Talent, skill and luck.  Three big words of which two are deeply misunderstood! In this episode of the BD-Insider podcast, I speak with my friend Roland Meerdter about what these words really mean in business.

Roland is the founder and managing partner of Propinquity Advisors.  a strategic consultancy firm focused on the investment management industry.

He helps his clients -  typically large investment groups - to develop and implement customised strategies. He assists them with their distribution effectiveness,  building more robust product platforms and even improve investment capabilities.

Before that, Roland was actually one of the largest professional fund buyers in the investment industry when he was at a major financial institution but he doesn’t only know a whole lot about how asset management companies work, but his time in the family office space also gives him a deep understanding of how high net worth investors think as well.

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I’m in regular contact with Rolland and I have learned that there are few people who understand the asset management industry as well as he does.

What we discuss in this podcast:

The term ’ talent ’ is used so causally that its meaning is diluted. There are really very few talented people in the world and it seems that the ability to identify and harness true talent is even more uncommon than talent itself!

This is probably because true talent is usually unpredictable and therefore very difficult to manage. Most large organisations and their shareholders don't like surprises nor the uncertainty that comes with cruising through uncharted territory.

We’ve confided in a system where a premium is put on experience. While many believe this to be the trumping formula there is enough evidence around us that 'newcomers' have not only transformed the way things are done but have also created new paradigms.

I’m referring to people like Jeff Bezos of Amazon,  he was no expert in the book business, but that didn't stop Amazon from re-defining how this industry works forever.

And you can't really bring up Jeff Bezos without also mentioning Steve Jobs.  It's not  about only what he achieved in the computer space, but even more so how he redefined the entertainment industry.  Again, Steve was no 'expert' and had little to no experience working at record labels or film production houses.

What we also know is that Steve religiously shunned 'experts'! Amazon, Apple, who's missing?  Google of course!

Google may also have changed the world forever, but it seems like they’ve only just begun. Think about all the mysterious work they are carrying out at their secretive but fascinating division called 'Google X'. We don't exactly know what goes on in there, but if exploring solutions to transport, commercial space travel and asteroid mining are some of the main activities we get to hear about, it makes you think that we may still not be able to handle nor comprehend all the other things their talent pool is tinkering with!

These are just some of the most obvious examples, but our progress has always been made by visionaries who spent most of their lives getting laughed at for their ideas.

And for those who finally found success, was it because of talent, luck or skill?  That is what we discuss in this podcast...