I went to law school. And I can’t remember any laws that I learned back then. But the one thing they do teach you at law school is how to find stuff, and how to think, an essential ability for connection economy.
In 2009, I was living in Western Australia. My other businesses had all gone south, the global financial crisis was upon us. I had a million and a half Australian dollars invested in a software company that was just starting to turn revenue. Then the GFC hits, and then nobody was going to buy it. That represented seven years of financial and intellectual endeavour. So effectively, time was running out for me, and I needed to do something.
So understanding that everything else that I had ventured into that never made me any money was probably a strategy I ought not to follow. I remember the advice that somebody gave me and has been ultimately confirmed by one of my intellectual heroes, Charlie Munger, that if you want to be successful in life, you should stick to your knitting, find one thing that you’re good at, and do it better than everybody else. And it’s so true.
Power of Free in the Connection Economy
So along this journey, I’ve found all stuff available freely on the internet, and listened to what smart people have to say about what’s really going on. Then, having enough experience in business down the years, to put two and two together. Pretty quickly, you realize that the world is changing. You can do things today that are just unparalleled from an opportunity perspective.
I mean, if I can come from really underwater, with everything, everything at risk, and have barely any capital. Just understand that I’ve got expertise in a particular thing, and then go on the incident and look for the smart way to parlay that into something profitable and big. And, as we’ll see, ultimately generous. If I can do that anybody can do it. That’s the truth. So I call these gentlemen my heroes.
My Intellectual heroes
Don Tapscott is a Canadian futurist. He wrote, The Digital Economy, he coined the phrase, Wikinomics. This gentleman’s crystal ball is absolutely turbocharged. He’s identified things like Uber, and Spotify. He identified all these years and years and years ago. So here you have a man whose wisdom in this space is so profound. If you’re really able to sort of taking in what’s going on, you can start to pull together what’s really, really valuable in what he has to say.
Then there’s Seth Godin. Has anybody heard of Seth Godin? Okay, okay, everybody in this room. You should immediately after this presentation, go and watch every video Seth Godin has ever made, and go and read all these books. This man is a marketing genius. That’s all I can describe in the house. You’ll see throughout the rest of this presentation, that these ideas have been reflected very squarely in the way that we’ve constructed our business model. So the great world’s greatest marketing man, in my view is Seth Godin.
Then there’s Kevin Kelly. Kevin Kelley in 1996, wrote a book called New rules for a new economy. This book introduced the concept of the Connection Economy. What he did, was he projected forward 40 or 50 years as to what he believed was going to happen as a result of the advent of the modern internet. So he wrote his book in 1996. This is now 40 or 50 years forward. I picked this book up in 2011.
I look back and I say, what does he say was going to happen between 2011 and 1996. And guess what? Everything that he said was going to happen, that happened. So you don’t have to be Einstein to realize, well, okay, if he’s been right this far, what the hell is he saying about the next few years? What he’s saying about the next few years? How does that jive with my thinking about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it in the way that I am?
Free Intelectual powerhouse for Connection Economy
So, Kevin Kelley, also wrote this book, some years later, called, What technology wants. I’m going to discuss that in a moment. Kevin Kelly’s profound insights, together with what Dan Tapscott’s had to say, and Seth Godin throughout just mean that the intellectual powerhouse that’s available for free on the internet. It’s just there if you go look for it. I certainly unheard of these people too much before I went and found what I found. Then, finally Charlie Munger, who is Warren Buffett’s business partner, who’s in his late 80s.
Now, Charlie Munger is the world’s, second-richest man. He’s done everything. When Charlie Munger opens his mouth, what comes out is pure wisdom. Because he’s a man in his 80s, he doesn’t have too many words to say. So everything is pure, pure gold. For me, Charlie Munger was an opportunity to actually validate the decisions that I was making and the way that I was thinking. So now, automatically when I’m making a decision in business, I think to myself, What does Charlie Munger think about this. Incredible wisdom is out there for you.
So these are my intellectual heroes, and they appear all throughout everything else, I’m going to present to you today.