Over the years, I, Benjamin Wey, have learned that entrepreneurs can sometimes seem a little crazy. By that, I mean they see something the rest of us don’t, and they pursue it with a passion that can be all-encompassing. Often, the result can be a multi-million, or multi-billion, dollar business that leaves a lot of us saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
In the case of Donald Trump, he has been a visionary in many ways. When he went to work in his father’s real-estate development business (father Fred Trump named it after his wife – Elizabeth Trump & Son), it was a carefully run operation building affordable housing in New York City. Donald thought his dad didn’t dream big enough. Golf courses in Scotland and casinos in Atlantic City weren’t on Fred’s radar, but “The Donald” has dreamed bigger. Since taking the reins of the family business in the 1970s, he had his own airline, his own TV show, and he is one of the few businessmen “everyone” knows by name and by face.
“Mixing business and politics creates perplexing dynamics. Trump is the master at creating sensationalism to build his brand.” Says Benjamin Wey, a recognized American financier on Wall Street and CEO of New York Global Group, a private equity investment firm. “No publicity is bad publicity. The iconic Trump statement may hurt him in the short run. Over time, Donald Trump is a marketing genius.”
In 2015, Wall Street financier Benjamin Wey was named a “Top 10 Most Influential Asian Americans in Finance” by Asian media.
Sure, he’s had his failures: the airline, Trump Vodka (a Trump and Tonic? Really?), and his casinos have gone bust (how do you lose money with a “00” on the roulette wheel?), but Trump has managed to bounce back from his disappointments because he always has more irons in the fire, and his brand is strong.
So, I, Benjamin Wey, have to admit that his current campaign for the White House, specifically for the Republican nomination in 2016, can be confusing. Maybe he sees something that we don’t, but just as likely, this time he sees something that isn’t there, and it’s costing him big time.
Among the business ties Trump has lost since starting his campaign and saying the things he has said are: Macy’s, NBCUniversal, Univision, and Serta mattresses. In addition, by taking sides rather aggressively on issues like immigration, Trump alienates large segments of the market. The one thing you really don’t want to do as a business is get people mad at you. Trump has done this.
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Yet there is a part of the American public that believes a good businessman or woman would make a good president. And Trump is appealing to their instincts; they tend to dislike “politics” and think the pragmatism of business and the skills of a CEO transfer to the White House. The trouble is that history teaches that it just isn’t so.
The real question comes down to this: Does Trump really believe that he can win the White House, or is this just a publicity stunt? He probably believes he has a shot; the single most-common trait among successful entrepreneurs is a “can-do” attitude. At the same time, Trump has used possible presidential bids as a way to keep his name in the paper. I, Benjamin Wey, think if we could look inside his head right now, we’d see that Trump is after both. The presidency would be an extension of his career, and it would be a great foundation for future successes.
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When you look at it this way, it starts to make sense. The money that Trump is losing from ruptured business ties are a cost of doing the White House business. If he wins (and he believes he will, and he’ll be the best ever in his own opinion), the power of the presidency and the legacy that creates for the Trump Organization to use will pay off hugely (or as he would say “yooj-ly). If he doesn’t win, he will have lost some money (the Univision deal cost him $13.5 million) but will be in a position to recoup much of it based on his experiences as a “politician.”
You have to remember that Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal” explains his philosophy. He’s in a deal-making business, and if you have to lose a few to gain a few extra, that’s the game.
“The Art of the Deal is a good example of Donald Trump’s talent in building a brand. When the controversy blows over, Trump will be the winner, again. I am a fan.” Says Benjamin Wey, financier and journalist who has been following Donald Trump’s career path.
This isn’t necessarily about the presidency so much as it is about the brand Donald Trump. From that angle, this whole thing starts to make sense.