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Legend has it that in 1970 a young trader sat in the early morning commuter bus from New Jersey to Manhattan with a miner’s headlamp strapped to his head. The lamp allowed him to read financial filings in the darkness before arriving at the office. This story about Michael Milken may be apocryphal, but his commitment to his work was without question. Milken often arrived at the office at 4:30 a.m. and prided himself on making hundreds of phone calls a day. He was on a mission to make high yield bonds a household name and acted as the nerve center for a burgeoning network of investors and entrepreneurs.
Capital is a lot less scarce today than when Milken set out to “democratize” it. On the other hand, access to the right people and deals is more valuable than ever. That presents a challenge for introverts like me whose eyes roll over at the mention of networking.