After I met Bill Chait for the first time about five months ago, at Starbucks in the Original Farmers Market, or what he referred to then as his "office," the first thing I did when I got in the car was call Nancy Silverton. Nancy had introduced us so that Bill and I could potentially work together--doing who knows what, she just thought we should meet. Bill is the man behind Short Order and Short Cake, both of which businesses Nancy is a partner in. "Oh my god! He is, like, the smartest guy I've ever met!" I was blown away listening to him because the way his mind worked was just different than regular people. So conceptual. So broad. I felt like I was at Berkeley again where people engaged in thinking just for the sake of it. I was so blown away in fact that I pitched a story about Bill to an editor at the Los Angeles Times. It's such a great idea, he wrote back, that I already thought of it. And he had a staff writer do the story instead. In the months since that email exchange, Bill has become a close friend--too good a friend in fact for me to feel comfortable writing a newspaper story about him. It's a trade I would gladly make again.

So from an LA Times staff writer, ladies and gentleman... Bill Chait.

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