Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.® Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
If there's one constant theme in all three pyramids, it's that conventional wisdom is wrong. Conventional wisdom suggests that (1) money is the primary motivator for employees, (2) customers stay loyal when they're satisfied, and (3) investors are exclusively focused on the financial return on investment. As we've seen, these are simply base needs that ignore higher human needs. At the peak of the Investor Pyramid, it's ultimately a legacy, not liquidity, that people seek.
Take a glance at Larry and Ann Wheat, and you might imagine a healthy San Francisco Bay Area version of American Gothic. This attractive couple has been married nearly 60 years and seems appropriately joined at the hip. Despite being retired, you can see in their eyes an industriousness and a stick-to-it ethic that bonds them in their purpose.
I met the Wheats in 1993, when the three of us were considering investing in a small new restaurant that was going to become a tenant in one of my San Francisco hotels. Margarett Malone had helped create a successful upscale vegan restaurant in Marin County and now wanted to launch a larger, urbane version of this establishment. The Wheats, a few others, and I provided Malone the ...