Category 3. Business

Scenes From A Life In Business

Dear Readers:

This extended post is a compilation of stories about business the great majority of which were originally written as separate posts between November 25, 2018 and January 2, 2019. I have reordered those posts chronologically to make the meta story easier to follow. These stories focus almost exclusively on my business life, with few references to my other interests; even so, they tell the story of a very personal journey.

The big picture: I was employed by what was then one of the largest US banks from 1980-1990, then by a British merchant bank until mid-1993, at which time I left to co-found a tiny investment banking firm. In 1998 I sold my interest in that business and became the junior partner to a man to whom I had been the financial adviser since the mid-eighties...

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A Paean to Risk

A former colleague of mine once said something wonderful:

“If you are not making any mistakes, it’s because you’re not making any decisions.”

When I consider the single characteristic that is most vital to the success of an individual, an organization or a society, I conclude that it is a willingness to innovate. Whenever we try to freeze time, and lock in the benefits of now, we consign ourselves to a future failure that will be far more painful for our efforts to avoid the change that is inevitable.

What is this innovation, then, that is so important at every level of society? It is, quite simply, the product of risks that have been taken. Note that I do not assert that it is the result of risks taken successfully, because it is also the end product of all the risks that were ta...

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