Tag Archives: Peter Munk

Lessons from Peter Munk – Canadian Entrepreneur

Start A Company In An Emerging Industry You Are Familiar With (Some What)

(November 8, 1927 – March 28, 2018) Hungarian-Canadian Peter Munk moved to Canada 1941. He was of Jewish decent and Studied Engineering in the 1950s at UofT. There were no women in engineering in the 1950s….Peter Munk was interested a radio technology and his uncle was in that space. He was interested in radio tubes; with $3000 dollars he establish Clairtone: it was a Canadian success company. Largely, due to innovating in the cooling of the cathode tubes needed to project images on the TV. It was the BlackBerry (another Canadian startup) of the late 1950s – 1960s. Canada was mostly resources, so people didn’t believe that something that sold at $500 from Canada(?) could be sold at Bloomingdales.

Create Your Product in a Jurisdiction That Protects The Rare and Cool

The Canadian government was very interested in protecting industry and Clairtone became a natural darling of Canadian federal governments and consumers generally. The company scaled across the Canadian market. Most Canadians will remember the Clairtone product line. It was the first company to use transistors in the television.

It was a Canadian Watch this commercial from over 50 years ago. “Smart people won’t settle for something new.”

Do Not Get Sucked Into Relocating Via a Government:

The Clairtone company transitioned to Nova Scotia thanks to incredible government grants. Munk wanted to help Nova Scotia’s shipping industry. Premier Stanfield successfully attracted Peter Munk’s business into moving to New Glasgow in Nova Scotia. Why? Job creation + the Nova Scotia shipping industry skill set could be transferred to technology. However there were bond payment defaults, workers in Nova Scotia went on strike. As a result, the Government of Nova Scotia bought the TV company in 1970. Peter Munk walked away with a lot of capital.

Re-Invent Yourself Where Necessary (Too Much Knowledge is Bad)

Munk built a television set prototype with transistors rather than vacuum tubes in hi sbasement. Munk thought that too much knowledge can be dangerous: he was driven to be number one. He didn’t know transistors because he hadn’t taken that class yet. Peter Munk had to re-invent himself but reallocating his capital into hotels. Created South Pacific Hotel organization in Fiji etc. Munk sold that and then started in Natural Oil in 1979, he lost a lot of money and had a good board. So he pivoted to mining. Munk worked with Joseph Rotman and had a few lucky breaks. He founded Barrick Mining company. Barrick Gold is now the largest gold mining company. They bought CanFlo: they had diversified by they moved to coal, oil, therma all of that collapsed; the Bank wanted Munk to rescue the company and then merge CanFlo with Barrick. They had amazing management miners; outstanding in geotechnology, metallurgy.

Acquisitions: Bought Texaco mining; double the production, half the overhead. Bought GoldStrike, BlackMinerals. As the stock improved they exercised their magic and into all the mines. Mining is about evening out the cycle. Barrick Gold would use it’s shares to buy companies.

Why Does Canada Struggle at Business? And How Can We Get It Back?

Munk wonders out load: Why there are so few global leader companies from Canada. For example, a tiny country like Denmark has 6 major success stories: Phillips, Shell etc. Even BlackBerry, Nortel. Canadians are the best but we screw-up; Seagrams, the Wrightman brother owned Canary Wharf, Cadillac Fairview.

If I could provide an answer. 1) it’s easier to move to the US and test your idea in that market and then stay there, even if the standard of living etc is not as great as Canada’s. 2) tyranny of distance: doing business across a vast underpopulated country is costly, 3) government is selectively protectionist; helping certain companies who support the various political party leadership a) get re-elected, b) fundraise etc etc. The answer to getting it back is a billion dollar question.

Peter Munk: Give Back to Your Country

Peter Munk is extremely patriotic of Canada. The immigrants to Canad were given security, free healthcare, etc etc. He believe that where you come from matters, but it’s where you are going too. Money is a token to recognize success, do not hand that money over to your kids, it’s better giving them education, values, and tell them how to live a life. As a result Munk believes in redistributing the funds. Money should go back to the society: Canada in Peter Munk’s case.

A Successful and Happy Life

Money is a token of success. It is not the success itself. Money is a measure. George Soros who is also from Hungary broke the Bank of England and caused the pound to collapse. It led to John Major’s failed leadership. That is one way to make money by Munk believes these speculators are not the ones to aspire to. After you did get that money, it’s what you do with the Money. You need to look at the second side, you should not horde it. If you do the achievement part + the second part. You can’t do much better than that.