Charlie Lamdin, Bootstrapper: From Bankrupt to Billionaire
Charlie is bootstrapping his way from being made bankrupt in December 2015, to becoming a billionaire.
He’s at about £50m so far, although it’s all tied up in his technology startup, BestAgent.
He wants to persuade the world’s 2,755 billionaires that the coolest and most rewarding thing they could do with the £10 trillion they mostly don’t need is to use it to create opportunity for those who don’t have it, on a scale never seen before, rather than dying with it all in the bank.
So he’s devoting the rest of his life to becoming a billionaire to show how it can be done, by setting the example.
He’s gone from bankrupt to building a business on a piece of technology that’s beginning to change the way the property market in the UK works. He turned down unsolicited offers of investment in 2019 valuing his business at £40m.
Charlie says: “Investor ego and agendas have derailed all my attempts so far to build a new way for the property market to operate that I know will work, because it’s a win-win for movers and good estate agents. The only losers will be bad estate agents.”
Charlie’s plan to solve global income inequality
According to Forbes magazine, the 2,755 billionaires in the world at the end of 2021 are hoarding £10 trillion between them. That’s ten thousand-billion, or ten million-million pounds.
To put it another way, if you think of one pound as one second:
One million seconds is 11 days.
One billion seconds is 31 years
One trillion seconds is 31,000 years. So 10 trillion seconds is 310,000 years.
A trillion is a lot, lot more than a billion.
But what’s the point of making all that money if it’s just stashed away in banks and investments when you die? Who have you helped? Or, are you (part of) the problem that’s driving income inequality globally?
What if, of the average £3.6bn these humans each have to their name, they worked out how much they needed to stay in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, for the rest of their lives, adjusted for inflation, with a little extra just in case?
How much would it be, and how much would that mean they had left over which they would never, ever need? Well, at least £2.9bn each is the answer.
(Let’s be generous, most of them have worked hard to get where they are, and assume that a cool $1bn would keep them comfortable for the rest of their days. That’s about £760,000,000.
Assuming (safely) that they had the acumen to achieve a 2% return on their capital, that would leave them with an income from the interest of £15.2m a year, or £1.25m per month.
That’s a little over £40,000 a day. That would take care of even the most demanding divas comfortably, until it’s time for the box. You can rent a fully-crewed luxury yacht that sleeps 10 for £7,000 a day, so you’d still have £33,000 a day spending money. Come on, it would be hard to spend more than that every day for the rest of your life. Let’s agree that $1bn is enough for even the neediest petal to live out their days like royalty.)
This idea is not new. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has received over $60bn pledged from billionaires since it’s inception, and has saved many lives and achieved much.
Charlie’s idea is different, in that it seeks to persuade billionaires to use their money to create opportunity, financially viable life skills, innovation and creativity of a different kind. And not to give it to someone else’s foundation, but to set up and run it themselves, in whatever area excites them, so that they may also overcome the billionaires’ big nemesis: depression and meaninglessness. What’s all that surplus money for? Did I actually do anything good by hoarding it, or have I sucked it out of the system to no one’s benefit but my own?
That must feel shit.
Charlie’s question to them is: how would you, personally, use your surplus £2.9bn to achieve the most fun, the biggest difference, impact the most lives and create the maximum opportunity?
The goal is: Provide facilities of any kind for the maximum possible number of people to acquire or achieve the skills and knowledge necessary to feel of real value to themselves and society.
His suggested rules are:
- You can’t give the money to charity. (That’s lazy and thus far ineffective at combating inequality.)
- You can’t donate anything to anyone. (It’s ultimately demoralising and destructive for the recipients, undermining their sense of self and value.)
- While not aiming to create income or profit, (the target output is maximum self-reliant people) by the time the £2.9bn is exhausted, if the process of training and growing the people can include some form of commercial output that makes the whole thing self-sustaining, then great, it can continue. But ultimately, closure should be expected and accepted, so that profit is never the goal.
- You must retain some form of ongoing personal involvement with the beneficiaries, even if on a part time basis. But, for the goal of seeking fulfilment (and beating billionaire’s depression), ideally it should be so rewarding that you want to be involved as much as possible anyway.
Imagine: 2,755 new facilities created around the world (that’s an average of 14 per country) each with a budget of £2.9bn or $3.8bn. That’s a lot of opportunity for a lot of people.
All Charlie has to do now is become a billionaire and show how it’s done. Piece of cake.