Today’s news reminds us that not everyone in a leadership role is really a leader. A true leader sees what others don’t see and goes where they won’t go, clearly out of step with the mainstream, betting on obvious folly, causing peers to think they’re crazy. For example:
-Billionaire investor Ron Baron went on CNBC yesterday to say he has invested $300 million in Tesla, believes he could hold it for 10 or 20 years, and thinks “we can make $6 billion or $7 billion” on it. Baron’s bullishness derives in large part from Tesla co-founder Elon Musk’s insane willingness to bet on the business 13 years ago. As a result, says Baron, “The competition is not anywhere. They could have caught him four or five years ago. But they can’t catch him now. He’s too far ahead.” At Tesla’s recent annual meeting Musk reminisced about the mistakes he made early, which underscores the point: Instead of mistakes, consider them investments in learning that Musk made before anyone else. He has called Apple’s apparent decision to get into electric cars “a missed opportunity” because Apple should have made the commitment years earlier.
No one can say if Tesla will dominate the electric car business as thoroughly as Baron expects. But either way, Musk was and is a genuine leader.
-Obvious folly that didn’t turn out that way is the central story of the U.S. presidential race. Who thought that Donald Trump had a ghost of a chance 12 months ago? It may well be that even he didn’t, and he hasn’t had to make a substantial financial commitment (by his standards) to his campaign because he has been able to attract so much free publicity. But he has made an all-consuming time commitment and will, barring disaster, be the Republican nominee against 1,000-to-1 odds last June. Bernie Sanders probably won’t be the Democratic nominee, but don’t tell him that. As of yesterday, he was still vowing to change the minds of superdelegates and take the nomination away from Hillary Clinton at the convention in July. And who can blame him? No one believed he would achieve any of what he has done so far.
-The latest you-gotta-believe story is the strength of the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson-William Weld ticket. In the latest poll it drew 11% support – to a party that has never previously attracted more than 1% of the vote. Of course it’s ridiculous to think the party could actually make a difference in the outcome of the election. Right?
-Yesterday, Keurig Green Mountain announced it would discontinue its home soda-making machine and lay off 130 workers. The concept, defended tenaciously by CEO Brian Kelley, was clearly nuts, a $370 machine you would park on your kitchen counter and use to make your own soft drinks using pods costing over a dollar each – for an overall cost far greater than that of existing sodas that are backed by billions of dollars in marketing. And you know what? The concept really was nuts.
That’s the thing about genuine leadership. You cannot know you’ll succeed. Not many people like that proposition, which is one reason true leaders are rare.
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What We’re Reading Today
Ousted Lending Club founder ponders takeover
Former CEO Renaud Laplanche has approached private equity groups and banks about raising funds for purchasing Lending Club and turning it private. Laplanche left the company last month after an internal investigation found that $22 million in loans was filed with falsified documents. Lending Club and online lenders have faced doubts about their business practices since the disclosure. Discussions are in the early stages. Fortune
HP Enterprise teams up with Dropbox
HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and Dropbox’s Drew Houston have teamed up as both look for ways to expand. Dropbox used modified hardware from HP Enterprise to store customer data on its own. For HP Enterprise, it’s a chance to show it can compete against lower priced Asian firms while Dropbox has looked to combat a waning valuation by adding more corporate customers. WSJ
Two arrests made in Bill de Blasio investigation
Authorities arrested Norman Seabrook, a powerful leader of a union that represents New York City correction officers, and Murray Huberfeld, a hedge fund financier, on federal fraud charges this morning. It’s linked to ongoing investigations into NYC Mayor de Blasio‘s campaign fundraising efforts. Seabrook and de Blasio were at one time very close. NYT
Criminal complaint filed against Takata
A complaint has been filed over a crash that occurred in October 2015 in Japan. A woman, who drove a Nissan X-Trail, was injured by metal fragments from an airbag inflator. It’s the first such criminal complaint filed in the country over the air bags of Shigehisa Takada‘s company and authorities are investigating for potential professional negligence. Both Takata and Nissan say they’re cooperating with the investigation. ABC News
Building a Better Leader
Workplace stress is costing companies $300 billion a year
It leads to higher health care expenses and more sick days. Business Insider
The U.S. is set to create 7.2 million jobs in the next 5 years…
…and these 10 professions are seeing the most growth. Online retailing jobs will jump 32% by 2021. Fortune
Should executives have tasks of their own?
It may make more sense to have execs only focus on strategy, while others are steered toward execution. The Context of Things
Hillary Clinton wins in California, New Jersey
In a hotly contested fight, Clinton took a commanding victory from Bernie Sanders in California with 56% of the vote. It all but secures Clinton’s nomination, as media reports circulated Monday that she had already garnered enough delegates to clinch the nod. In a speech, Clinton acknowledged her primary win, declaring victory. Los Angeles Times
Sanders presses on
Despite the crippling loss last night, Sanders reiterated that he will not step away from the race until the Democratic National Convention. He added in his speech, “We will continue to fight for every vote and every delegate we can get.” President Barack Obama declared Clinton the victor, however, he has agreed to meet with Sanders at the White House on Thursday. Fortune
Trump attacks Clinton via a teleprompter
After winning five state races on Wednesday, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump gave a much more toned down speech. He even read from a teleprompter—something he attacked other candidates for doing—denigrating Clinton criticizing her quest for power and her performance as Secretary of State. CBS News
Up or Out
Osamu Suzuki, CEO of Suzuki Motors, will step down following revelations that the company used wrong fuel tests on vehicles since 2010. He will remain as chairman. CNBC
Fortune Reads and Videos
Amazon sticks to its promise in India
It will add $3 billion to its Indian investment pool, but it’s unclear how the funds will be used. Fortune
E*Trade enters the robo-advisor battle
Its Adaptive Portfolio tool will also have humans on stand-by. Fortune
The most liked Fortune 500 CEO is…
…Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, the top four most liked CEOs are all in the tech industry. Fortune
Martin Shkreli’s life to become a musical
The disgraced ‘Pharma Bro’ is the inspiration behind a new musical, whose producers are trying to raise funds for a July 19 curtain. Fortune
Barbara Bush, wife of President George H.W. Bush, turns 91 today. Biography
Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords turns 46. Biography