Mark Stevens CEO of marketing firm MSCO, Inc.| Author of Your Marketing Sucks
So I read a NY Times story on Larry Page the other day. Among other interesting things, Google’s co-founder says that when he contemplates what to do with his $40 billion (and growing) of wealth, he prefers to eschew the standard philanthropic behemoths and hand it over to Elon Musk.
Now, this must drive those who detest the one-percenters bonkers, but it’s really ingenious.
Think of it this way. Page did his finest academic work at Stanford, so he would classically be inclined to bequeath his fortune there.
But what would Stamford, Harvard or something allegedly more worldly like the U.N. do with the money? Well, it’s hard to tell how they would allocate the dollars, but it is certain that they would squander it the way committees and bureaucracies always do.
In fact, when you look at Harvard’s nearly $40 billion endowment, and you see how it is invested, you recognize that in some ways the elite schools are hedge funds masquerading as centers of learning.
Back to Page and Musk. One thing we can be sure of us that if the former was to give his fortune (or any part of it) to the latter, there isn’t a committee in the world that would get its hands on it and most important it would almost certainly advance the state of mankind.
Look, the term “the internet of things” is now an overused and overblown concept, something in the category of “the cloud.” But if there is a person on earth who is “the internet of entrepreneurs,” it is Page.
This is one smart man, perhaps a genius, certainly in a league with few others. So when he has an idea, we should expect it to be novel. And we should learn from it.
Giving his money to Musk would break all the rules and perhaps start a new and extraordinary trend.
Yes, Warren Buffet has given much of his bankroll to Bill Gate’s foundation, in part because he knows Bill’s team will manage it well. And that’s wonderful. But Page has something vastly different in mind:
Give all or part of your money to a private enterprise catalyst, knowing that while it may earn him and others even more of a colossal fortune, it will move the needle for all of us.
This violates everything we think about philanthropy. And in the process, may be the best thing that ever happened to it.
High Page rank, for sure!
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