Monthly Archives: December 2015

Holiday Conversations With Young Minds

Young worker on construction site, selective focus on face

December 28, 2015

A trade shortened week with Christmas on a Friday and the traditional early close on a Thursday created very little in market action worthy of commentary.  However, conversation and observation were nonetheless present, just in a different but perhaps more insightful way. With all the reunions of families these past several days, I found many cases where young adults had migrated home from their new places of work.  I decided that while attending the usual social functions to celebrate the season that I would pay closer attention to what was going on in these young people’s lives.  It was time to engage them for their color on what they see and where we are at the end of 2015.  All the conversations were had with people who are under the age of twenty-eight and mostly single.  This informal and diverse group of men and women all had interesting jobs and views on their futures.  All I had to do was ask one simple question: “what you are up to these days?”.

The first conversation was with a young, twenty-four year old man who is embarking on a career in the business side of music.  He wants to represent songwriters in helping them get their music recorded by “named artists”.  He currently represents three unknown songwriters in Nashville and discussed both dealing with the artist’s passion for their song and the more business end of finding a buyer.  He lives in a world where every song is a potential hit in the hands of the right performer and yet everyone knows the odds are thin.

The next conversation was with a young woman just starting to teach 7th grade English at an all boys prep school.  I asked what the difference was between teaching only boys versus a co-ed class?  “I can’t imagine teaching 7th grade girls, they’re impossible.”  But what about the boys? “Much easier, they don’t have the distractions of the girls.” Of course!

Another conversation surrounded a 4th  year medical school student who had just finished a rotation in the ER at Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta.  To think of this petite blond working on gunshot wounds at Grady is frightening as well as inspiring.

Two budding young real estate professionals live in my home city of Atlanta where so many have made fortunes building and developing.  They enter a year where the skyline is now littered with construction cranes riding yet another boom time in real estate.  Just get these two some capital.

Another woman is a San Francisco-based headhunter searching for talent in the ever-evolving tech community.  She is tooling about town on their newest travel option call SCOOT.  A clean energy, electric charge scooter system that allows members to drive all over the greater San Fran area for $25.00 a month.

There was another medical school student who recently delivered her first child in a hospital in Vidalia, GA.  It’s hard to match the accomplishment of being the first person to touch a new life.

So many conversations and observations from our young adults at the starts of their careers. As we end 2015, the ideas and hopes of this new generation coming is exciting.  These young people were optimistic, engaging, and eager about where they are and what they are doing as we start 2016.  Perhaps we should all look into the future through their eyes as we close this year out.  Happy New Year to each of you.

Carl Gambrell

2015 1228 Numbers

A Surprising Gift for the Woman in Your Life

giftDecember 21, 2015

Holiday shopping this past weekend for the women in my life proved once again to be an eye opening experience. As a caring husband, a devoted son, and the loving father of two daughters, my Christmas shopping is centered on what to get for the four women in my life. So this past week I experienced my one designated shopping day of the year, which has the goal of finding four unique gifts. I grabbed my idea list and got in the car.  At the first traffic light I quickly checked the list only to be painfully reminded that the list was blank. Searching for inspiration, I drove aimlessly before finally being attracted to make a stop – at the Stoddard Gun Range.

Located in a hip Atlanta district, the gun range occupies a converted warehouse space. I often pass by the range as part of one of my favorite short cuts. The main parking lot was packed. As I walked to the front entrance I heard the muffled sound of gun fire. Just like the parking lot outside, the range itself was full. On one side of the loft-like building was every type of rifle and pistol you could imagine (note to self: this is my first stop when the zombie apocalypse strikes). Here a young smartly dressed group of sales people were all in heavy discussion with potential gun buyers. On the other side of the building was an even larger crowd of people all checking in to use the gun lanes for target practice. After about ten seconds of scanning the crowd I suddenly realized that 80% of the people were women, mainly under the age of 35! This was quite contrary to my in-built prejudices that had led me to expect a potentially deadly extension of the “the Man Cave”. It was obvious that most of the women had come with a friend or two to practice shooting their handguns. This demographic, and its interest in being equipped and trained in firearms, is not generally part of our nation’s debates on gun control.

With this many women at the range I knew there must be some female friendly gifts.  I turned myself over to the sales staff for advice on some “non-lethal” gift ideas. The helpful sales woman asked me one question, “Do they have tactical flashlights?” I thought, what is this young woman talking about? Over the next 45 minutes I learned more about flashlights than I thought anyone could know. Small and perfect for a purse, these flashlights produce an incredibly bright source of light that if shined in someone’s eyes can render the person disoriented. Moreover the tactical flashlight can light up a room like no regular flash light ever made. I had found my first holiday gift – and it didn’t even violate the number one rule of shopping, “No Plug in Cord”.

Carl Gambrell