THE ERA OF GREED

2개월 전

“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed (for lack of a better word) is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, [for] knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed … will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”
– Gordon Gecko, in an address to Teldar Paper Stockholders, from the movie “Wall Street” (1987).

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1 + 1 = [ whatever you want it to be ]

Nothing better describes the late 80’s and early 90’s than Gordon Gecko’s address to Teldar Paper Stockholders. With those few words, one movie character encapsulated the entrepreneurial process of that era. And I found myself right in the middle of it.

I began working with the Quatro/Crestwin group, a diversified group of public companies with interests in manufacturing of heating and air conditioning products, gold mining, venture investments, water taxis, manufacturing of funeral supplies, compact disc manufacturing, video production, digital media, licensing and replication, and television broadcasting of live sporting events (and more). They were the darlings of the Australian Stock Exchange and the financial markets.

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The age of excess had arrived! After breaking away from the “blue suits” in the finance industry in my previous job, I now found myself in a world of fine food, expensive wine, fast cars and the new uniform of several thousand dollar suits and suspenders (imitating the style of Gordon Gecko).

Activity was at a furious pace. Mergers and acquisitions were almost daily events. Financing was easy to get and many a deal was overpriced. Lawyers, stockbrokers, analysts and bankers turned up in an endless stream of suspenders and open checkbooks.

biz deals.jpeg

Amid this activity, my teams were engaged in finding inefficiencies in acquisition targets, driving profitability, managing cash and funding growth. Recording and reporting transactions as a historian was the least enjoyable part of our activities, but was essential to ensure the share price stayed strong – supporting even more M&A activity.

My knowledge grew quickly. Exposure to deal making, funding, and close encounters with real M&A, corporate management and financial reporting in a volatile and erratic environment required me to become comfortable with managed risk, uncertainty and changing priorities.

But something else was happening in the world of accounting and finance.

A new way of thinking was emerging that would change the landscape forever.

“Financial Engineering” was raising its ugly head …. And indeed, it was uglier than a haggard, bearded, toothless witch … and remains so today.

Financial Engineering was an art form. It was designed to make transactions appear to be different than what they were. In other words, it involved manipulation of the numbers to deceive the stockholder. It was a way for greed to create wealth that really didn’t exist.

“1+1” was suddenly equal to whatever you needed it to equal on that particular day.

Those in the accounting profession donned their blue suits and rode into battle – devising rules and regulations that would control the way corporations treated these transactions. On the other side were the corporate pirates – the Errol Flynn’s of the corporate world, swashbucklers, parrying and thrusting to find new ways around the rules.

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And then there were the auditors – reasonable people, all of them. A couple of bottles of good Scotch and they became even more reasonable, and very understanding of the new thinking embodied in Financial Engineering.

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And I was dodging and weaving with the best of them. Dancing the tango with the devil, her seductive whispers tantalizing in my ears.

Tango.jpg

We had only two rules in those days of greed:-

  • Rule Number 1 – Don’t believe your own BS

  • Rule Number 2 – Don’t forget Rule Number 1

Of course, the darlings of the Australian Stock Exchange, over time, started to ignore Rule Number 1. They started to believe they could achieve anything. We started to think the legal Financial Engineering we were developing actually proved we were the smartest business people the world had ever seen. Narcissists come in many colors, and camouflaged in expensive suits, in the era of excess they were literally a dime a dozen. My immediate boss had a reputation as “a legend in his own lunch hour”. Multimillion dollar deals were done in the best restaurants, with the contracts handwritten on the linen tablecloths … during alcohol-fueled lunches. Legends indeed!

The fine line between Financial Engineering and something more sinister became more blurred as the ego driven BS encased the truth in an impenetrable mass of meaningless creative language.

Poor executive decisions based on inaccurate information became commonplace, reminding me of one of the things a mentor at my previous job with KPMG had attempted to drill into my head:

“Find that 4 letter word starting with “F” before making a decision.”

(He was, of course, referring to the word FACT.)

Mythology and fact can easily be confused.

facts.png

I grew tired of the lifestyle: the neverending rush to make more money, the obnoxious and relentless “sucking up” of the bankers, stockbrokers and lawyers. The narcissists risking everything they had on the flip of a coin, hoping their company would land “heads”.

My time in this world was well spent, leaving me with some knowledge that has been indelibly printed on my being:

  • At the end of the day, a person’s integrity and moral compass is far more valuable than the shiny objects that temptation slyly puts in front of us

  • Accountants of all types are as susceptible to greed as everybody else

  • 1+1 will always equal 2, regardless of how much financial engineering tries to prove otherwise

  • Cash does not lie

It was time to stretch my wings, take my experience and skill into the real world; the world where I lived or died based on my decisions, my skills and my ability to execute. I was destined to be more than just a financial engineer or a historian.

It was again time for me to become an entrepreneur.

entrepreneur.jpeg

Casting aside my fears, and the security that comes with traditional employment (a false security, I might add – employment is really what happens to you between searching for opportunities), I started the process of defining what opportunities were available in the current market.

Success can be found at the intersection of what one likes doing, what one is good at, and market opportunity.

Melbourne is known as a dining city. I saw an opportunity in fine dining – after all, the last few years had introduced me to the best dining available. It was about time the joy of fine food could be delivered seamlessly to ordinary people.

My next opportunity was clear … What is yours?

Randy

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You really captured the 80's. I left the DA's Office in Houston, Texas and became a drug lawyer in 1985. You think you saw some bad things. I had a gun in my desk and two hidden in my office to protect me from my own clients. Fortunately for me, I discovered personal injury law in 91' and got out of "the life." I thought about sharing some of my stories but I come to the same conclusion. No one would believe it. I am content to take on corporate America, day in and day out, to ensure the people they cripple and kill will not be left behind. Much more satisfying, I must say.

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Reality is much stranger than fiction. Some people will be capable of comprehending that fact as they read your stories, I am sure.

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No one would believe it.

There are people who believe that the Earth is flat. So don't worry. Make some posts. There will be those who believe.

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Then call your stories fictional based on real life characters...... make it like a weekly or something.

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Dude, you are a genius. I am making a music video with a professional film crew for the hell of it. Gimmie Shelter by the Rolling Stones is the song. We are filming a bar fight between two old timers and and two punks that try to bully them. We are filming October 28th. I may start putting those stories down as a fictional format. Have to wait till November. I am only human. Thanks for the advice.

I like to think that social capital is starting to grow quicker than market capital, where people ultimately want to be recognised for adding value to the world rather than just taking from it. In the Gordon Gecko world, Wikipedia couldn't exist, but it does, and thousands of people add and moderate it to share information to everyone else, for free.

Melbourne is absolutely a town of Foodies... so I'm super curious to how you intend to share the wonders of fine dining to everyone! Good luck and welcome to the Steem blockchain.

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where people ultimately want to be recognised for adding value to the world rather than just taking from it.

I like what you say. I hope you are correct.

Very fine account.
I like the Rule No. 1 in its Scarface formulation : "Don't get high on your own supply" :-)
Thinking of opportunities, you are really good at writing - do you like it? Because the market opportunity is here and it's called Steemit
Somehow I feel that riding the blockchain wave is so much more thrilling than fine dining ... Fine dining feels old and staid in comparison.

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Welcome to steemit @randybaker.

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    Welcome the new steemians. Have a great day!

We’re all scales on the snake of greed as it consumes it self.

Wealth is like the wind in sail, yeah you may be able to find a windy spot, but the winds always change regardless of what you do. At the end of the day you should be happy where you’ve sailed as you may be stuck there.

-M


Welcome to Steem @randybaker.

Do read A thumb rule for steemit minnows - 50:100:200:25 for starter tips.

Spend time reading Steem Blue Paper to know how Steem blockchain works and if you still have any queries ask them on our Ask me anything about Steemit post and we will try to answer that.

All the Best!!!

This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm at the opposite junction right now, having been an entrepreneur for many years and recently retired. I know I have creative projects in the future, but right now my focus is on coming to rest for a while.

I hope your next chapter is the most rewarding one yet.

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Hi your most welcome to steemit

For tribe folks a boy became an adult within a short amount of time through ritual and experiencing anxieties. Afterwards welcomed into manhood.

This day and age means a much longer march for young males and females. They must experience all kinds of complex acts and issues to finally get the grips. I think your story is typical for all of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s.

Glad that you talk about that particular time in a reflective manner. Maybe you should also act as an advisor or talking partner for younger males and take them under your wings. ...

Would you have changed a thing?

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When I look back at my past, it is very tempting to think that I could have made better decisions, could have done things differently and had a better outcome.

The truth is that the man I am today is the sum of all the things I have experienced, the decisions I have made and the lessons I have learned. If I were to change anything, it would lead to me being a different person... :)
I like the person I am today...so, no, I would not change anything.

This story is the second in a series explaining my journey to becoming CFO of Steemit. It was a long journey spanning several decades. Many lessons learned, many experiences later and I find myself in the midst of the birth of yet another industry with life changing possibilities.

The first chapter can be found here. https://steemit.com/steemit/@randybaker/my-journey-to-cfo-at-steemit

By writing here, I hope to share my journey and encourage others to pursue their passions, find their way and experience all that life has to offer.

interesting read on the stories especially those behind the 'normal work'. used to be naive and never even hear about those 'strategies' definitely not in textbook =) to get the deals until later part.

Wall Street is one of my all time favorite movies! I even had Gordon's speech there memorized and worked it into a presentation in a college Logic & Rhetoric class but it wasn't until watching the movie for the 15th or so time when Oliver Stone's real message sunk in that Greed.. isn't good.

Ironically, he made Gordon Gekko such a memorable character that many people walked away from the film with the exact opposite feelings he was trying to conjure up.

“A lot of people who are now in their middle ages have said to me, ‘I got into this business partly because I saw your movie and it made me want to go to Wall Street,'” Stone confessed. “They’d say, ‘I didn’t want to be an electrical engineer anymore. I wanted to make some money.’ I’d say, ‘Didn’t you get the point? That Gekko was not a good guy.’ And they’d [respond], ‘Yeah but, it’s still exciting… I figure I don’t have to be a Gekko to do it, I can figure out a way to make money honestly.'”

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/greed-good-oliver-stone-explains-origin-relevance-classic-wall-street-line-30-years-later-233048889.html

Anyone who bought Canadian Cannabis stocks a few years ago made out like a bandit... lots of New Millionaires who will be smoking a lot of cannabis on October 17 in Canada

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Cannabis is the new Crypto, new Tech, new panacea for all your problems...

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realmente la codicia es buena y esta en nuestro día a día, pero cuando lo sabemos y la aplicamos en exceso, no es del todo buena.