ATLANTA, GA – This weekend, my Dad (who has done a ton of business in Russia) sent me the following video. It’s definitely worth an hour of your time for a number of reasons I’ll share below.
Here’s the overview from YouTube:
“Financier Bill Browder took his hedge fund prowess to Moscow, growing the largest investment fund in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. But when Browder exposed corruption amidst the companies in his portfolio, Vladimir Putin expelled him from Russia.
Soon thereafter, upon discovering deep and widespread criminal behavior, Browder’s lawyer in Moscow, Sergei Magnitsky, was imprisoned, where he was tortured, placed in solitary confinement, and ultimately beaten to death by prison guards. Time for James Bond? Perhaps. But there is no fiction here as Browder turns his life mission to the pursuit of justice and truth.”
Check it out. This guy is a stud.
I watched this thing THREE TIMES, and it’s outstanding on several levels. The second time I watched it, I was taken by the PURPOSE with which Browder has lived his life. Early on, as the grandson of one of America’s most prominent labor movement organizers, Browder decided “If my grandfather was one of the biggest communists in America, then I was going to do the opposite and become the biggest capitalist in Eastern Europe.” And >poof< ... the die was cast. From that moment on, the WHY in Browder’s life would always be bigger than any WHAT, WHO, WHERE or HOW.
Browder always stayed true to his vision.
The other thing I love about Browder is that he was an OPPORTUNIST who always thought BIG, recognizing in 1992 that, at a paltry market cap of $10 billion, the entire country of Russia was being given away during its initial privatization period. Browder wasn’t intimidated by anyone (Wall Street fat cats, Russian oligarchs, et al) and he sought success on his own terms — at one point leaving a cushy investment banking job to open his own investment management firm in Russia.
Browder had (and still has) nerves of steel.
By my third viewing of this video, I learned another important lesson: Note the HUMILITY and HUMOR Browder uses to spread his story. We should all learn to leverage humor in our corporate communications.
Finally, Browder is a resourceful foe of the wealthy Russian oligarchs, realizing that “If you really want to change the world, the best way to do that is through HOLLYWOOD.” One man / Great story / HUGE megaphone. Everyone relates to the David vs Goliath plot line. While watching this video I was reminded of Carrie Fisher’s January 2002 observation in Esquire magazine “that someone can change the course of history with a box cutter.” I never forgot that.
THE LESSON: Small hinges swing big doors.
Thanks, Dad, for sharing.