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Mirror Jobs NORTHERN IRELAND: 'I am not a real businessman' THE SECRET OF GELDOF'S SUCCESS.

Byline: EDITED BY TINA CALDER - Print Business Journalist of the Year 2003

BOB Geldof is charismatic, dedicated, articulate, outspoken, opinionated, passionate and angry and it's these qualities that have not only made him a worldwide figure but a hugely successful businessman.

Estimated to be worth over pounds 10million, Geldof has done well for a man who admits to growing up in poverty and failing almost every exam he took in school.

A musician, writer, campaigner, father and entrepreneur, "Sir Bob" is famous for being the loud-mouthed lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, and creator of Live Aid and Band Aid.

But what was it about him that made him succeed and more importantly how can we learn from his vast knowledge and experience?

He said: "From an early age, I was independent. I'd come home at night and there was no one there.

"I'd make the tea and do the shopping and get the coal and light the fire. There was no TV because we didn't have the money, no phone so I couldn't be interrupted. I'd just listen to Radio Luxembourg and read."

After school proved to be a washout, Geldof set up local CND and anti-apartheid groups and worked with the homeless and prostitutes, picking up jobs as a factory hand, labourer and in an abattoir along the way.

Eventually he set up the Boomtown Rats and then Band Aid followed, catapulting him to global acclaim and raising an unprecedented amount of money for the famine victims in Africa.

But Geldof had always thought ahead and any money he made from being on the road with the Rats and sales of their music was invested in his future.

He has an ability to know what the public wants before they do, he can spot a good business years before the competition.

Geldof has made most of his fortune from setting up companies such as Planet 24 (the company behind the Big Breakfast), online travel company, internet portal site wapworld, media company Ten Alps and the creation of the hugely successful reality TV show Survivor.

He has since sold Planet 24 and, allowing him to concentrate on new ventures. Geldof is living proof that nothing can be achieved in life without an absolute dedication to it, whether this is family, business, music or eradicating third world debt.

He said: "If I am an entrepreneur, it's done out of fear of boredom and out of irritation with things that could be done better.

"Inside I'm a musician. Business is a facility. I can do it, so I do. But music is the only thing that engages me totally, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually, physically.

"I'm not a good manager either, not a real businessman. I have ideas that I want to implement and once something is running, like the television company Planet 24, it becomes boring to me.

"I set up because I wanted to go to Disneyworld in Florida with my children and I rang up three travel agencies.

"Firstly they quoted three different prices, and the amounts they were asking were simply absurd.

"It was a mystery to me how a perfectly normal family could go on holiday under these circumstances.

"My idea was that it would be fastest and cheapest if you could book directly with travel airlines on the internet. And what makes it perfect is the fact that you simply get the ticket by post.

"The business went fine but luckily I sold it before the dotcom companies crashed."

Being Bob Geldof means not having to do business the conventional way but the secret of the success is the same.

He is an innovator, a creator and has 100 per cent dedication to everything he does. He added: "I never go to an office. It gets too complicated. I stay at home, on the phone. I walk up and down in the flat and play around on the guitar. One part of me is listening to the conversation, one part of me listens to what I'm playing on the guitar.

"And if I like it, I keep playing it until the conversation is over. I hold all my meetings in a cafe on the King's Road. I have no email, no answerphone and no secretary. My job is to have ideas and to make contacts."

But despite his success things didn't always go well for Geldof, while he is most famous for his work on Live Aid his sacrifice was money. He said: "From 1984 until 1987 I only worked for Live Aid, without any salary of course, like everyone else too.

"We wanted every penny that was donated to reach Africa. I made the phone calls from home, and unfortunately the flights weren't all sponsored by the airlines either.

"But I had a family to feed. Having been offered a large advance, I accepted the offer of writing my autobiography.

"It's a constant up and down - rich, broke, rich. It's always been like that. Not only with regards to money. But my life seems to me to be very extreme, very episodic. Like a soap opera. And tiring to live it."

Bob Geldof will be performing in Belfast on Saturday night at the BBC Music Live Beautiful Night concert. The Best of the Boomtown Rats is currently on sale.


TWO BOBS: The music man, top, and the entrepreneur; DEDICATED: Bob Geldof
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 29, 2004
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