What 3 Billionaires Taught Me About Empowering People

All 3 billionaires used the same model, with a slightly different approach.

My interactions with billionaires has shown it pays more to empower people rather than use them.


The punch list:

  • You can’t create a billion dollar net worth without leveraging value from people.

  • Billionaires get value from people differently. Empowering not extracting.

  • All 3 billionaires used the same model, with a slightly different approach.

My business partner and I, pitching to Mark Cuban other Sharks

Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks Owner)

Lesson: Belief > Support

When I met Mark Cuban on the set of Shark Tank, I remember two things vividly. One was how energetic he was to hear that we hustled our way from $500 bucks to generating 7 figures in business. Two was the reason he passed on our deal.

He said, “I understand but I don’t think you guys are capitalizing on a big enough idea. I don’t see the vision.”

What I learned that day was the importance of belief. With true belief, you stick through any fluctuations, and give support selflessly. Mr. Cuban investing in a company without believing would of led to unreliable support and fleeting motivations. In a world where people constantly like, follow, and share things they don’t care about, he only invested in what he believed.

We should all make a habit of backing people we believe in, not just supporting for the sake of support.

My business partner and I meeting with Jeff

Jeff Sprecher (Chairman of NYSE, Founder of ICE)

Lesson: Power between People

When I met Jeff in his Atlanta office he started the meeting with one simple question… “How can I help you?”

It caught me off guard and I didn’t know what to answer. “Just advice on growing the company.”, I said. He started digging into the details, gave some high level advice, and eventually came back to the same question. This time I specifically said, “Selling the product to schools.” He replied, “Done.” Then he intro’d us with a high level connection in the city of Atlanta. Someone that could make things happen.

I learned that connecting people is more valuable than helping people. I realized no matter what problem I said, his answer was always going to be an intro to someone else. At some point we have to stop trying to be the answer to everyone’s problem, and start connecting the 7 billion people who already have answers.

My business partner and I celebrating with Daniel and Barbara!

Daniel Lubetzky (Founder of Kind Bars)

Lesson: Kindness is a skill

While I also met Daniel on the set of Shark Tank, my most memorable moment with him was months later.

My business partner and I had a video meeting scheduled with Mr. Lubetzky but I couldn’t make it because I was sick. By the time of the rescheduled meeting, I was hospitalized in worse condition. I ended up joining from the hospital bed, in pain, and unfocused. I thought for sure after he’d be frustrated and lose interest. Instead, he secretly got the info of my hospital room and sent a huge care package filled with gifts, snacks, and notes not just to me but to every patient and nurse on my floor.

I learned that kindness is a skill that exponentially cultivates goodwill and performance in people. Because he led with kindness, my nurses showed me extra care and attention. His kind gesture made me feel valued, built our business trust, and spread goodwill to the whole unit. Turns out when you lead with kindness, others feel their best, perform their best, and hope for the best.

Overall I learned that empowering people will get you much farther in life than using them.

Or said simpler, remember to treat people like people.

In progress,


P.S.- Here’s how you can find billionaires yourself…and fast…

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