If you’re so clever, why aren’t you rich? This is, I think, the ultimate put down for every armchair expert and would-be-Zuckerberg nerd the world over. I’ve only heard it used once or twice in real life because it is the ultimate weapon – which can easily rebound or elicit a mutually assured destructive response. I’ve never seriously considered using it – except in obvious jest with old friends – because like starting a chat up line with reference to the size of your old man – you are hopelessly and helplessly vulnerable to any third-rate, clichéd response.
But still, it’s a question I would almost certainly blurt out if I ever found myself face to face with Mr Charles Green. Like North Korea facing off the USA with my latest intercontinental firework – I wouldn’t be able to resist it – just for the hell of it – just to see the reaction.
Mr Green wants us to believe he can turn £5.5m worth of fourth tier, tainted brand into £100 million per year turnover with routine Champions League, a global fan base and £500 million capital value. Where others have only tasted fleeting success after starting from more favourable beginnings and burning millions – Charles will turn base metal into a shower of diamonds. What is the magic that Mr Green will unleash on an unsuspecting football world – what super powers does he possess and most importantly if he’s so clever – why isn’t he rich already? I mean Richard Branson rich, James Dyson rich, Philip Green rich, Bernie Ecclestone rich, Mike Ashley rich – forget Alan Sugar for now – he’s not quite a billionaire yet.
Most men, for it is only men, who “buy” a football club regard it as a hobby, a trapping of success along with yachts, jets and trophy wives. I remember reading that Abramovich has three yachts and that the oldest, tattiest one is worth more than he has ever spent on CFC. But here we have Charles Green, in his later years trying to squeeze a pension pot, worth less than a decent box to box midfielder out of The Rangers FC.
Before we go on – a little perspective – let’s be clear that Charles is probably wealthier than the rest of us already – even before his intended big pay day from TRFC. £350K/yr salary with expenses and assured bonuses in the pipeline is not too shabby. But, and it’s a big but, in the pantheon of household-name millionaire and billionaire wealth creators he’s still back in economy, next to the toilet, with the rest of us – a no-mark wannabe.
So Charles, how to get rich? John D Rockefeller had the most succinct strategy, “rise early, work late, strike oil”. But for the rest of us the best I can offer is what the wealthiest relative I have told me when I was a boy – wealth being entirely relative. To do well “Become an expert at something, work really hard at it for a long time and one day you’ll probably become wealthy”. He was thinking law, medicine or architecture rather than mega-brands, retail, hoovering or formula one – but you get the idea. I’d also add the bon mots a colleague has at the bottom of her emails “You are what you do repeatedly”. Well that’s fine for her because she is hard working, productive, creative and too charming to ever resent. But where does that leave you, me and Charles.
So what has Charles become an expert at? What has he worked really hard at for a long time? What has he done to prepare him for the business alchemy he has promised so far and so wide? How does this experience match up to the profile of those we know who have succeed on a monumental scale?
I will defer to Ecojon’s and Adam’s detailed analysis of Mr Green’s business track record, but from my understanding his primary and considerable skill is attracting millions and millions of investment to AIM level IPOs worldwide. In essence he sells the dream of significant, short term investment gain through presentations and schmoozing. He then formalizes the pitch into a prospectus and sets a price the market will bear. Once the IPO has been a success, and many are, he then seems to make a reasonably quick exist to repeat elsewhere rather than sticking around to do the spade work of delivering the prospectus. His reward seems to be some mix of a decent director salary, a percentage of the investment raised and some near-zero cost shares that may have considerable valuable after any lock-in period, depending upon jurisdiction, or may not
But each pitch is potentially harder than the last, starting from scratch in front of a new audience and overcoming the scepticism of the wise and the well researched whilst sniffing out the diminishing pool of the well-healed and “willing”. Not a bad business model for a quick witted individual who’s kissed the blarney stone – but not a model that will get you seriously rich alongside Dick, Jim, Phil, Bernie and Mike.
Serious wealthy self-made people need to exhibit an amazing compliment of personal traits and learnt skills. The few millionaires I’ve met shine with these – calm, collected, intelligent, measured, charming, interested, focussed, energetic – makes you sick really. But ultimately they need to channel these talents into a realistic business plan with strong themes of repeatability and scalability. Repeatability – earning more from repeat business with satisfied, trusting customers. Scalability – winning more and more customers without losing the ones you have. Billionaire status usually also requires a global dimension: global infrastructure, global supply chains, global management structures, global distribution deals, global marketing, global branding, global partnerships etc. Billionaire one-man-brands also seem to exude a high degree of integrity and honesty that indicates they’ve resisted the temptations of short cuts and dodgy deals along the way as they focus on the bigger prize.
So how does Charles’ experience and talents stack up against the usual profile required for the quantum of success he is striving for – and promising? My personal opinion? I think Kirsty McCall – god bless her – hit the nail on the head “Now don’t come the cowboy with me Sonny Jim, I know lots of those and you’re not one of them”.
Posted by mcfc