Today, the 500th episode of Masters in Business drops.1
I have described the inspiration for the show as “an audio version of Market Wizards” but the actual pitch to Bloomberg was “Mark Maron’s WTF meets Charlie Rose” (that was before we knew about his, um, behavior).
It has been a wonderful ride, one that I feel grateful and privileged to be on. And I hope to keep doing it for was long as I can.
From the very beginning, I had some thoughts:
1. Meet interesting people: My dark little secret is that the show actually has an audience of just one: Me.
It has been a delightful excuse to sit down and chat with people I would never otherwise have had an opportunity to meet. Nobel Laureates, guitarists, hedge fund managers, billionaires, all swing by my little studio for a “Hi, How Are Ya?”
I get to ask the questions I find useful, meet legends, and spend 1-2 hours with some amazing and delight folk. It’s the most fun I have all week.
2. Better Interviews: Back in the day, most standard financial media interviews were disappointing, often only superficial questions with a short shelf life: “What’s your favorite stock? Where will the Dow be in a year? When will the Fed (cut/raise) next?”
Hence the show’s motto: No stock picks, no predictions.
I thought the basic interview form could be improved by eschewing those questions and diving much deeper into who the guest really was, and how they got that way: “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 fields were doing this, why not finance?
Smarter, longer-form, in-depth interview formats have become increasingly popular since MiB launched in 2014; I’d like to think we helped move the industry forward in ways that are useful for investors.
3. Reach an audience: The show now gets 8-10 million streams per year, plus downloads on various properties, including the Bloomberg Terminal; it is also broadcast 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 about investing. An amazing way to gain insight is to sit down with extraordinarily successful investors and have them explain what they did wrong, and what they learned from the experience. I have found this useful, and many of you have written in to say you have also. This has truly been an outstanding learning experience.
4. Create a Library: Wouldn’t it be great if you could find all of the most interesting people from different practice areas in one place? All of the Behavioral Finance folk, Venture Capitalists, hedge fund managers, women in finance, etc. were all searchable in one place.
It’s been so much fun seeing how different groups of guests think: Strategists, fund managers, economists, private equity, entrepreneurs, VCs, entertainers and authors.
I am going to continue to assemble lists by various categories per listeners’ requests: PE, Billionaires, Professors, etc., and anything else you guys think of.
5. Work with amazing people: None of this would have been possible without the help of some extraordinary people, including Michael Batnick, who very much helped shape the show in the first 5 seasons of MiB, and Sean Russo, who stepped into his big shoes. Josh Frankel helped me score some amazing guests from day one.
At Bloomberg, Al Mayer and Anthony Mancini not only approved the idea but have been enormously helpful in making me (a non-professional in the world of radio) suck much less; Charlie Vollmer was my first audio engineer who taught me basic radio skills, including how to do intros and outros. Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg View has been a steadfast supporter of the show. Sage Bauman is the head of podcasts, and it’s great having someone champion the show to the rest of the firm. Atika, Rob, Sarah, Justin, Mohammed, Colin, and too many people to name have all helped make the show better.
My producers have been awesome: Paris Wald today and my prior producers Taylor Riggs (now a star on Fox Business) and Michael Boyle (doing hedge fund analytics for BBRG and live events) have all been huge. And special thanks to Michael Bloomberg, who not only listens to the show but lets me sit in on the conversation when I occasionally walk a guest over to his desk. And of course, all of the guests who have been so generous with their time.
One of the questions I occasionally get is “When are you going to run out of potential guests?” I suspect never.
In Major League Baseball, there are twenty-eight players who are members of the 500 home run club. Chatting with a financial guest for an hour isn’t the same as clocking one over the left-field wall, but still, it feels to me like a major milestone.
Here’s to the next 500 shows — onwards to 1000.
Thanks for listening.
7 Years of MiB
1. iTunes only shows 464, but it is missing the first season shows, including Jeff Gundlach of Doubleline, David Kotok of Cumberland, and Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates. And for you trivia buffs, #500 is Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson.