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#338 Monty Moncrief Texas Oil Billionaire
February 13th, 2024 | E338

What I learned from reading Wildcatters: A Story of Texans, Oil, and Money by Sally Helgesen.


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(0:01) Family and business were the same thing to him.

(1:00) We're one-hundred percent family owned, unincorporated, and independent, and we intend to stay that way.

(1:00) He possessed the directness and the utter simplicity of the old and the truly great.

(2:00) His unquestioning confidence in the worthiness of his enterprise made him seem impervious to doubts.

(5:00) The Morgans always believed in absolute monarchy. While Junius Morgan lived, he ruled the family and the business. Until Junius died his massive shadow dominated his son’s life. — The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow. (Founders #139)

(8:00) Everywhere they looked, they saw opportunity without limits. The land itself was empty, and so these men built cities upon it and founded dynasties. They left behind them a world made in their own image.

(9:00) The old wildcatters had neither the time nor the inclination to question their own purposes, or to agonize about what the future consequences of their efforts might be. They just went out and did whatever was there to be done.

(10:00) The trouble with this business is that everybody expects to find oil on the surface. If it was up near the top, it wouldn't be any trick to it. You've got to drill deep for oil. — The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough (Founders #149)

(14:00) Charlie’s surfing model. One thing I learned from having dinner with Charlie was the importance of getting into a great business and STAYING in it. There’s a tendency in human nature to mess up a good thing because of an inability to sit still:

"There are huge advantages for the early birds. When you're an early bird, there's a model that I call surfing—when a surfer gets up and catches the wave and just stays there, he can go a long, long time.

But if he gets off the wave, he becomes mired in shallows. But people get long runs when they're right on the edge of the wave, whether it's Microsoft or Intel or all kinds of people."

—  the NEW Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charlie Munger. (Founders #329)

(18:00)  Ted Turner's Autobiography (Founders #327)

(19:00) All the stories seem to be about the same prickly individual. They are giants, successful predators, acute and astute, tamers of the untamable and defenders of vast treasure.

(26:00) There are times when certain cards sit unclaimed in the common pile, when certain properties become available that will never be available again. A good businessman feels these moments like a fall in the barometric pressure. A great businessman is dumb enough to act on them even when he cannot afford to. — The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen. (Founders #255)

(29:00) Delusional optimism: Go from one setback to another setback without any loss of enthusiasm.

(31:00) There's no what if. There's only what happened.

(33:00) Rainmakers Podcast

(34:00) I’d rather be lucky than smart, because a lot of smart guys go hungry.

(36:00) Optimism is the personal quality that nurtures luck.

(36:00) Chaos and defiance ruled the day, and those who led the way made little secret of their refusal to be controlled.

(44:00) Anybody who's got an idea of his own has to be a little bit crazy. Being crazy is something big companies just don't understand.


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