#25 - Morris Kahn on Serendipity, Forging Strong Relationships and Taking Chances
"I didn’t make money to have property. I made money so I could live a rich and interesting life. I never wanted to be the richest man in the cemetery. "
Morris Kahn is a South African born Israeli entrepreneur and philanthropist who has helped put Israel on the map in more ways than one. He has launched multiple global enterprises including Amdocs, one of Israel’s largest, most established high-tech companies and Coral World, which operates underwater observatories all over the globe. A self made billionaire, his fortune is most certainly the least interesting thing about him. From building underwater observatories to launching the first privately funded spacecraft to the moon, there seems to be no limit to how far Morris Kahn’s entrepreneurial spirit can take him.
Kahn immigrated to Israel from South Africa in 1956, one year after visiting and falling in love with the country. He has since gone on to contribute enormously to its development and in 2016 was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce for his contribution to Israeli economy and philanthropic endeavors ranging from medicine and science to the environment, youth leadership and education.
In celebration of his 90th birthday, his most recent trip to Ethiopia proves Kahn has no intention of slowing down any time soon. In Ethiopia, his non for profit foundation helped establish an orphanage for abandoned children sentenced to death, set up a hospital equipped with state of the art equipment and cure hundreds of people from blindness. As he sees it “If we can’t help each other in this world, what are we doing here?”
Kahn is a natural born leader who doesn’t believe you can encourage people to do something without being willing to do it yourself. In our conversation he humbly attributes his success to good luck and believes that none of what he has accomplished could have been possible if it weren’t for his partnerships with trustworthy and competent individuals. In our sit down together we speak about:
Accidents as the unlikely birthplace of innovative ideas
Transforming hobbies into profitable businesses
Focusing on the quality of what you are doing not how to get rich
How investing in your relationships will pay off big time
Giving your all to everything you do and recognizing when it's time to move on
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