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The podcast featuring finance leaders driving change within their organizations.

Oct 23, 2019

­­­When it comes to guessing a person’s email address, most of us would agree that the best way to optimize your odds of success is to first assume that the person was using their actual name as part of the address. From there, your next decision arguably is whether to spell out the individual’s first name or use an initial for it.

For Tim Zue, the calculation behind one guess was a bit more nuanced because although the first name of the person he was emailing was Lawrence, the man was widely known as Larry. With little to lose, Zue addressed the email to

Sixteen years later, Zue is CFO of the Boston Red Sox, and his “initial decision” sticks with him perhaps as a reminder that every carefully built career contains serendipitous moments.

Still, the email that Boston Red Sox then-CEO Larry Lucchino received from Zue did not come from a career-minded controller or accountant, and it was not a job inquiry. At the time, Zue was teaching 8th-grade math in the Boston public school system, and with a summer break quickly approaching, he had a thought: “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to work for the Boston Red Sox as an unpaid intern?”

Such a thought is not unlike one widely shared today by Zue’s CFO peers, but in this case, there’s one necessary modification: “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to be CFO of the Boston Red Sox?”

Meanwhile, not wanting to overstate the rewards of a correctly addressed email, it’s probably worth mentioning here that Lucchino’s unpaid intern was an MIT graduate with a prior tour of duty at Bain & Company as a management consultant. –Jack Sweeney


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