I was just out of college and needed a job to tide me over until I figured out what kind of business of my own I wanted to start and where to find the money to kick start it.
So I applied for an entry level marketing slot at Texaco’s offices in New York’s Chrysler building. I had zero interest in the oil business, knew not a relevant thing about Texaco, had no corporate interest at all but a friend told me the company just loved to hire nearly everyone who came knocking, so I headed off to land a place in the bureaucracy.
I was hired on day one but in a formality, I was required to meet a mid-manager for a blessing of sorts.
But this posed a daunting conflict for the young rebel that I was: I would need to wear a suit and the very prospect of that made me feel like a total sellout.
So I hatched an idea. I stuffed a green wool suit my dad had bought me for high school graduation into a brown supermarket bag, tucked it under my arm, rode the elevator to the 26th floor, ducked into the men’s room, slipped out of my jeans and into the suit.
Then like a proper MBA in the making, I entered a Mr. Walsh’s office to await the stamp of approval from the “king” maker.
Walsh was straight out of a Dickens novel: stern, pointy-faced, humorless. He surveyed me the way girlfriends’ fathers always did. Skeptical, disapproving and suspicious.
And then he zeroed right in on one of the causes of the bad taste in his mouth…
The following article is by Mark Stevens, as seen on his LinkedIn blog.
So I read a NY Times story on Larry Page the other day. Among other interesting things, Google’s co-founder says that when he contemplates what to do with his $40 billion (and growing) of wealth, he prefers to eschew the standard philanthropic behemoths and hand it over to Elon Musk.
Now, this must drive those who detest the one-percenters bonkers, but it’s really ingenious.
Think of it this way. Page did his finest academic work at Stanford, so he would classically be inclined to bequeath his fortune there.
But what would Stamford, Harvard or something allegedly more worldly like the U.N. do with the money? Well, it’s hard to tell how they would allocate the dollars, but it is certain that they would squander it the way committees and bureaucracies always do.
In fact, when you look at Harvard’s nearly $40 billion endowment, and you see how it is invested, you recognize that in some ways the elite schools are hedge funds masquerading as centers of learning.
Back to Page and Musk. One thing we can be sure of us that if the former was to give his fortune (or any part of it) to the latter, there isn’t a committee in the world that would get its hands on it and most important it would almost certainly advance the state of mankind.
Look, the term “the internet of things” is now an overused and overblown concept, something in the category of “the cloud.”
But if there is a person on earth who is “the internet of entrepreneurs,” it is Page.
This is one smart man, perhaps a genius, certainly in a league with few others. So when he has an idea, we should expect it to be novel. And we should learn from it.
Giving his money to Musk would break all the rules and perhaps start a new and extraordinary trend.
Yes, Warren Buffet has given much of his bankroll to Bill Gate’s foundation, in part because he knows Bill’s team will manage it well. And that’s wonderful. But Page has something vastly different in mind:
Give all or part of your money to a private enterprise catalyst, knowing that while it may earn him and others even more of a colossal fortune, it will move the needle for all of us.
This violates everything we think about philanthropy. And in the process, may be the best thing that ever happened to it.
High Page rank, for sure!
If you can’t give to Elon, please consider thehomelessrescue.org
Article by Mark Stevens