Jeffrey A. Martinovich, Founder and CEO of MICG Investment Management, knows just about everything there is to know about life’s ups and downs.
Martinovich was a big hit before the 2008 financial crisis but was later sued for fraud. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison but worked his way up to house arrest, only to end up in jail to finish his sentence for a highly technical violation of the terms of his sentence. Martinovich is a free man again, with a markedly different outlook on life, more supportive of others, and more aware that there is a lot going on that we have little control over. He wrote a new book, Just one more: the wisdom of Bob Vukovich. We asked Martinovich about the lessons he has learned from his life so far.
Let’s eliminate that first. You were convicted of financial fraud following the 2008 financial crisis and served time in federal prison. Has this experience changed your outlook on life?
Jeffrey A. Martinovitch: Of course, but not in the expected way like the films of terrible rich discovers religion. It taught me more that life is fragile and can be totally transformed on a random Tuesday. I was also very naive about people, governments and the “system”.
What did you learn from the other inmates? How much do life circumstances have to do with why people end up in prison?
Jeffrey A. Martinovitch: Circumstances and environment mean a lot. If someone has the characteristics, intelligence and drive to be a leader or a successful person, depending on the opportunities presented, it can be positive in sports, studies or business, or negative in criminal or destructive behavior.
You were in the army during the first Iraq war. What lessons have you learned from this experience?
Jeffrey A. Martinovitch: I did not go to Iraq, but rather was at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley AFB, Virginia during the first Gulf War. I have tremendous respect for our veterans and enjoy working in the defense industry and supporting charities and causes for our veterans. I have great admiration for the men and women who are committed to our country, and their maturity and independence show themselves in their service and later in business.
Contemporary American politics seems like an ongoing schadenfreude festival, with conservatives eager to “own the libs” and liberals mocking anti-vaxxers dying of covid, but you’ve written a book that advocates the exact opposite. Why this message now?
Jeffrey A. Martinovitch: I believe that my personal opinions do not correspond to either party. I believe in freedom, personal responsibility, free market capitalism and charity for those in need. I think these are the ideals of our great country, but human nature can run counter to these purist truisms. Our success has allowed us to forget these ideals, to look to the government to take care of us, to want something for nothing, and to believe that the universe owes us security and prosperity. It is a dangerous time.
Everyone says they wish they were rich, but most people are reasonably content with just a work. What is your definition of success? How do you advise others to see their own successes and failures?
Jeffrey A. Martinovitch: Of course, “rich” is not monetary wealth. It is the ability to be happy and secure. But monetary wealth can play an important role in creating happiness and security if kept in context. I have always taught my employees that if we want to save the world, we can do it much easier with 100 million dollars! Jack Welch, GE’s iconic CEO, has continually taught that a company’s responsibility is to be profitable so that its employees have good jobs, their children have optimal education and health, and their communities prosper through charity and civic contribution. . Bruising America and redistributing wealth not based on merit only destroys everyone and everything in the process. Wealth is success, striving, taking care of your family. I know because I’ve made more mistakes than anyone along this difficult journey.
Peter Page is the Grit Daily’s Contributions Editor. Formerly at Entrepreneur.com, he began his journalism career as a journalist long before print media had even heard of the internet, let alone tear down the industry. The years he worked as a police reporter have a big influence on his view of the world to this day. Page has expertise in environmental politics, energy economics, ecosystem dynamics, the anthropology of urban gangs, the workings of civil and criminal courts, politics, the machinations of government, and the art of crystallizing thought. in writing.