A high-pitched squeal suddenly rips the air, the sound of a great expanse of sheet metal being shredded. Has something gone terribly wrong? We’re passengers inside a factory-fresh JetBlue aircraft, cruising a mere 2,000 feet over the skyline of Manhattan. Heads swivel in frantic surprise. Then, in a moment, the piercing howl gives way to the molar-rattling rumble of a Learjet that has just passed overhead, eerily close to the thin aluminum skin of our Airbus A320.
The Learjet tailing the Airbus at such close range is carrying a camera crew working for the same company that shot aviation footage for Top Gun. Today, they are charged with filming some soaring, lyrical, over-the-skyline snippets to advertise JetBlue, perhaps the most ambitious low-cost start-up since Dallas-based Southwest made its debut in 1971 – and the most self-consciously cool, ever.
This is JetBlue’s maiden voyage; the A320 arrived from the factory in Toulouse, France, just six days ago and has logged only ten hours of flight time. In the cabin, a small Sprite-fueled frat party hosted by JetBlue’s boyish 40-year-old chairman, David Neeleman, is in progress. A dozen friends, lieutenants, and well-heeled investors are pawing through bag lunches and scanning the horizon for the Learjet as if they were ball-turret gunners on a B-17 looking for Messerschmitts (“Over there! Two o’clock!“).
The Airbus is creeping up the Hudson River at about one fifteenth the normal cruising altitude – low enough to feel like a $400-an-hour helicopter tour of Manhattan. “I was trying to get the pilot to buzz underneath the Verrazano bridge,” jokes Neeleman, a seventh-generation Mormon who moved here from Salt Lake City just a few months ago and is viewed by many as the brightest star rising in the airline business. But in person, Neeleman seems as eager and gangly as a suburban paperboy, pacing the empty aisles when he’s not gesticulating wildly with a gigantic submarine sandwich and tossing off quotations from Airplane! (“What’s your vector, Victor?”). He could be a 17-year-old raiding the fridge after a late night out with the guys. Moments later, Neeleman is cupping a cell phone to his ear, pretending to place a call. “I just want to see if this thing really does throw off the navigation system,” he deadpans.
“If this whole thing isn’t an airline, at least it’s a sitcom,” cracks one JetBlue employee.
When the director needs the Airbus to dip into the orangy sunset, it dips. When he needs it to climb toward the wispy, cirrus-streaked heavens, it climbs. Just north of Washington Heights, the Airbus lists a steep 40 degrees, a maneuver that a commercial jetliner just doesn’t seem built to do. As the plane swoons, there are gasps all around. Neeleman assumes a surfer’s crouch in the aisle, arms outstretched and teetering as he finds his balance. The Airbus levels out over New Jersey’s Palisades, and Neeleman smiles the broad, unabashed smile of a young man who is very happy to be riding the wave he’s on.
In view of the vast quantity of cash and ambition that has been invested in its launch, analysts are calling JetBlue “the mother of all start-up airlines.” On February 11, the Kennedy-based airline will flutter to life with an enormous market capitalization – $130 million – shattering the previous high achieved by National Airlines, founded in Las Vegas in 1998 with a $50 million stake put up by two casino companies. George Soros’s Quantum Fund has kicked in $40 million; Weston Presidio Capital, the private investment fund that manages, among other things, a portion of Harvard University’s endowment, has thrown in $30 million. Chase Capital is on the hook for $20 million.
Just one week after the phones opened, JetBlue was already reporting more than $1 million in ticket sales for flights to Buffalo and Fort Lauderdale. By the end of the year, JetBlue, now headquartered in Kew Gardens, will have expanded its routes to nine other cities, including Tampa, Rochester, Syracuse, and Burlington, Vermont. Eventually, the airline will serve as many as 44 cities, including red-eyes to the West Coast.
Last-minute business travelers looking to keep their costs down no longer have to shuttle off to MacArthur Airport in Islip, Southwest’s tri-state toehold; on JetBlue, they’ll be paying up to 65 percent less than the average fare charged by the majors. Traveling at midweek, a round-trip flight from New York City to Buffalo on American currently costs $252, with a Saturday stay-over. On democratic, wholly economy-class JetBlue, the round trip would be $98 – no stay-over required.
Low fares will not be the only bait: JetBlue will be the first-ever budget domestic airline to launch with a fleet of brand-new aircraft, all 25 of them 162-seat Airbus A320s, all furnished entirely with cushy leather seats fitted with television monitors. JetBlue will be the first airline in the world to offer every passenger live TV – 24 channels of DirectTV’s satellite menu, from CNN to ESPN to Animal Planet.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about this New Yorkiest of airlines is that it will be as urbane as a Stoli cosmopolitan. At JetBlue’s new home, in TWA’s old domestic terminal, the gates will be tricked out like a Greene Street loft, with retro-hip tufted banquettes, brushed-steel lamps, and walls covered with framed old LP covers from the hi-fi years, like Elvis’s Blue Hawaii. JetBlue is promising play areas for the kids, strewn with Barbie dollhouses and rigged with pint-size plastic basketball hoops. Tongue-in-cheek destination clocks near the gate, labeled BUFFALO, NEW YORK CITY, and FT. LAUDERDALE, will all show the same time, of course.
Even the Buffalo-bound passengers won’t be leaving the cocoon of cool once they board. JetBlue flight attendants will wear outfits that look like they walked straight off a different sort of runway: Neeleman has hired Stan Herman, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, to work up midnight-blue, Prada-esque uniforms – that is, when Herman’s not designing some spiffier outfits for Amtrak and McDonald’s (his other gigs at the moment). The burly ground crew will wear silver bomber jackets and cargo pants that wouldn’t seem out of place at the Mercer Kitchen. “What you want to do is catch the perfume of an airline,” says Herman.
JetBlue is turning out to be something of a laboratory experiment in contemporary branding. “So many new entrants have come and gone based on ‘We’re going to have low fares, and that’s going to be it,’ ” says Gareth Edmondson-Jones, one of three key marketing executives hired by JetBlue to develop its identity. “Low fares will get them on, but you’ve got to enjoy it, especially in the New York market. Look at Starbucks. We’re built on the same principle: Brands these days get emotional commitment, not just financial commitment. What you buy says something about you. You buy it because you like that badge.”
He beams proudly.
“We’re going to be the Starbucks of the sky.”
Neeleman does have the same aggressively expansionist tendencies of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, and he certainly shares Schultz’s bottomless energy, bouncing from place to place like a stray electron. But Neeleman can also come off a bit distant, a touch self-absorbed: Try to engage him in conversation, and you know he’s not going to loan you his attention for long.
Neeleman “has a definite Silicon Valley style,” says one analyst, “creating the same pre-IPO buzz you get at a dot-com.”
On the flight, Neeleman briefly lands in one of the many empty aisle seats and offers up an unexpected story:
“My neighbor called me the other day and she said, ‘You have an interesting little boy.’ Turns out, the other day, she asked my son Daniel what he wanted for Christmas. And he said, ‘I want some stock.’
” ‘Stock?’ she said. ‘Don’t you want video games or anything?’ ‘Nope. I just want stock. JetBlue stock,’ he told her.” Neeleman laughs proudly – never mind that JetBlue is several thousand miles away from the IPO stage.
Neeleman was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1960, the son of United Press International’s bureau chief. The family returned to Utah when he was 5. Neeleman was a handful, clearly bright but a window-gazer who constantly fell behind on his lessons. His third-grade teacher told his mother that he could be “tremendously successful when he grows up – if he hires himself an assistant.”
The problems followed him to the University of Utah, where he eventually dropped out and went back to Brazil as a Mormon missionary. To this day, Neeleman is observant, but not doctrinaire: JetBlue does serve liquor, and Neeleman bristles slightly when polygamy comes up in conversation – he thinks it makes the Latter-Day Saints seem a bit kooky. Neeleman will drink Coca-Cola and use mild profanity, tossing off phrases like “bullcrap” and “swinging dicks,” even if they do catch in his throat a bit.
In 1984, Neeleman interviewed for a job with an ambitious Salt Lake City travel agent named June Morris. He was a college dropout and most recently had failed to get a travel agency of his own off the ground. Still, plainspoken Morris was drawn to the 24-year-old effervescing with ideas, hiring him to help thriving Morris Travel expand its leisure-travel arm. “When he walked into a room, the energy level went up,” Morris recalls.
It wasn’t long before Neeleman had sold Morris on the idea of starting a charter airline: Morris’s operation would buy seats in bulk on charters to Hawaii and Mexico, then fill them by offering discount packages. The gamble paid off: The charter business was soon spun off into a more traditional low-cost airline, and by 1993, Morris Air was a highly respected low-cost competitor to Southwest, serving 22 cities, from Spokane to Atlanta. Neeleman’s penchant for technological innovation quickly became apparent: In 1993, he introduced electronic ticketing to the airline industry.
Like Southwest before it, Morris Air successfully targeted the baseball-capped Wal-Mart demographic that rarely flew anywhere but could be lured off a Greyhound if the price was right. Morris Air filled planes to a much greater capacity than most airlines and cut costs everywhere possible – issuing reusable plastic boarding passes, for example.
There was much cause for celebration during those Cinderella years. “Whenever we had a bit of good news, David would jump up and touch the ceiling,” recalls Morris, now retired. “In fact, I’ve always told him I was going to blackmail him one day about this: We hired a ballet instructor to teach David and three other executives a dance from Swan Lake to perform at the office Christmas party one year.” Neeleman happily threw on a tutu. “He was very enthusiastic, jumping and doing his pirouettes – he could really do those dances,” Morris says, laughing.
During the recession-wracked early nineties, Morris Air and Southwest were the only two airlines in the country still pulling a profit. Their marriage was inevitable, at least in the eyes of Southwest, who didn’t welcome competition west of the Mississippi. After the $129 million sale, Neeleman – whose personal payout was $20 million – stayed on. But it wasn’t a perfect fit, and not just because Neeleman was cast as the geeky straight man to Southwest’s founder, Wild Turkey-sipping, five-pack-a-day-smoking Herb Kelleher.
“They basically wanted me to sit there and listen for two years,” Neeleman says petulantly, “and I was always blurting, Why would you want to do it that way?”
Neeleman left Southwest after five months to help launch a variety of businesses, including Open Skies, which sold his e-ticket technology to other airlines. (Hewlett-Packard bought Open Skies last year.) Neeleman also co-founded a small, low-cost Calgary-based carrier in Canada called WestJet, which is still in operation – and profitable.
It was during his rocky tenure at Southwest, however, that Neeleman had an epiphany. His youngest brother, Mark, was smoking marijuana and having problems in high school. Mark was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder, a neurological syndrome characterized by restlessness, hyperactivity, and the tendency to court high-risk situations. Neeleman couldn’t help but notice the symptoms of ADD applied every bit as easily to himself. “But I think it’s a gift, really,” he says now. “I’ve seen estimates that as many as 50 percent of all CEOs have ADD: You have no tolerance for boredom. When you find something you love, you apply 100 percent of your attention to it. But if you don’t have that thing you love to focus on, you can’t focus on anything. You just bounce around, and you’re kind of miserable. That’s the downside. My wife is always saying, ‘Why do you leave your socks all over the bedroom every single night, everywhere but where they’re supposed to go?’ And I’m like, ‘Do I do that?’ “
Still, Neeleman admits that his self-diagnosed condition really does make life more difficult: “It’s hard to do the mundane things in life. I have an easier time planning a twenty-aircraft fleet than I do paying the light bill.”
Last July, Neeleman announced to his wife, Vicki, that they would be moving from their lifelong home in Utah to New Canaan, Connecticut. The Kennedy-size platoon of Neelemans – their nine kids range in age from Isabel at 7 months to 18-year-old Ashley – has since taken residence in a 12,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom colonial. “If this whole thing is not an airline, it’s at least a sitcom,” cracks one Neeleman employee.
Neeleman had been looking for a project as big as his imagination; he’d actually been knocking around the JetBlue idea for six years.
Since the days of the propeller-driven Lockheed Constellation, there has been a definite “type” routinely drafted to manage American airline companies – the fiftysomething former Air Force jock with growing-out crewcut and a taciturn unflappability. It was in the seventies and eighties that an anti-type – best represented by ultrashrewd British harlequins Freddie Laker and Richard Branson – soon emerged to represent this business’s “plucky start-up.”
Neeleman carries himself with the easy assurance of someone who’s had his hand on the joystick for a lot longer than he actually has. He may have a head of prematurely silver hair, but there’s also the suntanned, khaki-clad cockiness and hyperlinking mind that sends venture capitalists into a tizzy these days. Neeleman “has a definite Silicon Valley style,” says Stuart Klaskin, “creating an aura of legitimacy around a business with a great idea that isn’t particularly well established right now. They’re doing a fantastic job at JetBlue creating the same pre-IPO buzz you get at a dot-com.”
“This is an industry where the failure rate is very high for new entrants,” adds Patrick Murphy, the former Department of Transportation assistant secretary who granted JetBlue space at Kennedy. “I keep a book on my coffee table called Deregulation Knockouts, about 82 airlines which came and went in the first ten years of deregulation – people like New York Air and Air Florida.”
Most start-ups tend to begin life with big ambitions, inexperienced management, and a small fleet of aging planes. More often than not, they don’t have the cash to stay in the game long enough and survive.
But this is no half-baked sequel to People Express, the cattle-car carrier famous for proletarian airfares and equally proletarian service. JetBlue will essentially be wheeling onto the tarmac as the Southwest of the Northeast. Like Southwest, JetBlue is flying new planes of a single aircraft type and will be trying to keep more of its planes in the air for more hours every day than traditional airlines manage to. And like Southwest, JetBlue could care less about Saturday stay-overs. A dream team of managers includes president Dave Barger, an ex-Continental executive, and chief financial officer John Owen, late of Southwest.
“Let’s put it this way,” Murphy says. “Southwest Airlines has been the most successful airline in the country over the last twenty years. JetBlue has observed Southwest very carefully.”
But JetBlue hopes to do it better, at least in New York. Southwest tends to fly out of secondary airports, like MacArthur on Long Island. JetBlue has landed Kennedy, the equivalent of playing Yankee Stadium. Of course, other low-fare carriers, like Tower Air, call JFK home. But Tower focuses on a few long-haul destinations: Los Angeles, Miami, Paris. Until JetBlue, there was no low-fare airline whose focus would be the whole of New York state and the greater East Coast.
JetBlue will exploit the same trends in air travel that have given rise to as many as ten other new low-cost carriers around the country – mostly tiny prairie-jumpers like Minneapolis-headquartered Sun Country Airlines. A striking 30 percent of Americans who flew last year booked their tickets on low-cost carriers. But until now, the cheapo-air-travel boom had left the New York area cold. People Express died in 1987, a victim of its own 747-size ambitions to grow into a major international carrier. A few months ago, the feel-good story that was Kiwi Airlines – founded at Newark airport by a legion of downsized airline employees – collapsed amid allegations of safety violations and mismanagement.
All the competition from pesky little short-hop airlines has forced the big airlines to keep up with bare-bones carriers of their own, like US Airways’ MetroJet or Delta Express. Problem is, these no-frill planes are “creating a whole new class of disenfranchised frequent travelers,” says airline consultant Stuart Klaskin, of Miami-based Klaskin, Kushner & Co. “Business travelers who can’t afford to travel in the front of the plane resent getting stuck in the back in extreme economy class. JetBlue will appeal to this traveler.”
High fares have also had a predictably dampening effect here. At one point in the middle Reagan years, the three New York-area airports accounted for nearly 10 percent of the total domestic “enplanement” (airline-ese for boarding a commercial plane). Today, they account for a little more than 5 percent – this at a time when domestic air travel in general has rocketed by more than 250 million passengers annually since 1984.
“I’ll help you get slots at Kennedy,” said Chuck Schumer, “but only if you fly to upstate New York.”
Senator Charles Schumer says the issue of airfare-gouging repeatedly cropped up on last year’s campaign trail. “I was looking at why upstate New York was not gaining jobs the way the rest of America was,” Schumer says. “After interviewing companies and people all over, I found that miserable air service was one of the reasons. I saw it myself: When you run for office, you have to fly to Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany. You call up, and they charge an outlandish fee for a round-trip ticket. You’d think by paying $600 or $700 for a ticket, you’d be getting a beautiful plane, a beautiful seat. Instead, you’d get to the airport, and you were at the tail end of some terminal. Then, they made you walk downstairs onto the tarmac to a little propeller plane. On a nice day, they gave you peanuts.”
The problem, Schumer says, dates back to 1978, when the federal government deregulated the airline industry, making it easier for start-ups to take on the big boys.
“Four airports were exempted from deregulation: the two New York City airports, O’Hare in Chicago, and National in Washington, D.C.,” Schumer says. “No discount airline was going to fly in a major way unless they could fly into one of those major airports.”
What an entrepreneur like Neeleman needed was someone who would help him break the majors’ stranglehold at the local airports and get him a fair share of “slots” – the crucial federal takeoff and landing approvals. “Three weeks after I won the Senate race, one of the first meetings I had was with David,” Schumer recalls. “Immediately I said, ‘This guy can do it. He’s for real.’ Basically, at that breakfast, I said, I’ll help you get slots at Kennedy, but only if you fly to upstate New York.”
And so on February 17, JetBlue will make its first flight upstate, to Buffalo. In Neeleman’s eyes, New York is a yawning chasm of opportunity. “It’s No. 1 in retail sales,” says Neeleman. “You have this large population that makes a lot of money per capita, and everyone in New York would like to get out. At the same time, everyone outside New York would like to come in. It’s truly the nirvana of all markets.”
The Internet-age vibe that Neeleman exudes goes beyond his casual-Friday wardrobe. The same way Amazon’s Jeff Bezos undercuts established bookstores by cutting out brick-and-mortar costs, Neeleman will undercut the biggies.
His decision to buy brand-new aircraft is just efficiency in disguise: A classic low-cost carrier like AirTran (known as ValuJet before the 1996 Florida Everglades crash) initially saved money by purchasing used DC-9s and 737s discarded by Delta and others. “But old planes are unreliable,” says Neeleman, “and when they break down, you have to put all those passengers on another flight or airline. From a strictly dollars-and-cents perspective, it’s cheaper to fly brand-new airplanes.”
Leather seats cost twice as much, “but they last twice as long,” says Neeleman. Flight attendants – not hired custodians – will clean the planes between flights. Recently, JetBlue advertised for flight attendants in the classified section of the Village Voice. “We’ve always said that we hope to get most of our front-line people out of college or out of some other industry,” Neeleman says. “We want all the people who went to school at, say, Tulane – who want to spend a couple of years in Manhattan, enjoy it, then go on to their next career or whatever. Career flight attendants aren’t necessarily what we’re after.” (Of course, career flight attendants tend to ask for a lot more pay than kids straight out of Tulane.)
To save on staffing, the airline will provide a host of incentives – perhaps a waived fee for the TV service – to prompt more passengers to use the Website for ticketing and the automated toll-free number. In its first week of reservations, Neeleman says, JetBlue was booking 20 percent of its tickets electronically, more than twice the standard rate for most airlines.
Neeleman insists that none of his little “efficiency squeezes” (as management-consultants say) will be obvious. “If people are enjoying their airline experience, they’re going to come back,” he says. “If they want more chips, more soda, give it to them! Give them the whole can! It’s only a few cents’ difference.”
JetBlue will have kiosks at the ticket counter where you will actually choose your seat yourself via touch-screen computer. Eventually, JetBlue’s computers will even help you check your bags, asking if you packed them yourself. “When was the last time you went to a bank teller to get money?” Neeleman asks. “Why would you ever do that when you’ve tried the ATM even once? What we’re really saying to the consumer is, ‘Okay, what is it you hate about traveling?’ ‘Well, I hate standing on lines.’ And I’m saying ‘Let’s try to eliminate lines.’ “
If that’s the case, then what about the main route to Kennedy, the parking lot also known as the Van Wyck Expressway? Neeleman says he’s trying to address that. “The good thing about the Van Wyck,” he says chipperly (and somewhat absurdly), “is that it’s always backed up, so there are never any accidents, and it’s always moving.”
One plan is for a JetBlue shuttle that will bring passengers from the Jamaica subway station to the curb of JetBlue’s terminal. The airline is also placing a lot of faith in the Port Authority’s $1.5 billion light-rail trains now under construction that will leave from the Jamaica Center and Howard Beach subway stops; they’re supposed to be finished in 2003. The primary elevated line will run up the Van Wyck’s median to JFK, where it will loop around the airport. It’s not exactly London’s super-convenient Heathrow Express, but driving out to Islip at rush hour on a Friday is no 100-meter dash, either. All in all, some $9 billion in improvements – including new roadways and several new terminals – are slated for Kennedy in coming years. Donna Karan is planning a DKNY boutique there, too.
Exploiting Kennedy during its down times is also key. Neeleman points out that there are only fifteen flights departing from JFK between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. “We’re going to be able to taxi and take off in 8 minutes, whereas at Newark, in the morning, once you push off, it’s 42 minutes before you’re airborne.”
Former Department of Transportation official Patrick Murphy agrees: “Kennedy airport is only busy in the evening, for the international transatlantic flights. For most of the day, it’s underutilized.”
Wonky,sound-bite-averse Neeleman might be just the man to launch New York’s new low-fare airline, but he’s not necessarily the guy to sell it.
That’s where the three Virgin expats come in. Last year, Neeleman went directly to the most guerrilla-marketed brand in the business, Virgin, and came away with a trio of credentialed image-builders: Gareth Edmondson-Jones, Richard Branson’s Australian-born head of public relations, Amy Curtis-McIntyre, who put in two years with Branson, and Tracy Sandford, a ten-year Virgin vet.
The marketing executives with double-barreled names work together a lot, and their every conversation is a steady escalation of winks and Tanqueray-dry punch lines. It’s an Avengers-like pairing, especially since Curtis-McIntyre looks like a young Diana Rigg – if Rigg had a New Rochelle accent, that is.
The whole JetBlue concept actually sprouted out of Neeleman’s desire to launch a Virgin America with Richard Branson. Branson almost went for it, but eventually pulled back, hoping to start his own venture after American laws limiting foreign ownership of domestic airlines to 25 percent are eradicated by Congress (where they’re currently under review).
“There were people at Virgin who felt that, in order to protect the brand in the long term, we needed 51 percent of the company,” Branson says. But, he adds, “If anyone could pull it off in America, Neeleman’s got as good a shot as anybody. I would put money on him – I was willing to put money on him. I liked him enormously. I kick myself for not finding a way to make sure we’d all work together.”
The Virgin steal-aways have been charged with getting the best mileage out of a $10 million advertising budget. At first, they planned to splash the tail fins with Benetton-like photos of random people of all races. “But since we only had a few planes to start off with, we thought it would just look weird,” Edmondson-Jones says. “Like, Why is that person on the tail fin?”
As for the all-important name, “we had hundreds of possibilities,” Jones says. “Thousands,” Neeleman interjects. When the airline was still temporarily known as “New Air,” ad agency Merkley Newman Harty took a run at the name.
“The first three they came up with were Blue, Egg, and It, Edmondson-Jones remembers. “Egg is great because of the graphics. But it was like, ‘Think about it, man: Crack an egg …’ It just wouldn’t sound right.”
“It really stuck,” Neeleman says animatedly. “It we loved. But we just didn’t like how it would look in newsprint; there was just no way It would work.
Others also-rans included Zoom, Civilization, Yes!, Home, the Competition (“only ten years from now, it would be like, Shut up, it gives me a headache,” says Neeleman) and Taxi. “My people in Utah loved Taxi because they hadn’t spent half their life in a New York taxi without air-conditioning,” says Neeleman.
Consensus soon became impossible. As a name, Blue had it all: an airy, futuristic vagueness (think of American Express’s opaque new “Blue” credit card). It’s just that you can’t copyright the word blue.
Curtis-McIntyre was pushing for True Blue. It had all the upside of Blue and was trademarkable. Which was the problem: Thrifty Car Rental already owned it.
“When negotiations to buy the name from Thrifty fell apart, it was Friday night, and we had scheduled the press conference to announce it the following Wednesday,” remembers Curtis-McIntyre. “David kept saying, ‘Why can’t we just call it Blue?’ And I’m like, ‘For the ninetieth time, you can’t trademark blue!’ Finally I said, ‘David, just make up a word with blue in it, and I’ll train the rest of the world to just call it Blue. Like FlyBlue. Only no one’s going to want to say they’re going to fly FlyBlue. So how about JetBlue?”
“That’s it!” Neeleman jumped in, excitedly.
This April, Neeleman’s wife turns 40. Already, she knows what she wants. Vicki Neeleman smiles sheepishly, knowing it’s as unlikely a gift as the crown jewels.
“I’ve asked David if he’ll take Ritalin, just for my birthday. He keeps saying, ‘I’m afraid it will kill my creativity.’ And I said, ‘David, please. It’s just for one day.’ “
Maybe, like her son Daniel, she should just opt for the stock, instead.