Takeaways From the
Milken Global Conference:
Building Meaningful Lives
Kendra: Hello and welcome to this episode of the Founder’s Table. It’s Kendra and Jerry here and we are in Los Angeles currently and we just got through with our first two days of being at this business conference that we go to every year called the Milken Global Conference. The theme this year is building meaningful lives. The Milken Institute is a not-for-profit nonpartisan enterprise and they’re working to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, that create jobs, and improve health. They bring together thought leaders from across many industries and sectors including government and private business as well as health and education.
Jerry: I think just going along with your introduction, what amazes me is there’s 4,000+ people here from 50 states and about 100+ countries and they all have one thing in mind and that is how to make the world function better.
There are some very smart people. The heads of JP Morgan, Jaime Diamon. I was so impressed with what he had to say. In fact, he’s working for President Donald Trump and he was not a supporter of the President. I think he has an attitude that would be helpful for all of us to think about and that is once he was asked by Donald Trump to play a role, he says “okay, whatever I can do to help, even though I was not a supporter I’ll do my best.” He wants to be part of the change. The change meaning a better life for more people, especially the people who are suffering the most. Those are the ones that, as you know, our hearts have always gone out to.
Kendra: I was so impressed by the fact that they actually brought in a thousand young adults around 30 years old from sub-Saharan Africa in order to educate them on finance and how to be the next business leaders and government leaders in those countries. That’s one of the biggest problems they’re facing right now is a lack of this kind of financial education.
Jerry: In fact many of them were in the audience, introduced here. This gives me a lot of hope.
Kendra: This goes right along with what we heard from several of the speakers, one of them being the president of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim. Actually he was set out to destroy the World Bank before he became president of it. He didn’t understand exactly what they were doing. He said that in the past, for developing countries, what we would see would be that they would get into agriculture and then light manufacturing, followed by heavy industry. This may never be true for Africa because there’s so much technology involved today and it’s so expensive to get into those industries. They’re seeing an entire generation coming where there’s going to be no jobs for them.
Jerry: In fact, they said two-thirds of the jobs, that’s 66+ percent, of the jobs the middle class and so on have in developing countries, will be displaced by technology. And that’s frightening.
Kendra: And we know that the only way to destroy the poverty cycle that exists in our world is to have jobs and opportunity.
Jerry: That’s right. And these are jobs in agriculture for example, jobs where people go to work every day and have a function and do things. As examples of jobs being displaced by technology, think about all of the taxi drivers right now that are being displaced by Uber, think about the hotel rooms in hotels that are not being built which involves construction workers which involves all the rest of it and that’s being displaced because Airbnb are allowing regular people to rent out their homes. So now we have the largest taxi company in the world Uber and they don’t own any cars. And the largest hotel company in the world and they don’t own any hotel rooms. They just allow us to rent our house if we want to. So these technology disruptions are happening everywhere, and have been for some years now.
Think about Kodak 175,000 employees, they no longer exist, they went bankrupt, because now you carry around your camera in your phone. So technology is disruption and it’s going to continue. But that leaves us in home-based business in a very good spot.
Kendra: If you think about the implications of that it seems so simple. You could take taxi cab driver and train him to be a computer data scientist or a computer programmer. But it’s just not that simple.
Jerry: It’s not that simple and the other frightening thing is that a large number of high school students today, when they finish their education if they go on to college, the jobs and the skills they’re being trained for those jobs will no longer be there. It’s all changing so fast. I as you know didn’t get a formal education past high school. Yet, I consider myself today educated in the areas that are important to me. I think that’s something all of us can do. Make a commitment that we’re going to gain knowledge. And knowledge is a key in the areas that are important to us and our businesses. No matter what it is, get more knowledge about the subjects and about the things that we’re doing. In our world it’s nutrition, it’s operating a small business, it’s self-improvement knowledge.
Kendra: Absolutely, and that’s what NeoLife offers.
Jerry: Absolutely. And I think that NeoLife allows us that once we gain this knowledge, we have a place to put it to work. Something we can go do. It’s not enough to have knowledge, you have to then be committed to use your knowledge and have the opportunity to use it. Then you start this growth process. It’s not anything we should get nervous about like we have to become these great leaders overnight. No, just do the simple things that we do every day and as we do them we eliminate the fear involved and we become better at whatever it is we have to do. In our case, I’ve always tried to get better at talking to people, representing the products, giving a talk, and better at understanding business in general.
Kendra: Michael Milken, the founder of the Milken Institute. An incredible man who is dedicated to making the world better. He has relationships with so many respected people and across all different industries and he was talking to the US Surgeon General who was asked “what is the biggest disease in America today?” The answer surprised me. He said, “it’s not cancer, it’s not heart disease. It’s isolation. The pronounced isolation that so many people are experiencing. That is the great pathology of our lives today.
Jerry: Very, very true. It was brought out so clearly today. I’ve talked to people about you and I coming to Milken year after year, and they have the impression that because you’re here with business leaders that it’s all about some high-powered business thing. But could you believe that the message here and concentration is on taking care of the poor. It’s on giving. It’s all about giving, not getting.
Kendra: Absolutely, and it’s focused on our core needs as people. If isolation is the biggest disease that we have today, that means a solution is to find a place where you belong – A family.
Jerry: It goes back to one of our tenets of our businesses: care about people. You know you don’t think of Michael Milken, one of the brightest minds in the world in the area of business and finance and allocation of capital, but there he is dedicating absolutely hundreds of hundreds of millions of dollars and raising the money even through this event. All this money is a gift to charity that comes in here and that’s a lot of money.
Words and thoughts are so powerful and we see the of the evidence here of people who have had life-changing thoughts and dreams and then have made them come into fruition. It’s almost like whatever you can think about and dream about and talk about and plan and dedicate your life to, you can make it happen. And we see it here. We were sitting there with the CEO of eBay and with just the most fabulous minds from around the world. To hear them talk about the simple things in their lives was great. And they all for the most part started from humble beginnings.
Kendra: There was a lot of talk about technology and not only the job displacement but also just the disruption that’s happening in so many industries. Something that stood out to me was said by the Chief Legal Counsel for Airbnb, a lady, and she said that computers and AI (artificial intelligence) simply cannot replace the human element. That’s something that has been crucial to the success of Airbnb. The relationships formed between the host and the people staying in the house. Human connection can’t be automated. This entire conference was giving me so much confidence in the future for NeoLife because everything that they’ve been saying just plays right into what we’re doing. We can have the technology, and the apps and the back office, but there’s nothing that will be able to replace human connection.
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