iOS app Android app More

<i>Fortune</i>'s Stanley Bing

Fortune's Stanley Bing

Posted: February 21, 2008 12:44 AM

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Moguls


1. They don't sleep. I know quite a few people who have received phone calls full of ideas, dyspepsia and wind, from their mogul who is at that moment on an exercise bicycle... at 3:00 AM. The mogul never acts like it's weird to be calling at that hour. They just get lit up about something and because their personal boundary mechanism is out-of-whack, they don't realize it's inappropriate for them to do anything at all, let alone put on their headsets and get cracking in the middle of the night. Many claim they get some of their best ideas at that hour. This remains to be seen. Many things look either too good or too bad in the small hours before dawn. Since moguls have NO bad ideas, they default to the former.

2. They therefore come in very early and are often the last to leave. Many is the corporation where the boss's car is the first in the parking lot in the morning and the final one to go through the security gate at night. This is not necessarily because they are the hardest working person in the company, although sometimes they are. It's because the silence in their home is so profound that it can't be faced while sober, and it's not acceptable to start drinking at dawn. The office, jammed to the brim with people who will listen to the mogul's noise and respond with some of their own, is far more congenial.

3. They eat blueberries. A few years ago it became mandatory for all moguls to become interested in anti-oxidants and proficient in their use. Now you can't sit with a bona-fide mogul without engaging in extensive conversation on the issue. The good news is that holding up your end of the conversation won't be a problem, because the mogul is doing it for both of you.

4. They are in 24/7 electronic communications. I saw a mogul in the shallow end of the Four Seasons swimming pool in Beverly Hills last month, talking into thin air on his Bluetooth headset. That's what I'm talking about.

5. They yell. Actually, I should add to that. He was YELLING into his Bluetooth headset. Moguls love to yell the way babies love to cry. It's one of their ways of expressing frustration, hunger, pique or rage when words fail them. It gets results faster than calm discussion or even a crusty memo. Also, the same way nobody civilized will yell back at a baby, nobody in their right minds yells back at a mogul, either.

6. They love their hobby. Warren Buffett recently told CBS News that he is so passionate about bridge that he would prefer it to the sight of a naked woman. The exact quote was, "You know, if I'm playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't ever see her." In short, they play as hard as they do other things.

7. They are only comfortable around other moguls... even ones they do not like. Which explains Davos.