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by Derek Loosvelt | May 04, 2016


I'm rarely this forward, but since there are so many fine-looking sentences in Joe Drape's New York Times article about the second career (that is, the stud life) of Triple Crown Winner American Pharaoh, I'm going to require that you read it in its entirety right this very instant (if you haven't yet clicked on the aforementioned link, you can do so now).

Okay, now that you're done reading (incidentally, in the time that it took you to read Drape's piece, American Pharoah just banged out another $200,000 for his owner), I'm going to give you my Win, Place, and Show (top three) passages of this subtly brilliant piece on the thoroughbred's new job. In reverse order:


His day starts at sunup with a breakfast of high-end, organic grains—the equine equivalent of kale and quinoa—and then his work starts in earnest at 7:30 each day. That’s when American Pharoah hooks a left out of the stallion barn and ambles down the path to the breeding shed. Waiting for him is a mare, but not any old nag.


What’s a stud’s life? Most days, he does double duty, with a 1:30 p.m. lunch date after the morning fling. Often, he is at it again for a third time at 6 p.m.


Best of all, American Pharoah has adapted to his new career with the same efficiency, élan and joie de vivre that he demonstrated while winning nine of his 11 starts, electrifying thoroughbred enthusiasts on the track and charming them off it.

A few notes on the above: 1) We should all start our days out as healthily as Pharoah; 2) It's important to take advantage of your lunch hour and, like Pharoah, slip in some work; and 3) Efficiency is great, but working without enthusiasm will never lead to Triple-Crown-Stud-For-Life excellence.

*  *  *

Perhaps nearly as studly as American Pharoah's new gig is Academy Award Winner Jared Leto's second career. Well, third, if you count his life as a musician. In any case, Leto, as it turns out, is a stud tech investor: he's been quietly investing in tech companies for years. Ever heard of Uber? How about Airbnb? Nest? Well, Leto invested in all threee of these companies, and did so very early on in their lives. He also owns pieces of some 50 other tech companies. He's even started a few small businesses of his own.

Which, to say the least, all comes as a huge surprise to me. And just as surprising is the fact that Leto sounds incredibly bright and savvy in this recent CNBC Squawk Box appearance (I imagine this might also come as a surprise to others who also only know Leto for his long-haired white-suited appearance on the Oscars when he scooped up the Best Supporting Actor award for his turn as an ailing drag queen in Dallas Buyers Club).

In any case, Leto reveals on CNBC that investing in tech has changed his life, that it's a real passion of his, and that he's had to fight to invest in the tech companies whose equity he now owns; that is, companies didn't just come to him because he was famous but he had to actively search out these companies and, he says, "beg" to invest in them. In fact, Leto is such a stud Silicon Valley investor that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sang his praises on CNBC, saying that Leto is on the "front edge of the tech community."

Also of interest in the CNBC appearance is Leto's comparison of running a startup to working as a musician.

"In a band ... it's very similar to a start-up. You're a few people in a garage," he said, recalling the early days of [his band] Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Leto learned to "play a lot of roles" with his band, not only as singer-songwriter but also as marketer and social media advocate.
"It put me on the path early on to be independent and entrepreneurial. And it lead me to the tech world."

In addition, Leto says that startup life and band life are similar in that, in both, you're "betting on your dreams and yourself."

To be sure, Leto the tech investor has had some setbacks. One was meeting with Instagram four days before Facebook acquired the photo-sharing social media site for $1 billion. Leto wanted a piece of IG and asked the IG founders if he could invest. Their reaction: "giggles." That is, they were giddy with laughter because they were about to bank tens of millions of dollars in the Facebook deal and didn't need or want Leto's cash.

Speaking of giggles, if you live in New York or Toronto, you might have already seen (or at least heard) a preview of the forthcoming film Suicide Squad, in which Leto plays infamous wisecracking whackjob villian The Joker (Leto is reportedly the 12th man to take on the role).

Leto said he perfected his Joker's maniacal laugh walking around the streets of New York City and Toronto. "I would kind of … see what laugh would get under people's skin."

Nails-on-the-chalkboard laughter aside, the moral of this tech tale is never judge a businessman by his suit, hair, or makeup.

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