Owning 100% of Your Stock

Let’s say you love Nintendo. You love their consoles, their games, and their characters. You love it so much, you want to own a piece of it. So one day, you buy some Nintendo stock. The stock goes up, and you buy some more. You buy more and more as it goes up and up until you realize: You own the whole company. Somehow, you’ve managed to accumulate 100% of Nintendo’s stock. Huh. That’s kinda cool.

Of course, as soon as you become aware of your happy accident, the stock starts going down. It loses 10%, 20%, 30%, and you watch your baby lose its wings. What happened? What’s going on?

Being a responsible owner, you decide to investigate. As it turns out, the baby you’ve adopted is quite big. There are thousands of employees all over the world. Nintendo has countless departments, a vast array of products, and more games in the pipeline than you can keep track of. Hmm. What can you do?

As anyone in charge of a ship too large to steer by one person’s hand alone, you’ll have to lead from the top. How do you want Nintendo employees to behave? What do you want them to work on? How much rest will you afford them? Which environment will bring out the best of them? What products may fall by the wayside, and what principles and projects absolutely cannot be compromised?

You’ll have to answer those questions, and then you’ll have to spread the word as best as you can. You’ll never reach everybody, but if you reach the majority, maybe it’ll be enough to turn the ship around.

You already own 100% of a great enterprise’s stock, you know? That enterprise is you. Like any actual company, the business of you is about a lot more than money. It’s not just costs and profits and the share price, but if you want the long-term trend to be up, you’ll have to lead from the top – because in owning 100% of your stock, you too have inherited a grown, complex organism with many individual parts.

Not all of those parts will always behave the way you’ll want them to. There’ll be crossed wires, well-intentioned wrong turns, and unnecessary detours. There’ll be times of low productivity, bad effects from the outside, and compromises of things that should not be compromised.

In the end, however, you’ll have to decide again and again: “Will I give up on this endeavor entirely, just because of one dysfunctional part?” And again and again, I hope you’ll give the same answer: “No, of course not. I still own 100% of something wonderful. The best stock in the world.”

No matter how many times a friend quits, a project flops, or the market rejects you, it’ll never be too late to dust yourself off, try a new part, and lead from the top.