10 things I’ve learned from The Motley Fool Australia

If you haven’t already read part one of this series, you can find it here.

10 things I’ve learned from The Motley Fool Australia

  1. Matt Joass, CFA: An investment in yourself pays the best dividends

From the outside, Matt Joass, CFA, appears to have risen quickly through the ranks to become one of The Motley Fool’s top investment advisors. From the inside, however, it’s easy to see why.  

Matt taught me it takes hard work, diligence, and sacrifice to get where you want to be in the investing game. You need not have completed the world’s toughest finance qualification, but he is evidence of the fact that an investment in oneself is the best we’ll ever make. Matt is one of the very best investors I know — yet it appears he’s only getting better.

  1. Ryan Newman: Patience

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” — Warren Buffett.

I’ve been privileged to work alongside some great people, and Ryan is no exception. He’s taught me many things, but one thing I’ll carry with me is that good things take time – both personally and professionally.

Of course, recognising we’ve made a mistake is important, but allowing our winners to run is vital to share market success. Ryan takes pride in heeding the lessons of others gone before him, I think it’s an invaluable trait for young professionals in any field.

  1. Joe Magyer, CFA: ‘Analyst’ does not equal ‘investor’

Joe, The Motley Fool’s Director of Research and all round investing wunderkind, once said to me (and I paraphrase): “I’ve met great analysts who are average investors, and great investors who are average analysts.”

Perhaps like most people, I never considered the ‘analyst’ and ‘investor’ to be independent of one another because our major newspapers, universities and television studios so often pin these high profile ‘analysts’ up as experts with irrefutable knowledge and opinion.

However, you need not be able to run 100 spreadsheets in 1,000 different ways to be a successful investor.

  1. Joe Magyer, CFA: A variant perception matters

One key tenet of Joe’s (successful) investing philosophy is the ability to occupy a position of variant perception. Whether that be an out-of-favour market darling, a company with an unappreciated business whose potential is outside the time horizon of ordinary analysts, a new company to the market, a company in an industry in which you work, or a small-cap stock with just one analyst conducting research — you are never going to beat the market in the long run by doing what everyone else is doing.

From my experience, the ability to identify these opportunities takes a load of patience and intellectual honesty. And as Joe would say, you need to know the rules of the game before you can play it.

  1. Greg Martz: Culture Kills Strategy

Culture eats strategy for lunch.

When I found The Motley Fool Australia, it was run by only a handful of people. And yet just a few years on, many fantastic people have joined the fray, and members have come from around the world.

Corporate success stories like this don’t happen by chance. They are the result of dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to uphold a company’s values and beliefs.

Indeed, you can find an (upper-case-F) Fool on television or in a national newspaper almost every day of the week, but their success stands on the shoulders of savvy business people like Greg.

He has shown me that every good company is built on the devotion of selfless unassuming professionals. And reinforced the notion that workplace culture kills strategy.

Bonus – Bruce Jackson: Be Motley but do what it takes

Bruce’s success as General Manager of The Motley Fool Australia proved to me you needn’t be some ‘stiff’ in a $10,000 suit to be successful in the world of finance. Businesses can start with an idea, but they require leaders who are talented and passionate to make them a success.

From my experience, too many company executives and managers are quick to pull a veil over or ‘window dress’ results for short-term success.

With so much uncertainty in every investment we make, Bruce has taught me we should only invest with the managers who are worthy stewards of our (limited) investment capital.

Bonus #2 – Tom Richardson: Avoid groupthink

Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest investor of all time. And yet, at 85 years old, he is still learning and improving his investing knowledge. His partner in crime, Charlie Munger, is intelligent but extremely critical.

Tom reminds me to be on the lookout for areas of improvement, whether it be in my day-to-day activities or when seeking out potential investments. While it can be hard to stomach constructive criticism, we should always aspire to improve our areas of weakness, refine our strategy, and expand our circle of competence.

Foolish takeaway

According to the 70:20:10 development model, we learn 70% from doing, 20% from others and 10% from formal education. If that’s true, we get twice as much from those around us than we do from the hard years of academia.

So we should surround ourselves with great colleagues and enjoy what we do.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned in this article. You can follow Owen on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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