Trump: Folically challenged, amongst other issues

From the FT:-

To the bright and the rich of Silicon Valley, Trump is a loser

Set against fellow New York billionaires, he seems little more than a hustler, writes Michael Moritz

More than a few characters have been tweeted through the blogosphere about Silicon Valley and Donald Trump. But few have dealt with the underlying reason for the valley’s antipathy towards Mr Trump. He is, at least by Silicon Valley standards, and to use an epithet Mr Trump so readily lets loose on anyone that arouses his ire, “a loser” — both for what he stands for and because of his business performance.

Silicon Valley winners are people who fashion something from nothing. Many of them are the sort of people Mr Trump wants to keep from entering America and are victims of prejudice and oppression. Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp queued with his mother waiting for food stamps when he came to America from Ukraine. Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo!, could only speak one word of English — “shoe” — when, as a 10-year-old, he came with his mother from Taiwan. The family of Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, fled anti-semitism in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The late, great Andy Grove, the CEO of Intel, walked across the border from Hungary to Austria in 1956. Steve Jobs collected bottle caps to make extra money while at college. Even Bill Gates, though he came from a comfortable family, started Microsoft with a single-board computer and a handful of pocket money.

The women and men of Silicon Valley welcome open borders. They are not nationalists who stir up dark memories of purges, pogroms, the 1930s, Latin-American strongmen or central African dictators. They run their companies eager to recruit the very best — whether they were born in Guadalajara or Chengdu, Hyderabad or Budapest; whether or not they worship in mosques. They do not see women as objects to be abused or demeaned. They are willing to compete with all comers — from China, Mexico or elsewhere.

In Silicon Valley Mr Trump also fails to get more than a passing grade for his business skills because his actual performance, compared to the myth he has assiduously cultivated, is so mediocre. Look at the arithmetic. Assume $30m was plonked into a Standard & Poor’s index fund in 1968, when Mr Trump started to work in his father’s business, and leveraged, like many real estate deals, at about 66 per cent. This would now be worth $4.5bn, or about the same as Forbes estimates Mr Trump is really worth (as opposed to the much larger and entirely unverified number he has insisted upon).

That same sum placed in the hands of Warren Buffett, who has achieved a compounded annual gain of 19.2 per cent since 1965, would be worth $229bn. Even a student refused a degree by Trump University, assuming the academic provost of that distinguished institution could find such a person, would have done as well as Mr Trump by just parking that lump sum with S&P and letting loose the power of compound accumulation. The astonishing thing about Mr Trump’s business career — given what he received — is not how much he has achieved but how little.

You need only glance across New York to find two examples of people whose business careers put Mr Trump’s in the shade. They are Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and one of the great entrepreneurs of the past 50 years, and a less well known figure, Stephen Ross, the founder and chief executive of Related Companies, who has easily beaten the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States on his home turf — real estate.

Compared with Mr Bloomberg and Mr Ross, Mr Trump seems little more than a hustler who takes from the rich (lenders he has short-changed, partners he has sued) and also takes from the poor (hapless students of Trump University, tenants whom he has allegedly bullied).

Setting aside his call for a boycott of iPhones after Apple resisted an FBI request for information, Mr Trump’s recent campaign promise — to pursue Amazon for antitrust violations after the Washington Post owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, published articles that displeased him — illustrates the difference between the Republican nominee and a real winner. Amazon, started in 1994, now has a market value of about $250bn and Mr Bezos has a net worth of $63bn — a figure even Mr Trump might label, should he ever suffer an attack of humility, as “huge”.

About matthewhayesbrognon

Wine Merchant
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