Lessons From Morningstar’s Founder, Joe Mansueto

My guest this week is Joe Mansueto, the founder, longtime CEO, and current executive chairman of Morningstar, Inc.  Joe is an entrepreneur at heart. He has the gene for spotting good business ideas and building them out with the customer in mind, so it is no surprise that the story behind Morningstar’s birth and growth is both entertaining and enlightening. While there are many business lessons in this episode, there is just as much to be learned from the way Joe conducts himself. He was kind, welcoming, and humble—you’ll see what I mean. There is something timeless and classic about his journey—I hope you enjoy hearing about it as much as I did.


Books Referenced

Walden

Walking

The Money Masters

Presentation on Moats and Floats

The Financier

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Alexander Hamilton

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Completely Revised and Updated

The Systems Bible: The Beginner’s Guide to Systems Large and Small

 

Links Referenced

Morningstar

Moats and Floats by Sanjay Bakshi

 

Show Notes

2:25  – (first question) – Joe is asked how the book Walden was the inspiration for the name of the company, Morningstar.

2:51 – Walden

 

4:23 – Looking back at whether Joe returns to Thoreau and ‘Walden’, which has led him to simplify things in his life.

 

5:36 – If he had to, Joe said he would give every 22-year-old ‘Walden’ to read.

6:37 – Walking

 

6:45 – Exploring the early parts of Joe’s life, and first business ventures that eventually led him to launch Morningstar

 

8:52 – When Joe first got interested in investing and how that sparked the idea of compiling investment information

9:09 – The Money Masters

 

10:47 – Went to get some more real world experience

 

12:56 – Patrick pushes Joe on his soda selling business that he started in college

 

14:18 – How a focus on reducing transaction costs can lead to great business ideas and the first product launched by Morningstar

 

17:17 – The power of floats in launching businesses

17:21 – Presentation on Moats and Floats

19:29 – The Financier

 

20:55 – Is the ability to identify arbitrage innate or can it be learned

 

22:40 – What were the principles that were used to maintain the Morningstar brand in the beginning and over the years.

 

26:17 – What did Joe think about when he was hiring those first few fund managers for Morningstar

 

28:06 – Exploring Joe’s thoughts on some of the trends in investing, from active to passive management, or from boutique investors to larger mutual fund type companies.

 

31:06 – The origin of the Morningstar style box

 

33:55 – A look at Joe’s personal investing styles

 

35:17 – What is the importance of confidence when it comes to investing in a company and does Joe’s role with Morningstar provide him with added confidence

 

36:59 – A history of Joe’s roles and views as a capital allocator

 

40:45 – The benefits of repurchasing stocks

 

42:27 – Why do companies still favor dividends

 

43:56 – Exploring Joe’s management style and what has changed over the last 30 years

 

46:52 – Are there common traits to look for when hiring people

 

50:14 – Are there any negative screens that Joe wants to avoid when hiring people

 

51:02 – Favorite recent books/topics that Joe has explored

51:15 – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

51:46 – The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family

51:50 – Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

51:59 – Alexander Hamilton

52:56 – The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

53:01 – Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Completely Revised and Updated

 

53:07 – Exploring the darkest moments for Morningstar

 

55:18 – How does Morningstar foster innovation and not get too comfortable with their success

 

59:20 – Looking at Joe’s most memorable day at the company

 

1:02:14 – In what ways has Joe simplified his life through his daily routine

 

1:04:35 – Joe explains how he became a member of Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge.

 

1:06:12 – The importance of being able to say ‘no’.

1:08:22 – The Systems Bible: The Beginner’s Guide to Systems Large and Small

 

 

Learn More

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