Partying with a great American
I'll be honest. Davos, er, the World Economic Forum, is full of plastic people and lots of bullshit. That's what fame, power, and money do to many people.
I told +Loic Le Meur
that I was getting tired of Davos but then I spent a couple of hours getting to know Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, and everything changed.
Those of you around a few years might recognize that name. His brother, along with many employees, were killed on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. That got him to spend Cantor Fitzgerald's profits on the families of his employees. That is a story that alone places him amongst the pinacle of corporate leaders in the world.
I knew that story and had already thanked him at a previous Davos for being a great American but tonight he pulled me aside and told me the rest of the story.
He explained his mom died when he was 12 and that his dad died the week he got to college. How? A nurse killed him with an accidental overdose. That alone shocked me, but then he explained how his dad's brother totally failed to step up and take care of the kids, so Howard took over.
I don't need to tell you the story. He told it to his college.
One thing I remember is that he told me the dean at his college called him into the office after his dad died and said something like "don't worry about paying for your education."
He told me tonight that that gift was forgotten at the time. He couldn't process how nice it was because he was struggling to help raise his siblings and just keep his shit together.
But that played a key role later during 9/11 because he realized the role of taking care of people during chaotic times.
As he was telling me this story tears were rolling down my cheek. I have interviewed thousands of corporate leaders and I haven't once heard a story as compelling as Howard's.
Have you? Watch his speech and see if you can keep it together.