Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Always Be Selling

T. Boone Pickens is making the rounds of bookstores these days to sign his latest book The First Billion is the Hardest. The man’s life is apparently so large it requires multiple autobiographical accounts - three so far. Boone was published in 1987 and The Luckiest Guy in the World in 2001. Only the most patient reader gets past the first page of The First Billion as Mother Pickens is described going into labor. Pickens perhaps unwisely chose not to enlist the help of a ghost writer.

Some might pick up the book for tips on how to make a fortune. It is hardly necessary to pay the $27.00 for the book. Acolytes of the billionaire need only stand in line as he signs his book to learn the secret to Pickens’ success in the energy industry. He is continuously “pitching” his agenda, telling one person where to find his web site and another about investment opportunities in alternative energy. Pickens is a consummate salesman if nothing else.

Otherwise few of Pickens insights are ground breaking. In The First Billion he suggests “a big deal takes as much time as a little deal.” School kids know that! Neither is it news that “it’s all about the team.”

Readers of Pickens’ book will get a peak at the life of a remarkably successful and charismatic businessman - or at least his own version of it. The readers must delve between the lines to figure our why the man is now married to his third wife. Also helpful are the pictures of his current, very beautiful matrimonial companion.

Pickens is now using his financial and political clout to influence public policy on energy with his Pickens Plan. Granted he is not entirely altruistic in the effort since he has invested heavily in wind, solar and natural gas.

Pickens has founded a series of companies in resource and energy related industries since his big oil days with Mesa Petroleum. BP Capital Management (the B and P stand for Boone Pickens not British Petroleum) runs two hedge funds that invest primarily in oil and natural gas such as Suncor Energy and ExxonMobile. He started Pickens Fuel Corporation in 1997 and took it public in 2001. Renamed Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (CLNE: Nasdaq), the company operates natural gas fueling stations in North America. Mesa Power (private) is a limited partnership focused on wind energy projects in Texas. Pickens gets most attention for his energy plays, but one should not over look little Mesa Water (private), which Pickens formed with a group of Texas Panhandle landowners. The partnership has been buying up water rights in Texas in recent years.

Pickens is quite unlike the self-dealing industrialists from the previous century. Plain spoken, self-effacing and low-keyed, he evinces the demeanor of “a regular guy.” Nonetheless, Pickens’ predecessor tycoons and moguls would all agree with him on one point. Always be pitching!

Neither the author of the Small Cap Copy web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

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