Exploring Markets

How Being Contrarian Made Carl Icahn $1 Billion

Carl Icahn, the legendary investor, recently wrote about his greatest investment belief. Many of you have probably heard this story before... Be contrarian. But Icahn has a few quotes that really show what this statement means. You can read them below and make sure to read his post in Forbes if you want more:

1. "You are not always right, and it sometimes takes a long time to prove it out. A lot of the time you are early. People thought I was crazy when I bought the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas out of bankruptcy. It was in the north end of the Strip--at the time, a part of town as bad as a Third World country. Then I bought all the homes around the Stratosphere. Even the people in Las Vegas and at the hotel told me I was crazy. But it was the fact that I bought the shacks and the 24 acres next to the Stratosphere that made the hotel very attractive. Goldman Sachs ended up buying the Stratosphere from me, and we made about $1 billion."

2. "Sometimes the best way to make money is when most people say you are wrong and nuts. It's not easy to do, but it's like in the Rudyard Kipling poem: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs."

Warren Buffett's One Tip for Startups and Entrepreneurs

If you're looking to start your own business, or if you're an investor looking to invest in a business, Warren Buffett would tell you to focus on one thing. It is perhaps the most important thing. What is it? It's the customer. If you're going to build a business or invest, you should do it because a customer is happy and enjoys that business or service. He writes this in Forbes:
"Ben Franklin said it a long time ago: "Keep thy shop and thy shop will keep thee." The quaint language aside, it means don't just satisfy your customers – delight them. They're gonna talk to other people. They're going to come back. Anybody who has happy customers is likely to have a pretty good future." - Warren Buffett