3 Lessons From Bob

Bob is absurdly wealthy. His currency is the spoken word and he spends with the ease and grace of Paris Hilton. When I sit down next to him, he’s clearly just warming up. He’s in the middle of a story, about – I’m not sure what, but he’s speaking with the authority of a president. I immediately become part of his valuable audience and he goes on to the next story about a business conversation he had with Ted Turner. He was very clear to let us know that he didn’t call Ted, Ted called him.

We talk about the price of Oil. We talk about the HBO on demand app on his iPhone. We talk about the price of Gold. He asks me if I know the three indexes that clue him in on the health of the global economy but he already knows I don’t know. Maybe he can read it on my face or maybe he’s keyed in to the fact that I’m in Vancouver sitting next to him and not in Cancun sipping margaritas.

He continues to talk. “Let me give you an example” he says. And he does. And then he does again. I can’t tell if he is a genius or a crazy person. That line is awful fuzzy anyway. The crazier his stories get, the less I repress the urge to ask forward and unpolite questions. “Bob” I say, “Bob, what is your net worth?” Bob gets out his calculator and we get to work. We take the number of barrells of oil he has. We divide by the number of weeks in a year. We minus a percentage for taxes. We come up with a figure, but it’s not really important. You see, Bob isn’t like other people. He’s extremely rich. In words.

And he’s generous. One of the things he’s given to his son is the advice to be confident and assertive. He said that there’s no better way to hone this ability than to pick up women. And then he shared with me his best pick up line. It’s not a pick up line at all. Which surprises me. He says the secret is, to keep buying drinks for the woman you want to talk to. From afar. Once you get to about five, you introduce yourself to her and you have it made. Having a knowlege of how alcohol affects judgement, I fully believe his idea is not without merit. He continues on to another story.

He was flying a plane through a terrible thunderstorm. He would rise and drop 1000 feet in a matter of seconds. The plan would bed rocked 180 degrees from side to side. Just when he thought he was about to die, he says to himself “Bob, you could panic and die or you could be logical and think this through.” So he relaxed and suddenly, it came to him: he’ll just turn on the autopilot. As soon as he did, the plan righted itself and Bob survived to tell the story. He was unfortunately hundreds of miles off course, but that’s a different story. Though that’s not the story he goes on to.

Once, one of his trader buddies called him in a panic and said that he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollards on the market at work and at the end of the day, he would have his license revoked, be fired, and then have to pay all the money he lost. He was desperate for Bobs help. So Bob tells him, “You get back down there on the floor and you start betting big.” So his friend takes the advice. Not only does he make back all the money he lost, he makes an extra three or four hundred thousand dollars.

Bob’s advice is crazy enough to work. Or completely blow up. You be the judge:

1) Be confident and assertive
2) If you think you’re gonna die, relax and turn on the autopilot
3) If the chips are down, go all in

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