Larry Weidel: I am talking with Robert Burr, the CEO & President of Panex, an oil exploration production company.
As a CEO you’ve had to convince people you have the drive and excitement to make big things happen and your investors need to have this desire as well.
Robert Burr: The investors are a unique deal.
At the New Orleans Investment Conference that I spoke at, there were over a hundred people having and I talked to them about my company and what I stood for. In the end, I said to them, “If you guys don’t have that fuzzy feeling about Bob Burr and what I stand for, keep your money ’cause I don’t deserve it.”
Some folks love me and some don’t, but I don’t care because I am who I am. I know that you have to have confidence in the guy that you’re putting your money towards.
This particular guy will give you everything he can give you and keep working.
Every letter I send out to my partners, I say, “We work for you. You don’t work for us. Anything you got on your mind, give me a call and we’ll find an answer to it.” Everything I have in life for my family and all my folks that I call my family, every materialistic value we have, came from our partners.
If you don't or if you're not willing to go the extra mile or 50 miles or 5 million miles for your partner you're less than who I am because when you're asleep, I'm still walking and talking. Click To Tweet
I’ve got an engine that lets me do that and I won’t back up to anybody as far as our responsibility to our people and what we do can make it work for them.
For folks out there, if you’re interested in oil and gas, you need to be educated about oil and gas. You need to be feeling good about who you’re dealing with. When you can provide that feeling for people, you’re more likely to have more investors. The same is true for every business.
LW: Talk about the fact of needing partners in your business or how partners can multiply the possibilities of what you can do. A lot of people want to own everything and they don’t want to have people around poking their nose in their business.
Sometimes partnerships may not work all the time, but there’s a lot of times they can allow you to explore your possibilities, reach, and contacts.
Talk about how you wrap your mind around bringing in partners into your business and how you got comfortable with that.
RB: The reason companies sell stock is to get infusions of capital. In our business, the drilling business, my partners for many years are my funders.
I generally do a third for a quarter deal where they pay for all of it. I get carried for 25% of the deal. I do all the work e.g. I drill the well and I find the prospects. We operate the wells and administer the wells.
My partners get what we call rocking chair money which is like a check every month. I want them to get that check every month because I’m going to ask them for more money, and it’s up to me to bring the right product and I’ve got the best product in 47 years.
LW: That’s why it’s important that you have people with experience and with values. That’s where the trust comes in.
What people who haven’t ever won big don’t understand is how much fun it is to win and how boring it is to just stop moving forward in your life when you’ve had a lifetime of achievement and adventure and meeting new people and going new places.
Talk about how you stay excited and how you look at the future. I’m sure people have asked you why don’t you retire?
RB: I’ve been all over this world of ours.
I have been to Africa, Europe, and Switzerland. I mean you name it. We love to spend time down in the Dominican Republic. We were in Belize at a big investment conference down there a month ago.
And so we do a lot of traveling, but getting back to why you do things, why would you not do things?
Einstein said “Life is like riding a bicycle. As long as you are pumping that thing, you keep your balance. You quit pumping, you fall off the bike.”
LW: With the experience, you develop leverage and you can make the same energy you did 40 years ago.
You got the best properties and opportunities you’ve ever had, but you did that by leveraging and staying on the attack.
You can't be passive in life and win big. Click To Tweet
You always have that gut check when you’re moving forward.
A good friend of mine has the biggest clothing store out in Aspen. I asked her, “Did the risk ever go away?”
She said, “Everything’s a risk” and basically shouted it when I asked her. Now she’s up to three stores, the most popular and the biggest seller of a lot of different product lines.
RB: No, that’s true. Everything is a risk.
I just love playing this game. We call life.
LW: Help me explain this, Robert.
There are no shortcuts. You gotta pay your price and dues.
When people are investing with you, there’s no guarantee of success. However, with how you go about your business, you can continue to stack the odds of success in your favor and make it almost inevitable over time.
You can change the odds of success. You don’t just have to take what comes to you.
How you would look at that?
RB: Let me tell you a quick story, I sold out to a major oil company back in 1996 and got my bucket full. I was playing golf and I was thinking my boys were down in our office. They were doing a deal.
I’d forgotten more than they’ll know in their life about what and how our business was doing.
I’ve been the senior club champion five straight years in my golf and all of the sudden I really got embarrassed and I called myself a chicken. I thought, “them boys are down there struggling and here you’re playing golf every day. You should be ashamed of yourself, Robert.”
I come off the golf course and went straight to the office. I said, “Guys, let’s get ready. We gonna crank up. We are gonna get this done.” I’ve done that every day ever since, and I honestly enjoy it more than spending time out on the golf course.
I was talking to one of my neighbors. I asked him, “When does it happen that you don’t wake up sometime during the night and a deal hits you into your head?”
He said, “This morning as of about 3:30 a.m. I woke up and said if I’ll sell that shop, I can buy four more properties. That’s how I was born, to keep on rolling. That’s my life.”
So to answer your question, some people are just excited to win and I am one of them.
I think the greatest heroes in our world are those that show up at that plant every day. For 40 years with that lunch bucket and a couple of bologna sandwiches, they educate their children down at the city college or wherever it may be. They raise their kids with integrity and honor. Now they didn’t have to do trim that mountain that I did.
They found peace in life in a different direction which is perfect. That’s success and it’s beautiful.
I needed to climb the mountain and that's what I've spent my life doing is climbing that mountain and I'm not at the top yet. Click To Tweet
I’ve taken a bunch of hits going up as we all will do but through every bit of that, my Savior, my higher power has kept me charged with a positive look in life.
We came in naked and we’re going out naked. What we do in between is to fulfill the spiritual part of our life.
A hug is to share your spirit with someone, not a casual deal. That’s a special deal. I try to hug as many folks as I can every day and that keeps me being humble.
I want to be thankful to my partners. I want to let them know that I work hard for them.
All of that’s real because you don’t fake it until you’re 75 years old.
LW: Yeah and that may be selling yourself short right there.
RB: Well, it could be. I might hit 125.
LW: It’s like running. You don’t run to the finish line—You run through the finish line.
RB: Yeah. Just keep on running.
LW: I really would love the chance to check in a few months down the road and see how things are going and what exciting things you guys have discovered.
That’s the whole thing, we are always learning.
RB: Let’s get in touch when you are ready, but I’m ready.
I stay ready to keep from having to get ready.
LW: Thanks so much, Robert. It has been fantastic. I’ve loved it.