Five Questions with Michael Zwick

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a private investigator whose company, Assets International, specializes in locating missing heirs, mineral rights owners and other beneficiaries. Think of me as the next Ed McMahon. I bring people money they were never expecting.

Our big expansion in the past year has been into the booming oil and gas industry. Energy companies are finding new places and ways to drill but cannot always find the mineral rights owners. In fact, I just returned last night from a week in Oklahoma digging into (no pun intended) records to get information on missing owners.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Even before I read of the concept in Jim Collins’ new book, Great By Choice, I subscribed to the “first bullets, then cannonballs” approach.

Imagine that you are under fire and you have limited ammunition with which to fight back. You don’t start with a cannonball, since if you miss the mark on your first shot, you’ve got nothing in reserve.

It’s better to start with bullets. They let you see if you can hit your mark at a lower cost. If they hit the mark, you can then safely put all your ammunition into one big cannonball and destroy the enemy.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I know that I may sound like a shill for him after the last answer, but I would absolutely recommend Jim Collins’ Good To Great. It shows which traits and practices America’s great companies have in common. They are all traits and practices that any company, no matter how large or small, should incorporate.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give?

Find something that you enjoy doing and that the market wants or needs, even if the market doesn’t know it yet.

What is one idea that you’re going to bring to life in 2012?

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t thought about 2012 yet. I guess I should start doing that one of these days.


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