A group of individuals, with more combined assets under management than any nation’s GDP outside of the U.S., gathered together last week at the inaugural Forbes Iconoclast Summit to exchange their ideas and outlook. Topics ranged from hedges against inflation, hawkishness of the Federal Reserve, international equities, and the future of energy. Here are five takeaways said that CFOs should heed.
When speaking about the faults of the economy, Carl Icahn blamed executives and corporate boards for borrowing cheap money to buy stocks. Rather than put the money back into their businesses, Icahn said, these companies bought stock at high valuations with borrowed money. The results of this are what corporate finance has seen in the past twelve months — higher corporate debt, higher interest rates, and major issues around corporate earnings.
Maverick Carter spoke about how analysis and risk tolerance work hand-in-hand in discussing the pitching process on both sides of venture capital. Carter, who also serves as NBA star Lebron James’ agent, spoke of the process of identifying a gut feeling followed by actually acting out on the feeling as two mutually exclusive phenomena.
In conjunction with what Carter calls “arrogant ambition,” executives and entrepreneurs alike can put themselves in the best possible positions to succeed should they isolate the decision-making process into these two main components.
Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn admitted that she initially wasn’t the best skier in her competitive journey. She told a story about how it wasn’t talent that earned her numerous accolades throughout her career, but her work effort. Vonn said she was the first one on the ski lift and the last one off of it, giving up personal time with friends and family to get reps in.
According to her, these ideas manifest in business. Vonn spoke on the non-existence of things like shortcuts in both sports and business, and how unmatched work effort yields unmatched results.
While discussing transitioning economies with Christine Moy, Apollo Global Management’s partner and head of digital asset strategy, and founder and Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner at SkyBridge, Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein spoke on the inevitability of cryptocurrency markets.
As a younger audience who grew up around crypto markets enter the economic and investing landscape, cryptocurrency will be set for massive growth, Sonnenshein said. In a decision that he called a “very informed bet,” executives and allocators must consider the notion that crypto-native investors will put a significant portion of that $40 trillion into new asset classes such as cryptocurrencies.
While speaking about the combination of both domestic and global markets coming to a halt, Marc Lasry discussed how the current and future global economy is ripe for opportunities if evaluated and approached correctly.
The Milwaukee Bucks co-owner also spoke about being proactive while others are nervous to take risks, and how well-rounded, informed decisions made in tough times set apart the successful from those who are not.