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3 Things I Learned From A Mafia Don

Australia doesn’t have many publicly acknowledged Mafia Don’s or families.

We fall a long way short of our American cousins. The Gotti’s, Gambino’s and the movie famous Corleone’s are familiar names to most punters.

In Australia our ‘bad’ families keep a quiet profile avoiding the limelight most of the time except if you are part of the Williams family (not very Italian sounding I know) who go on a shooting spree every now and then.

In Sydney the supreme title goes to the Ibrahim family. Their patriarch is John Ibrahim, owner of strip cubs in the once notorious Kings Cross. These days the Cross is becoming a trendy redevelopment area and the brothels are moving a few streets back.

But John is still the pin up boy of the ‘Sydney Mafia’. So much so he’s been invited by the Sydney Crime Writers Festival to present Australia’s highest crime literary wards at this year’s Ned Kelly Awards.

And this is where I got the chance to be up close but no personal with this crime enigma. Here’s what I learned from Mr. John Ibrahim.

  1. Building A Brand
    Brand – what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Brands can be good or bad.

    The Red Cross brand is the third most recognized brand in the world. It stands for helping people, thereby making it a good brand.

    Malaysian Airlines, once a great brand for Malaysia, is somewhat tainted since their two major airline crashes. They are trying to rebuild but their trust factor for being a safe airline is severely tarnished.

    And then there’s John Ibrahim. Hmmm pretty dark. But in some circles he’s thought of being a ‘lovable rogue’. For the most part John seems to only get in a rumble with fellow crims leaving us innocent people to go about our daily lives without fear.

    And John’s brand is mainly made up of innuendo as well. He is known to being the Teflon Don as well – nothing sticks to Johnny.

    So as an author a brand can bring you a lot of notoriety – I’m choosing the ‘Red Cross’ path.
  2. Family is important
    John has got plenty of family around him. His brothers are also famous in the underworld. Michael and Fadi were busted in 2017 for trying to import 136kg of cocaine into Australia.

    His son and girlfriend were also arrested. Their trial starts now with John by their side – but not ‘involved’.

    Like in all families there are good and bad members. John has shown me that we need to stand by all and that’s admiral.
  3. We need to have structure
    Like any good organisation or business, there must be structure so the entity keeps moving forward.

    Tasks need to be done. Plans must be implemented. Decisions must be thought of and carried out.

    A good Mafia organisation has the same structure as a corporate entity. A CEO, senior managers and a team of foot soldiers.

    John Ibrahim is the CEO.

    In my little group, I’m the CEO along with a virtual team of editors, cover designers, book formatters, SEO experts, Facebook ad managers and other marketing specialists.

    Structure is important even in my little organisation.