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Wisdom to Make You Money

Article

About once a year I gather the pearls and nuggets that have sifted downstream my way. I ponder, I collate, and then I pass along such as I think will be insightful and/or profitable. You know, it's the old "…better to light one candle than curse the darkness."

light bulb

About once a year I gather the pearls and nuggets that have sifted downstream my way. I ponder, I collate, and then I pass along such as I think will be insightful and/or profitable. You know, it’s the old “…better to light one candle than curse the darkness.”

Let’s start with the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett; “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”

Peter Drucker, that other great guru of business wisdom famously said “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That’s one more reason why docs are swimming in today’s deep financial waters without a vest; we were never taught what these metrics are. And “sink or swim” is a poor basis upon which to run one’s professional and personal lives.

Or how about this one, from the home of venture capital itself, Stanford’s business school, in its alumni mag; “How do you come up with good ideas? Figure out what makes people mad—and then make it better.” Tom Freston added “Innovation is taking 2 things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” That should open up Pandora’s box….

Looking back at 1999 and 2008 most recently, Peter Koudija noted “What constitutes a financial bubble? My preferred definition is one where investors buy an asset not for its fundamental value, but because they plan to resell, at a higher price, to the next investor.” Musical chairs for adults, it seems. Until the music stops….

Zack Zelon put his finger on a key concept for any business; “We could leave our strategic plan on an airplane and it wouldn’t matter. It’s all about execution.” For example, anyone can make a hamburger, but McDonald’s executed into a multi-billion dollar company.

Henry Hazlitt wrote, in 1946, no less; “Credit is something a man already has. He brings it into the bank with him.” The “bank” however, may, or may not, be disposed to accept that idea. Barry Unsworth went further to state that “Once a man is in debt, he becomes a flesh-and-blood sort of money, a walking investment.” And so we are, to someone else up the financial line.

In a blow to received-wisdom orthodoxy, Maynard Keynes, the famous British economist said “When the facts change, my opinions change.” In a corollary, Troy Campbell in Wired.com wrote “If you don’t want the solution to happen, then you deny the problem exists.” These ideas, together one of the bases of science, apply to medicine, finance and, of course, politics.

Some practical stuff; “Every attendee added to the ‘Rule of Seven” at a meeting reduces the likelihood of making sound decisions by 10%.” - Michael Mankins, citing a study done by Bain Inc. Let’s add to that the observation of LinkedIn Founder Jeff Weiner that “…starting each meeting with quick wins is important to set the right tone.”

Lastly, let’s listen to Steve Jobs when he said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” His version of “Keep it simple, stupid.”

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