Speaking To HNWIs
I’m not a HNWI (High Net Worth Individual), but I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut surrounded by a tribe of HNWIs. Greenwich wasn’t as crazy then (1973 – 1995) as now. Money rolls in from New York City via the Long Island Sound, runs across the Belle Haven doorstep, works it’s way inland to Milbrook (where I grew up on Overlook Drive), travels down the Post Road to Cos Cob and exits back to the ocean in Old Greenwich. Speaking to the HNWI tribe requires particular skills, skills few posses like my friend and former Duke Cancer Institute Development Director Karen Cochran.
Lunching with Karen today less than a week after she began a new journey I asked the obvious question, “What do you want to do?” “I’m not sure,” Karen said. I worked with Karen to create Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer, our 3,300 mile bicycle ride across America raising $30,000 for cancer research at the Duke Cancer Institute. I came to know and love Karen’s passion, commitment and entrepreneurial skill. No matter how much chaos we dumped on Karen she would smile and figure out a plan.
Flexibility and greatness don’t come naturally.
Whispering To Money
People with money are different. The Tribe of HNWI Karen collaborated with to cure cancer aren’t naturally trusting. Money amplifies character. Kind, generous and empathetic become more so with money. The reverse is also true. Differences between US (not HNWI) and those who are is more and less than you think.
There is an added dimension.
Money, like the websites our company Curagami creates, is never static. “Money never sleeps,” is Gordon Gekko’s famous line from the Oiver Stone’s movie Wall Street. Gekko was half right. Money never sleeps AND every minute of every day money makes more or less of itself. Every minute money either improves or hurts the world. There is no neutral, no “off-switch”.
Let’s put aside the financial requirements of defending money from natural enemies (taxes, inflation, death, divorce, stupidity) and focus on Karen’s mastery of HNWI psychology. High Net Worth Individuals whose natural character is amplified by their wealth want to join something bigger than themselves JUST AS MUCH as everyone else. Skeptical? You don’t have to be a member of the HNWI tribe to be wary, untrusting, worn-out or overwhelmed these days.
The Impossible Mission is to whisper to money and create trust, collaboration, magic and joy. Change the world. Ready GO!
Few could heed much less make such a mission their life’s work, core competence and have fun doing it. Karen Cochran is a rare breed of cat.
Authenticity Above All
Karen, like most great people we know, is all in, all the time. She sees the stakes as too high to be otherwise. As her friend I’m glad to see Karen push away from the table and discover what else is out there. Karen’s profession, one I tried on for size with Martin’s Ride and HATED, is riff with claimants (not unlike what I and team Curagami face with web marketing). Many claim to be HNWI Whisperers, but how many really great people are there in the world in ANY profession? The number is much smaller, more intimate and special than most realize.
Greatness is HARD and a demanding robber.
Greatness robs time, energy and LIFE. And none of it’s sure depletion stops, slows down or pauses. Truly great people I know such as Mark Traphagen, Phil Buckley, J Langdon from M&M/Mars, the great educator and content curator Ana Cristina Pratas, the best “tool man” in the world Robin Good, hardest working content curator we know Cendrine Marouat (and we know a passel of ’em) and former Duke Development Director Karen Cochran teach, coach and inspire.
Greatness is confusing and mean.
The siren song of “average” and “easy” calls every minute. But greatness is a particular obsession for some, a dedication to exploring the only real topic any of us have modest control over – ourselves. Karen’s new mission is to learn, listen and grow. I hope she has an interval BEFORE someone figures out one of the best development people in the world is “on the market”.
I would love to see Karen DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT for half a year or so.
I pitched helping my sister Caroline create MeMoSha Gear for Active Women. My exercise physiologist / nutritionist sister has a tiger by the tail. Most equipment is made for MEN and poorly retrofitted for women. Since equipment (tools) are important partners in Caroline’s mission to help active women create and love their new healthier lives finding the right partnerships is a CSF (Critical Success Factor).
Karen’s rare skill set is transferable in many directions.
If you know how to whisper to money in ways THEY want to join, collaborate and “ding the universe” then speaking to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) about WHY they should help MeMoSha is a natural extension. NEITHER development or product development is easy or a cakewalk. I know my friend and great collaborator Karen Cochran will create another GREAT thing. I’m thankful I don’t have to ride 3,300 miles on bicycle this time.
Thanks for all your help Karen. You ROCK! Enjoy this rare hiatus.
I hope you put the “usual suspects” off. Explore startups, blog, work on your “personal brand”, have fun with Gabby (Karen’s daughter) and Steve (husband) and realize greatness is RARE and valuable. The pressure to make sure you never sleep will come back fast. Straight-arm the headhunters and jobs you know how to do for a bit. Take those massive skills and whisper to something new for long enough to fully get to know the amazing skills, talents and passions that defines “Karen Cochran” for the Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer team.
THANKS for sharing your magic with me / us.
Everyone in my family appreciates the personal, loving and kind care you’ve always created, provided and insured and I’m NOT a HNWI. I’m just an entrepreneur with dreams. And scratching one Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) off my life’s list (riding a bicycle across America) wouldn’t have happened without you. We can’t wait to read your 5 tips for How to ASK For Money, something everyone needs help with.