Ask Lammo: Who is your business hero?

I know, I know.. two posts in as many weeks – I’m turning into a prolific blogger again (don’t worry, it won’t last!). Anyway, I had a question in the Ask Lammo postbag last time that I started to answer but realised that my answer was getting rather on the large side and so perhaps was worthy of being a standalone post.

The question asked was:

Who is your business hero/role model?

Now normally I don’t go in for the whole “hero/role model worship” thing – I try to be my own person, and think you’ll never get far trying to emulate someone else. That being said there are people out that it’s easy to admire their personality traits and business practices. As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve found Sir Richard Branson’s autobiography to be very motivational and inspiring, and I can also say the same about Lord Sugar’s book which I read at the start of this year, although (especially with Lord Sugar’s book) it also served to remind me that I actually don’t want to build a huge business like Amstrad or Virgin, that is answerable to institutional investors, responsible for hundreds of people being able to meet their mortgage payments, and taking me away from watching my kids growing up.

It’s also easy to admire people within the Affiliate Industry as it’s choc full of self-starters and “let’s do it and see what happens” people. Just take a close look at what some of the great folks in AM have done over the years, and you’ll find something in common with most of them – They started with next to no money, had some great ideas and worked bloody hard. Don’t think you can just copy what they did and make it yourself – you need your own “great idea” and your own passion and determination to see it through with a shedload of hard work. My own “Affiliate Heroes” are the likes of Mark Boyd, Dom Hodgson, Clarke Duncan, Frank Paul, and Chris Clarkson (as well as many, many others..that covers those I’ve forgotten lol), who I would class as “Serial Entrepreneurs” – the awesome ideas just keep coming, but unlike most people these guys actually act on those ideas, rather than wait for someone else to do it and then say “I thought of that once”

If I had to choose one person as my ultimate business hero however, without a shadow of a doubt it would be Warren Buffett. Not because he’s the third richest person in the world, but because despite being the third richest person in the world, he’s never forgotten who he truly is, or what makes him happy. He doesn’t work from a 70-story gleaming skyscraper on Wall Street, preferring a small functional unit in Omaha to run his investment business that generates $1.4m in dividends a day.

Just because he’s a billionaire a couple of times over (47 at last count!) doesn’t mean he feels the need to live in the Playboy Mansion either – preferring to live in the home that he bought for $31,500 in 1958. He doesn’t feel the need for the status symbol of a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, driving himself around in a fairly modest Cadillac DTS, and you won’t find him quaffing champagne and canapes with the other “rock star businessmen” – he’s strictly a cheeseburger and coke guy.

What does a guy DO with $47 billion dollars anyway? Well, if you’re Warren Buffet, the answer is.. give it away! He’s pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to good causes, primarily with his good friend and fellow uber-rich-dude Bill Gates. The only problem that faces Warren now is can he give it away quickly enough before he’s earned even more.. if you’ve ever seend the movie “Brewster’s Millions” with the late great Richard Pryor, then you’ll know how hard that can be!

Put simply, Warren Buffett is the most normal, down to earth, rich guy I know – And that’s why he’s my business hero.

Who’s your business hero?

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