Simply Brilliant Show: Episode #23 “Simplify Complex Ideas”

On this episode I talk about simplifying complex ideas and how it can liberate the mind to implement new ideas.

Hello, everybody. On this episode of the Simply Brilliant show, we’re coming to you live from the Washington Monument here in Washington, D.C. You may ask, what am I doing here in Washington, D.C.? And it’s a little bit of a story. I subscribed to a site called The Motley Fool. I’m a Fool One member, which means I access all of their different newsletters and so on.

It’s a interesting story. They started about 23 years ago by two brothers, David and Tom Gardner, and they basically try to dumb down investment methodology to the masses, and that’s sort of their business, and it’s wildly successful. And, you know, while I was an investment professional, and went to Warden, and had my MBA in finance, and worked at some of the top firms on the street, such as the Blackstone Group and Ramius Capital Group in investing, I enjoy coming to The Motley Fool event once a year and listening to their investment ideas and their methodology.

Because sometimes I think really simplifying matters and not trying to be super intellectual and super complex about ideas really helps liberate the mind and free up some goods ideas, both from an investment perspective and also emulating their best practices in growing their business. They started as two brothers 20 some odd years ago. Now they have 330 employees worldwide. They have six offices.

I took a tour of their headquarters here in Alexandria, Virginia this morning, and it’s amazing. You know, they have multiple floors. They have a real dedication to the company culture, making sure that their employees are fit mentally and physically. There’s a lot of standing desks. There’s walking treadmills. They have a wellness center. They have quiet rooms. They have a culture department. And while I think these are terrific concepts and something that, perhaps, Brilliant, over time, will move towards, you know, it’s very far-fetched from where we are today.

But I think you always want to be modeling the masters and taking a look at what’s working for other people and going into different environments. So I don’t want ideas for investments and for my business from either the Wall Street elite or from other transportation companies. I want to go look at different companies, successful ones, not successful ones, in different industries from different walks of life. And I want to evaluate it with a fresh mind and a fresh set of eyes and pick apart what I think is most interesting and most opportune and what we can employ at Brilliant.

So seeing what The Motley Fool has accomplished in their 330 people, and their headquarters here, and some of the way that they focused on culture and recruiting and the people end of it, I think is really helpful in freeing up my mind to think about some opportunities that I think we knew existed but we didn’t monetize. And so I think, if you pay attention over the next few months or quarters, you’re going to see some really interesting novel concepts that are going to be very different from anything that we’ve ever done. And I attribute that to, one, having that open mind and putting myself in positions to think about things other than just transportation.

And also having a great team that, when pushed and said, “Look, guys, this is a very linear, incremental pivot. What else can we do? What else can we monetize? Who else can we service? What else can we do?” Some awesome ideas from the rest of the team, and that’s after just a few hours of discussion. So I think, as we continue to push and push and push, you’re going to see some really interesting and terrific opportunities.

And so with that, I just wanted to let you know that we’re here, like I said, the Washington Monument. It’s an absolutely beautiful day. And please stay tuned, subscribe here, share with anybody that you would think would find this interesting, and most importantly please continue to give us the feedback. Ask any questions on Twitter or Snapchat. We’re really big on Snapchat, so we’d encourage you to ask any questions. Snap me, send me videos, send me written, whatever it is, but the more that we interface with one another, the more that we can add value through this show.