Let’s continue our conversation on what to do when tragedy strikes and talk about the 2 sided coins of life. But first a disclaimer: my opinions are my own and not necessarily those of Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle.
Every coin has two sides. In the case of New Orleans, one side was filled with tragedy and horror, both immediate, and lingering, long term, to be played out over months and even years. The other side was filled with opportunity. Short term, for many. For non-profit organizations and charities given opportunity to showcase themselves, attract huge numbers of first time donors who will be converted to continuing donors.
For politicians to position themselves. For new celebrities, for authors, for movie producers.
Circulation of news publications soared, viewership of CNN and MSNBC leapt (and ad rates jump with it); almost nothing’s better for the news industry than epic disaster. And the same media that races to profit from a disaster like this will begin sharply criticizing others, in other businesses who do the same.
Stockholders in cement companies, construction companies, Home Depot, etc. benefit when whatever reconstruction is decided on begins.
Stock speculators, bankers, hedge fund managers all reacted instantly; for many, they have a fiduciary responsibility to do so. As the giant swamp is drained, entrepreneurs of every stripe then flood the area, from roofing contractors to souvenir sellers.
Make no mistake, many, many new fortunes are made, big companies’ fortunes enhanced even though many others will lose theirs and never recover. There is unconscionable short term exploitation and outright fraud, left and right. In fact, telemarketing criminals raising money for fake charities leapt to action the first day.
Legitimate opportunism develops a bit slower, but more expansively, with greater staying power, and as much as its practioners may be criticized, without them, without a rising wave of opportunism, no city of any size or type will ever be re-built there, no hospitals, no schools, nothing but swamp.
Well, I did not make any immediate, specific financial or investment moves the day of, the day after, but only because I was so fully occupied with other matters, visiting consulting clients, urgent deadlines.
Otherwise, at the same time I considered charitable responsibility and reaction I would have considered, and acted on, financial stewardship and entrepreneurial responsibility and reaction, and today, I’d be richer for doing so, with no apology in mind.
I tell you all this to make the obvious point; Hill’s; in every adversity lies the seed of equal or greater opportunity. And as a time to make an even bigger, broader point: being a true entrepreneur ain’t for the squeamish. True entrepreneurs wind up with a type of thinking, a speed and type of reaction to the events around them, small and large, that if transparent to others would, sometimes inspire awe, but at other times inspire terror and disgust and send people away screaming into the night. I’m a very serious student of what really makes super-entrepreneurs tick, and recognize their own thinking is itself a double sided coin. (We can, if you like, keep this to ourselves.)