Look, I’ve done a lot of crazy shit in my life; jumped off buildings, driven at 200 mph and even experienced some high stakes in my days, but never have I (or would I) ever gamble my future multi-billion dollar companys’ last $5,000 – unless I was Fred Smith, FedEx’s CEO.
I don’t know about you, but personally, if my entity needed some urgent financial backing, especially if it was running on its last $5,000, I would hit the bank or contact the family for some help – but considering Smiths’ luck on the blackjack table, that’s the first place he headed to and just “let it ride.”
Thankfully, Smiths’ 6th sense for cards really saved his ass as he managed to pull in the right amount of cash to keep his baby alive. Today FedEx pulls in an amazing $26,5 billion – annually!
Don’t believe a word Im saying? Read the founding executive, Robert Frocks exact words, as he tells the rather funny and risky story about how they made it out of that “sticky” situation:
I asked Fred where the funds had come from, and he responded, ‘The meeting with the General Dynamics board was a bust and I knew we needed money for Monday, so I took a plane to Las Vegas and won $27,000.’
I said, ‘You mean you took our last $5,000– how could you do that?’ He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘What difference does it make?
Without the funds for the fuel companies, we couldn’t have flown anyway.’ Fred’s luck held again. It was not much, but it came at a critical time and kept us in business for another week.
It’s almost surreal, yet an important reality check that snaps you out of the imaginary world you live in and allows you to embrace that fact that, shit does happen. If one card was swapped out, hitting him up with a, I don’t know, five of diamonds or whatever, FedEx would’ve been an ugly sounding name by now and not the flashy multibillion company it is today.
Now obviously I’m not telling you to “invest” your start-up funding on the black-jack table or any other table for that matter, I’m justing saying that this shows how an entrepreneurial venture is never as simple or one-dimensional as it seems to be at first. It gets ugly, you’ll hit a bunch of walls, stumble over a bunch of obstacles, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the ability of persevering – keeping on going. But sometimes, when worst does come to worst, drastic measures are needed for drastic times.
God bless Smith for being so unbelivalbly lucky, not blowing his 5k in the first round – but honestly, we’re not all that blessed. I remember loosing $900 on one hand…don’t even know how it went that far. Anyways, when taking risks, make sure it’s a calculated risk, a risk worth taking before you decide to “beat the odds.”
You see, risk is a big part of life and I strongly believe it reflects on an individuals’ character. Everything from relationships and investment aspects to picking the right smartphone and choosing the right apartment – it’s all about risk, or rather, opportunity cost.
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