Tools for MGMT: Episode 121 (Season Finale)

1 + 1 + 1 = 3

Personal news: I have three management clients now. Client #1 deserves the credit for referring me to both Client #2 and Client #3. We love a referral. Client #1 has also discovered this newsletter and booked a time on my Calendly to (presumably) discuss it. A bit ominous, but let’s see what happens….

My name is Ethan. I started this newsletter to regularly send out a few links and musings that I hope other managers will find interesting. Thanks for reading this twenty-first edition and season 1 finale!

How I am thinking about 2021
First, a few words on 2020. I’m grateful to still be in the management business.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I was fortunate in that I was able to rely on a supportive partner, an array of government assistance acronyms (PPP, EIDL, SBA, UI) fed by the money printer, and multiple strokes of really good luck that I had no influence over. TV shows got renewed. Development coffers stayed open. Music streamed. Colleges spent their budgets on Zoom entertainment. Supporting creators directly became mainstream. Business models suddenly died. New ones emerged.

I had a lot of free time to sit and think at home. Three personal lessons I’m going to carry forward into the new year:

  1. focus on sharpening my strengths (solving “life” problems, building trust, resourcefulness) rather than improving my weaknesses (negotiating, managing complex relationships)

  2. keep an open schedule with room for the phone to ring spontaneously, for problems that inevitably arise, and for opportunities that present themselves

  3. keep using cash and avoid using credit to live within my means and create financial buffers

I wish you all a great deal of success in 2021. Let’s keep our family and friends close in this new year, help each other out however we can, and not leave anyone behind. There is more turbulence ahead, but more than enough opportunity to go around.

Ain’t Shit Funny 2021 Recap
This man Joshton Peas is prescient. C̶u̶l̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ Community moves fast. Even so, some manage to stay relevant year after year.

Clubhouse, Megan Thee Stallion, Robinhood, Black Lives Matter, Coronavirus, Zoom, and OnlyFans are a few that jump out to me as having real staying power. Tulum, on the other hand, does not. Two Virgils and Telfar Bags? We’ll have to see.

But looking at his lists from previous years:

  • 2015 had Kanye 2020, Travis Scott, and Podcasts.

  • 2016 had NBA YoungBoy, The Election, and Black Mirror.

  • 2017 had cryptocurrency, SahBabii, and Dave Chapelle.

  • 2018 had Fortnite, Playlists, and Detroit Rap.

  • 2019 had The Cave, Scamming, and TikTok.

All of these things continued to grow (crypto, podcasts, Fortnite, NBA) or become more true (scamming, Black Mirror). And RIP to those lost along the way.


Things that worked well in 2020:

  • sending cold emails to people that I admire

  • partnering with two amazing managers at Grandview

  • joining online communities (Trends, Visualize Value, paid newsletters)

  • leaning into digital art and crypto art

  • starting this newsletter ❤️

Personal Trends in 2020:

  • converting more people to Signal

  • becoming more set in my ways and vocal about disliking dogs

  • Shopify over Amazon… Discord over Slack… iPad over MacBook… HBO Max over everything

  • walking and talking on the phone

  • eating more pad thai and drinking more POG

Things I’m excited about in 2021:

  • surviving the anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine

  • Dave + Dickinson Season 2

  • 100% business meal deduction

  • producing alongside my clients via Parasang

  • visiting friends in Copenhagen en route to the Haribo 101st celebration in Bonn

  • making a whole entire MOVIE and TV show(s)

  • Summer 2021 in NYC

Favorite Bars from Marinate (still on New Music Friday until 2021)

I was on the playground tryna smoke a Camel
You was on the playground snitching—you a Randal
We gon' stomp you out like Mufasa getting trampled


That’s all I’ve got for you, my friends. I’m off to ring in the new year – but here are a few more reads for your weekend ahead: