An interview with the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. In this interview, Lloyd discusses his beginnings and what he would tell his younger self on how to succeed. Lloyd also gives advice to entrepreneurs on building reliance and his perspective of the economy.
Lloyd Blankfein: Advice For Entrepreneurs, The Economy and Being Resilient
Michael Mauboussin: Here’s what active managers can do
So you know I loved it and I love the job you did. And I said as we were walking out because I had been running around there I got here and I said oh you're going on with Gayle and I said in my interview Hershey because I could do that because you've done such a spectacular job and I have to say you introduced me to that great institution LaGuardia which I just wasn't familiar. Obviously I grew up in New York. I grew up yes it is. Even though it's in Queens and I grew up in Brooklyn I don't like to stand in our way. But I learned a lot about what gets accomplished there and I'd say to this day I mentioned this to you before I always. I don't mean you know I go I peer at places but I've never done I never speak at graduations except in my life. One right on only graduation I ever spoke at a college was LaGuardia. It's great. I love it. So you know now that you know that LaGuardia has almost 700 businesses that have gone through and we had six days later so beginnings are important and I wanna ask you a little bit about your beginnings so people who are here in this audience are from all different walks of life and all parts of the country and I know that you grew up not just in Brooklyn but in public housing in Brooklyn. So can you talk a little bit about your journey. How are you. How are you guys here. If Goldman was always tidy or plans.
Well no Goldman wasn't always part I had no idea what Goldman was even when I got to school I didn't know what Goldman was in fact life is so funny because I never joined Goldman when it at some point I'll just skip ahead and then I'll go back. I interviewed a number of firms. Goldman didn't hire me and a lot of fact a lot of firms didn't hire me. I got a job at a small commodity trading firm which was acquired by Goldman. That's how I got in. After I'd been turned down you just you know you have to be you know you have to be flexible. But of course then having rejected me just made me appreciate their wisdom more the more kindness to me at the time. But no I didn't plan to do that I grew up as a you know I grew up in Brooklyn. For those from New York I grew up in the Linden Projects in East New York Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson High School and I would say I was. It was a it wasn't bait in that I would go to college. And people around me. Some did went to college some didn't. I had an older sister she didn't go to college my parents my parents didn't and I always wanted to go away to college and go away to college.
And so I applied to the state university system the City University system and I did a went to a college night and I can't remember was it probably wasn't it my high school because a lot of kids go to college for my high school and but I did go to somebody and there was a guy there from Harvard. I'm not kidding. And this shows the randomness and kindnesses and things happen. And he said you should apply to Harvard and I did. And I didn't know any I mean now I and of course I've moved on them. You know my kids only stand over them and torture them. You have to do this and dad eyes. Ninety five drafts gave me an application. And I wrote it out like you were like filling out you know the immigration form when you come in from the airport you asked the question I wrote the answer and I gave that my application and I didn't get into the way. I didn't get into every school but I got in there and so that was a good thing and I'm grateful to them. Somebody somebody 100 years earlier gave some money to the school set up financial aid for people blah blah blah. Never know the name of that person that person never knew my name and like a lot of people here you benefit from a lot of people you'll never meet and things you do will benefit a lot of people you'll never meet. That's right and that's life. But you could still be you could. I know I have a good sense of where I'm from. And that being said I don't I can't revel in it because life's been pretty kind to me. I did go to fancy schools I did go to I went to law school. We worked in a fancy law firm I got a job at Goldman Sachs it's a pretty fancy company.
And so I'm not saying this is like Abe Lincoln walking miles every day just to turn a library book and that because net net net I've had many more advantages and disadvantages but I did grow up you know in a in a house where you know dad worked nights at the post office and didn't always have before that didn't have a job for time and I know what it is to be nervous and pretty pretty anxious about whether you're going to be able to support your family and I lived in a shed a room with my grandmother and you know somebody you know baby my sister's kids slept in the living room and all that kind of stuff which a lot of people here go through. So I'm not a stranger to it even though I can't say it was.