Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The day I touched $5 billion

Years ago, we pitched a little business in the Silicon Valley. A growing company in the field of CRM Management, Siebel Systems.

We met the company officers, toured their pristine facility, even shook hands with the chairman and company namesake, Tom Siebel, who at the time had a net worth of more than $5 billion dollars.

I'm not sure, but I do believe he was #198 on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in the world. Just ahead of Sheik Abdullah Abdullah, who foolishly spent $38 million to have his mansion outfitted with toilets made of solid gold, thereby dropping him to #199.

In the pantheon of witless clients I have encountered over the years, Mr. Siebel falls somewhere in the dullish middle. I don't have his tremendous wealth or robust knowledge of database management software, but I do know that "a picture of two businessmen shaking hands and making a deal" (a literal quote from Tom) does not make for the most compelling advertising.

Just out of curiosity I Googled Siebel's name and found out that my initial assessment of him was squarely on the mark.

Turns out that in 2008 he threw his substantial weight and money behind Sara Palin, the hockey mom with her finger on the pulse of real Americans. In fact, he organized a fundraising gala for her, offering everyday Joe's and Jane's a snapshot with the wunderkind of Wasilla and a seat at her table for just $50,000.

He also spoke at a brunch during the campaign, offering these choice words of wisdom,
"Sara Palin carries the flag of outrage...for each of us who cries out, 'we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."

Really Tom?

In 2008 you just had 8 years under Republican leadership. What are you so mad about? You have $5 billion. Would $10 billion make you happy?


Ellen November said...

Rich and ignorant, the worst. BTW the word verification for this comment is:

Jeff said...

It gets proven time and time again: money can't buy brains.