Jose Thomas

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Tuesday 06th December, 2011



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I want to be a billionaire too - in dollar terms, the only currency that I would bet on.

Talking about billionaires atop the heap is Mexico's Carlos Slim Helu, who added $20.5 billion to his fortune, more than any other billionaire. The telecom mogul, who gets 62% of his fortune from America Movil, is now worth $74 billion and has pulled far ahead of his two closest rivals. Bill Gates, No. 2, and Warren Buffett, No. 3, both added a mere modest $3 billion to their piles and are now worth $56 billion and $50 billion, respectively. Gates, who now gets 70% of his fortune from investments outside of Microsoft, has actually been investing in the Mexican stock market and has holdings in Mexican Coke bottler Femsa and Grupo Televisa.

I was keen to see this country since the richest man in the world is a Mexican. I have a dream to make it bigger and these visits set me on fire.

Though I was never a voracious reader I always listened and paid attention to what I saw. Life has given me a wealth of experience. I have had great opportunities in travelling the world and I just returned after a trip to Mexico another emerging economy.

Just before I flew from New York I shared my travel plan with a few of my close American friends. All of them advised me not to travel to Mexico stating security concerns. They even told me that I was making a very risky move. All that came into my mind was, if there is a risk involved, there should be something to gain. My intuition that has always stood by me said, `Go'. So I decided to put my best foot forward and make this trip.

I landed in Mexico City and to my surprise, what I saw was totally different from what I was told. A city larger than Mumbai, an economy trying to do well, the wealthiest man in the world: a Mexican, the great Corona manufactured in Mexico, the largest exporter of auto components and of course, plenty of Tequila. When my American friends scared me about going to Mexico for fear of my being kidnapped I said jokingly to myself someone would kidnap me only after his bank balance was fully exhausted.

I checked into my hotel, one of the best, and had great service from the minute I landed till the time I left. Listening to the locals in their very cute broken English was pretty interesting. I learnt quite a bit about their culture and history. These people are simply hard working and talented with very high Christian values and family bonds. The most interesting thing I noted was that these people are happy and fun loving. I walked by some of the modern supermarkets in Mexico and found a high level of efficiency and product range. With a total population of over 100 million, this economy is bound to make it. From what I saw, my firm conviction is that they will soon get into the 5% GDP growth wagon. So there I was in Mexico, looking for opportunities.

Everyone today tries to do business either in one's own country or in the developed world. Doing business in one's own country does not help one grow and that is why I was there in Mexico an emerging economy. There are more countries for me to travel to and many more opportunities to check out. Business is an art today. It is not something that you can just do because you have a college degree. I intend to travel and complete the whole of Latin/Central/ South America to see what there is in store for me. I have done some travel to Africa another major economy of the future.

On the same note, I want to touch base on what I see here in America. Recent statistics reveal better corporate earnings, more jobs added and America becoming self balanced on manufactured fuel exports. I think the tough times are behind. I soon see America bouncing back as it has always done.

I always keep looking for new avenues and that is my style and there is nothing wrong with this because, when you keep searching, you get something. I see a lot of changes with the major economies; Euro on the verge of breaking up and Germany under too much pressure. Even in my country India, there was utter chaos when the ruling congress government decided to permit foreign investments into the retail sector. In today's world, the whole economy believes in an open market policy. I think every nation should follow the same route and get away from trade protection. I personally believe if the world majors are permitted to set up retail in India, it can only help India's economy by creating more jobs and better supply chain management and so on. I hope this move won't be dropped.

The next generation, especially the ones who are aspiring to be business men/women have to stay away from fixed ideologies and start being creative. There are lots of opportunities out there in the emerging market to buy and sell; more doors are yet to be opened with opportunities to make more money.

Friends, some of my readers could be students, some could be business people and all I can tell you is, don't stick to where you are now. Get on a plane, start travelling, check out what is going on and bring back home something new for you to execute.

Eighteen years back when a sales person walked into a major retailer's corporate office in America and proposed to sell bottled water, he almost got thrown out. "Bottled water to be sold to the Americans. He must be crazy!!" said the head of the department.

Friends do you know that today, bottled water is one of the high dollar value items sold in America and I think this is the case with many other countries, including India. Look at this idea by the person who first introduced the concept of "selling water". People must have made a joke out of his idea. But see how this person converted water into a really major business throughout the world. So friends, go out there and grab the opportunities around you. There are billions waiting for you. You just have to go and find it.

Think big!! Think different !!

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Responses to
 Thamim says:
Amazing article Sir. Its so unpretentious and extremely straight-forward. I really felt the connect and had a feeling that you were having a one-to-one conversation with me. Thank you. I must add that 'Choice' is undoubtedly the best school in Kerala and one of the best in the country. I personally wanted to put my little one there but couldn't due to financial constraints. Keep writing, Sir and I'll be visiting more often.
 K.IPE PETER says:
Dear JT, Your experience in Mexico is really thrilling. How was Africa? We always look forward your live experiences from each country. We are lucky to have you as our Leader. Wish You all the Best.
 Jitto Jose says:
Very inspirational blog, Thanks for sharing.
 Cdr Yatan Mahlawat says:
Dear Sir, As Mark Twain said - Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness! I have always believed that all journeys have a secret destination of which the traveller is unaware!!! You have within you the passion and strength to reach for the stars ... so go on exploring! Wishing you the Best .....
 Subramanian S says:
Dear JT Sir, your article on Mexico visit in quite interesting. There is a famous quote which says that GOD gives food for every bird but not in the NEST. This means that only opportunities can be grapped by going out. But professionals on accounts and finance do not get travel oppotunities like marketing people and we can at least understand from them through such articles. Tks and I look forward to more articles from u which keeps me interesting.
 sunil chacko says:
excellent article it is really an eye opener to young businessman like me ..keep on writing ...
 Ramzi says:
Superb Article Mr. JT, you have a real entreprenure mindset..
 RJ says:
Dear JT, I have been working for the last 7 years and to be quite frank I was never happy with what i was doing. i always had plans to go and explore out but there was something that scared me and in turn nothing materialised. Reading your article here, I feel like getting that extra push to go ahead. truly inspiring... and ur style of writing is good and simple too..Great job Sir