favorite meal is a grilled cheese sandwich, the edges well-browned, and a bowl of tomato soup. Perhaps he loves it so because that’s what his father and he ate when climbing Mount Ascutney, across the river from where he spent his summers in New Hampshire as a teenager. Later in New York City, pastrami sandwiches displaced melted cheese. Phin
went to Collegiate High School, winning the New York State championship in LD debate, and then to college at Harvard, where he studied philosophy with Robert Nozick (and even grew to like New England clam chowder). His first job was as a journalist for Toronto’s National Post. Later, in Washington, D.C., he wrote a nationally syndicated column for UPI. Phin work has been at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group and a leading US hedge fund where his focus has been on global macro and illiquid technology investing. His research explores the role of institutions – political, economic, legal and social – in innovation and productivity. In particular, he focuses on how the interactions of these institutions give rise to the specific assumptions and restrictions under which choices are made and from which free enterprise and innovation flows. In 2002 Phin edited a book of interviews, Philosophers in Conversation, with an informal interview format, informative prefaces and engaging delight in ideas, which was published by Routledge Press. It became an academic best seller and was released on three continents and translated into Mandarin. He edited two more books of essays, published in 2008 and 2009. His family has always stressed the importance of serving others, helping them open their minds and reach their highest potential (both of his sisters taught in NYC).
Phin’s lifelong interest in cultural studies motivates him to expand understanding of his own and other cultures. In high school Phin taught social studies at the East Harlem Tutorial Center, and remains in touch with his students, many of whom are the first in their family to go to college. During college summers he volunteered at an anthropological institute focusing on expanding awareness of Caribbean and South American cultures. For the past five years he has served on the board of the University of the Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology’s Young Friends.
Since childhood Phin has loved the outdoors, and continues to climb mountains in New Hampshire and California. He delights in packing grilled cheese sandwiches, which have remained his favorite meal. Phin played competitive rugby as a forward, and his team earned second place in the world MBA championships. Phin is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
See all articles by Phin Upham on VC Café.
To contact Phin Upham, visit his website at PhinUpham.com