How’d Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett do so well? They lived according to these seven strategic, wealth-building principles.
from “Succeed” by Staples 24 Sept 14 enhanced by Peter/CEO Wiz4biz
“Business Brilliant” – author Lewis Schiff’s new book, is based on survey research that found seven (7) key principles of work and wealth-building that super-successful people practice that ordinary people avoid. Here are stories of seven (7) of the most successful–and wealthiest–people in the world to illustrate each of those seven principles.
1. Steve Jobs, Apple: “Nothing Succeeds Like Failure”.
Steve Jobs had a vision, back in the 1980s, for a 3D imaging computer that would revolutionize the defense, oil, & medical industries. He was wrong about it, and he lost millions of his own dollars, before shutting down production of the $125,000 Pixar Imaging Computer in 1991. At the time, Pixar’s only profitable unit was a tiny team of animators using Pixar SW to make computer-generated TV commercials–a team that would later form the Pixar movie studio that made “Toy Story”. And when Jobs died in 2011, > 70 % of his $8.3B fortune came from his stake in Pixar Studios – in an industry he never had any intention of entering.
2. Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group: “Spread the Work, Spread the Wealth“.
Sir Richard Branson suffers from severe dyslexia, but he’s come to regard it as his greatest strength. Branson runs his Virgin Group as a venture capital fund that places bets on entrepreneurs with bright ideas that fit the Virgin brand strategy. He’s never tempted to micro-manage any of the dozens of Virgin companies because he can’t. “If I could read a balance sheet,” he once said, “I wouldn’t have done anything in life.” In sum, “Work your strengths & get others to work theirs:.
3. Bill Gates, Microsoft: “Imitate, Don’t Innovate”.
Bill Gates built one of the world’s largest fortunes–$67B according to Forbes–by licensing operating system SW to IBM. In actuality, that SW was wholly adapted from someone else’s code. Gates’ Microsoft lacked the innovative capacity to write it from scratch, so it dressed up some code from another company’s SW, which Microsoft had bought for $25K. When Gates delivered the second-hand software to IBM, it was on time, but it was so buggy that IBM engineers had to rewrite it completely. Thirty-three years later, no one remembers or cares. Gates: “Innovation is seldom as important as timely execution of an adequate imitation”.
4. Warren Buffett, Big Investor: “Know-How is Good, Know-Who is Better”.
Warren Buffett arrived at his savvy investment philosophy when he was very young. But his know-how was nearly worthless, because he personally lacked enough capital to make large market moves. Buffett didn’t get rich until he overcame his shyness, recruited members for his investment partnerships, and led those partners in squeezing stock performance out of corporate managers. Buffett: “No one gets rich alone”.
5. Suze Orman, Financial Advisor: “Save Less, Earn More”.
Suze Orman has made a fortune telling people to grow their wealth through frugality, despite having no personal experience in the matter. When Suze was in her mid-30s, she lived high, but was mired in debt. She didn’t cut back on luxuries; instead she worked her way out of it. She did what she loved, followed financial opportunity, and today she is in a situation to spend $300K a year traveling the world on private jets. Suze: “In the end, your time is much better spent seizing opportunities than pinching pennies”.
6. Adam McKay, Hollywood Producer/Director: “Win-Win Is a Sure Way to Lose”.
Adam McKay is one of the most successful producer/directors in Hollywood. He’s teamed up with Will Ferrell on “Talledega Nights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, & Anchorman”. But his movie-making career might never have happened if he hadn’t negotiated a sweetheart deal to produce film shorts while on the writing staff at Saturday Night Live. The secret to landing the deal? He didn’t try to play a so-called win-win negotiating game. Instead, he told SNL’s top dog Lorne Michaels, “Having my own film crew is my price for staying with the show, & I’m ready to walk away without it”. Michaels paid happily.
7. Guy Laliberte, Cirque du Soleil Founder: “Do what you Love, but follow the Money”.
Guy Laliberte was a HS-educated Circus Clown from Quebec, when he led a collective of performers to start Cirque du Soleil. Despite government subsidies, indulgent sponsors, and Laliberte’s hard work, the circus barely survived for years while evolving its distinctive style. Laliberte’s master stroke was to switch Cirque’s status from non-profit to for-profit (with himself as one-third owner). Today he’s worth $1.8B. Guy says: “Even clowning around can be a smart career move, as long you’re the owner”.
Comments: Do you know any “good” practices to have and/or “bad” ones to avoid?