Michael Bloomberg shares the morning coffee and tea ritual that helped him build a successful career

This post is excerpted from Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal. In it, Michael Bloomberg tells Segal about a strategy he used to get ahead early in his career:
I like that old Woody Allen quote: “Eighty per cent of success is just showing up.” You create your own lot in life, and to be successful in business you’ve got to work hard.

I built many relationships by being early. You can call the chairman of the board of almost any company early in the morning.

Getting there

If he’s a good chairman, he’s there. The secretary’s not, so he’ll actually answer the phone.

The best time to strike is when gatekeepers aren’t there!

When I started developing Bloomberg, I wanted feedback.

So every morning I’d arrive at the deli across the street from Merrill Lynch’s headquarters at six a.m. and buy coffee (with and without milk) and tea (with and without milk), plus a few sugars on the side.

I’d go up and roam the halls looking to see if there happened to be somebody sitting in their office alone reading a newspaper.

I’d walk in and say, “Hi, I’m Mike Bloomberg. I bought you a cup of coffee. I’d just like to bend your ear.”

Nobody is going to say, “Get outta here” if you just bought him or her a cup of coffee.

When someone would occasionally say, “I don’t drink coffee,” I would say, “Well, then have a tea.”

Excerpt from Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal. Published by Abrams Image. Text © 2015 Gillian Zoe Segal.

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