Fundsters with a marketing or research bent, be warned. The man who built Morningstar
and became a billionaire in the process is not a big fan of focus groups or market research as decision-making tools.
Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871, interviewed
M* founder and CEO Joe Mansueto
(a magazine owned by Mansueto Ventures). The article offers a few glimpses into the minds of perhaps the most famous and most successful watcher the mutual fund industry has ever been watched by.
writes that, according to Mansueto, "the next great American novel or next great business won't be written by a focus group or a committee, but by a committed and passionate individual writing from the heart and not for the herd."
Fundsters should take heart from one of Mansueto's other comments. He tells the magazine that he still believes that mutual funds are "the best investment vehicle for 90% of the investing public." Though he does still invest directly in stocks "because it's fun" (and of course he owns a massive amount of stock in one particular, familiar company.)
One other notable tidbit: Mansueto prefers Morningstar-only deals to joint ventures or strategic partnerships. He likes the concentrated upside and prefers to steer clear of the divergent agendas of different sides of any alliance.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the name "Morningstar" comes from the final words of the final line in the final paragraph of Henry David Thoreau's Walden
I do not say that John or Jonathan will realize all this; but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
Stay ahead of the news ... Sign up for our email alerts now