Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
So a few weeks ago word got out that Kris Markovich bounced from Crimson Skateboards, took the team and would launch something new. Now, we could make a lot of easy jokes about his sponsor tattoos, how he rode for Duffs like three times, or the Vegas over/under on how long Given will last, “given” Markovich’s track record as a businessman. (Markovich does seem to have a sense of humor about the whole thing.) But, in Markovich’s defense, his former partner in Crimson, Sam Uisprapassorn, is reportedly a non-skating schlub who used to do marketing for Stereo, so, you know, maybe this one wasn’t Markovich’s fault? I don’t know, I just hear these things.
Whatever the case, I gotta hand it to Markovich for getting back on the skate company horse time and time again, with extremely mixed results, because he’s such a deep veteran at this point. Unlike a lot of his peers who came up around the same time he never really disappeared and he’s pumped out so many video parts, including a few great ones. Plus he punked out Chad Fernandez.
However the first thing I thought of when I heard the Given news was, “who’s putting the money up this time?” I read somewhere that it was going to be entirely financed by Markovich himself, which I guess could be feasible. Are Red Bull and Hurley still paying him? Anyway, if by some chance this company goes south, I thought I’d put together a quick list of venture capitalists and financiers that Markovich could maybe hit up for his next venture.
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: Despite his net worth of $62 billion, which makes him the richest man in the world as of 2008, Buffett still lives in his modest Omaha home and pays himself an annual salary of $100,000. Made a bundle off a stake in Coca-Cola he took in the late ’80s, and he’s big into philanthropy, so a start-up skate company might be up his alley. On the other hand, he’s not a fan of high-risk investments.
Eddie Lampert: Multi-billionaire hedge fund manager who’s earned a reputation as something of a turnaround specialist, Lampert is a member of the secretive Skull and Bones society, items that figure heavily into Markovich’s past graphics. Lampert is also notable for his negotiating tactics–he once talked would-be kidnappers into letting him free, so maybe he could convince Markovich to stick around when they inevitably come to some disagreement. However, Lampert currently has his hands full with the Kmart/Sears merger mess.
Michael Milken: SoCal-born junk-bond impresario of the 1980s who did a couple years in prison for insider trading around the end of that heady decade. But he’s still got a couple billion in his pocket and his gift for packaging high-yield debt and selling it to investors could make him a prime candidate for getting behind a Markovich-headed skate company. On the down side, he looks like a fucking psycho.
Jeffrey Lebowski: Multi-millionaire with a penchant for inner-city philanthropy and tasteful rugs. Known to have a weakness for vanity, linking himself to a skateboard company could be another way of expanding the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers and getting his name out there. Still, the venture would have to be profitable, as the money belongs to the foundation and not to Lebowski himself.
Mr. Slate: Head of the Slate Rock and Gravel Company, Slate is an entrepreneur far ahead of his time, and his foresight of getting into hard assets prior to the present run-up in commodities shows he has an eye for a good long-term investment. That said, if his interactions with Fred and Barney are any indication, he’s a little bit of a slave driver, which generally doesn’t work well when it comes to managing skateboarders.