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What Billionaire Steve Schwarman Learned From 3 Key Career Mistakes



6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With an estimated net worth of $23.5 billion, numerous appearances on Bloomberg’s most influential people of the year lists, private equity titan Steve Schwarzman is the last guy you’d expect to be the son of a ‘dry goods’ salesman. 

As it turns out, the CEO and co-founder of Blackstone has plenty of stories worth sharing about his climb into the private equity stratosphere. And not all of them are about his humble beginnings.

Here are Steve Schwarzman’s top three mistakes, what they taught him, and what we can learn from each one:

1. Botching an early interview with Pan-Am because he had a good idea

Job interviews make just about everyone anxious. In one of his very first interviews, Steve Schwartzman found out firsthand what our worst interview fears can look like: getting ‘fired’ before finishing the interview.

While giving a commencement address at Quinnipiac, Schwartzman recalled speaking to a recruiter from the now-defunct Pan-American Airlines (an American luxury airline service that ran through the ’90s), and managing to get kicked out of the interview. 

Related: Meet Austin Russell, the World’s Youngest New Billionaire Who Dropped Out of College To Pursue His Dream

He was ushered out because of a suggestion he made in response to a classic interview question. When asked why he wanted a job with Pan-Am, Schwartzman replied, “I think Pan-Am is a wonderful company and has some important additional opportunities to haul freight.” 

His response ended the interview on the spot. According to Schwartzman, the interviewer was too stuck on the view of Pan-Am as an elite brand that would never stoop to shipping freight. They didn’t even pause to consider that Schwartzman had suggested a brilliant idea. 

“It turns out that Pan-Am was terminated, a number of years later,” the investment mogul mused, “It went bankrupt and was liquidated. Maybe they should have gone into the freight business.” A few minutes later he added, “UPS and Fedex? They’re doing just fine… so maintain your confidence in your ideas when you think they’re right.”

2. Not asking for help when starting a new job

One of Steve Schwarzman’s most common pieces of advice is to ask for help when you enter new territory. He says it in interviews, in seminars, and echoes the sentiment on Blackstone’s corporate website. Whether it’s a new career, relationship, or hobby, the best move is doing the same thing you’d do in an unfamiliar neighborhood: ask for directions.

Schwarzman admits that he started his career in finance by doing the exact opposite. In his first job with the investment bank ‘Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette,’ the billionaire described being “utterly untrained. No one was helping me. They just left me in an office… and I was too embarrassed to ask for help.”

Related: 10 of the Most Successful Black Entrepreneurs

Too often new MBAs make the same mistake over and over again: they waste valuable time in their first jobs trying to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ instead of asking for advice from more senior co-workers. At Blackstone, Schwarzman found that reinforcing the idea of finance as an ‘apprenticeship’ worked wonders towards making new recruits more effective long-term.

This realization helped lead to the development of Blackstone’s somewhat horizontal management structure which, while not industry standard, has yielded unquestionable results. Blackstone currently holds the most real estate assets of any non-governmental institution in the world. It’s not a bad gig being America’s landlord, but you don’t get there by doing everything right the first time.

3. Approaching friendly investors without preparation

When he set out to found Blackstone with Peter G. Peterson, Schwarzman made what he called, “the mistake of every entrepreneur” and it nearly cost him his business. They had just begun courting investors for an initial private equity fund, and started by doing what they thought would be best: they approached investors they knew the best.

The logic was simple: If they knew these guys, they’d be more likely to trust them. The problem was Schwarzman and his partner didn’t really understand all of the potential critiques that could be thrown at their approach and how to combat them. 

Instead of entering every pitch meeting prepared to counter any and all objections, Schwarzman and Peterson flubbed every pitch. They were blindsided and unprepared because they hadn’t practiced. They figured they wouldn’t have to in front of investors they already knew.

It wasn’t until Schwarzman got a particularly lucky break (involving a tuna sandwich and a $100 million injection of capital,) that Schwarzman was able to create the financial empire he sits atop today.

Never give up, never surrender

Whether talking about his unassuming upbringing or the warm, self-managed culture at Blackstone, Steve Schwarzman is always quick to hammer home the points that brought him where he is today.

Sometimes it’s the Pan-Am interview debacle. Sometimes it’s being too nervous to ask for help. Sometimes it’s even getting rejected by all of his closest investors. But no matter which story it is, Schwarzman’s tales are filled with examples of taking a beating and standing straight regardless.

Related: Elon Musk Fires Back at Criticism From Bernie Sanders, Says He’s Using His Wealth for Certain Purposes

All too often we think of success as boolean: something that can be turned ‘on’ or ‘off.’ But if Schwarzman’s stories teach us nothing else, it’s that the road to success is paved with micro-failures and sort-of-successes. The best thing we can do is try to learn something along the way.

Speaking at EY Strategic Growth, Schwarzman finished up by saying a few words on failure and success that we all could take to heart. “It’s like…being an athlete. It is the ability to take pain…you can never, ever, ever, ever, give up.”


7 Tips to Excel at Online Trading



How investors can excel at online trading and generate profits when buying and selling stocks, forex, cryptocurrencies, and other financial markets.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What does it take to be good at online trading and make money buying and selling stocks, forex, cryptocurrencies, and other financial markets on the internet?

1. Online trading vs. investing

Online trading is a short term, active method for making money investing. It differs to the long-term investing approach advocated by Warren Buffett. It is closer how the famous ‘Market Wizard’ Paul Tudor Jones plays the market. Online trading offers an amazing opportunity for making an independent income using the internet, BUT it’s not for everybody. Before investing your money and time into online trading, it is worthwhile investigating first if it’s right for you.

Related: What You Need to Know Before Getting Into Online Trading

2. Find a good online trading app

Online trading can be done using your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. It is important to find trading companies that offer an online trading platform that can be used on any of these devices. The online broker or bank should be regulated by a government agency from a reputable country like FINMA in Switzerland or the FCA in the United Kingdom. Among the top online trading apps, the cost of trading is usually comparable, but you should make sure the commissions and bid/ask spreads are acceptable.

3. Take a free online trading course

There are many free online trading courses available on the internet, as well as paid options. No one course teaches you everything you need to know about online trading- most of these lessons come from experience. Learning concepts like lot size, pips, leverage, and placing an order in trading will not take long but are necessary to understand how online trading works. Ideally, choose a trading course that explains the different trading styles and trading strategies available.

Related: How to Start Investing

4. Choose a trading style

Broadly speaking, you can be a day trader who does day trading, a swing trader who does swing trading or a position trader than does position trading. You can break this down further into strategies like scalping. A scalper aims for very quick in and out trades to make a short-term profit or loss. How much time you can allocate to trading will play a big part in which trading style you choose. If you have a few hours per day, you can day trade; a few hours per week would be more suited to swing or position trading styles.

5. Learn a trading strategy with risk management

It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Find a reputable trading mentor or trading educator that explains some simple trading strategies. Over time, you will alter the strategy to suit your own personality. Something important to get right from the start is incorporating risk management, which in simple terms is making sure you don’t risk too much on a trade. A simple strategy of buying and selling on forex signals is easy to learn, but there is no way to manage the size of the winning and losing trades. Harmonic trading is one example of an advanced trading strategy that incorporates trading risk management.

Related: How to Diversify Investments: 4 Easy Tips to Help You Get Started

6. Use a trading plan to set goals

All the best traders use a trading journal and set a trading plan. This plan can be adopted from already written trading plan templates. It will give details like how many trades to place per day, how much money you will deposit into your trading account, your financial goal for the end of the year, etc. There is also the decision over which financial markets to choose, for example, naked call options on tech stocks. Keeping this trading plan to hand will help encourage consistency in your trading.

7. Be persistent, keep your trading discipline

It is this final point that separates the consistently profitable traders from the rest. Conditions in financial markets will vary, which means your online trading results will vary too. It is important not to change trading strategy too quickly. Try to learn from your experience and use your trading journal to do more of what created winning trades and less of what led to losing trades. Whatever it takes to maintain your discipline, including some good R&R, is worthwhile.

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Mexico is the country with the most ‘sugar daddies’ according to the SeekingArrangement dating app



If you are interested in becoming a ‘sugar baby’, in Mexico there are about 183,302 ‘sugar daddies’ available, reveal data from SeekingArrangement, the world’s largest ‘sugar dating’ application.

4 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

The precarious economy in Mexico and Latin America has caused many women, mostly young, to become ‘sugar baby’ . That is, they seek the ‘patronage’ of mature men with the economic capacity to satisfy their needs, tastes and whims, who are commonly known as ‘sugar daddies’ . In this sense, Mexico leads the rankings as the country with the most ‘sponsors’ for these girls, according to data from the dating app SeekingArrangement .

An analysis by SeekingArrangement , the world’s largest ‘sugar dating’ application, revealed that in Mexico there are about 183,302 ‘sugar daddies’ available. This represents 34% of the total of those registered in Latin America.

In second place is Brazil , with 141,725 ‘papitos’, followed by Colombia with 73,745. For their part, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Panama have 540 thousand 444 Latino sugar daddies.

The figures represent the number of registered members since 2006, the year the dating app was created.

The platform attributes the proliferation of ‘sugar daddies’ in Mexico to two main factors. On the one hand, our country is the second largest economy in Latin America   and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected an economic growth of around 5% by 2021. On the other, the vaccination against COVID-19 and the US economic stimulus package worth 1.9 trillion dollars, show signs of recovery and boost the Mexican economy.

In other words, the number of men with sufficient budget to act as ‘sugar daddy’ of one or more women is increasing.

How does the relationship between ‘sugar daddy’ and his ‘sugar baby’ work?

According to the platform, the relationship between these types of men and the women it sponsors is not a simple exchange of money for company or other benefits.

Sugar daddies not only provide financial assistance, they can also be mentors, offering their expertise as financial guides. For example for the payment of services, rent and lifestyle of those who call their ‘ sugar babbies’ , explains Brandon Wade, CEO and Founder of SeekingArrangement.

“In addition, they can support opportunities to acquire contacts and advance their careers , among other things, in order to improve the aspirations of future professionals while they are still in college,” he added.

And what do they get in return?

“These men find peace of mind when dating younger and more dynamic people, who might share the same tune and their same aspirations,” says Rachel Uchitel, spokeswoman for SeekingArrangement. She explains that these wealthy men seek younger people because they do not find mental compatibility between them and potential partners their age.

SeekingArrangement is currently the world’s largest sugar dating site, with 22 million members globally. According to their website , both ‘mature men’ and girls “seek mutually beneficial relationships, on their own terms.”

With information from El Universal .

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Frustrated With a Colleague? Expectations May Be Why.



6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently celebrated my 51st birthday and reflected on the many things I’ve learned since my first startup. 

Most of my learning has come from two places—the wisdom of others intended to help me avoid mistakes and the many mistakes I made despite all their wisdom. The opportunity to practice resiliency that comes from overcoming mistakes is priceless. I’ve seen firsthand that the most challenging mistakes are the ones that involve other people.

My experience is that solving most big problems requires a team of people rallying together to figure out how to both imagine and execute solutions. The execution is often where challenges begin between people, even those dedicated and committed to the mission.The greatest anxiety, frustration and stress often come down to one thing: expectations.

I’ve seen many scenarios unfold over and over again; here are the top four:  

1. Not setting expectations 

This is the most common culprit of conflict between individuals or teams: not setting expectations in the first place. 

“We met last week about the new campaign. We agreed when the new campaign would kick off. Then today, I got copied on an email to the client, and the date was way earlier. I’m so annoyed.”

Did anyone document what was agreed to? Who circulated expectations to confirm a shared understanding? Were the client communications expectations discussed and documented?

It’s easy to see how this can happen. Two colleagues assumed they were on the same page. But without an actual page, it’s easy for things to go awry.

Related: 8 Unrealistic Expectations That Can Harm You

2. Implied expectations

This one trips me up all the time and comes in two flavors. Let’s look at the leader disruptor version first. 

“The reason I missed this deadline is that our CEO asked me to dig into some metrics on this other project, and it took longer than I expected. I thought an executive’s request was more important and prioritized accordingly.” 

This scenario is the leader’s fault—there’s an implied expectation that because a senior leader made a request, it’s urgent and takes precedence. As leaders, we should clearly set expectations—especially for individual contributors who might not know to ask about priority. I’ve gotten better with this, but it still gets me every so often. 

The other flavor is hyper-accountable vs. accountable-accountable.

“They know how important the project is to the company. I’ve talked about it in meetings every week. I gave them feedback on their draft immediately. They’ve got everything ready to launch, but the program is still not live. I’m so frustrated.”

Are they bought in? How much does this project align with their goals? Are dates set, documented, and acknowledged by everyone involved? How is the team prioritizing other projects against this one? 

The reason I see this as hyper-accountable is that one side is so accountable to everyone around them (an awesome trait) that they assume everyone else is also the same hyper-accountable, and they can’t understand why they are not. The fix is for the hyper-accountable to step back and consider the overall priorities—in addition to what they are most committed to—and adjust their expectations accordingly. 

Related: The Dangers of Overpromising and Under-Delivering

3. Managing expectations

Any project that involves multiple contributors and multiple meetings are likely to change. If expectations have been set and everyone’s agreed to them, things are off to a good start. But then the universe throws a wrench into the mix. 

“They just told me that we’re not going to launch for another month. Apparently, this was decided two weeks ago because of a technical gap, but I’m just finding out about it now. I am so defeated.” 

How to avoid this mistake is obvious when you see it, but unfortunately, it is also so easy to fall into. In a rush to solve a problem, we often forget to manage and reset expectations. 

Are there stakeholders that would benefit from an update? Perhaps a board member who asked a question about a particular project that is now delayed. Are you going to wait a few weeks until the next board meeting, or should you update them sooner?

Related: Tricks to Staying Calm Under Pressure

4. Communicating expectations 

One of my co-founder’s favorite quotes is by George Bernard Shaw: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

We’re all living with information overload constantly. It can be hard to figure out which email, Slack or text message is important and which can wait. Even if you do consume it all, how much are you really retaining—especially if it isn’t immediately relevant to you?

“I sent a long, comprehensive Slack update, shared the slide deck with the team…asked for their review and feedback, but no one got back to me. They’re saying they didn’t know about this policy change and that we never tell them anything. I am perplexed.” 

There’s a combination of problems here, but the biggest is ensuring that what’s communicated is actually being consumed and acknowledged. If you aren’t sure, ask. It’s a bit more work, but it tends to destress the situation. 

How does the team prefer to learn new information or participate in decisions? Do they want to be walked through the change and given the opportunity to ask questions live?

The expectation test 

When I’m observing a conflict unfolding, I do my best to assess with an expectation test. Does everyone have the same set of expectations? How would I—or they—know? If the answer is anything other than a resounding “yes,” it’s time to probe and see where the expectations may not exist, be weak, not be managed or be impacted by a communications issue. If you’re looking to defuse conflict, start with an expectation test and go from there.

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