#16 – The Podcast Host

Barry Ritholtz hosts one of the most popular business podcasts in the world. He rather modestly says he was one of the first. He has also built a $3bn wealth manager in just ten years. 

SUMMARY

Barry Ritholtz hosts one of the most popular business podcasts in the world. He rather modestly says he was one of the first. Ritholtz not only has managed to interview investing heroes like Ed Thorpe, Ray Dalio (twice) and Michael Lewis (four times) but also has built a $3bn wealth manager in just ten years. In this interview, Barry explains why financial TV is irrelevant, why the F.I.R.E. contingent (Financial Independence, Retire Early) have it wrong, why 70:30 should be the new 60:40, why investors should think in decades, how he can call Mike Bloomberg “dude” and not get fired, and what it’s like to have broadcast over 450 shows.

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GETTING INTO INVESTING

Barry went to law school but he was always interested in stocks and markets. He started out as a trader, which was great fun, but too volatile. He took a position as a research analyst, started writing with TheStreet.com, The Washington Post and Bloomberg and never looked back. He set up Ritholtz Wealth in 2013 with 3 colleagues and it has achieved phenomenal growth, helped by the partners’ massive presence on social media - Barry has over 200k followers while CEO Josh Brown has 1.1m!

On the Future of 60:40

Ritholtz believes that bonds are attractive again with yields at 4% as we recorded on the last day of September, 2022. But pre-pandemic, their model was at 70:30 rather than 60:40, because of ageing. With life expectancy at 80-85 years (vs 72 at inception of 60:40), Barry believes that savers need to be more heavily weighted to equities for longer than in the traditional model.

You also need to think about how much longer you need to contribute. The FIRE contingency has it wrong. If you can earn a decent living in your 40s and 50s, think about working a bit longer so you can retire comfortably. You may need a bit more than you think. And you need a reason to get out of bed – golf won’t do it for many people. Barry’s mum retired as a realtor, but was selling rare books into her 1980s – she needed more than bridge or mahjong.

The Masters in Business Podcast

Bloomberg asked Barry to start writing and offered him a TV show. He asked to do a 2 hour audio show and they laughed but agreed to a 42 minute radio show which could be turned into an hour with traffic and news. If they last longer, they can be put on the website. To start with it was Barry’s personal rolodex, but his break came with Bill Gross. Barry got wind of the Pimco bonus pool and published that Gross had taken home $300m that year, and he agreed to come on the show. Then he started to get A-list guests like Cliff Asness. This was Bloomberg’s first podcast and it blew up. Barry has recorded over 450 shows now.

Barry finishes off with some advice for Steve – you get much better after 200 episodes!

ABOUT Barry Ritholtz

Barry Ritholtz is co-founder, chairman, and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, a wealth manager founded in 2013 with over $3 bn AUM. Ritholtz may be best known to this audience as host of Masters in Business, the most popular podcast on Bloomberg Radio, which has 8-10m downloads pa. (I have some way to go). His blog, The Big Picture, generates half a million page views per month and has amassed some 275m visitors since 2003. Ritholtz first came to the wider public’s attention when he issued a series of warnings about an impending market collapse and recession, with a 50% downside target which was reached in March 2009. In his spare time, one of his hobbies is buying cars, which we talk about in the show.

barry ritholtz wealth pic

Source: Ritholtz Wealth Management

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

Barry recommended three books.

Bull!: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004 by Maggie Mahar. A market history.

Black Monday by Tim Metz on the run up to the 1987 crash.

 

Last Ape Standing by Chip Walter is a book about how homo sapiens managed to survive other species, a predecessor to the behavioural finance books.

 

STREAMING RECOMMENDATIONS

Barry asks his guests for their favourite streaming suggestions  and I asked for the best and worst of these recommendations. Instead, Barry gave me three of his streaming favourites:

Madmen – sounds overblown, but quite realistic.

Mozart in the Jungle – spectacular.

Magicians – something he stumbled on and loves.

HOW STEVE KNOWS THE GUEST

Steve and Barry met via Twitter. Barry had previously featured Steve’s blog in his Big Picture column but he recently DM’ed Steve who took the opportunity to invite Barry on the podcast as he was curious what Barry had learned in some 420 interviews, including many with some of the investing greats. To his surprise and delight, Barry said yes.

 

Chapters

00:02 – Introduction to investing and podcasting
13:57 – Predicting the market and building wealth
37:27 – Interviewing experts and preparing for podcasts
46:52 – Meeting influential figures and broadcasting experiences
01:00:02 – The rise of individual journalism in finance
01:07:11 – Reflections on podcasting and shared interests
01:19:43 – Exploring Barry Ritholtz’s car collection

 

Transcript

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Barry Ritholtz hosts one of the most popular business podcasts in the world. He rather modestly says he was one of the first. He’s not only managed to interview investing heroes like Ed Thorpe Ray Dalio twice and Michael Lewis four Times, but he’s also built a $3 billion wealth manager in just 10 years.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: In this interview, Barry explains why financial TV is irrelevant. Why the fire contingent that’s Financial Independence, retire early. Why they’ve got it wrong? Why 70 30 should be the new 60 40. Why investors should think in decades how you can call Mike Bloomberg dude and not get fired and what it’s like to broadcast over 400 shows.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I hope you enjoy this episode.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Barry Ritholtz. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited because I’Ve been looking, I’Ve been looking forward to this.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m excited to be here. It’s, it’s a Friday. It’s been a busy week, month quarter. I’m looking forward to Q four.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So listen, you are one of the top podcasters in the finance and business space and you’re one of the top wealth managers in the US. How did you get started in wealth management and in podcasting?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I I it all, I think, I think there is some advantage to longevity. So you say top, I say first one of the first I started in the business as a trader. I was an attorney. I was, I loved law school. I hated being a lawyer. It was not no fun.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And a buddy was running a trading desk for the predecessor firm to Etrade and I got a tour of, I had always been interested in markets and, and corporate entities and stocks and things like that.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And my mom used to was a stock dabbler but, I got a tour of the trading room kind of fell in love with trading and started, started doing that and it took about, I don’t know, five years to figure out, nearly five years to figure out, hey, this is fun, but it’s too much fun to make a living with.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I really need to be more consistent this up 100 $200,000 down $200,000 the next month, is, is not a career. It’s a hobby. And I felt, you know, I was always looking for a vein. I was always looking for that fix and, and, you know, I, I don’t consider myself especially self-aware.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m, I’m pretty oblivious but having fallen down the rabbit hole of behavioral finance just because I was curious, how come the guy on my right is killing it this month and the guy on my left is getting killed this month and then next month it switched. I have told that story too many Times.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It, that’s what sent me down. Fir first, it was, how we know it isn’t. So by Tom Glovis of Cornell and then, some of the task and Kaman papers were online and then Bob Schiller and Dick Taylor and the next thing. You know, it’s just an endless rabbit hole and this was late nineties before, you know, all the cool kids were doing it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: A and I credit that for making me self aware enough to say, hey, you’re doing this because you love the adrenaline, you love the dopamine hit. Not because you’re patient and are looking for your spots and can make a living at it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You’re doing it because it’s way too much fun. I’m shutting a window that is flashing in the background.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So since it was way too much fun, I said if I want to stick in finance, I have to, you know, actually turn this into a career as opposed to a, you know, a roller coaster ride and given my background, I had a lot of math and science and my background.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I had gone to law school. So the thought of moving into the research and analysis side was, was very attractive. I got a job at a firm called Prime Charter as the research assistant to this. Just insane.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: The head of technology stocks guy named Lawrence Hart, who was a former software programmer for Bell Labs before it became lucent. So just, just one of these really fascinating guys and I worked with everybody. I worked with the bond desk. I work with the equity desk.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I work with the retail stockbroker and that is what sort of launched the writing side of the career and the writing side of the career eventually led to a run of different writings. The street dot com, then the Washington Post and then Bloomberg.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And when Bloomberg was a lot of what I was doing was kind of pushed back to what I thought the mainstream media had, had done wrong and, and to wrap up this long ass answer to your question, Most of the things I had done were in response to, oh, no, no, they, I don’t like the way they’re doing it, whether, whether it’s fair to call it right or wrong.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I disliked it. So I didn’t like the way the media covered economic news and they used to just put a green reporter who didn’t know better on it now that’s changed. So I started writing about that and blogging about that.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: When I launched the firm, the firm was launched because we didn’t really like the way most of the industry was managing assets for clients. It was transactional, it was non fiduciary.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: That was really, you know, chasing alpha is a terrible way to run money for people who don’t care about alpha. They just care about meeting their financial goals over the course of their lifetime, buying a house retirement, paying for college, generational wealth transfer for philanthropy. None of those things require you to beat the market.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so having a core philosophy of low cost, passive indexing and goal focused rather than market alpha focused was a pushback to that. And, and then lastly, the podcast, this is absolutely true story flying back from an event in Vancouver, maybe it was like 2011, something like that. 12. And I had already done a couple of like, just sort of fun podcast.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I did an interview with Ned Davis and I did an interview with Felix Zuo only because every time I would see them show up, they would get asked the worst questions and it was annoying. So I’m flying back from Vancouver to New York and I don’t remember if it was Toronto or Chicago where you have to change planes.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and I’m in the lounge waiting and pop up on C NBC comes an interview with I’m trying to remember. I think it was, Bill Ackman who or it could have been David Einhorn, but I’m, I’m not positive Ackman’s always on well now, but back then, but back then he hardly did it. And, and I was watching this interview and I slowly did like a slow burn.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m like, those are the dumbest questions. What’s your favorite stock? When’s the fed gonna cut, where, where’s the market gonna be in a year? Those, those questions have a shelf life of about 30 seconds. As soon as the guy walks out of the building, they’re stale already because events change.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I, I, I like I’m, I’m annoyed at this and I get on the plane and end up sitting near or somebody I know and he’s like your forehead’s all scrunched up what’s going on. And I relate the story and, and they ask, well, what would you have asked? And off the top of my head, I reel off about a dozen questions. Most of which are the end questions I ask people. What are you reading? Who are your mentors?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: What sort of advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your field or just grab? What do you know today? You wish you knew 25 years ago. Essentially, the idea of the, of the whole podcast is tell us who you are and how they, you got that way.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: What makes your philosophy so interesting and what can the rest of us learn from you? Not? What’s your favorite stock pick on September 30th at 10 14 AM, which literally is good for 30 seconds.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So when did you, when did you start the firm? The wealth management firm, September 16th 2013.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: We started on the 16th because we had to make sure our checks which arrived on the 15th cleared because that was always a question. And we had arranged for an October 1st office that the landlord let us in two weeks early. And so literally put all my stuff on, on my chair.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: See this chair, I’m on this Herman or embody, I, I have one in the office, put my computer, my boxes on it, wheeled it out the door on 40th and fifth walked few blocks to, from 44th and fifth to park and 40th. And we literally, that’s how we moved into the new office. Literally that day left my resignation letter on my desk and, and me, Josh Chris and Mike slid into the new office.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Like nothing happened, but that’s astonishing in less than 10 years. You built up a firm with a couple of billion dollars of assets.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Yeah, we’re about $3 billion. I I if you catch me sort of side eyeing to the left, I’m looking at Bloomberg seeing where we are. And I try not to pay attention during the day, but up 100 and 50 down 2 50 up 83 has been the futures this morning. So I can’t help, but just like.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, you know, a lot of it is a, a lot of good luck. I was fortunate that I, I wrote a piece for the street dot com towards the end of oh six called Cult of the Bear that basically took a very short research piece by Reinhart and Rogoff called a look at five financial crises and, and those five crises.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Mexico Sweden, 29 US Japan and I don’t remember the fifth one. But it was five crises. Financial crises, not, you know, rate run in the mill crises.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And those five, the average turnout to be stocks get cut in half or worse real estate drops 30% or worse, you know, GDP, does this employment, does that consumer spending, does that as best as they could, you know, figure out looking at historical data that that short research piece eventually became the basis for the much more comprehensive and in depth. This time is different 800 years of financial folly.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But to me the issue of if real estate falls 30% and admittedly real estate had this giant run up. What does it mean for the economy and more importantly to investors and traders, what does it mean for the financial markets and earnings?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so I tried to reverse engineer the Dow 30. It was too much work to do it in, in the NASDAQ 100 or heaven forbid the S and P 500. But I thought 30 dow stocks, I could say assume a 30% drop in home prices and, and sale volume. What does this mean for profits?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And at the time the dow was filled with a lot of banks, some big tech companies, some, some consumer companies and so I just kind of war gamed out each company and, and ballpark it. I mean, nobody was pretending this was precise, it was just supposed to be an exercise and the last paragraph which I kind of threw in as an ad on, it was the least important part of this analysis was.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, you know, here we are about 13,000 and the trend is in place. And so I would expect this rally to continue until eventually it runs out of steam.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But reverse engineering, a 30% drop in housing assuming it takes place, you know, in less than three years, if it takes place over 20 years, I I can’t help you. But if it’s two years, three years, I came up with a 98 100 number for the S and P 500. I’m sorry for the Dow Industrials.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And then said, well, if we break 10,000 from over 13, I think that line in the sand and you remember C NBC had the Dow 10,000 hats which by the way turned out to be a fantastic investment because they got to use it over and over and over again for, for a good long time.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: At least in the late nineties, early, early two thousands was over 10,000 under over 10,000. And so I said, talk about pulling a number out from up your ass. I said, hey, break 10,000, it’s gonna cause a 3000 point panic. I could have said 2000, I could have said 4000. It’s a made up number.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so that’s how I came up with Dow 6800. Nobody wanted to talk about the analysis about Reinhard and Rogoff about real estate.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It was, I participated that year in the Business Week annual forecast and I’m like, all right. I, even though I don’t have any idea on the timing, let’s use these numbers, just shake things up. And I had actually gone to the editors of Business Week. This is when they were a mcgraw Hill company before Bloomberg bought them and said, listen, you know, my down 6800 isn’t so much a forecast as a, you know, a theoretical.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: What if you guys have mostly super bullish people on? Why don’t we run a big a counterprogramming? Just an article. Hey, here, everybody’s talking about the best case scenarios. What happens if you know the shit hits the fan? What happens if, if the worst case scenario happens? And, and I’Ll never forget the editor says, listen, it’s a giant double issue. We sell a lot of advertising. Do you want to participate or not?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Sure. Go ahead and run those as my forecast even though they’re not my forecast. It’s all anybody wanted to talk about. So in, in the, you know, the beginning of 2007, I did my usual circuit of TV and radio. I’Ll never forget cud is like you are the bottom of the pack, the lowest of the low nobody is even near you. Explain yourself.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so I explained what I just explained and essentially, essentially we end up with, you know, look, we’re long, we’re still, we’re still constructive on the market but we’re very unhappy what’s going on in mortgages and real estate and derivatives and, and we think this is a ticking time bomb and I’m just waiting for a sign that the, the time bomb is, you know, that it’s, that it’s, it, it doesn’t close one day at 13 4 and open at seven, you’ll be, there’ll be plenty of warnings to get out.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But I’m trying to give people a heads up, a storm is coming, pay attention.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So the reason I tell that story is, there’s a lot of fortuity in that. There’s a lot of good luck in that. I subsequently went on, Yahoo a couple of Times with Henry when we broke 10,000. I had explained that story. Look, 6800. Is we panic after 10,000 and blah, blah, blah.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And then in March 2009, I had gotten an email or something from someone at Yahoo and I’m like, I, I hadn’t responded in a while because I was busy writing bailout Nation. But I just, you know, just one of those things, I, I reached out to Henry and said, hey, I’m getting more constructive. I, I think people can cover their shorts and, and go along. You wanna come on? Sure.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So we, I go on Yahoo tech ticker back then and say mother of all Bear Market rallies is coming close your shorts. You can put a toe in the water here. You can get long and the next day was the bottom, the dow was up 1000 points. And, but you could have asked me that same question a month earlier. A month later, I would have given you the same answer.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And the reason I bring that up is to just show how much, you know, random good fortune sometimes happens after that, getting the top, getting the bottom and calling them both more or less, right? You know, money just flowed in and rather than take the easy route, hey, let’s set up a two and 20 hedge fund and promise people we’re gonna manage their money really aggressively.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Why don’t we do the opposite? Why don’t we be a fiduciary, manage money long term, set up a financial plan for people and the good, the good fortune of and the timing is this just shows you we have a model and a methodology and we’re thinking about things and despite getting the top and the bottom right, I don’t wanna run people’s real money that way because you have to recognize how often you’re wrong in those scenarios.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so a farm was launched, it was a, it was pretty gradual to get to a billion dollars, but we were just kissed just under it in around this time in 2018 when the fourth quarter whacked 20% off of equities of 2018.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so we didn’t quite cross a billion until 2019. And then we pretty much got 2020 and 21 dead. Right. And so lo and behold, again, it’s not that we’re changing the portfolios or managing assets that way, but people are looking for an explanation, what the hell’s going on and why? So the explanation in 2020 was, hey, all your local stores are closed and why is the market going up?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Well, all these companies are doing really well, your local dry cleaner is closed, your local retailer is closed, your local whatever. But when you look at Apple and Amazon and Microsoft and Zoom and, and all those companies, they’re doing great and P S here’s an analysis that shows 27% of the S and P 500 or these big tech stocks that are benefiting from work from home.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: What’s doing really poorly? Well, hotels and airlines and you know, you could have taken the worst performing stocks of the S and P 500 eliminated them and it barely would have taken 6% off the S and P 500 market cap.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s tiny that the worst, I think it was the worst 50 companies in terms of performance were barely 6%. So I I think when when investors look at you and even though you’re not trying to time the market, even though you’re not actively swinging in and out, if you could give them a reasonable explanation for what’s going on, they’re very, very comfortable. La last example.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I had previously written about war and other things and how it, it, it shouldn’t be thought of whatever the market’s doing previously, it’s gonna keep doing, it’ll wobble and then it’ll go back to that. So I wrote a piece in the end of March 2020.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Don’t assume the pandemic ends the secular Bull Market. And I think I got more hate mail for that piece than anything. I’Ve written that Bloomberg published this on, on April 1st and just more like, is this an April fools joke? You’re an asshole.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You don’t know what you’re talking about that lasted about, I don’t know, eight weeks, six weeks, whatever. And you know, we were back to break even by late June, late July, something like that. And you know how the rest of the year the S and P finished the year up 21% 20% something like that and up 28% in 2021.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: If you, and then when this year started, we just talked about mean reversion. If you take the any previous rolling three year average, we’re way above average until this year. Now, the average of the past three years is about the historical average of 89% a year.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I if you can make people say, look, I know this is scary and this is ugly but you have to understand it’s a feature, not a bug stocks go up and down and here’s how we’re looking at it. It, it’s helpful. People give their money to anybody. There’s certainly enough competition, enough choices. I think people want to feel that their advisers know what they’re talking about.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: They can answer their questions and, and they have a good handle on, hey, what’s really going on in the world? I, I don’t know how the people who run money using astrology and I’m not being sarcastic. I’m meaning, I guess they attract people who are interested in astrology, but I have to see some evidence that the methodology is valid and not random.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, you know, I got oh eight oh nine, right? I got a, a bunch of other things, right? And I don’t wanna run money based on my gut. And so I need to see something that’s evidence. Not, hey, this guy has a good feel for the market. Give him all our retirement money. That’s a terrible way to manage assets.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: No, of course. And tell me, do you have a view on what do you do next? 60? 40 doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a very reliable parameter for the next decade. I mean, have you got a better solution?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Yes, I have this magic derivative we created that will outperform everything with no drawdowns and will beat all the.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, so in all seriousness, I think the problem with 60 40 isn’t what most people think it is. Because suddenly bonds are attractive again, the I I wrote something earlier this week. Farewell Tina. There is an alternative now and you know, bonds at 4%.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Muni is at 5% high grade, not high yield, high grade Corporates at four and 4.5 5% you, you could get. Now, granted, admittedly inflation is 678% at least according to C P I. It’s probably much lower when we look at gas, lumber cop going down the list of commodities and other things. They’ve, they’ve plummeted.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Before the pandemic, we were talking about 70 30 is the new 60 40 not just because bond yields are so low. That’s not the reason. The reason is when 60 40 came about the, what was the life expectancy in the US? 72? Like if you’re a healthy human who didn’t die in childbirth or during the pandemic, your life expectancy in the US is probably 80 plus.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And if you have a decent portfolio, if you were high educated upper income in a healthy environment, which doesn’t describe the whole country, you’re probably closer to looking at an 85 year lifespan. And so given that you probably need more equities and less bonds in your portfolio.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But 90 10, 85 15 is a little crazy. 70 30 is probably the new 60 40. So that’s the first thing to, to recognize. The, the second thing to recognize is you, you have to really think about your contributions and, and how much further and longer you might be working. I am not a fan of telling someone who’s 75.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Hey, you gotta go back to work, but I am a fan of telling people in their late fifties probably shouldn’t retire. If you’re sitting on, you know, a million, a million and a half, $2 million investment portfolio, you probably need double what you thought you did. And again, you don’t have to work until your seventies.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But you know, all the people, the fire contingency who wants to retire in their thirties, forties, fifties, there’ll be plenty of time to, you know, retire when you’re old and unable to work the way you can when you’re younger pile up some money.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I’m not saying, you know, work 14 hours a day and don’t take vacations. But if you can earn a decent living in your forties and fifties, you probably should think about working at least into your early sixties, or at least until you have enough money saved that you can retire comfortably without downgrading your standard of living.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I must say, I always find this, the, the fire continuing. It’s something of a mystery to me. So my father died within one month of retiring and classic, classic. So he, he literally, he went, got his haircut, paid his bookie, which was, you know, and then, you know, he last another day and, you know, I, I, I mean, the thought of retirement, although, you know, it sounds fabulous.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, actually it would horrify me. I, I like what I do. I can’t. And I think there are lots of people who have got a skill and with, you know, modern technology, being able to create content, you can work for longer without, you know, without having to commute to an office and do all the, so you do just the fun stuff. So, I think people will want to work longer anyway. Yeah.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You, yeah, you, but let’s stick with that point because it’s so good. You need a purpose. You need a reason to get out of bed and golf probably, isn’t it for most people? And my mom passed away at 86 a half. She was, was a collector of, of, antique Judaica books and she just scoured the internet.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I mean, in her seventies and early eighties she was buying and selling these books all over the world, finding these books for 50 100 $500 selling them for thousands of dollars. She was arbitraging books between Europe and Yale, between Europe and, the Harvard library. And, you know, you don’t have to sell a lot of books to do that.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But I’m like, ma, how did you ever get into this? She goes, I, I can’t play Bridge and maj on every day. I need something to do and you know that very much. She did that for 15 years. She was a real estate agent, her whole mo almost all of her adult life and, or married life, I should say.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and when she retired, so to speak to Florida 20 years ago, she’s like, I, I need something to do. That’s more important than I, I, I think we all do. I think there’s a lesson with both our parents that you need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Not just, I’m gonna go out and go for a ride, maybe fish or play golf. That, that’s insufficient. Yeah.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Well, I, I suppose it also depends on, on the person.

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STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Tell me, when did you start the podcast? So you wrote from when was that?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, I had been working, I had been a contributor basically everywhere I was doing C NBC, I was doing Yahoo, I was doing Fox. I was doing CNN as a television guest and C NBC made me an offer to be exclusive. It was really more of a demand than an offer. And I was not very comfortable with that.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And as this is going on, Bloomberg reached out for me to start writing for them and they give me a tour of the place. And hey, here’s our, here’s our, our television studios. Would you like a TV show? And my answer was no financial television is awful.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You, nobody needs a TV show to watch paint dry or grass grow. But that’s essential. Essentially, here’s all this storm, about the day to day when you have to think in decades or, or years. What happened on a Tuesday is, is not relevant to someone retiring in 2034. It doesn’t mean anything to them. Well, what do you wanna do?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Well, I want to sit down with successful intelligent people and have an adult conversation about who they are and how they got that way and I want it to be long form and, and Bloomberg said, what, what do you mean, like long form, like 10 minutes, 12 minutes. No, like two hours. And everybody laughed. And so they said, tell you what we need 42 minutes for an hour of radio. You give us 42 minutes, right.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And we will, have a way to, turn that into a, full, hour, traffic sports news, weather commercials is an hour. If you go beyond the 42 minutes, we don’t care, we’ll just put the whole thing up on, on the website. And so we cut that deal towards the end of, the third quarter of 2013 and we started recording them over the summer of 2014. The first year is pretty awful.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I go back every now and then and listen to them and they’re, they’re really horrible.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: After, you know, nearly 500 of them, you get a little better.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, in the beginning it was just me working my way through my contact list, my, my personal rolodex friends, anybody I could talk into, hey, I need you for 90 minutes. Can you swing by Bloomberg? Sure. And so the first year was pretty much that, eventually someone said I can’t help but notice that all of your podcasts are a, all of your buddies and b, a bunch of white guys.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Yeah, that’s because the only people I’Ve been able to talk into coming, well, you should think about trying to expand that. I’m like, all right, not a terrible idea. And I think it was the Bill gross.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I, I ended up getting a hold of the Pimco bonus pool in 2014, 15, something like that and published it at Bloomberg and it was like the most read story for six months and, and, you know, Bill gross got a $300 million bonus that year and Mohammad Larian was 230 you know, down the list of everybody at Pimco.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so, back and forth with gross after this comes out. And, he’s like, you know, you’ve made it so I can’t walk to the store to myself. I need bodyguards. Now. I’m like, hey, you know, I trade you, you lose the bodyguards, give me the 300 million, I’Ll, I’Ll deal with it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I said, why don’t you come on the show and tell, tell the story and tell what happened with Pimco? So he’s like, this is after he got fired.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He’s like, sure. So he comes on when he was in town for the Barons, round table and, that burst the dam. People. I’Ve been chasing for a long time said, yeah, folks like Cliff as and Bill mcnab of, of Vanguard and as of a U R and suddenly I’m getting these a list guests and you know it at the time, Bloomberg had no podcast.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: This was their first podcast. And it blew up and, and they kind of said, hey, maybe this podcast thing is, is gonna be big one day. And so they, you know, they, they pod I, I would like, I like to say, I podcast Bloomberg, but the takeaway was, you know, in all these situations, be it the blogs or, or writing for the Washington Post or doing the show for Bloomberg or launching the firm.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s always about an opportunity presenting itself and how do you respond to that opportunity? Can, can you, you know, take lemons and make lemonade? Can you take a little anger at the media for not knowing what seasonality is in real estate?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I remember having an argument with the editors at the Wall Street Journal and on oh five, we don’t know why people are complaining about real estate. Look at how real estate has improved from February to March to April. It’s gone up every month and it’s like, are you guys kidding me? Pull up any fucking year, every year?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It does that here’s a chart for the past 20 years. Look every the real estate. Why is that? People want to move into a new school district in order to get their kids to start the school year on whatever it is, Labor Day, September one, whatever, whatever your local start of the season is.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So naturally, contract signings and closings peak in July, August. So everybody is in place for September and look, it goes worse and worse and worse in the fall until it bottoms in December, January and then January, February, it starts ticking up again. How do I have to explain this? You guys run the biggest me and now to their credit.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: All of the media, including the Wall Street Journal has put much more senior people on it. It’s no longer, you know, they, I, I used to call it the, the economic tele, they used to take the young green reporters and, and just put them in the ghetto of being L S and Commerce Department.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s, it’s close to every most of the time. The numbers don’t matter. It’s, you know, there’s a trend and the trend will continue over time and it’s only when you get to a major shift every, you know, 357 years that it becomes interesting.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and the, so the media has gotten a lot better, but when I launched the blog in like 99 on geocities and then 2003 on tape and eventually, moved to my own domain in oh eight at wordpress, that wasn’t going on and, and I, I found myself constantly having to explain to people.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: No, what you read in, you know, fill in the blank F T Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington. It’s incorrect and here’s why. And, you know, when, when you have an opportunity, you have to find a way to, to make the best of it. So another long ass answer to your question, The podcast launched the summer of 2014.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So we’ll, we’ll come back to the issue of media because I think it, it’s a fascinating time at the moment because you know, there’s huge explosion and amount of finance written on Substack et cetera, but just on the podcast, it was interesting.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: You said, so 42 minutes to make an hour of radio, your podcasts have got quite a variable length. So you a short one will be 45 minutes. A longer one will be 75 minutes is what’s the best, what’s the, what’s the best duration for a podcast? It just depends on the guest, right?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I think it’s really a function of a combination of the guests and the audience’s tolerance to listen to my nasal drone for two hours. I, that, that’s the, the, the combination, you know, there is, there is my dirty little secret about the podcast is I have an audience of one which is me.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: People come listen. That’s great. But when I started true story, there was a fund manager, I don’t want to embarrass anybody, so I won’t mention his name, but there’s a fund manager. I interviewed, I, I wanna say 2014 2015. And he’s known for, for Buy. I, I actually, there’s nothing embarrassing about it. I can talk about. It’s Ken Fisher of Fisher investments. So he’s written numerous books.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He is the longest running Forbes columnist and his focus is low cost stocks. He’s always looking at, you know, where can we find value in small cap stocks that have the opportunity to grow? 10 2030. So I do a whole interview based on his books and his writings and to be honest, it’s a little dry and academic and, and not very boring is the word I’m looking for.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And that’s my fault, not his. And I, when we’re done, I walk him over to the green room because he has to do TV. Next and we start talking and he says, he said, so how’s it going with you guys? I have a pretty good one around a couple of years. We’re $400 million blah, blah, blah. He and I’Ll never forget.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He says, wait till you’re five years and a billion dollars. And all of a sudden everything opens up. People who can’t give you money will suddenly start talking to you and your average household size and account size will increase. Everything he says is, was dead on.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so I said, well, you been doing this a long time? How did you grow? And so we start having a, the podcast after the podcast, which was I hate when that happens. So I I’m sitting there saying to myself, oh, did you crap? The bad man that you missed the right. This is the conversation, not the one before.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I say to him, I said, you know, my bad, this is what we should have talked about. Not that that was bad. But but this is really fascinating stuff. And the next time you’re here, I want to the next time you’re here, I wanna have this exact conversation instead of having a conversation about just, you know, low price value stocks.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He said, sure. So I think it was like 18 months later, he came back and did the podcast. We should have done the first time and it was awesome. And if you listen to that podcast, it’s like, wait, I have a guy who spent 40 years building 100 plus billion dollar business and I have a Malone for two hours.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: If you listen to that, it’s me saying. All right, you’re my consultant named Ken Fisher who’s running now. He’s running, I think, close to 100 and 50 billion. And please spend the next two hours teaching me how to build a billion dollar Ria.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and literally like, that’s probably the most egregious example of me just not giving a crap and saying, I want to have this con this is the conversation I wanna have, but I’Ve been told from friends and family that, you know, most of the podcasts are, are like that if you want to use the word sincere.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’Ll take that as a compliment. They’re, they’re good because they’re sincere. If you want to use the word selfish. I, I won’t deny that because I’m asking the questions that I wanna ask. There was a period where every now and then I would ask Twitter. Hey, I’m speaking to. So and so what should I ask them?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And you get a handful of good questions. But most of the time it’s like, I don’t, don’t bother me with that crap. So, so we put a lot of time and effort and energy into researching when I, when I sit down with somebody, I know this person’s life story as well as they do.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And the conversation is going to be in depth and, you know, a recent, an example that kind of cracks me up is pre pre Trump. I think I, or maybe it was right at the beginning of 2016 before he was elected. But when Scaramucci was supporting him, mooch and I interviewed each other on two separate podcasts. And I said to him.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So you’re the guy who saved Dell? I never hear anybody talking about this. Let, let, let’s, let’s discuss that when you were a young target Goldman Sachs, tell us how you saved Dell after their currency blow up. And there’s like a long pause. He’s like, how the hell do you know about that?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I, well, you and I have had drunken conversations where you alluded to it, but it’s not private, it’s semipublic. You just have to dig deep and find it. And we found it. And so he told the story about as a young guy in a trading desk on, on an investment banking desk. Nobody at Goldman Sachs cared about Dell.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: In, in the early nineties, they were small. They were not relevant. What do we want to waste on time with a $500 million company? Well, he did and he’s, you know, Dell, Michael Dell has been his client for, you know, the 30 years since, it was a really interesting story.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Michael Dell has had some very interesting people working for him and just on a project with, with a spinoff of one of his, officers, very, very talented people. But the, so you’ve had a huge number of people on the podcast is partly about you, partly about the guest. You do a lot of work. I mean, how long does it take you to prepare for a podcast?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, let’s see.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I have a research assistant who puts a couple of hours in. If there’s a book or two, I’Ll read all the books. If it’s someone like Howard Mars or Ray Dalio, I’Ll also read a couple of years of their quarterly or monthly research pieces.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: The two things I really try desperately to avoid, I will not listen to a podcast. They have done because I don’t want to either purposefully or accidentally lift somebody else’s question or go in an area that somebody else has, has gone. You know, one of the things that makes Masters In Business a little different than the typical podcast is that it’s recorded for both radio broadcast.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So Bloomberg has, you know, dozens of stations and 1000 affiliates and X M satellite. So it’s gotta be recorded in four segments that are hard stop for broadcast. Seven minutes, six minutes, eight, I’m sorry, seven minutes, eight minutes, 6, 25 11 30 are the four segments. And so the, you know, the editors do good are the ones who make that tight. So, and then whatever else is left over.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so that’s allowed me to create sort of an arc of a narrative where it’s intro and background, what they’re known for best in the second segment. The third segment is their book or whatever they’re promoting at the moment. And the fourth segment is now apply all that to today. And how does that work? And then the fifth segment is everything else. Plus my five favorite questions I ask everybody.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so that, that’s kind of that arc has kind of allowed me to say here’s how you’re researching and writing questions. I don’t read written questions. I kind of have topics and bullet points and some of my favorite interviews are where it just goes off the rails. And you kind of throw the script away.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Shaath is probably a great example. He came out of the gates hot and I’m like, you know, I kind of just tossed the papers away and said, all right, let’s, let’s push back on this. Tell me about that. What about this?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And it worked out, you know, that happens to be one of my favorite podcasts of, of the pandemic was that hugely listened to Because I understand that his interview with Patrick O’Shaughnessy was like their top ever podcast. I don’t know if it was the top one, but it was, it was the biggest one of 20 21. Let me double check if I got the Dateline on that also.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: You I mean, you’ve had some so many amazing guests that it would be very hard for somebody to, you know, to, to stand out, I guess. But I mean, you’ve got also a very wide range of people.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So you’ve got journalists, you’ve got investors, you’ve got venture capitalists, you’ve got authors, I mean, private equity, behavioral finance academics, CEO S it, it’s anybody that I think we can learn from it and is interesting is who I wanna speak to and how, so how did you choose them?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: All right. So, there was a book which was also a blog and a podcast a couple of years ago called You Are Not So Smart. And David Mccraney is the Science journalist who was writing that. And then he did a subsequent sequel that I wanna say it was like late two thousands, early 20 tens.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And the sequel to that was you are less dumb now. And it, it’s a little bit about behavioral finance and, and fact checking and how to not let your biases and cognitive dissonance affect how you think. And here’s how to be more right, here’s how to be less dumb.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And he has a subsequent series of experiences where he comes to realize, hey, if you want to persuade people, if you want to change minds, fact checking doesn’t do it, wagging a finger at people, doesn’t do it calling people stupid.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Hey, go figure, saying to somebody you’re a fucking idiot is not gonna change their mind, especially about a deeply held belief that is supported by their social community. And that is a core part of their intellectual self, of sense, sense of self or sense of, of self, of sense either.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and so he starts researching anti vaster flat Arthurs Westborough Baptist people, anti LGBT marriage. And essentially stumbles into this really interesting and rapidly growing field of persuasion influence, changing minds, not the Bob Chani persuasion appro discussion, which is a deep dive into how do people feel obligated?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: How do people sort of make those how, how do you, how do sales people successfully talk people into transactions? But if you’re against marriage, equality. If you’re against gay marriage, how can we persuade you that your position is not good?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so when this new book came out, how minds changed the art and science of, opinion, belief and persuasion right up my alley. I’m, I’m gonna read it. I reach out to him. Hey, when are you in New York? I’m in New York. In September. Great. Let’s, let’s get you on the show. I, I it’s that simple of the book here. It must be downstairs.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I’m in the midst of redoing the office. So everything’s kind of, as you can see is kind of a mess of stacking up books. But but it, it’s that simple. It’s Albert Winger is a V C at Union Square Ventures. I’Ve been chasing Fred Wilson for years. I have a couple of white whales. Top of that list is Jim Simons.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Next in that list is Michael Bloomberg who when the podcast first launched, said to me, let me know when you get to 500 I’Ll come do it. And so I’m, I’m not that far away. It’s like, hey, Mike, you said you would do it after 500. We’re, we’re getting up there, we’re pretty close.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And there’s a handful of other white whales that, that I’Ve been been chasing.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But usually it’s just somebody I want to sit down and have a conversation with I was chasing Ray Dalio. No bullshit for almost a decade.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I met him at some Bloomberg event before I was doing anything with Bloomberg. I wanna say 11 or 12. And just, just said, hey, it was a whole long crazy story. I’Ll spare you the details. Hey, I just want to say thank you for being the only person on Wall Street who not only admits errors but you know, starts uses as part of their process.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: This was pre principles. And he turns to me and says, what do you do? And I start talking to him and he goes, how are you using this information? I said, well, I, I write a website and every year I publish my Mia culp, here’s what I got wrong last year and here’s what I learned from it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And so we start chatting and, you know, when I finally got him five years later, when principles or seven years later, when principles came out, I had been chasing him for a couple of years and, and, and I, I didn’t know what his pr people were doing. They were always sending him to these like, just weird, not good events.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Ray is an interesting guy and you really need the right format to let him shine and they just weren’t doing. And I was like, guys, I know his stuff. I’Ve, I’Ve read his works. I, I, I, I’m not, I’m not gonna be so egotistical as to say, nobody can interview Ray but me, but I know him as well as anybody else. Please. Please, please let me show you and nowhere went nowhere for three years.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And then one day I’m on Amazon and you know, new books coming out this fall and there it is Principles by Ray Dalio. I immediately shut off. Hey, this book is publishing September 30th. Let’s get Ray in the middle of September and we’ll, we’ll publish it. The podcast. The same day the book comes out and they said yes.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And when, so we did a pre call and at the end of the call, I say, you know, you and I met at Saint Pat’s like at Saint Paul’s at a event. No, I have no idea. Oh, all right. So when he sees me at Bloomberg, now I remember you. Yes, I remember Saint Paul’s. Yeah. And he was a kind of difficult interview generally, but he was just so comfortable and relaxed.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It was a fantastic conversation. So some of it is being prepared. Some of it is understanding when you have a guy who’s, or, or a girl, super intelligent or a little quirky and a little difficult to get to relax, you have to make them feel comfortable. And so, so that’s part of my secret sauce.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And you’ve had a on twice, Michael Lewis on three Times. Is that four Times?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Well, three Times plus I interviewed him at the inside ETF conference in Florida. And we posted that as a, as an ETF, as a, I’m sorry, from the ETF conference. We post published that as a podcast.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I did, a, a couple with, David Booth and we published those, plus one live with him and Gene Farmer.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And we published that as a podcast. I think I’Ve done like three or four different remote ones that we’ve put up as, as live podcasts. I did Ray live and, and I did Howard Marks live also. I’Ve had Howard on a few Times and he’s another fascinating guy.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Yeah, he and, and incredibly modest when you think about what he’s achieved is just extraordinary how, how humble he is.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I love, I had, I had to pull the story out of him. But in oh seven, they had just closed the new funds like late oh six, early oh seven. And as things get worse and worse, he reaches out to maybe it was oh late oh five, early oh six and it was late oh six, early oh seven. He reaches out or it could have been late oh seven.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He reaches out to his limited partners and says, hey, everything I look at in credit is going to hell. And I’m super excited that there’s gonna be an opportunity to buy distress, distressed credit at a once in a lifetime price. Send me a few billion dollars and they did. And the numbers from that fund were like 19%. It’s something insane for distressed fixed income.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Again, life is about when opportunity presents itself rising to the challenge and, and taking advantage of that opportunity.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: What is the Warren Buffett phrase? When it rains gold, put out a bucket. Not a th it’s very, it’s just difficult to do it. You need to be, you need to be brave. So, what is, I mean, apart from not coming on your podcast, what’s Michael Bloomberg like to work for?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I believe.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Yeah, the Bloomberg pays top dollar. The, the space, the Bloomberg HQ is, you know, absolutely. A modern cutting edge building. The elevators go up to six in order to create that serendipitous collisions of everybody. Everybody has to pass through that floor. It’s the floor where the famous food court is the cappuccino makers, all the organic fruit and they serve breakfast and they serve lunch.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So if you’re there at seven AM, there’s, you know, yogurt fruit cereal if you’re there at noon. And, and I, I knowing how they analyze data, I know that somebody has looked at those numbers and said, well, it cost us, you know, a million dollars a week, but we get $6 million in productivity.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I find my studio is literally right outside Mike’s office which is a, a cubicle. Now, he’s got a bigger cubicle than most. And a, a conference room and a, a table and four assistants outside where he sits. But he’s right there.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And my favorite thing in the world, my favorite thing in the world is when I have a guest who I know, either knows him or they’ve worked together. I’Ll circle around with one of his assistants and say, hey, I have Ray Dalio here today.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m gonna, he wants to say hi to, to Mike and once the assistant goes, oh, they saw each other at dinner the other night, they’re fine and I’m like, too bad, I’Ll bring them and so I’Ll walk Ray over and I’Ll just, I’Ll just sit there, let the two of them talk and I am like, you know, the cat that ate the canary, they’re, they’re talking and I’m just sitting there.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I did it, I must, I must do it like every 10th interview, so I don’t do it all the time. But Albert Winger was somebody recently.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Because they’ve Bloomberg has a climate fund that they invest in and Winger runs a climate fund also. And I’m trying to remember Union Square Ventures is the name of it. I just think of it as us. V and I have to remember what the acronym stands for.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I’Ve done it, you know, with, with a bunch of people and it’s always, it’s always fascinating to, he he’s, I, I think people are intimidated by him and I’Ve, and I’Ve interviewed enough Nobel Laureates and billionaires and CEO S that I don’t give a crap.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I, I don’t really, you know, I, I, I think the secret is if you treat them like a person and not like a celebrity, they, they’re appreciative of it. So I’m, I’m prepping for a podcast the day after Bloomberg withdraws from the presidential race. And, it, it, this is like, you know, pretty mid COVID.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m in the building. It’s late, I guess it’s late 2020 or it was during the, the window when, you know, before things got bad in the fall again.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And he wait, he just stepped, stepped out and endorsed Biden yesterday. What the hell is he doing here? So I run out of my studio and I’m like, Mike, Mike and I go, dude, what are you, what are you doing here? You, you just have been on the road for six months. Why don’t you want to take it to like, go relax somewhere, go play golf. He’s like, listen, it’s a grind and this and that.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But I, the way my process works is I need to get back into familiar circumstances. Kind of find my level, be very comfortable, then I’Ll take some time off. But I, because I have other stuff planned in the future. I just, like, I’m shocked that I’m getting this from him. And that thought comes into my head if I, I’m having a conversation, where you, where I’m calling Mike Bloomberg, dude.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And he’s like, dude, what are you doing here? He’s like, I had to get back to work. I had to get back into the swing of things. That’s how I, you know, that’s how I find my, my sense, my normal and we talk for five minutes. I’m like, and he’s like, who do you have on this weekend?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I tell him and I’m like, all right, well, see you around, see him around the building and off he goes and as I’m walking back to the studio, I’m like, did I just like, really get myself fired or was that talking to him the way I would talk to anybody else?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: What he appreciates and, and, you know, arguably if he had people around him who said, hey, here’s what they’re gonna say to you and brace yourself, maybe one would have gone further in the process. So I, I think people need to, to be treated like normal human beings and not billionaire celebrities. And hey, one day that’ll get me in trouble. But so far, you know, working out, you still, you’re still working there.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So, ok, do you ever worry that, you know, there’ll be a backlash against Bloomberg because it’s owned by one individual and it’s acquiring, you know, a much greater presence, particularly in the financial media. So if I look at my country in the UK.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Bloomberg has hoovered up some of the best journalists and, you know, in a time when the media is, is short of talent, short of money, nobody can compete in this space. Is that, is that going to be a problem?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So there’s no shortage of talent, but there is a shortage of money, right. The problem is there are lots and lots of talented journalists but, you know, local journalism is going away, replaced by, you know, Craigslist, Ebay, you know, Zillow and Cara, all the things that used to drive, you know, remember, journalism was driven by the business side, which is advertising classified subscriptions, et cetera.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Bloomberg has an advantage that its journalism is driven by AAA not inexpensive data service sold to Wall Street. And so the good news is they’re doing amazing, amazing work. The, the challenge for everyone else is what do you do if you don’t have a $10 billion tech company attached to your journalistic enterprise?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Now, in some instances, there’s a benevolent overlord, like Jeff Bezos in the Washington Post or arguably the Sulzberger family and The New York Times. I actually the two things I I told Mike to do, by the way, he doesn’t listen to anything I say. So I, I freely share my advice with billionaires and, and they ignore me.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So once was Mike, why don’t you buy the New York Knicks? The Dolans are the fucking worst. I, I, I mean, they got lucky with hockey but they don’t know anything about running a basketball team. They’re terrible. All of New York would love you and it will only cost you a billion or $2 billion to do this.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I have no interest in owning a sports team. Oh, ok. The second idea was you should buy The New York Times. Right. And, and make Bloomberg, the business section of the Times. And they’re enormously influential, maybe not globally, but certainly in the United States. And, you could turn them into a global entity.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s like, yeah, I don’t really care about the Times he goes, I looked at the F T at one point in time and we never, I mean, I think that that’s pretty public that he, was thinking about taking a run at the Financial Times way back when, but, you know, to answer your question, he’s a fascinating guy. He’s really interesting.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: He’s in work every day, suit and tie. He is there every day. He is running the place. He is large and in charge and God bless him. I think he’s almost 80. And, you know, there aren’t that many people, late seventies, early eighties who go into work because they love it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: We just back to what we talked about earlier that, that he wants to be there because it’s what he loves to do. He’s like, he’s teeing up the firm for when he’s no longer coming in every day.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But he loves what he does and he doesn’t. And you, you gotta appreciate a guy who, hey, this is what I do and I’m, I’m happy to, happy to keep doing it.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: It’s impressive. And do you think subs stack and the growth of this sort of individual journalism? Do you think that’s going to be a big thing in finance? I mean, is there are lots and lots of subs finance Substack?

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But do you think it’s enduring?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, so this, you know, the, the pendulum swings back and forth time and again. So you go back 25 years ago when financial journalism was pretty green, pretty naive, not very informative. I don’t wanna say it was like apr newswire but it, it, it could have benefited from some experience and skepticism and then go forward a couple of years later and, and there are lots of blogs and lots of other entities.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You know, the finance blogs really started in academia more than Wall Street. I, I was fortunate when I was working at a firm called Maxim Group that they let me publish every day.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I mean, most firms would tell you they were running a seven or $8 billion most firms would say under no circumstances, their rules were, you can’t make buy or sell recommendations for individual stocks in public. Other than that you wanna just bullshit about the economy, the markets, whatever have at it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, so I was really, again, another really lucky situation and, and you take advantage of the opportunity so back and forth with finance and, and journalism and now you financial journalism gets much better and then suddenly the business model changes and now they’re all these individuals at the same time, the rise of propaganda, willful misinformation, trolling attempts to sell bullshit to the public, whether it’s finance, political N F T s, whatever it is, the ability to understand what is worth reading and what is not worth reading has always been challenging, but it’s never been more important than today and it’s never been more difficult.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I, I get a about, about a half dozen subs stacks and there’s a couple, like I’Ll, every time Sam Rowe publishes, I’Ll read it.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Every time there’s a filled plate of the baddest or publishes, I’Ll, I’Ll read that but the other dozen or so subs stacks, I get, it’s just too much. And the problem with publishing on a daily or weekly basis is the name, the Daily Beast that must be fed.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: That that’s where that comes from. You know, there are sometimes when you just ain’t got a whole lot to say and there’s no reason to publish just because the paper has to go to print every day at three AM. But, but that’s how we operate.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I don’t feel like I’m being robbed if a Substack I subscribe to, doesn’t get me something twice a week. If it’s finance or market related, I feel they’re being more respectful of my, attention and limited time and basically saying to me all right, we’ll, we’ll let you, do this when, when you can.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But in the meantime, he, here’s where you are and here’s what, what, I think is worthwhile. So I agree. I, I just don’t know how this plays out. I mean, are we gonna become a Nation of freelance journalists where I have to put together? Here’s my science guy, here’s my health guy.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Here’s my market guy. Here’s my economics guy. That’s a lot of work curating. That is a lot of work. This is what newspapers do, which is what media does. And so, when I do my daily reads, I clip my way through 50 different sources each morning.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, you know, there’s a lot of redundancy, a lot of repetitiveness.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: No, sure. I, I do a weekly subs. I try and make it so that it’s evergreen. So tell me if, if I were a young student saying I wanted to be Barry Rick in the future, what book or books would you recommend to me?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Well, first I would talk you out of trying to be Barry R in the future. That was a, that would be a terrible, terrible mistake. But a couple of books.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m gonna give you two that are a little off the beaten path that, that aren’t typical.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: One is Bull by, I think her name is Maggie Mayar. It’s a story of the eighties and nineties Bull Market and it’s just incredibly instructive. It just shows you how, you know, markets evolve, how things change, how, how, how things progress and it’s how, how really important it is to be a to understand what’s going on in the world. And to understand the value of, of time.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, so that’s one book.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And then the sort of the, the market corollary to that is a book called Black Monday by Tim Metz that really gives you the history of what led up to the 87 crash and what happens before, during and after. And I think those two books will give you as much market insight even though it’s stuff that happened 30 40 years ago, but it’s, it’s all transferrable forward.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And, and then the, the other book would have to be something that would tell you about who we are and how we got that way and, and why your brain is so ill suited for making decisions in capital markets. And, you know, there’s a million books, predictably irrational thinking fast and slow.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I could give you the psychology of money there, there’s tons and tons, but I wanna go off the beaten path. So I’m gonna say Last Ape Standing, which is a book about how Homo Sapiens managed to outwit all of the other entities that were competing with human beings to actually be a a species. And I, I, I found that to be just a fascinating science background.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It, it’s sort of the predecessor book to all of the behavioral finance books that you’ve come to know and love. And finally, one more book that I, I think is worth reading because it just comes back to the theme of rising to the moment when opportunity presents itself. And it’s called How To Invent Everything. A survival guide for the stranded time traveler.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And the conceit of the book is we’re a company, we make time travel machines and we rent it out and they’re very safe, they rarely ever break down. But in the event that your time machine has you stuck in a different era, here’s a handbook that will show you how to invent all the things that you’ll need to survive.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And it’s essentially the history of human invention and ingenuity. And, and one of the most fascinating takeaways is how many inventions could have been invented decades or even centuries earlier. If someone just stopped to think about it, it wasn’t like the technology didn’t exist. We just, no one said, well put this spring with that lever and look what happens.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: A, a similar book, but a very a much more historically focused book is a, a world and only by fire, which just shows you the downside of tribalism and ideology and orthodoxy that, you know, 1000 years humans didn’t progress from like 400 to 1400 because this corrupt, at least in, in the eastern world, the in the western world, in the east, they were progressing on their, their own.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But Europe just froze for 1000 years when they should have been making massive progress because of this lavish addiction to AAA bad thinking process.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: It, it’s funny actually, on the subject of invention, it’s funny how often something gets invented by two people around a very similar time because it just the, the, the nature of life has been such that this something comes into focus and, you know, you would imagine, you know, you imagine that’s like really odd.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I, I it’s something I, I, we’re keen to study further and tell me you, one of the things you’ve been asking people is what they’re watching on Netflix. What was your favorite? And your worst recommendation from my guest?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I, I don’t remember who told me what. So this may or may not be from a guest or it may not be something I stumbled onto myself.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And there is no favorite, but I’Ll give you three favorites.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I, I, I miss Mad Men when it first came around. So we streamed that and I literally had to call someone who I knew lived through that era and said, hey, how over the top is this depiction of Mad Men? And they’re like dead on. Absolutely accurate. I’m like, really? It looks like a wild exaggeration of racism.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Anti-semitism, misogyny, homophobia. They’re like, no, that’s how it was. I’m like, oh, all right. So that was, that was a fascinating facet, really well done. And if you haven’t seen it, it’s, it’s must watch. And then one from Amazon, one from Netflix, Mozart in the Jungle was just amazing. Just if you like music, just spectacular.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Just spectacular about a South American conductor who comes to the New York Philharmonic. And I just loved it. And then a surprise that I just stumbled onto by accident was something called the magicians, which started off in, in one direction and just kind of went in a totally different direction and really, really fascinating.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: There’s, there’s a list of 100 everything from the expanse to, you know, the crown, but I don’t want to give people stuff that they probably saw.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: That’s been fantastic. And it, it’s been so interesting talking to you. I’Ve been a, you know, a massive fan of the podcast for, for years. And, you know, I, I’m, I’m on podcast number 15, 16 now and I, you know, I can’t imagine doing 500.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I, I find it very, very difficult thing to do and you’ve made it incredibly easy. Thank you so much for coming on. I will put in the show notes where people can find you. Is there any anything that you would like to say before we finish?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I don’t know you got another hour. I, I could keep doing it. You know, the in the beginning, the one I’m gonna say something to you as a podcaster. So first like everything else in the world, preparation, hard work practice just makes you better. Yeah, I’m glad you like Masters In Business. I am not being, you know, this is not a fake humility or, or artificial, you know, oh, look how coy he is pretending he sucked the first.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Like, I don’t know, 30 40 they’re unlistenable every week. Al Mays who used to be the head of Bloomberg Radio and television just retired this month. He would pull me aside and he would basically, you know, mentor me about radio and say now I know you have a list of topics you want to get to and a list of questions you wanna ask.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But when a guest tells you, they murdered their wife and she’s buried in the basement. You can’t just say uh-huh and go on to the next question you have to follow, you have to listen to what they’re saying and follow up on that. And I was like, wait, I gotta listen to the guests. I’m not just reading a list of questions. Ok? Let me, let me see if I can.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So that’s number one and, and number two, you know, you would be surprised at how organic and natural it becomes 200 episodes in 100 and 50 episodes in because like everything else, it’s a skill and the more you learn how to do it, the more you practice, the better you get.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So my first, I don’t know, I’m not exaggerating when I say 30 40 50 were just horrific. I’m glad the 1st 38 are not on itunes, they’re on my site and I don’t think you can find them without really digging in.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: They, they were really bad and hey, you know, it’s a gradual curve and then the hockey stick part comes when you’re really prepped, you know, your guest as well as anybody does and you’re comfortable working on the fly.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And I have just, you know, if, if I go into an interview and I don’t know the answers to each of the questions I’Ve written down or each of the topics I have, better than they do. I, I, I’m unprepared and I failed and, and I think guests appreciate that.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: No, I, I mean, I, I do, I spend a lot of time on, on Pratt my, the podcast. I do that is, so I do a monthly podcast and the one that’s current in September is we’re recording, this is with Sir Clive Woodward, who managed the England rugby team and took him from number six in the world to number one.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And it was quite amazing because I hadn’t appreciated how much overlap there was between sport and business and he really explains it incredibly well, but he’s written two books, had a biography written about him and has done dozens of podcasts. And unlike you, I listen to the podcast because I don’t want to ask the same questions.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So I just, I just interviewed Carson Block last week and Carson has been on everybody’s podcast on everyone and everybody always ask them. Well, how did you get into the industry? So I said to Carson, let’s not talk about that because you’ve, you’ve, it’s a, it’s a fascinating story, but you’ve done it many, many Times.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But, I do, you know, I think out of respect for your guest, you’ve got to spend a lot of time preparing and you’ve got to go in and prepare it. But Barry, it’s been a pleasure talking to you if you’re ever in London. I hope you’re gonna look me up. Thank you very much.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when Barry agreed to come to the show. I hadn’t realized that he made his name as a market pundit and that he would have so many stories to tell about life outside of the podcast.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: It was so interesting to chat to him and I came away wondering if perhaps as a podcast force you have a lot to say and you don’t get much opportunity to say it.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: One thing’s for sure though, I’Ll be dead before I hit 200 podcasts. So I better get up the learning curve faster. Barry and I share a passion for cars. And if you like cars too, there is a wonderful bonus. 10 minutes coming up because that’s how long it took. Barry to explain the contents of his garage. Thanks for listening.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I wanna ask you what you’re driving.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You live in New York or you live in, I live in the suburbs of New York City.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I live in the north shore of Long Island.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: What, what are you driving these days?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I don’t know how to answer that. Should I tell you what I drove last night or what? I’m gonna drive tomorrow, or, or later today. So, what, what’s in the garage? So I have a bunch of things in the garage.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I have an F J 40 which I have up for sale in 19 seventies.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Toyota truck that I rebuilt in Colombia and shipped up. It started in January 2020 and then it got halted during the pandemic. Then we restarted the following year. It came up in December. It took like three months to get through the port in Miami.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m actually selling that. I got that from my wife because we have a 2014 Orange Jeep Rubicon. That, it was a salvage title. I bought a couple of years best 20 grand I ever spent. And, you go to buy a used Jeep before the pandemic. I don’t mean during the Pande. So my house is on the top of a Hill which is very twisty.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And our all Wheel drive infinity. 10 years ago, nine years ago, going up the Hill in the rain that you can hear the tires slipping. And I’m like, I guess I need something a little beefier than this. So I went to buy a new Jeep. They’re asking five grand over list. Then I went to buy a huge Jeep.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s essentially the same price as new and I found a one year. So one of the car guys I knew was was a salvage title rebuilder. He would buy these cars. This was before Sandy. No, this was after Sandy. So it was, but it was a, it’s a 2013 that I bought in 2014. So it wasn’t a Sandy car. It was after Superstorm, Sandy.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And it was a salvage title due to flood. And so what he had done was he replaced all the electrical. There are like three electrical. Ho Jeep is a, is a hamster wheel. It’s a very simple. That’s what gives you your, your power. It’s not like the BMW M cars that are just rolling computers.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: That’s another car that’s in the garage. But, so I bought a year old salvage title, Jeep. It’s pretty much the radio died five years later. But other than that, I’Ve had no, no issues.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And the F J was supposed to replace the Jeep. And the wife is like This F J is a tin can. I’m gonna stick with the Jeep. Ok.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I got a, I replaced a Porsche mcconn three years ago with a BMW X Four. I love the Macon s my wife didn’t like it. And the only problem I had is I went through a lot tires and brakes because you drive it like a Porsche.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But it’s a truck so not, not tires brakes.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: That was replaced with a BMW X Four which just came off lease that I bought off lease. I wasn’t planning on buying it off lease, but they go for now used, three years old. They’re going for 55 60 with 40,000 miles. I have 18,000 miles. It cost me 38 to buy. So I’m like, all right, I’Ll, I’Ll have to buy this. It’s silly.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Speaking of Porsches, I, I’m not a crazy Porsche guy.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But I like the idea of taking like a seventies eighties era classic Porsche with 100 and 50,000 miles on it and pulling out the 30 or 3.2 flat six engine and replacing it with a Tesla engine, putting batteries up front and all. Yeah.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I’m in the middle of that right now. That’s gonna take about a year. That’s, I still haven’t gotten the donor base car, but I’m in the queue for the guys that do that. So sometime in the spring I have to get a car to them.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: And then what’s in the garage are my, well, I got the M Six convertible.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s a 2014. It came off lease in Indianapolis in 2017. It was the only blue with an Oyster interior that was available for sale. In fact, it was the only convertible with a stick shift, M Six that was available for sale.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I love buying cars for half of MS R P. So that’s a pricey car that, that I got pretty inexpensively. And then my other two pandemic cars were in the beginning of the pan. So I, I’m on cars and bids and bring a trailer and I’m on all the auction sites all the time and I’m constantly bidding for cars and I, I actually used to use my name.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So I was the, my user name was Ritholtz until a, a client called the office and asked one of my partners, why is Barry bidding a million dollars for a car or are, are our fees too high? And I’m like, no, that’s a $5 million car. It was because, it wasn’t, it wasn’t Paul Newman’s 300 S L but it was like something like that that I think was gonna go for two or 2.5 million.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It ended up going for over three. And I’m like, no, I’m, if I get this car for a million dollars, I will sell this for three million and, then go buy my own a lesser S L. It’s like I, I’m so far off the market so I had to change my name and I won’t, will not reveal that because silly.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But I don’t have, I don’t wanna have to explain to a client why I’m bidding. So I’m always, I, I’m at the other day, I, I bid $100,000 for a mclaren that ended up going for 600 I’m constantly bidding on cars and I’m usually way under the market during the early months of the pandemic.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It was like end of March, early April, New York State Department Of Motor Vehicles is closed. There’s nobody on the road and I bid on an Audi R eight with a gated shifter and the mid engine big 400 plus horsepower engine and I’m sitting in the backyard and my wife comes out and hands me the phone. She goes, it’s John from Utah. John from Utah.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s John from Utah.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Hey, John Barry, congratulations on the car. Which car? The Audi and I’m like, oh, really? I’m shocked, I’m thinking, I’m 20 $30,000 away from the market. So that was a pain in the ass to get insured. It was easy to get inspected. It was difficult to have it shipped because nobody was going anywhere and DMV was closed. So, and it wasn’t coming from like a dealer that could give me a paper license plate.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: So, for the first two or three months I had that car, I was driving around with a stack of papers showing that it wasn’t stolen. I didn’t have registration. I didn’t have plates. I, but I had insurance and inspection and I had the whole conversation in my head mapped out with the cops. You don’t understand. I’m paying insurance. I bought the car. DMV is closed. What am I supposed to do?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I have to drive around. You never get stopped and I never got stopped. Until way afterwards afterwards I got, I actually got stopped doing 37 a 30 going downhill and neutral. And I said to the cop, look at this car. You can’t give me a 37 or 30. I won’t be able to show my face anywhere. Can you make it like 75 a 30? It’s, it’s embarrassing. 37 to 30. The guy laughed so hard. All right. Go.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Just, just you, you’re such a sales person, aren’t you?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: No, no, it’s not by the way last car c two Corvette, a 67 vette in blue and white that you know, every time every new car, every new project is down the rabbit hole, like you become an expert in the space.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Tell me what I need to know about this space and about this car. And so you buy the books. It’s like a, it’s called the Black Book for Corvette. It’s every year, every option every and so I find the exact combination of what I want.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: Blue white interior stick shift 3 27. I literally find it in Florida and it’s double market price. And I call a guy and say, look, I’m not looking to be an asshole, but this car should be about half. Just what am I missing here, just educate me. And the guy kind of sighs and he says, look, it’s a consignment.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: It’s for a guy that we’re buying a Bugatti for and he’s selling this and he redid it, he put, you know, 200,000 into it. I’m like, listen, if you put 200,000 into a car that should be 65 75 it’s no reason to try ask, you know, a crazy amount of money.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I’m like, tell you what, when he is, becomes realistic and wants to sell it at market, I’m a buyer. But until then, you know, that’s double what it should be. And like four months later, I get a phone call. Hey, were you serious about that car? Yeah, if you’re a market price, what do you, what would he take?

BARRY RITHOLTZ: You know what I offered last time? And he’s like, yes, I’m like, ok, let me get a shipper. I’m gonna send someone to inspect it and if it checks out and next thing I know I end up with, so I’Ve run out of garage space so I’m pretty much done. My options are stop buying cars, sell a car or build a garage.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Those are my or you could move, you could move home.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: But you know, the funny thing is for someone who’s an investor, everything I’Ve ever bought I could sell for more than I paid for. I don’t go out, I don’t leverage myself. For a while when I was the, I was financing the cars at 2.9%. You know, a five year loan, you pay them off in six months or a year.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: I was doing that because it just money was free. Now that money is free. No longer free. The last car I bought, I just wrote a check and paid cash. Oh, my Panama, my wife’s Panama. I bought her a car at auction which I proceeded six months later to total at five miles an hour.

BARRY RITHOLTZ: The insurance company paid us 20 more than we paid for it. That’s how much the market had gone up.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: This podcast is aimed at serious and aspiring equity investors. I hope you enjoyed it. And if so, please leave us a review on Apple podcast and please check out our other great content on the website behind the balance sheet dot com.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Did I mention the free sub stack? Thanks for listening.