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Opinion | What Billionaires Don’t Understand About College Debt
Dec. 23, 2019 | - The New York Times | By Alissa Quart. Ms. Quart is the author of “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America.”
Anand_Giridharadas  benefactors  Colleges_&_Universities  high-impact  income_inequality  moguls  philanthropy  structural_change  tax-deductible  The_One_Percent 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | How the Superrich Took Over the Museum World
Dec. 14, 2019 | The New York Times | by Michael Massing, the author, most recently, of “Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther and the Fight for the Western Mind.”

The wealthy have always influenced the art scene. But in recent years, in an age of mounting anger over income inequality, they've come to dominate it......
Of MoMA's 51 trustees who vote, 45 work in finance, the corporate world, real estate or law, or are the heirs or spouses of the superrich.....both MoMA and the Met expect wealthy newcomers to their board of trustees to donate millions of dollars as the price of membership..........Art has always depended on wealthy patrons; see the Medicis, Frick and Morgan. In contrast to Europe, where museums receive significant (though now decreasing) state funding, most American museums rely heavily on private donors. .............Many of MoMA’s trustees are devoted collectors of modern and contemporary art, and the museum has benefited accordingly....... with trustees funding or donating to the museum various artistic works.......Yet dependence on the kindness of billionaires comes at a price. Today’s museum world is steeply hierarchical, mirroring the inequality in society at large........MoMA's curators seem very well paid; people in more junior positions much less so........Among the biggest losers in the current system are artists themselves. With art now considered an asset class similar to equities and commodities, collectors are forever on the lookout for rising stars whose work can be bought at bargain prices and then resold for many multiples as their reputation soars. When the market moves on, careers are often shattered (except in the case of a few ever-in-demand stars)......And even those artists who do remain popular usually benefit only from the initial sale of their work; as its value appreciates, the profits go mainly to collectors and auction houses. Museum trustees have ready access to curators and gallery owners who can point out emerging artists whose work they can buy at an early stage and benefit as the demand for it grows.......the most serious concern raised about baronial boards is the possible constraints they place on what museums can exhibit......For example, Why is there not more art inspired by such urgent matters as income inequality, deindustrialization or the rise of populism. Or why was there not more art inspired by the impact of Wall Street on Main Street or the continuing fallout from the 2008 financial crisis — the root of so much unrest in the world today?...... trustees have no decision-making role in its exhibitions, which are determined solely by the museum’s “strong curatorial staff” in regular consultation with artists....Yet a board’s influence need not be overt to be profound; curators are no doubt savvy enough to know how far they can go in challenging a system of which their trustees are such pillars.....For the superwealthy, membership on museum boards brings many benefits, including an increase in social status, access to other powerful people and an enhancement of one’s image.
Is there an alternative to the current system?
An obvious one would be to substantially increase public funding for the arts in general, and museums in particular......In 2018, MoMA received a paltry $22,000 in government funds (from New York City), compared with the $136 million it got from private sources. In fact, MoMA does not seek or receive federal or state funding. But MoMA in fact gets substantial public support through the tax write-offs its wealthy donors receive as well as its own nonprofit status. The public is in effect subsidizing the museum without getting any corresponding say in its governance.
In return for nonprofit status, the government could require MoMA and other museums to allocate a certain portion of board spots to people whose lives are not devoted to making money. The presence of art critics, historians, architects and nonprofit leaders could force museums to consider a much broader array of viewpoints.....As for more direct public funding of museums, this might seem a long shot in modern-day America, but the current political moment has created new opportunities. If taxes on the rich were raised, which most Democratic presidential candidates support, more public funds could be earmarked for museums — and for libraries, performing arts centers and other cultural institutions. 
Accomplisher_Class  art  artists  asset_classes  boards_&_directors_&_governance  collectors  contemporary_art  cultural_institutions  culture  curators  high_net_worth  income_inequality  intellectual_diversity  Manhattan  moguls  MoMA  museums  New_York_City   overachievers   patronage  patrons  philanthropy  public_funding  subsidies  tax-deductible  The_One_Percent 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Byron Allen Spares No One in Accusing Comcast of Racial Bias
Nov. 23, 2019 | The New York Times | By John Eligon.

The black entrepreneur has gone after civil rights groups and other black leaders to make his case. Some fear that protections dating to 1866 are in jeopardy.

Entrepreneur, Byron Allen, offers his life story as a model of African-American economic success.....Byron filed a $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast in 2015, contending that Comcast, after discussing a deal to carry six of his company’s channels, had turned it down in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The nation’s oldest federal civil rights law, it gives “all persons” the same right “enjoyed by white citizens” to “make and enforce contracts” and “to sue.”.......the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled last year that a lower district court had “improperly dismissed” it. Comcast appealed. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case......At stake before the court in oral arguments on Nov. 13 was not the specifics of his dispute with Comcast, but the standard for proving racial discrimination. The justices seemed to focus on the narrow question of whether a plaintiff like Mr. Allen must make the case that racial discrimination was the main factor or just a contributing factor in the early stages of litigation.........Comcast has vigorously defended its record on diversity and refuted Mr. Allen’s claims of discrimination, arguing that the six networks he wants it to distribute are not interesting enough for its lineup or aren’t distinct from current offerings. His demand that Comcast carry all of them in high definition and the price he is asking are unreasonable, the company said.........A key element of Mr. Allen’s argument centers on an agreement Comcast struck with black leaders and organizations in 2010 in order to get clearance to purchase NBCUniversal. As part of the deal, the conglomerate agreed to add four new African-American owned networks over eight years. Two of those networks were owned by Sean Combs, the mogul better known as Diddy, and Magic Johnson, the former basketball star and entrepreneur.
Mr. Allen has argued that the organizations that helped broker the deal — the National Urban League, Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network and the N.A.A.C.P. — were essentially bought off by Comcast, which has donated money to them. The agreement provided only token investment in black-owned networks, Mr. Allen said, and has been used to justify blocking black entrepreneurs from getting a seat at the table......putting black faces out there.....isn't the same things as true economic inclusion......Comcast said it spent $13.2 billion on programming last year, but a spokeswoman declined to say what share of that went to black-owned networks........Sean Combs, surprisingly, has publicly backed Mr. Allen’s point of view and leveled his own criticism against the company for not providing proper support for his television network, Revolt.
“Our relationship with Comcast is the illusion of economic inclusion,” Mr. Combs said.....many black leaders have avoided expressing a firm opinion on whether or not Byron Allen was discriminated against by Comcast........The 2010 agreement between Comcast and the civil rights groups failed to position the black-owned networks for success, said Paula Madison, the former chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal who helped broker the deal. An issue raised during negotiations, Ms. Madison said, was whether the company would guarantee the networks a certain number of subscribers. In the end, Comcast agreed to launch the channels, with no guarantee of how many subscribers they would reach......Ms. Madison said she felt that Comcast had a duty to try to help the new black-owned networks succeed, because they were integral to the company’s gaining federal approval to acquire NBCUniversal. But at a time when streaming becomes dominant and cable operators are looking to shed channels, Ms. Madison said she believed Comcast executives would not blink if the black-owned networks went away.
“It’s laissez-faire,” Ms. Madison said of Comcast’s treatment of the channels. “It’s, ‘They want channels, we’ll give them channels.’”
African-Americans  Byron_Allen  CATV  Comcast  economic_inclusion  entertainment_industry  entrepreneur  lawsuits  moguls  NAACP  racial_bias  racial_discrimination  U.S._Supreme_Court  Weather_Channel 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Thanks to a billionaire, Detroit is new and improved – but for whom?
November 18, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ADRIAN MORROW, U.S. CORRESPONDENT

Detroit's urban renaissance has also drawn tough criticism. For one, Quicken and Bedrock are accused of building an affluent island in the centre of a low-income city. While Dan Gilbert’s spending has revitalized the central business district, much of Detroit remains economically distressed with neighbourhoods full of boarded-up businesses and burnt-out houses. Detroit’s racial divides factor in, too: Recent developments have tended to concentrate in the whiter neighbourhoods of a city where 79 per cent of the population is black. For another, Bedrock and its related companies have received US$767-million worth of government subsidies and tax breaks since 2010. To some, this is an egregious use of funds when Detroit’s schools and transit system are struggling. Mr. Gilbert’s critics argue a man with a net worth Forbes estimates at US$6.8-billion has no need for government assistance.
Whether Mr. Gilbert is the hero Detroit needed to pull it back from the precipice or an unaccountable billionaire wielding an uncomfortable amount of civic power, his rise represents an extraordinary moment in U.S. urbanism. The rapid rebirth and future of one of the country’s greatest and most troubled cities rests largely in the hands of one man and his corporate empire, which is both animating the metropolis with its workforce, and directly shaping the look and feel of its streets and buildings........the subsidies have been “necessary,” but the city and state have done too little to extract benefits such as affordable housing and heritage preservation in exchange. Rather than a divide between downtown and neighbourhoods, or Mr. Gilbert and community bootstrappers, she argued, all of these elements have to work together.
anchor_tenants  Dan_Gilbert  decline  Detroit  downtown_core  gentrification  hollowing_out  income_inequality  moguls  property_development  Quicken_Loans   racial_disparities  refurbished  rejuvenation  revivals  subsidies  tax_subsidies  urban_renaissance  urban_renewal  white-collar 
november 2019 by jerryking
Billionaires have never had it so good
November 13, 2019 | | Financial Times | by John Gapper

* Fortunes are created by technology and globalization, as well as talent and enterprise.
* The “smart risk-taking, business focus and determination” of rich entrepreneurs give them the ability “to transform entire industries, to create large numbers of well-paid jobs, and to rally the world to find cures for diseases such as malaria.
* billionaires have “an obsessive business focus, constantly scanning the world for new opportunities. And they are highly resilient, undeterred by failures and roadblocks.
* There are more entrepreneurs from middle-class backgrounds who went to elite universities before making their fortunes.

But such success would have been less lucrative in the past — they might have been merely rich rather than super-rich. Before lionising or demonising elite entrepreneurs, consider how their personal talents are amplified.

(1) the superstar effect. Globalisation and technology that allows businesses, such as Google and Facebook, to span markets, help the most successful entrepreneurs to profit faster and at greater scale. Successful founders can create superstar franchises, like some Hollywood stars in China....The economist Sherwin Rosen once noted that “superstar economics” mean the returns to the winner in any category can be vastly higher than the returns to second place. These winners can, as the economist Alfred Marshall commented in 1890, “apply their constructive or speculative genius to undertakings vaster, and extending over a wider area, than ever before”.
(2) The security effect (JCK: aka "long-term vision" or having a long-term time horizon). One reason why the poor stay poor is that they cannot plan for the long-term.....“the present takes up a great deal of [poor] people’s awareness, so they tend to delay investment decisions”. The reverse is true of billionaires, who can finance ideas over decades and ride out failures and setbacks. UBS says that “the outperformance we call the ‘billionaire effect’ depends on the entrepreneur keeping control [of a company]”, but they may be advantaged by security as much as genius.
(3) the insider effect. People do not turn into billionaires without a keen sense of financial opportunity and the drive to make a series of good decisions. But once they achieve positions of power, they are reinforced by a network of advisers and brokers.
Billionaires do not leave their cash at banks; UBS or other private banks handle it. They have insider access, such as the opportunity to invest in private businesses, or initial public offerings of fast-growing companies. Wealth does not automatically beget wealth but moving in elite financial circles with enviable resources helps.
(4) the tax effect. Many countries tax income higher than capital, because it is simpler and they want to encourage entrepreneurs. But this leads to the rich paying less as a share of their wealth than those on average incomes. Wealth is also mobile... billionaires have scope through trust and offshore structures to shield some of their wealth.

It is salutary that more of today’s super-wealthy built their own fortunes, but they are also lucky to live at an unusually helpful time in economic history.
billgates  Campaign_2020  capital_flows  Elizabeth_Warren  financial_advisors  high_net_worth  insiders  long-term  meritocratic  moguls  superstars  tax_codes  tax_planning  time_horizons 
november 2019 by jerryking
The Man Who Solved the Market — how Jim Simons built a moneymaking machine
November 1, 2019 | | Financial Times | Robin Wigglesworth

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution, by Gregory Zuckerman, Portfolio, RRP$30/£20, 384 pages

Jim Simons looked to math and computers as ways to eliminate the emotional ups and downs of investing. “I don’t want to have to worry about the market every minute. I want models that will make money while I sleep.”
algorithms  books  finance  hedge_funds  James_Simons  massive_data_sets  mathematics  moguls  quantitative  Renaissance_Technologies  talent_spotting  winner-take-all 
november 2019 by jerryking
Weston family hires OMERS managing partner Jim Orlando to invest $100-million in tech ventures
June 19, 2019 | Globe & Mail | by SEAN SILCOFF

Canada’s billionaire Weston family is making a $100-million bet on the emerging-technology sector, hiring away one of Canada’s top early-stage investment professionals from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System to run its new venture fund.

Jim Orlando, a managing partner with OMERS Ventures, will join a new arm of the Westons’ holding company, Wittington Investments, to develop “a meaningful corporate venture capital program and strategy...... he will focus on areas of innovation germane to the family’s key corporate interests: baking company Weston Foods, supermarket operator Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and drugstore chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., controlled by the Westons’ publicly traded conglomerate, George Weston Ltd.....Wittington has just two disclosed investments in Toronto’s emerging-technology sector, backing digital-health benefits provider League Inc. and venture-capital fund Radical Ventures. George Weston made its first investment in venture capital in 2016, backing a $25-million consumer-products-focused fund managed by Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson, while Loblaw this year partnered with Toronto startup Flashfood Inc. to sell perishable food items nearing the end of their shelf lives through a mobile app.....he Westons join a small but growing group of wealthy families and corporations – including Telus Corp., Power Corp. of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and OpenText Corp. – to invest in early-stage technology ventures.

Several real estate firms including Michael Cooper’s Dream Unlimited and Dream Office REIT and Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. have committed tens of millions of dollars each to fund innovation in the property-tech market. Other Canadian “old economy” entrepreneurs – including mining magnate Seymour Schulich, property developer Robert Mantella, Vega nutritional supplement maker Charles Chang and Mission Hill Winery founder Anthony von Mandl – have emerged as big financiers of early-stage ventures in recent years.

“No question, [the Westons'] various companies are confronting a good number of significant opportunities and challenges, so there is no shortage of things to focus on,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures. “My caution would be, it’s easy to source and structure deals. The hard part is really unlocking the strategic value. That takes a lot more work and time to build that muscle. It will be a learning exercise for them for some time.”
angels  corporate_investors  early-stage  family_office  George_Weston  investors  moguls  OMERS_Ventures  seed-stage  Seymour_Schulich  vc  venture_capital 
june 2019 by jerryking
"Boss: The Black Experience in Business" Explores the History of African American Entrepreneurship Tuesday, April 23 on PBS
Apr 23, 2019 | WNET |

Tying together the past and the present, Boss: The Black Experience in Business explores the inspiring stories of trailblazing African American entrepreneurs and the significant contributions of contemporary business leaders. Stories featured in the film include those of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, publisher John H. Johnson, Motown CEO Berry Gordy, and business pioneer and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis, among others. The film features new interviews with Vernon Jordan, senior managing director of Lazard, Freres & Co. LLC.; Cathy Hughes, CEO and founder of Urban One; Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox and chairman of VEON; Ken Frazier, chairman, president and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc.; Richelieu Dennis, founder, CEO and executive chairman of Sundial Brands; Robert F. Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Managing Partners, LLC; Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr., CEO of Black Enterprise; and John Rogers, CEO and founder of Ariel Investments.

As a capitalist system emerged in the United States, African Americans found ways to establish profitable businesses in numerous industries, including financial services, retail, beauty, music and media.
African-Americans  Berry_Gordy  C.J.Walker  CEOs  documentaries  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  filmmakers  founders  historians  history  inspiration  Kenneth_Frazier  Lazard  Merck  moguls  PBS  Reginald_Lewis  Robert_Smith  storytelling  trailblazers  Vernon_Jordan 
april 2019 by jerryking
University of Toronto announces largest donation in school’s history for construction of new centre, institute
MARCH 25, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by JOE FRIESEN.
Billionaire investor Gerald Schwartz and Indigo chief executive Heather Reisman announced Monday that they will donate $100-million to the University of Toronto for the construction of a new centre for innovation and entrepreneurship as well as an institute that will study the impact of emerging technologies on society......We read an article together about this bold ambition the university had to create a new complex that would be devoted to the whole subject of technology and innovation,” Ms. Reisman said. “The things that they talked about housing there were things we were interested in – the Vector Institute [for Artificial Intelligence], the Creative Destruction Lab, the entrepreneurs. We looked at each other and said ‘We’d like to support that.’"

Mr. Gertler said the gift is affirmation of the role the university plays in innovation in fields such as machine learning, gene editing and regenerative medicine.

“There are very few gifts across the country that have been this big,” Mr. Gertler said. “It draws on U of T’s world class strength, both in machine learning and the ethics and philosophy of technological change and its impact on society.”
CDL  Colleges_&_Universities  entrepreneurship  Gerald_Schwartz  Heather_Reisman  innovation  Joe_Friesen  Meric_Gertler  moguls  philanthropy  uToronto  Vector_Institute 
march 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Abolish Billionaires - The New York Times
By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 6, 2019

A radical idea is gaining adherents on the left. It’s the perfect way to blunt tech-driven inequality.
Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  Anand_Giridharadas  artificial_intelligence  capital_accumulation  digital_economy  Farhad_Manjoo  income_distribution  income_inequality  moguls  network_effects  radical_ideas  rhetoric  software  superstars  winner-take-all 
february 2019 by jerryking
China’s New Billionaires Are Young, Fast Workers With an Appetite for Risk
Oct. 29, 2018 | The New York Times |

Technology is helping to line the pockets of many new Chinese billionaires — including Zhang Yiming of the video-sharing app ByteDance and Wang Jian, the co-founder of the Shenzhen-based gene sequencing company BGI. China is now producing almost as many unicorns, or companies worth at least $1 billion, as the United States.

But China’s billionaires differ markedly from their global peers. With an average age of 55 years, they are almost a decade younger. They create wealth faster and take their companies public earlier; 17 percent of China’s new billionaires founded their businesses within the last ten years, more than twice as many as in the United States.
China  high_net_worth  moguls  wealth_creation 
october 2018 by jerryking
Engaging with the world’s ills beats hiding in a bunker
OCTOBER 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Stephen Foley.

those with real ambition are not planning for a life underground down under. They are building philanthropic ventures to tackle the world’s ills, or striving to effect change through the political process, or starting new mission-driven businesses.

The bunker mentality is the polar opposite of the optimism displayed by the likes of Jeff Bezos, who set out his philanthropic credo in September alongside his plan to build a network of Montessori-inspired preschools across the US. He talked of his “belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others”, from “business innovators who invent products that empower, authors who write books that inspire, government officials who serve their communities, teachers, doctors, carpenters, entertainers who make us laugh and cry, parents who raise children who go on to live lives of courage and compassion”.

“It fills me with gratitude and optimism,” he said, “to be part of a species so bent on self-improvement.”

Bezos has decided to focus his charity on children, as many of his peers have done. From Mark Zuckerberg promising to fund a technological revolution in the way kids are taught, to the slew of east coast hedge fund managers promoting charter schools as a way to shake-up public education, philanthropists know instinctively that childhood is their point of maximum leverage.....engagement trumps disengagement. Public service matters, even if one is only stealing apocalyptic proclamations from a presidential desk. It beats burying one’s head in the New Zealand soil.

Many of the world’s richest individuals are working to avert the war, pestilence or revolution that would make a withdrawal from society seem attractive in the first place. Philanthropists who are funding human rights campaigns, or drug research, or novel approaches to tackling inequality — these are the real survivalists.
apocalypses  bolt-holes  catastrophes  charities  childhood  children  disasters  disaster_preparedness  engaged_citizenry  hard_work  high_net_worth  Jeff_Bezos  mission-driven  moguls  Montessori  New_Zealand  novel  off-grid  optimism  Peter_Thiel  self-improvement  philanthropy  public_service  survivalists 
october 2018 by jerryking
Howard Marks, the ultimate bargain hunter
October 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Javier Espinoza.

Howard Marks : “I have a high degree of creativity,” he says. "In order to outdo others you have to think differently from others. If you don’t, how can you expect to have superior results?” His new book is Mastering the Market Cycle.

Mr Marks is the founder of Oaktree Capital Management. Based in Los Angeles, it is one of the world’s most prominent value investors. He makes money by finding situations where he can buy low, especially distressed assets, then sell high.

Today, market conditions mean Mr Marks faces as strong a challenge as ever: trying to sniff out bargains when valuations are steep, debt is cheap and competition fierce.

In 2015 Oaktree raised about $12bn for its distressed-debt fund. It was the second-largest amount in its history......The veteran financier regards delaying gratification as key to success. Like Warren Buffett, he believes waiting for the right investments is an important part of the process.

He often cites Hyman Minsky, the US economist famous for his work on bubbles and crashes....as Minsky would say, ‘there are always cycles’.”

“There are up-cycles with too much enthusiasm, too little discipline and too little risk aversion," he says. "And there are down-cycles when the economy does less well, corporations do less well, security prices fall and there is too much risk aversion, too much fear.”

“A quote said to have been uttered by Mark Twain is: ‘History does not repeat but it does rhyme’. The point is that the patterns of cycles do repeat and the details – the amplitude, the timing, the duration, the speed and the reasons – are different from cycle to cycle but the themes that underlie the causes of cycles are similar from one to the next.”

 
bargain_hunting  books  boom-to-bust  creativity  distressed_debt  economic_cycles  financiers  founders  Howard_Marks  investors  Mark_Twain  moguls  money_management  investment_research  Oaktree  patterns  pattern_recognition  quotes  think_differently  value_investing/investors 
october 2018 by jerryking
Why Jeff Bezos Should Push for Nobody to Get as Rich as Jeff Bezos
Sept. 19, 2018 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

Why does Jeff Bezos have so much money in the first place? What does his fortune tell us about the economic structure and impact of the tech industry, the engine behind his billions? And, most important, what responsibility comes with his wealth — and is it any business of ours what he does with it?.........Bezos’ extreme wealth is not only a product of his own ingenuity. It is also a function of several grand forces shaping the global economy...the unequal impact of digital technology..... direct economic benefits have accrued to a small number of superstar companies and their largest shareholders.....the most important thing Bezos can do with his money is to become a traitor to his class,” said Anand Giridharadas, author of a new book, “Winners Take All.”.....Giridharadas argues that the efforts of the super-wealthy to change the world through philanthropy are often a distraction from the planet’s actual problems. To truly fix the world, Mr. Bezos ought to push for policy changes that would create a more equal distribution of the winnings ......there are fans of Amazon who will dispute the notion that Bezos’ wealth represents a problem or a responsibility....He acquired his wealth legally and in the most quintessentially American way: He had a wacky idea, took a stab at it, stuck with it through thick and thin, and, through patient, deliberate, farsighted risk-taking,.......Tech-powered businesses are often driven by an economic concept known as network effects, in which the very popularity of a service sparks even greater popularity. Amazon, for instance, keeps attracting more third-party businesses to sell goods in its store — which in turn makes it a better store for customers, which attracts more suppliers, improving the customer experience, and so on in an endless virtuous cycle........Mr. Bezos’ most attractive quality, as a businessman, is his capacity for patience and surprise. “This is guy who was willing to buck what everyone else thought for so long,” Mr. Giridharadas said. “If he brings that same irreverence to the question of how to give, he has the potential to interrogate himself about why it is that we need so many billionaires to save us in the first place
Amazon  Anand_Giridharadas  books  economic_policy  economies_of_scale  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Farhad_Manjoo  Jeff_Bezos  third-party  high_net_worth  human_ingenuity  ingenuity  moguls  network_effects  philanthropy  superstars  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
september 2018 by jerryking
Boom amid the bust: 10 years in a turbulent art market | Financial Times
July 27, 2018 | FT| by Georgina Adam.
September 15 2008, the date of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, was also the first day of a spectacular gamble by artist Damien Hirst, who consigned 223 new works to Sotheby’s, bypassing his powerful dealers and saving millions by cutting out their commissions........The two-day London auction raised a (stunning) total of £111m.......o the outside world, though, the Hirst auction seemed to indicate that despite the global financial turmoil, the market for high-end art was bulletproof....in the wake of the Hirst sale, the art market took a severe dive.... sales plunging about 41% by 2009, compared with a market peak of almost $66bn in 2007. Contemporary art was particularly badly hit, with sales in that category plunging almost 60 % over 2008-09. Yet to the surprise, even astonishment, of some observers, the art market soon started a rapid return to rude health...the make-up of the market has changed. The mid-level — works selling between $50,000 and $1m — has been sluggish, and a large number of medium-sized and smaller galleries have been shuttered in the past two years. However, the high-performing top end has exploded, fuelled by billionaires duelling to acquire trophy works by a few “brand name” artists....A major influence on the market has been Asia....What has changed in the past 10 yrs. is what Chinese collectors are buying. Initially Chinese works of art — scroll paintings, furniture, ceramics — represented the bulk of the market. However, there has been a rapid and sudden shift to international modern and contemporary art, as shown by Liu and other buyers, who have snapped up works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso — recognisable “brand names” that auction houses have been assiduously promoting......Further fuelling the high end has been the phenomenon of private museums, the playthings of billionaires....In the past decade and even more so in the past five years, a major stimulus, mainly for the high end, has been the financialization of the market. Investment in art and art-secured lending are now big business....In addition, a new layer of complexity is added with “fractional ownership” — currently touted by a multitude of online start-ups. Often using their own cryptocurrencies, companies such as Maecenas, Feral Horses, Fimart or Tend Swiss offer the small investor the chance to buy a small part of an expensive work of art, and trade in it.....A final aspect of the changes in the market in the past decade, and in my opinion a very significant one, is the blurring of the art, luxury goods and entertainment sectors — and this brings us right back to Damien Hirst....Commissions are probably also lucrative. E.g. a Hirst-designed bar called Unknown was unveiled recently in Las Vegas’s Palms Casino Resort. It is dominated by a shark chopped into three and displayed in formaldehyde tanks, and surrounded by Hirst’s signature spot paintings. Elsewhere, Hirst’s huge Sun Disc sculpture, bought from the Venice show, is displayed in the High Limit Gaming Lounge. ...So Hirst neatly bookends the decade, whether you consider him an artist — or a purveyor of entertainment and luxury goods.
art  artists  art_finance  art_market  auctions  boom-to-bust  bubbles  contemporary_art  crypto-currencies  Christie's  Damien_Hirst  dealerships  entertainment  fees_&_commissions  fractional_ownership  high-end  luxury  moguls  museums  paintings  Sotheby's  tokenization  top-tier  trophy_assets  turbulence 
july 2018 by jerryking
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, on his ‘crazy’ $12bn project
July 10, 2018 | Financial Times | David Pilling 11 HOURS AGO.

On his yacht in Lagos, he talks about his ambitious oil refinery — and his dream of buying Arsenal
Africa  Arsenal  moguls  Nigerians  Nigeria  entrepreneur  Aliko_Dangote  Lagos  oil_industry  oil_refiners  cement  big_bets 
july 2018 by jerryking
SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world | Financial Times
Arash Massoudi in London and Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in Tokyo YESTERDAY Print this page67
In the summer of 2014, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son
Masayoshi_Son  moguls  Softbank  venture_capital  vc 
june 2018 by jerryking
Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
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Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking
A Rainmaker Seeks to Grow His Firm at a Time of Big Media and Tech Deals - The New York Times
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCEDDEC. 17, 2017

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rainmakers  John_Malone  moguls  dealmakers  investment_banking  boutiques  Wall_Street 
december 2017 by jerryking
Libraries Can Be More Than Just Books - The New York Times
By MATT A.V. CHABAN SEPT. 18, 2017

New York, graced with the generosity of Astor, Tilden and Carnegie, was foundational in the library movement. Today, those foundations are crumbling. Despite their popularity, and because of it, the city’s 212 branches face nearly $1.5 billion in capital needs. And that is simply to reach a state of good repair.

Chipping away at these needs can seem overwhelming. But New York has an opportunity, one shared by cities across the country, to improve library infrastructure while creating badly needed housing. By using aging branches as sites for development, new libraries may rise with affordable apartments on top. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio should seize the chance at sites citywide to link these crucial needs.......
Libraries have become 21st-century settlement houses, providing a world of resources under one roof. They help bridge the digital divide, invest in early literacy and lifelong learning, increase language skills and serve as civic hubs. Let’s add affordable housing to the list.
affordable_housing  community_development  libraries  moguls  New_York_City  NYPL  partnerships  philanthropy  property_development 
september 2017 by jerryking
Giving Away Your Billion
JUNE 6, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

Recently Brooks has been reading the Giving Pledge letters. These are the letters that rich people write when they join Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge campaign. They take the pledge, promising to give away most of their wealth during their lifetime, and then they write letters describing their giving philosophy......Most of the letter writers started poor or middle class. They don’t believe in family dynasties and sometimes argue that they would ruin their kids’ lives if they left them a mountain of money. Schools and universities are the most common recipients of their generosity, followed by medical research and Jewish cultural institutions. A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.......What would David Brooks do if he had a billion bucks to use for good? He’d start with the premise that the most important task before us is to reweave the social fabric. People in disorganized neighbourhoods need to grow up enmeshed in the loving relationships that will help them rise. The elites need to be reintegrated with their own countrymen. .....Only loving relationships transform lives, and such relationships can be formed only in small groups. Thus, I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country.....The collectives would hit the four pressure points required for personal transformation:

Heart: By nurturing deep friendships, they would give people the secure emotional connections they need to make daring explorations.

Hands: Members would get in the habit of performing small tasks of service and self-control for one another, thus engraving the habits of citizenship and good character.

Head: Each collective would have a curriculum, a set of biographical and reflective readings, to help members come up with their own life philosophies, to help them master the intellectual virtues required for public debate.

Soul: In a busy world, members would discuss fundamental issues of life’s purpose, so that they might possess the spiritual true north that orients a life.
social_fabric  David_Brooks  philanthropy  moguls  high_net_worth  Warren_Buffett  elitism  collectives  personal_transformation  plutocracies  plutocrats  disorganization  daring  relationships  emotional_connections  soul  North_Star  virtues  engaged_citizenry  civics  Jewish  biographies  friendships  self-reflective  giving 
june 2017 by jerryking
20 Years On, Amazon and Jeff Bezos Prove Naysayers Wrong - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin
DEALBOOK MAY 15, 2017

Twenty years ago this week, Amazon.com went public........Here we are, 20 years later, and Mr. Bezos has an authentic, legitimate claim on having changed the way we live.

He has changed the way we shop. He has changed the way companies use computers, by moving much of their information and systems to cloud services. He’s even changed the way we interact with computers by voice: “Alexa!”......he has bought — and fixed — The Washington Post,.........Most executives are worried about the next quarter, but Mr. Bezos is worried about what will happen years from now. That is a competitive advantage that many chief executives could learn from.

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people,” Mr. Bezos told Wired in 2011. Here, he was expressing the view that some chief executives think in three-year cycles — a relatively generous assessment, given that most top executives don’t last many more years than that.

“But,” he continued, “if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.”....Is Mr. Bezos an easy boss? Hardly. He is unbelievably demanding. ......I’m supposed to hate Mr. Bezos. After all, he has pressured publishers, cut their margins and practically put old-school bookstores out of business. As if to rub it in, he’s now introducing bricks-and-mortar Amazon bookstores.

But to take that view would be to misunderstand what innovation looks like. It upends industries — witness the current carnage in the retail industry, which has been outmoded by Amazon and all the companies trying to copy it.

“Amazon is not happening to book selling,” Mr. Bezos explained, defending his role in a 2013 interview with Charlie Rose. “The future is happening to book selling.” And the future is now happening to retail stores and even supermarkets — Mr. Bezos’ next conquest. And the future is clearly happening to enterprise computing.
Andrew_Sorkin  Jeff_Bezos  Amazon  WaPo  newspapers  e-commerce  anniversaries  moguls  trailblazers  time_horizons  cloud_computing  Alexa  long-term  Warren_Buffett  innovation 
may 2017 by jerryking
Why a Music Mogul Is Snapping Up Tiny Trade Magazines
March 19, 2017 | WSJ | By HANNAH KARP.

the music industry is mounting a comeback, one of the most powerful men in the business is snapping up some of its least flashy assets: trade publications.

Music mogul Irving Azoff and a business partner, Tim Leiweke, recently purchased Venues Today, and are in talks to buy Pollstar, people familiar with the matter said. Both outlets cover the live-music business.

Rather than simply trying to pry readers or advertisers from the music industry’s biggest trade magazine, Billboard, the two men are primarily interested in using the magazines to break into the conference business.....The surge of interest in music’s more obscure trades comes as the concert industry continues a long boom and the recorded-music business rebounds after years of declining sales. While magazines and newspapers across the board are generally struggling to compete for advertisers and readers with Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, industry trades are closely tied to the health of the businesses they cover, with the firms in those industries being their primary advertisers.

Billboard executives view the entrance of Mr. Azoff and Mr. Leiweke into music media not as a threat but as welcome validation of the music industry’s recovery, according to a person familiar with the matter, who added that Billboard’s revenue has increased 86% since 2013....Mr. Azoff is the former executive chairman of the country’s biggest concert promoter, Live Nation Entertainment Inc.; Mr. Leiweke is the former chief executive of Live Nation’s next-largest competitor, Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Messrs. Azoff and Leiweke could use conferences to help Oak View Group, their venue-management company, which collects annual fees from about two dozen arenas in exchange for sponsorships, event booking and other services.

Controlling the concert trades also allows Mr. Azoff to take on Billboard, a publication he has publicly criticized as it broadened its appeal to woo readers and bigger advertisers from outside the music industry.
music_industry  mergers_&_acquisitions  the_Eagles  M&A  trade_publications  back-house_opportunities  Tim_Leiweke  music  magazines  moguls  concerts  live_music  live_performances 
march 2017 by jerryking
The ‘Warren Buffett of Brazil’ Behind the Offer for Unilever
FEB. 17, 2017 | The New York Times | by LIZ MOYER.
Profile of Jorge Paulo Lemann.

Mr. Lemann, 77, a Harvard-educated former Brazilian tennis champion, ranks 19th on the Forbes list of world billionaires, with a fortune estimated at $29 billion. He and his partners at 3G have developed over the years what many call a playbook for extracting costs from companies by eliminating frivolities like corporate-owned aircraft and expensive office space, revamping management and slashing jobs.

They instill strict austerity that forces managers to justify expenses beyond basic operating needs. Their model makes expansion overseas crucial for increasing returns.

They have also focused on major consumer brands rather than on diversifying......Mr. Lemann and Mr. Buffett share a similar investment philosophy: patience. Instead of selling his portfolio after he has cut and remodeled companies, Mr. Lemann has used Anheuser-Busch InBev and now Kraft Heinz as base camps for further global expansion.
3G_Capital  private_equity  Brazilian  patience  Unilever  Kraft_Heinz  Harvard  moguls  high_net_worth  cost-cutting  Warren_Buffett  playbooks 
february 2017 by jerryking
Where the World’s Wealthiest Invest Their Billions
FEB. 19, 2017 | New York Times | By PAUL SULLIVAN.

Being part of the global billionaire class is beyond the imagination of most people. At the threshold of $1 billion, a 5 percent return would yield an annual interest payment of $50 million — without ever touching the principal. But how billionaires, from those in the single digits to near the top, invest shows a range of options for the very wealthiest in the world. One thing they all have in common is a large amount of money in cash or equivalently liquid securities.
moguls  high_net_worth 
february 2017 by jerryking
Why You Might Not Want to Take Away a Billionaire’s Money - The New York Times
Jeff Sommer
STRATEGIES FEB. 19, 2017
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expropriations  moguls  high_net_worth  income_inequality 
february 2017 by jerryking
Wilbur Ross brings art of restructuring to Team Trump
JANUARY 21, 2017 | FT| by: Philip Delves Broughton.

“When you start out with your adversary understanding that he or she is going to have to make concessions, that’s a pretty good background to begin.”

So all this stuff about tariffs and walls and protectionism turns out to be pure gamesmanship.......In his career as an investment banker at NM Rothschild and then running his own business, WL Ross & Co, he has shown repeatedly how he can dive into an industrial dung heap and emerge with a fistful of dollars and not a speck on his silk tie......... Working on his own account, Mr Ross’s most famous deal was his purchase of an ailing group of US steelmakers in 2002, shortly before President George W Bush imposed tariffs on imports of steel. Mr Ross used the protection to fix the operations, cut debt and draft new contracts with workers. He was able to take the company public in 2003 and sell it two years later to the Indian steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal.

He has pulled off similar tricks, mostly successfully in coal mining, textiles and banking, immersing himself again and again in new industries and the minutiae of the laws, trade rules and contracts that govern them.

As a student at Harvard Business School, Mr Ross was mentored by Georges Doriot, a pioneering advocate for venture capital, who said: “People who do well in life understand things that other people don’t understand.”
For bothering to understand things that most people don’t, Mr Ross deserves more credit than he gets. He is often easily dismissed as a vulture or someone who buys low and sells high. But what he has done is hard. The devil in restructuring is in the grinding detail of voluminous contracts and difficult, often highly emotional negotiations.
arcane_knowledge  bankruptcy  contracts  detail_oriented  dispassion  emotions  gamesmanship  Georges_Doriot  hard_work  imports  HBS  inequality_of_information  Lakshmi_Mittal  leverage  messiness  minutiae  moguls  negotiations  new_industries  Philip_Delves_Broughton  preparation  protectionism  restructurings  sophisticated  steel  tariffs  thinking_tragically  unsentimental  vulture_investing  Wilbur_Ross 
january 2017 by jerryking
Winton Capital’s David Harding on making millions through maths
NOVEMBER 25, 2016 | Financial Times | by Clive Cookson.

Harding’s career is founded on the relentless pursuit of mathematical and scientific methods to predict movements in markets. This is a never-ending process because predictive tools lose their power as markets change; new ones are always needed. “We have 450 people in the company, of whom 250 are involved in research, data collection or technology,” he says. That is equivalent to a medium-sized university physics department....Harding's approach to making money is to exploit failures in the efficient market theory...the problem with the EMT is that “It treats economics like a physical science when, in fact, it is a human or social science. Humans are prone to unpredictable behaviour, to overreaction or slumbering inaction, to mania and panic.”...The Winton investment system is based instead on “the belief that scientific methods provide a good means of extracting meaning from noisy market data. We don’t make assumptions about how markets should work, rather we use advanced statistical techniques to seek patterns in huge data sets and base all our investment strategies on the analysis of empirical evidence...Harding emphasises the breadth and volume of investments involved, covering bonds, currencies, commodities, market indices and individual equities. The aim is to exploit a large number of weak predictive signals, he says: “We don’t expect to find any strong relationships between data and the price of the market. That may sound counter-intuitive but if there are strong relationships, someone else is going to be exploiting those. Weak relationships are where we have a competitive advantage.” Weather strategies are one feature of Winton research, including analysis of cloud cover and soil moisture levels to predict the prices of agricultural commodities. Other important indicators, for which maths can uncover value not fully reflected in market prices, include seasonal factors and inventory levels across supply chains....When I ask Harding about the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to guide investment decisions, he bristles slightly. “There is a sudden upsurge of excitement about AI,” he says, “but we have used techniques that would be described as machine learning for at least 30 years.”

Essentially, he says, quantitative investing, self-driving cars and speech recognition are all applications of “information engineering”....he heads off to a lecture by German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, who runs the Harding Centre for Risk Literacy in Berlin
communicating_risks  mathematics  hedge_funds  investment_research  financiers  Winton_Capital  physics  Renaissance_Technologies  James_Simons  moguls  quantitative  panics  overreaction  massive_data_sets  philanthropy  machine_learning  signals  human_factor  weak_links  JumpMath 
november 2016 by jerryking
From Moguls to Mortals - The New York Times
By BROOKS BARNES NOV. 26, 2016
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Hollywood  retirement  Second_Acts  moguls  digital_media 
november 2016 by jerryking
The Billionaire Who’s Building a Davos of His Own - The New York Times
By ALESSANDRA STANLEYAPRIL 16, 2016
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Stanford  moguls  philanthropy 
april 2016 by jerryking
Schwarzman Scholars Announces Inaugural Class to Study in China - The New York Times
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY JAN. 10, 2016

On Monday, the program will announce the first 111 scholarship winners. Mr. Schwarzman, chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, the private equity and investment giant, started the program with a goal of identifying, as he put it, “your best guess as future leaders of the world.”

Some of the recipients, selected from a pool of 3,000 applicants, already seem well on their way.

Lt. Daniel Glenn, 28, is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He did his scholarship interview via Skype from a secret location in Iraq, where he is the officer in charge of a Navy special operations platoon that defuses bombs and underwater explosives. Lieutenant Glenn has also founded two philanthropic organizations, and he broke a Guinness World Record for running a mile in an 80-pound bomb suit (8 minutes and 30 seconds). He told his interviewers that he intended to eventually run for the Senate.

Other winners include Rugsit Kanan, 22, a Harvard student from Thailand who writes poetry in English, Thai and Mandarin and plays on the Thai national chess team; Wang Zhe, 26, an economics major from Tsinghua University who was secretary of the Communist Youth League at the school of architecture and taught math and science in Kenya; and Jacob Gaba, 22, a computer science major at Dartmouth College who made a video of himself called “Guy Dances Across China in 100 Days” that went viral.

At his Manhattan office on Thursday, Mr. Schwarzman said that he had modeled his fully funded master’s program on the Rhodes scholarship, but that his was “global with a bit of a U.S. twist.”

His goal is to establish a $450 million endowment that would fund up to 200 students every year: 45 percent from the United States, 20 percent from China and 35 percent from other countries.
financiers  moguls  passions  China  Colleges_&_Universities  elitism  Stephen_Schwarzman  scholarships  Rhodes  Tsinghua  philanthropy 
january 2016 by jerryking
A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois - The New York Times
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE NOV. 29, 2015

For an idea, just read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" to get an idea of pre worker rights America. Or, even Charles Dickens would be useful here; like "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield" or "A Christmas Carol".
moguls  politicians  politics  Illinois 
november 2015 by jerryking
Back to business
October 17/18, 2015 | FT| By Matthew Garrahan and Ben McLannahan
The party to celebrate Bloomberg Businessweek magazine's 85th anniversary took place under a 21,000lb fibreglass model of a blue whale...
Michael_Bloomberg  New_York_City  BusinessWeek  entrepreneur  financial_data  moguls  mayoral  Bloomberg  financial_journalism 
november 2015 by jerryking
An ailing titan of the small screen
October 10-11| FT| By Matthew Garrahan

In its 1980s heyday, MTV was the coolest brand in media. The music video channel was name-checked in pop hits, helped turn acts such as Michael Jackson into h...
Sumner_Redstone  moguls  MTV  Viacom  television  aging  CBS  digital_media 
november 2015 by jerryking
How a Chinese Billionaire Built Her Fortune - The New York Times
JULY 30, 2015| NYT | By DAVID BARBOZA.

Zhou Qunfei, who founded one of the leading suppliers of the glass used in laptops and cellphones, is part of a class of female entrepreneurs in China who have built their wealth.
moguls  manufacturers  women  entrepreneur  China  Chinese  glass 
july 2015 by jerryking
How to be a Top-Gun Deal Maker | Ivey Business Journal
by: Michael Benoliel

[8 April/9 April 2017; Letter to the editor by Bruce Mathers] "It is axiomatic that negotiators who understand their opponents have a strong advantage"
Robert_Johnson  BET  dealmakers  deal-making  howto  moguls  CATV  African-Americans  entrepreneur  Viacom  Second_Acts  NBA  trailblazers  negotiations 
july 2015 by jerryking
Elon Musk’s Ex-Wife on What It Takes to Be a Mogul - NYTimes.com
April 27, 2015 | NYT |Andrew Ross Sorkin.

“Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things,” Ms. Musk wrote. “Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ‘success.’ These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way,” she added, noting, “Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.”

She boiled down the one ingredient for extreme success: “Be obsessed. Be obsessed. Be obsessed.”

But Ms. Musk wasn’t being critical. “Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an *insane* work ethic,” she wrote, “so if the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.”
Elon_Musk  Andrew_Sorkin  moguls  entrepreneur  focus  advice  work_ethic  hard_work  personal_cost 
april 2015 by jerryking
Hedge-Fund Magnate Robert Mercer Emerges as a Generous Backer of Cruz - NYTimes.com
APRIL 10, 2015 | NYT| By ERIC LICHTBLAU and ALEXANDRA STEVENSON.

Mr. Mercer, a reclusive Long Islander who started at I.B.M. and made his fortune using computer patterns to outsmart the stock market, emerged this week as a key early bankroller of Mr. Cruz’s surprisingly fast campaign start.

...Mr. Mercer does not have the name recognition of fellow Republican financiers like the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, but he has spent more than $15 million since 2012 in support of conservative political campaigns and causes, donating to a number of candidates who had never even met him. ....Robert Mercer is discussed in “More Money Than God,” a book about the hedge fund industry by Sebastian Mallaby....Before joining Renaissance Technologies, Mr. Mercer, 68, worked at I.B.M.’s research center, where he specialized in computerized translation of languages.....When James H. Simons, the billionaire founder of the Renaissance hedge fund, hired Mr. Mercer in 1993, the company was more university campus than Wall Street firm. Mr. Simons, a mathematician and former code-breaker for the National Security Agency, brought in astronomers and physicists to analyze reams of data, using computer programs to search for patterns that could be used to inform trading decisions. Mr. Simons has been a major political backer of Democrats, donating $8.3 million in 2014.
hedge_funds  moguls  high_net_worth  Robert_Mercer  Wall_Street  Ted_Cruz  Renaissance_Technologies  books  Citizens_United  James_Simons  PACs 
april 2015 by jerryking
The Chinese Billionaire Zhang Lei Spins Research Into Investment Gold
By ALEXANDRA STEVENSONAPRIL 2, 2015
By ALEXANDRA STEVENSONAPRIL 2, 2015

With an $18 billion war chest, Zhang Lei is one of China’s richest investors.

Starting 10 years ago with $20 million from Yale University’s endowment, Mr. Zhang was an early backer of companies like Tencent and JD.com, businesses that have shaken up traditional industries across China. Now he thinks these companies could stir things up globally.

“China could be one of the engines to this whole global innovation revolution,” Mr. Zhang said in an interview at the Hong Kong office of his firm, Hillhouse Capital Group, in one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers, with sweeping views of Victoria Harbor.

Across the ocean in Silicon Valley, Mr. Zhang represents China’s new entrepreneurial class. He has consulted with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, and visited with start-ups like Airbnb.
Zhang_Lei  high_net_worth  moguls  investors  MIT  Yale  endowments  Colleges_&_Universities  China  Chinese 
april 2015 by jerryking
Buying a Better World questions the legacy of financier George Soros, but doesn’t give us a full answer - The Globe and Mail
PAUL WALDIE
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 27 2015,

Title Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy
Author Anna Porter
Genre business
Publisher TAP Books
Pages 224 pages
Price $19.99
Year 2015
George_Soros  moguls  books  Paul_Waldie  financiers  legacies 
march 2015 by jerryking
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