Byron Wien: George wasn’t a billionaire at that time. He was viewed as successful. In any field, you always know who the players are. He was viewed as a player and a prominent one, up there with Julian Roberts and a few others, one of the more successful, Stein, Hartford, Fine and Berkowitz and so forth. I was interested in getting to know him and trying to figure out how he did what he did, but I meet people all the time. The two concepts in the Life’s Lessons that are worth pursuing are 1) when you meet somebody, treat them warmly, treat them like they were a friend. When I was first starting out, I used to wait for people to prove their value. Now I accept people as a positive force in my life on the day I meet them and not all of it works out. I’ve been seriously burned a few times by trusting people I shouldn’t have trusted, but I have a very wide network of friends and acquaintances and it’s expanding all the time.
The second point on networking is you’ve got to nurture your network. You can’t just take someone’s business card and put it in your Rolodex or contacts and assume that person is part of your network. You’ve got to nurture your network. You’ve got to send that person emails, attaching articles you’ve read that you think the person would have liked to have read. Send them books – a lot cheaper than taking them to lunch –that you think they might be interested in. I’m not sending Capital around, but there are books I have sent around that other people have written that I’ve thought were interesting, but you’ve got to continuously develop your network. I hold meetings during the summer, I give three big lunches. I give one at my house, one at a venture capitalist’s house and one at George Soros’ house. I invite Wall Street, very successful people who have their homes in the Hamptons to those lunches, so I’m continuously trying to nurture my network. I go to events where I know people of influence will be and I make it a point to talk to each of them and make sure they know I’m still alive.