Billionaires Have Quick Reaction Times to Both Opportunity and Crisis.

Here’s a great story from Martin Fridson about the importance of quick reaction time to crisis. Future billionaire Phillip Anschutz was contract drilling for Chevron in 1968, when a spark from a truck set his entire field ablaze. 

The young Anschutz found himself facing total ruin as he had borrowed heavily to secure the lease for the field.  Imagine yourself in his shoes. The average person watching his capital go up in smoke might have been forgiven for curling up into a fetal position on the floor. Not Anschutz.

Billionaire Phillip Anschutz

Billionaire Phillip Anschutz

What he did was quickly buy up the lease of his panicked neighbor by assuming his liabilities and then raising $100,000 by selling Universal Studios the rights to film his burning oil rigs for their film Hellfighters, which had John Wayne playing the famous oil field fire-fighter Red Adair. This money allowed him to then hire the real Adair to put out the fire.

In the end, Anschutz realized a “healthy profit,” according to Fridson.

How would you have reacted if that had been your oil field? Would you have been frozen with panic or would you have focused on finding the opportunity? Would you have even considered the possibility of an opportunity existing in the situation?

4 Responses to Tycoon Profiles: Phillip Anschutz

  • Ahh the days before Viral Video.

    These days it is the website and webcams that would make the money .
    You could run an online lottery to bet on when it will be put out.

    Sell advertising on the website to fire fighting companies and their products.

    Sell affiliate products.

    Sell tickets to the movie production and it’s grand opening $100 a plate dinner (Proceeds to charity)

    Collect on your insurance?


  • too inspiring

    • A less expensive lay out would be to buy all the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate you can get your hands on, grab all the sticks off all the trees then charge big bucks for the largest televised S moors making contest and pledge a small part of the earnings to a few camps for the underprivileged. And of course bid the rights to televise it to the highest bidder. Could be fun and funny and a great human interest story. Thanks, Michael

  • Acquisition and expansion is the way to survival and growth, not capitulation or downsizing!

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