From Bezos to Hastings – 3 of Our Best Interviews

We’ve been a mission-driven company since June 1993, when co-founders David and Tom Gardner mailed The Motley Fool’s inaugural newsletter. Twenty-five years later, Fools remain committed, perhaps more than ever, “To Help the World Invest – Better.” A nod to our namesake, the company is comprised of a Motley group of “Fools” collaborating to benefit stakeholders.

Following a Conscious Capitalism approach to business allows for more exploration. We’ve broadened the definition of “investing” to include other topics that matter, like philanthropy, student internships, better employee benefits, and more.

Non-traditional content makes investing – and learning – fun! Creative communication pays off, as one podcast fan wrote in:

“Thank you for providing such high quality recommendations and in-depth analysis in so many different media formats, simultaneously educating us in making better informed investing decisions, while making investing entertaining, interesting, and fun!”

FoolHQ holds a treasure trove of audio gold, so what better anniversary than the big 25 to dig through old interviews? Blast from the Radio Past, Vol. 1 was recorded for David Gardner’s Rule Breakers Investing with some of the Fool’s most-tenured. The full episode is worth a listen here.

Years of The Fool’s content is impressive to review; when it’s David and Tom Gardner, the guest could be anyone! If it’s true that a person learns something new every day, we’re lucky to be Fools.

A look back at top interviews that strayed from finance but never purpose:

1. Fred Rogers (as in Mr. Rogers) called into The Fool’s radio show in 2002. Enron (and other corporate scandals) were discussed, though Mr. Rogers’ last quote is likely the best part:

David Gardner: Mr. Rogers, since both Tom and I grew up watching your show, we’re well aware of you as a persona. That’s why I have to ask. Is Fred Rogers Fred Rogers?

Rogers: My wife says it best. People say to her, “Is he really like that?” And she said, “What you see is what you get.” … And I don’t know whether you sense that from our visit here today, but I think the greatest gift that anybody can give anybody else… As a matter of fact, the only unique gift that anybody can give is his or her honest self. You know, nobody could give you, Dave, to anybody else. Nobody could give you, Tom, to anybody else. You’re the only one who can give yourself to somebody else.

Mr. Rogers also had this to say:

What do you think it is that drives people to want far more than they could ever use or need? I, frankly, think it’s insecurity. How do we let the world know that the trappings of this life are not the things that are ultimately important for being accepted? That’s what I’ve tried to do all through the years with the Neighborhood.

You know, it’s you I like. It’s not the things you wear; it’s not the way you do your hair; but it’s you I like. The way you are right now; the way down deep inside you; not the things that hide you. Not your fancy toys. They’re just beside you. But it’s you I like. Every part of you. Your skin, your eyes, your feelings, whether old or new. I hope that you’ll remember, even when you’re feeling blue, that it’s you I like; it’s you yourself, it’s you.

2. Reed Hastings

Looking at Netflix today, The Fool’s interview with Reed Hastings is pretty cool. Here’s what Hastings had to say in 2003:

“Our focus over the next four to seven years is how do we get to $1 billion of revenue? How do we get to $100-200 million of free cash flow? And it’s about the five million subscribers or 5% of household penetration. If 5% of American households subscribe to Netflix, we’ll get there.”

3. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos was another Motley Fool Radio guest in the 90’s. In retrospect, Amazon’s success was evident from the start. Bezos aimed to carve a new niche, which he described to David and Tom:

“Sometimes people ask us, ‘Are you a book company, or a music company, or now are you a toy company?’ And we’re none of those things. We’re trying to be a customer company.

And you can sort of uniquely do that well on the internet because of the possibilities for personalization and putting each individual customer at the center of your universe. And if you can do that, you’ll have something completely new.”

Bonus: Dr. Ruth Westheimer

The 2000 Valentine’s Day Motley Fool Radio Show interview featuring Dr. Ruth was just too good:

Dr. Ruth Westheimer: If a relationship is a good one, then even if they have some worries about money, that should actually lead to intimacy, to hugging and kissing, and to say to each other, “Look, I’m here for you. I’m here for you not only when you can buy me diamonds and champagne. I’m here for you, also, when there is some trouble.”

For more notable Fool interviews, find the full podcast transcript. We promise you’ll learn (at least) one new thing!

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