Underrated Strategy: Find a Nemesis

A guy became a millionaire after he founded a tractor company.

He made enough money that he could indulge his taste for Ferraris.

He loved those cars so much that he bought two. A white one for him and a black one for his wife.

But his infatuation faded when he burned out the clutch for the third time. His tractor empire had made him rich enough that he was able to get an audience with Enzo Ferrari, the famously proud patriarch of the Ferrari brand.

Enzo Ferrari: renowned worldwide as a prideful egomaniac

When this rich guy got in the Ferrari boss’ face, Enzo wasn’t having it: “The clutch is not the problem. The problem is you don’t know how to drive a Ferrari.”

Tractor man did not like this answer.

When he burned out the clutch for the fourth time, he asked his tractor mechanics to open up the car and see if they could fix it themselves.

He didn’t like what they found: the clutch in the Ferrari was the exact same clutch used in his tractors! An off-the-shelf part, available anywhere. His bill of materials marked this part at ₤10 lira. In Ferrari’s accounting, this part was marked up to ₤1000 lira!

Tractor man was angry about what he considered price gouging. And he was still inflamed about the clutch.

Most of us would respond by refusing to give Ferrari any more business.

But not tractor man.

His response?

He started his own car company.

And that is how Lamborghini, one of the most famous car companies ever, came into being.

Ferruccio Lamborghini

Takeaway: Reason and rationale are generally the best approaches to business. But don’t underestimate the motivation provided by someone who annoys you. Rather than wallowing in pettiness, harness that energy as fuel to build something great.