An interview with Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki, whose Midas Touch is out this week from Plata Publishing
Working from your new book’s title, what’s your definition of the Midas touch?
Donald Trump: We are specifically pointing out the skill set needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are crucial today because they create jobs. People who can successfully incorporate the skills and imagination required to create new businesses are significant to the current economic landscape on several levels. The job forecast is greatly improved when jobs are literally created by someone who has had the fortitude and vision to bring something new to the table. I’ve provided thousands of jobs and continue to do so, and I know the process involved. Midas Touch explains this process, and we hope we will inspire others to become entrepreneurs.
Robert Kiyosaki: The Midas touch is also called alchemy—when you can touch something and turn it into gold. I’ve had my share of bad luck and expect I will continue to have setbacks and challenges. If you can turn bad luck into good luck, that’s the Midas touch. Right now, I see a lot of opportunity out there. Do you have the skill set to see opportunity, pursue it and make it work? I “drilled for oil” in publishing. I struck gold in the brand Rich Dad—in discovering that there was a huge mass of people who wanted to hear that message. The guys behind search engines like Google struck massive IT oil. FedEx struck oil; Facebook struck oil. Perceiving opportunity is part of the Midas touch.
The book’s subtitle says that most entrepreneurs don’t get rich—why not?
D.T.: Very often I meet people with great ideas but they lack the tenacity required to make it, and sometimes they lack the skills. You have to know everything you can about what you’re doing. Not everything works every time. So you have to just keep at it and never give up. I’ve seen people who give up too soon. There are risks involved, of course, so the person also has to have the ability to live with that risk. Some people don’t have that in their personality, and some people fail to develop it.
R.K.: Over a 10-year period, 99 out of 100 new entrepreneurs will fail. Only one will be left standing as others get pushed out of the market or burn out from working so hard. It’s really sad. I recently stopped into a coffee shop at a resort where a father and daughter were working. He had lost his job and put all his money into this shop, thinking he would do the same thing that made Starbucks so successful. The shop was empty. And there was a reason for that: there was no foot traffic. He had good coffee – but a poor location. It breaks my heart when people take the risk to become an entrepreneur and lose everything. It’s not like being an employee where you’re sheltered from the storm. And success doesn’t make it easier, it just makes you smarter. If you were not getting smarter, your business would fail anyway.
How are you adjusting your strategies and/or message in the current economy?
D.T.: My theory is that there are always opportunities. They may be more difficult to find, but they are there. Research is important and one needs to be wary. However, I’m a cautious optimist and I think it’s best to focus on the solution instead of the problem. The current economy is undoubtedly difficult but to focus solely on the difficulties is not a good solution or approach. It’s also a great time to become innovative—that’s what’s needed. My strategy is to be on the lookout for opportunities. They’re there.
R.K.: There’s always a classic battle between capitalism and socialism. Socialists tend to want to pay people more money to do less work, and capitalists tend to want to provide better products at better prices. As a capitalist, I’m not looking for more money. I’m figuring out how to provide a better product at better prices. We’re entrepreneurs; we just keep innovating and producing.
Creating jobs is a hot-button issue these days: how would you accomplish that?
D.T.: I am accomplishing it. I have a huge development in Scotland, Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, which is employing thousands of people. I have a new winery in Virginia and several new golf courses in the U.S. that employ many people. The Celebrity Apprentice is entering the twelfth Apprentice series, and the Trump Organization is going strong. The Hotel Collection has expanded and continues to win awards, so we are moving forward in many ways. We create jobs—a lot of them—and I’m proud of that.
R.K.: That’s all I’m doing right now, because every time I buy a property, I put workers into it. We’re building 2,000 new apartment houses, so we’re putting people to work there, and when the building is finished, we’ll put in management teams. Today, the IT team at Rich Dad is at Stanford University putting in a huge international web game that will teach entrepreneurship all over the world. Our projects spur the economy in our very small way. We’ve got over 4,000 people working for us. I’m an entrepreneur; my business is to invest in America.
What’s your next project?
D.T.: I’m working on several things now, the course in Scotland will be open in July 2012 and the new Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto will be opening in January 2012. The Trump Vineyard Estates are being revitalized and that’s a few of the things I have going on. As for projects with Robert, we have another idea for a book, as this is a good time for helping out the economic situation. We enjoy working together and it’s good for everyone. Finding the time is the only problem! But there will most likely be something in the works before too long.
R.K.: I think the next breakthrough in electronic gaming will be in education. We’re creating an electronic web game that teaches entrepreneurship to everyone from children to adults. We anticipate a launch date in spring of next year. It’s a magical project. We do need financial and entrepreneurial education, and games are the best way to teach it. Working with Donald on Midas Touch has reminded us of the power of experience and persistence. If sharing our experiences and delivering messages and education that can move the needle in terms of economic growth, then we have our work cut out for us. As Donald mentioned, we have another idea in the works and our collaboration over the past decade has been fantastic. We both see huge opportunities in the global marketplace and I don’t expect that either of us will slow up, let along stop building our brands and our businesses, in the months ahead.