Would you rather listen to this? I discuss this article in Episode 41 of The Best Interest Podcast, below.
Kanye West appeared on CNBC last week to talk about The Gap (the clothing store) and why he terminated his fashion deal with them. Among other pearls of insight, West said:
“[The Gap] only have one opportunity to be able to be a big player. What do you think it is? They have one individual on the planet who can save The Gap. I’m asking you – who do you think that is? Sometimes the answer is sitting right in front of you.”
How cryptic! Who could Ye be referring to?
- Hint: he’s an egomaniac billionaire whose close handlers have “emperor has no clothes’d” him for the past 20+ years (…and yes – West likely suffers from a mental health disorder.)
Mirror, mirror, on the wall…the answer is: Kanye. Only Kanye can save The Gap, says Kanye.
“Ye” went on to criticize The Gap’s leadership team, saying:
“I’m sorry – I’m not gonna argue with people who are broker than me about money.”
Zing! What follows are some thoughts from one of those “broker” people. Yes, like Kanye, I’m referring to myself.
Maybe you’re laughing. Maybe you agree with him. And when the dice fall, maybe Kanye will end up being right. Maybe he is the only person on the planet who can save The Gap.
But can we pause, take a deep breath, and collectively vomit?
Who says stuff like that?! Or more importantly, who thinks like that?!
I mean, I kinda get it. I understand why he acts like Jesus on water.
- Wikipedia says West has won 273 musical awards from 782 nominations, including 24 Grammy wins.
- His music has sold over 100 million digital downloads and 21 million albums.
- He has a global shoe brand (“Yeezy”).
- He married a global fashion/reality TV icon (Kim Kardashian).
His big break was in 2000 (age 23), and his life hasn’t been normal since. I get why he says abnormal things.
Because it’s definitely not normal to say, or think, “I’m not gonna argue with people who are broker than me about money.”
Experts lean on other experts
I’ve learned a lot from the friendship between Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Among other benefits, their friendship led to “The Giving Pledge,” whereby dozens of billionaires have agreed to leave most of their wealth to charity (over $600 billion and counting).
I can only imagine if, in the mid-1990s, either of those guys had said, “Eh…I’m not interested in talking with a guy who’s only worth $5 billion. How poor!”
I know Kanye is smart. But imagine dismissing the entire management team of a clothing store when the subject is “how to run a clothing store.”
“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
I’m not the most biblical guy, but I know some verses. And I know that human DNA—and human nature—hasn’t changed one lick in the last 10,000 years.
The same human shortfalls that plagued biblical people still plague us (even if the plagues themselves are now different). Overconfidence has always caused humans to do (and say) stupid stuff. Always. Always. Always.
- Some Cro-Mag shaman thought gravity didn’t apply to him. His genes are gone.
- Some Renaissance grifter thought he could walk on water. His genes are gone.
- You think you’re immune to snake poison? Buh-bye.
Overconfidence can be a killer.
But in more mundane scenarios, overconfidence is simply short-sighted. It’s the easiest way to close yourself off from growth. It’s an anti-social behavior within the world’s most social animal (us). There’s a reason why human culture (for millennia!!!) has discouraged overconfidence.
What’s it matter to you?
What’s the point? Why am I writing? Is this just Kanye hate?
I’m using Kanye as a pariah (or martyr? a messiah?! ……so he is Jesus?!).
I find myself learning about personal finance and investing from so many different people. Some are old and experienced. Some are young and technological. Some are hip on culture. Others are immersed in fundamental math.
They might be richer than me or poorer than me. That’s mostly immaterial.
What I care about is that, on at least one particular axis, my teachers have significantly more experience than me. That axis might be age and experience. It might be cultural awareness. And sometimes, sure, that axis it might be net worth.
But it would be an intellectual let down to dismiss anyone simply because they’re “broker than me.”
I hope you feel the same way.
(Never Let Me Down – I love this song. Easily top 5 on my early high school soundtrack…)