The year was 1994.
The year Brazil won the football world cup and seven long years since the New Zealand All Blacks won the rugby world cup.
It was the year of Pulp Fiction and the suicide of Kurt Cobain of grunge band Nirvana fame.
It was the year Whitney Houston won a Grammy for “I will always love you” and Tom Hanks collected an Oscar for his starring role in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
In 1994 the 50 kilometre Euro tunnel under the English Channel was opened and a group of more than a hundred software producers formed the World Wide Web consortium to set standards for use of this relatively new innovation.
In 1994 I was 24 years old and I had never left my home country of New Zealand. But that was about to change.
I had completed my theoretical education the year before. This education included six years of university study, sleeping in and avoiding the real world as much as possible.
My six years of university education revolved around commerce where I achieved majors in economics, marketing and accounting. But it was all theory. That doesn’t, at the end of the day, prove much does it?
There was still much to question, such as: “What is the real world?”
Uncle Fred – “The real world is working 8 am to 7 pm, six days a week.”
Aunty Agnes –“The real world is having children and praying none of them ever end up in prison.”
After talking to Uncle Fred and Aunty Agnes I figured I needed to discover the real world for myself. There must be more to life than completing nature’s cycle of birth, regeneration and disappearance into the minds of the living.
You can’t tell me that at 24 years of age the best years of my life are behind me. Those years were filled with chaos, self doubt and fears for my future. If those are the best years of my life then …
To the land where dreams become reality North America, that’s where.
To the New World where fortunes land at the feet of the immigrant; North America.
North America kept ringing in my ear, talking over the wisdom of Uncle Fred and Aunty Agnes, pushing their words further and further from my mind.
North America; in 1994 it was the centre of the creation of wealth within the world. It was the land of opportunity. It was an open business textbook waiting to be read.
Which brings me to my next question: “What is business all about?”
Uncle Tom – “Business is all about making money. It is as pure and simple as that.”
Uncle Tom always was the wise one in the family. Taking his wisdom I decided I was off to North America as soon as possible to learn about money. Once this knowledge was obtained I was going to shoot for the skies and create a global business empire; an empire which would make Uncle Fred and Aunty Agnes proud.
If money makes the world go round then I needed to start travelling the world without delay. One day I will be successful. One day when I have billionaire beside my name, talking tall at the top of the business suited crowd, I will stand up and shout “I am more than just a number!”
I boarded my flight from New Zealand to Los Angeles. It was April 1994. Having lived at home with the parents for most of my student life I had no student debt. Nor did I have any money to my name. It was a beginning from base zero to billionaire.
I was heading off from the lush green pastures of New Zealand into the blue / grey / black skies of the unknown.