They say that money can’t buy happiness, but there’s no doubt that it does make the world go round. While many of us rely on traditional 9 to 5 jobs to earn a wage, there are individuals out there with entrepreneurial flair looking for the next big opportunity. Investors have been making money out of potentially valuable commodities since time began, but the nature of investment has evolved. Though real estate and the stock market have generated many a millionaire, and a growing number of punters are hoping for the best when buying lottery tickets online, modern investors are looking for something a little different. Here, we take a look at some slightly quirkier tales of leading lights hoping to turn their passions into profits.
Many people are aware of Michael Burry as a result of the movie, The Big Short. Starring Christian Bale, the film tells the story of Burry, an investor who made a fortune after bailing on the subprime market long before anybody else had the bravery or insight to make the same call. Burry already had a tale to tell, but perhaps the most interesting thing about him is his decision to invest in a commodity we all require to survive. As the credits roll, the movie reveals that Burry has turned his attention to water. It may seem slightly bizarre to suggest that you can profit from such a basic commodity, but if you think about it, there’s nothing else in the world that we need more than water. Water is not only essential for human life. It is becoming increasingly difficult to source. When demand outstrips supply, prices rise. Burry’s decision comes as water usage increases. We tend to think of water usage as washing the dishes, showering and drinking, but water is utilized in almost every process imaginable, from making a cup of coffee to preparing a steak. You may be shocked to hear that it takes more than 15,000 litres to obtain a kilogram of meat from a cow. With the world’s population increasing, and access to water supplies heavily restricted, it’s not hard to see why Burry has chosen this precious, life-giving liquid.
Richard Branson is known for building the Virgin empire. Branson has dominated business headlines for many a decade, but his latest venture has turned even more heads than usual. Many of us have an interest in space, but Branson has taken his own passion to the next level. If you watch interviews with the British entrepreneur, it won’t take you long to understand the reason Branson is so keen to launch tourist voyages into the unknown. He is a self-confessed fan of astronomy, and he’s as desperate to travel into space now as he was when he was a starry-eyed kid who spent hours staring up at the skies. Virgin Galactic has been a long time in the making, but it looks like Branson’s blood, sweat, tears, and cash, are about to come good. The budding space traveler, who is currently training to be an astronaut, is hoping to make his first intergalactic trip within a matter of months.
Elon Musk is a subject of constant press attention and intrigue. A self-made millionaire associated with hugely successful ventures like PayPal, Musk is best known for his association with Tesla. Tesla was established with the aim of creating eco-friendly vehicles. It’s no secret that Musk is passionate about saving the planet, and after he got involved, the company enjoyed unbounded growth. Musk is also making waves with SpaceX. Two decades ago, he knew very little about rockets, planets and space travel, but this was an interest he wanted to pursue. Fast forward to 2018 and SpaceX is launching rockets in partnership with NASA.
There’s a lot to be said for taking relatively safe bets in business, but occasionally, you get those who buck the trend and think outside of the box.