Thursday, April 28, 2011
It's been said that the Harvard Business School teaches you a lot of things, but not how to read people. The following vignette concerns a particular part of my history, which I hope by sharing, will help young people as they negotiate their way through life.
It all started back in 1960. I was laying in a muddy trench on the machine gun range, luckily in Fort Dix, New Jersey. The mud was six inches deep. I did not expect a jeep to ride up and down the firing line yelling out my name.
When they finally found me I was told to report to the Captain's office, relieved of my firing, and was given a jeep ride to the barracks. Reporting to the Captain I was handed a telegram. I opened it and it said I should call a number at EF Hutton and Company and ask for Gerald M. Loeb, the senior partner of Hutton. I called and he said he wanted to see me about a potential job offer as I had exceled at my finance studies at CCNY.
A month or so later I was interviewed in the marble clad offices of Hutton's executive towers, in total awe of the presence of a Wall Street Legend, Gerald Loeb the writer of the Wall Street epic, "The Battle for Investment Survival".
A few months later, after being released from the service, I went to work as Assistant to Gerald Loeb. What I did is not worth commenting on since it wasn't much, but in essence, in the days before computers, I posted all the customer trades to a ledger book. Loeb would carry this book with him at all times. I posted thousands and thousands and thousands of trades.
After a while I began to notice, that in many cases, the customers would make 1/2 a point or a point, we would get over a point commission, and invariably the stocks would go up substantially higher after we sold them. Being naive, I thought it was my duty to point out to Mr. Loeb, that if we kept these stocks the customers would make alot more money.
I was told that I didn't understand the brokerage business, that it was our job to make commission income and as long as the customers made profits, all was well and good. I should go back to work and keep posting. When I tried to explain to my boss that we would have a lot more money to generate commissions if the customers made more money, I was given more or less a warning to mind my business.
A month later, we had a parting of the ways. You might say I was fired, I would say I quit. I had no negotiating leverage, either when I took the job or when I left it. I never should have taken the job, I didnt even think that I had any right or power to look into the character and personality of the person who was going to employ me.
Even at the beginning of your career you must start to develop strong negotiating skills no matter whom you are negotiating with. Never give up on your thoughts and ideas, no matter who you are up against. My concept of holding investments in order to make the clients a bigger profit, vs. their desire to make commissions for the firm the priority, eventually succeeded in my upcoming business ventures.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
There has been a lot of focus on taxing Internet sales that in certain cases are not taxed today but are taxed if the same products are purchased in a brick and mortar store.
One thing for sure, the Internet is potentially the "ultimate weapon" against the oil cartel. The potential for reducing miles driven without reducing economic activity lies therein.