Julian Agostini, Mash Media MD on the Warren Buffett Formula and adding value to the industry.
There goes a fable; someone asks Warren Buffett: “How did you get so smart?”
Buffett lifts up a stack of magazines, reports and papers, and says: “I read 500 pages like this, every day. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”
As someone who works within the publishing industry you can imagine just how delighted this makes me. I looked into it a little more and apparently one of the world’s most wealthy people makes a virtue of ‘spending 80 per cent of his working day reading and thinking’.
I also like the phrase ‘compound interest’; that wide reading and the collection of information from multiple sources greats additional value in the form of knowledge.
We’ve been doing some deep thinking at Mash Media recently, trying to get to the heart of what we do, where we add value to the industry, and what this means to our customers and our readers.
We often use the analogy that maybe reading a copy of the Financial Times once would be helpful for snippets of information, but reading it over the course of six months or longer would have vastly more impact, not just on the information you get, but the knowledge you accumulate. Many leaders advise against confusing information and intelligence.
As event professionals we shouldn’t be surprised by this train of thought either.
We’re in the knowledge gathering business. Every exhibition, every conference, every meeting that we produce or attend gives us an explosion of intelligence, served up in the form of gossip, casual chat, educational content, and inspirational guidance.
Great events render us numb with information; we take in so much, in such a short period of time, that we feel exhausted as well as satisfied at the end of the experience. A great exhibition is one where we are learning at every point, be it on the stand, in the aisles, in the seminar rooms or in the bar afterwards.
Taking in this amount of information and gaining this level of knowledge is hard work. It takes time out of your working day, requires you to attend events and to leave the office. How good are we at attributing a value to these endeavors?
Just like the FT example, we must believe that reading business magazines improves us as professionals over time; it certainly can’t make us worse?
We have to believe that attending meetings, exhibitions and events enriches us every time. In another quote from Buffett, he talks about email and his dislike of it, saying: “I’m a one-to-one man”.
I believe that people that attend exhibitions and events become better at their jobs. That people that read widely are the same. We’re not all going to end up like Warren Buffett, but it’s not difficult to understand that better decisions can be made because we are more informed as people.
For me this is the essence of what we do as event professionals and what Mash Media do as publishers of business magazines for our industry.
We gather knowledge, intelligence and inspiration together and serve it up in a way that is digestible and informative. In doing so, we give every professional a chance to become better at what they do, and in turn to grow the industry we serve.