12 July 2010 - Phuket, Thailand.
I’ve spent many long slow lazy hours strolling down the beach watching all the fisherpeople live their lives along the Phuket coast. Lately I’ve also reconnected with my banking friends and heard many stories about life back in the ‘real world.’ It reminds me of [bxA] a parable a friend of mine (NK) shared with me during my banking days in Houston circa 2003:
An investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.
The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the fisherman how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, "Only a little while."
The banker then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish?
The fisherman replied he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The banker then asked "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The fisherman replied, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends: I have a full and busy life, you see."
The investment banker scoffed, "I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution."
Then he added, "Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the city where you would run your growing enterprise."
The fisherman asked, "But how long will this all take?"
To which the investment banker replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then?" asked the fisherman.
The investment banker laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions."
"Millions? Then what?"
To which the investment banker replied, "Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends."