I recently had the privilege of attending a five day leadership course at Stanford University in America.
The course required around 60 hours of pre-reading and study on the successes and failures of a variety of businesses and their leaders including; Dell Computers, British Airways, IBM, Harrah’s Casinos and Da Vita Kidney Dialysis Centres.
Class would start at 8.00am and run until around 9.30pm each day.The classes were facilitated by the Professors of Stanford University with the MC for the sessions being Bill Barnett; Facility Director for the Stanford Business Faculty.
I’d like to talk about a few of the highlights of the course. On the Friday we were taken to Silicon Valley and visited a number of businesses one of which was Scanadu. There is a passionate belief held by Scanadu that healthcare around the world is broken. It is the last remaining infrastructure of the industrial age that is yet to be decentralised, waiting for the empowered medical customer to take the place of the patient. They are developing a mobile auto-diagnosis tool, smaller than your phone, to monitor and diagnose a multitude of health conditions that an individual may have.
Another business was Moon Express who have set themselves the ‘modest’ goal of of putting the first commercial robot on the moon and winning the Lunar X-Prize. The aim is to use this robot to mine the moon for various metals and minerals to be sold commercially back on Earth. We visited their office at the NASA building where I met some of the people responsible for putting the robot on Mars!
After five days of these amazing experiences I was, as you can appreciate, completely overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm of the people I met and the passion they had for developing exciting solutions to the needs and problems of the world at large. However I was about to truly have my mind ‘blown away’.
The final visit was to Singularity University. The institution was founded by Dr. Peter Diamandis and Dr. Ray Kurzwell to leverage the power of exponential technologies in order to solve humanity’s grandest challenges.
One example of these type of technologies that we discussed is the driverless car. The thinking behind the vehicle is that humans have a terrible track record behind the wheel. Driving whilst drunk or on drugs, texting or falling asleep leads to tragic deaths and horrendous life altering injuries. The cost to society is huge, from grieving families to police and other emergency services attending the scene and the pressures put on our hospitals. There seems to be no end to the misery, suffering and cost; they simply ask “Why should we put up with it?” Remove the driver from the equation and the change will be profound. If you think the concept is a bit pie in the sky or like something from science fiction I need to tell you that the car has been built and it has already accumulated 500,000km’s on the roads of California with no accidents and performs better in precision driving tests than any human!
So what does all this mean for you, a valued client of Income Solutions looking to build wealth. (Or a future client, looking to join our team) As you know our definition of wealth is; an absence of financial worry, an income stream that you won’t out live and a meaningful legacy for those whom you love. I have never been more convinced that our philosophy and investment strategy of owning the best businesses in the world and living off the dividends that they produce for us, their shareholders, is the very best way to create such wealth.
The market will capture all of the value that these new technologies produce and reward long term shareholders as it has done for centuries.
The trip was a wonderful experience and I thank you for continuing to be a client of Income Solutions, for giving me the reason and purpose to continue investing in my Purple Box ( education ) and for continuing to work on ways to make our business and its people better so as to ensure we look after our clients to the very best of our abilities.
I hope I have been able to convey the excitement I have for the future, there is so much more I could say but in respect of how busy I am sure you are I will leave it at that for now.
By David Ramsay
Income Solutions Financial Planning