Culture Jammin’: Bono fails at something

I don’t know why I hate Bono so much. I know I’ve done so for a long time, probably before the disliking-Bono bandwagon became quite as large as it is now. I imagine has something to do with never really liking U2’s music despite growing up in a largely U2-loving Irish-Catholic town then going to a largely U2-loving Irish-Catholic university, plus always being rubbed the wrong way by a man who calls himself only “Bono” carrying on like he’s Mother Theresa all the time.

Not to begrudge the humanitarianism, of course but seriously, “Bono” and “The Edge”? Were you in fifth grade when you started this band? Seriously?

Anyway, today there’s this:

U2 singer Bono’s investments into Elevation Partners, which has offices in New York and Menlo Park, have helped make him the “worst investor in America,” according to the online publication 24/7 Wall Street.

With large investments in Palm, Forbes, and Move.com — “an unprecedented string of disastrous investments which even bad luck could not explain” — Elevation Partners has earned the distinction of being “arguably the worst run institutional fund of any size in the United States,” 24/7 Wall Street asserts.

“An unprecedented string of disastrous investments which even bad luck could not explain.” I love that.

It’s messed up, because I realize that Bono and his investment group losing money probably means Bono has less money to give to charity, and so probably ultimately takes food right out of the mouths of starving African children. And still — granted, I’ve never said I’m not a terrible person — I can’t help but smile when I read that Bono is failing at something.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been to the Elevation Partners website and read their “Two Ways to Win” approach. (To be fair, I don’t read a lot of mission statements on investment-firm websites and I imagine a lot of them read like they were written by underpants gnomes.)

Second Way to Win
• New licencing
• New distribution channels
• New geographies
• New business models

First Way to Win
• Improved marketing and
distribution economics
• Enhanced operational efficiencies
• Better alignment of
management incentives

Why does the Second Way to Win come before the First Way to Win? Don’t you dare ask Bono questions.

Basically, from poking around the Elevation Partners website, it sure sounds a hell of a lot like their strategy is to identify businesses they thing stand to make money, partner with them, then have Bono give them advice, apparently in all sorts of hilarious business jargon.

And so maybe that sheds some light on the “even bad luck could not explain” part. Maybe Bono’s business advice is just that bad.

9 thoughts on “Culture Jammin’: Bono fails at something

  1. I work in this industy and i doubt Bono really does all that much. I don’t know much about elevation partners but by looking at thier website they look to be led by people with some reputable backgrounds at least.

    It’s actually pretty common for these types of investment funds to link up with a celebrity to help launch the funds, and recruit investors. Steve young is affiliated with a group of funds this way, as are slot of other ex athletes. They are like token parters just to make people want to invest.

  2. I guess the company still hasn’t found what they’re looking for.

    But in seriousness, I read a new interview with Henry Rollins the other day. Rollins was talking about faux humanitarians and the interviewer mentioned Bono, I think assuming Rollins would take a shot at him. But Rollins said he likes and respects Bono. Very disappointing.

  3. That’s disappointing, considering some of Rollins’ old rants about how much he hates Bono and U2 (“The Boxed Life” has a great one and there’s a really old spoken word about him beating up Bono and stealing his hat), but I guess it’s to be expected:
    http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Artists/R/Rollins_Band/2003/01/08/749329.html

    That’s from 2003. Personally, I hate Bono because, if he cared so much about third world countries, he wouldn’t waste so much of his own money on his very expensive clothes and sunglasses (seriously, his sunglasses are like $1,000+ a pair and he seems to have a million pair).

  4. you shouldnt judje a person like that, because of their bad investments or because they dont sing songs you dont like. Bono has done so much humanitariain work. It’s not just a petty little donation effort. its huge. he has done so much for africa especially, he and data has cancelled billions of dollars of debts towards africa from europe, the u.k and even america. he has done much more. Oh and he has suffered alot more than any of you will- his mother died when he was only 14 and the band, U2 is one of the most successeful irish bands ever. i’m no bono freak or anything- i had to study his life for school- but if you really looked into him, you would realise he is not trying to be mother teresa! all because he’s a rock star, you think he’s doing this for fun! for publicity! for the sake of it! it’s more than that.

    dont be that judgemental! i no i sound weird and a freak right now but its true.

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