Before Israeli-American media titan Haim Saban brought "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" from Japan to America and notched his first billion, he had to pay off a lot of debt: about $600,000 worth.
In his early 20s, after serving in the Israeli army, Saban found himself in the music industry. He was playing bass guitar for a band but "holding them back musically," as he told Guy Raz on NPR's podcast, "How I Built This," so he became their manager, instead. "You manage one band and you manage two bands and then you build a business around that."
By 24, Saban was working as a tour promoter, bringing famed artists like Ray Charles and José Feliciano to Israel. But, "despite my success, quote-on-quote, I was in debt of $600,000" after just a few years, he told Raz.
Saban, who made down payments to artists by borrowing against future ticket sales, took a hit from the Yom Kippur War: "I had a big group of harpists from Japan in October of 1973 ready to tour the country and the Yom Kippur War took us all by surprise. There were no concerts, no shows — there was no way for them to even leave because the airport was closed. I had to return the money. I had paid them in advance."
That, compounded with the devaluation of Israeli currency, he said, left him deep in debt: "I was in a total state of panic."