“I do not create. God creates. I assemble, and I will steal from anywhere to do it.”
(George Balanchine, NYC Ballet cofounder)

I do not suppose Mr. Balanchine ever harboured intention of enjoining the general public to engage in plagiarism. Rather, as many so enlightened; he embraced that our known world had few uncharted territories of learning. Even in ballet. To establish an emergent style of ballet which he could call his own, he merely fused Imperial Ballet School techniques with other schools of movement to create his signature style in ballet neo-classics.

As it is with many, before charting our own paths; we model ourselves after masters. “One Thousand Ways To Make 1000 Dollars” was Buffett’s childhood favourite. I too, had my band council of leaders to draw inspiration from. A council whose ideas I distilled into a framework of variables. A framework I would later call on, to mix & match into successful outcome. This, I replicated in my career, with global creativity awards and recognition as part compensation.

With career success behind me as my K2, I sought out entrepreneurship as my Everest. While not alien to my prior experience in profit and loss accountability, the task before me appeared daunting. I needed new heroes to inspire, and certainly not of the kind who called on a literal walk on coals of fire. So, my search for the eternal wellspring of business inspiration started. Warren Buffett – checked, Sara Blakely – checked, Evan Carmichael – checked, Steve Jobs – checked, Robert Kiyosaki – checked, Riadys – checked, etc.

None satisfied … until I reached back into the treasure trove called Home. Stories shared at childhood by Dad. Microfiche reader scanning at the National Library Of Singapore. Google searches during the occasional business downtime. There it was, still buried under sands of time and minor tinges of shame over the loss of significant family wealth. In contrast, I saw it differently. Here was a trove of invaluable business lessons. Lessons on things to repeat and things to avoid.

Starting with a rice merchant trade from Rangoon, Burma; the family emphasised English education. Long before “global”, “multinational” and “transnational” were coined as words; the family established a trans-regional trade company, dealing in pepper and tin, out from branches in Rangoon and Calcutta, India. On this foundation of both profit and education, our family diversified its trans-regional and domestic business into tax farming, real estate and mining in Malaysia, among others.

Those were golden days. Days which would later be overcast with dark clouds. To follow my story as I morph from ladder climbing, and into ladder ownership; share Post.

Until next time,

- A.Lo (live.freeInversionista)

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