Posted by Mark DiSalvo on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 @ 1:45PM
I think I was subscriber number 293 – certainly somewhere under one thousand. That got me the privilege of sharing a Dim Sum meal in Boston’s Chinatown with the curly haired, lightening talking, quick-fire questioning editor of what was then known as PE Week Wire. In those days Dan Primack would meet with anyone. Witness his suffering me gnawing on Fung Zao (chicken feet steamed in black bean sauce—don’t knock it till you try it) and learning that the young scribe was a former political activist, community newspaper reporter and editor as well as failed federal level campaign manager. I kept thinking to myself “he’s just like me (politically) except with hair and actually is able to write – and he really does speak intelligently about the fund business”. It was odd that we both started our careers in politics for it was abundantly clear, in my case anyway and I’ll bet Dan’s, that early in our community oriented activism that neither of us could spell PE.
Dan has not since shared a meal with me (showing excellent judgment) but has offered countless insights on our business sector spiced with an open and undeniably irreverent style. It seems his corporate overlords, as he respectfully touted his employer, could look past bald political opinion, an undeserved mistrust in the initial coaching abilities of Doc Rivers, a penchant to encourage nationwide betting on college basketball and a desire to increase his own subscribers’ income taxes. He also shared, in a disarmingly intimate manner, absolute love for his wife Jen along with the tests of that affection including a grueling trek up Machu Picchu, frequent trips away from home in the “trusty” (read “death trap”) old Pontiac – and now the blessings of soon-to-be fatherhood.
I learned to appreciate the aggregation of content, saw the business blogosphere grow up in front of me, witnessed the creation and explosion of the peHUB brand, the wisdom of contrarian thought, and most particularly appreciated the daily news that would occasionally set up an insight or future knowledge base that would occasionally get me a gig. The day just plain required that 10am Primack fix.
Dan’s announcement begs the many questions of an ever curious investor. What prompts a founder’s departure? Was there a fatal flaw in whatever the relationship/agreement was with Thompson Reuters? Was he pushed because of cost cutting? Did he jump for better security and/or more cash? Is this next gig an entrepreneurial adventure (and did I miss the opportunity to participate!)? What can I learn from his experience to cement my own portfolio relationships? I suspect we will yet learn the answers to those queries as Dan himself will be as revelatory as one could expect and present his own valedictory.
This fund manager and advisor will continue to be a reader of peHUB and hopes its next editor will bring the same irreverence and a unique perspective to the marketplace. The entire Semaphore team and I wish Dan Primack all good fortune(.com).
Mark S. DiSalvo is the President and CEO of Sema4 Inc., dba Semaphore (www.sema4usa.com), a leading global professional services provider of Private Equity funds-under-management and technology diligence services. Semaphore currently holds fiduciary obligations as General Partner for seven Private Equity and Venture Capital funds, a New Markets Tax Credit lender and advises General and Limited Partners as well as corporations around the world. Semaphore’s corporate offices are in Boston with principal offices in New York and London.