I’ve heard some people describe the economy of the future as ‘post-corporatist and post-capitalist’–one in which large corporations crumble and all innovation happens from the bottom up. What nonsense. People who say things like that never have a convincing explanation for who will make drugs or low-cost carbon-free energy. Catalytic philanthropy doesn’t replace businesses. It helps more of their innovations benefit the poor.
I like to sit and think and I like to spend a lot of time doing that. Sometimes it’s pretty unproductive, but I find it enjoyable to think about business or investment problems. They’re easy, it’s the human problems that are the tough ones. Sometimes there aren’t any good answers to human problems; there is almost always a good answer with money.
I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.
Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body – the producers and consumers themselves.
The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.
You can’t build a great company without great people. But how do you know them when you see them? Over the past few years, a number of companies in a wide range of industries — from airlines to steel, computers to hotels — have asked themselves what separates their winners from their losers, good hires from bad, and they all arrived at the same answer: what people know is less important than who they are. Hiring, they believe, is not about finding people with the right experience; it’s about finding people with the right mind-set. These companies hire for attitude and train for skill.