The year 1776 and America is receiving independent from Britain. Just like a new born baby everyone is excited and devising new ways to celebrate.
In 1800’s economy is growing and among the first financial empire are being built into this era of opportunity.
It’s already 1837 and a new steam (train) ‘kukuru kakara’ is starting to transform America by creating new and exciting opportunities and it’s during this time that a man is born. His name is J. Pierpont Morgan.
His loving father without doubt notices his gifting in business and he starts grooming him for a career by teaching him the necessary discipline. As a child he is constantly alone as he is prone to some disease that keeps him out of school. He uses this time to play solitude game to relax and calm his nerves as well as learning some history of his favorite character, one being Napoleon.
He is 20 already and through his father connection he lands a job in New York as a bank clerk.
For him no shirking like almost all 20’s in our job market but he works hard, methodically and orderly. He uses the opportunity to create network with established people in that market. He is already being noticed for his good aptitude in numbers. He is being described also as a man who has black eyes that are similar to floodlight of oncoming train and this make him popular and intimidating and he knows it. He believes that opportunity only smile at those who act first and when he has an opportunity to trade he jumps in.
It’s 1861; he quits banking and goes to do his own businesses. Civil war breaks out but he avoids going by paying another person to fight on his behalf. He uses this time to create and build his business. Fortunately at this time business is booming. Thank God he is gifted with a business instinct and is able to read an opportunity and investing in it.
Enough of this man life, but what did he do for America? This man emerges who is able to pull the financial strings of the entire country as he brings order to chaos. At this time America needs a lot of capital and Europe can provide. Fortunately his father is working as bank manager there hence; he is able to partner with him. He is managing to make deals with local banks and building a reputation of getting what he wants.
He is directing his money to the right companies and doing partnership with banks to build financial powerhouse. He is bailing out a lot of the companies and in return demanding a chance to sit in the board. There are these Railway companies with unfair competition by building railways next to each other and definitely one or both are heading for a collapse.
He is called to save the situation; he locks the managers in his yacht demanding them to reach a compromise by agreeing to keep each other way.
It’s already 1893, gold reserve of the America is running out and soon the government will be unable to pay its debt. He meets the president and cabinet suggesting a solution that the next day would end the crisis. It’s happening again in 1907 a trust company has collapsed; there is a panic in the Wall Street. He brings bank presidents together and saves his government. This man becomes the first man to build one billion dollar company.
Oops! he decides to take side in politics, bringing issue with Roosevelt government who closes down Northern Security Corporation for supporting the just assassinated president. His power of persuasion is unmatched though.
It took America 50 years after their independence to build their railways. During this time their economy is fragile and constantly in crisis. Wall Street is starting to take shape as we have seen powerful men like J.P Morgan taking the center stage. Competition is fierce and corporations are outdoing each other. Politician are adversely affecting business by directly or indirectly passing laws targeting them. But American had J P Morgan!!
Interestingly when I assess our economy I see it in a similar environment at the moment. Kenya economy is at the stage where it can be described as fragile. We are easily swayed and we are constantly falling into economic cycles. We are about to be graced with the standard gauge railway which like in America may transform not only the transport sector but also manufacturing sector.
Politicians are passing policies and rules targeting businesses; Equity bank mobile phone banking being delayed for years. Nairobi Securities Exchange is taking shape as we are seeing specific investors acquiring a controlling stakes in different listed companies. But our young people unlike J.P Morgan are growing wanting to venture in business but they lack people to groom them with the discipline.
Most of them wait till they join a graduate program and by this time the society have made them believe shirking is a part of job description. They grow knowing they need to shout the loudest when it comes to politics even they wait to be paid to fight. A generation that has zero interest in the history of their economy having forgotten things as soon as they stop trending in their walls.
A people who instead of cultivating their time to become innovator and use their business instincts to became entrepreneur they are obsessed with social media. They are stealing from the nation causing panics. Instead of realizing the nation needs capital to grow they are gathering as much and keeping the money in developed nations. Companies are spending fortune to make their competitor look bad instead of using the amount to develop their investment.
What I am saying is that even as our nation gets into this truck of growth economically we need young people who would have an aptitude and attitude of J. Pierpont Morgan.
Youth who can confidently say “the first thing is character, before money or properties under my account, before money or anything else, money cannot buy it because a man that I don’t trust cannot get money from me”