stop referring to people as white, black, other etc. Stop discriminating and basing our decisions on personal identifications. This has nothing to do with work ethic, knowledge, or skill. Being responsible and taking accountability is imperative…
I had the pleasure of interviewing M.L. Billion, Entrepreneur and Chairman of Billion Schmidt Private Equity Firm. M.L. Billion is a graduate of the University of South Africa and earned a Juris Doctorate in Law. Prior to Billion’s 16 years of commodity trading experience, he launched his career on the commodities trading floor of Saudi Aramco in 2002. He rapidly excelled in the industry and by 2005 became the head of Saudi Aramco’s Oil Futures Trading Division. He serves as chairman of Billion Schmidt PEF, a Private Equity Group geared towards buying and selling businesses and further acquisitions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When my career first began, I was working for my mentor. I spent months taking the bus back and forth from my storage unit, to his house. I spent the bulk of my days’ time as his assistant working for him and going to my night job when I finished. I scrubbed the sides of yachts, I cleaned cars, I ran errands, I attended business meetings I even signed the papers he told me to sign. I learned more about business every single day, and in everything I accomplished. At one point, he challenged me with the task of raising capital from every which direction I could, and he never uttered a word thereafter. I continued to work every day nonstop. On a normal day for me he would call me into to his office and disclose to me that the whole time I’d been working for him and learning, he was transitioning me into a millionaire. All of the documents I signed, and money I raised resulted in me actually becoming a wealthy man. And I say wealthy because everything I learned up until the day my mentor passed, taught me what I need to know to continue building wealth and maintaining it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
So it’s a not so funny, but funny story. Long before the development of my automated trading software, I traded manually. Trading manually has to be one of the most stressful things in life and any trader can tell you this from when they first began.
I spent years, even before I started trading, studying the wiggles and jiggles of the different markets. When I actually began my trading career and trading manually, I immediately began losing money. There were great days, there were bad days and I continued to push through. The thing about the markets though, is that you NEVER know what it is going to do, even when you think you know, you don’t. I made that mistake many times and got beat over the head 100+ times before I finally learned my lesson. When I thought the market was going to go up, it went down. When I thought it was going down, it went sideways. When I thought it was going to chop, it would shoot up!
I decided shortly after that I didn’t want to be bullied by the market any longer. So I built a trading floor and hired employees to lose for me. Turns out they couldn’t follow directions so I sold the floor and moved on to what led to the creation and development of BOS Billion Operating System.
Moral of the story? Don’t ever think you know the markets, because you don’t, and you will get bullied.
Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important for a business to have a diverse executive team?
If one individual holds an organization on their back, it makes it so much more vulnerable to the outside world and any competition. The lack of diversity in your team will result in slowing down its ability to innovate, build, and increase profitability. It is actually paramount for each person to have a specific skillset to push the entity forward, it builds personal development. Different people have different experiences and backgrounds to pull creativity and thought process from. This will promote a successful and healthy working environment.
More broadly can you describe how this can have an effect on our culture?
When there is no diversity in leadership as a whole, it hinders the attraction of a profitable future. The world and everyday ideas change every day. For the diversity of a team not to expand when the world is constantly changing, is detrimental to the success of any establishment.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do help address the root of the diversity issues in executive leadership?
If we stop referring to people as white, black, other etc. Stop discriminating and basing our decisions on personal identifications. This has nothing to do with work ethic, knowledge, or skill. Being responsible and taking accountability as leaders of growing entities is imperative as well for the leadership to expand.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is solution without question and accountability without excuse. When a person is able to come up with a solution to any problem without waiting for someone to fix it so that they can move forward, is leadership. Being able to successfully come up with solutions for yourself and for others in order for your organization to move forward and being able to take responsibility no matter the outcome, is leadership. When you have the brainpower to think for a group of individuals and remain balanced in life, that’s leadership.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I don’t wish I was told anything differently. If I had to go back, the only thing I would do is go even harder as my younger self and push myself even further. I had a wonderful mentor who, if he was still here today, sure enough I would still be going to see him and learning as much as possible from him.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love it if the individuals I’ve taught, teach others and to continuously create opportunities for each other into perpetuity, especially for those that are willing to be the best version of themselves.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
When you learn to stop running from failure, you will run into success. I had to stop making excuses for myself and for others and get out of my own way.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Carl Icahn, one of the greatest businessmen throughout history. I would like to know how I could become him.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!