Business Wisdom from Charles Koch

This is a very insightful interview with Charles Koch from Koch Industries. Money quotes below.

On what his business will be in 10 years:

The future is unknown and unknowable. This is the perspective of a book called The Black Swan. The future will be comprised of facts that are outside our present concept of reality, so we have no idea what the future will hold.

On the best advice he’s been given:

People are economizers and want to achieve things with the least amount of effort possible. They sometimes learn things superficially, which is where buzzwords are employed. People tend to emphasize form over substance, but we need to develop what Polanyi called "personal knowledge." This involves not merely knowing concepts, but knowing how to do something instinctively, without thinking about it. It involves the ability to think ahead and focus on success in the future. A chess game is an illustration. The master chess player has not merely mastered how each piece moves or developed a few opening and closing strategies; the master chess player can think at least 6 moves into the future, understanding how to trap his opponent and win the game.

On studying business in school:

Studying business in school is way overrated. There seems to be absolutely no evidence suggesting that people with a business degree excel more than those without one. As you go to college, you don’t want specifics on how to run a business; you will learn this as you go along in real life. You need to have fundamental tools, such as reading, writing, doing math and science, understanding reality, and having good values that enable you to work with people and create real value.

(hat tip: Arnold Kling)

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