Monday, February 25, 2008

A Chat With Cramer

FT recently interviewed Jim Cramer – the popular host of the CNBC show “Mad Money”. To read the full interview, click here. I enjoy Jim’s show and give him credit for keeping the subject of finance/investing interesting. Some excerpts that I find intriguing are listed below. Enjoy!

Do you like what you do?
"I like what I do,'' Cramer says, for a moment sounding absolutely earnest and unconflicted. ''I had done the hedge fund thing. It was fine, but I always wanted to be a journalist. And I think this is more fun for me now. Everybody's a hedge fund manager. There's not a lot of guys with their own TV shows."

Cramer has done the rounds and finally found his niche. To sustain the momentum and succeed – it cannot be a halfhearted effort. You have to go all out and make it happen. Jim’s driver seem to be partly his calling to be a journalist, partly his desire to help the common Joe and partly to be better than the rest of hedge fund managers. It’s a question of what makes you tick!

How to change the world?
"I have a desire to think I'm doing something good for the regular guy,'' Cramer says. ''I feel strongly that that's a higher calling. I mean, the elite don't need me and I don't need them."

Cramer is doing his part to give back. We all have a desire to give back and the challenge is to find a way to make it happen. When we think about giving back, what makes a difference is the desire and incentive to positively affect someone's life. How many lives you affect, although pertinent, should not be the overwhelming concern. Doing your part should be the focus.

How are you different?
"I'm an entertainer with a horrible topic on his hands that I have to make come alive.'' Thus, to illustrate a point about supermarket group Kroger, Cramer found himself in a grocery store dumping corn flakes on the ground. But that seemed too tame. Inspiration came when Cramer's gaze alighted upon a Heinz tomato ketchup bottle. ''I know what I'll do, I'll drop it,'' Cramer recalls thinking to himself. ''And I'm wearing like this Brioni suit, and I'm saying to myself, just do it, just do it, so I drop it. It goes all over the place. I haven't been able to get the ketchup out of the suit."

To succeed you have to demonstrate an edge. Creativity, passion, hard work Рall is needed but to distinguish yourself you have to offer something more. iPod is a twist on the MP3 player, Starbucks Grande Latt̩ Mocha is glorified coffee and Walmart offers the best deal for the cost conscious. How do you stand out in a crowd?

Does the end justify the means?
But the interesting thing about Cramer is that he doesn't think there has to be a conflict between his wacky form and his ambitious substance. His dream is to combine wearing a diaper with corporate analysis in a way that is somehow mutually reinforcing. ''Can I be commercial and be intelligent? Can I be commercial and be right? Can I be commercial and be helpful? And this is the great civil war for me.''

One reason Cramer is so committed to that ''civil war'' is his sense of mission: ''I'm not proud of wearing a diaper. I am proud that people tell me that they have learned something and have been able to better handle their own finances.''

If you are meeting your objectives, having fun and feeling fulfilled– go for it. The attitude of ‘whatever it takes’ coupled with having fun doing it sounds like a winner.

If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to a full RSS feed or get regular updates via email.

No comments: