1,000 Dollars & an IdeaSam Wyly: Entrepreneur to BillionaireAUTHOR: Sam WylyPUBLISHER: Newmarket PressDATE OF PUBLICATION: 2008259 pages
THE BIG IDEA 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam Wyly “My work is to create companies and build them,” writes Sam Wyly. This is an account of the process, relationships, struggles, and strategies in technology, energy, retail, and investments that have made Sam one of the 1,000 wealthiest people in the world. In this book, this self-made billionaire describes how his early years in Louisiana prepared him for what lay ahead.
WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam Wyly “1,000 Dollars and an Idea” is full of refreshing insights and homespun life lessons about what it takes to •Create •Grow •Build … successful companies that can challenge the world’s best. It is part autobiography and part inspirational business guide.
BEAT TALLULAH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySam learned in high school that business is a lotlike football.Football taught him all about: •setting goals •coping with fear •using leverage •maximizing assets •understanding weaknesses •losing
BEAT TALLULAH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySetting a goal and then going after it is difficultfor some people.You begin by defining what you want.But to decide that, you have to know who youare.If you don’t know who you are, becoming anentrepreneur can be a very expensive (andhumbling) way of finding out.
BEAT TALLULAH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyNext, a goal needs to be realistic.Many people yearn for the pot of gold at the endof the rainbow but have no idea how to find therainbow in the first place.Or they aren’t willing to put in the time looking forone, or don’t have the courage to walk all theway to the end of it.The easiest way to get to one’s goal is to mapout a course with smaller goals along the way.Find one small thing you can do and keep ondoing it. Little victories add up.
BEAT TALLULAH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyGreat teams do not always win, but without agreat team – without synergy and oneness –winning becomes that much tougher.Being a lone gunslinger will only get you so far.You need: •a team playing together •a structure that allows for each player on that team to flourish in his own unique wayEach member of the team has to have theresponsibility and authority to do the job thatneeds to be done.
BIG BLUE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyEarly on in Sam’s career, becoming an IBM salesrep someday was as close to achieving theAmerican dream as anyone could get.IBM was the best of the best, and joining andbecoming the best appealed to Sam immensely.He sat down for an interview with two IBM branchmanagers and he received an offer to join thecompany upon graduation.But Lousiana Tech offered him a newscholarship for an MBA. He knew that getting amaster’s meant not going to work for IBM.
REACH FOR A STAR, NOT A HANDFUL OF MUD 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySome years later, Sam’s office was outsellingHoneywell’s bigger offices and he was making$30,000.By 1962 Sam had a two-story house on a tree-lined street in a good school district and twocars.What else did he need? He certainly didn’tneed to start a new business just to have moreincome. He was fine the way he was.Except that he wasn’t. He was getting restlessagain.
REACH FOR A STAR, NOT A HANDFUL OF MUD 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySam’s restlessness was forcing him to face up tothis single truth: He was not at heart a big-company man.He didn’t want to be under anyone else’sauthority. He wanted to call the shots for himself.He gave himself the mental space to realize whatwas most important to him.He wanted to be captain of his own boat. Hewanted independence.
REACH FOR A STAR, NOT A HANDFUL OF MUD 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySam’s formative years at IBM and Honeywellwere extremely important for him.And of course he would always be grateful toIBM and to Honeywell for the experiences andthe opportunities they gave him.That said, an entrepreneur always knows whento move on.And Sam knew it was high time to startsomething of his own instead of continuing towork for someone else.
THE BIRTH OF A COMPANY 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyStarting a business from scratch will mostprobably be a bumpy experience.But you can’t let this get you down. You can’t letfrustration take over and control you.More often than not, if it’s too easy, someoneelse has done it already and has already madehis mark, leaving new entrants to play catch-up.So if you’re going to start something of your own,expect obstacles and be prepared – and keep inmind that it can be quite a grind.
THE BIRTH OF A COMPANY 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyIf you can’t be creative, persistent, and optimisticin the face of repeated failure, you need toconsider a different line of work.There is no single correct approach to deal withfrustration, obstacles, and failure. Sam haslearned to stop, step back, take a deep breath,and get to the most spiritual perspective.He does this to think about where he is and whathe is trying to achieve and to try to see theproblem from all sides.If you do so, you may actually discover a solutionthat’s better than your original idea.
MULTINATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyCreating an environment to attract and hold ablepeople was the easy part. The hard part waslearning how to be a good manager.Right after Sam started up, he could not figure outwhy some employees were not doing what hewanted them to do.Then it hit him that he had never told them exactlywhat he wanted them to do. He was just expectingthem to know what was expected of them.So he had to find ways to set goals with two-wayfeedback.
MULTINATIONAL ENTREPRENEUR 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyTo get the best out of people, you need to beconfident in their abilities.Show them that you are confident; don’t meddle intheir jobs or micro-manage them.Hold managers responsible for results and rewardthem for successes. Give them a chance to createwealth for themselves and for other investors whilemaking the company a good place to work foreveryone.The best work comes from highly motivated, richlyrewarded, happy-to-come-in-every-morningpeople.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySam and his investors were betting their venturemoney to grow them until they were big enough tobring in other people’s money.That is, to the point where they could raise capitalin public or private markets and make thisenterprise work mostly with other people’s money.They were not just looking for ways to passivelyinvest but for ways to capitalize and grow thebusiness so that Sam wouldn’t have to keepputting in new cash forever.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySome entrepreneurs are able to get by with onlytheir own money.By doing so they get much richer than if theyshare the equity.But most entrepreneurs who use only their ownmoney end up sitting around broke, readingbooks about other entrepreneurs whounderstand how to create companies at leastpartly with other people’s money.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyIn starting up Sterling Software, Sam andcompany had the advantage of choosing peoplehe already knew and had worked with before.Surrounding yourself with people you alreadyknow and trust can give you a massive headstart.They know how you work and you know howthey work. In some cases you can even finisheach other’s sentences.So you hit the ground running if you can workwith people you’ve worked with previously.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyHowever, having a partner who constantlydisagrees with you means you often double-check what may not need to be checked.That said, it’s far too easy to surround yourselfwith people who will tell you only what you wantto hear.Company people need to be comfortable withbeing honest, with telling you the truth as theysee it.Even if you think they’re wrong, you need toknow. You need to be a simple seeker of truth.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyEnable people to do good work and give them thefreedom to make their own decisions.Pick the right people, agree on company goals, paythem well, give them a shot at doing very well, thenget out of the way.Start with trust. Everyone needs openness andinformation and verification in an enterprise, just asin a marriage.People at all levels need to know they’re dealingwith integrity. Integrity is the single most importantquality in a boss.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyOne more thing you need to be successful in anyenterprise is good managers at all levels.You can’t have the attitude in acquisitions that youare the buyer and your job is to fire those peopleyou just bought.You’ve got to find the best talent that you can,wherever you find it.That means that some of your best people will befound in the companies you’re acquiring.
STERLING SOFTWARE 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyIn order to grow a business by acquisition, youneed to do several things. First, you need to integrate quickly and smoothly. Second, you need to find a way to keep your new employees as passionate about their work as they were before you acquired their company. Third, you need to clarify your vision, which is central to the first and second things.
MAVERICK INVESTOR 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylySam has gone through four phases in hisinvestment life.First, he was a Saturday-morning investor. There are a whole bunch of information services and stock newsletters that will send you a ninety-day free trial. He signed up for loads of them. Being a good reader makes you a better investor – and he read everything he could before deciding what to buy to build his portfolio.
MAVERICK INVESTOR 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyNext, Sam entrepreneured new businesses anddiversified his portfolio. He became what he calls an active investor- owner in several companies, including Sterling, Bonanza, and Michaels.Thirdly, there was a sort of mutual fund that WallStreet came up with called “closed-end investmentfunds.” These focused on a particular country’s stocks. Shares in these funds are bought and sold in public markets at whatever price a willing buyer would pay.
MAVERICK INVESTOR 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyLast was “the work.” Sam got himself deeply involved with the actual action in an investor’s life. His motivation to always keep up with it was unceasing. He wanted to know where the work was being done, when it moved, and what replaced it. Thus he came to be known as the investor with the maverick spirit.
THE GOOD EARTH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyIt has only been a few generations since wemoved beyond the basic struggle for survival,but the cost of winning that fight has been huge.We have used the earth’s coal and oil ingargantuan quantities.The last three generations have now consumedmore of those precious resources than all thegenerations that came before us.How do we go forward in a manner that createsvalue for ourselves and our stakeholders yet ismindful of the threat to the earth and itsinhabitants?
THE GOOD EARTH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyThat’s one of the reasons Sam createdBeGreenNow.com.Through this innovative Web site, anyone can become“carbon-neutral,” by buying renewable energy creditsfrom them.BeGreenNow.com helps consumers anywherecalculate their carbon footprint and buy carbon offsetsto reduce their impact on global warming in aconvenient, flexible, and innovative way.Those credits fund capital investment to clean upsources of greenhouse gases that cause globalwarming.
THE GOOD EARTH 1,000 Dollars & an Idea by Sam WylyWith BeGreenNow.com, Sam and company havefound a way to marry Adam Smith to RachelCarson, and bring the entire planet to cleanenergy.So here’s Sam’s question to everyone running abusiness, aimed at entrepreneurs and buddingentrepreneurs alike:What does it take to be a great company in thisday and age?
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