Fable of the month #1: The Banker and the Fisherman

Let me share a fable that I love and has taught me a lot about business and life.

The American Banker and the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a tiny fishing village in Mexico when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large tuna.

The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his catch and asked, “How long does it take you to catch them?”

The fisherman said: “Not long, a few hours maybe”.

The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The banker then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman replied, “I get up early, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I have a bit of wine and play guitar with my friends, I have a plentiful and busy life.”

The banker replied surprised, “I am a Harvard Masters graduate and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat; with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would acquire a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to the Capital, then California and eventually New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But, how long is this going to take?”

To which the bamker replied, “15-20 years.”

“And then what?” The fisherman asked

The banker laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, huh… Then what?”

The banker said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small fishing village where you would get up early, fish a little, play with your kids, take a nap with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

Until next time.


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