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Jorge DeCespedes, President of PharMed
"[My definition of success] changes I guess. What success was to me in my 30s is a little bit different than what success was in my 40s to now I am developing what success is in the 50s. I'm 51 years old now. In my 30s, success was clearly all about money. I would have identified success as how much money can I make at that time and I'm going to be judged against other people: what kind of car do I drive, where is my house and etc. etc. As I turned 40 success was more about accomplishing goals, about being successful within the industry, about leaving a legacy where that industry could make a little bit of difference. Something that my name would be associated with. A big improvement. My particular interest was health care distribution. And now in my 50s I think I find success is not so much what you've done with yourself, but what you want for other people and helping other people become successful, enjoy wealth. I really get off on that now a days."

On Passion:
"Absolutely, absolutely [passion is a big factor]. You know, when you look at life realistically, most successful people probably spend 40 to 50% of their time, of their waking hours, around their business. If you don't like what you are doing and you can't have passion... I think that you should be happy in your life in what you are doing and the work place also. I constantly tell people: “listen I understand work is work and but you need to really get into what you are doing”. Get whatever end of the business you want to get into -- the financial end or the fact that you are somehow in the health care business to help people's lives, be healthier. . .whatever it is that motives you. And I'm not suggesting 100% of our people are that way, but I am suggesting that most of our people…. they feel the same. Certainly the nine that became millionaires in January felt that way. They have their passion and they were key people in helping us have the success and leading to it. "

On Knowing your Limitations:
"It takes the same amount of time and energy to be average as to be great. It really does. It's how you go about it, it's how you're visualizing. I give motivational talks, and I talk about these things. First you have to have a vision. You actually have to visualize yourself where you want to be, whether it's on 100 foot yacht or in your country house in the northeast. You have to visualize that ok so you have to have vision. "

On Overcoming Adversity:
" use it [adversity] to your advantage. I remember nearly 20 years ago winning our first bid, major bid at Jackson Memorial Hospital . It was us and four companies, publicly traded companies, that made presentations. It was a piece of business for about $6,000,000 at that time. We were just starting out. Our annual revenues were maybe $1,500,000 and here we're going after a $6,000,000 piece of business. We made our presentation, and I guess it was passionate and good enough that the business was given to us. Carlos and I looked at each other, when we were awarded the bid and said “now what? What the hell do we do now? How do we support the $6,000,000 piece of business?” Credit wise or with vendors. The vendor in question was Johnson & Johnson and our normal orders with them were about $10,000 a month, so they were quite surprised when we placed our first order of $250,000. Well, we can't ship you and this. . .and so the whole thing is like, I believe that if you haven't had the right life training. . .forget your college training. I mean, I know what the book says, but you know you have to have the life training. A lot of people a) wouldn't have gone after the bid; b) after they got the bid, they would have rolled over and played dead the first time J&J said we can't ship you that kind of merchandise, you are not credit worthy for that kind of merchandise.

On Staying on Top:
"[M]y wife often tells me, “you never stop selling”. It's a lifestyle. One of the guys at PharMed that we hired a couple of years ago really put us on the map because he was a major league player. He had decided late in his career, by his own choice, that he liked enough of what we were doing here that he was going to give up his nice cushy job, with a big health company to come work with a company like ours. People in the industry noticed him come to work with us and said “wow this company must really be something, that they would attract this kind of talent”.

I think that's what he wanted. He wanted to be part of something that he could help create. That he could help mold and he did. He retired a couple years ago at age 67 after spending the last 10 years of his career with us. But he used to talk about being successful in this industry and how to make it a lifestyle. In our particular industry where we deal mostly with hospitals, it's not just good enough to know the president of the hospital or the director of purchasing. You have to know everybody and you have to know the wives' names or the kids' names and what are their hobbies and what are sporting events and the more you are in that mind set, the more success you are going to find. "


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Copyright © 2006, Alan S. Becker