What Michael Bloomberg Taught Me About Business

Michael Bloomberg is the billionaire founder of the financial services data and media company, Bloomberg. He was also the 108th Mayor of New York. He’s confident, outspoken and has strong views on how to start and run a business. I learnt about them in his autobiography. Here are the highlights:

  • Outwork competitors. You can control how hard you work
  • Take more risks than others
  • Invest more in the long term
  • The greatest asset is people, invest in them and reward them
  • Don’t mistake your product for the device that delivers it
  • Never let planning get in the way of doing
  • Don’t fall for step-by-step strategies of process gurus – predicting the future is impossible
  • To succeed you need a vision – one that is affordable, practical and fills a customer need
  • Bank and venture capitalists can be the worst enemies of entrepreneurs – they create doubt in the entrepreneur’s minds, they kill off what’s different and special
  • Build product first, then think about accounting, shipping etc later
  • Ignore consultant’s advice of building in controls at the beginning – it diverts from producing anything at all.
  • Plan things out and work through real-life scenarios – but don’t worry about infinite downsides
  • Micromanaging a large organisation will lead to failure
  • Outsiders (e.g. consultants) at best do only what’s asked. Insiders do what’s needed.
  • Treat existing clients as well as new ones
  • If someone chooses another product because of small price differentials, they are not a long-term customer.
  • Technology is no substitute for management
  • Make the office space as attractive for employees as the client spaces
  • Diversify only when it fits with what you already do


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