If you think you need a high IQ to be successful, this column ought to make you feel good. The truth is you need only an average level of intelligence, and it can be limited to specific subjects (not generalized).
I have three examples: Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and Mark Zuckerberg.
With a net worth of nearly $50 billion, Michael Bloomberg is a story in success. His core business that lead to all the others was a valuable software system for the financial sector:
In 1973, Bloomberg became a general partner at Salomon Brothers, a bulge-bracket Wall Street investment bank, where he headed equity trading and, later, systems development. In 1981, Salomon Brothers was bought by Phibro Corporation, and Bloomberg was laid off from the investment bank. He was given no severance package, but owned $10 million worth of equity as a partner at the firm.
Using this money, Bloomberg went on to set up a company named Innovative Market Systems. His business plan was based on the realization that Wall Street (and the financial community generally) was willing to pay for high-quality business information, delivered as quickly as possible and in as many usable forms possible, via technology (e.g., graphs of highly specific trends).
In 1982, Merrill Lynch became the new company’s first customer, installing 22 of the company’s Market Master terminals and investing $30 million in the company. The company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. in 1987. By 1990, it had installed 8,000 terminals. Over the years, ancillary products including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook were launched.
As of October 2015, the company had more than 325,000 terminal subscribers worldwide.
Why is Bloomberg otherwise a moron? Many reasons come to mind but my favorite is his fascist attempt to dictate how much soda New Yorkers can drink:
Under Bloomberg’s ban, “sugary beverages” larger than 16 ounces could not be sold at food-service establishments in New York City. At restaurants with self-service soda fountains, cups larger than 16 ounces could not be provided. Only outlets that get health-department grades were included, so supermarkets, vending machine operators and convenience stores (including 7-Eleven and its Big Gulps) didn’t have to worry about the ban. There was no ban on refills. Failure to comply could have led to a $200 fine.
How can someone be so dumb to think he can lay down such a stupid law via executive fiat versus the regular and legal channels, and think others are too stupid to make their own choices for their own lives? Nice one, Mikey.
Tom Steyer ($1.61 billion) made his money via private equity firms:
After graduating from Yale, Steyer began his professional career at Morgan Stanley in 1979. After two years at Morgan Stanley, he was accepted to Harvard Business School, but instead attended Stanford Business School. Steyer worked at Goldman Sachs from 1983–85 as an associate in the risk arbitrage division, where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions. He later became a partner and member of the Executive Committee at Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.
In January 1986, Steyer founded Farallon Capital, an investment firm headquartered in San Francisco, California. Steyer made his fortune running Farallon, which was managing $20 billion by the time he left the company. Steyer was known for taking high risks on distressed assets within volatile markets.
Why is Steyer otherwise a moron? Because he believes human beings are responsible for causing catastrophic global warming, and put up $100 million of his own money to push for government policy to limit carbon emissions. I’ve addressed the global warming hoax in other columns but it happens time and again that these people make multiple, hysterical predictions, and none come true.
Virtually everyone on the planet knows how Mark Zuckerberg earned his money. The Facebook founder is worth over $64 billion. Why is he otherwise a moron? Because he thinks meaning in life is derived from building and installing solar panels, and getting people to vote online.
So what are we waiting for? It’s time for our generation-defining public works. How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels? How about curing all diseases and asking volunteers to track their health data and share their genomes? Today we spend 50x more treating people who are sick than we spend finding cures so people don’t get sick in the first place. That makes no sense. We can fix this. How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online, and personalizing education so everyone can learn?
Deep as a thimble.
To be successful in business, solve a problem and add value to someone’s life, and repeat it multiple times. Get on it.
photo credit: Excerpted from: Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires 11.05.31 Macri, Boomberg y Kassab en la Cumbre del C40 contra el cambio climático via photopin (license)