Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spotting opportunities the President Clinton way

One of President Clinton's best friends is Ron Burkle. An unlikely pair, Mr. Burkle was a successful and very Republican entrepreneur when they met. According to the New York Times, they first met when Mr. Clinton was running for President in 1992 and touring neighborhoods in Los Angeles that had been set on fire during riots after the acquittal of police officers charged with beating Rodney King. Mr. Clinton noticed that some supermarkets were still open, and asked why. He was told that those stores were not burned because the owner, Mr. Burkle, treated his customers and employees fairly. Mr. Clinton asked to meet him. This illustrates how he not only observes what was happening around him, but had the curiosity to want to learn more.

His aides quickly set up a meeting with Mr. Burkle at Burbank airport. He was then a registered Republican who ran a chain of California supermarkets. The two men drove to a political event, then kept talking in the car for 45 minutes. Mr. Burkle said he came away in awe. Their relationship grew during his presidency, when Mr. Clinton was a frequent overnight guest of Mr. Burkle's. Since then, Mr. Clinton has been part of Mr. Burkle's investment funds and has made a lot of money from them.

The lesson to be learned is that Mr. Clinton notes all that he sees, is curious, finds out the answer, and then acts on the idea. Too many people are not curious or action oriented.

No comments: