Zihuatanejo is a small coastal town in Mexico. Known to many tourists as one of Mexico’s biggest destinations, Zihua (as it’s known locally) has managed to keep it’s charm and allure of a quiet fishing village.
Today I went with my family to Playa Las Gatas. We met a man named Franco who has been working at a restaurant on Las Gatas for 25 years. Its the one with the pink tablecloths. He, like all other Mexicans we met on this trip, was a very friendly, honest and hard working guy. Over the last two years, Franco has seen a significant dip in visitors to his town and restaurant. We talked a little about the impact the negative press has had on tourism for the people in Zihua. While he didn’t complain, I’m sure this dip in tourism has had a negative effect on Franco’s take home pay. In spite of this, Franco was exceptionally kind, warm and genuinely happy. Which made me think of one of my favorite business stories about the Mexican Fisherman. Please share this story if you like it. If you’re planning on a trip to Zihuatanejo, please stop by to and say hi to Franco for me.
The Mexican Fisherman
The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.
The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”
The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”
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