The Business Method: Interviewing Billionaires, Billion Dollar Founders & the World’s Most Successful People 🎧🔥

Chris Reynolds

On The Business Method host Chris Reynolds interviews billionaires, billion dollar founders & the world’s most successful people. read less
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Ep.563 ~ Building Your Own Luxury Cruise Line  ~ Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio
6d ago
Ep.563 ~ Building Your Own Luxury Cruise Line  ~ Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio
Listeners welcome back to the pod - today we will dive deep into the life of one of the most influential figures in the cruise line and maritime world. Our guest is a titan of the cruise line industry, a visionary entrepreneur, and a lifelong champion of global tourism his name is Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.  Manfredi has transformed his family business into a global leader in luxury cruising. Under his leadership, Silversea Cruises expanded its company offering travel experiences across all seven continents around the world. In a strategic partnership with Royal Caribbean Manfredi orchestrated the sale of a â…” stake in Silversea for a whopping $1 billion in 2018. This strategic partnership not only elevated Silversea's brand but also marked one of the most significant deals in the cruise industry's history. And lastly, Manfredi is the Chairman of The Heritage Group which is a private equity company that acquired 85% of one of the biggest luxury travel companies in the world Abercrombie & Kent - whose founder Geoffrey Kent was on the podcast just last month.  Today we are going to dive into the life and mind of Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio.    00:12: Who is Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio? 03:42: Manfredi’s Recommended Books      05:56: Manfredi’s Starts a Cruise Line 13:01: How this Billion-Dollar Founder Spends his Time 15:05: The Biggest Challenge Manfredi Experienced was September 11, 2001.  18:56: Manfredi Takes Over the Family Business 21:18: Manfredi Pioneers the Luxury Cruise Industry.  24:39: Why Manfredi Loves Being an Entrepreneur 26:13: Manfredi’s Career Chapters 29:59: Manfredi Orchestrated the Most Significant Deal in the Cruise Industry.  32:47: Manfredi & Geoffrey Kent Built the First Expedition Cruise Ship 34:59: Manfredi’s Daily Routine 37:13: Advice Manfredi Would Give His Younger Self 37:58: Things to Look for in Executives and Partners When You Bring Them On  40:25: What is Manfredi Most Proud Of?   Contact Info: https://www.manfredilefebvre.com/ https://heritagemonaco.com/ https://www.silversea.com/ Transcript:   [00:00:12] Chris: Listeners, welcome back to the podcast today, and we will dive deep into the life of one of the most influential figures in the cruise line and maritime world. Our guest today is a Titan in the cruise line industry, a visionary entrepreneur, a lifelong champion of global tourism, and his name is Manfredi LaFavre D'Ovidio. Manfredi has transformed his family business into a global leader in luxury cruising. Under his leadership, Silver Sea Cruises expanded its company, offering travel experiences across all seven continents around the world. In a strategic partnership with Royal Caribbean, Manfredi orchestrated the sale of a two third stake in Silversea for a whopping 1 billion in 2018. This strategic partnership not only elevated Silversea's brand, but also marked. One of the most significant deals in the cruise industry's history. And lastly, Manfredi is the chairman of the heritage group, which is a private equity company that acquired 85 percent of one of the biggest luxury travel companies in the world, Abercrombie and Kent, whose founder was actually on the podcast last month. So if you haven't listened to that interview yet, make sure you check it out. And today we're going to dive into the life and mind of Manfredi. Listeners, welcome to the show. Manfredi, welcome to the show. How are you doing today? [00:01:34] Manfredi: Not too bad. Not too bad. Can I add something to what you said? [00:01:38] Chris: Please do. Add or take away. Whatever you like. [00:01:41] Manfredi: Well, what happened is that as soon as I did my deal with Royal Caribbean, I did buy, uh, Abercrombie Kent, which recently I brought up to 100 percent shareholding, and I sold to Royal Caribbean subsequently one further that I owned, uh, in, uh, Silver Sea in exchange of Royal Caribbean shares and acquired another cruise line, which is called Crystal Cruises. [00:02:04] Chris: Ah, I did actually read about that. Forgive me for not putting that in there. [00:02:08] Manfredi: No, so it's just, the story goes on. And before Silver Sea, we had another cruise line, which was called Sydmar. Okay. [00:02:17] Chris: Was Sid, was Smar the one created by your father or was Silver Sea created by your father? Uh, [00:02:23] Manfredi: Sid Smar was acquired by my father with me because I was working with him at the time. And we bought, uh, the Cruise Line, which was one of the first cruise lines ever. And, uh, Sid Bar built the first free purposely built cruise ships, which were built in Italian shipyard fi can and LA in France. [00:02:42] Chris: Great. So that [00:02:42] Manfredi: was the beginning. Then we got an offer we couldn't refuse. We sold Smar. And we started Silversea together with my father, which I took over shortly after. [00:02:52] Chris: And that was in the 90s, correct? [00:02:54] Manfredi: That was, uh, we started in 92, we acquired in 86, Sidmar, sold it in 89, started in 92, uh, 91, Silversea, and, uh, we're ordering the ships, and then we started operating in 94. [00:03:10] Chris: Incredible. [00:03:12] Manfredi: So, and then in 2018, uh, we, I sold to Royal Caribbean and I bought in 2000, uh, actually was in 2019. The negotiation started earlier 2019. I bought Abercrombie & Kent. [00:03:27] Chris: That's right. Incredible. Um, so Manfredi, I was told by a mentor of mine a long time ago that the, uh, difference between a wealthy person and the average person is the information that we put in between the two ears that we have. and what we choose to do with it. And I hear you're an avid reader, so if it's okay with you, I'd like to ask about what you're reading right now and some of the more impactful, uh, books of your life. [00:03:59] Manfredi: Yeah, I tend to read two, three books in parallel. So now I'm reading the Silk Roads, number one, the old Silk Road and the new Silk Road. Then there is a new book which was written about the oil industry and the energy markets, which is very interesting. I don't remember now the exact title. And then, you know, other things which went back in time. An interesting View of the history of the United States of America, which is unconventional view. Ah, [00:04:34] Chris: do [00:04:34] Manfredi: you [00:04:34] Chris: know who, do you know who the author of that book was? [00:04:38] Manfredi: I can let you know. [00:04:39] Chris: Okay. [00:04:40] Manfredi: Um, it was recommended to me and I bought it and it's quite interesting. [00:04:44] Chris: Do you have two or three books that were the most impactful in your life? [00:04:50] Manfredi: Yeah, you know, but probably I'm, I, I had once, um, hepatitis, so I was stuck in bed for a long time and I managed to read all of War and Peace, the whole story. It's a massive book. In today's world, it's very difficult to read at all. [00:05:10] Chris: Yeah. Okay. Anything else, any others? [00:05:17] Manfredi: Oh, this is the one that comes to my mind immediately. The other ones are, you know, I try to always read something which will leave me something, uh, in knowledge. [00:05:27] Chris: Yeah. [00:05:28] Manfredi: A book that I loved was, uh, A Hundred Years of Solitude. [00:05:33] Chris: I've heard of that one. [00:05:35] Manfredi: There's a life in this village in Colombia, which goes through the civil wars in the country. It's quite interesting. [00:05:42] Chris: Nice. Um, so I kind of want to start this off about, uh, going back to your, your past and your childhood. And I'm curious about the first moment that you realized you had a passion for ships and cruise lines. Uh, do you remember that moment? [00:06:03] Manfredi: I can, uh, reconnected because when I was 14, my father told us, uh, he was We're going on a cruise. Now it's 14, it's uh, what is it, 56 years ago. It was really at the beginning. Nobody knew about cruises. And, uh, he, because his friend had his cruise line, which was called Sidmar, and so we went to all the way to Mexico, Los Angeles, took the cruise down the Mexico coast, and, uh, that was the first impact with, uh, uh, cruising. But I've been involved in shipping all my life, because my father was a ship owner, a professor of university of maritime law, and a lawyer, and he was always involved with shipping. So it's been all our lives that we've been involved with ships, we had yachts, and so on. We had shipping companies, we had ferry companies, we had all sorts of things. But that was a crucial moment because we sold this company, where I subsequently went to work. When I was 18. And then, uh, you know, we, we bought it. So it was a chapter here. You know, you go on a cruise and you work for them and then you buy them. Yeah. And then you see them. I hear your father was quite a, an interesting figure and he was a lawyer and he actually helped create the maritime law in Italy. [00:07:24] Chris: , and then You, you, did he start the cruise line, , the very first cruise line venture that you guys owned, or did he acquire it and then continue to run it and it became the family business? [00:07:39] Manfredi: He, we acquired it. [00:07:41] Chris: Okay. [00:07:42] Manfredi: And then, and when we acquired it, we built the new ships. And then they were so beautiful and were so, so innovative that we got a very good offer and we sold it. And then we started SilverSea. SilverSea is the first one that we started. In the past, you know, I had worked in other businesses. My father, with his, uh, partners had bought a big shipping company, which was listed on the UK Stock Exchange, which owned ships. It owned a very large, uh, Ship broker company and, uh, insurance broker company called Clarkson. It owned Maritime Insurance company. So he was always, uh, involved in that. He even had a fleet of tankers in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the seventies. [00:08:26] Chris: Oh really? can you share about your father's influence on you? You know, as a young man, I could imagine, and a boy growing up, I could imagine, uh, a father who, I think about the influence my father had on me. Right. And I can imagine you and your father had a cruise lines. He is part of the maritime industry, um, or he was at least getting involved in cruise lines at the time. , How did that have an effect on you as a young man? [00:08:55] Manfredi: I mean, that's, uh, fundamental. He was an extraordinary person, an extraordinary father. And, uh, he was lucky he had a wife who always, uh, put him on a, uh, how do you say it when you put somebody on a pedestal? Pedestal for us. So we always had, and because he was working all the time, he was traveling a lot, working, and he would, his Sundays were because he would take Saturday to work always. On the Sundays, his vacation, his day was to pass the day working in our playroom. So he had a desk. His children were playing around and he was there working. And that was his, uh, his Sunday. So, uh, you know, it's an example of, uh, dedication to passion, to work dedication. And, uh, but he was still very present to us because he was a symbol. for us. So, uh, we always looked up to him. And then he would sometimes take one of the children. For example, he, when he had some, uh, launch of a new ship, would take one children with him. And so he created some moments for us, which he was pretty much always linked his life with his business, but he involved us. So he got us very much attached. And especially my two sisters, they were deeply in love with him and the same with me. I mean, I adored him. And, uh, when I was, um, uh, 18, he said, Okay, you go to university, you will have a desk in the office next to mine. You can listen to all my phone calls, join all my meetings, read all my papers. Asked me every question, and any day in the week, Saturday, Sunday, during the week, and so that I did, and then he would send me to his businesses. He had many businesses in various countries, Mexico, England, etc, etc. So I would go three months in his businesses. And then come back and study and go on with the university and then work with him. And, uh, so it was a very tight relationship. [00:11:10] Chris: What do you think was the most impactful lesson that you learned from your father? [00:11:16] Manfredi: You know, the most is to be very respectful of the others. He was, uh, the most, uh, Curtis person you can imagine with everybody, and it wasn't linked to the fact if you had anything to exchange with somebody, uh, somebody who was relevant for his business or for any other reason. He would be the same with anybody from the lowest level and, uh, business community or the people working for him in service to the highest level. It was true that everybody with extreme kindness and courtesy. And, uh, and would always be, uh, responding to anybody. So, it was this kind of attitude. Very humble, simple, very successful man. Uh, an incredible brain, but very humble and simple. [00:12:06] Chris: So let's switch to the roles that you play in your life now. So you're the chairman of the heritage group, which, uh, a heritage groups, a private equity group in a travel and tourism sector. Um, you're the chairman and orbital solutions, Monaco co chairman. And I guess you said, uh, are you no longer chairman at Amber Cromby Kent, or are you still co chair there? [00:12:27] Manfredi: No, I'm, uh, I'm the chairman. Geoffrey. sold me the steak, and he is the co chairman. I don't know what his exact title is. He's the founder chairman, let's say. Okay. He's not actively involved in the running of the business. He's very involved in everything, which is the product. [00:12:49] Chris: . And then you're a member of the board of Bucksense Incorporated, vice chairman of Monaco Chamber of Shipping, um, member of the executive community of World Tourism and Travel Council, and member of the board of SKULD Skold. Is that what that's pronounced? Skold? Skold. The maritime school in maritime insurance company based in Oslo. So I'm, I'm curious with all those, those titles and accolades, where do you spend the most of your time? [00:13:18] Manfredi: Well, first of all, they evolved, you know, some are gone and there's some new ones. [00:13:22] Chris: Okay. [00:13:23] Manfredi: And I spend most of the time, reality, I divide myself between three things. One is where I have the most relevant business opportunity where I focus a lot. [00:13:35] Chris: Okay. [00:13:35] Manfredi: Was like, I try to make sure that that things they are done well and they get my support. I, I cultivate very, uh, mature and capable management and then, and want them to, to, to drive, but I'm there to help them and to know everything which is going on. In any case, that's the first thing, which is very important. The second thing is whenever there's something which is not going that well, it happens to follow my laps. Because this is what happens with owners, you know. So there I dedicate with the team and to solve whatever there are some problems and something which is not going as I would wish to solve it. And the third thing is the things which give me satisfaction. So there are a number of things which give me satisfaction and I dedicate myself to. So now I've been recently appointed by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. as ambassador to UNESCO and for charity and philanthropy, which is something which is not going to earn me a cent. It's going to cost me, but it gives me satisfaction. I use my capabilities, my relationships, my, uh, dedication to, um, better cause. So it's a mixed, I have the freedom of choice. [00:14:51] Chris: That's good. I was going to ask, , you mentioned about, you know, if there's ever a problem in the business, it comes to you, it comes to your desk. [00:15:00] Manfredi: I didn't mention the new businesses. Of course, I mean, new investment. I follow also. [00:15:04] Chris: Yeah. Did you share with us maybe one of the biggest challenges that you've had in your career when it came across your table, , and how you decided to handle it? [00:15:17] Manfredi: Oh, there's a very clear example. September 11th. I was in a bank negotiating the refinancing of the financing. It's a new ships. And in the bank, they tell me, they come, somebody rushing in, come, come and watch on the television. So there, we were on television, in the bank, because CTF financing for the company. And we saw what happened. So you can imagine from that moment on, what can happen to the travel business. [00:15:51] Chris: Yeah. [00:15:52] Manfredi: The world shrinks. Every place which has a Muslim religion or Arab language, Is disappears from the world. You cannot go there. It's a small world and uh, uh, people don't wanna travel. If they want on a plane, they will look if there's anybody who looks suspicious. And, uh, actually for some time, planes were suspended. So that was a very tough time and you have to hold the company together. And, uh, going through, uh, you know, all sorts of difficulties. You dedicate your time there and, uh, and succeeded. And then, the cruise industry recovers very fast, so it bounced back. But for some time, it was tough. [00:16:39] Chris: How long was that time period? [00:16:42] Manfredi: There is, I think that you can, the turning point was when President No. 43 went on the aircraft carrier. [00:16:51] Chris: Okay. [00:16:52] Manfredi: It was like a liberating moment. [00:16:54] Chris: Ah, okay. [00:16:55] Manfredi: Confidence came back. It was like a fantastic case of how to rebuild confidence in the consumers. [00:17:06] Chris: And, , what are, what are some of the ways that you held the company together, at least the, the morale of the company together during that time? [00:17:20] Manfredi: You know, they, they, they have to see that you're on top of everything and you can find the solutions. And I think that my people were quite confident. I had additional resources of my own, which I could put in to support the company. But I was trying to have the company support itself as much as it could by itself. But I had good relationships, and I got some incredible, uh, support by people. Um, really incredible support by people based on their trust and confidence. [00:17:54] Chris: What do you think was harder on the cruise line industry, uh, 9 11 or COVID? [00:18:00] Manfredi: 9 11. [00:18:01] Chris: Yeah? How come? [00:18:04] Manfredi: Well, 9 11 was, uh, wasn't only a travel space. And during COVID, most of the businesses were still going well, if you think about it. Some businesses actually had an incredible success. During the electrical container business. Well, during 9 11, it was simply the world was paralyzed. And the governments did not find a way to intervene to support the businesses. It was very, very tough. [00:18:34] Chris: , I guess that makes sense. , so okay, let's shift gears a little bit and, and we talked about your father and his impact on your life. , can you tell us a bit about when you took the company over, , what was that moment like for you and what were some of the decisions leading up to that that made you guys decide it was time? [00:18:56] Manfredi: Well, the decision was because we made a family partition. So I got, uh, in the division of the family assets, I got that business, like several things. And how it felt, well, you know, I had already been working with it. So it wasn't something new. And we always been very close. So I was participating to everything. It became my baby, only mine. And, uh, of course it, it was, uh, it, I must say that, uh, that choice or that moment, the fact of taking over, so it changed my life. Because from being the son of a wealthy man with many businesses, taking care of them together with him, suddenly I had something that was mine and I had to grow. And so I identified myself a lot with that company, with that product, with that success. And it became, after all, today became my legacy. [00:19:53] Chris: I am [00:19:54] Manfredi: especially that I'm not the only the son of a wealthy man from a family which has because we are a family which with 200 years of industrial history. [00:20:05] Chris: Oh, really? [00:20:06] Manfredi: Yes. [00:20:07] Chris: I didn't know that. [00:20:08] Manfredi: It started in, uh, in Italy and, uh, at the beginning of the 19th century with paper industry, banking, a number of things. So I'm not only that, I'm, uh, and I'm not only the son of a very successful man. I had my thing and I did it successfully and I've become an expert in the field. , so which allowed me. When there was another opportunity to buy to, which was during the, at the end of COVID, the beginning of the Ukraine war, to buy crystal cruises, to do it with great confidence, because I, I knew all the levers of the business, I knew the people to choose to bring on board, I knew where to go to get support for the generating the revenue, etc, etc, to restructure the ships. So, I could do it very well because I had full confidence of my knowledge of that industry, and the people had confidence on my knowledge of the industry, so they give me a lot of credit. [00:21:06] Chris: A friend of ours, Mr. Geoffrey Kent, , told me to, that you pioneered the industry, , the luxury area in both normal and expedition. So I'd love to learn more about how you did that and your strategies behind it. [00:21:18] Manfredi: How we did that was, we had, Sittmer was a typical cruise line. At the beginning of the cruise lines, they were transatlantic operators. And when the transatlantic routes, uh, became dry, no more passengers because people were flying, and from Europe there was no more migration to the U.S or to Australia or to South America, those ships needed to have a new employment, and they were converted into cruise ships. So that was the, uh, the beginning of that industry. So when we bought it, we bought it in an industry which was at its beginnings. And we built these two ships, three ships, which were the first ones to be built purposely. So that was, uh, uh, the, the, really the moment in which, uh, we dedicated to that great, , vision, because it was my father's vision that that could have been a great industry and had a great future. And then so on. And then we bought into, uh, then we developed Silver Sea. And I remember when we asked my father, Daddy, what, what is it you? really wish for. And he was 92, I think. And he said, Oh, I wish that Silver Sea will have 12 ships. And I think that we had six, maybe. It was impossible for him to see 12 ships. [00:22:34] Chris: Yeah. [00:22:34] Manfredi: But it was part of the, of really the, the passion that he had and that he gave me, this passion of, uh, and, uh, looking forward always. Not making a calculation of what you're going to make out of it and how it's related to your life, but the project, the vision, what you're building was quite, uh, driving. [00:22:59] Chris: And how many ships do you guys have now? [00:23:02] Manfredi: No, now we just started again. So we have two ships. Now we have to grow it. We start a new chapter. You see what you do when you turn 70. Some people retire. [00:23:11] Chris: Yeah. [00:23:12] Manfredi: Not in my family. [00:23:13] Chris: You start another business. [00:23:15] Manfredi: You start another business. In our case, we started more businesses because we started . We bought Abercrombie & Kent, which we're growing very fast and very much. [00:23:25] Chris: Yeah. [00:23:25] Manfredi: And then we bought again, the cruise line that we have other businesses also, which we run. So it's, uh, it's simply the fact that, uh, what is it that you, that you gives you enjoyment? And, uh, is it to play golf or is it to have, uh, in the morning, wake up and think of the things that you're doing, the projects that you have, how you can accomplish things. And, uh, so in our case, that is because of my father, who started when he was a, who started when he was very young and at 92, he was, he lived until 98. So he was still, uh, when he was at 98, he would do, still the first thing he would ask me is how are the ships going? And so it's part of that. My, the first Lefebvre, the guy in the, uh, at the beginning of the 19th century. He died when he was 84, which for those times, that's a very old age. Because he got pneumonia coming back from the board of his shipping company. So it's in the DNA of the family to work, uh, until you, you go. And it's not a question you already have the money to live well. It's a question of money as an instrument of freedom and to, realize yourself, to to achieve the satisfactions that you're looking for. In my case, I give myself a lot of other satisfactions. But the number one. is to be an entrepreneur! [00:24:54] Chris: That's most important to you to, to be known for as an entrepreneur. [00:24:59] Manfredi: Not to be known to know myself, that I am, I wake up in the morning and I'm busy. I have a lot of things which, uh, interest me. [00:25:09] Chris: Yeah I have a lot of things which I do, which interests other people. If I wasn't an entrepreneur, I wouldn't be here with you. It's very true. So [00:25:16] Manfredi: it's a very strong connection with the living world instead of going into the. Sleeping world. [00:25:24] Chris: I'm curious if you weren't in the shipping business or anything related maritime, , what business do you think you would be in [00:25:33] Manfredi: investment banking? [00:25:35] Chris: Yeah. How come [00:25:37] Manfredi: I always liked it a lot, but investment banking, private equity. investing in businesses, selling businesses, advising people, uh, working on. I, I worked when my father sent me around. Uh, he sent me also to some investment banks for some time to learn, to learn how that work, that will work. I don't know [00:26:02] Chris: if you know, but, , on our podcast, we're interviewing founders, a hundred founders of a billion dollar companies. And I always ask each guest the same question. , and it is, if you're going to break your career into chapters, what chapters would they be? And what would you name them? [00:26:23] Manfredi: A chapter is number one is, uh, the chapter in which I was a golden boy. Which means I was, uh, living, uh, a very, uh, prosperous youth with a daddy who adored me and wouldn't deny me almost anything. [00:26:40] Chris: Okay. [00:26:40] Manfredi: So understanding this, I, uh, I kept and I developed a strong, uh, uh, desire of accomplishing by myself. [00:26:48] Chris: Okay. [00:26:49] Manfredi: That was the first part. Then the second part was, uh, being like, uh, uh, a stamp on my father's back. Okay. Following him everywhere and, uh, listening to him, et cetera, and working together with him. What [00:27:02] Chris: Were the ages for chapter two? [00:27:05] Manfredi: Yeah, you can say, you know, from when I started working with him when I was 19. So let's say 20. Okay. And 20 a decade. Then I started to have diversified investments. Then, uh, that's another age. And then there was the age, which I took over the, the Silver Sea. [00:27:29] Chris: How old were you then? Became [00:27:30] Manfredi: my baby. [00:27:31] Chris: How old were you then when you took over? Silver Sea? [00:27:35] Manfredi: We're talking about a year, 2000. So I was, uh, 47. Nice. [00:27:40] Chris: And any more chapters after Silver Sea? [00:27:44] Manfredi: Yes. It's a new chapter, which is the continuation in a way of Silver Sea, which is, uh, which is happening now. But now my chapter is entrepreneur, but my enterprise is The family wealth. I see myself as somebody who is, uh, administrating the family wealth, not only to increase it, or first of all, keep it as it is and possibly increase it, but also to make it such that it is well transmitted to new generations. So my following, and so this requires a number of choices, which are different in your, in your relationship with the business of themselves, because I was permanently on top of the business. Now I want to, uh, support the manager to grow so that they can deal independently for me, benefit from my presence, but eventually one day they can, the company can go by itself. Yeah. So I joined the company that way, and that's all I'm trying to do it. So I'm trying to diversify risk, enhance liquidity very much so that the liquidity is always there for the family. So it's a different vision. When you're an entrepreneur, you're 47 and you take risks, you want to expand, you have to grow, you have to make, you have to make a jump in the size of your business. You have to go from four ships to actually work two ships to 12, 14, 16 ships. Yeah. So the company is a hundred percent yours. You don't have a public markets, you have to compete with credit, you have to do this and that. So it's a, you know, I had to finance my ships, I had to fly to China because that was the best market. So you'll find always the solutions to get the things to function. But that's when you're the full entrepreneur, then now it's a, it's a much more stable approach. Yeah. [00:29:45] Chris: Makes sense. , your partnership with Royal Caribbean, it was marked as one of the more significant deals in the cruises history, uh, the cruise industry's history. can you tell us a little bit about the unfolding of that partnership? [00:30:01] Manfredi: Well, it was easy. I mean, it was, uh, it wasn't easy. I mean, it was a simple process. I was, I wanted to build more ships, so I decided to open the equity of my company to investors. I informed my competitors that I was doing it, so not to have gossips all the time around. And then, uh, someone from Royal Caribbean, uh, came and said, could we be your investor? They said, I thought about it and I said, why not? And then at a certain point in the process, it evolved from then buying the majority. And so that's, I did. And I had a, a, so a, a stake in the role in the company. But then Covid came and Covid made clear everything first, all that the company had to be absorbed into Royal Caribbean. Mm-Hmm. because of the financial situation. 'cause it was, uh, was not easy for cruise lines and uh, um, and because, uh. And when you are the full disponent of a business, then you can't learn and being somebody who just participates. Yeah. And so it was a good way. We find a great deal, great deal for them, great deal for me. And uh, I got a big chunk of Royal Caribbean shares, which I'm happy to have. And so that's how it evolved. And I could start, I could buy a Abercrombie & Kent and start my own business. [00:31:28] Chris: , was that a pivotable moment in your life? [00:31:30] Manfredi: Sure. I mean, you know, you, you decide that you don't want to be, uh, what was I saying? Sixty six year old retired person with all the banks calling you to invest your money and private equity funds and all of these people asking you to underwrite their funds. But having a very easy life. Uh, very comfortable and deciding now to challenge yourself and to do something new, which excites you every moment, which is exactly the opposite direction, no? You have a capital event. Capital events don't happen many times in the life of an individual. [00:32:10] Chris: Yep. [00:32:11] Manfredi: So it happens. At that point, you have to make a decision. Are you going to go into a new world, which is the world of the person who is either entirely or half retired? Yep. Or you'll find a way to go back into the world of being active in the colony. That's what I decided. I [00:32:33] Chris: think it was a good choice. , Geoffrey also told me, , to ask you about how you became his partner on the MS Explorer, um, which was the first expedition ship that was ever built. [00:32:47] Manfredi: Well, yeah, I mean, it was fantastic. Um, so Geoffrey had this company that he had developed, you know, Geoffrey, as you and your followers know, is a fantastic and unique person. And he wanted to go and send a ship to the Antarctic to propose, to offer to his guests, his clients, the opportunity to go and see the Antarctic. But he wasn't a ship owner. So, we were launch, starting to launch SilverSea at the time. And, uh, we were approached by his consultants, who were going to do the management of this ship, which is a company called V Ships, which is one of the major service companies in the shipping world. And they introduced us, so we made a partnership there, which lasted for two, three years. And then he kept it on his own, but by then we were good friends. And we became even more friends because, uh, then, uh, I, I was next to him and, uh, he was the chairman of WTDC, and I was like his right hand there. And then we developed all the segments for Abercrombie Kent doing services to the cruise industry. He started with us. So Abercrombie & Kent does a lot of the best quality, um, uh, pre post or excursions for cruise industries, part of its business. So that we did together and we became great friends and we always try to do something together. But he did some deals with other people in the meantime on the equity. And then one day, he told me, why don't you buy Abercrombie & Kent? And so that's what we did. And we still work together and, uh, we're, we're going tomorrow. We're flying on, uh, to one of the crystal ships. [00:34:39] Chris: Yeah. [00:34:41] Manfredi: We say two days on it and then we fly back. , so we were always, uh, we do a lot of things together. I mean, [00:34:48] Chris: nice. I'm curious on, you know, and I'm sure this is a hard question to answer, but, , I would imagine for most entrepreneurs, their day to day is very different. , I would imagine yours is similar. , do you have any regular structure you like to keep in your days, even though. You have a thousand things that are thrown at you every single day and you have to change up as much as possible. Some people, for example, you know, have the same waking time every day or the same sleep time or, , the same diet or, , All different types of things. Are there, are there any consistencies or daily rituals that you have in your life? [00:35:25] Manfredi: The daily ritual is a weekly ritual, which is doing the Luggage, so I'm always traveling. Yeah. What is a recurrent? I come back from a trip. I start packing That's the most Methodic thing I do all the time. [00:35:45] Chris: Pack. Pack and unpack. [00:35:47] Manfredi: Pack and unpack, pack and unpack. And then schedule from assistant, assistant, I have to do this, this, this, this, this. Work on the planning, work on how I'm gonna do this. I can fit, fit the meetings. That's the most thing. Um, I try to, if I can, to swim during the day, but uh, as I travel all the time, it's very difficult. [00:36:10] Chris: , what about, I'm curious about, you know, entrepreneurs, a lot of it depends on the entrepreneur. Some people sleep very little, , some people sleep, , a lot and then work hard throughout the day. How about yourself? Are you a heavy sleeper? Are you a light sleeper? Are you getting six, seven hours a night every night on the same time or is it fluctuate? [00:36:30] Manfredi: No, I'm basically going, trying to take six, seven hours every night, trying not to go to sleep too late. This morning I woke up at 6. 30. Yesterday I went to bed at 11. 30. It was seven hours. It was a very tiring day, so I was tired. Uh, but it can be six, it can be seven. Rarely goes above seven, unfortunately. I would like to have more sleep if I could. And, um, but it's normally very regular hours. [00:37:01] Chris: , any advice that you would give yourself, , your younger self that you didn't know when you were younger, say at the age of 20 or 30, that you know now that you wish you knew. [00:37:13] Manfredi: You know, and anything which is
HP#188 ~ Money is an Instrument of Freedom ~ Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio
Jun 26 2024
HP#188 ~ Money is an Instrument of Freedom ~ Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio
Listeners, welcome back to the podcast today, and we will dive deep into the life of one of the most influential figures in the cruise line and maritime world. Our guest today is a Titan in the cruise line industry, a visionary entrepreneur, a lifelong champion of global tourism, and his name is Manfredi LaFavre D'Ovidio.  Manfredi has transformed his family business into a global leader in luxury cruising. Under his leadership, Silver Sea Cruises expanded its company, offering travel experiences across all seven continents around the world. In a strategic partnership with Royal Caribbean, Manfredi orchestrated the sale of a two third stake in Silversea for a whopping 1 billion in 2018. This strategic partnership not only elevated Silversea's brand, but also marked. One of the most significant deals in the cruise industry's history. And lastly, Manfredi is the chairman of the heritage group, which is a private equity company that acquired 85 percent of one of the biggest luxury travel companies in the world, Amber Crombie and Kent, whose founder was actually on the podcast last month. So if you haven't listened to that interview yet, make sure you check it out. And today we're going to dive into the life and mind of Manfredi. 2-10 minute high-performance clips delivered to you Monday & Friday from our top interviews Contact Info: Website: thebusinessmethod.com/ Apple Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethod Google Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethodGooglePodcasts Spotify: bit.ly/SpotifyTheBusinessMethod Amazon Music: bit.ly/AmazonTheBusinessMethod Transcript:  [00:00:00] Chris: Hey listeners. Have you ever met somebody that's built his own cruise line and, or shipping company? I think that's really interesting because it's an industry that doesn't get a lot of PR there's literally massive shipping companies that are keeping the infrastructure of this world going and , operating on a regular basis. And there's some founder out there that built this massive company. Also with a cruise line. There's some founder out there that have, that is built Royal Caribbean and all the cruise lines out there that you can imagine. And they're operating on a regular day-to-day basis. What's very interesting with the gentleman that I just interviewed. He is the founder of not only a cruise line, but he's a founder of a shipping company as well. So he's been in this industry, his entire life. He grew up around it and now he's operating these massive billion dollar companies on a day-to-day basis. And I got to interview him. His name is Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio and he's an Italian entrepreneur that lives in Monaco, not only does he have his own cruise line and shipping company, but he's also a majority owner in one of the biggest luxury travel brands that that's out there today. Sounds like a busy guy. But the awesome thing about Manfredi and talking to him is his philosophy around money. And when I got to interview him Manfredi talked about. How money is an instrument of freedom. Now, what I thought was fascinating is that a gentleman at this level is built. Multi-billion dollar company is a billionaire himself. Still believes that money is an instrument of freedom. Now you think most of us entrepreneurs out there, . Or freelancers or people just trying to do something online to make a buck we're using this muse. As an opportunity to have more freedom in our lives. And here you have a gentleman that has been an entrepreneur for somewhere around 50 years and he still believes that in his core, that money is an instrument of freedom. And I asked Manfredi, what is most important to you to be known as an entrepreneur? And he said, no, not to be known, but to be an entrepreneur. And there's a difference in that he doesn't care that he's known as an entrepreneur when he is an entrepreneur, he can make choices and have those freedoms in his life. Now, one thing that was really unique is when I dug deeper with Manfredi, he talks about how being an entrepreneur and a business person. , is a strong connection with the living world versus operating in the sleeping world. And I thought this was really unique and a subtle hint that he gave into his mindset that I think a lot of people will miss over when they listened to the podcast. So it's important to point out. , again, I'll repeat that. , being an entrepreneur is a strong connection with the living world. Versus operating in the sleeping world, meaning that entrepreneurs provide value and service. To the, , economy into the way that we operate. In the world today, entrepreneurs are a necessity for the world to keep going around the way that it does for the modern conveniences that we have for the opportunities that we have. We need entrepreneurs. Period. Versus operating in the sleeping world and what I think he meant by this means operating in a world where you're not really aware of the life that you're choosing, you're doing it because society told you, you should. And really in the grand scheme of things, if you want to live a fulfilled life, you have to operate in the living world and escape from that sleeping world somehow in some way. You've got to do it. And then Manfredi goes on to talk about how having more money is not his goal to live well. Cultivating self working on self. Having a freedom of choice is vital. which is really interesting. So let's hop into this. High-performance clip with Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio. Enjoy it. [00:04:07] Manfredi: Money as an instrument of freedom freedom of choice. But the number one to be an entrepreneur! [00:04:14] Chris: That's most important to you , to be known for as an entrepreneur. [00:04:18] Manfredi: Not to be known to know myself, that I am, I wake up in the morning and I'm busy. I have a lot of things which, , interest me. [00:04:25] Chris: Yeah [00:04:26] Manfredi: I have a lot of things which I do, which interests other people. If I wasn't an entrepreneur, I wouldn't be here with you. [00:04:31] Chris: It's very true. So it's a very strong connection with the living world instead of going into the sleeping world. [00:04:37] Manfredi: And it's not a question you already have the money to live well. It's a question of money as an instrument of freedom And to, realize yourself, to achieve the satisfactions that you're looking for. And I like to do things which are not only tied to a monetary benefit. You know, having been successful from a financial point of view has to buy you, first of all, freedom of choice. Freedom of choice is how you spend your time. So how I spend my time is important. And spending developing the business that we have created, is a satisfaction. Spending it, organizing the wealth, in a way that it can then be at the benefit of the persons I love is a satisfaction. Doing other things, cultivating myself, traveling the world, visiting the world, etc., is a satisfaction. Having the freedom to dedicate part of the time to this without Having to be obliged by other things and having the substantial means to do it is part of the freedom of choice that success gives you. [00:05:41] Chris: So, what do you think you guys. Oh man. Freddy talks about money being an instrument of freedom, and it doesn't matter if you're operating a $20,000 company. Or a $2 billion company. We as entrepreneurs believe in our souls that money is an instrument of freedom. And if we can bring value to the world, the more value we bring to the world, the more money we make. The more freedom we have. Ideally, as long as you're managing that freedom and that money in that business really well. So you have the freedom of choice, but also when it comes back to it, the most important thing is really the freedom of choice. And if you choose to work out hard in choose to work 80 and a hundred hours a week, That's great. As long as you're doing what you love and you're fulfilled. And if you choose to work four hours a week, like another entrepreneur and billionaire that we interviewed, like Richard Kosch. You can work four hours a week. Also, literally, this is what he does I asked him personally, how much do you work, Richard? Half a day a week. Fantastic. Amazing. . So, um, but anyway, going back to Manfredi's con conversation, , you know, not to be known as an entrepreneur, that's not his goal. It's to be an entrepreneur, which he has been for many years and to have that freedom of choice and the freedom of choice to cultivate his life. Well, he even mentioned he really enjoys doing non-monetary activities. Uh, things that don't produce money, right? Things that give him more fulfillment, it could be spending time with your family, uh, going after the goals and dreams that you want practicing as a hobby or sport or something you really enjoy. And to be connected to the living world. I think it's a very powerful. A couple of questions to ask yourself, I want to leave you with. What are you doing to be connected to the living world? Really? What are you doing? Or are you operating in a way that you're really more connected with the sleeping world? You're more unconscious and unaware of the choices that you're making on a regular basis. You're working in a career that doesn't really fulfill. You, give you the life that you really want, give you the light that you deserve when, , going to work. And, , how are you? , cultivating that. How are you cultivating your life? Uh, do you really have the freedom of choice? And I think that's the most important takeaway. From Manfredi here. Do you have the freedom of choice? And if you don't. It's time to start working on that. It's vital. And if you do. Are you cultivating that freedom of choice? Well, And can you do it better? If you guys like what you're hearing and make sure you don't want to miss any of these tips, please subscribe. Leave us a review and share with your friends. See on the next episode.
Ep.562 ~ 10 Years to $1Million & a Few More Years to $1Billion from the Pioneer of Luxury Travel ~ Geoffrey Kent
Jun 12 2024
Ep.562 ~ 10 Years to $1Million & a Few More Years to $1Billion from the Pioneer of Luxury Travel ~ Geoffrey Kent
The gentleman that we have on this show was literally born while his parents were on a safari! He then went ahead and built one of the world's first, most successful luxury adventure travel companies. His name is Geoffrey Kent, and the name of the company is Abercrombie & Kent. Not to be confused with Abercrombie & Finch. It was founded in 1962. Geoffrey founded it with his parents and over this past six decades, he built this company to be one of the most lavish and And successful travel companies in the world. They have 56 offices all over the world in 30 different countries with 2, 500 employees. Abercrombie & Kent was sold in 2016 for a whopping 412 million. It was then reacquired and then sold again to where Geoffrey still plays a significant role in the company.  This is a true testament to focusing on one thing for the long-term will produce massive rewards! 00:12: Who is Geoffrey Kent? 03:38: Where Did the Name Abercrombie & Kent Come From? 06:11: Has Geoffrey Ever Had Trouble with the Name Abercrombie & Kent? 08:11: The start of Geoffrey’s Entrepreneurial Career 10:09: Geoffrey Starting What Became the World’s Leading Luxury Safari Companies 10:41: How the Founder of Multi-Billion-Dollar Company Stays Focused 12:21: The Time it Takes to Built a Billion-Dollar Company 19:36: Geoffrey’s Thoughts on Quitting 28:45: Making the Richest Man in the World a Client 37:10: Why Geoffrey Doesn’t Like Business and Marketing Plans 41:42: Ideating on Post-It Notes 43:57: The Thinking Process of a Billionaire 45:43: Geoffrey’s #1 Book Recommendation 51:04: Geoffrey Advises His Younger Self Contact Info: https://www.abercrombiekent.com/
Ep.561 ~ He's Built & Sold 24 Businesses from $3 Million to $4 Billion ~ Roland Frasier
Mar 27 2024
Ep.561 ~ He's Built & Sold 24 Businesses from $3 Million to $4 Billion ~ Roland Frasier
Roland Frasier is a serial entrepreneur who built and/or sold 24 businesses with adjusted sales ranging from $3,000,000 to almost $4 Billion. He is a featured Forbes, Inc and Entrepreneur Magazine serial businessman. He is the cofounder or principal of five different Inc. Magazine fastest growing companies. He is currently the CEO of All Channels Media, and the principal in Scalable.Co, Digital Markerter.com, Traffic & Conversions Summit, Praxio.com, TruConversions.com, War Room Mastermind, Fully Accountable, Everbowl Restaurants, Big Block Realty, Scribe Publishing, & Real Estate Worldwide. Roland’s work also includes infomercials with Guthy-Renker, publishing deals with Simon & Schuster & Random House, over 100 private and public offerings, running an international hedge fund, advising Pepsi, McDonalds, and also strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Harper-Collins Publishing, FedEx, & Uber.  His specialties or superpowers as we like to say today are acquiring or partnering with entrepreneurs to scale businesses through acquisitions, strategic relationships and marketing, negotiation, copywriting, marketing strategy, structuring and funding of mergers and acquisitions, and public exit strategies for businesses and entrepreneurs.    02:24: Who Is Roland Frasier?04:53: Developing Core Values13:12: Leading During A Pandemic17:36: Building A Positive Mindset48:10: Overcoming Mistakes50:55: Focus On Your Superpower59:54: Where To Find Roland   Contact Info: https://www.rolandfrasier.com/https://www.digitalmarketer.com/https://www.getepicchallenge.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RolandFrasierPageInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/rolandfrasier/Twitter: https://twitter.com/RolandFrasierYouTube: Roland Frasier
HP#180 ~ Mind of a Mogul: Cracking the Code of Slow & Massive Business Growth ~ Jason Fried
Mar 6 2024
HP#180 ~ Mind of a Mogul: Cracking the Code of Slow & Massive Business Growth ~ Jason Fried
Join us in this revealing episode as we delve into the compelling money mindset of Jason Fried, co-founder of Basecamp, one of the world's largest software companies—a multi-billion dollar enterprise. We distill the essential financial nuggets from our podcast, covering a broad range of topics from managing money and setting goals, to Jason’s unique perspective on business, investments, and entrepreneurship. Tracing the company's journey from its humble beginnings in 1999, Jason candidly shares his philosophy towards risk, profitability, and growth. He believes in reducing complexity and keeping things simple to ensure sustainability. In his words, “We've tried not to be stupid,” where 'stupid' is defined as putting the business's continuity at significant peril. The episode provides powerful insights into his quintessential 'anti VC' business model. This includes his belief in self-sustainability, the importance of profitability and not bowing down to external pressure—no matter how lucrative the offer. According to Jason, external investments often strip entrepreneurs of their freedom and flexibility, driving them to work for the investors rather than their dreams. Listen to Jason's fascinating take on competition, his lack of concern for market share, and the secret to his thriving, fully remote team. His words are a wake-up call for start-ups pressured into chasing rapid growth and phantom targets dictated by investors. This unconventional yet successful approach towards business development is a testament to the power of steady growth, introspection, and prioritizing autonomy over external validation. If you're an entrepreneur or someone interested in deciphering how a simple business model could yield a billion-dollar company, this episode is a must-listen. Dive into Jason Fried's compelling narrative and unravel the secrets to his financial success in Episode 559 - 'No Goals, No Outside Money, and Small Teams of Two Built This Billion Dollar Company with Jason Fried'. 2-10 minute high-performance clips delivered to you Monday & Friday from our top interviews Contact Info: Website: thebusinessmethod.com/ Apple Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethod Google Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethodGooglePodcasts Spotify: bit.ly/SpotifyTheBusinessMethod Amazon Music: bit.ly/AmazonTheBusinessMethod
HP#179 ~ On the Importance of Moving Forward ~ Jason Fried
Feb 28 2024
HP#179 ~ On the Importance of Moving Forward ~ Jason Fried
Welcome to one of our high-performance episodes, where we share intriguing insights and vital business advice. In this episode, we welcome a special guest, Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp - one of the world's largest and most successful software platforms. Jason's unique approach to business, including questioning conventional wisdom and striving for simplicity, has made him a prevalent figure in the business world. Jason shares a life lesson on the importance of not dwelling on past mistakes, but taking them in stride and moving forward. Much like when you stumble while walking, you wouldn't waste time retracing your steps, but simply adjust your path and continue your journey. Jason applies this philosophy to the business world too, emphasizing the importance of not dwelling on past business decisions but learning from them and moving on. Jason also highlights the importance of putting yourself in a position where most mistakes don't drastically affect your progress. An example he gives is ensuring you haven't committed to a project that, if it fails, costs you years of your life, as compared to one that you can test and fully explore within a period of weeks. He also shared an experience from a visit he made to a Navajo rug gallery, which profoundly changed his perspective on mistakes. The rugs, while filled with apparent errors, were seen not as mistakes but as moments in time - a philosophical approach to mishaps that Jason has adopted at Basecamp. In this enlightening episode, Jason encourages us all to question where we may be lingering in our lives and not moving forward. This question does not only pertain to business, but also to every aspect of life – emotional, spiritual, and more. The objective is not to dwell on past mistakes, but to learn from them and keep pressing forward, in effect ensuring unstoppable progress. Do check out the full episode titled, 'No Goals, No Outside Money, and Small Teams of Two Built This Billion Dollar Company with Jason Fried' for some more insightful advice. If you enjoy what you're hearing, be sure to subscribe, leave a review, and share with your friends. We look forward to having you join us on the next episode. 2-10 minute high-performance clips delivered to you Monday & Friday from our top interviews Contact Info: Website: thebusinessmethod.com/ Apple Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethod Google Podcasts: bit.ly/TheBusinessMethodGooglePodcasts Spotify: bit.ly/SpotifyTheBusinessMethod Amazon Music: bit.ly/AmazonTheBusinessMethod
Ep.560 ~ No Goals, No Outside Money & Small Teams of Two Built this Billion Dollar Company ~ Jason Fried
Feb 14 2024
Ep.560 ~ No Goals, No Outside Money & Small Teams of Two Built this Billion Dollar Company ~ Jason Fried
Jason Fried, the maverick co-founder of Basecamp, revolutionized the tech industry with his radical approach to work culture and project management. Rising from humble beginnings, Jason's journey to the summit of Silicon Valley was anything but conventional. Defying the status quo, he challenged the relentless hustle culture pervasive in the tech world, advocating for a more balanced and humane approach to work. With Basecamp, he not only built a billion-dollar empire but also ignited a fervent debate on the very nature of work itself, shaking the foundations of corporate America with his provocative ideas on remote work, minimalism, and the sanctity of uninterrupted focus.   Yet, beneath the glittering facade of success lies a darker truth: Jason's relentless pursuit of innovation often bordered on obsession, leading to tales of extreme work hours and clashes with traditional corporate structures. His unapologetic stance against venture capital and his fierce commitment to maintaining autonomy over Basecamp raised eyebrows in an industry fueled by billion-dollar investments and aggressive growth. Despite the controversies, Fried remains a polarizing figure, celebrated by some as a visionary disruptor while criticized by others as a provocateur whose methods challenge the very fabric of modern corporate culture. Love him or loathe him, Jason Fried's impact on the tech landscape is undeniable, forever altering the way we perceive work and productivity in the digital age.