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Cy Cordner

Apr. 12, 2018 1:46 PM ET3 Comments
Scott Galloway profile picture
Scott Galloway

In junior high I was invisible.

In the second grade, I was the only son in a nuclear family where Dad was a vice president for International Telegraph and Telegram (ITT) and Mom was a secretary. We lived in a house overlooking the Pacific in Laguna Niguel. By eighth grade I was the son of a single mother, still a secretary, living in a condo in Westwood. In the third grade, Debbie Brubaker and I were sent to the fifth grade for math and English. By the eighth grade I was failing calculus, and my teacher suggested I be downgraded to Algebra ll.

In fourth grade I made the all-star team as a pitcher and shortstop. By the eighth grade, a growth spurt unaccompanied by weight gain blessed me with the height of a 13-year-old and the coordination and strength of a nine-year-old. I was now at a bigger, integrated school. We had a kid who, in the eighth grade, could dunk. My two best friends’ parents pulled them from Emerson, deciding an integrated school wasn’t right for their kids, and sent them to private schools.

I was maturing from remarkable to remarkably unremarkable. Not excelling at anything, few friends, no real sense of self. Invisible.

My mom’s boyfriend, Randy, lived in Reno and owned a restaurant supplies company. He was rich, or seemed rich. More than that, he was generous and engaged in the well-being of his girlfriend’s son. Randy would spend every other weekend with us. I was always welcome on the trips they took, and he bought me my first nice skateboard, a Bahne. Randy paid the mortgage on our condo in Westwood, which my mom, as a secretary, could not have afforded. He made our lives tangibly better. Randy was also married with a school-age son, but that’s another post.

This article was written by

Scott Galloway profile picture
Scott Galloway is a Professor of Marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing. In 2012, Professor Galloway was named “One of the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors” by Poets & Quants. He is also the founder of Red Envelope and Prophet Brand Strategy. Scott was elected to the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow and has served on the boards of directors of Eddie Bauer (Nasdaq: EBHI), The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), Urban Outfitters, and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He received a B.A. from UCLA and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley.

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