July 18, 2023, Israel
One of the big stories these days is the grand fraud perpetrated by an, initially, young woman, named Elizabeth Holmes. She committed one of the greatest acts of fraud in American history. A college dropout without much education but lots of connections and family money, she managed to create a scientific company valued at over 9 billion US dollars, and yet it was built entirely on lies and deception.
She was very clever, and one might say that indeed, she was a great success, as a criminal. She could have been a top mafia consultant in the early days. One can stand in awe of her criminal mind and successful manipulation. One of her tactics was to use her apparently persuasive charms and storytelling and fake emotions, to win over prominent older men. Not surprisingly many of these men were well past their prime, and we know what men will do for the company of what some might consider an attractive young blonde.
Now my point here is that once she managed to hoodwink, fool, deceive, or "convince" several well-known men, the others followed suit. Potential investors looked at the existing investors as well as the board members, they saw big names, successful men, well known families, and they said, well, they can't all be wrong. These tycoons must know something, I should TRUST their wisdom, so I will jump in as well. No one bothers investigating. No one stopped to think that those endorsing the product were in fact, not experts in the field. It was a case of one person following another. And then a group grows, and it looks even more convincing. A potential investor is thinking...well, these guys are on to something, if the Walton family, and Rupert Murdoch and Larry Ellison the founder of the successful Oracle company, and the Oppenheimer family of South Africa, a diamond dynasty, who invested $20 million are all investing in this, and it is endorsed by Henry Kessinger, and George Shultz, former United States Secretary of State, it must be legit.
Only it was not. It was all fake, it was based on a product that could not deliver the magic that it promised. They indeed were faking it until they could make it. And, in the end, they never did make it. And this again makes me think of the martial arts self-defense mentality.
Potential students look at schools that are successful (financially), they see former military guys on the self-defense Krav Maga team, they see famous actors, they see people that look the part, and they think, like the Theranos investors (Elizabeth Holms), they can't all be wrong, they must know something that I don't know. And you join.
You see people on YouTube, or on the cover of a magazine, you see cool videos with lots of views. You see guys with big muscles and you think, they must know something, they can't all be wrong.
Only they can be wrong, and usually they are wrong. And this is what you need to understand.
The group mentality, our parents try to warn us about it, "but Johnny is doing it!" Really, says your mom, and if Johnny is jumping off the roof would you as well?
But that is what so many people are doing, they are jumping off the roof and believing they can fly, because some cool so called Krav Maga instructor with big muscles and tattoos and a lot of TikTok followers is doing it.
Trust your self, reseach, don't be the investors in Theranos. Elizabeth Holms wanted people to believe in her, and they did. But she is just a little girl, she is not God, don't believe in anyone. Study, research, ask questions. Don't invest 125 million dollars, or worse YOUR LIFE because someone else thinks its cool.
Wake up. Yes, everyone else CAN be wrong.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
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