What Is The Formula for Success? Socratic Dialogue

London, UK - 14th June 2011, 22:10 GMT

Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

It was a great pleasure to participate in the "How To Be Successful?" Citywealth* YP -- Youth Presidents -- summit for private bankers and wealth managers in the City of London. As one of the chosen keynote speakers, we wanted to do something innovative on this occasion drawing inspiration from the ATCA 5000 world renowned technique of Socratic dialogue which seeks to involve the assembled group as equal members of the community to solve complex global challenges.

Top of the Summit?

How To Raise Awareness?

Tell me, and I will forget...
Show me, and I may remember;
Involve me, and I will understand!

Confucius - 5th Century BCE

Following the examples of Socrates of Greece and Confucius of China, we decided to focus on dialogue and involvement. So instead of giving a speech we sought to involve the assembled group of executives in Socratic dialogue to give us the key words that they thought were the defining features of success.

[Early on, I confessed my vulnerability, albeit feigned, that I had not prepared a speech. This meant that the select executives could all look forward to something short and punchy and that is not a description of my physical presence!]

Mind Over Matter

What is success if not the triumph of mind over matter? If you don't mind, it doesn't matter! What role does consciousness play in success?

Fire Engine Principle

Follow the "Fire Engine" principle is all about harnessing the awareness and opportunity which is created by a fast moving metaphorical "Fire Engine" that clears the way in heavy traffic posing an obstacle on the path to success. While keeping within the law, if one can follow that newly opened track by the "Fire Engine", there is an unparalleled competitive advantage because one can get across miles of perceived obstacles via this "fast track" technique.

In business terms, we need to identify where the real "fire" is "burning" within an organisation and volunteer to assist to mitigate or to solve the crisis. As that fire is eventually put out or tamed, the leader is likely to become a hero and with luck may become the next President or Chief Executive over time. As one of their trusted confidants who helped them get there, what will happen to you? You will become successful by being associated with their success. So associating with success begets success and associating with a rising star, begets success manifold!


Every age, every time, every year and every moment has a defining spirit. This "Time Spirit" is called "Zeitgeist" in German. In order to be successful, one has to appreciate the Zeitgeist and capture it in single words and slip in those critical words in meetings with key colleagues and pursue one's goals in alignment with the "Zeitgeist". Those constellations of magic words which define the "Zeitgeist" -- if repeated at critical meetings -- eventually propel the leader towards becoming unique and memorable. If the people we meet -- customers, strategic partners, shareholders and work-colleagues -- can remember us, this automatically ensures that by association they will remember the "Zeitgeist" message we carry and identify the unfolding "Zeitgeist" with us!

Two Examples

In one of our favourite movies "The Graduate"-- with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft -- from 1967, directed by the extremely talented Mike Nichols, the young "Benjamin" is taken aside by his father's partner who tells him that the key to success can be summarised in a single word: "Plastics!" The young Benjamin is simultaneously confused and amused by that single word. That is a word defining the Zeitgeist of the late '60s. If the movie was made now, and if the theme remained the same, it may be that the Zeitgeist words would have to be changed to "Bio-degradable Plastic!"

When we founded our software firm "mi2g" in the mid-1990s, the Zeitgeist was the "Internet". Bespoke risk management solutions around that single "New Technology" word assured the attention of venture capitalists, private bankers and wealth managers and laid the foundations for our Queen's Award winning Innovation and Success. As we continue to identify latent and burning fires in banking, insurance and reinsurance, and keep the mantra going of using "Zeitgeist" words at formal lunches and dinners as well as seminars, success multiplies by sticking to the "Fire Engine Principle!"

Collective Consciousness

What are your "Key Words" for defining "Success" that capture the "Zeitgeist"? Socratic dialogue with the assembled executives collected this rich harvest:

1. Luck

2. Timing

3. Happiness

4. Drive

5. Fulfilment

6. Reliability

7. Hard Work

8. Self-belief

9. Vision

10. Childhood dream

This Socratic dialogue demonstrates that the formula for success is already within each one of us and we have to concentrate on our within to resonate with the "Zeitgeist" to find it! When opportunity presents deploy the "Fire Engine Principle!"

Our Formula

What is our formula for success at mi2g, ATCA 5000 and The Philanthropia, over the last one and a half decades?

1. Ethics

2. Friendship

3. Horizon Scan

4. Ab Initio Thinking

5. Attention to Detail

6. Teamwork

7. Persistence

8. Collective Evaluation

9. Forgiveness

10. Thanks

So let us continue to Divine, Engineer, Enterprise, Innovate and Excel!


* Citywealth was founded by Karen Jones -- a distinguished ATCA 5000 member -- in October 2005 and is a dedicated publishing organisation for the private wealth management industry and ultra high net worths. Karen Jones was formerly at News International working across The Sunday Times and Times newspapers and was also at business press: The Financial News, Legal 500 and Legal Business.

We are hosting an Expert roundtable on this issue at ATCA 24/7 on Yammer.


Expert Roundtables

Expert roundtables are the newly launched ATCA 24/7 Q&A private exclusive club service. They seek to become the killer application in strategic intelligence by delivering an unprecedented competitive advantage to our distinguished members. They can only be accessed online at https://www.yammer.com/atca

Q1: How to become a privileged member of ATCA 24/7 to participate in the expert roundtables?

A1: i. If you are a distinguished member of ATCA 5000, ATCA Open, The Philanthropia or HQR affiliated groups you may be allowed to become a privileged member of this new and exclusive private club.

ii. If you are pre-invited, visit the private intelligence network -- PIN -- by going to https://www.yammer.com/atca [Note: In https:// 's' is for security and encryption]

iii. If you don't have membership of the PIN yet, email the mi2g Intelligence Unit at intelligence.unit at mi2g dot com for an exclusive invitation.

Q2: How to participate in the expert roundtables and get domain-specific strategic intelligence questions answered?

A2: Access the ATCA 24/7 Private Intelligence Network -- PIN -- online and ask or answer a strategic intelligence question, no matter how complex. Receive expert answers within 24 hours or get pointers from:

i. ATCA 5000 experts who are online;
ii. ATCA Research and Analysis Wing; and
iii. mi2g Intelligence Unit.

Q3: Why is the ATCA 24/7 Q&A Exclusive Club special?

A3: ATCA 24/7 has now created an exclusive private intelligence watering hole and expert roundtable at the highest level where interesting and sophisticated questions are being asked from around the world, and intelligent answers are being provided, almost always by experts who have deep domain-specific knowledge. Come and check out the exclusive club, take it for a strategic test drive, which sign-of-intelligent life are you waiting for?

To learn more about "The Expert Roundtable: ATCA 24/7 Q&A Club" email: intelligence.unit at mi2g.com and if you are already a member visit https://www.yammer.com/atca

We welcome your thoughts, observations and views. To reflect further on this subject and others, please respond within Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn's ATCA Open and related discussion platform of HQR. Should you wish to connect directly with real time Twitter feeds, please click as appropriate:

. ATCA Open

. @G140

. mi2g Intelligence Unit

. Open HQR

. DK Matai

Best wishes

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty -- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility.

Intelligence Unit | mi2g | tel +44 (0) 20 7712 1782 fax +44 (0) 20 7712 1501 | internet www.mi2g.net
mi2g: Winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the category of Innovation

mi2g is at the leading edge of building secure on-line banking, broking and trading architectures. The principal applications of its technology are: 1. D2-Banking; 2. Digital Risk Management; and 3. Bespoke Security Architecture. For more information about mi2g, please visit: www.mi2g.net

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