I’ve got it figured out. It’s easy, really. I’ve been trying
to figure out a way to make it, but have been stymied by a depressed economy,
no public investment, no corporate reinvestment, no irrational exuberance … no
But as my friend Sergei says, “When life gives lemons,
poison neighbor’s lemon tree and corner market.” There’s nothing a little
ingeniousness and cold-blooded capitalism isn’t capable of.
Sergei should know. He’s new in town, but back in his home
country he “made killing,” as he says, in energy, real estate and media. He’s
found the U.S. market hungry and well primed for his style of business acumen.
For starters, let’s talk management. Sergei says, “Man with
clock knows time; man with two clocks not sure; man with no clock schedule
meeting.” When you’re in charge, you set the rules, and sometimes, it’s good if
you keep everyone else in the dark.
I think this is applicable across the board. Certainty, for
example, would take all the fun out of the Wall Street roller coaster. If
everyone knew his or her job was secure, why would anyone work hard? If your
customers know you’ll deliver on time every time, why would they scramble for
your business? Keep them in the dark, especially if you’re in the lighting
The manufacturing sector could learn a thing or two from
this philosophy. Sergei says, “All that glitters not gold. Sometime is platinum,
sometime is plastic.” Why sell a premium product with high cost of development
when you can knock something together that looks just as good for a fraction of
the cost and sell it for the same price? In a free market, your product is only
as good as what people are willing to pay for it, but sometimes information
about the product is worth more than the product itself. What’s the value of a
brand like Rolex, Apple or Porsche if customers don’t really know what’s
inside? Slap a logo on it and it’s good enough.
The same can be applied to finding and creating optimal
conditions for business. Sergei says, “Build better mousetrap and world come to
door. Breed mice on side and world pay more for mousetrap.” There’s no shame in
creating fertile market conditions for your product. That’s why GM bought and
shut down all the electric streetcar systems in Los Angeles and other cities in
the 1940s. That’s why Enron cut power generation to boost the spot price of
electricity. It’s why penny stocks, especially my own company, Ultra-Safe
Investment Corp., are such a good deal!
One key success to business is in finding and making the
right kind of partnerships. A partner company can provide leverage into new
markets, open doors to new raw materials and lead the way to higher profits.
Sergei says, “Do not bite hand that feeds you. First, find food source.” Ask
yourself these questions: What can this potential partner provide our company?
And how can we get that cheaper? It’s simply a matter of looking out for No. 1.
Finally, you can learn new tricks by making sure you are
communicating effectively. Sergei says, “Don’t shoot messenger. Find out who he
work for. Shoot him.” Nothing spoils your day like unfavorable PR, and you need
to nip it in the bud.
It’s not difficult to see that, despite the current economic
woes, you can make it in this world with
a diligent application of creativity and cunning, smoothed over with large
amounts of cash and peppered with the ruthlessness to do what it takes to
achieve absolute power.
Remember: “In country of blind, one-eyed man is king. Make
sure is you.” That’s what Sergei says.