Social Scene: Schwarzman Reminds Us How Poor We Are, DePonte Talks Snakes, Rich British Entrepreneur Goes Gun Crazy, More

In this week’s Social Scene, buyout bigshot Steve Schwarzman shows yet again that he has way more money than you and me combined, VC Naval Ravikant gets the old “I left the code at home” excuse, a rich British entrepreneur goes gun crazy, and Skype investor Morten Lund is a year older today.

Have a personal tidbit you’d like to share about yourself or a friend/colleague? Email me at I’m looking for birthdays, baby announcements, marriages, new car/boat/house/fill-in-the-blank purchases, funny quotes, vacation pics, snaps from industry events — you get the picture.


Buddy, can you spare a hundred million? If you can, you, too, can get a famous building named after you. My colleague David Toll, editor in charge of Buyouts magazine, reports from the New York Public Library’s new Stephen A. Schwarzman Building:

Stephen A. Schwarzman, who hasn’t always been treated kindly by the New York media, should be picking up some positive press this spring as the New York Public Library, where he’s a trustee, gears up for its 100th anniversary celebration on May 23.

The chairman, CEO and co-founder of buyout behemoth The Blackstone Group made a $100 million donation to the library in 2008. In gratitude. the trustees named the main building after Schwarzman (yes, the one with the lions sitting guard out front), and as a result it’s hard to imagine that he will be overlooked amid the centennial hoopla.

As the accompanying pictures show, Schwarzman has his name carved into the marble façade, gets a call-out from the trustees inscribed in a circular tribute on the floor of the portico, and his name appears prominently in posters celebrating the 100th anniversary. (And, is it my imagination, or does the statue out front now bear a striking resemblance to one Stephen A. Schwarzman? OK, it’s my imagination.)

When I visited the library today, workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on a three-year, $50 million restoration. Work continued on the marble steps, where large portions had been removed, revealing brick and masonry beneath.

I look forward to visiting the Stephen A. Schwarzman building when it’s all finished, and saying, to whoever will listen—“Hey, I know Stephen Schwarzman! He was on a panel I moderated once!”

Can you keep it down? I’m trying to read over here… For those who’d like to get a peek inside the Schwarzman building — but don’t live in New York — tune into ‘Live From the Artists Den’ on PBS tonight (April 1). The TV station is scheduled to air a performance by Elvis Costello, who rocked the Schwarzman building for a “small audience” last November. Wouldn’t it be great if Schwarzman joined him for a duet of Welcome to the Working Week?








–> Reason to be worried? Alex Taussig (@ataussig), principal at Highland Capital Partners: “What happens when we run out of cute animal mascots for startups to use in their logos? Utter chaos.”

–> About that cobra…  Kelly DePonte (@probitaspartner), partner at Probitas Partners: “@casacks Found snake is an imposter. True Cobra still roams free.”

–> Really high on iPad… Josh Felser (@Joshmedia), co-founder of Freestyle Capital: “I am chatting like a sonofabitch at 38k ft on my iPad on my new favorite app IM+. Using #gchat but supports all the majors”

–> Nana’s boy… Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc), principal at First Round Capital: “The good thing about taking your 93 year old Nana to dinner on a Saturday is that you can do it at times other people consider lunch.”

–> The waiting is the hardest part… Lisa Suennen (@VentureValkyrie), founding partner of venture firm Psilos Group Managers: “The real reason women lag behind men career-wise: we spend half our life in rest room lines.”

–> Have you heard this one? Naval Ravikant (@naval), managing partner of VC firm Hit Forge and co-founder of AngelList: “First time I’ve ever heard this excuse – ‘I left the code at home’ – @joshuaxls at @angellist world HQ.”

–> Challenges of being a parent… Doug Bernstein (@DougBernstein), founder of Bernstein Law Group and general counsel to First Round Capital: “At ‘puberty’ class with my son. On bright side, I can say ‘penis’ w/out retribution.’








Here’s your weekly report on the super rich, brought to you by my colleague Connie Loizos. Got a tip? Email

By now, most industry watchers have heard that Russian investor Yuri Milner has shelled out a reported $100 million for a 25,000-square-foot, 11-acre 18th century-style French chateau in Los Altos Hills. Cozy it isn’t.

Billionaire Meg Whitman is heading to Kleiner Perkins to work as a “strategic advisor” to its startups, making it increasingly appear that KP is determined to become the “Fox and Friends” of the venture industry. I don’t think we’re alone in feeling underwhelmed by the appointment, especially following the spectacular failure of Whitman’s most recent endeavor: her largely self-financed gubernatorial campaign, which burned through $160 million in the span of 22 months.

According to a new memoir, Bill Gates is a self-dealing bully, says billionaire Paul Allen, who became one of the richest people in the world by co-founding Microsoft with Gates, and who has more recently become a sports-team-owning patent troll. “While my recollection of many of these events may differ from Paul’s, I value his friendship and the important contributions he made to the world of technology and at Microsoft,” Gates said in a written statement given to the Wall Street Journal.

In news that some of us might relate to: Peter Shalson — who is not a billionaire but is considered to be one of Britain’s richest entrepreneurs — was spared jail time this week after twice shooting bullets at a neighbor’s screeching burglar alarm system. His attorneys told the court that he was “not well” at the time of the shooting and that the noise drove him “to distraction.” Shalson was given 200 hours of community work. His neighbor has since moved away.







–> Morten Lund, seed investor in Skype and founder of angel investment firm and incubator LundXY – Global Ventures. (Sunday, April 3.)

Ruth E. Hedges, CEO of business plan website (Tuesday, April 5.)

Lucy P. Marcus, founder and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting Ltd. and chair of Mobius Life Sciences Fund. (Friday, April 8.)

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