Lessons Learned: Thom's 'Pablo by the Numbers'

Bambi Francisco Roizen · January 4, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/de

When one sees a book titled “Pablo by the Numbers,” one might expect to open up to pages of cubist artwork. 

Guess again. In this book, there won’t be paintings and sculptures of abstract, geometric forms that reject perspective in favor of ambiguous space.

It’s not because there aren’t a lot of fragmented elements, analyzed, reduced and then reassembled into a new reality. Rather, it’s because the soon-to-be-released novel is about a man, whose life is laid out and relived in multiple chapters in order to bring fresh perspective to his once ambiguous state.

"I left under a little bit of a thunder cloud and settled my debt to financial society,” said the author, Thom Calandra, in an interview with me. Thom is finishing up a thinly-veiled memoir that draws on his life during the Web 1.0 heydays, lessons he learned and revelations about himself. 

“Let’s just say I believed my own beeswax,” he said, as he recalled the days when his investment columns drew millions of readers, and his speaking engagements attracted a standing-room audience. “When you reach that point and become full of yourself, there’s no room inside yourself for anything or anyone else,” he added. Unfortunately or fortunately, thinking too highly of oneself has consequences. Thom, who was the founding editor of MarketWatch, resigned in 2004 amid an SEC probe into his trading activities. A year later, Thom settled civil fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In his novel, Thom is Robbie, a successful and high-flying writer whose scribbles of stock tickers were considered priceless. Therein lies the reference to Picasso. Someone once said: “After Picasso had earned eternal fame, the artist found he could scrawl drawings, using a pencil, strokes of lipstick on a tablecloth, or charcoal across a torn paper bag, in return for meals… and other favors.”

However charmed his life is, Robbie is heading for damnation. It’s this rocky road to hell that Thom relives and recaptures. (To see Thom's pitch of his book and writings, click here.)

“There’s something to be said about that world of stock promotion and financial markets,” he said. “This melt up, melting up of financial assets to the point where almost no human being can resist dipping their hand in the pot.”

I met Thom back in 1999. At the time, he was a prolific commentator, correspondent, and workaholic. I know this well as he hired me to become Internet editor at MarketWatch.  Today, Thom has returned to his roots – writing and commenting about stocks, while at the same time writing his novel. Four excerpts of the novel can be found on ThomCalandra.com. For more on Thom, check out our interview. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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