Bernard Madoff: Big Whoop

Good fortune covers a lot. In hard times, when the tide goes out, it's all revealed.

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GL Hoffman
I am of a certain age where I am no longer surprised by much that gets reported. The Siemens bribe scandal? Big whoop. Governor Blagojevich? What, you thought this stuff didn’t happen? Bernie Madoff allegedly swiping $50 billion? Shocking, but am I all breathless? No. Even Minnesota boy Tom Petters, who is accused of ripping off people off to the tune of $3 billion? Surprised me only slightly.

You understand, don’t you, that this kind of thing has happened before? Different players, different amounts, different circumstances. But we've been there.

When times are good and all of us are buying fancy $5 coffee, no one much cares…or notices. Good fortune covers a lot, like a rising tide that covers a littered beach.

But these days, when the tide is going out….we notice it all.

What to do now: Punish the wrong-doers fast and hard. No out-on-bond deals. I can be as forgiving as the next guy, but today the message must be: You do wrong, and you get to make small rocks out of big ones. Visit Jeffrey Skilling (Enron crook) in prison here in southern Minnesota and ask him, “How’s life inside, Jeff?”

What to do next? You know the issues, you tell me.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig. His blog can be found at or at