03 March 2011

Peter and the Wolves

Peter Huntsman, second son and CEO of those Huntsmen, spoke to my Global Management class today.  A few takeaways:

  • Huntsman looked a little like Dr. Wilson, AKA Robert Sean Leonard.
  • He makes more in a day than I did my entire first year teaching: which comes out to about $10.3MM annually.  So it was nice of him to donate his time today. 
  • Pakistan is the most dangerous nation in the world.  Between 10-25 nukes, an unstable autocratic government, Islamic jihadists, and numerous border wars, it's a powderkeg.
  • Although China's GDP growth is about 3x that of the U.S., in actual dollars it's a wash since America's GDP is about 3x the size.
  • Brazil is more or less a Chinese colony at this point: infrastructure comes in, resources go out.  This change (from being a U.S. colony) has happened over the last 24 months.
  • The U.S. is foolish to be so dependent on oil (which is not news, by any means, but was strange to hear from a major chemicals/polypropylene guy), because none of the world's major oil exporters are friendly to the us: Iran, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, Libya--not exactly the Fans of American club.
  • "We don't live on a gold standard. We live on a hydro-carbon standard."  I am still envisioning  Huntsman as William Jennings Bryan: 
"Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the laboring interests and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a [hydrocarbon]standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of [oil]."
  • America needs to invest in green tech and infrastructure or be left behind.
  • It's cheaper to hire Chinese labor in Taiwan or Singapore than in China.
  • No one who has ever run an effective business for any period of time believes that the customer should always come first.  Safety, profitability, employees, then customers.  Customer are the end result of an effective business, not its platform.
  • Be passionate about what you do.  "I'd rather see a passionate truck driver than a miserable millionaire."

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