Mercadona and the Culture of Effort
Juan Roig, one of the richest men in Spain, just surpassed El Corte Inglés in sales. Mercadona is now the leading Spanish distributor. I am struck by his call to arms: "We must imitate the culture of effort of the Chinese bazaars." Someone who, in a year as bad as 2011, hired 20 new employees a day, deserves everyone's attention.
His complaint that "Spaniards don't pick oranges" brings to mind the memory of a recent conversation with one of our investors. On his small farm next to a town with some 80% unemployment, the manager left and no one wanted to fill the vacancy, despite the fact that, as he tells me, "there could not be a more attractive job for anyone in the town." Are we as a country losing the desire to work? Are we such gentlemen that we just want to collect unemployment or have an easy job? Another one of my partners told me an anecdote a couple days ago. They were looking to fill a director position in his company and in the last interview that they conducted they asked about the candidate's motivation for applying for the job. The answer: "Because your office is right next to my house." He didn't get the job, obviously.
This is why I admire entrepreneurs so much. Nothing is beneath them; they work from sun up to sun down and they are up for everything that's thrown their way. That is the effort that Juan Roig is asking for. What are you waiting for?