Choose not to be a victim.

Choose not to be a victim.

Since the beginning of this blog, most of the entries have been focused around themes on living honorablymaking life happenNot being a victimNot wasting talentNot wasting opportunity… themes all interwoven with reminders about not letting the losers bring us down.

For the past 20+ years, I have been financially well off, and arguably “successful.”  

However, I have come to understand that when one is financially comfortable, and has a cushy life, it’s easy to think “success is a choice” … “all you have to do is make it happen.” 

…What about when things don’t go well?

You know, those times in life when everything goes wrong. 

Does this success is a choice spirit still exist; and if it does, is it as simple as just getting back up, and starting another climb?

Speaking of climbs…

One day at the end of 2018, the weather was perfect and I was excitedly climbing up my proverbial mountain.

I was so close to the summit, I took out my camera for the photo.

Upon reflection, I realize that the closer and closer I got to the top of my mountain,  complacency had blurred my vision of the summit … 

Maybe a bit of financial success had softened my focus, and I stopped climbing with that same drive as I had in the beginning of my journey, back in the days when I achieved.

As I type and look back now, I see with perfect clarity how several years of complacency had turned me into a mediocre climber.  

I was very close to the summit … but as I (halfheartedly) climbed higher, without realizing until it was too late, I got pushed down, lost my footing, and fell down the mountain.

Because I was secretly pushed from behind, I began rolling and rolling faster and faster as I fell.

I rolled past all the camps that over the years we had achieved, set up and prepared in order to climb higher – but I was falling so fast,  I couldn’t stop myself.

I tumbled past base camp … rolling faster and faster down through the entrance of the mountain, rolling past the parking lot to that mountain … across the street, and into the ditch next to the road … finally coming to rest in a very deep pit.

I woke up in a daze…and realized that I didn’t just fall down on my climb,
I fell off the mountain.

As I rolled around in the pit trying to figure out where in the hell was I? 

What just happened?  Why did I fall?  

Very quickly, it all became clear.

Over several months, someone hacked Naseba’s IT infrastructure, poured numerous viruses into our IT network and destroyed it.

The attacks were not meant just to hurt and steal, but to kill Naseba.

In the beginning, when I first fell into this pit, I spent a long time thinking about everything — to be honest, it’s scary stuff falling off a mountain you have been climbing for 15 years; and losing and/or having all your money stolen.

Yet, the longer I was in the pit, the clearer I understood the value of this very negative experience.

Yes, we were robbed and lost millions of dollars, but at the end of the day,

I choose not to be a victim.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

At Naseba, around 15 months ago, someone hacked our computer network and bombarded us with viruses crippling the company.  

4 times we had all our data erased, and finally he found out where Romain had hidden the back up. 

Around the same time, we noticed there was a large amount of cancellations happening in a division that generated the most revenue for the company.

Then a few clients began to share with us anonymous emails they were receiving … either canceling the invoice or speaking badly about the investment product. 

Specific to this one division, each time a contract or invoice was emailed, every single client would then immediately receive an email from some anonymous source speaking badly about the investment  — every client who received one of these mails canceled or disappeared without paying or investing.

We had a $60 million contract that I worked on for several months.

We signed the final contract in Paris.  The day of the signing, the investor, his lawyers, and I enjoyed a celebration dinner together at one of the most famous restaurants in the world; a month later I met the same client in Kuala Lumpur to discuss another investment.  

However, 3 days before the investor was to transfer his first $23m, he abruptly, without any explanation canceled the investment and stopped returning my calls.  

Naseba’s commission was $6 million and it was agreed that we would receive the full commission as soon as the first $23 million tranche was transferred.

About 9 Months later, this potential client told me that he was hounded by negative emails from someone, and the negativity scared him away.   

We spent a small fortune trying to clean up the virus attacks and at the same time understand where/how all these clients information had been stolen.

Before we discovered the theft … 

Although our cash flow was beginning to dry up – management was still very optimistic on our future because of several large contracts we had signed that were scheduled to pay.

Sophie and I tried to mitigate the negative impact on the company by financing many of the company expenses ourselves, as well as reducing the headcount/overheads, we restructured some of our product lines and slashed expenses. 

In fact, many employees sacrificed a lot to try and save the company. 
I will discuss several of them in more detail in a later blog.  

At first, Sophie and I did not mind loaning money to the company because I was owed so much money on outstanding deals, and in my wildest dreams, I never considered we were being robbed. 

I never thought for a second that all the large commission deals might cancel … we had too many contracts signed and money owed to the company, so I wasn’t worried at all about one day getting my money back.

Ultimately, I became something like a Biblical character from the Old Testament.

Over a short period of time, I went from being very wealthy with a fun, comfortable life – living in Dubai in the winter and Monaco in the summer.  I could fly whenever I wanted to Miami or Paris or Tokyo or Hong Kong just for dinner or fly home to the south of France on the weekends.  

Personally, for the past 20+ years because of savings and investments, I never ever worried about money.  Ever. 

At that time, Sophie and I had zero debt.

Then we woke up one day, and everything was gone. 

Everything … but the company loans to banks that Sophie and I had personally guaranteed back in the day when everything was going well.

Them loans … ain’t gonna vanish, that’s for sure.

Instead of doing what any other business man in the world would have done, which is to immediately file bankruptcy and move on with their lives…

Especially, considering the old Naseba is dead; and we will never do the same events business as before, however, I decided NOT to file bankruptcy … and we chose to keep fighting, trying to ensure clients, ex-staff and suppliers are paid.

Yes, I lost millions of dollars and my life got flipped upside down, but I have had many positive learning experiences during these tough 18 months.

It wasn’t until my house burned down that I saw the stars most clearly.”  

Mizuta Masahide

In the coming weeks, I will explore in detail many things I have learned from being betrayed, robbed, and unbelievably lied about by ex-employees whom Naseba had a positive life changing impact on; and of course, I will explore the fun stuff, what’s it like being basically bankrupted, especially for a man who has never ever once worried about money.

……ohhhh, I keep forgetting — I must stop feeling sorry for myself to ensure I don’t get further distracted …. because there are two roads directly in front of me.

I can sit around feeling sorry for myself like a total loser …a victim forever moaning about what happened to me.

or

I can embrace the struggle with honor and integrity, ensuring I learn and grow from everything I experienced, get back up and climb higher.

I fully understand.

Which ever road I choose to go down will ultimately define who I become in the future.

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

To the thieves,

I thank you.

There is NO WAY I could have or would have ever experienced, learned and grown in the ways I have over the past year, if you guys had not pushed me off the mountain.

Whatever money or fame amongst your buddies you got by hurting Naseba and screwing several clients and employees, I hope it was worth it.

Scott Ragsdale

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6 thoughts on “Choose not to be a victim.

  1. Scott,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with everyone in such a bold and open way. About ten years ago, we encountered a similar circumstance. Ironically, we only detected the theft because of the “Great Recession”. Had that not happened, we almost certainly would have been robbed until we too, had nothing left.

    Your stories have been an inspiration for me since you started posting. If I can be of any help, in any possible way, please do not hesitate to contact me at ANYTIME. Your friend. Matt

  2. Scott, thank you for sharing this window into your season of challenge. Know that all of the preparation you’ve done for all the great challenges you’ve faced and conquered have inspired so many. Simply view this season as one of those great challenges to overcome. I have full confidence in your capacity to overcome and stand at the top of this mountain. Cheering for you brother. Anything you need just shout.

  3. Rohan Sharma

    Hey Scott,

    With a heavy heart and fighting my tears in an emotional state state of being, I am writing to you for the first time since I parted ways with Naseba 9 years ago. You have been nothing less than inspirational to many of us and never have I ever felt so emotionally connected to your well-being and Naseba’s success/failures.

    Naseba was the first company I had ever worked for and my tenure of 4.5 years back in those ‘golden days’ brought me a great deal of learning where I developed inviolable basics, deep-seated principles, focus on consistency, tenacity on efforts towards being the best, Keeping away from mediocrity, noteworthy work-ethics and many other personality traits that I believe has helped me inspire hundreds of sales people that worked with me over the past few years.

    You might have lost a lot during this fall down to the dark pit but your true wealth lies in all those young men and women that had been a part of your ‘Army’ that still stands with you as your well-wishers during these tough times. I am highly confident that you’ll come out of these testing times like you always have.

    Now when you rise up, I am sure ‘complacency’, ‘mediocre climb’, ‘loss of sight’ and ‘losers’ will never bring you down again. Thieves can break Naseba but they can never break your spirit – time to start climbing again!

    Regards,
    Rohan Sharma

    • Dear Rohan,

      Your message says a lot about your great character.
      Keep making it happen.
      Thanks for your comments.
      Scott

  4. Ackash Jain

    Dear Scott,

    I never thought a day like this would ever come.

    For me You, Fab and Nic are the ones who inspired us on a daily basis. Not just during my stint with Naseba but even now. There is hardly a day that goes by when we do not think of what Naseba taught us and instilled in us.

    I’m thankful for all the exposure and all the opportunities I got at Naseba because of You.

    Tough times call for tougher decisions but I’m sure Naseba will rise like Phoenix soon.

    I wish nothing but the best for You!

    Regards,
    Ackash

    • Great message. Thank you.

      I will post more blogs on the many learning experiences I gained from all of this because falling off the mountain and failure has been a great growing process/experience.

      If there is one thing you or any other business leader reading this can learn from my fall is do not allow, promote, reward, tolerate or forgive mediocrity in any part of your life and business.

      If you do, the mediocrity will spread, festering and festering.. becoming a big smelly cest pool and you risk falling into it, like I did.

      Keep making it happen and send my best to your team.

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