Lessons for Advisors (and Life) From Emery Kertesz (Part Two)

Emery Kertesz III. June 10, 1956-January 29, 2021

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When someone close to you dies, it’s difficult to accept that reality. I find myself mentally composing e-mails to my partner, Emery Kertesz, who died on January 29, 2021 at age 64.

That’s precisely what happened when I read about massive layoffs at Best Buy, the giant electronics retailer. In the two decades since Emery and I started our online electronics business on a shoestring budget, a host of giant competitors have filed for bankruptcy or ceased doing business altogether. The list includes Circuit City, CompUSA, Guitar Center, Fry’s Electronics and RadioShack, among many others.

Emery ran our company, which expanded into manufacturing its own line of electronics products.

Since our first year in business, we have been profitable. Even in 2020, when the pandemic hit, we continued our track record, although our revenues modestly declined.

I used to ask Emery this question: “How do you do it? Companies with far more capital, manned by the best MBAs in the world, are dropping like flies. What’s the secret sauce?”

In this article, I will share with you some principles that guided his management of our businesses. You may find them applicable to yours.

Emery had some great quotes that resonated with me. I call them “Emeryisms.” Here are some of them.