How to build a fortune, education vs actual doing ?

Recently, Amancio Ortega of Spain was crowned the second or third richest person in the world. His name might not sound familiar, but if you heard of Zara, Massimo Dutti, Berksha, then he's touched your life indirectly. Ortega is the owner of Inditex, a massive conglomerate that has $20 billion plus in revenue, with around $5 billion in net profit. The company is valued at around $100 billion plus with Ortega being the majority stakeholder, which makes him one of the top three or four richest in the world.

Is this luck ? No. Is it a sheer coincidence ? Probably. Did Ortega know about his destiny and where he'd end up ? I doubt it. Ortega was born poor to railway workers, left middle school to work in a clothing factory. He picked up operational knowledge of making clothes and started his own firm to become what he is today.

It all makes sense. The last thing on earth you should make is a commoditized product, because it's prone to cycles and ruthless competition will screw your PnL and carrying value of assets on your balance sheet when industry overcapacity kicks in. You should also make a product that's difficult to replicate, such as a product that can be distinguished by a brand or some other aspect that's difficult to copy. This is why Inditex, Zara don't suffer from a reduction in China's GDP, and what happens to Chinese industry overcapacity, or China's central bank's policy rate has no effect on its future. Just compare this to what's happening in the commodity world. All these Ivy Leaguers working in the commodity industry with knowledge of Greek signs can't do a god damn thing to save their PnL in the current market.

Did Ortega know all this when he started in the 1950s ? I doubt he even knows what a balance sheet is when he started out. A few pics of him on Google are good enough to understand that he seems to be quite simple.

There's something I realized recently. If you're after the money. You'll never get to it using what's written in textbooks. What's your income statement, what's your balance sheet, watch your top line, watch your bottom line and keep it positive, watch your debt to equity ratio, and grow them all as much as you can and keep them healthy in any market condition - this is how you build a fortune.

For all of you out there who are less concerned about working for someone else and more entrepreneurial, do you relate ? Do you see what it takes to change the status quo ?

I'm not against education, I actually am a staunch supporter, however the more I look around at those who surround me and have more, the more I feel securing your financial well being is in your own hands and it has nothing to do with formal education. My only goal in life is to stack as much paper as i can, and I realized if you don't have an enterprise, no matter what title you're given at which sexy or heavy hitting firm, you're not going to get there.

Other interesting life stories in include, Dennis Washington and Sheldon Adelson.

I'm thinking about skipping the MBA, rather use that money to start out on my own some day after having a plan worth pursuing.

Any thoughts guys ?

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Comments (19)

Mar 6, 2016 - 9:33pm

But is he happy?

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Mar 7, 2016 - 9:49am

When you look at the extreme outliers on the bell curve you will find that a good percentage of those at the extreme end don't have vast amounts of highly specialized knowledge, but rather are extremely driven or have skills in more important areas such as people skills. Now lets move a standard deviation towards the middle. You will see that here where a larger percentage of the population lies these are generally the highly educated managers and specialists such as doctors and lawyers. These people have an extreme amount of specialized knowledge and education. To say that education is less important than actual doing, when talking about the majority of billionaires I would likely agree with you, when talking about the majority of decamilionaires I would disagree.

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Jan 19, 2021 - 2:25pm

heister

When you look at the extreme outliers on the bell curve you will find that a good percentage of those at the extreme end don't have vast amounts of highly specialized knowledge, but rather are extremely driven or have skills in more important areas such as people skills. Now lets move a standard deviation towards the middle. You will see that here where a larger percentage of the population lies these are generally the highly educated managers and specialists such as doctors and lawyers. These people have an extreme amount of specialized knowledge and education. To say that education is less important than actual doing, when talking about the majority of billionaires I would likely agree with you, when talking about the majority of decamilionaires I would disagree.

It's also a question of survivorship bias.  Yes, there are some billionaires who had no specialized knowledge and still made several fortunes by hard work and good luck.  There are also a ton of people without a formal education languishing in poverty, or who didn't get that lucky break or twelve and ended up going nowhere.  There are certainly more billionaires with formal education than those without, so even on that basis a good education is still a better route to obscene wealth than foregoing it.  And as you note, that education also serves as an additional security that you end up with reasonable means.  It's easy to glorify the hard nosed folks who hit it big without even having a high school diploma.... but there aren't that many of them, and most people in their situation are living in a trailer and barely making ends meet.

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Mar 10, 2016 - 12:35pm

For lazy people, they are. They take every avenue to money that they can think of, so long as it doesn't involve actual work. Getting an education requires some - albeit minimal - effort, thus you have all the millennials and other flat-out stupid, lazy people gathering around the bonfire of the "school isn't everything" thought paradigm.

There are people like this in every generation. In the 90's you had those new-age people listening to Enya. Fact is that in 20 years they'll have grown up and realized they need to get that manager gig at Dunkin Donuts to survive, and they will be the same people you find at some rally demanding government money because "the system is broken," "young people are screwed," "education doesn't work anymore," "I was lucky to have succeeded after all my hard work," and "Wall Street is bankrupting our nation."

Successful entrepreneurs are educated and they are smart. They may not have a PhD in chemical engineering, but they can outsmart 90% of the bozos talking about shit like this on WSO any day of the week.

Mar 10, 2016 - 1:03pm
M- Weintraub:

For lazy people, they are. They take every avenue to money that they can think of, so long as it doesn't involve actual work. Getting an education requires some - albeit minimal - effort, thus you have all the millennials and other flat-out stupid, lazy people gathering around the bonfire of the "school isn't everything" thought paradigm.

There are people like this in every generation. In the 90's you had those new-age people listening to Enya. Fact is that in 20 years they'll have grown up and realized they need to get that manager gig at Dunkin Donuts to survive, and they will be the same people you find at some rally demanding government money because "the system is broken," "young people are screwed," "education doesn't work anymore," "I was lucky to have succeeded after all my hard work," and "Wall Street is bankrupting our nation."

Successful entrepreneurs are educated and they are smart. They may not have a PhD in chemical engineering, but they can outsmart 90% of the bozos talking about shit like this on WSO any day of the week.

Getting an education requires minimal effort? That's only true if you're a liberal arts or business major.

Please Mr. corporate finance, go enlighten the STEM kids who are majoring in Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, ect, about how much minimal effort their major requires.

Mar 10, 2016 - 1:35pm
iggs99988:

QGKZ you are literally the worst poster on WSO. I don't know if you troll on purpose, but this forum would be so much better without you.

You're right. The GS or BUST kids who frequent WSO are much more substantive posters.

Oct 25, 2017 - 1:57am

If you had get right of entry to to an real curriculum in every of the necessary areas, then perhaps. Some matters are even better discovered on one's personal. For example, i commenced studying russian independently and when I were given the danger to take a class in it, i was miles beforehand of my friends. But then i didn't understand that till i had friends to be compared with... Now, much less than a yr later, i have a higher command of it than many people who principal in it and graduate at my university. I suppose unbiased beginners tend to keep themselves to better requirements due to the fact we by no means know when we have performed "enough" reading. So we simply paintings really difficult to "compensate". But language gaining knowledge of is a fairly sincere procedure after you do your studies, and there are whole curricula on-line. A whole job talent set is probably one-of-a-kind. But as you could see, this is the problem. I'm able to only say "probable" due to the fact i do not know for positive.

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Nov 6, 2017 - 3:03pm

Fifty years prior, both South Korea and Finland had ghastly instruction frameworks. Finland was in danger of turning into the monetary stepchild of Europe. South Korea was assaulted by common war. However finished the past 50 years, both South Korea and Finland have turned their schools around - and now the two nations are hailed universally for their to a great degree high instructive results. What can different nations gain from these two effective, yet oppositely restricted, instructive models? Here's a diagram of what South Korea and Finland are doing well.

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Apr 20, 2019 - 7:49am

Educational age is the most important era of the whole life. But this is the immature age and to take the better and best decision for the bright future it is not too easy to take the right decisions. Educational Vs Actual doing will be matched if your interested professional and your educational faculty matches.

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