Founders

#16 John D. Rockefeller (Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller)

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow.

He preferred outspoken colleagues to weak-kneed sycophants. (0:51), Able to ship by water or land Rockefeller gained the critical leverage he needed to secure preferential rates on transportation. (4:21), Often times the most difficult competition comes not from the strong, the intelligent, the conservative competitor. But from the man who is holding on by the eyelids and is ignorant of his costs. (8:11), As someone who tended towards optimism, seeing the opportunity in every disaster, he studied the situation exhaustively instead of bemoaning his bad luck. (9:14), ...as did Rockefeller's decision that the leading men would receive no salary but would profit solely from the appreciation of their shares and rising dividends. Which Rockefeller thought a more potent stimulus to work. (15:47), He had a fanatical desire to control expenses...rooting out any inefficiencies. As a result, his business was much more profitable than other refiners. (21:04), An instrument of competitive cruelty unparalleled in the industry. (29:12), Rockefeller engineered his most important coup. The swift, relentless consolidation of Cleveland's refineries...Rockefeller swallowed up 22 of his 26 competitors. [The Cleveland Massacre] (37:58), It looks like they are selling to Camden so they can get together and fight Standard Oil. But they are selling to Standard Oil. They just didn't know they were selling to Standard Oil. (47:56), It's very hard to compete with someone you don't even know exists. (49:26), By the end of the 1870s, Standard Oil was refining over 90% of the oil in the United States. (55:38), He constantly expounds on this idea that you shouldn't waste time nor money. That they were very much interrelated. He didn't waste his time talking to people...what people call networking now. He just worked. He came up with his ideas and then worked every day to enact those ideas. (58:29), He wasn't one to persist in a flawed situation. (59:27), Success comes from keeping the ears open and the mouth closed. (1:00:55), Do not many of us who fail to achieve big things fail because we lack concentration. The art of concentrating the mind on the thing to be done at the proper time and to the exclusion of everything else. (1:02:13)

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