Russ Wasendorf has already put together his next project. We’re talking about Jr., of course. He’s trying to get back on his feet while the old man sits in jail, having launched what looks to be an eBay/Craigslist fusion to help people sell their old stuff to one another.
Having evidently decided that Cedar Falls holds too many bad memories (and really, who could blame him?), Russ Jr. has relocated to Orlando and launched “Orange Tree Deals.” And he has some truly edifying thoughts about the role of trust in a marketplace, as well as the dangers of counterparty risk:
Upon arriving to Florida I was looking to start my own business. I had experience in technology and more importantly I had 25 years of experience in the financial markets. I understood the basics of a market place were transparency and creating a centralized location for people to meet. Finally the most important component was trust. In market terminology it is called counterparty risk which just means the risk the person on the other side of a deal either as the buyer or seller would not deliver goods in the quality promised in the manner promised or that the buyer would not pay with good funds the amount promised. This risk was diminished by creating a membership where only buyers and sellers that were known to each other could exchange goods for money. They met face to face and knew each other. It was very much like a community. A neighborhood.
With all that’s happened in the last 9 months, we’d say Russ Jr. has a pretty good idea about what counterparty risk means. Considering his firsthand experience, the above is a little much even for us, but we’re trying very hard to reserve judgment. (As long as the Feds keep saying there’s no evidence Jr. knew about his father’s misdeeds, we’ll take him at his word. But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t still rooting for the plaintiffs in the civil case against him.)
And as for his new e-commerce gig, we truly wish him the best of luck. In fact, we’re knocking on wood, donning our lucky rabbit’s foot, and hanging up some horseshoes in his honor. We’re hoping that Orange Tree Deals will take off and become the next big dot-com success story. Hopefully they’ll wind up getting a 100 million IPO or so… and then the proceeds can go to paying PFG clients back the money that was stolen.