Notable Quotes

A Scarce Resource:

The biggest shortage in the world is not oil or food­-it’s leadership. Why is it such a scarce resource? Because egos get involved. Most people in top positions think they are better than somebody else, think they need something better than somebody else. It’s economic assets, it’s status, it’s all those other things that prevent the people at the top from subordinating themselves totally to the people they lead. It is not socialism. Leaders get paid a lot more than those they lead, they get paid for their knowledge and skill…but they are no better as a person.

Worries Hang on Your Key Ring:

The size of your key ring is the size of your headaches. Si Redd once told me, “Every time you buy something you sell a piece of yourself.” Why? Because you have to maintain it, to insure it, to worry about it. So the more you buy, the more you sell a piece of yourself and pretty soon you get so thin you can’t do anything. So get rid of all those things and get back to the basics. Everybody has his own basics: it’s what he enjoys. Si Redd told me I would “arrive” when I got down to one key. Still working on that!

Idiot, on Being One:

Every time I started a business and the people told me I was an idiot, I ended up making a lot of money. Si Redd used to say me, “Boy, you gotta be where they ain’t.” What that means is that you find areas of low competition because high competition means lower margins, and lower margins mean less profit. So we were always looking for places where we can be unique. If the thinking is out-of-the-box, people may not understand because they have not seen it before… Therefore you are an idiot.

When people have never seen anything like that before, they think there’s no precedent and hence, there’s no prospect of success. But the point is that since there’s no precedent, you have the opportunity for success.