(Originally posted on June 3rd 2009)
Last evening to this morning has been busy with meetings I have been in meetings, conferences and seminars before where it mostly was useless and a waste of time. To quote a song by Brad Paisley; it was “Like a long sermon on a pretty Sunday”. Starting the day with Janwillem Acket the Chief Economist at Julius Baer was nice. He always has interesting and solid comments. Attending a meeting where Marc Rowan from Apollo Management was the main speaker was insightful. This was later followed by another event where James Caan of Dragons Den fame. Both of them were at opposite ends of a scale. Marc Rowan is someone who keeps away from the limelight,down to earth,approachable and warm.James Caan on the other hand is in the spot light, distant and slightly pompous. What he had to say about the markets made a lot of sense and his approach to investing is sound. You can read his interviews on the Bloomberg website. The most charismatic person I have heard speak was Colin Powell. He has a powerful aura about him. The most chilled person was Sir Richard Branson. He spoke via a teleconference from Necker island in the Carribean which is part of the Virgin Group. How cool is that? The most passionate person I have heard is Sir Bob Geldof. In the finance world in addition to Janwillem Acket; David Darst, John Paulson and Ken Griffin are absolutely brilliant. Warren Buffett is another person whose interview I love to watch. However unlike James Caan I cannot make a claim of sitting next to and having a chat with him. The thing that impressed me about them is their humility. Everyone knows how good they are. They know how good they are. However they do not parade themselves and blow their own trumpets.