BIO: Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between start-up companies in the Wildcat Venture Partners portfolio and established high-tech enterprises.
STORY: Geoffrey was a venture partner in an investment firm that decided to delve into computer storage. The company, against Geoffrey’s advice, decided to expand the project but didn’t have enough capacity to get the product to market.
LEARNING: Think about a venture portfolio as an exercise in 10-year liquidity. Some things are better suited to incremental change.
“Think realistically about time to liquidity instead of just thinking about dominating the market.”
Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between start-up companies in the Wildcat Venture Partners portfolio and established high-tech enterprises.
Moore’s life’s work has focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations. His first book, Crossing the Chasm, focuses on the challenges start-up companies face transitioning from early adoption to mainstream customers.
Worst investment ever
In 1998, an investment firm asked Geoffrey to join as a venture partner. To which he agrees. The venture then brought in an excellent professor from a prestigious technical university who had an idea about computer storage. Geoffrey and everyone else thought this was a brilliant idea. It turns out implementing the concept was a lot harder than anybody thought. There were just too many variables making it hard to turn the concept into an actual realizable product.
But the team believed in the idea, and they pushed on and had early market success. Investors wanted to go big, but Geoffrey thought they should take it slow. They ignored his advice and even changed management and brought in a leading personal computer firm guy.
Huge market risks marred the project expansion from the start. The company spent a lot of money on marketing and sales forces. The sales cycles would take forever. Eventually, the company gave up trying to market the product. They asked Geoffrey to help, but the product didn’t have enough differentiation to get it to the finish line.
- Think about a venture portfolio as an exercise in 10-year liquidity.
- You can’t transition from a complex systems business model to a volume operations business model in either direction. These two models are radically different; you must never try to combine them.
- Get a team that is fit for the transition.
- If you’re going to be disruptive, you’re going to be on a timer, so make sure you establish your business before the present catches up to you.
- Some things are better suited to incremental change.
- Ensure you have enough runway and resources for the venture to take off before the competitors do or before a solution comes out.
Think realistically about time to liquidity instead of just thinking about dominating the market.
No.1 goal for the next 12 months
Geoffrey’s goal for the next 12 months is to promote his new book, The Infinite Staircase.
“Risk-adjusted returns is the key idea, not just returns.”
Andrew Stotz 00:00
Going Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risks but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives to reduce risk in your life, go to my worst investment ever.com today and take the risk reduction assessment I've created from the lessons I've learned from more than 500 guests. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest, Jeffrey Moore. Jeffrey, are you ready to join the mission?
Geoffrey Moore 00:43
I'm ready to join the mission. I am signed up. All
Andrew Stotz 00:46
right, well, let's have some fun. I want to introduce you to the audience. Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker and advisor who splits his consulting time between startup companies in the Wildcat Venture Partners portfolio and established high tech enterprises. Moore's life work has focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations. His first book Crossing the Chasm, which I might note to you all has a 4.6 score out of five, with more than 1000 ratings, which I consider to be very impressive, focuses on the challenges that startup companies face transitioning from early adopting to mainstream customers. Jeffrey, if you could take a minute and tell us a bit about the value that you bring to this world?
Geoffrey Moore 01:40
Well, I mean, the fact that I'm a grandfather of two really cool grandchildren, which is number one, no, my whole career in business has focused on this on the dynamics of technology, adoption lifecycle, but dynamics of technology adoption. And so I've helped to create frameworks which help management teams and investors understand the risk and reduce the risks. And in particular, this Crossing the Chasm book was about the risks that happened in a venture investment, after you've had success with the product. But you have not yet established market presence. So you have customers, you have products, but you don't have a going concern. And what and it turns out that the challenge you're facing at that time is these first customers who had we call them early adopters, they're willing to buy pretty much on the kind of their own judgment, they don't ask for a lot of references. They don't ask for a lot of proof points. They kind of believe what you believe. And they're kind of going to lean in with you. So you have this early success. And you think, Well, now's the time to pile on all the resources. The chasm is the mainstream market customer is a very different animal. They do need to see references, they do need to see proof of concept. And so you have to completely reframe your market development strategy and your product roadmap to make this transition which we called Crossing the Chasm. And that turned out to be you require the framework just like why am I doing this? And what do I have to do? So that's kind of what my work has been about?
Andrew Stotz 03:14
And why were you particularly suited to see this challenge? Maybe I, I guess, like I'm thinking about the lean startup and all that we've learned in the startup space of kind of focusing on that initial product, MVP, minimum viable product, and developing that customer base and really building that relationship. How is it that you saw what was it like, I don't know, in your own background or your own life that you first saw? Wait a minute, that's a different stage
Geoffrey Moore 03:40
there. Yeah, absolutely. Well, it turned out. So I was sort enough. By the way, in a different career, I was an English professor, I moved out to California to be with our family wanted to move back to California. There were no jobs in academia, I joined a software company, I spent 10 years in various roles and software companies, mostly in sales and marketing. And then I joined a marketing consultancy called Regis McKenna, which at the time, was the premier marketing consulting for high tech in the 80s. And so what that led me do, and they specialized in disruptive innovation, people bringing all this new technology, they were behind Apple and Intel, and tandem and all these companies in the 80s. And as I was there, and they had the technology adoption lifecycle model already in view, but I kept on saying, Well, wait a minute, we have all these great launches. And then what happens to these companies are they kind of go off the radar, what's going on? And so I think, because I was new, and because you know, I kind of have that kind of mind, which where it says, well, I need to understand what's going on here. I thought, well, there's a problem here. And so that, because I went every look, every major high tech company in that five years I worked there came through at one point or another, I got to see a lot of companies kind of in a condensed space. So I think that's what gave me the opportunity as opposed if you're, if you're a professor at Harvard or Stanford You can do research projects, but you just don't get the same intimacy. Because when clients come to a consulting firm say, we need some help.
Andrew Stotz 05:08
Yeah, and if you're a Harvard professor, it may be the only the guys that are really big that come to you and the people that are just getting ready to try to figure out how they got across that chasm, you know, may not come through, yeah,
Geoffrey Moore 05:18
you don't get to see the madman, my favorite Harvard professor was playing Christensen. And he and I worked in kind of the same field. And he had his his view of it, too, and which was, you know, I think, a good counterweight to my I would encourage your readers to read the innovators dilemma as well as Crossing the Chasm.
Andrew Stotz 05:34
So I just out of a purely selfish perspective, you know, I totally relate to this. Because I've been an innovator, as an analyst, I was developing my own frameworks, you use that word, I developed a world class benchmarking scorecard that I use, I developed something I call fdmr Investing where I look at fundamentals, valuation, momentum, and risk. And these are frameworks that I personally used. And then I developed a financial model that I've developed over the years, and it provides a framework, all these things I developed to solve kind of problems in my own life. And I thought, Well, why don't I take these to the market? And who, who bought them, my friends? And in some ways, it's a curse of initial success. Because, you know, they're like, Yeah, this is great. I'll work with that. Yeah, yeah, that may not be worked out, or, you know, but overall, it was an appearance of success. But then I realized, there's a whole nother there's a huge chasm, as we call it. Now, I would call it a wall. But what I know that there's other people listening that are in my situation where they've developed something to solve probably a personal problem or issue, they're selling it out to a small number of people. And they do want to go big, like I want to go, what would be like the one or two pieces of advice for people like myself?
Geoffrey Moore 06:50
Yeah, this is key. So in this model, there's actually four stages. So the first stage is the one you described, that's the one where you build an initial market success with a cohort of like minded people, we say these are people who believe what we believe, right? The next group, nobody else believes what you believe. So it's like, well, this is the wall or the chasm, or whatever it is. So who in the world will listen to us next, but turns out people on the other side of the chasm, they're very pragmatic, and you're looking for what we call pragmatist in pain. So Prime Ministers in pain has a problem that they cannot solve with conventional means. They're under increasing pressure to solve it. And, and they're looking around kind of almost anywhere who would help. And so these people don't believe what you believe, but they need what you have. And so it turns out, you want to go after a very narrowly defined niche market that has intense urgent problems that are a really good fit with your framework, or your crown jewels, or whatever it is. And even though this is a tiny market, you are going to be global dominant, right? You were going to dominate the entire universe. But at this moment of transition, you want to have something that's big enough to matter, but small enough to lead, and you're not very big right now. So you have to think about it, that means this markets got to be big enough to matter. In other words, you got to be able to grow 10x Inside the market. So if you're a $10 million company, you got to be able to get to $100 million, but it can't be a billion dollar market, because you'll just be a minnow in the ocean. So finding that market, and then the use case, which we use a lot in the computer industry is for his use case, it's gotta be really urgent, and you just have to nail it, you can't like be pretty good at it, you have to bring together whatever partners and allies you need, you have to just nail it. Because once you nail it, now, all of a sudden, that community which does reference each other, start saying to each other, hey, you know, this problem we've been having, there's a fix for it, it's you know, it's you're talking to Andrew, you talk to Jeffrey, there's a fix for it. And then you can come and once you get it started one place. Now you've got the beginning of apricot like starting the bonfire. Now you can maybe go from one adjacent segment to another adjacent segment. And we you build out in that second phase, you're building around very specific use cases, just to complete it. And to get back to minimum viable product. And you know, and all the rich people you know, Marc Andreessen and crew, the next thing, what happens after you have X number of use cases, and this is particularly in a business to business market? Somebody because well wait a minute, this is a more this is more broadly, you know, there's lots of use cases for this. And then all of a sudden people say, you know, we got to get, we have to go to cloud computing, we have to get mobile devices, we have to get cybersecurity. And all of a sudden now for the first time. There's a the customers that you're going after have budget for you. Not for you personally, but for your category. But in the first two stages they did. And the first stage they never heard of your category, and they just gave you some money because you weren't given like minded. In the second stage. They hadn't heard of your category, but they had money for the problem. So If you could redirect the money, you could do that. But in the third stage, they want to buy a, they want to buy cloud computing, I want to buy Wi Fi I want to buy. And then the fourth and final stage is when the market settles down into a longer, more mature cyclical, you know, the kind of market, the Dow Jones market as opposed to a NASDAQ market that kind of
Andrew Stotz 10:18
got it. So I guess, when you're talking about that point of Crossing the Chasm, it's the idea that maybe you have to shift from, you know, personal relationships and all that to okay, we really need to market this product, we got to have some sort of channel to find the urgency out there. So number one, we've got to somehow find that urgency. And number two, we got to do a better way. We can't just say, Hey, I'm Andrew Stotz, I'm here to solve it. Well, friends, yeah, these guys,
Geoffrey Moore 10:49
they don't the one thing you can absolutely count on us, they don't care about you. And they don't care about your offer. And frankly, they don't want to hear about your offer, because they're in pain. So the entire marketing program in that second stage is about focus on their pain and focus on relieving their pain and forget about everything else. And by the way, you'll market yourself as a solution for their pain. And it's up to 80% of your marketing, communications is about their pain. And then the 20% is, by the way, we have this thing called morphine or whatever, we can fix it going forward, but that's a little bit unnatural, because in the first stage, it was all about you. It was all about how brilliant you are, and how brilliant the technology is no exciting the whole thing is. So it was you can imagine entrepreneurs, this is not an easy transition for them to go through.
Andrew Stotz 11:37
Absolutely not. Yeah, it's a great description for the listeners out there, go and get the book and go through the steps because this, you know, Jeffrey's really laid it out. And I know that, you know, it resonates with me. And I see there's a huge challenge, particularly as an analyst, my job has been to kind of try to solve those problems, but not market them, not go out and find those people in pain. And you know, that's a whole nother you know, angle. So that's a fantastic description of the value that you bring out there. And I personally appreciate it. I've already filled up a page of notes from all that you've said, and hearing more. So now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment thinking it will be take a minute, tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it and tell us
Geoffrey Moore 12:24
so when I wrote Crossing the Chasm, and I was I did as a consultant was not an investor. But in 1998, a investment firm called more David R Civilis. And why don't you come and be a venture partner, you were not we have general purpose. And what we want you to do is to teach Crossing the Chasm ideas to our portfolio and help them you know, be successful and advise them. And so I thought, well, that's great. So of course you had bought at the end of the 90s. I mean, we call this in retrospect, we kind of call it the time of the great happiness, because it's like everything was like just seemed like everything was succeeding or going up. But in fact, there was a lot of smoking craters. And particularly once we transitioned into the year 2000, we had the tech downturn, it was difficult. So this is a story about a wonderful professor that comes from, I won't, I won't make this too traceable, but comes from from a very prestigious Technical University. And he has an idea about storage, but computer storage. And basically his idea is there's a bottleneck in the system called a file server. And the problem is you got to run everything through the file server to get to the storage and get run back to the browser, get back to the applications. What if you could do it all in parallel, near this really kind of brilliant architecture. And I thought, wow, this is like, Whoa, this is the best ever. And it just seemed like it seemed like anti gravity, which immediately was like, Okay, this is a real technological breakthrough. And that, by the way, is the first risk. The first risk you look at in venture is technology risk, can you turn it into a product? Well, it turned out that was a lot harder than anybody thought. And part of the challenge is, you know, hardware products are, you know, are very dependent on the underlying semiconductor technologies, and the networking technologies, and the buses and then everything going on. And there were enough variables going on the just turning that vision even though the architecture was brilliant, turning that into actual realizable product was very difficult. And it turned out that the product was very expensive. But again, we're there like minded people who believe what we believe they're sure we're and so we had early market success, and we were a darling and technology write ups going forward. Then and I went in this is it as an advisor, you have only so much influence. Let's just be clear. And there's other investors besides your firm, which also has a big impact. So when all the other investors said is great, now time to go big. And I'm going to timeout that No, no, no. And they actually change management and they brought in a guy from I'm a leading personal computer firm, which had a significant storage business, because that person who had to go back and he was a channel person. Well, this was an incredibly complex product was not suitable for a channel. It needed very rifle shot, direct development and needed vertical market solutions with pragmatism pain. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, we're going big, we're gonna, so they blasted this thing out. And they had huge, huge, basically, market risks. I mean, they beat and basically, you know, the market, and they spent a lot of money on marketing and a lot of money on sales forces. And the sales cycles would take forever, because you had not built a coalition of pragmatic people saying this is good for something. So that burned through a considerable they are, by the way, good hardware company burned through a lot more capital than a software company. So this is like, we're now feeling like, I'm feeling maybe I am in one of these cities in the Ukraine right now. I mean, I've seen smoking buildings around. So then, at some point, you say, okay, so that basically have to recap the company, and the company basically, ran out of fuel. So we recap the company, and I'm not I say we the consortium of people. And then they said, You know what? Crossing the Chasm, Jeff, get back in here, we're going to do Crossing the Chasm. So at this point, we went back to do the vertical thing. The problem then was it had taken it was enough time that other storage technologies had caught up. So now we weren't that differentiated. And so yeah, you could do a thing but you there wasn't enough, the Crown Jewels were had lost their luster. Okay. And these people are trying and we're, we keep on funding them, because the management team at this point is just heroic. But it just wasn't enough differentiation to get it to the finish line. And so when you look at the so you look at these, the classic four risks, you look at adventure, or technology risk or product risk, you know, financing risk, Team risk and market risk. If you looked at in retrospect, you'd say we kind of flunked off. I mean, by the time we got the team, right, it was too late. And so, you know, it wasn't like people were trying to lose money. We were trying to do it, right. It just didn't happen.
Andrew Stotz 17:19
And can you remember a day or a particular time where it was, you know, like, Okay, this is over.
Geoffrey Moore 17:26
Well, the problem with these things, and this is really, this is another nobody wants it to be completely over. So they'll do like, the series G pram down recap for it. And so, you know, all the common stock has been diluted out of existence. Long ago, this preferred stock that you learned about things called liquidation preferences, which is sort of a little bit like mortuary work. Um, it's a little bit like, how the Undertaker's get their cut of something. So it's not, it's not pretty. And eventually, eventually, they did, I mean, you end up either selling it for scrap or you effectively shutting it down. And the sad thing is, the people that get shut down at the end, are some of the people you wanted to succeed more than any, because they were the ones who took responsibility for the, for the smoking crater that the other guys who were so smart, created, and then of course, immediately left out as soon as that, you know, it didn't work. So it was it was it was there was a lot of lessons for me in that one.
Andrew Stotz 18:27
So let's review that. How would you summarize the main lessons that you learned from it?
Geoffrey Moore 18:32
Okay, so the first one I think is really particularly think about a venture portfolio as a basically an exercise in 10 year liquidity. Okay, now you can extend it but that's usually the first problem with this thing was the technology was not a tenure. It was not going to get there 10 years it was that we just vastly underestimated the technology barriers to getting there. So but so that was number one. Number two and I think the really the most significant risk was people think that you can transition from a complex systems business model to a volume operations business model in either direction. And it's absolutely untrue. Those two models are radically different than you must never ever try to combine them. I'll give you some examples. So Hewlett Packard had to split up because it had you know a PC and and and a printer business at the low end, but it had you know computer and storage at the high end complex systems at the high end direct sales force, corporate marketing PCs and printers at the low end consumer marketing want to be in the channel and they were trying to run their complex products through the channels like no, it was a mess Nokia with with their, their servers, they have their networking equipment, but also with their hand you know, the handheld devices. IBM got out of all of its volume operations think Cisco, you know, great routers and switches but not so would flip phones and home and home routers. So it's that was an important lesson. Okay, that was a lesson. And then the final lesson was around team risk. So just it's related to the volume of complex systems things. But it's really important that you get a team that that is fit for the time in the transition, so that they had a great early marketing, they did not have Crossing the Chasm team, they went straight to what we call the tornado, which is that third phase, they had brought in tornado management who had been incredibly successful in markets where there was already budget, but there was not yet budget for this category. So they didn't know how to create budget, they only knew how to consume budget. So they were a complete disaster, then we went back to through the okay, we can create a real shift budget in this, you know, Crossing the Chasm, but it was too late.
Andrew Stotz 20:52
There's so many lessons, maybe I'll summarize a few tip complete. The first thing I was thinking about, when you were telling the initial part of the story, I was thinking about the idea that there's just some things that are suited to incremental change. It's harder with some kind of like, amazing, new technology, if it can exist on its own away from the current system, you know, but if it has to be fit into the current system, there's something to be said for and you know, we hate the fact that Microsoft Office is so you know, or Microsoft, let's say Windows is so damn, they could do so much better and all that, yeah. They know what they're doing in the sense that they're bringing an incremental change. So it's true that that made me think about that. The other thing I thought about is, you know, when people talk about runway, and you talked about tenure and liquidity, when people talk about runway in the startup space, you know, normally what we talk about is money, you know, we're gonna run out of money before we hit lift on, I always talk about a second thing, which are we going to run out of confidence? Are the people working for us going to start to think, oh, shit, this isn't going to work? And then now you've kind of brought in a third element, which is, can we get there before? Do we have enough runway and enough resources to get there before the competitors do or before a solution comes out? And I think that's the third element that I never really thought about that you've brought to this?
Geoffrey Moore 22:18
Well, you're just making me think of something were important in that model, which is, if you're going to be disruptive, you're starting a clock, because what you're saying is I'm going to leap to the future. And I can establish my business before the present catches up to me. And so the more that that's the bet, and if you don't get if you don't get that if there's a time limit associated with that bet. And I think I really, I think I was very naive in the situation about the title.
Andrew Stotz 22:46
It's almost like I mean, I love I read a lot of books about the US Civil War, but also have studied a lot on strategy. And I just, you know, what it sounds like in that case, it's like, you know, you're putting men behind enemy lines thinking we're gonna sneak up on the back of them. But you know, that is a very risky maneuver. So you know, the last thing, you know, you talked about the complex versus simple, and I think it was a great illustration of kind of, you know, a mass market product that doesn't take a lot of work compared to something that needs a direct sales force and all of that. And I think about an example, in my own life, a friend of mine, called me and asked me if I could help them sell their software that they wrote to Microsoft. And they wrote it in Thailand. And they had been operating a hospital. And it was the only hospital in the world, it was run on one piece of software, the guy that did it was a genius. And he basically bought the whole hospital in one software. So any new X ray equipment that came in, he was like, Stop, you have to integrate into this central operating system for the hospital. And his vision was that this could be hospitals around the world, particularly in the developing markets where there are new hospitals, and they don't know how to set it up. It's not particularly strong in the US, because it's kind of best of breed and, you know, fancy doctors get to say, I want this, I don't care that it works or not with other systems. But in Asia, this was going to be a boon for the hospital business to really save lives. Well, we went to Microsoft, and sure enough, we sold it to. And within three years, they crashed it into the ground and sold it to another, you know, and I, I remember reading a Bill and Melinda Gates letter about how critical it was for the health industry and all that. And I was thinking, this is fascinating. And what it was, in my opinion was just that this was a this was a complex sale. It's a sales cycle of maybe one to three years working with the hospital as it in early stage, you know, and then also, it's a lot of implementation work. So it's a much more complex sale. And Microsoft is just used to here, here's your windows five months,
Geoffrey Moore 24:55
it's a biomass game, right? Right. I mean, how many 10 billion copies of which Whatever that is. Yeah. And by the way, both are necessary. It's not like one is better than the other. Because a lot of times they go find maps. I mean, isn't that the best? Not necessarily? No. I mean, no. I mean, if you have, if you have really complex problems, you want to complex this, etc, it's kind of good business model. salesforce.com is doing just fine. Thank you very much. You know, I mean, so either one can work. But I think the mistake people make is, oh, you're in the storage business, or you're in any business energy business, you're in the computing business? Oh, that means you could do either one. And the answer is not a chance in the world.
Andrew Stotz 25:38
A great example of that, that I always think of, even Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all times and amazing competitor, couldn't really build a career as a baseball
Geoffrey Moore 25:49
player. Exactly. It's a different sport. It's a different sport. Exactly.
Andrew Stotz 25:56
A lot, a lot, I think, for the audience to take away from that. So based upon what you learned from this story, and what you continue to learn what what action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering that same fate?
Geoffrey Moore 26:08
Well, I think, you know, first of all, I'd be in a financial analyst diversification you don't have to put all your assets in venture. Just be clear about that. But to degree that you were going into a venture, I think the one thing I would take away is, I would think realistically about time to liquidity, rather than think about just like dominating the universe, which, of course, is always that hope. I think that within which I would try to control the downside risk, not just the upside gain. And Crossing the Chasm. By the way, one of the things about that is, if you establish a beachhead market in the mainstream with pragmatists and pain, you've become a going concern, those customers will not let you go out of existence. And not only that, a ecosystem of partners will begin to form around those customers and your product because they can make a living, solving this problem for more people in that domain. It doesn't create incredible returns, but it puts a floor under the value the come and now you can raise money on your own terms and on your own timeline. Because you're no longer cashflow negative, you're not cashflow positive, and you have a marketplace that is supporting you and pulling you in that. So I think looking at that phase of the evolution of disruptive innovation is really important. I would encourage your listeners to do that.
Andrew Stotz 27:31
Such great advice. Well, let me ask you, what is a resource that you'd recommend to the audience to the listener? Is that something of yourself or your own or something else that's inspired you?
Geoffrey Moore 27:42
Well, so first of all, I think there's two sets of resources, one around what I would call b2b complex systems, and one around b2c volume operations. The b2c vibe operations is the people like, you know, Eric Ries and lean startup and Steve Blank and, and those guys really have laid out a really a really good roadmap. I think for b2b stuff, I think Crossing the Chasm inside the tornado, which is the book that came right after those action is a book called The guerrilla game, we just had to invest in those companies in the public markets. So that might be fun for them, as well. Those are the first three books that came out, they all came out during the 90s. So it's a little bit a little bit, but it's not so dated, that you'd say it doesn't apply anymore, I don't think,
Andrew Stotz 28:25
well, I'll have links to that in the show notes. So I think that's a great, great, great homework for all of
Geoffrey Moore 28:32
you, by the way, will enjoy the gorilla game, because as a financial analyst, I wrote it with two other people, one of whom was a financial analyst at Credit Suisse. And I think you'll probably enjoy a bunch. I'm
Andrew Stotz 28:42
looking forward to it. Well, last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?
Geoffrey Moore 28:46
Well, it's interesting. Now we're getting into it. So I am in a point, my career where I wrote my first non business book, since my dissertation 45 years ago. And basically, it's a philosophy book, it's called the infinite staircase. And what it's about is, how if you take traditional ethics, and you also take this scientific story of, you know, Big Bang, evolution, how we got here, how do you put the two together? And so the first two thirds of the book, it sort of tells the story of how do you get from 13 point 8 billion years ago in a big bang, to Andrew and Jeffrey talking over zoom, you know, in the middle of March. And it's like, without, with no, with no miracle interventions, right. So then, it turns out, you can piece together the story, but it's hard because he specialized disciplines. There's a lot of stuff you have to pull together. But I'm a kind of a geek that way. And so I like doing it. And it's a framework, remember, I'm a framework. So that was the framework. And then the last third was okay, well then how do we act in that world? You know, how do you authorize ethics? What is how do you understand goodness, what do you do? And of course, I'm, you know, I'm 75 years old right now and I'm in the fourth quarter. Are you planning The football game is not gonna be a fifth quarter. So the fourth quarter. So like, what do you want to do? And I'm still pretty good athlete. So I feel like Tom Brady a little bit like, hey, I can play this sport, if I'm over age for it. So I'm kind of excited about doing it. Anyway, this book was my attempt to sort of say, Okay, here's a way of looking at that situation. And I hope it will be value to people and people. So
Andrew Stotz 30:22
interesting. Yeah. I mean, it's such a fascinating topic, too. Because one of the things I mean, here I am in little old Thailand. I mean, for the first year of the whole COVID thing. We didn't even have a vaccine or anything. Right. So you had to look for alternatives and all that stuff. But what was interesting to observe just kind of, you know, I'm an observer of the US now after having not lived there for 30 years is, how strongly they got behind one solution, which in this case, was vaccine. Fine. Yeah. Yeah. Then then the effort that was put in to sidelining every other solution to, you know, now there's good research on vitamin D as an example. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. And, and, and there was things that people knew, but they sideline a lot of what would be considered basic principles, even the idea of triage and saying, okay, older people are more at risk. Yeah, did it is we've seen that in Italy already. When? Oh, yeah. And then we see this kind of movement, where you start to wonder, now the doctor patient relationship has been put to the test, would a doctor go off label and prescribe something? Well, in the past, the doctor could do that. That was part of medical ethics. That was a one to one. But now, it seems like there's kind of this shift, like maybe you can't do that anymore. You got to stay on label. And then if you stay on label, what's the purpose of the doctor? medicine through algorithms, and then just think about the ethics of that potential development is fascinating.
Geoffrey Moore 31:58
It is fascinating. I think part of what made it complicated for someone who's living in the middle of the United States right now is some of the last 10 years, the political rhetoric around everything has become so divisive and so corrupt, that all institutions are become questioned completely. And so as a result, I think part of the reason people focus so much on just trying to eliminate other alternatives, was not that there weren't good alternatives at the margin, but they were horrible alternatives that were being promulgated, you know, from for other reasons. And the reasons were very destructive. Well, the United States is in a tough spot right now. I mean, our culture is at risk. And so and part of the reason I wanted to write the book also was to say, Okay, well, what do you do about that? I mean, how do you how do you function in that world? So anyway, it's a high class problem happen if
Andrew Stotz 32:53
you've taken on interesting subjects. Thank you. Yes, for the rest of the world, probably. We're just trying to figure out how to feed ourselves.
Geoffrey Moore 33:00
You know, and that's part of but believe me, that's part of that, first to that first story about how do we get from from the Big Bang to earth? Because you have to figure out well, first of all, there's a period where there's just earth by the way, for 2 billion years, it has bacteria and nothing else. And then somehow we got from bacteria to you and me. I mean, you know, so anyway, it's fine. But feeding yourself is a key component to getting there for sure.
Andrew Stotz 33:27
My father used to always say if my grandfather could see what we're doing now in the 80s, you know, yes, of that. Well, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. If you haven't taken the risk reduction assessment, I challenge you to go to my worst investment ever.com Right now, and start building wealth the easy way by reducing risk. As we conclude, Jeffrey, I want to thank you again for joining our mission. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching teacher. Do you have any parting words for the audience?
Geoffrey Moore 34:07
Well, no, it's great. I think risk adjusted returns is the key idea, not just return. Okay, take care, Andrew.
Andrew Stotz 34:16
Thank you very much. That's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, saying. Thanks for joining the mission, and I'll see you on the upside.
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