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Sat Jul 5, 2014, 02:45 PM

Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

By NICK HANAUER | politico

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.


Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

Read on! It gets really good! Lots of great ideas!

More: http://topinfopost.com/2014/06/30/ultra-rich-mans-letter-to-my-fellow-filthy-rich-americans-the-pitchforks-are-coming

5 replies, 2195 views

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Reply Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming” (Original post)
Quixote1818 Jul 2014 OP
edgineered Jul 2014 #1
JustAnotherGen Jul 2014 #2
awoke_in_2003 Jul 2014 #3
Quixote1818 Jul 2014 #4
DAMANgoldberg Jul 2014 #5

Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Sat Jul 5, 2014, 02:55 PM

1. Pity that he sees pitchforks -

the FSM is more current. Pitchforks, as are vampires, are passe.

Maybe changing his insight will have him investing in spaghetti utensils, albeit still missing the point.

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Sat Jul 5, 2014, 03:12 PM

2. Read it earlier this week

He's right!

ETA


The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 5, 2014, 04:12 PM

3. And this...

 

"if workers have more money, businesses have more customers"

So simple to see, but their greed gets the best of them. K&R

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 5, 2014, 08:29 PM

4. Would like to see this guy run for office. I have seen him on TED. nt

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Response to Quixote1818 (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 01:54 AM

5. Someone who gets it...

He has put his money where his mouth is in Seattle. He understands what really works in business. Need more of this.

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