Friday, October 23, 2015

frustrating insertion of the blood funnel, koch guided by a fringe theory of domestic politics and economics



marketplace |  We went to Koch Industries headquarters last week to spend about an hour with co-owner, chairman and CEO Charles Koch. Koch and his brother David, both billionaires, are also known as dedicated right-wing political fundraisers.
Ryssdal: Charles Koch, welcome to the program.
Koch: Thanks, thanks for having me.
Ryssdal: There you are, Boston, Massachusetts, 1961. Couple of graduate degrees from MIT, and you come back to Wichita, Kansas. Why?
Koch: Well my father had, uh ... I was working for a consulting firm back there, which was then one of the leading consulting firms, Arthur D. Little, and I was learning a lot, and it was a great place to be when you're single. All the girls schools there and they had jazz bars. I mean it was terrific. I loved it. Learning a lot, doing consulting for all sorts of big companies -- process development, product development, management services. And so my father starts calling me, urging me to come back to Wichita, and I remember what it was like growing up under him. Like, starting at age six he had me work in virtually all my spare time, and I don't mean doing easy stuff. Like, started out at age six digging dandelions at, you know, 100 degree temperature, and I'm thinking, "Why did my father hate me, and all my friend's fathers love them?" Because they're out swimming, and having a great time, and here I am digging that. And you, because you have to dig down. If you pull them up the roots will stay there, and they come right back.
Ryssdal: That's right.
Koch: So I'm out there digging, and then I soon graduate to bailing hay, shoveling out stalls, milking cows, digging ditches, all this other stuff, and that continued until I started working other places. And -
Ryssdal: So you say he was tough, your old man was?
Koch: So he was tough, yeah. His philosophy was this. He said, "I don't want my sons to be country club bums. So I'm going to make them work." Now, I was a little difficult. I was  independent, kind of a free spirit, so I would try to find ways around this, and years later I ask him, I said, "Pop, why were you so much tougher on me than my younger brothers?" He said, "Son, you plum wore me out. Which I resemble that, but thankfully he stayed with it because he taught me work ethic. And he was tough. Well, and one of his favorite sayings, being Dutch, is, "You can tell the Dutch, but you can't tell 'em much." So he had a strong will, but he also had great integrity, great humility, treated people with dignity and respect, and he had a tremendous thirst for knowledge. And so I absorbed some of that, not probably to his standard, over, over time.