This July MIB celebrated its 5-year anniversary; the 300th episode should role out sometimes next month.
One of the questions I seem to be getting all the time — as recently as last night’s dinner — is this: What are your favorite episodes? What is your top 10 list?
That is a really tough question; choosing just 10 is a nearly impossible task. I could probably create 5 lists of Top 10s with no overlap and each one is as fantastic as any of the others.
Instead, I will pull 10 of the better conversations we have had that are unique, and representative of what I hope to accomplish with the show. I left some of the early ones out – Jeff Gundlach, Arthur Levitt, Shelia Bair – because even though the guests were great, I was raw (terrible) in year one. Do something for 3000 hours and 300X and eventually, you suck much less.
With no further adieu, my fascinating short list of top 10 MIBs:
Masters in Business Top 10 List
10. Richard Barton, Microsoft/Expedia/Zillow/Glassdoor
9. Bill Gross, PIMCO
8. John Pizzarelli, Jazz Guitarist
7. Howard Marks, Oaktree
6. Cliff Asness, AQR
5. Robert Cialdini, Influence
4. Kenneth Feinberg, Mediator
3. Scott Galloway, the Four
2. Marc Andreessen, A16Z
1. Ray Dalio, Bridgewater
A short background story on each of these 10 shows is below.
10. Richard Barton, Microsoft/Expedia/Zillow/Glassdoor: He founded Expedia when he was a Microsoft engineer, launched Zillow and Glassdoor and Artsy from start-ups; he has been a CEO at many firms; is a partner at VC Benchmark Capital, and is on the Netflix board of directors. Few people understand both the technology and business side as well as Barton. Just a tour de force delightful discussion about tech.
9. Bill Gross, PIMCO (Part I and Part II): Could be the interview that put MIB on the map. Following my column imagining Gross’ farewell letter, an unnamed PIMCO insider sent me the full roster of PIMCO bonuses, which resulted in this column. Gross called me to complain, and one thing led to another, and the result was a 2 hour plus discussion. I had promised his people I would get him to Barron’s Roundtable on time, and we literally could not get him out of the office.
8. John Pizzarelli, Jazz Guitarist: We had just seen Pizzarelli do a 2-hour show at the Tilles Center, and afterwards, people were lining up to have him sign CDs. When I snorted at such silly fandom, Mrs. Big Picture said, “Yeah, its not like these people have a podcast/radio show.” Suitably chastened, I got online to pitch him MiB. He got it right away, showed up with his guitar, and was the first of several guitarists to appear on the show (Lawrence Juber, Steve Miller, Don Henley)
7. Howard Marks, Oaktree: One of the most spectacular track records in distressed fixed income, and a deep thinker on all things investing. I somehow became a Howard Marks whisperer, doing live Q&A in several CFA events (Seattle, Toronto, elsewhere). I understand his philosophy and track record and have a good feel for his thinking, and I can nudge him in the right direction. He did a second MIB and then was one of our earliest guests for MIB Live.
6. Cliff Asness, AQR: I had been chasing Cliff to come on the show for months to no avail. After the Bill Gross interview, Cliff reached out, saying, “I guess I have to do this now.” Our wives were in the control room watching our interview, and we ended after 90 minutes when the two of them got bored (but for that, we would have gone much longer). My Asness bonus is he has spent the subsequent 4 years busting my chops (occasionally with good cause) on Twitter.
5. Robert Cialdini, Influence: I could have used any of the behaviorists here – Kahneman, Thaler, Shiller, Gilovich, etc. but Cialdini was the book on my shelf I needed to read for the longest time. He was a giant upside surprise and the conversation was amazing.
4. Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master: Before we recorded this episode, we had a pretty intense debate as to whether it was appropriate or not. As it turned out, it was one of the most intensely moving conversations, filled with horrible and wonderful details about the survivors of 9/11 and the families of those who perished. Just amazing.
3. Scott Galloway, the Four The first (of four) interviews (two, three, four) with NYU Stern School of Business prof and entrepreneur is always fire. There is no one in academia like him. Bonus: His own podcast Pivot with Kara Swisher is great fun.
2. Marc Andreessen, A16Z As a native New Yorker, I work hard to not speak at my normal too quick pace. Andreessen tosses that idea out and speaks so rapidly, throwing out so many ideas at once that it overwhelms the listener with the sheer force of intellect. Those of you who usually listen at 2X or 1.5X good luck with this one! Just a firehose of great insight and information.
1. Ray Dalio, Bridgewater: Ray is a fascinating guy – I think most of finance doesn’t really understand him or his philosophy. We did two MIB podcasts (2017 and 2018) plus the very first MIB Live. A master class in learning how to get better at your chosen field.
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