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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Tico Fisherman and the Wall Street Analyst

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Costa Rican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.

The American complimented the Costa Rican Tico on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Tico replied, "only a little while." The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish. The Tico said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Tico fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Wall Street executive and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat and a Web presence. A scaleable go-forward plan would provide capital for several new boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to San Jose, Costa Rica, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you would outsource tasks to third-party clients to help run your expanding enterprise in a vertical market."

The Tico fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right, you will announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You will make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you will retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where you can sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, taje siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you will sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

[taken from "Big Brands Big Trouble: Lessons Learned the Hard Way" by Jack Trout. Published in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.]