Booze King Joins Rich List – He left school in Year 9, learnt a trade and started his own business. Now at 50, the unassuming Tom Hedley – Cairns plumber, developer, publican and horse racing enthusiast – is one of our richest people. — Townsville Bulletin, Thursday, May 18, 2006.
Isn’t that always the way? I don’t think there’s a millionaire in the world who didn’t achieve their success by dropping out of kindergarten, polishing shoes until they were old enough to sign a contract, and then working their way to the top by sheer hard work.
Ask Rupert Murdoch. Ask John Howard.
Indeed, I am living proof of this principle. So nearly could Thursday’s story have been about me that I only realised it wasn’t when my eyes hit the word “rich”.
The ‘booze king’ bit fitted perfectly.
I can certainly confirm Tom Hedley’s experience. Tommo (as we call him in the rarified atmosphere that we booze kings inhabit) rises at 4am, and works 18 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Thursday’s story. That’s why he’s number 56 on the list of Australia’s richest people.
My point exactly.
Take me. My work ethic, integrity and desire to succeed have placed me 2,999,973rd on Australia’s richest-people list. Bear in mind, too, that we’re only talking about Australia. On a global basis I’d be much higher; overtaking, probably, at least 10 per cent of the population of China.
I have a lot of time for work ethics. My wife says that’s because I don’t do anything, and if I have so much time I should fix the washing machine.
But a work ethic alone is not enough. I understand it also involves working. If it weren’t for that small difference Tom and I would be rubbing shoulders in the pub.
You also need luck. I haven’t had any.
Ford Motors founder, Henry, said that the harder he worked the luckier he seemed to get.
I suppose that could happen for me, but what if it didn’t?
And anyway, I’m the ideas man.
They say that before you can create something you need to be able to see it; envision it, so to speak.
Well I have a vision. In it I sit in an armchair scribbling ideas on pieces of paper. Around me stands an eager crowd of sycophants. I dash of an idea about an empire built upon on-line yoga classes and an eager minion snatches it away and dashes off to make her fortune.
I murmur casually that a cosy for the nose, to keep it warm at night, would be a good thing, and an eager apprentice leaps for the knitting machine and the marketing manual.
I don’t need to be disturbed by such detail. I’m the brains.
Why then, says my wife, are you sitting in an armchair from which the stuffing leaked 25 years ago, with so few coins in your pocket they won’t even jingle?
Because, I answer, I have had time to spend it. This is where Tommo has gone wrong. It’s clear that the only reason he has amassed $515 million is because he works so hard he never has a moment to go shopping.
I think we should get together… form a joint venture. With our individual skills there’d be a certain… synergy, I think they call it in business circles.
This may be the best idea I’ve had yet.