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38歲創辦黑石,今天管理著超過5000億美元資產|《財富》專訪蘇世民

Polina Marinova 2019年10月05日

黑石集團首席執行官蘇世民建立了世界上最大的投資公司之一。

黑石集團首席執行官蘇世民建立了世界上最大的投資公司之一,該集團專門從事私募股權、信貸和對沖基金投資策略。在自己的新書《追求卓越的教訓》(What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence)中,蘇世民披露了他從業50年來得到的一些最主要教訓。

在這本半回憶錄、半領導指南的書中,蘇世民回顧了自身職業生涯中最光彩(和黯淡)的時刻,包括放棄高管職位去創立黑石集團,剛剛成為基金經理后去融資以及應對總統CEO顧問團隊解散后的余波(我個人很喜歡蘇世民談到和“碧昂斯夫婦見面”的那段。他寫道:“我們交談了幾分鐘,回憶了2005年她在肯尼迪中心舉辦的演唱會。”)。

1985年創立黑石集團時蘇世民38歲,此后一直擔任負責人。如今,黑石管理著5450億美元資產,有2500名員工。最近該公司從上市合伙企業改制為公司,從而降低了持有其股票的難度,也讓它得以成為更多指數的成份股。

我和蘇世民進行了一次全面探討,內容涉及黑石在中國的業務,圍繞著人工智能的倫理問題,加密貨幣的興起以及他是否認為衰退就在眼前。

以下是我們對話的節選:

你投資了哪些對象?你覺得哪里有增長機會?

增長一定會出現在科技、服務和體驗方面。就拿購物中心來說吧。我小時候人們的看法大概是,購物中心會出什么問題?現在,這個問題叫做亞馬遜。原因就是科技創新改變了人們的購物模式,改變了配送機制,這導致了購物中心破產。它顛覆了人們認為理所當然的一系列事物。徹底拆解一個穩定的結構需要10年時間。

2011年我們看到了這一點,當時我們剛開始收購倉庫。過去八年我們一直是世界上最大的倉庫買家,而我們這樣做是因為亞馬遜和零售商需要把它們的商品放在那里,然后再運走。所以這個領域出現了爆炸性增長。如果現在進行投資,你得意識到幾乎所有的業務模式都將發生改變。

你覺得還有哪個行業會出現亞馬遜那樣的增長?

人工智能。AI將影響整個醫療保健行業,從計費、住院、診斷,到藥物開發和遠程醫療,它將會顯著增長。你可以看到這一切,而且僅在醫院就會有許多不一樣的東西進入我們的視野。AI將對我們的社會產生深遠影響。

這樣的創新在倫理方面也會產生顯著影響。

這就是我給麻省理工和牛津捐了這么多錢的原因。[注:蘇世民向麻省理工捐款3.50億美元用于計算機和AI研究,并為牛津大學的AI倫理研究捐款1.88億美元。]其中一筆涉及技術創新,另一筆則是要讓它在社會上變得合理。哪些是好結果?哪些是不那么好的結果?誰來做這樣的判斷?你怎么防止出現壞結果?這是我們必須面對的挑戰。

考慮到科技進步的速度,你對我們能足夠快地解決倫理問題有信心嗎?

和許多科技領域的東西一樣,它發展的速度超過了我們控制和進行布置的能力。另一方面,經營著公司或者參與發現AI的人都目睹了互聯網的發展。在我見到的參與過互聯網發展的成熟人士中,無一個不為自己開發了互聯網而感到后悔。

他們說:“我們那時候只是覺得這真的很酷。世界上所有的人都能聯絡,它會是一次正和博弈。”他們當時不知道[互聯網]能摧毀監管能力。所有的東西都是如此的短視,有如此之多的分歧,而社交媒體又非常有破壞性。看著自己創造的東西,他們說:“如果能收回來,我一定會把它收回來。”我很震驚。所以就AI來說,我們必須妥善處理,以防這項技術凌駕于社會之上。

在AI倫理方面,人們的興趣非常大,他們懷著巨大的善意,想做一些重要的事。無論在哪個國家,如果大量裁員,就會出現某種社會不穩定局面。我們這些西方國家已經有這種情況了。就連中國也有可能出現這樣的事,盡管他們在這個領域已經投入了如此多的資金,實際上他們也創造了大量的新工作。

說到創新,《財富》2007年的一篇報道將你稱為“另類投資世界的主人”,原因是黑石成名于另類資產投資。你怎么看待比特幣和其他加密貨幣這樣的前沿資產?

我對它們不太感興趣,因為我很難理解那些東西。我在一個需要有人控制貨幣的世界里長大。人們想控制貨幣是有原因的,正因為如此,所有的政府都這樣做。不可能有人說:“我不在乎。”其目的之一是盡可能地確保經濟不過量。另一個目的是控制不良行為。所以你可以在沒有人知道的情況下進行交易的想法可能帶來許多犯罪行為,臟錢、毒品資金會充斥整個世界。它只會鼓勵這樣的活動。

也許我眼光有限,但這是個問題。如果他們可以解決這個問題,同時解決控制貨幣供應的問題,那也許還好。這并不意味著應用于不可交易貨幣的區塊鏈技術不是件好事。它顯然是件好事。

你為什么會這么說呢?

你可以通過一定的方法獲得各種各樣的應用。[區塊鏈技術]是個非常好的想法,它最終會得到使用,因為它是一項好技術。但就我的感覺而言,把它用于創造貨幣是一種相當怪異的事。

所以,你確實認為黑石今后會投資使用區塊鏈技術的公司?

那會是件好事,因為這項技術很可靠,而且非常有意思。

但你絕不會持有比特幣?

這個問題很容易回答,不會。(財富中文網)

譯者:Charlie

審校:夏林

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has built one of the largest investment firms in the world, which specializes in private equity, credit, and hedge fund investment strategies. In his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, Schwarzman reveals some of the biggest lessons he’s learned from his 50-year career in business.

Part memoir, part leadership guide, Schwarzman addresses the highlights (and low lights) of his career including quitting his high-power job to start Blackstone, raising capital as a first-time fund manager, and dealing with the fallout from the unraveling of his presidential CEO business council. (I personally enjoyed the part when he talks about meeting “Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z.” He writes: “We talked for a few minutes, reminiscing about her Kennedy Center performance in 2005.”)

Schwarzman was 38 years old when he founded Blackstone in 1985, and he’s been at the helm ever since. Today, the firm boasts $545 billion in assets under management and 2,500 employees. Blackstone recently converted from a publicly traded partnership to a corporation, which makes it easier to own Blackstone stock and allows the firm to be included in more indexes.

I sat down with Schwarzman for a wide-ranging conversation about Blackstone’s dealings in China, the ethical challenges surrounding artificial intelligence, the rise of cryptocurrencies, and whether he sees a looming recession on the horizon.

Below is an excerpt from our conversation.

What are you investing in, and where do you see growth opportunities?

Growth is certainly going to technology, services, and experiences. You have things like shopping centers. When I grew up, it was like: What could go wrong with a shopping center? And now that thing is called Amazon. Just that technological innovation has changed people’s shopping patterns, changed the delivery mechanism, and it’s led to shopping centers going bankrupt. It’s disrupted a whole chain of things people took for granted. It took 10 years for an entire stable structure to be dismantled.

We saw that in 2011 when we started buying warehouses. We’ve been the largest buyer of warehouses in the world for the last eight years, and we did that because that’s where Amazon and retailers needed to stage their goods before they get delivered. So that area has exploded with growth. If you’re investing now, you have to recognize that almost everything’s about to have its business model changed.

What’s another example of a sector you think will experience Amazon-like growth?

Artificial intelligence. AI will affect the whole healthcare industry, from billing, to admissions, to diagnostics, to the development of drugs, to telemedicine, which will have enormous growth. You look at all of this, and there are a lot of different things that go into what you or I believe is just a hospital. AI is going to have a profound impact on our society.

There will also be serious ethical implications that come with that innovation.

That’s why I did this big donation at MIT and Oxford. [Note: Schwarzman donated $350 million to MIT for computing and AI research and $188 million to Oxford University for AI ethics research.] One involves technological innovation, and the other is about making sense of it in society. What are good outcomes and what are not-so-good outcomes? Who makes that determination, and how do you control for not having bad outcomes? That’s a challenge that we have to face.

Are you confident we’ll be able to solve the ethical challenges quickly enough given the pace at which technology is evolving?

Like most things in technology, it’s moving faster than your ability to control and implement things. On the other hand, everybody who’s running a company or is part of the discovery of AI watched the Internet get developed. I haven’t met a mature person yet who was involved in the development of the internet that hasn’t regretted they developed it.

They said, “We just thought this would be really cool. Everyone in the world can connect, and it’ll be a positive sum game.” They weren’t aware that [the internet] would destroy the ability to govern. Everything is so short-term, there’s so much divisiveness, and social media is very destructive. They’ve looked at what they’ve created, and they’ve all said, “If I could have it back, I’d take it back.” I was shocked. So with AI, we have to get right on it so that the technology itself doesn’t overwhelm society.

There’s enormous interest and good will to doing something important in terms of AI ethics. No matter what country you’re in, if you make a huge cut in your workforce, you’ll have social unrest of some type. We already have that in the West. You could even have that in China, although they’re investing so much in the area, they’re actually creating a whole bunch of new jobs too.

Speaking of innovation, a 2007 Fortune article called you “the master of the alternative universe” because Blackstone made its name by investing in alternative assets. What do you think about frontier assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

I don’t have much interest in that because it’s hard for me to understand. I was raised in a world where someone needs to control currencies. There’s a reason to want to control currencies, which is why governments all do it. There’s no one who says, “I don’t care.” Part of that is to make sure the economy is as insulated as it can be from excesses. Another part of it is to control bad behavior. So the idea that you can transact without anybody knowing anything, you could have a lot of criminal behavior — dirty money, drug money — running all over the world. It only encourages that kind of activity.

I may be a limited thinker, but that’s a problem. If they could solve that problem and also the problem of controlling the money supply, then it might be OK. That doesn’t mean that the blockchain technology applied to non-tradable currencies is not a good thing. That is clearly a good thing.

And why do you say that?

There’s all kinds of uses you can have from certain executions. [Blockchain technology] is a very good idea, and it will end up being adopted because it’s good technology. Applying it to the creation of money is sort of, for my taste, pretty odd.

So in the future, you do see Blackstone investing in companies that are using blockchain technology?

That would be good because it’s a sound, very interesting technology.

But you’re not going to own any Bitcoin?

That’s an easy one: No.

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