An Attribute to the Times

July 25, 2022 Written by: W.B. “Bud” Kirchner

Approx. Read Time: 8 Minutes

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein


As I write this article, more (and more) bad/depressing news continues to surface related to wars, famines, paradigms that are disintegrating, etc. While I have works-in-progress related to these situations, I thought it made sense to start on my ‘home turf’ – that is business.


There is a constant stream of descriptions of the economy/business in which we are immersed, so I trust the following illustrate the depth and breadth:



“I don’t believe words of wisdom should go to the grave with the author.”

My idea for creating some context around this mess – from a business point of view – comes from one of my first articles “Dead People Welcome in this Conversation”. In other words, I launch this article again building on the words (ideas) of others.

As with all policies, I am comfortable making exceptions (when there is a better way). In this case, Buffet’s words have already shown they will stand the test of time when they qualify as posthumous.


“If someone has said something the best way it can possibly be said then there is no reason for me to try and rephrase or rewrite.”

My insight into the aforementioned business mess is based on quotes from three of my favorite sources:

  • “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” – Warren Buffett
  • “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” – Mark Twain
  • “Mountaintops inspire leaders, but valleys mature them.” – Winston Churchill

In my words, (1) we are now seeing that many people ‘in charge’ are not really prepared for a world in flux (2) much of the problem comes from situations (paradigms) built in large part by the unprepared (read inexperienced) and (3) the people most likely to lead us are those that have lived and worked in difficult circumstances and know how to adapt.

The current situation is clearly a “maturing” opportunity for those that have truly become leaders when the mountaintops prevailed.


As a sidebar – while I rarely choose/rank quotes since they are so context-specific, it strikes me that Churchill not only captures the delusion that has been the recent past, he illustrates a silver lining on a very dark cloud.

“Experience is what causes a person to make new mistakes instead of old ones.” – Anonymous

Magic Wand

If I were to focus on one idea/theme apparent in the above words of wisdom, I would distill it all down to experience.

From the extreme of the lack of experience that is reflected in swimming without a suit to the hands-on/real-world experience of carrying cats (by their tail!) and finally the experience that becomes the core of the maturation process.

Is this focus on experience near to me (or my “family” at Kirchner Group)?

From an ‘idea’ point of view, I point out that I have written 63 articles to date involving the concept (read benefits) of experience (

From a ‘practical’ point of view, our group was built to embrace the importance of experience. As an illustration, it consists almost exclusively of veterans with no less than 25 years of experience.

What would a snapshot of Experience (with a capital E) in the world of business look like?

  • 4 decades of experience developing an unprecedented paradigm in which sustainability, positive impact, and business are inextricably linked
  • Senior-only team built with operational and sector experts
  • A team that has collectively started and grown dozens of enterprises
  • A team with hundreds of collective years of experience leading operating companies and/or portfolios
  • 500+ mandates collectively successfully completed
  • 600+ years of professional experience of the group collectively
  • 130+ portfolio companies managing/managed

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu

Looking Ahead

With this big picture in mind, I am looking ahead to a couple of articles on the world in which we find ourselves (‘Inhumanity’ and ‘Lessons for Conflict’) followed by a “mini-series” on paradigms – reflecting our decades of experience building and rebuilding paradigms.

“It is the set of sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn