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Hopping over the Rabbit Hole

How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure into Success

By Anthony Scaramucci
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Hopping over the Rabbit Hole by Anthony Scaramucci

Hopping over the Rabbit Hole (2020) is an honest, straight-talking look at what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The brutal truth is that the vast majority of businesses fail – yet many budding entrepreneurs still operate with their rose-tinted glasses firmly in place. But by following a few crucial tips – drawn from a successful business career with its fair share of mistakes – you’ll be more likely to survive, rather than succumb to failure.

Key idea 1 of 9

Bold moves can pay big dividends.

The date was March 2009. The US economy was in shambles. Financiers on Wall Street were panicking, the S&P 500 had hit rock-bottom, and financial institutions were canceling important conferences left and right.

All of this chaos was terrifying for the author. He worried that the downturn would sink his company, SkyBridge Capital. But one day, his business partner, Victor Oviedo, proposed an idea: What if SkyBridge threw a hedge fund conference in Vegas?

At first, the author thought Oviedo was joking. “Come on, Vic,” he said. But he quickly began to warm to the idea. After all, what better way to prove that you and your business were creative, adaptable, and entrepreneurial than pulling off an event like this, at a time when other businesses wouldn’t dare to do the same?

The key message here is: Bold moves can pay big dividends.

The author and his partner named their conference the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT, and set a date for May. Two months before the conference, the author presented the idea to his other five business partners. They were not exactly thrilled. But being SkyBridge’s founder, the author had the final say. They were going through with it.

Remarkably, he and his team pulled off the planning and production of the event in less than two months. They managed to attract prominent guest speakers and fill the seats with investors, asset managers, academics, nonprofit leaders, and media personalities.

By all accounts, the SALT Conference was a major success. During a deep economic recession, SkyBridge had put together an educational conference that gave attendees hope for the future. It also proved to the world that SkyBridge wasn’t going out of business.

But it went even farther than that. The conference brought SkyBridge mainstream attention that resulted in the author appearing in the Oliver Stone film, Wall Street 2. That led Stone to agree to read the manuscript of the author’s first book – and to write the foreword, too. 

This shows that dire circumstances can be overcome. They just require bold and unprecedented moves. In just a year, SkyBridge had gone from near-bankruptcy to hosting a successful conference and appearing on top news networks. They could have easily fallen down the rabbit hole of recession and gone under. But instead, they rescued themselves by making the most of a bad situation. 

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