of lowest rates (both fixed and variable), using Credible to get early estimates on what I might get offered.
  3. Set a Goal: I preferred fixed if I could get it low enough (4% was my target based on what services were offering “as low as” for rates and what I felt my credit history justified)
  4. Short-List Your Applications: I decided to focus on Earnest, SoFi, and CommonBond for my actual applications.
  5. Look for Ways to Improve Your Credit: My initial offer from SoFi was 4.5%. This was a bit depressing. I asked SoFi if there was anything I could add to help make the case for a better rate. I also looked at Credit Karma to see if there was anything significant affecting my credit score. It turns out, there was, and I was able to make a quick fix on it.
  6. Work with Companies to See How You Can Help Them Make a Better Decision: I don’t know if that fix helped with the financing companies, but a week later, my credit score went up by 40 points.
  7. Use Competing Offers to Negotiate Among Providers: Around this time, offers from the two other companies came in, one of which was pleasantly lower than SoFi. I then used that offer with the other companies, and asked if they could offer a better rate. After a few iterations of this easy (for me) negotiation, I ended up with a final rate of 3.5%, lower than I had hoped. I chose CommonBond.
  8. Complete the Paperwork: After the paperwork was completed, the loan was refinanced in a little over a week. The entire process from initial contact to disbursement took about six weeks.
  9. Be Happy!
  10. Handle Your Monthly Payments

Overall, I was happy dealing with all 3 companies, no issues in my interactions. In addition, do keep in mind that federal (government) loans have special provisions for debt forgiveness that you will not have when you go private.

However, I plan (and want) to pay off my loans in full, and many private loans providers are good about understanding and working with you if you ever do lose your job and must delay payments for a little time. Firms like SoFi even help you find a new job if you find yourself out of work.