Wealth Podcast Post

The Rules of Negotiation with Kamal Gupta

George Grombacher November 24, 2022

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The Rules of Negotiation with Kamal Gupta

LifeBlood: We talked about the rules of negotiation, why people fail to get what they want, the proper way to think about and approach it, how to determine your main objective, and how to get started, with Kamal Gupta, professional gambler turned Wall Street trader, and author.

Listen to learn why you should never feel guilty about asking for what you want!

You can learn more about Kamal at KamalGuptaWrites.com and LinkedIn.

Get your copy of Play it Right HERE

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Kamal Gupta

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Hey what’s up? It’s George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong powerful Kamal Gupta Kemal, you’re ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:21
Yes, I am. Alright, welcome

george grombacher 0:23
back. molars are professional. Yeah, I’m excited. Kamal is professional gambler turned hedge fund manager who successfully beat the market and unprecedented number of months in a row. He’s the author of play it right, remarkable story of a gambler who beat the odds on Wall Street. And he is also a consummate negotiator, and somebody who’s helped hundreds of people to negotiate better deals for themselves. While Welcome back, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:55
I mean, there’s so much to talk about when it comes to my work, because I started out as a computer scientist, something a business that I had no interest in, you know, so I quickly abandoned that to become a professional blackjack player and, and then, even though I thought, after two years, the rest of my life was going to be spent playing blackjack. In a strange turn of events, which is described in the opening chapter of played right, I ended up on Wall Street, and I stay for something like 27 years. And in that time, you know, I suffer a great deal of abuse, I almost leave the industry, but then I come back, because I can’t let these people run me out of town. And but then eventually, I compile what is possibly the finest track record in hedge fund history. As well as I was heavily involved in raising money for the largest hedge fund launch in history in 2018, it was known as access point capital. Now, all this is detailed in Blade, right. But there’s one significant aspect of my life, which has not been mentioned, and maybe there’s only a passing reference to it in the book, like maybe I devote a page or two to it. It’s worth negotiating, and I don’t quite know how it came to be. But over the last quarter century, I’ve negotiated on behalf of countless people, while I stay behind the scenes, and more often than not, the vast majority of these dealings are individuals negotiating with very large and powerful companies. And you can think of the biggest companies in the world, we, you know, they’re dealing with these large companies. And it’s a scary proposition going up against one individual going up against like a large, powerful company, or Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan, or whoever. And so how, how do you get the odds in the corporate world today are heavily tilted in favor of corporations and against individuals? So how do you balance that playing field? Someone, and in my case, I do it because I’ve negotiated for a lot of people I’ve seen a lot. So I help people negotiate by staying behind the scenes and holding their hand throughout the entire process. Such that the company on the other side, hasn’t, I mean, maybe now the secret will be out, but has never become aware of my my involvement in their affairs. And my involvement is like needy, you know, because I know, every nuance of the I mean, you can’t help someone negotiate without knowing every single detail of the situation. I mean, negotiate is almost like a prescribe, you have to confess everything to them, otherwise, they can’t help you know, so. And I’ve done this for campus people for the last 25 years. And so now that plate write is out and released into the wild. And I can’t do any more work on that book. Because it’s, it’s, you know, it’s been released in India and Canada, and US and UK. So I’m turning my focus on to writing a book about negotiating, which will be very different from the first book in said, in that sense that it will be more about more like how to how a common man can negotiate, you know, in business, and potentially in life, because I mean, negotiation, and negotiation is about to fight against a powerful entity. So it’s a conflict. In essence, it’s a conflict of peace, relatively peaceful conflict in the sense that no weapons are being used other than words, but it is a conflict regardless. And so how do you deal with conflict, in business, and in personal life? That’s what so I will have like 20 or 25 rules that I mean, that I have always loved, and used to negotiate not only for myself, but for everyone else. And hopefully, I mean, that book is still in an in a thought stage. I have some chapters written but they need to be radically restructured. And who knows if the book will see the light of day or But I think I think what I would like to impress upon people is that negotiating is a very important skill. Like some people shy away from it because they just are afraid. Some people think it’s benefited their dignity. And what they don’t realize is negotiating is not only a great game, it truly is a great game. I mean, it’s also for me a good cause. Like what I, my, I always negotiate for David, against Goliath. I never helped Goliath negotiating is David, Goliath versus Goliath, maybe, you know, David versus David, hardly ever, but 95% of my 99% of my negotiations, is helping the little guy against a large corporation. I like it.

george grombacher 5:49
So when you’re negotiating in your interpersonal life, are you using your powers for good still, when you’re having a conversation with with your wife, for example.

Unknown Speaker 6:02
I mean, I have rules about how to deal with one’s life as well, actually, I have just, this is a bit off topic. But since you brought up relationship, you know, and wife, I have two simple rules for how like and be happy. And the first is like when it comes to money, like, if you have, if you don’t have money, you have problems in life. But if you do have money, use money to simplify your life, not to overcomplicate it, like don’t buy vacation homes and stuff like that. Just simplify your life and use money to get rid of hassles, like something breaks down in the house, use money to just fix it, you know. And the second and the far more important rule is make sure your wife is happy with you. And you can’t guarantee your wife’s happiness because some people, you know, when you can guarantee that she’s not unhappy with you, because that’s a function of your actions. You know? So like, I recount the story in the book, when we when I get married, and I’m in spring, I’m learning and if I have a panic attack during the wedding, which only my wife knows, because it’s the first dance, and I’m freaking out, like, what am I doing? You know, I mean, I had once vowed never to marry a non Indian, and my wife was an Italian American. So I sort of flipped out in that moment. And it was 1995, April of 1995. And she was like, really? I mean, she didn’t show it. But at the time, can you imagine you’ve just gotten married and a husband is saying, I don’t know if I can do this. I mean, and so that, I mean, she thought I was being a coward in that moment. But since then, what 27 and change years have gone by, and has made sure to not give her a reason to call me a coward again. Well done. That’s how

george grombacher 7:49
those are powerful.

Unknown Speaker 7:50

george grombacher 7:51
I love it. All right. So the powerful entity, David against Goliath, this most commonly shows up in probably a job interview.

Unknown Speaker 8:00
Yes. And the majority of mining, I mean, there are all sorts of negotiations that have performed, but the majority of them are an individual, negotiate against a large corporation, while interviewing for a job. And that’s a situation virtually everyone in the world, you know, encounters at some point in time in their life. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re 24 years old, you’re like 60 years old, you know, and it doesn’t matter which industry you work in, whether it’s finance or technology, or media or real estate, or medicine, even, I’ve negotiated all across wares fields, and and it doesn’t matter what the stakes are, whether you’re negotiating with a small amount of money or a large amount of money, the techniques and the rules that I use stay the same. And in terms of dealing with the future employer, no matter what field and what the stakes and what the salary is, and, you know, whether it’s four figures or seven figures or more, I mean, it doesn’t matter. You are there is a right way to negotiate. There’s a wrong way to negotiate. And it’s a game and again, if you use the cliched word, play it right, but you must play it right. And that’s the only way you will be successful in a negotiation. But yes, you’re right. It’s about

george grombacher 9:14
employers. Where do Is there a common way that people screw it up? Do we think too far ahead? Are we thinking too narrowly?

Unknown Speaker 9:22
I mean, one of my chapters that I find writing, it’s, it’s probably going to be the first chapter was the most important rule. And the title of the chapter was something along the lines of focus on the next move, and only the next move. And the opening line of the sentence of the chapter will be something like what if? And then that’s the question right being posed, what? And my statement in response to that question is that even I mean, this is a question virtually everyone that I’ve negotiated for causes at some point Diamond. And it forces me to sit the individual down and launch into my negotiating is the opposite of chess speech, which is that the biggest mistake people make in a negotiation is that think like, it’s like a chess game, that you try to think 23456 moves ahead, or maybe more. Whereas I firmly believe negotiating is the exact opposite of chess, where your entire objective is the next move, and only the next move. And you cannot look even one move ahead or forget two or three. And I’ll go briefly into why. I mean, because chess is a finite game, it’s on an eight by eight board, where pieces can only move in in a preordained manner, like a bishop can only move diagonally or only sideways can only one one square at a time. was negotiating as long as rules. I mean, you don’t know what I mean, rather than trying to predict. Like in chess, even though you don’t know what your opponent is going to do, you know, the range of possible moves he can do, or he can make with certainty, there is no doubt in your mind. Exactly, there may be 20 possible moves, you know, maybe even 30, I mean, you know, they’re only 16 pieces. So they can only be a kid they can be each piece can be moved in many different ways. So whether it’s 20 3040, whatever the maximum number of moves, you know, what the moves are in negotiating, you have no idea what the guy will, what the other side will will do, when they will do it, how they will do it, they may not even respond. in jest, you have to respond within 30 or 40 seconds or whatever, there’s a time limit on moves. In a chess match here, there’s no time limit and, and a savvy negotiator can even invent his own new pieces and move them in ways that confound the moment. Like one example of a piece being invented out of thin air, is sometimes when I negotiate for an individual, I’m sitting in the same room with them while they’re on a speakerphone. And I’m listening to the conversation that the in real time and passing notes to the individual with their answers acknowledged. Now think about it, if the other side had any idea. There is like, you know, a consummate a negotiator helping this guy negotiate with them. And it’s amazing in 45 years of doing this, not one company has ever figured about. So how could they even fathom that the guy has real time help, you know, as they’re negotiating, and, and one of the funniest things that happens is, often these companies compliment the guy for being a bit or the other, or the woman. I mean, compliment the individual for being a great negotiator. Which makes me laugh. No good at this, thank you. I really enjoy it. I mean, and I think I believe it’s you enjoy something you become good at it, because you’ll practice it. And, and I have to negotiate for others. Because how many opportunities am I going to have to negotiate for myself only, you know, I can negotiate everyday for myself in terms of big things like job car houses, whatever, right? So. So the way I keep busy is by helping other people do this. And by doing this over and over for 25 years, I have developed a well defined philosophy and a set of rules that I think, you know, the common man can use and use in if nothing a job interviews. And you can even take it one step further, because it’s a conflict. So you can use it in conflict advice. You know, it’s a way to think about conflict resolution, right? How do you escalate a conflict? When do you be escalate? How do you read this? It’s all about reading the others, the science on the other side, and understanding what the cards are, what they’re trying to get from the situation. And then you can navigate it. But the biggest common mistake, coming back to your original question that people make it they think too far. And, and don’t focus on the here and now. It’s like negotiating. It’s all about being in the moment. What is the problem in front of you just deal with that? Don’t think about tomorrow? Because it may never come? Because the guy might just go away and never come back?

george grombacher 14:12
Right? Is there rules thinking about? I appreciate I need to be thinking about my next move and not any more moves ahead than that. But should I have go into it go? Should I enter the negotiation with a desired outcome? And should I think about do I want to appreciate that this entity that the company wants probably something also, and should I be worried about that?

Unknown Speaker 14:44
You should actually that’s a great point, because you should know what you want from the negotiations like what your objective is. And in a nutshell, the objective is to get the most of the company that you can, right? I mean, that’s usually the case. And the company’s objective usually is to give you the least that they can. And that’s the tension. Right? So, I mean, and the objective of a negotiation is, how do you convince the other side to abandon their stance and adopt yours. And I’ve been involved in numerous negotiation, my own, for instance, where me and the other side has started like this far apart, right. And for some reason, after, I mean, after months of chipping away at it, I get them to move within 5% of where I started from, you know, and they’ve moved 95%. And sometimes they’ve caught on and it’s like, balked at the last minute thing, we can do this, how did we meet you all the way at your? I mean, I said, it’s fine. I mean, it’s, it’s just that it’s a, it’s a process, you have to know, you have to know what you want that you have to know from any conflict, right? When you’re fighting with your wife. I mean, if you want a divorce, or you want to make up the way you fight, the fight is very different. And so the objective has to be clear. And by the way, at the same time, you should know what the objective, you can’t know what you’re trying to figure out what their objective is, as well. Because without placing yourself in their shoes, you can’t outwork them, and negotiating. I mean, even with the wife, it’s a game of Outwitting the other person. I mean, hopefully, my wife will not see this interview. But it is it is like a poker game where you have in you have insufficient evidence, right? You know, the cards you have, but you have no idea what and you know, what you want from the situation and what you’re willing to concede or what you’re willing to accept, but you have no idea what cards the other side holds. And what they may or may not accept. And negotiating is this dance where you figure out, you know, how do you get the most from a situation, you know, and, and, ideally, a negotiation should conclude happily. So there is also an additional task is to create the illusion of the other side having one, even though victory is yours. So the final chapter of this book, if it comes to pass will be no victory lap. Because don’t ever take a victory lap, even if you won, make the other side feel like they won. Because especially in an employment situation, you really want to vanquish an opponent who’s going to be your boss. Not a good idea. So ideally, you want them to feel empowered. So almost all my negotiation no matter how great they’ve turned out, and with a grudging acceptance, okay, fine. I just accept, you know, even though I’ve raked him over the coals, you know, when you when you know, Aleksei you know, you’re right. But before that we’ve had a brutal fight. The fight ends with, you know, what do you want? I’d accept your final offer.

george grombacher 17:59
I think that’s awesome. I think that, that there needs to be a section on on how to teach our politicians or elected officials how to not simply try to win at all costs come while and then we need to airdrop those in Washington, DC and hope that one or two of them actually read up?

Unknown Speaker 18:18
Well, there is a lot to say there. I mean, politicians, and the problem with politicians are, they cannot calibrate the conflict. Like it’s in negotiating, it’s very important to calibrate the conflict, right? Like when to raise the temperature of the fight, when to lower it. We think about American politics, and I’ve been in this country for 30 some years, and it was not like this, and I came in the 80s. The temperature of the conflict has steadily gone up for the last 1020 years, you know, to the point that it’s reaching a boiling point, and there’s tremendous talk about civil war in this country. But I really believe that’s the wrong fight in America. I mean, if you want I can briefly talk about the real fight in America that that should unite the whole country. And the no one ever talks about. I wrote a three part essay about this, which is on my agents website. It’s called the right the right factory.com. And I think you can find the essay on there. But the gist of the essay, the first part is called the real fight in America, like what is the real fight it’s not right versus the Left Coast versus the heartland North versus the south Trump versus the NeverTrump. errs Democrats will do all the wrong fights. There’s only one fight in the in this country that is worth talking about, which has been quietly raging for the last, especially for 2527 years starting in the mid 90s. It’s the war that corporations have been quietly waging upon the population of this country. You know, a simple statistic with 1986 they With 8000 publicly listed company, companies in America today, there are 4000. It’s purely a result of, you know, consolidation. And how many options for cable TV you have in your town. How many airlines are there servicing any market? A number of airlines is, you know, I mean, there is no competition left and, and this artificial fight of left versus right. And I mean, the real fight is 99.9% versus the point 1%. Corporations versus individuals. And that’s why I negotiate for individuals because the David versus Goliath fight. And I feel like operations have too much power. And that fight is the one I mean, we should do to unite everyone, you know, from the West Coast to the East Coast to the heartland. I mean, if you think about the major problems that face America today, whether it’s the polarization, opioid crisis, which is the two sides of energy, those throats and you know, the lack of safety net, you know, I mean, all the lot of associations, and a lot of them can be traced to increased corporate power, like and not just slightly increased, but massively increased corporate power. For instance, Mitt Romney said this corporations are people to my friend, okay, well, if that is the case, then America is the largest incarceration rate of any country in the world. How can we never see any corporation or a CEO, being jailed for their clients, and you can say there aren’t any crimes, because Boeing is a perfect example of a company where in 737, Max, they killed hundreds of people right in the light of it. And yet, the CEO just walked away with 62 million dots. I mean, so that is why I negotiate and that is the fight that I think should unite the country. But the problem is, nobody will ever talk about it, because the media also is corporate owned, and there is obviously not this podcast, but, you know, mainstream media is, is owned by corporations, why would they talk about the pernicious influence corporations have or have had for the last, you know, 27 years, and this is a little more technical. But, you know, I, all this starts in the mid 90s, for a very good reason for a specific law that gets passed, you know, like this whole idea of outsourcing, why did it ever happen? Why did every factory move to China and every call center to India, there is a very good reason for it. It’s all about corporate profits. And when profits rule the day, you know, people are just fodder.

george grombacher 22:30
That’s why we need to advocate for ourselves position ourselves for success.

Unknown Speaker 22:34
Which is why I mean, I really believe it’s the backbone when i Whenever I go up against a large corporation, I mean, I mean, to put it mildly, I don’t really have any mercy on them. Because I feel like they’ve taken advantage of so many people. So many times, if I can strike. It’s like me dealing with the casino, right? When I was playing blackjack, it was the ripoff. So many customers, right? I mean, the odds are skewed this way, people don’t know what they’re doing. And they just, you know, give so much time the entire edifice is stemming because people lose so much money. And I know, I’m not going to change the casino industry. But I can chip away at a little, you know, same thing here, I’m not going to change corporate America. But I’m going to do my small part in, you know, negotiating against, and if nothing else, I mean, you know, and if I do manage to produce this book, hopefully it can teach the average person that, you know, it is possible to take on a large corporation. And when you’re trying to interview with them for a job, you don’t need to intimate corporations are not charitable institutions. They’re hiring you because they need you. And they need you because they think you can increase their profits. Otherwise, why would they negotiate with you? Why are they even talking to you? I mean, this is the part that most people don’t realize that they might need you just as much if not more so than you need. So that would give should give people more courage to deal with. And I do I will have a roll call, have courage. Because without courage, there is no shortage of money in this battle. I mean, any battle requires courage. So I mean, so this is this whole real fight in America goes hand in hand with my reasons why I negotiate, you know, for David against Goliath, because I’m trying to level the playing field just a little bit. You know, and I’ve been quite successful at it. So I figured, why not see if I can share that with the world.

george grombacher 24:34
Makes sense? I love it. I look forward to it.

Unknown Speaker 24:38
I think, yeah,

george grombacher 24:40
I appreciate coming back on where can people learn more about you? How can they engage? Where can they pick up a copy of the first book, play it right? And give us a timeline for when you think you might start writing? Come on.

Unknown Speaker 24:53
Well, I’ve I have a thing from the beginning. People can learn more about me at my website, come over Dr. Wright’s promote Dr. rightsizing WRI p s.com. The bookplate right is available everywhere in the English speaking world, you know, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, you know, there’s an audiobook narrated by a guy with a fantastic voice. He is a pan Canadian gentleman of Iraqi descent, reading a book written by an Indian I in America, you know, it’s the United Nations and, you know, but he has a great voice. So you can listen on Audible, you know, you can buy the book, there’s a hardcover, there’s a, I strongly recommend the hardcover, it’s a much more pleasant reading experience. There’s also an ebook for those who want to read it. So you can I mean, Amazon is the easiest place to get the book, but it’s available everywhere. And as far as booktube goes, I’m not really sure. So I’m working with my agent these days to sort of formulate what the book will look like. And you know, if it does come to pass, it’s at least a year, year and a half away.

george grombacher 26:11
Gone through negotiation.

Unknown Speaker 26:13
But earliest will be 20 and 2024. are

george grombacher 26:17
you negotiating with your agent right now? Good, well, good luck to that person.

Unknown Speaker 26:22
Well, it’s, you know, getting an agent is so difficult in this publishing world. I mean, if you if you have not been published before, like I was, you know, a few years ago, the odds against getting into the into the 1000 to one. And but this is a long another long story, but I did get a very famous agent right off the bat that I had to fire her. She represented presidents, you know, she called her ex presidents that are client as our clients and yet, I had to get rid of her because her vision for the book was not what I wanted. And then I was aged plus for six months, and then I found the perfect agent, who is my agent from now to eternity. I love it.

george grombacher 27:03
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, chuck them all your appreciation and share today, share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Go to Kamal Gupta, right stock comps, kmalgptawrits.com. Check out everything that he’s working on, pick up a copy of play it right in whatever form you like. Pick up the audio version, the ebook or the hardcover and learn about his incredible story. Thanks, kick them off.

Unknown Speaker 27:29
Thank you very much.

george grombacher 27:30
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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