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Greatness and Humility: The Perfect Combination

The richest person in the room is usually the quietest in the room

I was sitting in the Denver airport several years ago and sparked up a conversation with an older gentlemen sitting next to me. We talked about random topics for 30 minutes. I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something about him. He was dressed in casual attire. He looked normal. He didn’t tell me anything that lead me to believe he was a prominent successful individual. But I knew instantly he was a great man. It was obvious. We exchanged pleasant good byes and he gave me his business card. I didn’t even know his name until his back was turned and he was walking away. I quickly looked him up on my phone. He was worth $2.5 billion.

I know I’m not alone in saying I’ve always been drawn to successful people that don’t seek the limelight, that don’t tout and flaunt their successes. I think it’s why we all love the strong silent types. Even our comic book superheroes are slow to talk and hide under a mask. The most beloved athletes are those like Barry Sanders that were the greatest and yet conducted themselves like they didn’t even care. They didn’t arm wave, didn’t self promote. We are drawn to them because it’s how we wish we would be if we had their gifts, talents, and abilities. Silent greatness is such a magnetic character trait. It’s why if you’re aspiring to be a great artist, athlete, entrepreneur, investor, work hard and be great. Talk about your failures more than your successes. Never tout your accomplishments. Why? Greatness is always obvious.

The richest person in the room is usually the quietest in the room

As a full time investor in microcap companies I’ve found the smaller the company the more of a bet you are making on the jockey. Far too many microcap CEO’s are promotional blowhards that can’t even do 5% of what they say. They can talk a good game, but they can’t deliver. They are so trained by investment bankers, service providers, or whomever to take realistic expectations, multiply by 10x, and sell that to the investment public. The hard part is finding a management team that can do >50% of what they say. Or even better yet, the management team that produces and then talks about it afterword. In my early investing years I was easily swooned by CEO’s that could tell a great story. CEO’s that talk too much often produce too little. I quickly learned to stay away from stories that sparkled and glittered too much (ie: Story Stocks). I can’t tell you how many times a CEO has tried to impress me with the car they drove or the $3,500 bottle of wine they bought for the table at dinner. Most of these CEO’s failed/will fail at building shareholder value.

I think it’s important to look for the right character traits in the CEO’s we invest in. I’ve had far better luck investing in CEO’s who drove pick up trucks versus Ferraris. The great CEO’s don’t care what the world thinks about them. They are highly confident but never too promotional.
[blockquote cite=”C.S. Lewis” type=”center”]
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Humility is a great attribute to look for in leaders. Leaders with humility never let their ego stop them from hiring people smarter than them. Humility is highly important when building a company. When you are analyzing management look for qualities that represent those of great people, not great salesmen. You will know it when you see it. Greatness is always obvious.

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MicroCapClub is an exclusive forum for experienced microcap investors focused on microcap companies (sub $500m market cap) trading on United States, Canadian, European, and Australian markets. MicroCapClub was created to be a platform for experienced microcap investors to share and discuss stock ideas. Since 2011, our members have profiled 1000+ microcap companies. Investors can join our community by applying to become a member or subscribing to gain instant view only access. MicroCapClub’s mission is to foster the highest quality microcap investor Community, produce Educational content for investors, and promote better Leadership in the microcap arena. For more information, visit and

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