'Bob asked: "How can the PE people have been so stupid?"'
'"They never realised that they would own the company for this long," I replied, "they thought they could buy the company, slash costs, asset-strip, boost profits and sell it on before the company's future was affected. Then came recession and the credit crunch and they couldn't have sold the company for even half what they'd paid for it. Now they want to IPO the company at a profit. To do that they have to persuade investors that the company is growing. But how do I get growth? There's no M&A money. No outstanding engineers. No money to build up new engineering teams. No more R&D money. So how do we grow the business? We poach".'
'"And this is where you come in, Bob", I told him, "no one has more contacts in the industry than you. I want you to identify key men in other companies who are working in areas which we work in. Then I want you to find out how we can motivate them to join us."
'"So we boost our new product stream and screw our competitors' new product strategy", says Bob.'
'"Precisely," I tell him, "what do you reckon we should go for?"'
'"White LEDs - it's going to be huge" replies Bob, "and I know the key man in what is probably the world's best white LED operation. He's in North Carolina".'
'"Get over there Bob. Talk to everyone who knows him. Find out what makes him tick. Find out what he wants more than anything. And give it to him".'
A couple of months later, Ed's diary reads: "Bagged the bugger. He's coming over and he'll get us into the white LED business. Just to have his name on the engineering team boosts the company's value 15%. Roll on my $25 mill.'