Photo: Greg Becker, CEO Silicon Valley Bank with T. Boone Pickens (photo by: Stevan Koye)
This week I had the opportunity to interview and introduce three more amazing CEOs to a few of our clients in San Diego, Dallas and Seattle as part of our 30 for 30 CEO events* this year. We hosted Dr. Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, Spencer Radcoff, the CEO of Zillow and T.Boone Pickens, who really needs no introduction.
At 85 years old, Mr. Pickens runs his own company, is one of the country's biggest philanthropists and is campaigning for better use of clean energy and natural gas under his Pickens Plan. He said his team at his office would say he is "exhausting."
For the CEOs in the room and our large and small entrepreneurial clients, his energy and passion for his work and his cause are inspirational. He truly enjoys what he does and maintains good health in order to keep up the pace. He also said that in the course of his career he had several fingers slammed in doors, and now avoids those doors. Good point.
Pickens had some great advice for CEOs as they build and grow their companies that I believe are worth sharing:
- You have to work to grow a company - he works each role until he finds someone to do it better.
- He learns all components of the company.
- His employees can double for others as they learn all facets of the business as well.
- He includes employees.
- He suggests having a fun environment, but not too many laughs.
Coming from the man who wrote the book, "The first billion is the hardest," his experience is very well taken.
I asked Pickens what he is most proud of. Not surprisingly, he talked about the businesses he has built during his career and the wealth that has allowed him to create. That wealth has also allowed him to become an invaluable philanthropist for many causes and organizations. He has poured more than $1 billion over his career into health and medical research, treatment and services; kids at risk; education and athletics, with a particular focus on his alma mater, Oklahoma State University; corporate health and fitness; and conservation and wildlife management.
I have been honored to spend time with hundreds of our client CEOs this year around the world, bringing key figures of our time from tech, life science and cleantech to the conversation. Wherever I go, in the US and internationally, I'm inspired by those working to enable innovation, build new companies and create jobs. I am proud to know that our SVB teams around the world are working hard to enhance their efforts.
Thanks to all of our honored guests this year, including Mr. Pickens in particular, for making time for SVB's innovative clients who are working to achieve their equally ambitious goals - every day.
Photo: T. Boone Pickens (photo by: Stevan Koye)
SVB's 30 for 30 CEO reception series are events hosted by Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker in celebration of the company's 30th anniversary in 2013. In locations across the country, Greg is hosting receptions and dinners for 30 local CEOs and an honorable guest at each event. View photos of these events in our album on Facebook here.