And now for the dark side of wealth….

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Silicon Valley Murder Mystery: How Drugs And Paranoia Doomed Silk Road

Story by Nick Bilton on Ross Ulbricht in Vanity Fair

Silicon Valley Murder Mystery: How Drugs and Paranoia Doomed Silk Road | Vanity Fair

I. “You’re Sitting in the Big Chair . . .”

Ross Ulbricht had imagined that it might all come down to this one day. That at some point during the prodigious rise of his hot tech start-up he would be obliged to make a terrifyingly ruthless decision. Now, in early 2013, the time had arrived. The question was rather simple: Was he ready to kill someone to protect his billion-dollar company?

The technology business has long purported to change the world and make it a better place. But, in reality, there is a decidedly more cynical underside to all this euphoria. In Silicon Valley, after all, many founders will often do whatever is necessary to protect their creations—whether that means paying a hefty legal settlement to hush the people who helped hatch the idea for their company in the first place (Facebook, Square, Snapchat), callously vanquishing a co-founder (Twitter, Foursquare, Tinder), or remorselessly breaking laws and putting thousands of people out of work (Uber, Airbnb, among hundreds of others). But, for Ulbricht, the price was steeper. In order to save his beloved start-up, the Silk Road, an Amazon-like “everything store” for the Dark Web, he needed to “call on my muscle,” as he put it to one associate. He needed to have a guy whacked.

Read at source:

James Tarmy’s review on a new book: A Look at the Ugly Side of Getting Rich

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Something most private service professionals are used to and comfortable with; working around their employers’ belongings. We don’t blink an eye as we move one expensive handbag onto a shelf only to pick out another for our “lady”.  We keep it all confidential, turn a blind eye to how much it might have cost compared to our salaries but all in all – we are professionals and these are just things.

Read about the new book out – probably something fun to buy yourself just for the heck of it!

Happy reading, FH

Story below: (article link at the end of this paragraph)

A Look At The Ugly Side of Getting Rich

In one photograph, the German-born, Harvard-educated hedge fund manager Florian Homm, who made and lost a personal fortune of more than $800 million, poses in a German brothel that he once co-owned. In another, Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines accused of stealing billions from state coffers, sits in her Manila apartment beneath a gold-framed Picasso. Later on, a 43-year-old Chinese billionaire Huang Qiaoling is pictured walking from his mansion, built as a full-scale replica of the White House, to his chauffeured Mercedes S Class.

In one photograph, the German-born, Harvard-educated hedge fund manager Florian Homm, who made and lost a personal fortune of more than $800 million, poses in a German brothel that he once co-owned. In another, Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines accused of stealing billions from state coffers, sits in her Manila apartment beneath a gold-framed Picasso. Later on, a 43-year-old Chinese billionaire Huang Qiaoling is pictured walking from his mansion, built as a full-scale replica of the White House, to his chauffeured Mercedes S Class.

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XOJET Inc. Feigon Hamilton is honored to introduce Jenn Wyckoff

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Feigon Hamilton is honored to introduce Jenn Wyckoff the newest Aviation Sales Advisor for XOJET. We have known Jenn for many years when she was working as an EA/PA and know that she will be very successful in her new venture. If your employers need a private plane, please take down Jenn’s information:
After 20+ years as an Executive/Personal Assistant to several CEOs/high net worth individuals and 10 years as an XOJET client, I have joined the company as an Aviation Sales Advisor. My extensive private travel background allows me to offer my clients the assurance that I can provide them with the best available options for each of their trips.
XOJET is a TPG portfolio company and the leading on demand charter company in North America. In addition to our fleet of 41 super mid-size aircraft (Challenger 300s and Citation Xs), we have access to over 1,000 additional aircraft (light to heavy jets) via our preferred partners. We do not require long term contracts or high financial commitments to utilize our services. Our clients range from those who fly with us exclusively to those who own their own aircraft or are in fractional ownership programs but supplement their flying with us when the need arises.
I look forward to working with clients of Feigon Hamilton and can be reached directly as noted below.
Jenn Wyckoff
Aviation Sales Advisor
mobile 1.916.621.8942

Article by: Kathy Khalvati – 8 Reason why you didn’t make it past the first interview….

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Article posted by Kathy Khalvati on reasons for not getting invited back for a second interview is based more on corporate style but even in private service you can use this information – see our notes below:

1. Come prepared with success stories, details on how you do your job all based on the job description – you don’t need to know who the client is;

2. Passion is good, too much is uncomfortable – be connected;

3. Passive will work in some cases where the interviewer is uncomfortable with the process. Keeping things respectful and soft will help;

4. Aggressive – NO NO NO, humble is best. Professional and warm. No bragging. Just talk about how you did things and your accomplishments – remember you always did the work for M/M and not yourself;

5. First impression – dress for success please. No frumpy, no glitzy, just conservative – even for cool/hip estates;

6. Long term goals – again, it is all about them so make is *so* in the interview – even if you plan on opening a restaurant or your own business down the line. Today you want a job….;

7. Culture fit – same holds here; formal home or casual home, high tech home or operating by the seat of your pants – match their style. You can always go home and be yourself;

8. Negative attitude – well this should be easy but for some reason candidates forget when they are asked why they left somewhere – they give a blow by blow story of their horrible boss. Please don’t. Always spin a positive story – focus on the work you did and not the players!

Now go out and get that second interview. FH

Read the article at it’s source:


Success Stories – placements that last

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Sipping my coffee this morning, I paused and wondered why some placements work and others don’t.  Over the 20 year of private service staffing, we have had many long term placements where everyone reports in how happy they are – both employer and employee.  Then there are the others…

For some reason it is a bit harder to staff a private home. There are many reasons; no one to train the new hire, grandfathered staff that isn’t helpful or hinders out of fear, too many layers of management where no one is in charge of anything and each hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, or multiple layers of staff where no one can even get any information in fear of compromising the confidentiality agreement, principals whose lives are so busy they can’t spend time with their new hire and basically they are dropped into the shark tank – it is not productive.

After all the time, effort and money you put into finding the right match of attitude, experience and skills – you would think you would want success – but instead you get a rotating door of people that can’t assimilate with the team or comprehend your high standards.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with a household/estate or family office that has demands, they just need to be shared, reminded and not chastised if they are not “picked up” quickly. A good manager will be gentle, kind and appreciative of your efforts but will also share the right way to do something again and again until you do remember. I once read that it takes a human 7 times to learn something new.

Just because they have done the job before, YOUR house/estate is new to them.

No one, even A++/Rock Star candidate/employee can be dropped in a job without an integration period.  The best situation would be if the exiting employee were to train them but even better is if the principal themselves sat down and worked with the new hire for the first few months to get them to understand the flow and needs and systems and where to find everything!!!

Notes to the new employee; be good to yourself, give yourself time to learn.  Make mistakes, learn from them.  Write down everything your boss/employer tells you, take pictures of systems of organization so you can refer back and then write it out again, put it in a binder, read it daily – until you memorize it.

The estate and home will grow and change weekly/monthly/yearly as the family’s life elevates. Be the flexible, open, warm and understanding service provider. That is why you got into this business in the first place – right?

Now let’s go find the job openings where they have someone to train you for success!!



Job Interview Questions to ask a little differently than you might want…

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5 Questions To Avoid Asking On A Job Interview—Unless You Rephrase Them Like This

Now isn’t the time to ask point-blank about the work hours, but here’s how to get a sense of them.

5 Questions To Avoid Asking On A Job Interview—Unless You Rephrase Them Like This

You’re in the middle of a job interview, and after running through your qualifications, now it’s your turn to ask the interviewer about the position. You’ve come prepared. Without hesitation, you launch into a series of questions that you think are well thought-out. There are a handful of things you’re hoping to learn about the company and the role, and you’re pretty sure you’re phrasing your inquiries the right way.

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How Private Service Professionals Should Protect Themselves…

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We like this article and believe that you should stand up for yourself. Our only comments would be to get it in writing and if the employer doesn’t honor what they agreed upon in the first pay period; leave.

Article in the NY Times:

Isabel Escobar is a housecleaner, a board member of the advocacy group Arise Chicago and a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Chicago — For eight years, I worked as a housecleaner for a millionaire who lived in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. I took the bus across town three times a week, often to work in an empty house because my employer was frequently away, traveling for business.

That also meant I got paid only when I saw him — in lump sums, often months apart. At first, I didn’t mind this setup, but soon, months would pass. By the end of 2008, my employer owed me $10,000 — and had stopped returning my calls.

I was frantic. It wasn’t just that these were wages for weeks and weeks of work I’d already done, but I had bills to pay and my son’s tuition at a special high school.

I went over to my employer’s place one day, hoping to confront him, and finally found him home. I asked when I’d get paid what I was owed. He didn’t answer, but instead offered a one-off payment of $1,000 to settle the debt. When I refused that, he told me to leave and, obviously assuming I was undocumented, threatened to have me deported. (In fact, I had legal status as a permanent resident on grounds of political asylum.)

It wasn’t the first time I’d been treated like this. I’d been a housekeeper for more than a decade, after coming to Chicago from Guatemala in 1989 to escape the civil war. In general, the work wasn’t bad, though it was hard on my joints as I got older. I often felt I was learning new things, and I always took pride in maintaining clean and tidy homes for people.

But I soon found out how some employers tried to take advantage of an immigrant with the broken English I spoke at the time. One woman wanted to pay me $60 for two full days of work — after we’d previously agreed on a higher amount. Another employer liked to leave pornographic magazines lying around after I started working for him.

In any regular workplace, this type of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated. But for domestic workers like me, who do their jobs in the privacy of people’s homes, there isn’t much we can do. If we say something, we get fired.

Which is why the Gold Coast millionaire probably thought I would just go away. But he was wrong. I took him to court.

When I filed my wage theft lawsuit, I was shocked to learn how few rights I had under Illinois law. There are about two million domestic workers in the United States — people like me, who clean homes or care for children and seniors. Many of us are minority or immigrant women, and many work for less than minimum wage — either because domestic work is not covered by the federal labor laws or because domestic workers are also excluded from state protections and benefits.

Fighting my lawsuit gradually turned me into an activist, and I began to speak out about my case. The more I did, the more I met other domestic workers who told me their stories; many had suffered worse mistreatment than I had. Taking inspiration from efforts in other states like California and New York to pass laws that protect the rights of domestic workers, we began campaigning for similar legislation in Illinois.

It took awhile, but we won. In August, Illinois became the seventh state to adopt a law to protect our rights, joining Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Hawaii and Connecticut.

Under the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, more than 35,000 housecleaners, nannies and home care workers in Illinois are fully covered by labor and human rights laws for the first time in the state’s history. Whether you’re paid in cash, or are undocumented, as a domestic worker you are now guaranteed a state minimum wage, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, a meal break in every shift and a day of rest each week.

The day of my final court date, my employer met me outside the courtroom and tried to make a final settlement. He raised his offer to $1,500. I said no, out of dignity for myself and for my work. Fortunately, I was vindicated because, a few minutes later, the judge ruled in my favor. But it had taken five long, grinding years to get justice. No one should have to go through that.

That was why the day that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the domestic workers bill into law meant so much to me. Housecleaners and care workers will no longer have to live in the shadows, enduring abusive situations, in Illinois.

Employers will know that our work deserves respect, dignity and protection. And workers will know that the law is on our side.

My job now is to see that every state in the country adopts a bill of rights like Illinois’.