The First Billion is the Hardest by T Boone Pickens
Our biggest problem is leadership. For decades, we've lacked the leadership at the federal level to address our growing dependence on foreign oil.
I went to work in the home office (of Phillips 66) in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Every morning a bell rang at five minutes befoer eight, signaling you to your desk, just like in school. At noon, everyone would be standing by the door, waiting for the lunch bell.
I was twenty-six when I went out on my own in 1954, the youngest independent geologist in the Texas panhandle.
Temptation scares me to death. Just don't go where you are going to get exposed. I'd break down just as quick as the next guy, but I just didn't -- and still don't -- give myself the opportunity.
He (a scion) was the company's (Unocal's) largest individual shareholder and a director. At a director's meeting, he proposed an increase in the dividend. Fred Hartley, the CEO, responded ...
"Have you lost your goddamned mind? Why would we give people we don't know a bunch of money?"
By the early 1980s ...( Thank goodness Delaware stepped up and helped stop this madness )
I figured it was vastly cheaper to look for oil and gas on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange than to explore for them in the Gulf of Mexico or some other untapped frontier...
We would seek out the most vulnerable, undervalued, poorly managed big oil companies, then target one and make a major investment in that company. We would push the management of that company to do what they should have been doing in the first place: returning value to their shareholders. There was a steep discount in the value of these companies when measured against their underlying assets, in this case, oil and gas.
The Delaware court decision, however, struck many financial experts as a potentially dangerous step. Felix Rohatyn, a partner of the Lazard Freres investment firm and one of the most outspoken critics of Pickens-style hostile takeovers, blasted the decision because it violated the principal of investor equality. Said he: "This creates two tiers of shareholders. The vaccine is as bad as the disease. It's crazy."
My grandmother had six small rental houses. She said if I would mow the lawns, she would furnish the mower. She asked me to bid on the job for the summer. I didn't know what she meant. She explained that if I came up with a price for mowing the six lawns that was acceptable to her, she would pay me that price and we would have a verbal contract.
I offered to mow the lawns for ten cents a lawn, thinking that would be a lot of money...
Then it started raining...
"This was a very bad summer, and you made a bad deal," my grandmother told me. I couldn't help agreeing. "I'm going to help you out, Sonny."
"Grandmother, what are you doing to do for me?"
"I'll sharpen the lawn mower."
"Is that all?"
"Sonny, these are the kinds of things that you will never forget," she said. "I can assure you, the next time you bid on a job, you'll give a lot more thought to it."
They (rail bums) would get off and walk down the street looking for something to eat. We lived three blocks from the railroad. Guys would come to our house and ask for food.( that's one wicked education he got from his grandma )
"I'll feed you if you'll work while I'm fixing your food," my grandmother would tell them. "It'll probably be an hour until your food is ready."
The boxcar bum would carry out the trash, clean the yard, whatever my grandmother wanted.