Michael Bloomberg’s Biography

These were my favorite passages from his book. I’m always curious as to how billionaires add value to the world and by solving problems they becoming rich. That’s why I enjoy reading billionaire biographies because I want to dissect the essence of the book to see how I can share with you all without having to read the entire book.

“What I really liked doing—and what I was good at—was dealing with people. I became president of my fraternity, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, class president, and all-around Big Man on Campus. I learned how to campaign for office while seeking elected school positions. I developed organizational abilities when I planned school dances and fraternity parties. I practiced building consensus and getting people to work together as I ran various school-related extracurricular organizations. All these skills helped me later in life, not only in running for office, but also at Salomon Brothers on Wall Street and with my own company.” 

“Street smarts and common sense, it turned out, were better predictors of career achievements after graduation than academic success. Given that I received average grades at “The B School,” I don’t exactly mind.” 

“Home, school, Boy Scouts, sports, politics, newspapers—everything in life taught us duty, loyalty, responsibility, sacrifice, patriotism. As time went on, some marched, got riled up, and wrote about civil disobedience. But generally, Uncle Sam called, and we went.” 

“Fortunately for me, as someone who hadn’t exactly hobnobbed with Rockefellers during his wonder years or had a mogul for a father, securities trading and sales were considered second-class occupations in those days. Relatively few Ivy League graduates wanted them. Unlike investment banking or research analysis, they were definitely not the prestigious jobs; not the kind of work that the more privileged kids would deign to do. Both involved getting your hands dirty by actually picking up the telephone and talking to customers. Forget the fact that almost all occupations have a big selling component—selling your firm, your ideas, yourself. Never mind that the deans of investment banking depend on their contacts as much as their analytical skills.” 

“a good trading mentality is synonymous with the ability and discipline to compartmentalize, focus, and compete for success. In those days, no self-respecting research analyst or banker ever thought of working the phones, 

actually bringing in business. Soliciting was undignified. Trading and sales jobs were going begging. The “swells” were heading elsewhere.” 

“it’s the “doers,” the lean and hungry ones, those with ambition in their eyes and fire in their bellies and no notions of social caste, who go the furthest and achieve the most.” 

“I’d never seen real art outside of a museum before. It made an impression—and at Bloomberg, we’ve long featured art in our offices.” 

“In 1966, Wall Street wasn’t the impersonal, corporate business it is today, where it’s not uncommon for someone to change jobs six times in ten years. People then didn’t move around. They were or quickly became a “Morgan Stanley type,” an (A.G.) “Becker person,” a “KL-er” (Kuhn Loeb), and so on. People were not only identified with their employers, but actually picked up the personalities of their firms, which ranged from haughty and pedigreed to breezy and disarming.” 

“Salomon was more of a meritocracy that prized go-getters, tolerated eccentricities, and treated both PhDs and high school dropouts disinterestedly. I fit in. It was me.” 

“But when I began, if you could get into an investment banking firm—not an easy thing to do for a nondirect descendant of the founding family—you thought of it as a job for life. You would work your way up, eventually become a partner, and die at a ripe old age in the middle of a business meeting (that’s how both Cy Lewis and Gus Levy left this world). You may not have liked all your coworkers and/or partners, but success was “joint and several.” Their success helped ensure yours; your achievements abetted theirs. And when that important rule was forgotten by the end of the 1970s, the community that was “the Street” shattered.” 

“John Gutfreund was a great leader too, but I always thought he listened to too many people. The final guy to see him often carried the day.” 

“A month later, I moved to the Equities Desk and the rest is history. No more bonds. I was in the stock side of the business for good.” 

“It was great. This mega trading was a new concept. We developed it as we went. Cy Lewis from Bear Stearns and Gus Levy from Goldman Sachs had started it—trading stocks like bonds. One large transaction going “over the counter” at a single price. It was an entirely revolutionary business compared to the old way of accumulating or disposing of many shares through small individual transactions executed over time on the stock exchanges. Through these pioneering efforts with block trading, we created a bigger, faster market for the gigantic new institutionalized money pools that were more and more coming to be stock market players: pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, and insurance annuities. In doing so, we changed the buy-side/sell-side relationship from the “old-boy” concept of doing business based on whom you knew to open, fair competition based on price. It was new, different, initially lucrative, and fun, and I was proud to be one of the young turks making it happen” 

“didn’t love Wall Street just for the money, I also loved it for the lifestyle it provided. The Street promised vast riches—although few of the great fortunes have been made there. From John D. Rockefeller to Sam Walton to Bill Gates, great financial success comes from starting businesses with concrete products in the real world, building jobs, creating value, and helping people. But in those years, the practical comforts of prosperity, together with the delights of the job itself, kept me engaged and happy.” 

“As a kid from the provinces, I had a lot to learn, not only about the Street, but about the amenities of high-style Manhattan living. I still remember the first time I went to a fancy New York French restaurant, La Côte Basque, in 1967 with Dave Osborn, a cosmopolitan salesperson who started at Salomon the same time as I did. (He became a general partner the same year as I, and got thrown out of the company, years later, on the same day yours truly met his demise.) I couldn’t stop gawking. It was my first time in such opulent surroundings. A dozen people were seated around a table featuring the largest flower centerpiece I’d ever seen.” 

“The woman seated to my right talked to me only when she had to, and in an accented English I couldn’t readily understand. Her topics of conversation were equally incomprehensible, and certainly as inapplicable: Where did my family have vacation houses in Europe? In what country was our yacht registered? Where did we keep our plane? My late father, who never earned more than $6,000 per year, would have chuckled. And in front of me was more silverware per place setting than my family owned in total. I’d never seen forks and spoons set across the top as well as down the sides. Needless to say, I waited for others to start each course and just followed along. In addition to showing me the life of high society, Osborn taught me about expense accounts. We took customers to the theater, to sporting events, to breakfast, to lunch, to dinner. We even took them to conventions, to golf outings, and to ski resorts out West, all on the firm’s money. Everything was always first-class as we went about cementing those “vital client relationships.” Yes, it was legitimate business, but it was whatever tickled our fancy, when, where, and with whomever we chose.” 

“Sometimes, I thought I’d gone through the looking glass into another world. Once, we cruised uptown in a big black limousine. The only other time I’d been in such a car was at my father’s funeral. At our destination, someone tossed the driver fifty dollars— for what would have been a two-dollar ride in a cab! That amount of money would have covered my entire week’s personal, social, and food budget. Funny world. Funny money. And different from everything I’d ever known. * * * 

“six, I became a buddy of the managing partner. I would stay later than everyone else except for John Gutfreund. When he needed someone to make an after-hours call to the biggest clients, or someone to listen to his complaints about those who’d already gone home, I was the someone. And I got a free cab ride uptown with him, the No. 2 guy in the company. Making myself omnipresent wasn’t exactly burdensome—I loved what I was doing. And, needless to say, developing a close working relationship with those who ran the show probably didn’t hurt my career either.” 

“I went to work at six-thirty in the morning. By seven-thirty or eight o’clock, all potential renters visiting Cambridge had called our company and booked their apartment-viewing visits with whoever was there. I, of course, was the only one who bothered to come in early to answer the phone: The adult “professionals” who worked for this company (I was “the summer kid”) started work at nine-thirty. Then, all day long, they sat in wonderment as person after person walked into the office asking for Mr. Bloomberg. It’s said that 80 percent of life is just showing up. I believe that.” 

“Although I was serious about my career, I never had a “budget” for my future. Unlike so many of my classmates, I didn’t set out to be a partner or vice president at age thirty, or a trillionaire at thirty-five, or president of the United States when I turned forty. Make a comprehensive scheme for the rest of my life? I had trouble filling out the part of the college application where you’re asked to write fifteen hundred meaningless words about what you’re going to do for the next ten years. Both at business and at home, I’ve never let planning get in the way of doing.” 

“Life, I’ve found, works the following way: Daily, you’re presented with many small and surprising opportunities. Sometimes you seize one that takes you to the top. Most, though, if valuable at all, take you only a little way. To succeed, you must string together many small incremental advances—rather than count on hitting the lottery jackpot once. Trusting to great luck is a strategy not likely to work for most people. As a practical matter, constantly enhance your skills, put in as many hours as possible, and make tactical plans for the next few steps. Then, based on what actually occurs, look one more move ahead and adjust the plan. Take lots of chances, and make lots of individual, spur-of-the-moment decisions.” 

“Don’t devise a Five-Year Plan or a Great Leap Forward. Central planning didn’t work for Stalin or Mao, and it won’t work for an entrepreneur either. Slavishly follow a specific step-by-step strategy, the process gurus tell you. It’ll always work, they say. Not in my world. Predicting the future’s impossible. You work hard because it increases the odds. But there’s no guarantee; much is dependent on what cards happen to get dealt. I have always believed in playing as many hands as possible, as intelligently as I can, and taking the best of what comes my way. Every significant advance I or my company has ever made has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary: small earned steps—not big lucky hits.” 

“Some young people starting their careers today are too impatient for current compensation, at the expense of continuing their education and giving their jobs a chance. Get back to work. Forget the money today. There’s plenty of time for that later. Novices should go to the best firm they can get into—and then listen and learn. The best example of reward for patience (perhaps the best in the history of the world) was when I wasn’t made a Salomon general partner at the time I thought I’d be, and didn’t quit over it.” 

“got interviewed by every newspaper that mattered, and had a great social life playing the role of Wall Street power broker to the hilt. More than “a legend in my own mind.” When the other young turks sat around and predicted who would be anointed with the ultimate reward of a partnership, I was on the top of the list.” 

“Money wasn’t the issue. I’d long since paid off my loans and was living a respectable if not extravagant life. I took the subway to work, I went to free concerts in Central Park, and my most romantic dates were beer and pizza with a girlfriend late at night on the Staten Island Ferry (five cents round-trip, food and drink extra). I lived in the same one-room studio for ten years and didn’t bother to own a car. I never spent a lot, but I also don’t remember wanting anything I didn’t just go out and buy. Good times, great friends, fantastic job, lots of cash: I had it all. Still, the prestige of the partnership mattered more than everything in the world to me. It was the in- your-face statement to the world that I was the best, that I could go to the top in the most competitive environment there was. The B School kid had used his smarts and skills to work his way up the ladder. I’d earned this partnership, and now I wanted the public acknowledgment of my value once and for all, as a big fish in the big pond. Maybe it was all in my head, my private inferiority complex. But, no question—becoming a general partner in Salomon Brothers was my holy grail!” 

“Fortunately, after work, my normal evening jog alongside the East River let me take my anger out on the pavement rather than on management. The next morning, I went to work and did one of the largest trades the firm had ever done up to that time. I dotted every i, crossed every t. I focused. I worked. I smiled. I dialed. Was I stronger than everyone else? No one would come close. I would be as good at not making partner as I was at 

aiming to be one. “Screw ’em!” Three months later, with no warning, the firm had an unscheduled partners’ meeting in Billy Salomon’s office. The participants came out stern-faced and silent. My boss, Jay Perry, walked over to my desk and stood behind me with his back to the others. “What do those idiots want?” I growled without picking up my head. “They’re going to make you and Don Feuerstein general partners,” Perry said.” 

“Billy never gave me an explanation for why they’d made me a partner then and not three months earlier. He was, as I have become, a member of the “never apologize, never explain” school of management. Asking him would not have been good form. And there was no chance I would have gotten an answer anyway. So when he gave me the good news, I didn’t ask why they’d waited. I said, “Thank you,” politely but not profusely. Even when I got what I wanted and deserved, I would be tougher than the rest.” 

“Someone once said, “Be nice to people on the way up; you’ll pass the same ones on the way down.” I believe in treating associates well, but not for that cynical reason: Having been both up and down repeatedly, my experience says you pass different people as you go through the inevitable cycle.” 

“We know that,” Gutfreund said. “We want you to go upstairs and run the computer area.” * * * 

“I had stirred the pot, lost the battle, and was paying the price. And though John Gutfreund supported me almost to the end, eventually the consensus in the Executive Committee would be unanimous. They won. I lost. It was time to go.” 

“had nine great years at Salomon as a general partner, fifteen in total. I loved going into the office every single day for the entire decade and a half I worked there, even those days I knew would be tough. I made an unimaginable amount of money. I got some (but not all) of the acceptance and prestige I thought my due. And what I learned—not to mention the money I made—would provide the foundation for the company I created after I left.” 

“At age thirty-nine, the third phase of my life was about to start. With whatever values my parents had taught me, $10 million in my pocket, and confidence based on little more than bruised ego, I started over. A month after the 1981 meeting in Tarrytown, I realized that Goldman Sachs, the firm that had offered me my first job in 1966, wasn’t going to call and offer me a partnership. If they had, I’d probably have accepted it just for ego reasons.” 

“As to retiring, I’ve always been too restless. I’d go crazy just sitting around. So the last option, chasing the great American dream, seemed all that was left. Resources weren’t a problem. I didn’t have to worry about feeding my family. That gave me the luxury of time. I had capital to fund a new business (thank you, Salomon Brothers). I knew how to manage and always thought both names on my old business card (Bloomberg and Salomon) mattered. Thus, I could be an entrepreneur rather than an employee if I wanted to. Did I want to risk an embarrassing and costly failure? Absolutely.” 

“Happiness for me has always been the thrill of the unknown, trying something that everyone says can’t be done, feeling that gnawing pit in my stomach that says “Danger ahead.” Would it be nice not to have uncertainty, to sit back and “veg out”? When the phone rings constantly, when people keep demanding attention, when I desperately need time to myself” 

(I was once quoted as saying, “Sunday night was my favorite because I knew when I awoke the next morning, I’d have five full days of fun at the office.”) 

“My talents, my experience, my financial resources, the momentum provided by the American economy— everything fit. I would start a company that would help financial organizations. There were better traders and salespeople. There were better managers and computer experts. But nobody had more knowledge of the securities and investment industries and of how technology could help them.” 

“All I had to do was find a value-added service not currently available. I conceived a business built around a collection of securities data, giving people the ability to select what each individually thought the most useful parts, and then providing computer software that would let nonmathematicians do analysis on that information. This kind of capability was sorely lacking in the marketplace. A few large underwriting firms had internal systems that tried to fill this need but each required a PhD to use and weren’t available off the shelf to the little guy.” 

“At a time when the U.S. budget deficit (financed by billions of dollars of new Treasury bonds and notes) was poised to explode, such a device would appeal to everyone working in finance, securities, and investments— combined, a very big potential market for my proposed product.” 

“If you’re going to succeed, you need a vision, one that’s affordable, practical, and fills a customer need. Then, go for it. Don’t worry too much about the details. Don’t second-guess your creativity. Avoid overanalyzing the new project’s potential. Most importantly, don’t strategize about the long term too much.” 

“In our early years, one venture capitalist who was on the boards of two successful companies came to see us. This guy was one of those self-entitled men who had been born on third base and thought he’d hit a triple. After telling us that everything we were doing was wrong, that we were too unstructured to survive and were stupid because we were unable to predict future growth with clairvoyant specificity, he left to advise his partners not to buy from Bloomberg. The reason? We didn’t show much interest in his views on how to run our company. He sure was right on that account.” 

“At Bloomberg, we’ve always built the product first. We think about accounting and shipping much later in the process, when those functions become important, at the point where we’d better stop and refocus or get into trouble. Selling is the only process we run simultaneously with development from the start. That gives us feedback as we build and makes the customers part of the evolution process (they come to believe it’s their product). This strategy may not be without risks, but I’ve always thought it ridiculous to make the wedding arrangements before agreeing to the marriage.” 

But the real world throws curveballs and sliders every day, as well as the fastballs you practice against. You’ll inevitably face problems different from the ones you anticipated. Sometimes you’ll have to “zig” when the blueprint says “zag.” You don’t want a detailed, inflexible plan getting in the way when you have to respond instantly. By now, you either know what you can know—or you don’t and never will. As to the rest, take it as it comes.” 

“She was right, of course. At the same time, I do find myself more understanding, if not outright sympathetic. It’s scary taking a chance. If l hadn’t had the money from the Salomon sale bonanza, would I have made the leap? Funny, the older I get, the less simple life looks.” 

“Then, to maintain both the style and substance of independence and honesty, as we began getting some basic systems together and building the fundamental financial-information database, we took pains to differentiate ourselves from anything we had previously worked on. We used a different brand of computer. We wrote in a different computer language. We documented when and where we collected information. We even picked a different terminology and syntax for our entire system to use. After all that, it turned out that nobody ever questioned our honesty, but better safe than sorry.” 

“Our style then was pretty much the same as today. We took the problem and broke it down into little, manageable, digestible pieces. Then each of us took responsibility for the one we were best suited to do.” 

“Tab,” “Alt,” and “Ctrl” disappeared, though we brought them back when computer literacy improved. Function keys were labeled in English—no technical gibberish—for parts of the market that the Terminal has data on, such as “Equity” for stocks, “Comdty” for commodities, and “Muni” for information on municipal bonds. Making something practical (“user-friendly” in computerese) became our hallmark.” 

“I had convinced these people to follow me, and if the venture had not succeeded, I would have failed them, their spouses, and their children, as well as our prospective customers. Fortunately, however, even had I wanted to leave this enterprise behind, there was no graceful way to exit (thank God for ego!), so we plowed ahead.” 

“The same is true for those in commodities—from cattle and coffee to soybeans and sugar—who use Bloomberg to stay on top of constantly fluctuating markets. Research analysts rely on Bloomberg for up-to-the-second, accurate data, news, and intelligence. And before the cloud ever existed, we had created one of our own. From the beginning, the Terminal has allowed customers to create and store as much of their own content from its myriad functions and data so that they can return to it, add to it, and amend it as they see fit. We write code, creating a never-ending stream of functions, but we also give customers the power to tailor those functions around their own individual and highly personalized needs and to keep those permutations in safe storage for future use.” 

“Some people say we’re like Google for the financial markets. The analogy works, up to a point. Like Google, Bloomberg collects, categorizes, and stores vast amounts of information that can be retrieved instantaneously— and it’s something that people rely on every day. We employ thousands of people and sophisticated technology to make sure that the information and data we provide is 100 percent accurate. When our customers search on Bloomberg, they know they’re not getting any fake news or phony data. They would never stand for it.” 

“When I saw that screen light up that day in the Merrill Lynch offices, I lost any residual doubt that Bloomberg could make it. We had picked just the right project. It was big enough to be useful, small enough to be possible.” 

“Start with a small piece; fulfill one goal at a time, on time. Do it with all things in life. Sit down and learn to read one-syllable words. If you try to read Chaucer in elementary school, you’ll never accomplish anything. You can’t jump to the end game right away, in computers, politics, love, or any other aspect of life. * * * 

“We had a cup of coffee together, and by the time the meeting ended, a handshake. His company got absorbed into ours. He collected data better than anyone else and loved the process. His eyes lit up when he talked about information gathering. That’s the kind of person we want in our company—people who love what they do.” 

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And having one happy customer would lead to the next. For example, the Bank of England, one of the world’s oldest central banks, became a customer within two years. (Bloomberg’s London building, opened in 2017, is now just across the street.) The Vatican became a customer by the mid-1980s. (When their electricians seemed to take forever to install the wire needed for our Terminal, a nun in their funds’ management office told us she’d have the Pope bless our cabling to make the installation process go more quickly. I don’t know if he did, but the next day the installation was completed.) By the 1990s, the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements, and every Federal Reserve Bank all became Bloomberg clients. 

“Moving from “hands-on” to “hands-off” management was a gradual, and not all that pleasant, process for me. I like doing things myself, getting my hands dirty. If we were to grow and not be dependent on yours truly, turn it over I must. That doesn’t mean I was happy about it, but the more we grew, the more I came to appreciate the importance of delegation. Anyone who tries to micromanage a large organization will fail in the end.” 

“Outsiders at best do only what’s asked. Insiders do what’s needed. Even today, when I watch a visitor throw a paper towel toward a wastebasket in the bathroom, miss, and just walk away, I want to scream. I react the same way when I see someone walking by a piece of scrap paper on the floor and ignoring it. Perhaps I’m compulsive, but I stop and pick it up, even at someone else’s place. Your company is one of your families, and the office is that family’s home.” 

“To run our organization, we’ve got to be consistent. But that doesn’t mean we have to have the same consistency forever. What’s appropriate in one part of our development isn’t necessarily so in another. Henry Ford’s infamous, arrogant statement that “You can have any color car you want as long as it’s black” wasn’t wrong. It worked for his company when he was the only large maker of autos. But he ultimately switched to a multicolor strategy when others came along with comparable vehicles and changed the competitive landscape. My job is to recognize that time in our business in advance and lead the organization into the new world.” 

“Bloomberg has always treated its existing customers at least as well as its new ones. Not everyone else does the same. The next time a magazine subscription comes up for renewal, watch what happens. The first request asks you to pay full price. Don’t sign. The second’s at a lower price. Don’t sign. The third’s better still. Let it expire and they’ll practically pay you to subscribe again. Why some companies give a better deal to their worst customers, I’ve never understood. What’s the incentive to be a good client? Treat your customers well and they’ll stay with you forever.” 

“At Bloomberg, we have a published price for the Terminal and generally stick to it. If we do make an occasional exception, it’s usually for the small shop on the verge of bankruptcy. My sympathies have always been with the struggling up-and-coming firm anyway. We were once like that, and to this day I remember who helped us and who didn’t.” 

“Unbeknownst to me, Winkler had already come to see Bloomberg as a major threat. I would find out later, to my great pleasure, just how many of his Wall Street contacts, who were also my close friends and customers, agreed with that view. He was a well-connected reporter. In his ten-year career, he had written about financial markets for all the big Dow Jones media platforms—Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, and Dow Jones News Services. It was as a Wall Street Journal reporter in London in the mid-1980s that he first learned of the Bloomberg Terminal —then a beige box with a small amber computer screen that flashed “what if” scenarios for the bond market. He was interviewing Merrill Lynch trader Mark Cutis, who had a rare ability to explain which bonds from the United States, Japan, or Germany were cheap or expensive on any given day.” 

“We’d been able to beat the Fed at its own game by becoming a benchmark for yield information. The New York Fed had procrastinated for years on its promise to automate the delivery of its daily U.S. government securities price list.” 

“Sounds like this guy Bloomberg is doing to financial information what American Airlines and United Airlines electronic reservations systems have done to the travel business: become influential by getting everybody hooked onto their data.” 

“We’ve got the best people in the world working here. All of them think they walk on water. All of them are workaholics. Once they come, they stay for the rest of their lives because they love it. They’ve built the better mousetrap. They’re doing something important. Giving the little guy the information he needs to fight. Having fun. Staying ahead.” 

“Smith told him what everyone he asked would tell him, that the Bloomberg Terminal did a great job of doing what no other system did—letting him see which bonds were cheap and which bonds were expensive, without having to rely on the calculations and spiel of a bond salesperson with a vested interest in which securities he purchased.” 

“buyers were stuck paying the price set by sellers—and the smaller the buy-side firm, the more they were at the mercy of sellers. Sure, buyers could shop around. But that takes time. And they had no negotiating leverage because they had no independent benchmark for knowing real-time pricing. That’s what Bloomberg provided.” 

“In short, Bloomberg disrupted the relationship between the sell side and buy side by empowering the buy side with information that previously had been almost entirely in the hands of the sell side. The sell side wasn’t too happy with us, to put it mildly, because we provided accurate historical and real-time data to their customers, who could now refuse to pay inflated prices.” 

“The industry was ripe for disruption. If we hadn’t done it, someone else would have. We just saw it before anyone else—and we gave it a harder shake than anyone else dared.” 

“media people are often both ignorant and contemptuous of financial news in general. In the field of journalism, business and finance have never been the subjects of choice.”

“From the beginning, we tried to be different. We built a unique product: We combined text and analytics with computer-driven tours that let readers automatically see the calculations and graphs of what we wrote about. We gave an illustration to complement what we told in words, then followed up with words to expand what the illustration showed. Our policies were not the same as at other news organizations: We made sure every company’s earnings were reported as soon as we had them, instead of using the big-companies-first pecking order that was customary among wire services—and left shareholders of smaller companies in the lurch during earnings season. Thus, we had some content long before our competitors. At the end of each story, we gave our reporter’s name and phone number. Unlike everyone else, we built customer access to our people rather than protection from our clients.” 

“(If this sounds strange and antithetical to the basic American idea of healthy competition, remember that big companies have lots of different divisions. You compete with parts. You buy from some, you sell to others, and you might not even notice that additional ones exist. Those kinds of conflicts and the tolerance of them are just the way the world works.)” 

“At Bloomberg, we have never sought eyeballs at the expense of accuracy.” 

“And the more that other news organizations acquire a reputation for tilting left or right, the more valuable our reputation for playing it straight—and getting it right—becomes.” 

“Remember the Germans and then the Japanese versus Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers? If you have to compete based on capital, the giant always wins. If you can compete based on smarts, flexibility, and willingness to give more for less, then small companies like Bloomberg clearly have an advantage. The world changes every minute, and you forget that at your peril.” 

“Airlines, he argued. I’m not sure that’s true, but I know this: Those enterprises that see new needs and react more quickly, win!” 

“Every problem is an opportunity, as the saying goes.” 

“A subscription to Bloomberg costs about $22,000 a year. That works out to about $88 per work day. When customers complain that it’s expensive, we tell them: If you can’t make $88 a day using Bloomberg, you have a bigger problem than our bill.” 

“When I first wrote this book, in the 1990s, it was clear to me that the transmission of all forms of media (including radio, television, and the Internet) would become increasingly personalized, allowing users to tailor their consumption of news—from sports and weather to stocks and politics—both around their interests and their availability. Here is how I saw it back then: “Technology is beginning to allow each of us to listen to whatever we want, where and whenever we want it. The more people can specifically select what to hear, the more demands there will be for our diverse group of short ‘wire service’ reports, and the more value we’ll get from our far-flung journalists generating multiple stories each day. Better radio means more Bloomberg.” 

“I’ve always had sympathy for a guy with an idea or two who doesn’t take no for an answer.” 

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A few days passed, then I got another call from Fram. This time he rattled off a whole bunch of reasons why Bloomberg Financial Markets was made for TV. As I listened to a longer version of the pitch he’d made a few days earlier, it occurred to me, “One of us is stupid—and it isn’t him!” So I hired the three of them that day, and we took our first steps into the world of sound and pictures.” 

“We already had a big IBM machine to handle bookkeeping, so extending its use to the trading floor made sense. One computer or another computer—they all seemed the same. We would just wire them together and get what we wanted. It would be simple and noncontroversial, and I would be doing Salomon a big favor. Or so I thought.” 

“Fair enough. I didn’t want to give up my block trading power base anyway. It just meant I now had to do my regular day job with stocks and simultaneously develop a computer system in the evenings. No sweat. What I hadn’t counted on, though, was the committee’s insistence that I create something for fixed income as well as equities. That directive shouldn’t have surprised me actually, as bonds were Salomon’s first love. Since the beginning of the century, Salomon Brothers’ primary business had been making markets in government and corporate debt. During the First World War, Salomon Brothers & Hutzler was one of the biggest sellers of the Liberty Bonds that financed our military.” 

“The new technologies required less menial support and changed rote jobs into ones requiring thought. To protect their turf, those vulnerable pulled out all stops. Additional dissension was created by outsiders. With IBM’s dominance of the data processing business at risk, its salespeople resorted to lashing out at all involved.” 

“Management has to reconcile the conflicts between stated needs and what can be delivered, and when that’s not possible, to make the decision for everyone, a priori. Companies in the end need direction, not discussion.” 

“The information retrieval system we built at Salomon in the early 1970s was rudimentary by later standards, but it made Salomon more productive versus its competitors, and more knowledgeable than its customers.” 

“My function became more about encouraging others, soliciting new ideas from everyone (“Let’s develop a real estate product”), and making sure we allocate resources to new, innovative, and risky development projects (“We need to do something in insurance”). Still today, my job is to ensure that new products come alive at Bloomberg and to integrate them with the rest of our system (“Let’s go after the energy market’’).” 

“Openness also shows off our most important asset, our people. They are the company. You can replace our technology, data, reputation, and clients, but you cannot duplicate the group we’ve put together and the culture they’ve developed. We are a team. Every year, to increase intracompany and interfamily communication, we have a huge company summer picnic with spouses, children, and significant others. (Our kids learn where Mommy and Daddy go during the day and whom they work with.) We constantly encourage one another. (We play sports together, work on charities as a group, teach one another new skills.)” 

“Everything is designed to maximize interaction and collaboration.” 

“We have no reserved parking spaces for senior executives. If you want to leave your car right by the door, just come in earlier. Creating class distinctions isn’t constructive. That’s why I don’t believe in executive dining rooms either. The issue isn’t fairness. If we constantly remind those people at the bottom that they are not at the top, do you really expect them to be “gung ho” about the company?” 

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davidsonhang View All →

Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills

People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.


Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.

It was hell.

After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.

Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.

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