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David's Pet Peeves, Vol. 6: Bulls, Bears, and Pigs

By Motley Fool Staff – Sep 23, 2021 at 12:50PM

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David returns to share eight pet peeves and his idea of improving the personality tests industry.

It's not that we're negative nellies around here. We're optimists, right? But still, every once in a while, even Fools need to air a few grievances.

In this episode of Rule Breaker Investing, get ready to shake your fist at the heavens -- it's time for some pet peeves!

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.

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This video was recorded on Sept. 14, 2021.

David Gardner: What exactly is a retail investor? Are you one? Would you even want to be one? What's a classically tired bit of sports analysis which analysts lean on but never actually define? Does science fiction have to be dystopian, really? Does it sound like I might be complaining this week? Well, maybe that's because once or twice a year on Rule Breaker Investing, I do complain. It's a Pet Peeves episode. We haven't done one of these for more than a year, and so it's time. Pet Peeves, Volume 6 only on this week's Rule Breaker Investing.

Welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing. It's one of my favorite, admittedly, most self-indulgent podcasts to do every year. The good news is, I only do this about once a year. In fact, the last time I did a Pet Peeves podcast was July of 2020. It's been more than a year, and one of the ways that I make this podcast happen is I just actively note as I'm living life day to day, I just document. Something happens and I just grab it and I drop it into my organizational system and I start to build lists. In fact, the way that I make a lot of these podcasts is just dynamically living life, noting something, and then adding it to a list somewhere. I use Evernote quite a lot for this. I just build lists and then I'm ready. Mid-September 2021 shows up and I've stored up a list of eight pet peeves that I've personally seen and experienced, in this case, over the previous 14 months, and so I'm ready. Because it's been repressed, I've bottled it up, I've saved it, I've just had to sit there silently knowing one day I will be able to talk about it, there's probably some extra energy that I bring to this podcast each time I do it once a year, because I'm really still feeling it like it just happened.

I was going back to see the very first Pet Peeves podcast I did. It was July 20th. Speaking of July 20th, something about that day, in this case, 2016, and my very first pet peeve that I led off with and I still feel the same way today, so these do stand the test of time, some of them, were state lotteries. Still not a big fan of state lotteries, or littering, or I've read these disclaimers that you have to sign off and check off when you use your new app or machine. You're being asked constantly to lie by lawyers. We are institutionalizing fibbing when we have us, all these fellow citizens driven by our legal friends, we're having to say, yes, I have read this 37 page magnum opus creation of a law firm to say that I'm ready to now use this app. Those are all still pet peeves for me today.

Over the years, I've brought you, well, you haven't lost until you sell, which is one of the silliest lines I sometimes hear investors say, or I have argued against vanity plate hate. I don't know why we feel it, some people feel it out there, but I think vanity plates make the world more fun. Anyway, the list goes on, and I'm about to add eight more. One thing I've done is I've never repeated any of these pet peeves. Every time I come back at you once a year or so, these are new. It does remind me that the very final pet peeve of my first episode was pet peeve No. 9: People who keep really long lists of pet peeves. I always have to say guilty as charged because I certainly am one of those people, but I would say at its very worst, this is pure self-indulgence ranting and not worthy of your time at its very worst. At its very best, maybe I cause a few of us to see a few things that you either already feel or recognize, and there's some emotional payoff for knowing that I'm a fellow traveler and we share that. Or maybe in some cases, I'm opening some eyes to some things you weren't seeing or noticing, but now that I've pointed it out, you can't help but be a little annoyed by it, too. This probably won't be as educational as next week's Market Cap Game Show, which we're looking forward to firing up next week. Once a quarter, back to the game show. It may not be as thinky or interesting as when I fought the law and the law won a couple of weeks ago. This one is a little bit more like lemonade. I took the bitter lemons and I'm trying to make it into lemonade on this podcast, or maybe it's just a bit of fluff, like putting whipped cream on top of pudding, on top of your vanilla ice cream. Let's get started.

Now, etymology is definitely not a pet peeve for me, but I love word origins. I've shared this with you many times over the years. So I thought with this pet peeve episode, we should go back and just figure out where this term came from, so let's just start there before I hit my list of eight. I'm reading out in Wikipedia, the pet peeve entry in Wikipedia, the noun "peeve" meaning an annoyance is believed to have originated in the United States early in the 20th century derived by back formation from the adjective "peevish," which means of course, ornery or ill-tempered, itself dating from the late 14th century. But the term "pet peeve" was introduced to a wide readership in the single-panel comic strip, The Little Pet Peeve in the Chicago Tribune during the period 1916-1920. The strip was created by cartoonist Frank King, who also created the long-running Gasoline Alley strip. King's quotes, "Little pet peeves were humorous critiques of generally thoughtless behaviors and nuisance frustrations." Examples included people reading the subtitles aloud watching silent films, cracking an egg only to smell that it's gone rotten, backseat drivers, and rugs that keep catching the bottom of the door and bunching up.

Skipping down a little bit more, current usage and examples Wikipedia says pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, like a spouse or a significant other. These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues, and if you have a close family member sitting next to you, you can rib them a little bit and they can rib you back as I read off that list. A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable or insignificant to others. That's the pet portion of it. A lot of these may well seem insignificant to you, not bother you at all, but that's what makes them my pet peeve. I do want to say at the end of this month, we will of course have the Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag for September, and I would love for you to share a few of your own pet peeves, especially ones that you think might be broadly felt or humorous. If you can open my eyes to something new, I'd love to open all of our listeners' eyes to something new through your pet peeves submitted to the mailbag this month if you like. The email address, [email protected] With a little bit of the history, the origin of this term, which is really only about a century old emerging from the United States of America, let's go with pet peeve No. 1 this week.

Pet peeve No. 1, it's the phrase "retail investor." Now, I've heard this phrase a lot over the course of my life. Perhaps you have, too. I don't think I've ever used the phrase myself. I wouldn't describe myself as a retail investor. I don't walk around saying The Motley Fool membership has some retail investors, or you my dear listener, you're a retail investor. It's not a term that I would adopt for myself. I would say I'm an individual investor or maybe a private investor, but that phrase "retail investors" has always bothered me a little bit, and the bother has grown over the course of time. Let's start first of all, speaking of defining terms, by defining our term, because why are people using the phrase "retail investor"? Where did that come from? I went to another excellent website on the internet and that would be dictionary.com which has lots of definitions. I thought, let me just look up "retail" and just to remind myself of what this word means. Of course, it's a noun, retail is the sale of goods to ultimate consumers, usually in small quantities. Adjective, retail investor pertaining to or connected with or engaged in sale at retail. All of a sudden, I realize the reason we're being called retail investors is because we were the ones who were sold to. Back in the old days, especially when there were brokers and clients, we were the client, and the broker was put in the position by his or her firm to sell their ideas to us.

Therefore, we are retail investors. Never mind that the quality of the merchandise being sold to us at different points may have been good or particularly bad and completely apart from the motivations of financial professionals either today or back at that time. There are so many good ones and there are also so many bad ones, but we were being sold to. Now that we've established why the phrase, I then Googled "retail investor" and started to learn more. I like this definition, this difference between institutional and retail investors, two often opposed crowds. This one comes from Investopedia and they say a retail investor is an individual or nonprofessional investor who buys and sells securities through brokerage firms or savings accounts, like 401(k)s and I like that. I agree with that. Institutional investors, Investopedia goes on, do not use their own money but rather invest other people's money on their behalf. That's a very lovely and elegant way I guess of creating two buckets; the retail investors and the institutional investors. What jumps out to me from Investopedia is the phrase "institutional investors do not use their own money." Sometimes, I think while retail investors I guess are looked down upon or sometimes belittled as we'll hear in just a sec, it is worth remembering that we're investing our own money, not just getting paid to invest somebody else's money.

So, I think there's a lot to be said for being a retail investor in that way. Anyway, there's Investopedia, but as I look down, some of the people also asked results on Google, I see phrases like, why do retail investors lose money? Do retail investors make money? What is the role of retail investors? Here again, I found something I like. This one comes from a site I've never used, wallstreetmojo.com, but this is how they write about the role of retail investors. The retail investor provides capital to corporations when other sources of financing seem difficult. Since they tend to invest for a longer period than institutional investors, they play a crucial role in building the stock market and thereby the economy of a country. I really agree with that and I like that a lot. That makes me smile and willing to call myself a retail investor. Then I keep clicking around further on the internet, and I hit an article like this one from Oxford University. That's right, the University of Oxford, that one, and the Said Business School where one of its professors is liberally quoted in an article entitled "Retail investors are amateurs in a high-stakes market. They cannot win." According to this professor, and I'll just quote from the article here, "Academic experts consistently advise private investors not to invest in individual shares. Retail investors will always lose money because they lack the education, whereas financial professionals are well informed. That's what they do."

Now, we start seeing why the phrase "retail investor," for me anyway, is a pet peeve. Because it implies that you and I who are actually investing our own money and doing quite well at that, thank you very much, I think I'm speaking for a lot of listeners right now, a lot of Motley Fool members over the years, and it's that we're second-class citizens, rubes, yokels, bumpkins, the list goes on. I'm actually going to settle on the word "imbeciles," which again, I'm going to use in a sec, but it's that we will always lose money in the words of this Said Business School professor because we lack the education financial professionals are well-informed. I beg to differ. I think it's very clear that there are good investors and bad investors in all different contexts, but to group everybody who's not an institutional investor and call them retail investors, and then to close this rant, and then to introduce 2021, and meme stocks, and by the way, who's apparently driving the meme stock craze? You guessed it: retail investors.

Now, I would submit to you a tiny, tiny percentage of individual investors are even paying attention to the GameStops of the world or the meme stocks. I realize it gets a lot of headlines and it is certainly something to pay attention to here in 2021. I would say meme stocks will be one of the memories of 2021, maybe making some top 10 lists in terms of their impact. But a tiny percentage of mom-and-pop individual investors are taking big risks in companies that I don't think have particularly good prospects and it's being called a retail investor revolution. Again, I will beg to differ. In conclusion, one of my pet peeve No. 1, not just the phrase retail investor, which I never use and I don't think in those terms, but really so much of the baggage surrounding being an investor who's not a professional and therefore, I guess, according to Professor Kay at Oxford, we are doomed to lose money always because we lack the education.

Let's move on to pet peeve No. 2, pet peeve No. 2. We're going to stick in the investment world, sticking with, in this case, a maxim that I've just never liked. I mentioned one earlier on the show; "You haven't lost money until you sell," which I certainly disagree with. But here's another one. Ever heard this one? "Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered." Now, I think we can all appreciate that the main point of that line is that if you're really greedy, you will lose. But I want to challenge two things about that overused tired line often used by traders in my experience. The first is, in my world, bears don't actually make much money. I mean, if you look at the history of the stock market, it starts in the lower left expressed graphically and it goes to the upper right. It's very hard to make real money or meaningful money as a bear over any meaningful period of time. Now, maybe if you're a specialist at short-selling and you are good at identifying truly troubled companies, you can make some money from time to time, and hedge funds certainly benefit from some of that mentality. But I would say, first of all, there's no equating bulls and bears making money. I reject the notion that you could say bulls make money without saying bears make a lot less money than that, which would be a smarter maxim to start with.

But the other and second part of the maxim I don't like is the notion that if you hang around and try to make a lot, you're going to get slaughtered. In fact, my experience is that the longer you hold great companies, the more money you are going to make. It definitely doesn't look piggish or feel piggish, and I don't think it should be expressed in negative terms, the act of buying to hold great companies. Earlier this week, I taped a podcast with somebody else's podcast. I got two be a guest this time with We Study Billionaires, The Investor's Podcast Network. This one was with Trey Lockerbie. We had a great opportunity to talk through how Nvidia (NVDA -1.22%) stock has performed since The Motley Fool first recommended it. I picked it in April 2005. This may sound like the most piggish and greedy way you could possibly approach the markets, but I'm proud of it. I like it a lot. Let's go through the numbers. We first recommended Nvidia at $1.63. That's all split adjusted, a few splits have happened, but in today's terms, it was at $1.63 on April 15th. That's tax day of 2005. The stock went from $1.63 to 10 two years later. Then 2008 came and it went from 10 back down below $1.63. A five-bagger that we and Stock Advisor members were sitting on at the time vanished and became a stock that was trading at a loss. Now, from 2008, 2009, 2010, Nvidia and the economy started to recover and the stock finally made it back to $5 a share at the end of 2014. There we were, $1.63 cost basis. We've now tripled our money. We've taken 9.5 years to do so.

Since the end of 2014, when Nvidia was sitting at $5, it has done this. In 2016, it crossed $10, and in 2016, it kept going and finished at $23. It became the top-performing stock on the S&P 500. Now, it's at $23 at the end of 2016. If you know how I invest, you are not surprised, and if you're a Stock Advisor member, I hope you acted on this, but I made it my top idea of January 2017. It was highly publicized as the top-performing stock of the S&P 500 the previous year. A lot of people were probably thinking we'll rotate out of that one, but I decided, let's rerecommend it right here, and the stock that year went from $23 and closed the year at $52, more than a double at the end of 2017. Again, we're sitting with the pigs and hogs on our $1.63 cost basis, now looking at a stock that is at $52. 2018, a bad year, Nvidia gets caught up with lots of its chips being used to power the early days of cryptocurrency and some AI self-driving cars that didn't work out as well or quickly as everyone expected. Nvidia got more than cut in half in 2018. It had reached $70 and it dropped down to $30. This is all of the volatility that we were riding with our $1.63 cost base still intact. I now fast-forward to today.

Last I checked, Nvidia is trading around $222 a share making the investment up 130 times in value over 16 years. Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered? I'm not sure exactly what piggish behavior is, but I guess the idea is, it's very short-term oriented. If that's true, I might agree that you get slaughtered. But I think in the best sense of the term, you should be greedy if the market is going to give you that kind of bounce, 100 times your money by just finding great companies and holding them. Nvidia is not the only 100-bagger that we're rocking at fool.com; Amazon (AMZN -0.61%), Netflix (NFLX -0.83%), the list goes on. Bulls make money, bears I guess make some money, but Fools make real money, and we do it the right way, using time as our ally, not our enemy.

Before we move on to pet peeve No. 3, I would like it to be noted. Maybe we should be saying, but Fools are bowhead whales because bowhead whales are Earth's longest-living creature, bowhead whales which are way up there at the top of the Arctic. Part of the reason I think they live so long is they're in incredibly cold water where they have very slow heartbeats. Bowhead whales live 200 years. So maybe bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered, but bowhead whales and Fools don't pay much attention to either bulls or bears. They just play the game the right way and end up creating value that outlives everything else. Sometimes, I hear about scarcity mindsets, and I understand that approach. In fact, it's very disciplined to have scarcity. Most of the best board game players really understand the scarcity of only getting to do one action when there are three things that you want to do with your cards or your tokens on the board. Three things that you want to do, but you have to be choiceful and only choose one. I deeply respect that. I'm the opposite, though. I'm in an abundance mindset. I'm always looking and trying to create more and thinking we can make use of all this. Of course, there's no one way to be, but I think it's worth acknowledging that an abundance mindset is a much lovelier way of expressing what I hope for our world and for your life than pigs and slaughter. From the world of investing, let's now go to the world of business.

Pet peeve No. 3, I'm just going to call this one cocky soulless ads, asterisk, and the asterisk leads to with no sense of humor. Cocky soulless ads. I'm going to read you the transcript of a 30-second ad I saw about a year ago. It might have been during the Super Bowl. Here it is. "We all look at the same world, but we all look at it in a different way. Some see an interior. We see personal space. Some just see the power. We see the experiences. Some see aerodynamics. We see attraction. Some see what's there. We see beyond." There are at least three things that I think I see wrong with this ad. The first is, while the punch line of this campaign, which I haven't even mentioned yet, because they just put the words on at the end, it just flashes on at the end, the tag line of this campaign is, "The future is an attitude." The future is an attitude. Pretty empty, I think. They never even say the phrase in their commercials. They just put it up at the end, and I think that's because if they actually said it, it would sound so silly that they've realized it looks much better being written, not said. They just show it at the end.

Now, some of you will probably already recognize this company or this brand. But before I say what the company is and what it does, I want to mention the second thing that I think is pretty lame about this ad, and more broadly, about cocky soulless ads. That is, if you're going to have a great line, I really think it should be distinctively owned by your company and your brand, and not just in the minds of the brand firm that you've hired but really in the world at large. Brands are vessels that we need to fill up with meaning and you do it over time. I don't think it's a great idea to paste on a tag line that you won't even read at the end of your commercial for a Super Bowl campaign when, without me identifying it for you right now, most people would not be able to say what this company is or what it does and for whom is the future an attitude. Lame thing No. 2 in addition to No. 1, it's a dumb line; great lines should be distinctively owned and be differentiating in a knowing way that a consumer would recognize, that makes so much sense coming from them. I guess I will now reveal the brand and it's Audi. As I looked at Audi, which is certainly an estimable car manufacturer. I'm a previous buyer of an Audi car at one point in my life. I have nothing wrong to say about the company or what it's doing. I'm talking about cocky soulless ads here. But when I Googled what is Audi's vision, and you can do the same thing, just Google Audi's vision, I was looking for their vision statement, the first thing that pops up, and admittedly, this is not from their website, but this is the first thing that pops up, it's from something called comparably.com, which I think is a corporate register where it keeps up with what different companies are doing. It says the vision of Audi company is, get ready for this, "Audi, the premium brand." That's it. They're trying to be a premium brand. That's the vision. We are a premium brand.

We all look at the same world, but we all look at it in a different way. Some see what's there. We see beyond. Now, let's go to lame thing No. 3 and move on to the next pet peeve after this. But my first reaction after I watched this ad on television and then thought some more about it is, you know what you just did? This is even worse. I feel like you just actually advertised for Tesla. I'm going to give you a phrase right now, focus group. I might say if I were a brand professional. Are you ready? I'm going to ask you which company in this industry you would associate that phrase with. You ready, focus group? The future is an attitude. Which carmaker comes first to mind when you hear that phrase, or when you see this 30-second Super Bowl commercial, or the two-minute longer version you can watch on YouTube? I truly think Audi, which is moving as quickly as it can to get more electric cars out there along with a lot of other car manufacturers, when they put out messages like this that I can't even attribute to them, and I think blind taste tests, most of us wouldn't know that the future is an attitude thanks to Audi, I think you're actually advertising for your competitor who is the company that, if anything, has filled up its brand vessel with the idea that the future is an attitude. Actually, Tesla has a much better vision statement than anything I can find for most other car manufacturers. Are you ready for Tesla's mission statement, its purpose statement? "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy." It doesn't even say anything about cars, and that's because from the beginning, Elon Musk and his team have had a broader vision, which was, let's say it again, "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy." They're doing that through cars as their major initiative, but certainly solar panels and batteries and other aspects. That is a big vision and that's a brand that you could really fill up with meaning and people.

Even if you don't like the Tesla brands, some people really don't like Tesla, at least you can respect it and you know what it stands for. Past guest on this show, one of my favorites, Roy Spence, title of his book, It's Not What You Sell; It's What You Stand For. I'm not going to pick on Audi anymore. They're doing their best. I like the product, but I'd far rather stand for accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy than the premium brand. While we do all look at the same world, we all look at it in a different way, and I'm hoping you're seeing some things differently. In this case, I hope I'm helping you look through cocky soulless ads, asterisk, with no sense of humor. Before I move on to No. 4, we're going to leave the world of business here and go to sports. But I see my producer, Rick. Rick, you've had some recent experience, maybe a pet peeve, and I'd love for you to share it from your own business experience.

Rick Engdahl: I guess maybe at the opposite end of the spectrum from the cocky soulless advertising is the extremely smart advertising, the algorithm-based advertising, the data-based advertising that is so accurate across the internet. They know so much about you that they will serve you exactly what you want to hear at exactly the right time.

Gardner: That's the dream, right?

Engdahl: That's the dream when it works. On the other hand, when you get a call from, say, a mortgage company offering me an opportunity to improve my mortgage rates, when in fact, I already have an extremely low mortgage rate. I got onto some list because of whatever search term I put in or whatever page I looked at or ad I followed.

Gardner: Are you getting calls, Rick, or texts?

Engdahl: It's all over the place saying that they can help me with my interest rate because they're so smart about everything they know about me. The problem is that the company that's advertising to me is the company that I have a mortgage with. They should know me better than that.

Gardner: At some point in the future, maybe AI will help, the right ad will meet you maybe every time at the right time. But at least for now, there's still clearly a lot of work left.

Engdahl: We just need to get off that list, man.

Gardner: You know what? You at least got this off your chest this week.

Engdahl: Thank you. I feel better.

Gardner: Which is part of what we're doing here this week on Pet Peeves Volume 6. Thank you for that, Rick.

Let's move on now to the world of sports. Pet peeve No. 4. I feel like I went long in the first three because they're about investing and business, and that's where this podcast lives. But I've got a few more than that because we're also living through life and a lot of us are sports fans. Pet peeve No. 4, I'm just going to call, "most valuable player." My pet peeve here is that this phrase once again is not really clearly defined and causes all kinds of anxiety angst calls to sport talk and I think maybe this is part of the reason it drives calls to sports talk radio. It gives reasons for ESPN shows to just fill it up for 15 or 20 minutes, take calls over the line and hear from people who should be the most valuable player, who is the most valuable player of this team or the sport or league. Here's the problem: It's never really clear what we mean by most valuable player. A lot of people think of the most valuable player something like this; if now the season's over and we're going to decide who the most valuable player is, pretend we're about to start next season and you could right away draft all of the players in the league. Who would you take first and right away now? Who is the most valuable player? It's the best player who would be No. 1 on anybody's team for the very next season, the most valuable player. But then somebody raises answers. Hold on, that person is actually on a losing team. I'm never going to vote for the most valuable player on a team that's a losing team. For me, that person's not even on my top 10 list of most valuable players because that person, as valuable as he or she might be, couldn't even turn enough games into wins for their team, so that's not the most valuable player.

Then comes a third idea which is it's really looking at the best team. Who is the team that wins it all at the end of the season and who's their best player? That person's logic is, whoever is the best player on the best team, it's self-evident, they're the most valuable player. What ends up happening is we end up with a conversation of names, people batting around, dissing in some cases players, when the underlying assumptions and the definition of itself, of what is a most valuable player is never really set. Now again, I recognize that this powers a lot of viewers and listeners of a lot of media assets and enterprises. You want to have that argument, especially when you're getting eyeballs and clicks. You can get people fired up about who should be the most valuable player. In the early days of doing a radio show, The Motley Fool Radio Show back when Tom and I did it as a three-hour live call-in AM radio show, we had very little experience doing radio before that. Tom did a little bit of college television at Brown University. I think I once walked into a studio at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to read one thing, but I didn't keep it up after that. We hadn't done radio and we were about to host a coast-to-coast syndicated radio show. One of the wiser hands who was around us at the time said, this is cynical, this is just a joke, a way to always light up the lines is just take a shot at a dog or a cat. Say something like, "You know what? My cat is the best cat, and also, cats are so much better than dogs." Right away within seconds, the lines will light up. It's a way to wake up any listener base in any radio context, just start getting the cat and dog talk going. Again, we never resorted to anything that desperate, but I certainly appreciated the wisdom of the point.

I recognize that there is a lot of juice and a lot of interplay around who really is the most valuable player, who should be formally decorated that way. Let's talk about it. But I would encourage all of us, not just in the realm of sports but anytime you're talking about an honorific or something that's going to be a label, I think the first obligation that you have to yourself and toward the people that you may one day dub or award with your award is to make sure you're clearly defining what are the conditions that make a most valuable player. I don't think there's any one right answer. Maybe it should just be the best player on the team that won it all. But whatever is the logic, spell it out. That would make sports radio so much more intelligent. That would make things like the Academy Awards clear for all of us. A lot of us can save a lot of time by simply defining our terms before slinging around our opinion. There it is, pet peeve No. 4. We'll just call MVP.

All right, on to pet peeve No. 5. This one is just going to the world of science fiction. I lightly referenced this at the top but it's, why does science fiction always need to be dystopian to get our attention or be cool? In fact, there's such a legion of artists and creators, some of them in many cases, very good, all of whose vision for the future at almost any given point seems to be that it's going to be worse. It's going to get worse, that it looks like a big bandwagon effect. To me anyway, it looks like the least creative approach. Anytime I hear about some of these new dark story, dark video game, dark streaming show about the dark, dark future, I think, "You, too?" Could we get some originality here? Could we get somebody with a vision that the world actually might be better and help us think through what that might look like? I realize that conflict sparks stories. I think it's really important as you create a story, if you're going to tell us about the future, there needs to be some form of conflict. But here is a form of conflict that was much more real than the envisioned conflict in the 1950s. A lot of 1950s and '60s views of our present day, or actually, let's go to the 1982 film Blade Runner, which by the way was set in Los Angeles I believe in November 2019, if you ever want to go back and watch Harrison Ford again in Blade Runner and see what a dark time that was November 2019. Rick Deckard, whose job as a police blade runner is to haunt and kill bio-engineered androids known as replicants. I didn't see a lot of that around LA in November 2019. I realize it's going to be effective to look ahead, but where is the movie? I don't know, maybe in 1950 that could foresee that one of the big battles of the 1990s would be PC or Mac? Now, again, I realize even envisioning there would be such a thing as personal computers was not that easy to see in 1950, or even sometimes, 1970. But the real battles often are so much more benign than the ones that we're being asked to imagine.

I guess the reason it's a pet peeve is because I'm a positive person. I think in a lot of ways, the world keeps getting better. Now, I realize there's so many problems still in the world today. I'm speaking during a pandemic so that's all self-evident. But if everybody is convinced that it's bad and going to get worse, I guess from an investing standpoint, you and I are going to benefit. Because if that is truly the way that we're shaping our minds and our kids' minds, that we're all moving into a dark Blade Runner future at all times, those are the storytellers of our era who want to tell stories about the future, it's always really bad looking, I guess that means people don't want to invest their money. They certainly don't want to do it over a long term given how everything is going off a cliff apparently. Ironically, perhaps we as Foolish investors benefit from the Blade Runners of the world. I did read an article that talks about what science fiction lets us do. It lets us process our anxieties, so you can take something like the division between rich and poor, and you could accelerate them and make them look really bad years from now and say, wow, that's going to be so bad, and let us process some of that anxiety today. Or humans versus cyborgs.

Some of us are anxious that one day, a robot might take our job, or they could be stronger and better looking than we are. I acknowledge that these things are possibilities. I guess sci-fi lets us process anxieties. But as we move on now to pet peeve No. 6, I just want to say there's another aspect of storytelling and I think about it especially from the world of fantasy, which I know equally as well. That's often a backward-looking nostalgic view of the world as it once might have been Middle Earth. Ironically, when we look back, it's more about wish fulfillment, isn't it? We look back at the Hollywood romcoms of three decades or five decades ago, and it's very nostalgic and it almost always ends happily. It's not a dark world most of the time that we're living in. It's a really interesting generalization that we want to look into the future and process our anxieties by imagining how bad things are going to get, whereas when we look backward, we tend to want to have all of our wishes fulfilled and our happy itch for nostalgia rubbed off. Anyway, before I get too far out of my element, I would love to see sci-fi that truly is original, that goes against the grain of the vast majority of bandwagon directors and creatives today that always express the future as worse. I would love to see somebody show real originality and show the world as better. We're down to the last three.

Pet peeve No. 6, this one's about personality tests. Now, I like personality tests even if they're not right. A lot of people, for example, will argue you blue in the face that Myers-Briggs has never been scientifically proven. It's just a framework. It has no real significance. Other people really do interpret themselves and the world at large around them based on whether you're an I or an E, an introvert or an extrovert in the Myers-Briggs framework. There are many others besides Myers-Briggs. There's Clifton StrengthsFinders. There's one I once took called a DISC which said I love innovative breakthroughs, which is absolutely true of me. I do love innovative breakthroughs. Certainly, I've welcomed Shirzad Chamine onto the show a couple of times in the last year or so and you might have taken the Saboteur Assessment test. I highly recommend if you haven't, that you go to positiveintelligence.com and have fun learning how you might be sabotaging yourself. Personality tests. I like them, and what I like about them is that they provide us a framework for conversation. They give us a platform that we can share because you took the test and I took the test. By the way, you haven't taken the test? I sure hope you'll take the test, then I'll share with you my results. It gives you an opportunity to have a conversation that is a meaningful conversation and certainly can grow relationships and produce good things. I think that's in part why personality tests are so popular. Here's the pet peeve.

My pet peeve is, sometimes I've seen people take these tests. After they tell me who or what they are, I start thinking, you know what should've also happened? You should've had me take the test about you, or you should have had your friends around you take the test and say, what would I think David would answer here? Because what can sometimes happen is that we shine a mirror to ourselves based on how we want to answer the questions. But it would be a far richer personality test industry, if there was a process by which others who know me well, who observe you, would take the test on your behalf, and I bet there'd be more of a 360 view of who and what we really are. Are we really an I or an E? We might think we're one, but wouldn't it be interesting to hear those near and dear to us how they would score us. I'm quite sure there's somebody out there in the personality test industry who's gotten on to this and started to realize, it's not just about what you think of yourself; it's actually what others would say about you based on their deep knowledge and observations, seeing blind spots you yourself might miss. I'd love to see the next-gen personality test emerge where it's more of a collective around you to help you really understand you. Yes, I'm a big fan of finding a test on the internet, taking it, and seeing what color your parachute is. But if you want to really get serious, I think you should find out what everybody else knows some colors of your parachute are, even if you're not seeing it.

Pet peeve No. 7, now I'm treading lightly with this one because I'm quite sure somebody listening to me actively has done this or does this, and if so, please know, I still like you. This is not that big a deal. Part of pet peeves and why I think these podcasts I hope are fun is because some of these, I do deeply feel and feel strongly about. Others are just fun to put out there, and No. 7 would be one of those. Have you ever worked in a restaurant, dear listener? I bet you have. A lot of us have worked somewhere within the hospitality industry, whether in our younger days and/or our present days. Here's one thing that if you're my waiter or waitress, if you're my server at my table, this is the one thing I would ask you not to do. Here we go. Are you ready? How are we doing tonight? What are we thinking about appetizers? Are we thinking about dessert? I think you're starting to see the one thread that runs through those otherwise perfectly fair questions. I would describe as the use of the collective "we," I won't say here the royal "we," but the collective "we" when it's really not we. It's not we who are feeling, it's me and/or my wife or family. If you're our server, it's you. That feels human to me.

When you say "how are you doing tonight," that feels so much better to me. What sounds like patronizing or overfamiliar, is that what it is? Or if you want to have fun with it, the royal we, where they're actually talking to themselves. But whatever it is, I think the second person singular, or even the collective you, let me put it this way, is going to get you a better tip at the end of the night. I realize tipping is controversial. People like Danny Meyer, a past guest on this podcast, the wonderful entrepreneur behind some of New York City's best restaurants, Union Square Hospitality Group, I realized Danny has worked really hard to take tipping out of the equation altogether. He points out that servers get overpaid, and people who bus the tables, work in the kitchens often don't get any tip and so they get underpaid. So he's tried to create a fairer approach that gets everybody more compensation and takes the annoyance of tipping out altogether, which if that ever happens, I would love that. But in the meantime, I do tip all the time when I go to Austria or Italy as I did last month, a wonderful celebration of our 31st wedding anniversary. I still tip, and I find myself asking, wait, Europeans don't actually tip in this case, and I'm an American. But sometimes, they expect Americans to be yokels. They expect Americans to be retail investors and just tip anyway, and so I still do that, but I'd love not to tip.

But since I am still tipping, just know, dear listener, that if you are connected to anyone in the hospitality industry and they are waiting tables, and me or somebody else like me, somebody else hearing me right now who agrees with this point, you're going to get a slightly less awesome tip if you start with, how are we feeling tonight? Before we hit No. 8, let's just quickly reflect on once again where we've been. Pet peeve No. 1, retail investors. Pet peeve No. 2, bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered. No. 3, cocky soulless ads, asterisk. No. 4, MVP, define your terms. No. 5, dystopian sci-fi is so cool, so edgy, so common. No. 6, when you take a personality test, maybe it's not just about what you think of yourself. No. 7, what we just covered, how are we doing this podcast?

Closing it out, pet peeve No. 8, I'm going to call this one "more to life than money." There's more to life than money. How many times have I heard that sentiment expressed in a thousand different ways, but at the heart of it, it contains this basic moral germ and it is a moral line. Money is kind of bad, and if you want money, you're kind of bad, and the more money there is, the more likelihood there is for greed, abuse, all kinds of bad stuff around money. At one point, I tried to reverse this. This is a line I put up there from time to time. I'll do it right now. I would say there is certainly more to life than money, but money will add so much more to your life. I really do believe that. So with this pet peeve number 8, I'm just expressing maybe a lifelong annoyance to people who make money sound as if it's bad or irrelevant, or anybody who would like more of it is just chasing it. I'm putting that in air quotes, greedily. I realize some people do that and I know the sentiment is out there. The word "money" I think is included in the Bible more than almost any other noun in the Bible. I realize it's an important topic for many. But what I've found too often is that it's a negative for most people, and to think that somebody would be ambitious to make money, or to make more money, or to be a pig and get slaughtered simply because they're abiding by good investing principles, that that would be a bad thing. More to life than money. Yes, there is certainly more to life than money. But I think if you have the right integration of your thinking, if you make sure that you've got some emotional intelligence around this, that other people validate what you're doing as you try to make more money over time.

As I once said in my 300th podcast, one of my favorite passages earlier this year when I did my 300th podcast, that would be the 300th consecutive weekly podcast Rick and I have done, I talked about this, that section of this, and it's that how'd you make your money says so much more than just branding money as good or bad. How'd you make your money, which is another way of saying, how have you spent your time and your life? What is your purpose? What are you driving for? Is it adding value to the world? One of the best ways to improve our investing is just to ensure that we are filling our portfolios with companies that make our portfolio reflect our best vision for the future. Does that make you think of anything else, this podcast? The non-dystopian future that I think we're moving into and making your portfolio reflect your best vision for it, directly opposite dystopia in my experience anyway, is going to lead to your best investor self and your best investment results. By the way, if that causes you to make a lot of money, I'm the first to slap you on the back and say, attaboy, attagirl, atta Fool, because that's what we're all trying to do. Then the question will finally shift from how you made it to what you're going to do with it, and thereby, some other day, hangs a tale.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rick Engdahl owns shares of Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia, and Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia, and Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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