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The Man Who Lost $70 billion and still a Billionaire: Masayoshi Son

The Man Who Lost $70bn And Is Still A Billionaire: Masayoshi Son

“When I lost 99 percent of what I made, I could feel the joy of work again. I actually became happy after losing 99 percent. I could understand the value of money again” said Masayoshi Son, Japan’s richest man and SoftBank’s CEO while addressing a gathering in New Delhi in 2016.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” class=”” width=””]The man whose net worth was growing 10 billion dollars a day lost 99 percent the very next year out of what he had made his entire life.[/box]

The Fall

When he announced that SoftBank was buying 70% stake in Sprint Nextel, the Sprint investors were happy since the stock had risen by 14% only last week before the deal was made. The very next day SoftBank shares fell by 17% bringing him a colossal failure, causing him lose a massive proportion of his wealth, the highest amount of personal wealth anyone has ever lost to date.

Son had made a series of bold and shrewd business moves, investing heavily in dotcoms and when the bubble burst, Softbank lost 99% of its market capital from $200 Billion to $2 Billion.

“Somehow, I survived,” Son said in an interview on ‘The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations’.

Professor of political science and the chair of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Steve Vogel, tells Arstechnia.

“He’s a very aggressive, risk-taking, entrepreneurial person. He’s been colossally successful and had some colossal failures.”

$70 billion is the amount most of us dreamt of, let alone losing it in a matter of 24 hours. Encountering such a loss is not fun for anyone, but Son something else. Standing as an epitome of resilience, he is quite an inspiration.

Robots, not humans, will serve you at SoftBank’s new store in Japan

Living Boldly

Son has an individualist managerial style and a reputation that he has made by going against the flow.
One of his most famous quotes,

“ I don’t care about the sort of things that will bring a chump change over the next two or three years. I think I’m better than others at sniffing out things that will bear fruit in ten or twenty years while they are still at seed stage, and I’m more than willing to take the risk that entails”

Reflects his bold and calculative nature and shows that he has a definite vision for the future. In fact, he wants to be remembered as ‘the crazy guy who bet on the future.’

Known for bringing iPhones to Japan, helping out Cisco Routers, forming Yahoo BB, building gigabits Ethernet networks across Japan, this man is regarded as a local hero who transformed Japan in only a few years.

Son didn’t give up after facing that tremendous failure but gave a smashing comeback saying,

“Now is the time to go next stage, which is the internet will become the mobile internet.”

To pursue that vision, Son had two avenues: get a spectrum license from the government or acquire an existing phone carrier. After being denied the license, Son pursued Vodafone Japan, convincing lenders to help him in 2006 which helped the mastermind turn SoftBank around.

They say that success and failure go hand in hand and you can only cherish the flavour of success if you have tasted failure. Son is definitely someone who believes in tasting the bitterness of failure and learning from it rather than getting discouraged and giving up.

Even after facing a significant financial loss, this man never gave up his fight. It is this unique, resilient and aggressive attitude of this man that never let him feel the difference made by that huge dotcom crash in 2000 and why, today, he has Sprint and Vodafone KK all under his control.

Unusual Childhood

Son was born in South Korea to a financially average family. His schoolmates used to throw rocks at him because he was a Korean. His grandmother would never let him spend his money buying gifts for his friends, and in turn, he would argue,

“When I’ll grow up, money will rain from the heaven. As long as I do good things, money will come from heaven.”

Son was hard working and ambitious from a young age and was strongly fascinated by the Western World of America, so he was sent to California at the age of sixteen, and while studying as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, he gave life to all his dreams by starting off as an importer of game consoles, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. During this time he realized that computer technology would soon revolutionize the business world and he could make a fortune out of microchips.

In 1974, the real opportunity knocked his door when he designed and patented his speech synthesizer with his partner Forrest Mozer, a professor at his university and then there was no stopping him. After coming back from California, he founded the software distribution company called Nihon SoftBank, now a giant in the field!

Sculpturing the future

Masayoshi Son is a strong risk-taker and has a methodical approach towards his goals. He aims at investing in the solar energy and transforming the whole wireless industry of the world.
Betting big on robots, Son has given life to the robot ‘Pepper’ which can understand emotions and human expressions. He believes that robots will completely change the workforce and that artificial intelligence is the next big thing!

This July, Son just invested $4.4 billion in WeWork, allowing WeWork to be the front-runner for community cohesion.  He is a man with solid strategies and a mind prepared to hone the future, so he’s recently invested about a $100 billion in Mapbox realising its value in the future.

Masayoshi Son addressing a gathering in New Delhi, India on the turning points in his life

He is a role model whose experiences teach us that we should never worry about the setbacks that come in our lives rather should have the strength to square our shoulders and bounce back from all the things that weigh us down. [box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” class=”” width=””]Son inspires us to focus on the big picture and stop worrying about the minimal or that one major loss in our lives, there’s always a way out![/box]
Even after facing such a big loss, Son managed to take SoftBank to that level where it is now. With his vast knowledge and sharp business acumen and his personality, the world awaits the next from this billionaire!

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The Man Who Lost $70 billion and still a Billionaire: Masayoshi Son
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Why winning the Last Mile matters for the e-commerce industry