We've had our fair share of fun guests on The Motley Fool Radio Show. In this episode of Rule Breaker Investing, producer Mac Greer joins Motley Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner for a blast from the Radio Show past -- listening to clips from some of the most fascinating interviews and sharing their modern-day commentary.
Cheech Marin predicts the future of marijuana legalization with striking accuracy, and talks about his voiceover experience. Billie Jean King gives a shocking reminder of what America used to be like for women. Howard Shultz explains where he got his vision and idea for Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Bob Geldof recounts growing up in a very poor Ireland, and shares the best investments he ever made. Tune in and find out more.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 17, 2018.
David Gardner: Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing. It's a delight to have you join us here at, is it fair to say the height of summer? I think we're awfully close to the height of summer right now. We're taping this on July 17th, Tuesday. We typically tape a day before we air, Wednesdays, every Wednesday. I hope you've subscribed to Rule Breaker Investing as a podcast via Spotify of Google Play or iTunes. We're here every week. I'm delighted this particular week to bring back two of my favorite Fools. One of them, of course, is my brother, Tom. The other is our longtime producer, Mac Greer. Mac, you sure have been on Market Foolery a lot in the last ten days or so.
Mac Greer: Too much for me.
D. Gardner: In addition to your wonderful hosting of one of The Motley Fool's daily podcast, Market Foolery, one of my favorite podcasts, Mac has also taken the time to go back into that deep vault of audio gold to find past clips when Tom, you and I got to interact with various people, talking about money and Foolishness and life. Mac, thank you for the effort you put in!
This is called Blast From The Radio Past, Volume II. We first did this in April. If you enjoy this one, you can go back and listen to that one. I said at the time, I think this is a series, it's so much fun going over these clips, Tom and me reflecting, Mac queuing them up and having conversations. That's what we're doing this week on this podcast, Blast From The Radio Past Volume II, some past clips and our present-day reactions. With all that said, I want to welcome my brother, T. Gardner.
Tom Gardner: Happy to be here!
D. Gardner: Awesome! And, Mac Greer. Mac, what did you have for lunch today?
Greer: I have not had lunch.
D. Gardner: Right, because we don't let you eat, because you need to work hard on behalf of all Motley Fool podcasts.
Greer: Well, I'm going to go to the Whole Foods after this.
D. Gardner: Excellent. Only a block away from Fool HQ, kind of awesome. Without further ado, I think we should just get started, get right into it. Mac, what is the first clip you have queued up for us?
Greer: The first clip, he recently stepped down from his chairman position, and there's been talk that he may have presidential aspirations. We're going to kick things off with Starbucks' almost founder, Howard Schultz. I say almost because he technically isn't the founder. But he's been there from near the beginning. We had an opportunity to interview him several times on the radio show. This interview is from 2004. 2004 interview with Starbucks' Howard Schultz, talking about the future.
D. Gardner: Before we queue that up -- Anne Henry, our producer this week, is going to queue that up -- Tom, thinking about Howard Schultz, you and I have gotten to meet him a little bit and gotten to know him some over the years, what is your personal probability that Howard will be running for president in the year 2020?
T. Gardner: I'd say 50%. The other half of it is, it could be tough for Starbucks, because taking a political position can be divisive out there for businesses. That has to be weighing on him. He may not be working as actively at Starbucks, but it's been his heart and soul for his entire life. So, I'd say 50%. I think it'd be a great thing. He's obviously an amazing person, a great leader, and we want as many great candidates running for any office.
D. Gardner: Tom, without being too political here, does he have your vote?
T. Gardner: I'm pretty personal about my vote. I'm personal about my beliefs and my vote. I'm not a conversion person.
D. Gardner: Are you a write-in guy? Maybe your own name, for example? Pretty personal with your own vote?
T. Gardner: I don't know that I've written in, if I did, my older brother would certainly be one of the possibilities.
D. Gardner: I'm definitely not running, but I would be honored if anybody wants to write me.
Greer: Why wouldn't you?
D. Gardner: Mac, do you think that Howard Schultz is going to run for president?
Greer: Yes, I think he's going to run. I'm not sure he can win, but I think he's going to run.
D. Gardner: Alright, let's roll that clip.
What's the biggest opportunity for Starbucks going forward, and what's the biggest challenge?
Howard Schultz: Believe it or not, the biggest opportunity is the same opportunity we've had for the last ten, 15 years. That's the continued growth and development of our retail stores. We still believe very strongly that we're in the early stages of building out our store base in North America, despite the fact that we're sitting with 8,000 stores now -- 6,000 in North America and 2,000 overseas.
Greer: OK, 6,000 stores in North America.
D. Gardner: What year was that, Mac?
Greer: That was 2004.
D. Gardner: Wow! I was just checking, through 2017, as of the end of last year, and I'm sure they've opened some more in the first six months of 2018, the company now has just about 14,000 stores in just the U.S. More than half are company owned, but Starbucks also licenses significantly. In fact, the mix, for those keeping score at home, roughly about 8,000 company stores and about 6,000 licensed stores through 2017. Howard grew that company some.
T. Gardner: Yeah. What an incredible investment it's been. You do have that question about how they'll perform without Howard as CEO. He stepped down in 2000 initially. It was questionable whether he stepped down. He may have been pushed aside a bit, because the company may not have agreed with some of his thinking. That ended up being a mistake. He returned in 2008, and obviously, it's been an incredible stock since then. Now, we'll see how it goes without Howard as actively involved. He's definitely one of the greatest CEOs of the last half-century in the U.S.
D. Gardner: He's really an eloquent guy, as well. He's a very well-spoken CEO. Very few CEOs can inspire in the same way that Howard does. You think about what he did, helping pay for college for some of his baristas. He's always been very socially minded. And certainly, in 2018, sensitivity training, and shutting down the stores for a whole day. That made national headlines. It's a company that's so ingrained in American culture that, through Howard's vision, they have felt the need to react and lead culturally in a way that's strange for many other businesses.
Greer: Have you heard the second Howard Schultz clip? Because you just teed it up wonderfully. Let's just go ahead and roll it. It's the same 2004 interview, Howard Schultz talking vision.
D. Gardner: Howard, where did your vision for Starbucks come from?
Schultz: I took a trip to Italy in the early 80s, and that was the epiphany. But I think my vision for Starbucks happened a long time before that, just trying to create a company with a conscience. I grew up on the other side of the tracks. My dad never made more than $20,000 a year. I saw firsthand the fracturing of the American dream when there wasn't a lot of money to go around. I never believed or thought I'd be in the position that I am today. I think the vision for the company, of trying to create a company that's based on a set of values and a culture in which people are respected in the workplace, is really based on where I came from, trying to build a company that has a soul.
D. Gardner: A company with a conscience. What do you think, Mac?
Greer: I think that sounds like a speech that a presidential candidate gives.
D. Gardner: Yeah. It's interesting that Howard mentioned going to Italy in the 80s, but it actually started much before that. Of course, Starbucks came public in the 90s. What he's referring to is, early in his heart as a younger man, wanting to be part of a company with a conscience, and starting one, in this particular case -- nearly founding one, I meant to say, Mac. I think Howard is a classic example of somebody who thinks bigger than just the business that he's working on.
T. Gardner: Yes. If you think about Starbucks, their culture is really extraordinary, for having hundreds of thousands of employees around the world, and to try to maintain the consistency of the experience at Starbucks. It's not easy. It's harder. I remember saying to Howard once, "Hey, it has to be great to wake up in the morning and know that the whole world is coming to buy your product." He looked at me and said, "You must be insane. It's not that easy. It gets harder as you grow. You have more stores, it's much more complex. You have to decide if you really want to solve the problems of your company as it scales, or if you're getting worn down by them."
In Howard's case, he loved solving them, and he did. He created an environment where, relative to their industry -- compare Starbucks to Alphabet or Facebook, it's pretty hard. Those have campuses, they're typically very highly paid workplaces. Starbucks, as essentially a restaurant business, to create the culture they have is really amazing.
D. Gardner: Full disclosure, I should mention that Howard Schultz was invested in us, at least indirectly, through his own venture capital firm, Maveron. They first invested in us in the late 1990s. When Tom mentions talking with Howard, we had those opportunities in an unusual way relative to many CEOs. He always distinguished himself as a passionate person, a very ambitious person, in the best sense of the term. One thing I remember him saying about us, Tom, which I've always appreciated, maybe you'll remember this --
T. Gardner: He thought we were amazing.
D. Gardner: He thought you were particularly good looking, between the two brothers, but that's a totally separate thing. I don't know how that happened, but I do appreciate it, and I agree with him. But, I wanted to say what he thought about The Motley Fool, not about you or me. He said, "You know what you guys are about?" This was early on. This was his read on our brand. He said, "You guys are about hope. That's what you guys are doing, that's what you're selling." He wasn't being cynical at all. Ultimately, we hope that hope converts to results for every Motley Fool member. The optimism and the fun of The Motley Fool, that was his read. I've always remembered that, I'm sure you have, too.
T. Gardner: There's another great Howard line that I think applies to all businesses. He said, "In the end, remember, it's not how well you do for others, it's that they know that you care." You probably have the wording better on that, Dave, what is it?
D. Gardner: "At the end of the day, it's not about being the best at what you do, it's about knowing that you care." That's true. A lot of service businesses --
T. Gardner: "You're going to make mistakes, but you need to show your customers that you care. If you do that everyday, things will work out well." I love that.
D. Gardner: I agree.
T. Gardner: Let's keep honing that line.
D. Gardner: You pretty much nailed it. I had forgotten that line, so I'm glad you remembered that, Tom. It'll be interesting to see Howard Schultz the next couple of years, which way the wind blows. My money is also on him running for president. I've tweeted it out before. I'm confident.
T. Gardner: Does he have your vote?
D. Gardner: He probably has my vote.
T. Gardner: He probably has your vote?
D. Gardner: One of our values at The Motley Fool, as you know, my good brother, is topping it. I would say, if somebody comes along and tops it, if somebody comes along that I like more than Howard runs --
T. Gardner: Mac Greer?
D. Gardner: I would consider Mac.
T. Gardner: Let's do that right now. Mac vs. Howard?
Greer: That's frightening. No. Howard.
D. Gardner: This is shooting from this hip here. This is off the cuff, but to me, Mac brings a deeper, more convincing voice. Just the voice, the vocal quality.
T. Gardner: Who gets the checkbox on leadership?
D. Gardner: I would also give Howard the checkbox.
T. Gardner: You'd give Howard the checkbox on leadership?
T. Gardner: How about professional achievement? Who gets the checkbox?
D. Gardner: I would say Howard.
T. Gardner: That'd be Howard, as well?
Greer: Just by a hair there.
T. Gardner: Size of head? Physical size of head? Mac?
Greer: Oh, I could totally dominate that. Are you talking circumference or water displacement?
T. Gardner: I meant ego.
Greer: Oh, OK. I'm going to lay off that one.
D. Gardner: I might go with Howard on that one, but I think Mac will displace more water in a tub with his head.
Greer: Yes, that's fair.
D. Gardner: I'll also say that Mac has a better and deeper knowledge of Houston-area sports teams.
T. Gardner: He has Texas. Mac will carry Texas.
D. Gardner: I think Mac probably does carry Texas. How many electoral votes is that, roughly? I'm sorry, since there's a Texan native here, how many electoral votes is that exactly?
Greer: It's 30-ish, something, 40-ish.
D. Gardner: I would say this. If Mac is going to run, he needs to know that down pat. For some of these stump speeches, you can't say 30-ish when you're --
Greer: No, I'm going to make that an asset. I'm not some bean counter, I'm out about electoral votes. I'm about your hopes and aspirations. OK, let's lighten the mood a little. Howard is great.
D. Gardner: Are we sticking with Howard? Or are we done with Howard?
Greer: We're done with Howard.
D. Gardner: Thank you very much, Howard Schultz! Good luck to you, regardless of what you do. Also, for all of us Starbucks shareholders, I hope things hold up pretty well there. They're going through some turbulence right now. We'll see.
Greer: Guys, let's lighten the mood and move on to a 2002 interview with Cheech Marin. If we're of a certain age, if we think Cheech, and we think Chong.
D. Gardner: Yeah, Cheech and Chong. I never saw any of their movies, but they were a fun Hispanic American crew that talked a lot about marijuana, as I recall.
Greer: A whole lot about marijuana.
D. Gardner: In these days, it's increasingly being legalized, but in those days, it was edgier.
Greer: That's right, it was edgier. Cheech had some other acting roles, Spy Kids, did voice over work in The Lion King.
D. Gardner: I will say, I just watched the movie Coco, the Pixar movie from 2017. Enchanting movie. Saw that again last night. Cheech has a speaking role in that movie, as well. He maintains his relevance into the modern day.
Greer: This clip from 2002 is part of what we called our Buy Sell Or Hold segment. We said, "If these were stocks, would you be buying, selling or holding?" And we asked him about a couple of things. Let's roll.
D. Gardner: Let's start off with legalizing marijuana. Buy, sell, or hold?
Cheech Marin: Buy.
D. Gardner: Why?
Marin: It's a growth industry. At some point, it's going to be legal, just like beer. Marijuana futures are probably a way to make a lot of money.
D. Gardner: Let me ask, how is it eventually going to become legal?
Marin: I think there's going to be a critical mass of people that indulge and/or see the benefits of it, both medically and whatever. As more and more legislators get of that age and have that experience, there's going to be a critical mass that's going to send it to the other side.
D. Gardner: Wow! OK, I had forgotten we'd asked that.
D. Gardner: I feel like he made the call there.
T. Gardner: Yeah. I mean, it's not fully played out across the U.S., but on October 17th, it will be formally legalized across the country of Canada. That's a pretty profound shift, and it's going to have some implications for businesses. There are about 100 public companies in Canada that are at the starting line with very little or no operating histories just about to go live in October, with this business. I've certainly talked to doctors over the last 20 years who said that marijuana is far healthier than alcohol. There are many forms of marijuana. There's CBD oils, there's variety of ways that it's being used medically.
D. Gardner: Tom, it seems like you know a lot about marijuana.
T. Gardner: I mean, I just worked on Marijuana Mavericks with David Kretzmann in Canada. I picked one stock for the offering. I thought they did great research.
D. Gardner: Do you want to share?
T. Gardner: No, you have to subscribe.
D. Gardner: That sounds just fine. It is a free podcast.
T. Gardner: David Kretzmann did incredible research. I actually knew very little about what was happening in the industry, and I can say now that I look at it and I'm like, yeah, it seems like it's a better growth market around the world than alcohol over the next 20 years.
D. Gardner: And there was Cheech, 16 years ago, saying, think about marijuana futures. Here we are. Mac, good call, and good pull on this one.
Greer: Thanks. Did you ever see Up In Smoke?
D. Gardner: I did not.
Greer: I never saw it. Cheech and Chong. Tom?
T. Gardner: Did not.
Greer: Not high on your to-see list?
D. Gardner: Pun intended?
Greer: No pun intended, thank you. The second part of the Buy Sell Or Hold, you'll hear it here.
D. Gardner: Since your work has been featured in The Lion King and others, buy, sell, or hold voice over work?
Marin: Buy. Every time I get a royalty check, I thank my lucky stars. You can get serendipitous, too. When I did The Lion King, I just did it because I wanted my kids to see me in an animated feature. The movie was relatively little, was the feel I got. However, that movie went on to ...
T. Gardner: Huge.
Marin: It was the biggest video cassette seller ever. And the soundtrack was enormous.
D. Gardner: Are you getting a royalty check once a year from that? Is that how that works?
Marin: Yes sir.
D. Gardner: Will you do it for listeners? Cheech, will you give us the voice of Banzai the hyena?
Marin: Well, we could eat whatsever lion around. Get it? Lion around?
D. Gardner: And that work does continue through to today. I have to admit, I had forgotten that character. Mac, have you seen The Lion King in recent years? I know you have younger kids.
Greer: Not recently.
D. Gardner: Broadway? Off Broadway?
Greer: I have not seen it, no. If it's not Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen, I haven't seen it.
D. Gardner: One thing I'd like to note for posterity is, Cheech's character in Coco, for anybody who might watch Coco, is the corrections officer. Do note that the same voice ... But, what an interesting point. It's great work if you can get it. I don't know that anyone of us three has gotten voice over work, yet.
T. Gardner: Yes.
D. Gardner: Yet. I'm very open to it, if anyone wants to invite me.
T. Gardner: Mac has that. The question is, who would Mac voice over?
Greer: An animal or something.
T. Gardner: Oscar the Grouch?
Greer: Yes, Oscar the Grouch, or something that doesn't exist in nature. I don't know what it is
T. Gardner: Hedgehog?
Greer: Hedgehog, that'd be good. I had someone a few years ago who I'd talked to for a number of years, trying to book people, and they finally met me, and they said, "I thought you were a 60-year-old smoker."
D. Gardner: Dump truck?
Greer: That was always the vision they had had. A dump truck?
T. Gardner: Could you do a dump truck for us right now?
Greer: Rrrr -- I can't do a dump truck.
D. Gardner: [laughs] I think you just did. Pixar, we await you, we await the call.
Greer: I'm accepting all offers.
Guys, we're coming off Wimbledon. Serena Williams made the finals. She didn't win, but she had an incredible run. But longer before Serena, there was Billie Jean King, who was incredibly dominant. She won 20 Wimbledon titles. She won 71 singles titles over the course of her career. Of course, a lot of us know Billie Jean King for her 1973 match against Bobby Riggs, the Battle of the Sexes. Did you see that movie with Steve Carell?
D. Gardner: Never did. I did hear good things about it, though.
T. Gardner: I know that she crushed him.
D. Gardner: Tom sees a lot more movies than I do. If Tom hasn't seen that movie, it's probably not worth seeing.
T. Gardner: It's the only thing that gets me on my elliptical, a good new TV series.
D. Gardner: That's pretty awesome.
T. Gardner: For example, Babylon Berlin on Netflix. Absolutely fantastic.
Greer: Is it really good?
D. Gardner: Weimar Republic, Germany, 1920s. It's a great minipart series. I highly recommend it. Subtitles. You have to buy into the subtitles.
Greer: Oh, I can't do that, that's a lot of work.
D. Gardner: Unless you speak German, Mac. Do you speak German?
Greer: Just a little.
D. Gardner: Could you give us a German dump truck?
Greer: I feel like that's too pretentious, but I could.
D. Gardner: I feel like we're veering a little bit down a cul-de-sac that I think we want to hang out in briefly, which is talking a little bit about what's good out there on Netflix. I have a recommendation, as well. The Staircase, have you seen that?
T. Gardner: I saw some precursor to that many years ago. It's grim.
D. Gardner: Yes. It's really a remarkable story.
T. Gardner: Is it unsolved?
D. Gardner: I don't want to spoil it, so I'll say this. The Staircase, which is the story of Michael Peterson and the purported murder of his wife -- this is in the Durham, North Carolina area, where I went to school --
T. Gardner: Everyone the guy knew died at the bottom of a staircase over 37 years.
D. Gardner: Not quite! But without spoiling things, there's a surprising revelation midway through, that something bad had happened on a staircase before, and that factored in. I won't say the result of the trial, because that's part of the fun of this 12-episode mini-series. What's really cool is, the story then has picked back up. Tom, you probably saw the earlier version of The Staircase, which was a documentary in 2005.
T. Gardner: Oh, so this isn't just a remake, this is an update.
D. Gardner: The story starts coming back in 2014.
T. Gardner: With DNA?
D. Gardner: I'm not going to give that away. I know that's a fascination of yours, that's cool, too. I can't give it away. But I do recommend The Staircase.
T. Gardner: Come on, give it away.
D. Gardner: Nope!
Greer: That sounds dark.
D. Gardner: Mac, are you watching anything interesting on streaming?
Greer: Stranger Things. I love Stranger Things.
D. Gardner: It's excellent.
Greer: We're between seasons.
T. Gardner: I'd love to hear from listeners which one of those three they liked more after watching them: Staircase, Stranger Things, Babylon Berlin.
D. Gardner: I think that's really cool. In fact, our Twitter feed is @RBIPodcast. I think it makes sense. Anne, would you consider tweeting out, putting out a poll?
T. Gardner: How many emails do we expect to get on that?
D. Gardner: Not actually emails. Just think of poll votes.
T. Gardner: How many poll votes do you think we'll get?
Anne Henry: I don't know. On some of our polls, we've gotten a hundred votes.
T. Gardner: Let's do this! I think we can get at least 40 on this one.
Henry: I'm going to throw in a fourth one. Black Mirror is what I've been watching.
T. Gardner: Black Mirror is outstanding. Don't watch it alone at 11 o'clock on a Sunday evening.
Henry: I've made that mistake.
T. Gardner: You're just going to feel horrified.
Henry: They're stand-alone episodes, so you can start and stop anywhere in the seasons.
T. Gardner: What do you think the chances are, Anne, that we're living in a simulation right now?
Henry: I would say at least 12%.
T. Gardner: At least 12%. Wow, that's amazing. Nick Bostrom says that the chances that we aren't is one in billions.
Greer: Well, you know what wasn't a simulation? The 1973 Battle of the Sexes.
T. Gardner: Here we go! Let's get back to this.
Greer: It was a real tennis match. I was there.
D. Gardner: You were there?
Greer: I was.
D. Gardner: That's awesome.
Greer: We're not going to include this part of the interview, but you apologized to Billie Jean King on my behalf because I rooted for Bobby Riggs, as did my father and older brother. I was totally under duress, I was eight or nine years old, so I didn't really know what I was doing. She was very gracious, and she accepted my apology.
D. Gardner: You have a clip to roll here, Mac.
Greer: I have a clip.
T. Gardner: Let's talk about an event that's forever etched in many of our memories, your victory over Bobby Riggs in 1973 Battle of the Sexes at the Houston Astrodome. When you describe that event to someone born after 1973, what do you say to them?
Billie Jean King: I try to set the scene for them. I tell them that Watergate was heating up, it was the height of the women's movement. In 1973, a woman could not get a credit card without her husband or father or a male signing off on it. I think that puts it in perspective. Most young people today cannot imagine a boy or girl without a credit card.
D. Gardner: Wow.
Greer: Isn't that amazing?
D. Gardner: Like a lot of these interviews, I'd completely forgotten we'd had that exchange, and I certainly didn't remember that was true in 1973. That's amazing.
T. Gardner: It's interesting to think what might be the equivalent today, looking forward 45 years. What, 45 years from now, will we be looking back and saying, "Wow, I can't believe that's the way society worked." But, Billie Jean is a total classic out there for tennis fans and also for perfect examples of leadership in life.
Greer: She's great!
D. Gardner: What happened to Bobby Riggs? Do we know?
Greer: I think he's no longer with us.
D. Gardner: He's no longer living.
Greer: He was the ultimate hustler. My favorite Bobby Riggs hustle was, he played someone in a tennis match, and Bobby Riggs had a dog on a leash, and he had to keep the dog on the leash and have a racket in the other hand. He was all about the hustle. And he could get inside people's heads, and he could win.
T. Gardner: Who's another hustler you're rooting for in life now? This entire episode is about you, Mac. I just want to tell you. We're shifting it all. It's no longer about the clips. You cheered for Bobby Riggs, who are you cheering for now?
Greer: I don't typically root for hustlers, I root against them.
D. Gardner: Mac, we need to move on. We have one more interview, we have a couple of clips from that one. But, before we do, I suspect that some people do want to hear us apologize on your behalf to Billie Jean King for you rooting for Bobby Riggs. So, I propose -- in fact, I'm going to ask Anne Henry, our producer. Anne, I hope this is OK with you -- let's run, as an extra this weekend, Tom's and my interview with Billie Jean King from 2002. Then, the world will get to hear us apologize to Billie Jean King on Mac's behalf. Since, as Tom earlier pointed out, this is Mac's show, I think that extends it into your weekend.
Quite seriously, we will run the Billie Jean King interview. I think it's a lot of fun. I look forward to listening to it again myself. RBI podcast fans and Billie Jean King fans, please look forward to that this coming weekend. Mac, who do you have last for us?
T. Gardner: Can I say one thing about Serena Williams, since you mentioned her? What an amazing competitor. I don't know if you watched Wimbledon and the match that she lost in the finals. I was delayed for more than an hour because the semi-final men's match had run long. She was asked in the post-match conference, "How much did that disrupt you?" She said, "I'm not about excuses."
D. Gardner: Nice!
Greer: Isn't that amazing? And she had a child 10 months ago!
T. Gardner: And a very difficult delivery. It's been a challenge for her to get back here. There's an American hero.
D. Gardner: That's awesome!
Greer: Is she the most dominant athlete in an individual sport? You could make that argument.
T. Gardner: Did you ever see my brother play wiffle ball?
Greer: Was he that good? I did not.
D. Gardner: I was formidable.
T. Gardner: He was unhittable.
Gardner: I had eight different pitches. But I don't think I really rose to any level -- I will say this, my single greatest --
T. Gardner: There's wasn't a market for you. The market had not developed. You were two generations early.
D. Gardner: That's true. My greatest college athletic moment, my friend Glenn Etter and I, as sophomores at the University of North Carolina, were playing wiffle as a club sport. We had a three-on-three match against three guys who were each 6'2 or taller and looked really imposing. Our third teammate couldn't show for three-on-three wiffle, so Glenn and I --
T. Gardner: Dave's serious about this.
D. Gardner: -- one of us pitching, and the other guy playing first base, and we won that game. We beat the three guys at wiffle ball.
T. Gardner: D. Gardner is the Serena Williams of wiffle ball.
Greer: I like that.
T. Gardner: I want to challenge any RBI podcast listeners out there to pull together a team and ask to play David and Glenn Etter. He doesn't even need a third. You bring two present-day AAA baseball players and a retired Hall of Famer and David and Glenn Etter, as a two-person team, will beat you.
D. Gardner: I'm not sure Glenn's hearing this, but I appreciate you putting out that challenge, Tom. I'm probably 30 years past my prime. I do want to say about wiffle ball, there are multiple different types of wiffle balls, but I'm pretty sure we all know that the real one --
Greer: No excuses. Remember Serena.
D. Gardner: -- is the one with the holes on one half of the ball, not the little holes on the whole ball. You can really make that thing move.
Greer: You're throwing curveballs and stuff? Screwballs and all that?
D. Gardner: Definitely. Curveball, of course, snapping your wrist, screwball the other way.
Greer: Split finger?
D. Gardner: Yeah.
T. Gardner: Risers?
D. Gardner: Everything.
T. Gardner: Unhittable.
Greer: Wow! I'm a hack. I just play on the beach, and it's not pretty.
D. Gardner: I don't think that wiffle ball should ever be played on the beach.
Greer: Is that right?
D. Gardner: There's no way to control the wind.
T. Gardner: Don't cheapen the game, Mac Greer.
Greer: Why would you say that? Why would you just throw that out there like that?
T. Gardner: Why would you root against Billie Jean?
Greer: That's hurtful.
D. Gardner: The whole purpose of the game is using the wind through the holes of the ball. When winds are coming on the beach, it's completely out of control. You can't play wiffle ball on the beach. Have you played wiffle ball on the beach?
Greer: Life is full of randomness.
T. Gardner: Why would you pretend to know the German language and root against Billie Jean?
Greer: You do not know for a fact that I have pretended to know the German language.
T. Gardner: This full episode is fake news now.
D. Gardner: [laughs] Alright, let's go back to reality. Our final interview, Mac, who do you have for us?
Greer: We have a Sir, as in Sir Bob Geldof. Some people may know that name. Humanitarian, musician, rock and roll star from the Boomtown Rats. Grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and is probably best known for being the humanitarian who really organized the Feed the World effort.
D. Gardner: Live Aid concert?
Greer: Live Aid, yeah. He was the driving force behind Live Aid. We had an opportunity to talk to him in 2002. We're going to play two clips from that interview. The first clip is asking him about business and money and his experience in Dublin growing up.
T. Gardner: Bob, tell us a little bit about growing up in Dublin. Tell us about the role of business and money in your childhood.
Bob Geldof: That's an easy question. There was no money because there was no business. My dad was a commercial traveler. He went around the countryside of Ireland selling towels and carpets. Ireland, in those years, was a very poor country. There were two outlets when you left school. You could become part of the civil service, which required fluent Irish, so that left out 98% of the population, or there was agriculture, which was the main economic motor.
During my childhood, as I said, my dad didn't have money, and my mum died when I was six. I sort of brought myself up. As a result of that, I learned to be independent very quickly. The downside of that is, there was no one to temper my opinion. I would read things, formulate an opinion, and just believe that to be true, hence my dogmatism, which often spoils a good argument.
D. Gardner: Wow. There's somebody who's incredibly accomplished, who's very charitably minded, as Mac mentioned earlier, and who also grew up in really hard straits. Earlier, we talked about Howard Schultz, who described his own growing up on the other side of the tracks. It reminds us that, what we think of as the American dream isn't just alive in America like it is with somebody like Howard Schultz. There it was in Ireland, too -- a country that, these days, has gotten significantly more prosperous, partly by welcoming in corporations with much lower taxes.
That was a great reflection. I know there's another clip coming, I hope you're going to have the other thing that he said. He's very Foolish. He educates, amuses, and enriches throughout.
Greer: He does that. The second clip is asking Bob Geldof about his investments.
T. Gardner: We want to ask you, throughout your career, looking back, what would you highlight as the smartest and the dumbest investment that you've ever made?
Geldof: I've never played the market. I don't understand it. I used to maybe take the punt on horses when I was in school, it's an Irish pastime and everyone does it. I'd always bet a shilling each way. I'm very safe. I study form, just like stockbrokers do, and I'd know the rider, and I'd get a tip, just like stockbrokers do, that this horse is going to do it.
But boy, how many times did I lose that shilling? I used to listen to my Spanish teacher, Father Kilbride, because he'd say, "We're not going to do Spanish today because I have a great tip on the Aintree at 3 o'clock." He'd say, "Get out your pencils," and we'd all get out our pencils. "Write down Flying Target at the 3 o'clock at 30:1. If it goes to 20:1, don't bet."
So, we'd all be 13, and we'd steam down to the bookies and we'd put our shilling on Flying Target. And Kilbride always got it right. If he told me to bet on a company, I would do it. I can guarantee you, he'd never have told me to bet on Enron.
D. Gardner: That's spectacular. And that's one we've heard and played back around Fool HQ a few times in between the 16 years of now and then.
T. Gardner: It's almost like, you don't really have to replay it, you remember it so well.
D. Gardner: Father Kilbride! [laughs]
Greer: So great.
D. Gardner: Flying Target in the third! Tom, you and I have a fair amount of Irish blood in us.
T. Gardner: 23andMe, that's what we learned.
D. Gardner: You spent some time in Dublin, yourself, did you not? One summer?
T. Gardner: We spent a lot of time as a family in Ireland, traveling around, playing very, very sub-mediocre golf as kids. There was a great round that we had with our father Lahinch, Ireland. We got to the 14th hole. You're required to have a caddy. And we ran out of golf balls.
D. Gardner: We had bought maybe four or five sleeves, as a father and two sons.
T. Gardner: We humiliated our daddy as we walked in from the 14th.
Greer: You had to quit?
T. Gardner: Yeah. We had no golf balls left.
D. Gardner: The last one, our dad was in the rough, and he took seven swings at it, could not -- Lahinch is incredibly difficult.
T. Gardner: I can add to the story. There were two great moments, both were Dad's. He was in the light rough, which is up to your waist. He took five or six swings at the ball, then he just got frustrated and dropped it down the fairway. And the caddy said, "I'd have done that after the first one."
Then, we got down to the 14th hole. Dad had been hooking everything left. This was a seaside course, and there were cliffs off to the left of the fairway. We were like, "Dad, please let one of us hit this." We were all rotating shots. We had one ball with a deep cut in it that remained at the bottom of someone's bag.
D. Gardner: Back when golf balls head cuts in them, right? These days, with technology, you never see that.
T. Gardner: And Dad teed it far left into the water, and we walked in.
D. Gardner: [laughs] I don't think we had golf carts, so we hoofed it in from the 14th. Defeated by Lahinch. We're not great golfers, as Tom mentioned, but that's probably one of the hardest courses that we've ever played. It's generally esteemed as a hard course.
T. Gardner: Oh, yeah, that's a hard course. We stick to wiffle ball in our family.
Greer: I like it.
D. Gardner: Mac, was it easy to book somebody like Bob Geldof, or Billie Jean King, or Howard Schultz? It's an achievement unto itself, often, to bring these people to The Fool mic.
Greer: I don't remember with Bob Geldof. I remember Billie Jean King actually joined us from Wimbledon, which was pretty cool. She was on the phone, she was at Wimbledon. They were both incredibly gracious. Most of our guests were pretty nice.
T. Gardner: Can the same thing be said of Stephanie Powers?
Greer: That's ...
D. Gardner: Are you previewing the next Blast From The Radio Past: Volume III, T. Gardner?
T. Gardner: Was she a gracious guest?
Greer: She was, maybe, not over-the-top gracious. She was a little hard to follow. We'll share that clip at some point. Maybe that's an extra, David. I don't know.
T. Gardner: If I'm not wrong, Cox Broadcasting pressed that interview on a CD and passed it around the office as the worst interview in Cox Radio history.
D. Gardner: I don't want to over hype the next volume in this series, but I think Blast From The Radio Past: Volume III should probably include some Stephanie Powers. A lot of people may not still know that name. She's an accomplished actress, famous for Hart to Hart with Robert ... come on, Mac Greer, 70s TV knowledge? Robert Wagner? And Stefanie Powers. Hart to Hart. We had her on The Motley Fool Radio Show, and we really bombed that interview.
Greer: The reason, I had read in the New York Times that she was really getting into investing, and Dell was her favorite stock. I think the piece may have even been in the business section. So, that was the reason I booked her. I'm not saying that it was a strong booking. But, there was a reason.
D. Gardner: In retrospect, looking back now more than a decade, which is kind of what we're doing with this series, any booking that results in the worst interview Cox had ever heard is a strong booking.
Greer: Thank you.
T. Gardner: I would say that a highly listenable podcast would be entitled -- please know, this is said with love -- I think it would entitled "Mac Greer: I'm Sorry."
Greer: I like that.
T. Gardner: I think, a collection of things that went wrong out there. Of course, you're taking the blame for them, Mac, and we're joking. It was us on the air with them. But, there were five or six interviews out there that I think all of us walked out of the studio after that interview, laughing and thinking, "That was really bad. That was very bad."
Greer: Let me try to top that.
T. Gardner: Please. That's one of our values. Top it.
Greer: I would call it "Mac Greer: What Were You Thinking?" And you or David basically say, "This week, we're talking Vicki Lawrence. What were you thinking?"
T. Gardner: Soupy Sales, what were you thinking, Mac Greer?
Greer: I like it.
T. Gardner: Do you own macgreer.com now?
Greer: Someone else did for years.
T. Gardner: We did, but I don't remember if we ever did anything with it.
D. Gardner: I'm pretty sure Mac was looking the other day one day, and Tom, you and I registered it. It was $7, maybe. We owned, for years, macgreer.com.
Greer: No, I don't own it.
D. Gardner: You don't own it?
Greer: No. We don't want to go there.
D. Gardner: I'll just report in now that macgreer.com --
Greer: Is available.
D. Gardner: -- is available.
T. Gardner: It's going to be a race right after this.
D. Gardner: I suspect by the time this airs, that will no longer be true.
T. Gardner: How about this -- Anne, Mac, David and I agree that none of us will purchase macgreer.com. We all agree, and we will not ask a friend --
D. Gardner: It's easy for me to agree to that.
T. Gardner: -- or a family member to go purchase it. We will simply invite RBI podcast listeners, anyone who would like to, to purchase macgreer.com. It's going to cost you, whatever, $20. Then, you may do with it whatever you choose. Mac, do you agree?
Greer: I agree, but that will not happen. If that happens, we are like Rome, we are about to fall as a civilization, if someone has that sort of money. $20? Don't do that.
T. Gardner: Congratulations, your domain is available. macgreer.com. I think we have some good actions coming out of this conversation. What a great throwback. Thank you both for an awesome set of reminders of how many amazing things have happened because of audio and The Motley Fool. And because of Mac Greer. And Anne Henry. And D. Gardner.
D. Gardner: That's very true. And many, many Fools, and our CEO, T. Gardner, most of all. Thanks a lot for listening to this week's Rule Breaker Investing podcast. The Motley Fool is celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout the year, but especially this week. We have a bash at our company later this week. We're going to have a lot of fun celebrating.
Mac, it was a pleasure, once again, looking backwards. I look forward to when we next to this. This is the second time this year. Maybe before 2018 is out, we'll get back with some Stephanie Powers and some more Mac Greer magic.
Listeners, if you enjoy this format, let us know, drop us a review on iTunes or Google Play. Let us know how we're doing. I always appreciate it. Throw me some stars, give us a sense of what we're doing. I'll say this -- Mac, Tom, I had a great time with you guys. Thanks a lot for this time.
Greer: Thanks, David! Thanks, Tom!
T. Gardner: Fool on!
D. Gardner: Again, a pleasure, as always, to be joined by my brother on this podcast and our dear longtime friend and producer, Mac Greer. Thank you to Anne Henry for stepping in to produce the show this week. And thank you, of course, as always, to you, our listeners. Without you, we wouldn't even be bothering to do this. Thank you for suffering Fools gladly. There was certainly more Foolishness than usual on this week's show.
Alright, next week's show is mailbag! That's right, it's the final Wednesday of the month of July 2018. That means it's time for your mailbag. Spoiler alert, I'm going to be taping this one a little early. If you'd like to be featured potentially on next week's mailbag, definitely get us an email, email@example.com by close of business this week. That's right, Friday close of business is when we'll shut it off and not look at emails, not look at tweets -- which you can do, as well, you can tweet us @RBIPodcast. Please get all those in this week. I'll be taping early next week. In the meantime, stay cool out there. Fool on!
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Anne Henry has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of GOOGL, GOOG, FB, NFLX, and Starbucks. Mac Greer owns shares of GOOG, FB, and NFLX. Tom Gardner owns shares of GOOGL, GOOG, FB, NFLX, Starbucks, and TWTR. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GOOGL, GOOG, FB, NFLX, Starbucks, and TWTR. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.