Mike Bloomberg is an business magnate, politician, and philanthropist whose net worth is estimated at US$43.3 billion. His salary for his third term as Mayor of New York City was a whopping $1 per year. If that is true, he was the Mayor of the largest city in the U.S., for free.
As founder of Bloomberg L.P., one of the world’s most successful media companies, he is widely admired and respected as a bold and visionary businessman. As mayor, his actions have been labeled as petty and short-sighted.
Here are the 10 success lessons from Michael Bloomberg – “Poor Little Rich Boy” for entrepreneurs,
1. A Class by himself
If there was ever a public official who deserved to be called a “poor little rich boy,” it would have to be Michael Bloomberg. One of the 20 richest people in the world, according to Forbes, the last thing he needed when he launched his quest to aright the tilting Titanic that is New York City’s financial and educational systems was the aggravation that comes with the thankless job of being mayor. Throughout his many years in office, he tried to love the job, but it turned out to be the type of job that would never love him.
2. Love what you do
On loving what you do Bloomberg says “It must be miserable to wake up everyday and hate what you do. Go and do something else. If you hate it, how can it be worse?”
You’ll never be great at something if you don’t like doing it.
3. Leverage your losses into wins
Bloomberg had been a general partner at investment bank Salomon Brothers when he was laid off in 1981. Although a sizeable severance package eased his pain, he decided to use his knowledge of the industry and the money from his former boss to create a juggernaut of a company – Bloomberg L.P.
His company would install special information terminals at different investment firms (beginning with Merrill Lynch) to give them the most up to date and accurate information about publically traded stocks. By 1990 Bloomberg had installed 8,000 of his terminals, leverage his unexpected layoff into a huge win. He has stayed in control of his company and still owns 88% of it.
4. Don’t be afraid to try something new
Although Bloomberg knows the world of finances better than anything else, he’s not afraid to try new things. For example, WBBR AM in NYC (a news station) is part of the Bloomberg radio network.
Starting a radio network was surely outside of Bloomberg’s comfort zone, but he tried it and has been happy with the results.
5. Pay it forward
This is one of my favorite things to talk about when studying the lives of billionaires. I love to see how they pay forward the results of their success and hard work.
In his case, Michael Bloomberg (according to Forbes) has spent “$53 million effort to boost the declining fish supply in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines. Last year he also pledged $100 million to the Gates Foundation to help fellow billionaire Bill Gates eradicate polio.”
6. Keep perspective
Bloomberg says “I’ve never had a bad job. I’ve only ever had two bad days in my life – when my mother died and when my father died. Apart from that, how bad can it be?”
As long as you’re alive and your family are alive, suck it up.
7. Show your face
This is important regardless of how “high profile” you are. It is even more important when you are a well known figure in the public or within your company. People (i.e., me in those days) want to know who they are working for. The more I get to know you, the more willing I am to work hard for you. The Mayor had a daily lineup of events, press conferences and meetings. He was busy. But he would come to our office when he was in the neighborhood. Even if only stayed for five minutes to ask how things were going, or hold a quick meeting for voters in the community and our volunteers, he was not a mystery.
8. Celebrate small victories along the way
Bloomberg was a pro at this. A few months before the election even took place, he threw a massive party at the Chelsea piers on the West side of Manhattan, along the Hudson River. Why? Because he was in the game. Because it was a close race and he had a small lead. Because he was a few months away. Because he wanted his staff to feel appreciated and celebrated.
9. Be genuine
Bloomberg says “There is a characteristic that all good leaders have and it’s that they’re genuine. Will this person be with you in the trenches, go over the top, or will they stay back and say ‘you go’?”
Bloomberg’s speech may be harsh and direct but at least it’s genuine.
10. Work hard
“If there’s only one key to success, it’s hard work. I always give the most difficult and complicated assignment I have to the most overworked person in the company. There’s a reason they don’t have time – work is a marketplace and it’s telling you this person is good.
“When I worked at Salomon Brothers, I was always the first person in the office in the morning. The second was Barney Salomon, the managing partner. So if he wanted to know the football scores or if he needed a match for his cigar, then he’d come over and talk to me. All it was, was coming in early. If you like what you’re doing it’s fun, if you don’t it’s miserable.”
Take working hard to the next level. Get in early, leave late, and and go further than your competitors.