What comes first, the philanthropist or the millionaire?
The list gets longer everyday: after Andrew Carnegie, the Gates, Georges Soros, Warren Buffet and countless others, now Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and one of the richest men in China, said he wants to devote himself to philanthropic projects.
Reading the biographies of these great men, we cannot help but notice that each of them is characterized by a great desire to do and to share, and by a decidedly uncommon perspective on life. A question, then, arises: who came first, the millionaire or the philanthropist?
What if was indeed their “philanthropic” approach the secret behind their successful businesses? And what do these men have in common?
Italy, too, had its own great philanthropist, Adriano Olivetti: he was convinced that production, including industrial production, did not come from machines, but from men, and that the value of a large company was not limited to the creation and distribution of profits but that it extended to include an idea of spiritual enrichment that united all the people involved.
Adriano Olivetti’s thoughts are brilliant, pure and full of positive values. Reading his biography, I spent days asking myself how his great philosophy could be spread among communities and businesses.
I found the answer in a psycho-attitudinal test that I supported a few days ago, with the help of the consultant who picked my brains: he defined me using two words, “Imaginative” and “Affiliation”, a combination of dreamer-like vision and ability to get others involved in order to create communities and to dream together.
To put it in the words of the consultant “Ms. D’Angelo, you are the perfect candidate for an innovative start-up, and only with great difficulty will you survive in large companies”.
I must say, however, that the test results are of little interest to me, because I have always known who I am. What I do firmly believe in, just like Jack Ma does, is that if companies operating in “mature” sectors continue to think only of tomorrow, they will disappear in 20 years’ time.
The one thing that, I am strongly convinced, characterizes all millionaire philanthropists, is the desire to constantly share their big dreams with the people they work with, giving continuous recognition to their structures and building a common vision that leads to the expected results.
Indeed, Alibaba has become great because a single man believed in it and got other men and women like him to believe in his project.
Even Warren Buffet, who certainly does not work in the most innovative of sectors, began his career working in his grandfather’s shop.