Today, the 500e episode of Masters in Business drops.1
I described the inspiration for the show as “an audio version of Market Wizards‘ but the actual speech to Bloomberg was ‘Maron Maron’s WTF meets Charlie Rose’ (that was before we knew about his, uh, demeanor).
It was a wonderful race, an adventure in which I feel grateful and privileged to participate. And I hope to continue to do so for as long as possible.
Right from the start, I had a few thoughts:
1. Meet interesting people: My dark little secret is that the show actually only has one audience: Me.
It was a delicious excuse to sit down and chat with people I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. Nobel laureates, guitarists, hedge fund managers, billionaires, all pass through my little studio for a “Hi how are you?”
I can ask questions that I find helpful, meet legends, and spend 1-2 hours with amazing, lovely people. It’s the most fun I’ve had all week.
2. Better interviews: At the time, most standard interviews in the financial media were disappointing, often only superficial questions with a short lifespan: “What is your favorite action? Where will the Dow Jones be in a year? When will the Fed (cut/rise) next?”
Hence the motto of the show: No stock picks, no predictions.
I thought the basic interview form could be improved by avoiding these questions and going deeper into who the guest really was and how it got there:”Who were your mentors? How did you make your most important career decisions? How did you develop your investment philosophy? What are you reading?“Other areas did that, why not finance?
Smarter, longer and in-depth interview formats have become increasingly popular since the launch of MiB in 2014; I like to think we’ve helped move the industry forward in a way that’s helpful to investors.
3. Reach an audience: The show now receives 8-10 million streams per year, as well as downloads on various properties, including the Bloomberg Terminal; it also airs on Bloomberg Radio (and syndicated) plus XM Sirius radio.
I wanted to be able to reach investors and show them there was a better way to learn how to invest. An amazing way to gain insight is to sit down with extraordinarily successful investors and ask them to explain what they did wrong and what they learned from the experience. I found this useful, and many of you wrote to say you did too. It was truly an exceptional learning experience.
4. Create a library: Wouldn’t it be great if you could find all the most interesting people from different practice areas in one place? The whole of the Behavioral Finance People, Venture capitalist, hedge fund managers, women in financeetc were all available in one place.
It was so fun to see how different groups of guests think: strategists, fund managers, economists, private equity, entrepreneurs, VCs, artists and authors.
I will continue to assemble lists by different categories according to the requests of the listeners: PE, billionaires, professors, etc., and whatever you can think of.
5. Work with amazing people: None of this would have been possible without the help of some amazing people, including Michael Batnick, who did a lot to shape the show over the first 5 seasons of MiB, and Sean Russo, who took his big shoes off. Josh Frankel has helped me score amazing guests from day one.
Over at Bloomberg, Al Mayer and Anthony Mancini not only endorsed the idea, but were extremely helpful in making me (a non-professional in the radio world) a lot less of a sucker; Charlie Vollmer was my first sound engineer. He taught me the basics of radio, including how to do intros and outros. Bloomberg View’s Tim O’Brien has been a strong supporter of the show. Sage Bauman is the podcast manager, and it’s great to have someone championing the show with the rest of the company. Atika, Rob, Sarah, Justin, Mohammed, Colin and too many people to name them have all helped make the show better.
My producers have been awesome: Paris Wald today and my previous producers Taylor Riggs (now a star on Fox Business) and Michael Boyle (who does hedge fund analysis for BBRG and live events) have all been tremendous. And a special thank you to Michael Bloomberg, who not only listens to the show, but allows me to join in the conversation when I occasionally accompany a guest to his office. And of course, all the guests who were so generous with their time.
One of the questions I sometimes get is “When are you going to run out of potential guests?” I suspect never.
In Major League Baseball, twenty-eight players are members of the 500 home run club. Chatting with a financial guest for an hour isn’t the same as pointing one at the left-field wall, but still, it feels like an important step to me.
Here are the next 500 shows – up to 1000.
Thanks for listening.
7 years of MiB
1. iTunes only shows 464, but it’s missing first-season shows, including Doubleline’s Jeff Gundlach, Cumberland’s David Kotok, and Research Affiliates’ Rob Arnott. And for you quiz buffs, #500 is Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson.