About seven years ago I found myself standing near the tarmac at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, Colorado. It was a gorgeous mid winter day in Colorado sunny, dark blue skies, crispy white clouds and a background of snowcapped mountains and dry terrain. It was a Friday and the airport was busy with a number of corporate aircraft making their final descent over the mountains and down onto the medium sized runway, the planes were mainly Lear jets and a few Gulfstream IIIs and IVs. I think graceful and elegant would be the correct terms to describe these aircraft as they taxied from the runways to the balanced, stable whine of the powerful dual jet engines and that seemed to be saying, “This is power and this is success.” Moments later the aircraft rolls to a halt, ground crews quickly chock the wheels, engines shut down and doors start opening. My impression of the people exiting are as impressive as the aircraft itself. For anyone flying in an aircraft like this to an upscale resort area of Colorado must be powerful and successful. Perhaps this is the true meaning of the power of perception, whether it’s reality or not.
Later I would hear an explanation of what I’d just seen. “Not necessarily, the aircraft themselves are leased by large corporations some of which are near bankruptcy and a lot of these people are living on margin, junk bonds and high risk, and for some this is a very dangerous way to live.” said a bartender at a really cool restaurant I found in downtown Aspen within eyesight of the famed ski area. I can’t remember the name but the street it was on reminded of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Days later I would read in the Wall Street Journal newspaper of the stock price collapse of cable layer Global Crossing and other large corporations like Enron would soon be following…
My definition of perception and margin are essentially the same word. A small amount of cash, equity or an asset that is used as collateral to influence or control something that is much larger than the asset itself. Leverage fits in here quite well too. Perception, margin and leverage are terms that are used all the time in dealmaking and politics, and I think this is definitely going on in the upcoming race for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire and a decisive if not strategic reason why former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte can lose this race.
In November I received a fundraising letter from the Ayotte campaign, it was asking for money that apparently Ayotte doesn’t have.
To Be Continued..