We wear our Motley every month on the mailbag episode, taking on a candy bag of topics from the pedantic to the profound. And as a special treat, here's Brian Withers' stock-tracking spreadsheet, as promised in the show.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Oct. 30, 2019.
David Gardner: At The Motley Fool, we celebrate motley. Of course, we do! You know this. It's The Motley Fool! You know that motley is the name given to the garments worn by jesters of yore. Patchwork quilt like garments, many-colored, signaling to the members of medieval courts that this, this motley-wearing person, male or female, this was the court jester. Motley!
Well, the moteliest podcast that I do every month is the mailbag podcast, the final Wednesday of every month. Your questions, our best answers. It's anything goes in Rule Breakerville. And sure enough, once again this month, we have wide-ranging topics, from the NBA in China to closing down a scorecard to how to take notes as an investor, and a lot about leadership, actually. Leadership. And finally, is The Motley Fool launching a video game? Only on this week's Rule Breaker Investing!
Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing! A delight to have you with me here at the end of October 2019! It is our mailbag episode. I always like to end every month by looking back at where we were this month. The first week, it was published, October 2nd, Wednesday, it was Pet Peeves, Volume 4. I inspired myself to share one more that I'm going to do very shortly before we get into it here with our Rule Breaker mailbag items. But, yeah, pet peeves. Thank you! I got to share some of yours. Five of my favorites from our listener base. That's a fun episode that we do once or twice every year. No more pet peeves for me for at least six months. If I do a pet peeve episode before six months, it's fair for you to start saying, "I think David's becoming an angry old man." I mean, if I'm doing too many pet peeves podcasts, I know something is going wrong with me chemically, internally. I may be aging faster than I think I am here at the age of 53. Anyway, thank you for tolerating Pet Peeves: Volume 4! That was a fun episode!
And then we had Nine Foolish Truths I Hold to Be Self-Evident. That was October 9th. And that, again, if you could only listen to one, two, or three podcasts from me all year long, that would be top three. I hope, as a longtime listener, you might have been reminded of some of the eternal verities, things that I think are really important to hold to be self-evident, both in investing and business and life. If you're a new listener and you didn't get a chance to listen to that, I highly recommend it. It's kind of like onboarding for listening to this podcast, or taking the approach of the Rule Breaker.
And then the following two weeks, it was a lot of Conscious Capitalism. I talked to Europe on the 16th of October. And then the 23rd of October, a week ago today, as this is published, Healing Organizations with my friends Raj Sisodia and Michael Gelb. So, a lot of Conscious Capitalism. Of course, I was in Austin, Texas, as I mentioned, at the wonderful conference that I get to go to each year for Conscious Capitalism.
I also tweeted out; I'm starting the Washington, D.C., chapter. I'm a co-founder for Conscious Capitalism. You can find us on LinkedIn. We would love to have you help, especially if you're in the greater D.C. area. Come and join the movement, help build it for us here in the greater D.C. area.
So, that's what we did. And I did want to quickly mention a pet peeve that has occurred to me since October 2nd, that I feel a need to share with you. And that is, there's a certain word that I noticed that everyone's overusing. Now, I think that there was an old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I think it was maybe called The Game. And what happens on that episode is that everybody onboard Star Trek gets addicted to playing this game, and they're all just sitting there, addicted, playing the game. And it makes them very vulnerable to alien incursions, because they're all not realizing that they're in too deep. It's like a cult has grown around just playing a game. And they end up vulnerable as a consequence. Well, I believe that a lot of us are playing a game with a word that used to be very -- like, we would say "very talkative" or "very intelligent." I think a lot of us grew up with the word very. I was taught that whenever possible, don't use adverbs. Instead of saying "very intelligent," how about brilliant? That's a stronger word on its own. You don't need to say "very intelligent." But I believe what's happened in our society today, and especially here in the United States of America -- and I don't think it's just in the greater D.C. area where I live and breathe -- everyone is saying "super." Have you noticed? "That person is super smart." "Yeah, I'm super hungry." Now, maybe it's because we're living at the time of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and superheroes are all around us, and super sounds super. But what I've found is that everyone is overusing super. No one is saying very anymore. And yet, if you really want to say somebody is super smart, how about just say they're brilliant? That comes across much more convincingly to me. A bunch of friends -- whenever I detect overuse of a word, I start to let all my friends circles know this. I think a bunch of my local friends have started to realize that they also are overusing super, and they're telling their friends. I believe we can turn the entire nation against the overuse of super. Humorously, in fact, I've taken to starting to promote the idea that anytime somebody says "super smart," they actually are being insincere. The idea of it is, anybody who's using super actually doesn't think that as much as they're saying it. That makes it even funnier. So, when somebody says, "Please meet my friend, they're super nice," I hear that as, you don't actually really think that friend's that nice, do you? You're saying they're super nice. You're not just saying they're awesome or nice, or very nice.
All right, enough of that. But I believe that I have helped begin to turn the tide back against the word super. I'll close out by mentioning The New York Times wrote an article about this, about how super was being way overused -- super overused, if you will. That was dated 2016. I do want to credit the Times, at least the editorialist, for recognizing this early on. It's only gotten worse, though, here in 2019. And I have committed not to saying super as an adverb anymore. I encourage you to sign the mental pledge along with me.
By the way, super as an adjective is fine. Superman. She's a super person. That's great!
Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 1. This one's from Twitter @dontbeskipped1. This kind of a sentiment or question has been echoed by many, for understandable reasons, over the last month or two. "Hi David. I appreciate the positivity and hope you exude. America is a better place for it. I know you're a proponent for capitalism and the free markets. How do you feel about Activision Blizzard or the NBA, etc., kowtowing to China by banning Hong Kong supporters?" dontbeskipped1 goes on, "I am conflicted. I want my portfolio to be my best vision, hope for the future. I want to see Activision back to its previous highs. But I hate how American businesses are basically giving the green light to squash democracy." That one is from @dontbeskipped1.
How to speak to this effectively in five minutes or less? Well, I guess I want to say I'm also conflicted. No. 1, here's something that makes it hard, not just for me or you, Skip, but for a lot of us. I believe that we're living in an age of over-politicization. I would say politicization, but it's even over top of that. It's super-politicized, if you will, Skip. Now, I've previously invoked one of my favorite chapters from Dickens' wonderful, his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, where it comes upon a town, the town of Edenswill, where he encounters everybody is in one of two parties. They're either the blue party, or the buff party. Buff, light brown. So, everybody's either a blue or a buff. And if you're a blue, you can't even listen to all the buffs. And everything in the town has been politicized. You would only eat at the blue bakery if you're a blue. The buffs all leave the buff bakery. And it goes on like that. And this is hilarious. It's reminding us that what may feel so very 2019 is, in fact, timeless, and has happened throughout history. But at certain times, we, I think, overpoliticize things. And I think we're living through something like that right now, Skip.
So I'm also conflicted because I don't like to live in a world where things are politicized. I came across an article in The Atlantic, this is dated 2012, seven years ago, pointing out that a growing number of Americans are displeased if their children would marry someone of the other party. That was seven years ago. I'm hearing from people -- this is very timely, this time of year -- who say their own family Thanksgiving has in some ways been changed or undermined because a certain part of the family no longer wants to hang out with the other part of the family because they came from different places politically. Some people kneel at sports games to make a point. And those who don't, they're asked, "Why didn't you kneel? Should you kneel? Did you kneel?" So, we're all left and put it in a position where we have to take political stances on everything, including the food that you eat, the clothes that you wear, and what was said on social media.
I've always been about trying to bring people together. I think that's what The Motley Fool does. That's why we're motley. Forces that take us to the extremes and try to brand everybody and create separate tribes, that doesn't feel like my America. So, I guess point No. 1, I'm also conflicted because I feel like we're living in an over-politicized time.
Point No. 2, social media is out there, and individuals who work for corporations say stuff. If you combine that with point No. 1, if everybody's viewing things politically and scoring points for or against their political position or tribe or whatever, and there's social media, where somebody who works for a company, not representing the company's viewpoint, somebody who works for a company, says something, and then that causes the company to be boycotted or celebrated, and yet it just came from a VP of something, or even just a right-there-on-the-front-lines employee who says or does something on social media, is that just true of that person? Or do we now look at the company and say, "Well, that company is responsible for that person? Is that the company's viewpoint?" I think everybody has independent viewpoints. I don't think we should view anybody as an employee of Activision Blizzard speaking on behalf of Activision Blizzard or the NBA, the NBA. So, again, when you have this over-politicized world that we're presently living in, and then you add social media in, where anybody could say anything anytime, it creates a real dystopia, I think.
So, yes, I'm also conflicted, Skip. I guess I'll just point out as we close that I would look at the purposes of things ultimately. What is the purpose of the NBA? I don't think the purpose of the NBA is to take a political stance on everything. I would say the purpose of the NBA is to entertain through the sport of basketball. The purpose of Activision Blizzard -- well, I don't actually know it, even though I'm a shareholder -- I think it's going to be something like entertain the world through interactive entertainment. I know the purpose of The Motley Fool is to make the world smarter, happier, and richer. So, I would look at the purposes of things foremost. A lot of times, businesses are put on the front lines, and they have to make calls, and everybody looks carefully and says, "Did they do this or that?" And if you're really trying to serve all your stakeholders as a business, I don't know that you should feel like you have to take a political stance for or against every charged situation. If you're really managing for all your stakeholders, I think you're realizing that in an over-politicized world where social media is rampant, maybe you don't actually have to say anything. Maybe that's the right move.
It's not at all to say that standing up for freedom, and standing up for oppression in any context in the world, is wrong. I would say, as individuals, each of us owes that to ourselves in our hearts. But I don't think we should turn the professional world or the corporate world into a bunch of political interests for or against and force people into a box and say, "Do you believe that or not?" I think we need to think a little bit bigger, be a little more forgiving, and try to bring us all together in a world where sometimes, it feels like everyone's trying to tear people apart.
Mailbag item No. 2. Oh, my gosh, look, it's Tracy Dahl, my friend here at The Motley Fool! Tracy, thank you for joining me!
Tracy Dahl: You got it, David! Hit me!
Gardner: This is not blackjack, Tracy. Have you ever played blackjack?
Dahl: No. I'm not a gambler, David.
Gardner: OK, got it! Let's talk about something that's very much in the minds of some of our listeners this week, this month. While a lot of people may not have a history typing in things to the scorecard tool at fool.com, enough do, and have put in a lot of effort over the years that I know was very disappointing, especially for that person, when we announced earlier this month that we would be discontinuing our scorecard tool here at The Motley Fool.
Now, Tracy, I feel like I've had you on the show a few times, and each time I have you on, it's to speak to a member, I'm going to say concern, sometimes a grievance. And because you're such a wonderful person, I don't even feel good that the few times I've had you on, you have to do damage control with our community in some senses. Not that you or I think of it that way at all. We're not trying to control any damage. We are trying to make the best decisions for our company and our community ultimately that we can. But sometimes that disappoints people.
Let's get into it a little bit, Tracy. I, of course, am a big fan of scoring stock picks and portfolios. For years on this podcast, and for a couple of decades at fool.com, and we do this for Stock Advisor, when we pick a stock, we type in where it was that day, where the market was that day, and we start scoring that stock against the market. And then we look up and down for a scorecard or a portfolio, and we say, "How am I doing?" I guess point No. 1, scoring is good.
Dahl: Scoring is great! Scoring remains something that we are committed to on all of our properties at The Motley Fool. We are absolutely still tracking returns on Stock Advisor, Rule Breakers, the Supernova missions, all that good stuff. Members will always be able to see how our advice has stacked up against the market.
Gardner: Right. That is critical. Of course, I wouldn't want to work at our company if we weren't scoring, because I think that's what makes The Motley Fool different from almost everything else in the financial world I can think of that gives advice. We actually keep score, and we check back on our five-stock samplers on this podcast. Double underlining the importance of scoring. I said it was good. Tracy, you're right, it's great!
Dahl: It is really important. It's a huge part of transparency and part of our culture and who we are.
Gardner: Yes. I don't exactly remember what year we brought a scorecard tool to fool.com.
Dahl: I don't either. I know it was about 10 years ago, which is right around when I started.
Gardner: OK. So, for a decade or so, we have offered a tool on our site where any member could come in and score him or herself. So, point No. 1 we went to was, please know that The Motley Fool and all of our premium services and our funds and everything are all scored and always will be. But point No. 2, we had a self-scoring tool that we offered for a decade plus at fool.com. We made the recent difficult decision to discontinue continuing to offer that tool. Tracy, what's the business background behind that?
Dahl: It was a very difficult decision, David. We know it's popular. I just spoke about how important transparency is to our culture. We thought long and hard about this. The unfortunate reality, David, is that 90% of our members had never used the tool. We know that it was pretty buggy. Obviously, we had a lot of problems when we switched data providers.
Gardner: Right. We switched data providers for quotes and portfolios on our site a year or two ago.
Dahl: Yeah. I think that was the last time you had me come talk with members on your podcast.
Gardner: [laughs] Because the transition wasn't great. We won't name the provider here, but we ultimately feel we didn't make a great call there. And I think, even though I'm a little removed from this, Tracy, I believe that we're going with a new provider. So, this was a time of friction, the last 24 months.
Dahl: Absolutely. But even before the data provider troubles that we had, Scorecard wasn't very intuitive. Our Member Services team would get a lot of questions and calls about it. And it just indicated to us that people didn't understand how to use it. You also had to manually enter a bunch of things, like dividends or corporate actions. It just wasn't very simple.
Gardner: I will say, just knowing our business as I do over 26 years now, when something isn't used very often, probably unsurprisingly, it doesn't get a lot of love in the form of additional effort or resources here at the company. I will take every bit as much blame as anybody else would at The Fool for that. Unfortunately, we really didn't invest in improving the experience of our time. Rationally, though, at the same time. Because, how much time, Tracy, do we want to spend, and resources, on something that only 10% of our membership is using? Now, I happen to be one of those that was in the 10%. So it's frustrating to have put in the effort that I did, to type in and keep up with my stocks via The Fool Scorecard tool. But then again, as a business owner here, which we all are as employees of The Motley Fool, because we're all owners of this company, it truly didn't make a lot of sense based on what we had to invest in that tool. So it never got better.
Dahl: No, it didn't. We felt like if we kept things the way they were, the tool would just deteriorate and continue to get worse. So really, it did come down to a business resource decision. Did we want to try to spend time investing in the tool to improve upon it? Or, should we just scrap it and say, "This isn't our wheelhouse. We're not excellent at this. We would have a better product if we started from scratch."
Gardner: Now, some of the people who love us most, and those who really put in an effort and cared -- and I'm thinking about something like Kurt Elia, longtime listener, often a mailbag correspondent who dropped me a note about his disappointment earlier this month, and I see this note from Brett Wham that just said, "David, I noticed when I view my Scorecard on The Motley Fool website, there's a notice stating that all my hard work entering transactions and comments with each buy will be no more come the 28th of October." That is, by the way, this week. "This is not the best news for me as I rely heavily on the scorecards to tell me how my picks are doing vs. the S&P." A fair number of people put in a lot of effort over the years. To think that they're losing that hurts me. I know it hurts you, Tracy. One of the things that I'm going to say is maybe the most important thing to us here at The Fool is trust, and building trust with our listeners and our community. So I know, in some ways, as fellow humans who empathize, we feel like we've let you down. I certainly am sorry for that, Brett!
Brett goes on from there to start asking, what are some other alternatives? Naturally, the people who'd gotten beyond their disappointment are starting to ask, what tools do exist that would help me keep track of my portfolio? We should speak to that a little bit. Tracy, I know you've been answering a number of member questions. Do you have any thoughts -- I'll provide at least one of my own -- about what people can use to track their investments?
Dahl: I do want to say, we're not done with this. This is important to us.
Gardner: Thank you!
Dahl: We will be looking into another solution. I think we've learned in the past that this isn't something we should probably build on our own. That will probably look like a partnership with another company that does returns tracking really well. I don't have a timeline on that, but we are investigating. Brian Withers, who is one of our most favorite members of Motley Fool One, has a spreadsheet that he has provided on the boards, and really nice instructions on how to use it. You might want to check that out. I also really like Morningstar's instant x-ray tool, which allows you to put in all of your holdings, and you can see how they're doing combined. So, if you have multiple brokerage accounts, you can get one overview of how all of your stocks are performing.
Gardner: For me, I use just a spreadsheet, a Google Doc, to track most of my portfolio returns. For me, at the start of the year, I'll note what is the amount that my portfolio is worth. And then I'll just use that as the big bogey that I measure against throughout the course of the year. Of course, so many of us have brokerage accounts, usually something like Schwab or E*Trade or Fidelity. That's the place most of us go to check our scorecard. In fact, I think, Tracy, part of the reason we didn't have so much usage, or a big user base for the Motley Fool Scorecard tool is that a lot of people are just content to use their brokerage account and the tools with their broker to measure things like this. But for me, if you're wanting to measure individual stocks, that's just a row in an Excel spreadsheet that you can build out for your portfolio or your kid's portfolio.
I think the good news is, there are a bunch of ways to keep track of how you're investing, and in a lot of cases, your broker's already doing it for you if you take a look at that. But yeah, Morningstar's tools, and others.
I'm heartened, certainly, to think that we as a company are going to take a second look at this, and maybe come back with something stronger than what we had before. But where we are here at the end of October 2019 is disappointment. We want to express empathy and sympathy for some of our most wonderful Fool members who had really typed in a lot into this tool over the years. All I can say is, I'm one of you, too. I've moved on and tried to make the best of what I have. Certainly, tracking five-stock samplers, which is what I do for this podcast, I use a Google Doc. There are tools out there.
Tracy, anything to say before you go?
Dahl: Just that I'm sorry. I know this hurts, you guys. I've seen emails from some of you. I know some of you have called in Member Services. I understand this is really painful.
Gardner: Tracy, you mentioned Brian Withers' spreadsheet. A lot of listeners don't know Brian, and may not be a member of The Motley Fool's discussion boards and services, but they might have heard something -- hey, that sounds like a pretty cool Google Doc kind of spreadsheet to help me keep up with my portfolio. So, I think for the show notes this week, we'll put in a link so that anybody hearing this who'd like to take a look, kick the tires on Brian's free spreadsheet to track your returns, could find that.
Dahl: Thank you, Brian, for sharing!
Gardner: Alright, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 3. This one comes from Jerry Lynch in Florida. Thank you for the note, Jerry! "Dear David, I've listened to many podcasters, so when I say you're an outstanding communicator of Foolish/ Conscious Capital ideas, you should be proud. Have you considered creating a separate podcast that focuses on effective communication in modern media?" Short answer, no. [laughs] But thank you, Jerry! You go on, "When you discuss Conscious Capitalism as it related to empire building," which was certainly part of our focus this month, "I was reminded of Joseph Conrad. Paraphrasing one of Conrad's themes, those who live on the edge of the global empire possess a much keener insight into the truth than those who rule from the top or center. There's a school of historiography that argues that at no time during the rise and fall of the British Empire did the crown or London really control what was going on in the colonies. Indeed, the British tradition was to give colonial leaders a great deal of independence. The leaders in London learned that the managers on the ground could better evaluate and exploit profitable opportunities than those in Whitehall. Relating this to multinational corporations, I believe that the CEO can be the inspiring communicator of the mission, but the middle managers working on the front line should receive the lion's share of credit for the company's accomplishments.
"Concrete example: I'm highly dubious that a CEO switch for good or ill at Wells Fargo or IBM would have a significant effect on the corporate culture that had been built up over decades." Thanks for listening, Jerry in Florida.
I really appreciate this point. Like a lot of things, I'm of two minds about it. Let me briefly share those minds. I see my friend Jim Mueller coming into the studio here. I want to hear, Jim, what you think of this, as well. First of all, I really do believe that a single person can change the destiny of even something very large. In fact, at the Conscious Capitalism summit earlier this month in Austin, Texas, I saw a spectacular presentation by what was then the CEO of DTE Energy. His name is Gerry Anderson. Today, I believe, he's the executive vice chairman. Starting somewhere around 2009, this very large utilities company that many of us might not recognize, but the D is basically for Detroit. So, if you think about where things were in 2009, 10 years ago, for our global economy, and then you go to the city of Detroit, and you ask, "What did the big, regulated utility look like back then?" Gerry painted a picture of one of the most dysfunctional, disengaged workforces that you or I would ever have seen. This is a company that was like the 9% of engagement nationwide for its unionized employees against all other unionized employees. Not only that, but they were nearly bankrupt. In fact, they basically were bankrupt. Gerry said, "Hey, everybody, we're basically bankrupt. We need to change. And it's going to start right now. If you want to be part of this," and he met with the non-unionized employees and with the unionized employees, and he said, "We need to start to trust each other." And they started beating their numbers in 2009, 2010. As a stock market fan, I, of course, was googling to see how DTE Energy's stock had done over the last 10 years midway through his speech. I was pretty sure it was going to be a happy ending. A remarkable turnaround. DTE Energy over the last 10 years, up 270%. The market up 170%. The average utility up 83%. So, DTE Energy truly, and Gerry would be the first to say it wasn't just him. This other Jerry, Jerry in Florida, who's written us, is saying it's the middle line managers. I think a lot of us as leaders would agree. But it was that change in the culture, a fundamental flip flop, inheriting a decades' old dysfunctional culture at a multibillion dollar level, and he flipped it and turned DTE into one of the most admired utilities in America today.
So, Jim Mueller, welcoming you in now! I'm aware of situations where truly, and maybe our new friend Jerry from Florida said, he believes the CEO can be the inspiring communicator of the mission. Maybe that's what Gerry Anderson did.
Jim Mueller: It's quite possible. But I think it's a lot more difficult than just giving a rosy message and saying, "Hey, everyone, follow me! We're going down the garden path here!"
Gardner: I'm oversimplifying a wonderful 45-minute presentation just for the short cutting purposes of doing a podcast but you're absolutely right.
Mueller: I think a large part of it is changing the incentives at the company, and rather than rewarding bad behavior, finding ways to reward good behavior. That's what's going to have to happen at Wells Fargo, for instance. Find ways to reward good behavior while trying not to sacrifice business performance.
Gardner: I so agree. I think a lot of it, to close this answer and we'll go onto the next point, this is really why I have you on here for mailbag item No. 4, Jim, but to close up No.3 here, I think if a culture is going to change, or let's go right to the purpose of a company, if the mission and purpose of a company is literally going to change, then there is a better chance for somebody to come in and make that work. I don't know that IBM is stating, "We want to change our culture or purpose." I don't know the Wells Fargo is purposing a change in purpose.
Mueller: I don't know either. That reminds me of, I think it's Buffett's famous line of, "You put in a good manager on a mediocre business, it's the mediocre business that's going to survive," which speaks to how difficult this is, and what a great job the CEO of DTE did.
Gardner: Yeah. I did say, in conclusion, that I was going to talk out both sides of my mouth. That one side we spent all of our time on, which is, I do believe that a great leader can come in and change something much bigger than him or herself. Usually, it's when they recognize that it's much bigger than they are, when they're really a servant to that purpose, that it's likely to happen. But out the other side of my mouth, and Jim, you and I think as realists, sometimes skeptics --
Gardner: Cynics, not me, but maybe you, Jim, in a good way, would go on and say that's really hard to do, and most of the time, it's not going to work.
Mueller: Yeah, I would agree.
Gardner: To close, I really like Jerry Lynch's likening of the British Empire and who was really aware of what was going on, and who made the real changes. It does make sense to look at the periphery, not necessarily the center.
Mueller: And one last point, do pay attention, follow the story and see if there's evidence that things are changing, and if so, maybe decide to start investing into it again.
Gardner: Great example! In fact, to close on DTE Energy, they beat their numbers January '09, February '09, March '09. Gerry Anderson saying to the CFO, "Your models are clearly wrong, we can't be beating our numbers." April, May, June. He starts saying, "I may need to fire my CFO because I think the books are being cooked." And it went from there. Truly, it's a great American success story. And I kind of love that it came from Detroit. So it was a great story. Inspiring. Anyway, thank you both Jerrys, and thank you, Jim, for joining that one!
Alright, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 4. This one's from Dixon Borne from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dixon, checking back in with this podcast. He starts, "Howdy RBI, it's Dix again! Thanks for the advice a few months back regarding CPAs, CFPs, and sustainable investing. I was at the climbing gym listening to the podcast in my earbuds, smiling ear to ear listening to Mr. Gardner and Mr. Mueller," that would be my friend Jim Mueller here, "spell out my career options. The other climbers thought I was nuts."
Mueller: [laughs] Smiling when you're climbing, yeah.
Gardner: [laughs] By the way, I should mention, Jim, I didn't even do proper introduction. Of course, you've been on the show before. But Jim, you are a longtime analyst at the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, our largest service. Of course, you do a number of things other than that, but you're a voice that I think people know. It's great to have you back here!
Gardner: Anyway, he goes on to say, "I took your advice about looking into being a generalist at The Fool. I'm excited to apply for The Fool's 2020 summer internship in Alexandria. I'm currently working on my most Foolishly written cover letter. I'm looking forward to putting faces to the voices that I've come to know so well on your podcasts." Pause it there for a sec. Dix, I really do wish you the best. I'm the first to say, though, this is alarming, and it hurts me every summer, but we get about 800 applications typically for about a dozen spots. That means we're constantly turning away -- we're turning my family members, kids I coached in soccer who are now of age. They're like, "But, Coach Gardner!" I'm like, "I'm sorry, I don't make the decisions on our internship." Anyway, best of luck, sir!
He goes on, "But I digress because I have another question to pose to you at Rule Breaker Investing. I've been doing my best to keep a trade journal and was wondering what type of information I should jot down when I buy or sell a stock. Now I know that you, Mr. Gardner, keep extensive records not only of stock trades, but of your personal life as well. It's quite impressive when you're able to detail your whole day from years ago. For example, can you recall what stocks you were looking at on October 27th, 1996?"
Mueller: You, David, probably.
Gardner: Thank you, Jim! I don't think I'm worthy of that. He mentions that's his birthday, by the way. Happy birthday this week, Dixon Borne! "With that sort of dedication to note-taking, I'm sure many Foolites, Foolnatics and Foolowers will benefit from your advice on what to include in and how to compose our trade journals. Thanks again, Fool on, Dixon Borne."
OK, so Jim, you and I started this by talking about career possibilities and helping him and others think through, what is a CPA and a CFP. That's from months back. Now he's back with a question that's right in your wheelhouse because you're The Motley Fool employee that I can think of, Jim, that for years has talked about the importance of journaling to learn.
Mueller: I have. I got this when I joined the investing team through the analyst development program that Buck Hartzell was running.
Gardner: Yes, our internal program for developing analysts here at The Fool.
Mueller: Years and years ago. He advocated putting together a journal, and I've followed that pretty much ever since. As to what to put in, that's a really good question. I think the answer is going to be very broad. Whatever you feel like putting in. I would certainly include companies you're looking at, what your thoughts about the company are, any notes you might have on them. Maybe not your full-blown research notes into that. You could keep that in a separate folder or something, a separate document. Also, news you're hearing that's making you think you should sell. "I'm thinking of selling," well, write down the reasons why you're thinking of selling, or why you think you should be buying, or what have you.
I find it gives a couple of really good benefits. One, it slows you down. It really slows you down. This goes back to Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.
Gardner: Daniel Kahneman, yep, his book Thinking Fast and Slow.
Mueller: Right. You tend to make more mistakes if you rush into things. Taking the time to write down in a journal, whether it's a notebook, writing by hand, or a Word document or a OneNote document or what you use, which is --
Gardner: I use Evernote. Let me jump in for a quick sec, Jim. I'm wondering, physically, what does your journal look like? Is this an online electronic thing? Do you have a big book somewhere?
Mueller: No. My handwriting is a little sketchy.
Gardner: [laughs] So is mine. Oh, my gosh, it's bad.
Mueller: So I write on the computer. I use OneNote and I have a page a day and I talk about --
Gardner: A page a day?
Mueller: Well, days where I'm going to do something, usually. I also write down how I'm feeling. Am I excited? Should that be a warning sign to me saying my greed might be out running my thinking, so it might be a mistake to act on that?
Gardner: Jim, do you go back and ever read what you were writing three years ago, five years ago?
Mueller: Not as much as I should. That's very embarrassing to have to say because I propose that whenever I suggest to members that they should, saying, "Go ahead and do your trade. Write down why you're doing that. Then go back one, two, three years later, and see what happened. And use that as a feedback tool, to learn what the results of your decision-making were based on what happened with the stock."
Gardner: Definitely. Jim, I have a suggestion for you.
Mueller: [laughs] Start doing that?
Gardner: How long have you been keeping this journal?
Mueller: Too long? Oh, probably a decade now.
Gardner: Excellent! So that sounds like 10 years. You and I are both Dungeons & Dragons players so I think you would recognize a 10-sided die.
Mueller: OK, I see where you're going.
Gardner: I would say, the next time you're about to journal, with your 10-sided die, flip it, and if it comes up seven, subtract seven years from 2019, so 2012. Then look at the entry in time that's closest to that day that you're writing. If it's October 31st, find the one closest October 31st, 2012, and just read it. Just randomize your way through history.
Mueller: That's not a bad idea. Maybe I'll do that. I have to find some use for my day, right?
Gardner: [laughs] Let me mention, Dixon, that I have an abysmally bad memory. That's why I do rely on documenting. In my own case, I don't really journal. What I do is I keep a very specific color-coded, active calendar. I just use iCal on my Mac, and it goes back years. So I can go back and see what I was doing on almost any day. It makes me look far more impressive than I would otherwise. I've forgotten most of what happened last week and before that, so it's really helpful for me to be able to go back and see how I was spending my time. I put in notes into the iCal, appointments and things like that. That's how I can know what I was doing on a given day.
Mueller: There is one instance where I do remember I'm back to look. It was about in 2012 or so. I was thinking, "Man, I really missed the bottom of that market. The S&P has been going great ever since 2009. I wish I had invested more." And I actually went back and looked in late 2008, early 2009, to see how much I'd invested during that time. And I was surprised at how much money I was putting into the market at those bottoms. That made me feel a lot better.
Gardner: Yeah, that's great! Final note, now, this is coming after talking about the Scorecard tool, where people had often typed in notes to themselves. But even if The Motley Fool isn't offering the older version of the Scorecard tool that we used to have as of just days ago, and I know to the disappointment of many, I would say that for any Excel spreadsheet, you can always type in a note in that cell. You can say exactly what you were thinking. You can type in a paragraph to yourself about why you were doing that. I continue to use Motley Fool CAPS, which is an area of our site I'd love to see us spend a little bit more time renovating and bringing up-to-date. There's a place as well that you can pin a note and say exactly what you were thinking, and why you were thumbing that stock up or down. So notes to oneself, and being able to go back and see them later on, and learn from them, are really helpful.
Mueller: There's even a couple of members who use our discussion boards as their journal. They'll ask for either a private discussion board to be created. I don't know if it's just private to them, because anybody hunting it can probably find it. But they use it as their own notepad. Or they'll go to a company's discussion board page and write, "Here's my thinking on this company, blah blah blah."
Gardner: There we go. Really, when we think about it, there are almost infinite tools if you just want to document what you're saying or thinking, whether they're mobile phone app-based, or there are some old school Fool thing like Motley Fool CAPS, or that spreadsheet, the note you can add to any cell. There are so many opportunities. So it's not so much that there aren't tools, it's, is there the willingness? Will you make the time? And, Jim Mueller, will you go back and relearn from all those notes? [laughs] And I say that to myself just as much as to you.
Mueller: You can ask me in a couple of months.
Gardner: Excellent. Now, it's going to take a couple of months for you to come back, Jim. As I let you go here, aren't you about to leave The Fool? Temporarily, at least? I hope not for good.
Mueller: Not for good.
Gardner: You're going on a trip?
Mueller: Not really a leave of absence. I'm taking advantage of The Fool's very generous vacation policy. My wife and I are spending just about the entire month of November down in Australia and New Zealand. A few days on our own in Sydney, and a few days on our own in Auckland, and then on a Rhodes Scholars tour cruise between Sydney and Tasmania and the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Gardner: You're both Rhodes Scholars?
Mueller: We will be after this. [laughs]
Gardner: [laughs] Sounds like there's going to be some Rhodes Scholars on board.
Mueller: It's the name of the company.
Gardner: Got it! OK, very nice. That is spectacular, Jim! That's an area of the world that, this will be a first?
Mueller: Yes, this will be my first time. And it checks off another continent on my bucket list. Three left.
Gardner: I know you've talked before on this podcast about how you're trying to visit all American baseball stadiums. I know you have a lot of those checked off.
Mueller: 22 out of 30 out of the professional major leagues.
Gardner: You're a bucket list driven person. You're going to get some big fat check marks here in November. Congratulations to you and your wife!
Mueller: Thank you!
Gardner: OK, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 5. This one comes from Brian Summers. Brian, you have a good sense of humor. I like to share good senses of humor on this podcast. You start by saying, "Honestly, Mr. Gardner, I'm surprised you let your staff get away with this sort of abuse of the English language. 'Frankly, I'm surprised, Brian.'" Now, Brian appended to his mailbag item a bit of marketing from our service, Motley Fool Global Partners that starts in his inbox saying, "Brian, frankly, I'm surprised." That comes from our marketers. This appears to be a message that Brian has received because he didn't sign up for our Global Partners service, it looks like. So, our head of marketing and communications starts with, "Brian, frankly, I'm surprised." Basically, "Why would you not be joining our service when you seemed to have enjoyed the one-month of marketing on the hub site leading up to it," this sort of thing. I'm piecing that together for the most part.
But Brian, you go on to say, "After listening to your latest pet peeves podcast and, frankly, enjoying it, I'm honestly shocked that you'd let this sort of thing go on. I had sincerely expected more. Signed, Brian Summers."
Alright, so, quickly unpacking this. Yes, I've made light of phrases like "let me be honest with you," "honestly," "frankly," because I feel like, aren't we always being honest with each other? Why do we need to signal that? Why do we need to explicitly say, "Let me be honest with you," or, "Frankly," when all along, I thought you were being frank with me? It starts making me think you weren't being frank with me if you start saying, "Let me be honest with you." So, now you're being honest with me? I know there are multiple viewpoints on that. You know mine. Brian, you're pointing out that we're doing that, one of my pet peeves, in our marketing.
I guess what I want to say is, yeah. It shows that I'm not all-powerful at our organization. Turns out, you can start a company, 26 years later be the co-founder and co-chairman, and they don't necessarily listen to your podcast or agree with everything that you do or say. So, yeah, there's no party line that you have to exhibit or act in a way that David would approve of or be consonant with. Frankly, that's always been true. I've picked a lot of stocks where analysts on my team are like, "You're picking that?" And sometimes they're right, and sometimes they're wrong. I am certainly at peace here in year 27 of The Motley Fool knowing that I'm not all-powerful and I don't influence everybody from our stock pickers to our marketers here at Fool HQ. So I think it's funny, Brian, frankly, that we led off that communication with "Brian, frankly, I'm surprised." I personally would have preferred that it just said, "Brian, I'm surprised." I think it's a little bit more elegant. I think it's simpler and builds trust better. But I'll tell you this -- usually, the email marketing that you're getting from us is tested and its performance matters. And I'm not sure that if I were in charge of our marketing department, we would be doing as well here at The Motley Fool.
Anyway, thank you very much for that humorous aside! Honestly, Brian, I encourage you to write us again.
Alright, Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 6. Oh, it's Mike Steele. My friend Mike Steele, longtime Motley Fool member. Mike, you're writing about The Market Cap Game Show. I'm always happy to continue to figure out what we should do with The Market Cap Game Show. You start, "My ideas to improve The Market Cap Game Show. First, stop inviting expert Rule Breakers service analysts as players. Now that Aaron Bush has gone 10 for 10, bring on other imperfect Fools who haven't studied for the game. Maybe you could invite other people who work around The Fool but don't cover your Rule Breaker and Stock Advisor companies all day, every day. I think it's more fun for us players at home to compete with someone we have a chance of beating."
Well, I think that's a pretty good idea, Mike. I will say that whoever would be my next contestant is not going to be as good as Aaron, so they might be a little bit insecure that they look stupid or inept compared to the spectacular Emily Flippen and Aaron Bush, who really crushed this game. I don't want that person to feel that way. But I really like it because in the end, it's a game for all of us. It's not a game to be wowed by somebody who's a genius. I mean, it's great to have somebody like James Holzer, the star of Jeopardy in 2019. James, by the way, we covered this on the show, answered "What is The Motley Fool" at one point during his spectacular run. It's great to see people like Ken Jennings or James Holzer come in and just crush the game. But really, Jeopardy is for all of us watching at home, I think. It's fun to see the stars from time to time, but we appreciate seeing people who are, like us, imperfect.
So, Mike, I think that's probably the direction we'll go. You do suggest maybe a head-to-head format. That's something that we've considered. Play card sharks, for those who remember that old game show, and have one condition name a number, and the other says higher or lower. You could play it that way. That might work. I'm going to continue to evaluate, think this through. The next Market Cap Game Show, assuming we have it, will be toward the end of December. We still have time to get good suggestions or thoughts from anybody internally here at Fool HQ who's listening or externally among my listener base, who can make The Market Cap Game Show work when, arguably, Aaron Bush broke it.
Now, speaking of games, my friend Max Keeler visiting. Max, welcome to Rule Breaker Investing!
Max Keeler: Hello, David! Nice to be here!
Gardner: Thank you! In an earlier version of podcasts, Max, you and I co-hosted the podcast for Motley Fool Supernova back when we just did podcasts just behind a paywall for our services. That was a lot of fun to do together.
Keeler: Many moons ago. That was fun!
Gardner: It's great to have you back! I know some are listening who remember that podcast, so they're really happy to see Old Man Max come back. Now, Max, you're not actually old. I know that you're younger than I am, and I don't think I'm old, but I know that you can do a pretty good old man voice.
Keller: I can do a decent old man voice.
Gardner: I know some of us would be familiar with Diablo, for example. I love Diablo 1, 2, and 3. I think Diablo 4 might be coming to light, maybe at Blizzcon, which happens soon. They might be revealing Diablo 4. But, Deckard Cain, Max, as I recall, is an iconic figure. Now, many of us listening have no idea what Diablo is or Deckard Cain, but some of us really love Deckard Cain. And I'm happy to say, Max, occasionally, I've noticed, when you show up places, Deckard Cain appears as well.
Keller: It has been known to -- hey, here is right now!
Gardner: Oh, my gosh!
Keller: [old man voice] Hello, David! Hello, Max! Nice to see you! What do you have there, Deckard?
[old man voice] It's a Horadric Cube, now that you mention it! And if you go out east, Diablo will find you and [...]. [laughs]
Gardner: [laughs] That was pretty darn good! Deckard Cain is an old man's voice. At some of our corporate offsites, Max, you play roles. You're a man of, I'm not going to say a thousand voices, but at least two.
Keller: Yes, two ridiculous, including my main voice.
Gardner: Which you're bringing to us today. Now, we're just going to tease this right now. This is not an official unveiling.
Gardner: I did mention a game. Listeners of this podcast, some have helped us beta test what we were calling at the time Stock Star, Max. We've changed the name of the app, and it's getting near done.
Keller: It is. I'm glad to be here! We're on the cusp of releasing this new game.
Gardner: The Motley Fool's first mobile game!
Keller: First mobile game!
Gardner: A downloadable app. Google Play, the App Store.
Keller: It will be in the App Store, in Google Play, and you will know it as Investor Island.
Gardner: Investor Island. Why did we decide to call it, Max, Investor Island?
Keller: Well, this process probably started a couple of years ago. We knew we wanted a board game, some kind of board game. We're board game nuts around here.
Gardner: Yes. Board game on your phone. This was never going to be a cardboard release.
Keller: That's the thing. The mobile industry allows you to do way more with board games than you can ever do with pieces of cardboard. We knew we wanted to be board game-y, strategy-y, and fun. We also knew we wanted it to be connected to the stock market. It's evolved over time thanks to some of the beta testers here on the Rule Breaker podcast. They've made a huge impact into what we've ended up with.
It took on this theme, an adventure theme, sort of a Tiki Island theme. And next thing you knew, we had these really quite beautiful islands, where you take over the board against other players, there's chests, there's fireballs, there's all sorts of fun game elements, but at the same time, it is connected to the stock market.
Gardner: That's the key!
Keller: Yeah, it is. It's neat how we've woven those together. There's no other game like this.
Gardner: This is a true mash up. Tell me what you think of this, Max. I think of Investor Island as, it's kind of like playing Risk, which is a game many people would be familiar with, but instead of rolling dice to see whether you knock out that opponent's army there and take over that area, instead of rolling dice, we use the stock market data, real-world market data, both present day and historic, and it's the stocks that are causing you to win and lose as you try to take over the map again and again, because this is a very replayable game.
Keller: It is. We have different boards, different levels. You can play against your friend; you can play against the AI. We have some robots in there you can play. Or you can play real-time four-player matches --
Gardner: Using the market today.
Keller: Using real-time market data. It's exciting! Actually, when I'm playing a real-time game, I'm a lot more interested in how stocks are doing. It's actually funny, sometimes I find myself rooting against some of my major holdings just so that I get an advantage of the game. It's pretty funny!
Gardner: That's right. This is just a teaser. I think we should dedicate a show to Investor Island when it's fully ready and when it hits the store for everybody. I know we've test launched in Canada.
Keller: That's right. If you are Canadian and listening to this podcast, you can download it today. It's an early version. It's still evolving a bit. But, yeah, it'll hit the U.S., I want to say within the month.
Gardner: We'll say 4Q, calendar. And I think we should dedicate a show to Investor Island when we do. But for now, Max, it's an opportunity for people to play a game with their friends and family, compete against others. We have worldwide rankings. You're collecting stocks, so you build a stock collection, but then those stocks are what power your onboard performance. And yeah, there are spells, enabling you, for example, to unleash onboard destruction against your rivals. I hope it's going to be a winning mashup of board game elements that a lot of us would recognize and then the stock market, which a lot of us recognize. And when you hit the Venn diagram of those two things, I think there's only one thing in the world sitting in that Venn diagram circle in the middle, and it would be Investor Island. I'm pretty sure nobody else is trying to do a game like this.
Keller: [laughs] No. Maybe for a reason. We'll find out.
Gardner: [laughs] OK. Max, thank you! Thank you for your leadership! We want to thank Roger Friedman, who led our team for a couple of years. Max, you are now the leader of Investor Island as we hit launch and going forward.
Keller: Yeah. We can talk more about how we built it and who we've worked with -- it's really quite an interesting story -- on an upcoming podcast.
Gardner: Thanks, Max!
Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 7. This one comes from Jim Cook in Westboro, Massachusetts. Jim, I went to high school in Southborough, Massachusetts, not too far away. Anyway, you go on, "Hi Les and David." It'll become clear in a sec who Les is. He also got this note. Jim goes on, "I just listened to the March 21st, 2018 Motley Fool Rule Breaker Investing podcast. Yeah, I'm slowly catching up on these." That was a year and a half ago. "I really wanted to thank you for this interview. It made so much sense and I will be picking up a copy of Predictable Success." Now, let me pause it there and just mention that Predictable Success is one of my favorite business books. It was written by the author Les McKeown. Les and I were both emailed this note from Jim. By the way, if you don't know what Predictable Success is, find that podcast. Look at Apple podcasts or Google Play. Just google it. You'll find Predictable Success Rule Breaker Investing, and you'll have a delightful opportunity to learn along with author Les McKeown.
Jim goes on in his note. "The reason I liked what was said was not from an investing point of view, but rather from a career point of view. Here's the backstory. I graduated from an engineering school, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, back in 1979 with a degree in computer science. It was the age of the minicomputer and super minicomputer. You may remember some of the companies back then. Data General, Digital Equipment Corporation, Deck, Prime Computer, Wang Computer, etc. They're all gone now, sniff. I worked at Prime Computer during a couple of my college years. When I graduated, it was natural that I continue with a full-time job at Prime. However, I found myself butting heads with the management in my new software engineering job. What happened? From the podcast, I now understand that the company changed phases. That is, when I worked part-time, Prime was in a smaller, fun stage. While I was back at school, it started evolving into the more managed, process-oriented treadmill stage that greeted me when I became a full-time employee. I didn't understand this back then, and neither did my management, though they should have had an inkling.
"Lest you think this to be the experience of one, consider this short follow-on: some people left Prime Computer to found Apollo Computer in the 1981 time frame. Some were heard to declare, 'We won't let what happened at Prime happen here.' A few years later, they said, 'Darn it! What happened?' Yep, Apollo itself evolved stages to one that was more managed, and engineers missed the fun, but did not understand what had happened.
"The bottom line here: company stages are worth understanding because they not only affect company performance, and therefore investment performance, they affect career success. Cheers, Jim Cook, Westboro, Massachusetts."
Well, Jim, thank you very much for that! Just a quick background for anybody who doesn't know Predictable Success or hasn't heard that podcast yet, Les McKeown basically looks at life cycles of businesses and identifies about eight different stages. Once you know the eight stages, you can start to think, "Oh, that's where my company is right now. That's the stage where we are," or where that stock that I'm investing, that's the stage where that company is that I'm thinking of investing in. And one of the great things Les does is, he doesn't just explain the stages, he explains the kinds of questions that leaders should be asking at that point in order to help the company get better.
By the way, it's not a bit of presumption of Les' that everything that grows will die. Indeed, just as some great companies have been around for hundreds of years, it's possible for you to get your company to the best stage of all -- of course, the title of Les' book -- predictable success. That's the stage where you've perfectly balanced the people and the process. Earlier-stage companies usually don't have enough process. Too-late-stage companies have forgotten about the people. Predictable success, which is the keystone of the arch, that's the title of the book and the goal for every business.
Jim, you're doing a good job recognizing that fun, which is an earlier stage of the business, you can move out of that, things can get confusing in that whitewater stage, and you're reflecting that and showing that you saw that in your own business career. I really like Les' model.
I also really like to close that Les responded to the email. We've got Les' comments here on this podcast. He just said, "Thanks for this, Jim. Great to hear that the model holds up in all areas of life. Appreciate you taking the time." I appreciate people who take the time, like Les McKeown, in this case to respond to a Rule Breaker mailbag item that also happened to have been emailed to him. Good on him! Thank you Les! Thank you for your work! Thanks, Jim, for that note!
Rule Breaker mailbag item No. 8 from Anand Khatri. I hope I got that right, Anand. "Hi, David. I hope this finds you well. I'm a regular listener of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast since 2016. I've listened to all the episodes since then. I'm a proud member of both the Rule Breaker and Stock Advisor services. I truly admire the Rule Breaker Investing traits. I have very high regard for you, David, and The Motley Fool as a whole company in my investing journey." Well, thank you very much for that, Anand! That means a lot!
"Recently, you talked about leadership, leadership skills and how you incorporate those in your investing style, on the October 16th, 2019 episode of Rule Breaker Investing. Also, I saw your tweets about the leadership of the Washington Redskins football team. You talk to great leaders on a podcast, you meet them in-person on different occasions. Today, my question is about leadership. Let's say a person or group of people is working in an organization where the leaders are lacking the leadership qualities -- leaders are creating a bad culture. So, these employees get trapped under bad leadership. A person or a group of people knows that to make the organization better and change the culture, they have to change the leaders. A person or group of people are ordinary employees, though, of that organization. Leaders have all the powers. So, if this group of people doesn't follow what the leaders say, or voice against the leaders, they might get fired. How do they approach this and change the leadership? What's your best advice that you could give to that person or that group of people? I truly appreciate your perspective here. Thank you in advance. Looking forward to listening to your take. Happy investing and Fool on, Anand."
So I think the first thing I want to say is, if you're just asking on behalf of a friend -- this kind of sounds like one of those emails where you're asking for a quotes "friend of yours" -- I would be the first to say I don't think there's a generic cookie-cutter answer that can really nail what might be a very contextual question. Every context is different. Context is one of my favorite words. It reminds us to look at the unique conditions where you or I are operating and respect those, and realize that's part of the story. So even though I try to give helpful advice through this podcast, and even when I pick stocks, it looks like a cookie cutter. "Just buy this, sell this." But I'm the first to say, buy it if you think it makes sense for you. I come up with a lot of stock picks in Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers. Part of the pleasure of that, I hope, is that you can pick and choose and say, what's the one that for you makes your portfolio reflect your best vision for our future? I think everything is about context.
And you want to make it your own. I've always loved Jeff Bezos' line 'regret minimization framework.' I've talked about it before on the show. He used it on our radio show way back in the day. Here it is. "Ask yourself, when you're 80 years old," assuming you're not that already. If you're past that, I'm glad you're listening this podcast, and keep on going. But most of us are younger than 80. So, Anand, ask yourself, when you're 80 years old, what would most minimize the regret that you feel then about the situation today? If you would most regret that you did not say anything, then I think it's time to speak truth to power. I think you probably want to make sure that it's more generally felt beyond just one's own feeling. If you're representing a lot of other employees and their viewpoints at the company, it's more powerful to speak truth to power than if you're just by your lonesome.
I also think it's great to be working with somebody who's emotionally intelligent and knows how to communicate well. That's a core skill here at The Motley Fool. We have a lot of emotional intelligence, and some very talented communicators. Sometimes when I need to hear something -- because I'm a co-founder and co-chairman of the company -- when I need to hear something that might be hard, I have people around me who are well-versed at doing that in a way that will energize me and be palatable, even if it's bad news for me. And that's true of a lot of us here at The Fool. We're not perfect by any means, but I feel comfortable that we're in an environment where people can voice their concerns. We do 360 degree reviews, this sort of thing. So I'd be the first to say, if that's not your culture, it may not be the one for you. So, minimize your regret when you're 80. If you're worried that when you're an old man one day, you'll be like, "Why didn't I say anything?" then say something.
On the other hand, if you're worried that when you're an older man, you'll go, "Why did I say something? I had it so good," or, "It wasn't that bad," then I would suggest to that person or that group of people, maybe it's not the right time or the right message. I'm a big fan of the regret minimization framework. I think about it a lot myself, and I hope that's helpful for you.
Before we go on, let me mention the holidays are quickly approaching as we're already getting closer here in the U.S. to November and December. Not just special months in our country, probably special months in your country, too. During this time, we reflect on ways of expressing appreciation and gratitude. So I just want to take the time to say, many thanks to you for supporting this Rule Breaker Investing podcast! If you listen to this podcast and you've been gaining valuable information and tips, I would suggest, why not consider investing and also spreading the word to your family and friends? A lot of us are already subscribed to Motley Fool Rule Breakers or Motley Fool Stock Advisor, but specifically, if you're not, to get 50% off our Rule Breakers service, go to http://rbioffer.fool.com.
Alright, well, next month -- depending on when you're listening to it, this month -- November 2019, I'm just going to preview, we're going to have a five-stock sampler coming up a little bit this month. It'll be fun to go back to picking stocks again. Another of our episodes in November will be one of our Reviewapalooza episodes, reflecting back on three five-stock samplers of the past. Stay tuned! It's going to be a fun Rule Breaking month for Rule Breaker Investing in November. In the meantime, Fool on!
As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing at rbi.fool.com.