S3E9  John Colley How do experienced investors find great companies?

S3E9 –  John Colley – How do experienced investors find great companies?
 John Colley – How do experienced investors find great companies? My next guest has a background in investment banking, mergers, and acquisitions, and investing. In fact, he lead a successful career in investment banking that allowed him to retire at age 39 and thereafter start several small businesses. This eventually led up to a career as a course creator. Now today, he has dozens of courses on Udemy with over 100,000 students over and 9,000 reviews. Please welcome John Colley. 

Payback Time Podcast

Payback Time is a podcast for investors. The goal of this podcast is to help make investing approachable and easy to understand. We will interview beginner and experienced investors and ask them to share stories on how they got started, what challenges they faced, what mistakes they made, and what strategy works for them today. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that helps you become a better investor.

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Full Episode

Key Timecodes

  • 00:44) – Show intro and background history
  • (04:37) – Deeper into his background history and what he looks for in business
  • (06:04) – Understanding his journey as an investor
  • (08:40) – How Warren Buffett’s strategies inspired him
  • (10:58) – What he looks for in the financials as indicators
  • (14:50) – What are good leadership indicators in business
  • (17:44) – An example of his biggest investment win
  • (20:11) – Deeper into his philosophy and investing strategies
  • (24:09) – A bit about his courses and focus on education
  • (33:01) – The worst advice he ever received
  • (33:41) – The best advice he ever received
  • (36:18) – Guest contacts


[00:00:03.930] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time and Approachable and Transparent podcast on business investing in finance. I like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest has a background in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions and investing. In fact, he led a successful career in investment banking that allowed him to retire at age 39 and thereafter start several small businesses. This eventually led him to a career as a course creator. Now today he has dozens of courses on Udemy with over 100,000 students and over 9000 reviews. Please welcome John Cooley.  
[00:00:44.660] – Sean
John, welcome to the show.  
[00:00:46.190] – John
Thank you very much. It’s great to be here. I’m very honored to be invited onto your podcast.  
[00:00:51.080] – Sean
Awesome. Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background?  
[00:00:55.650] – John
Yeah, let’s start with sort of English boarding school educated, which is a genre almost in its own right. I then went to Cambridge University, where I studied a combination of history and geography, and after that completely lost even my senses and joined the army. So I became a British Army officer for about five years, which was a very educational experience in its own right, but left in 1988 and started back at the bottom as a graduate trainee in in finance. So I went to work for a company called Security Pacific Horgavet in the City of London, and I was there for four years. I then got asked to join a company called West Deutsche Landers Bank to do European merchants and acquisitions, and I stayed there for eight years. You sort of stand to stay in a job and then somebody invites you to go and do another one, which is always quite nice. So I then got asked to run It services M and A in Europe for SG Cowan, which I did for a year, and then basically retired age 39, set up my own boutique so that I could do whatever I wanted, but haven’t had a paid job since 2001.  
[00:02:09.370] – John
And so we ran this boutique and actually the boutique is still there, but I left in 2008, the worst possible timing with hindsight, to start another boutique with another Chum, which we started in 2008 and we actually closed in 2016. And then in the mean middle of that, with 2008 teaching me that I had to start doing some marketing for the first time in my life. I then got into the thing which is really what I’m most enjoying at the moment, which is sharing my financial knowledge and experience with my online education. And so I’ve really been pretty well a full time online education course creator since probably about 2016, 2017. Although when I say full time, it’s whenever I basically feel like doing it. So nobody’s holding my feet to the.  
[00:03:02.600] – Sean
Fire now like the good old days and then mergers and acquisition.  
[00:03:06.960] – John
No, absolutely not. It’s a very different term. No more 18 hours days and flying all over the place to go and do meetings in Ford continents. Much easier now.  
[00:03:19.710] – Sean
That was mergers and acquisitions. Did you do any work within investment banking as well?  
[00:03:25.430] – John
Well, that was as an investment banker, so I was ultimately a director of an investment bank and then I was obviously a managing director of my own investment banking boutique. But I started off my first four years at Scooters Pacific Hawkett were actually in the stockbroking side. So I learned I did four years floating companies, doing rights issues and all that sort of stuff. We were involved in a number of the privatizations that are happening in the UK, that sort of time, and in some of the takeover work, but from the stockbroking side of it, which is quite interesting. And then we would differentiate between stockbroking and investment banking, where you’re running transactions more than issuing shares and managing shares that are issued in the stock market.  
[00:04:09.620] – Sean
Got you. Now, it sounds like your experience then gave you great, you could say, a foundation of how to look at companies, how to look at businesses. Right.  
[00:04:18.690] – John
When I was at Hawke event, I had to do stock exchange exams, which taught me about financial analysis and all that sort of stuff, and the regulation and compliance. It was a very good grounding. And I also tucked in an MBA. I did an evening MBA for two years while I was there as well to really give myself a grounding in finance.  
[00:04:37.140] – Sean
Got you. Now, when you were looking at businesses, were you looking just at the financials or you’re factoring? Other things like the business industries and how long will this industry be around? Maybe the competition, maybe the leadership team, things like that.  
[00:04:52.700] – John
Well, as an investment banker, firstly I had a sector specialization, but I started in building materials. I then went into tech in about 97, a decision made for me by my employers who were employing more resources into tech. So I’ve been in tech since 97. So you started off by understanding the sector and who was doing what and the different types of companies in the sector, the size of the companies, you know, who was acquisitive, who was likely to be acquired, who was public, who was private, who was private equity owned, all the different components of the landscape of that sector. Which helps you to then start thinking about the strategy the companies need to employ to be successful. And of course then when you go and talk to prospective clients, you need to have a good understanding of who their competitors are, what the competitive strengths and weaknesses are, what they might be doing. You were trying to recommend strategies to them which inevitably involved in making acquisitions or doing deals because that’s what paid our bread and butter. You really went in there and said, you’re a fantastic company, don’t do anything because you wouldn’t get paid very much for that.  
[00:06:03.410] – Sean
Nice. Now the reason I asked that question is I want to transition here to your personal journey with investing. So you know, back in the the is that when you got like you started investing for yourself?  
[00:06:16.870] – John
Yeah, I well, I was very interested when I was in the army about in finance, but didn’t really do much investing beyond buying privatization shares and wasn’t really in a financial position to do very much. When I was actually working for the investment banks, I did do a little bit of buy and selling, but part of the problem I had was that the companies I knew a lot about and would be interested in investing, I was effectively handcuffed from investing in them because I was speaking to the senior management. I had a lot of inside information. And as you probably appreciate, when you’re doing any sort of dealing, you’re assumed to be guilty until you’re proven innocent if you’re accused of insider dealing. So I pretty well stayed out of the stock market. I did make a number of rather floppy investments in around 1999 2000, some of which would have come good if I’d kept them for long enough. But I sort of cleared out the portfolio back in the teens and I had various holdings like Microsoft and Broadcom and things like that, which had I kept them for another five or ten years, would have actually come very good for me.  
[00:07:27.310] – John
There’s a lesson in that in its own right. So I had at that stage, though, because when you’re doing M and A deals, you do a lot of financial modeling, you do a lot of analysis of the financial statements. And therefore, I had a very deeply ingrained understanding of the numbers and overlaid that with a strategic appreciation of business. So I was able to and I am able to look at companies relatively quickly. It takes a little while for me to get around a ten k, but I can cope with a British format report and accounts much more quickly to understand what’s going on, what’s been going on, what’s potentially likely to go on, although none of us can see the future. So it gave me that grounding. It’s only really been in the last few years that I’ve started really doing investments and in fact I took over control of my own pension funds and that’s not an inconsiderable amount of money and I now run that. So it’s a healthy seven figure portfolio that I managed and I’m very happy and very relaxed about doing it even in the current market conditions which have been a bit held to skeletish for the last twelve months.  
[00:08:40.260] – Sean
Right. No. Thanks for that context on your background there. What I’d like to do next is let’s actually drill into your strategy. I know our listeners are going to want to know is how does John actually assess a company from A to z. We don’t have to spend hours here, of course, but just give us a high level. What are you looking for?  
[00:08:59.770] – John
I think if I say that I come from the Warren Buffett school of investment, you’ll start to get a feel for the approach I take. So I’m not a trader. I don’t buy and sell frequently. I buy and hold. And what I’m really looking for is the long term potential. I’m actually seldom worried about the current valuation of the business. If I think it’s a really good business, I’m planning to hold it for ten years, and I think it’ll pay me back in that time whatever price I go in at. And it’s more difficult to try and guess timing. I mean, had I started trying to time the market in 2016, I’ll wait till there’s a downturn. I would have looked the right Charlie. But as it is, I take a view on the companies. Most of my investments are around the tech sector because I understand tech very closely. I don’t invest in things I don’t understand, so I don’t understand, for instance, biotechnology. So I wouldn’t know where to start investing in. And if I wanted to invest in biotech because I thought maybe after the pandemic, there’s an awful lot of investment going into it, I would do it through a fund and allow the fund managers, the inactive fund allow the fund managers to make the selections because they have that expertise.  
[00:10:14.410] – John
So the circle of competence that Buffett talks about is very important. So I look at a stock and I’m looking for a company that is going to hopefully double and maybe double again over the next ten years. So it’s really growing. It to a 15% plus on average a year to give me a good, healthy, long term return.  
[00:10:36.190] – Sean
Right. So it sounds like industry is really important. Warren Buffett teaches us to, like you said, only invest in what you know. And I’m very similar there. I’m in tech. That’s where I know most about business, like tech companies. I always tell people, ask me anything about pharmaceuticals, like you would biotech? No way. I don’t go there. Okay, so then let’s dive into the financials a little bit. Since you’ve got a lot of great experience in finance. What do you specifically look for in the financials? Like margin of safety, Pde ratio? What are these things you look for?  
[00:11:11.240] – John
I’m not worried about the PE ratio. Thank you. I’m not trying to second guess the prices in the market. The market price is what it does one day and changes the next. Mr. Market. Benjamin Graham’s. Mr. Market is an entity. I understand. I’m looking for companies with a defensible sustainable advantage, so a moat. So that’s evidenced by companies with very high gross and operating margins, for instance. So they tend to be companies which are cash generative, not heavily exposed to capital investment. So obviously software companies fall into that quite nicely. But I’m also things like semiconductors, if they’re in the right market, things like actually Visa and Mastercard, fantastic margin structures, I mean, amazing financial businesses. And I do understand, obviously, a little bit about the finance side of things. So from the income statement point of view, it’s high margins. But I also want to look back and see what’s been happening to that margin structure over the last five or ten years. So I tend to get a group of ten KS and string out the historic record to have a look and see what that’s doing on the balance sheet. I’d like to see good high cash conversion ratios so that the company is evidencing the companies managing their cash cycle properly.  
[00:12:27.060] – John
I don’t like to see a lot of debt. I was looking at McDonald’s only because it’s got such a fantastic moat. But I did notice that over the last sort of five or six years, the management had increased the gearing in the business to fund the share buybacks and share buybacks, I think, are great things. But when it becomes funded by debt, then you start to think about the management’s share options program rather than the returns to shareholders. So that made me a little bit nervous about that. And I’m mentioning all these companies not because I’m making recommendations about investments. They’re just examples in the educational explanation of how I look at things. And then, yeah, cash flow is really important. I like to see free cash flow. I like to see lots of cash which is available to be invested. And I’m not that passionate about dividends. Funnily enough, going back to Mr. Buffett, I love the fact that he doesn’t pay dividends because it’s all about capital allocation. And I often refer to the US market as the most efficient and most fantastic capital allocation machine ever invented. And Buffett is an excellent example of that.  
[00:13:36.210] – John
And I believe management should be able to invest the money in the businesses better than I can invest it in different businesses or having to buy more shares or pay tax on dividends. So I love to see the fact that companies don’t pay dividends and they’re reinvesting the cash in the business to make it even better and grow even faster. So that’s a really strong thing. I’m not really that interested in dividend income. I’m much more interested in capital growth.  
[00:14:00.890] – Sean
Just two key call outs there, as I really like your comments there. Well, actually three, I’ll go back to Pde. We do not care about Pde as well within Tykr because it can be very misleading. Another thing is, yeah, I’m with you on dividends. Dividends. I tell people if you’re in a position where you got a bunch of capital and now you just want to have it, sit in a few stocks that are getting market average returns but get paid to do so, fine, go do that, right? Otherwise, for a big growth strategy to really build your wealth. There’s better ways to do it. And I like what you’re looking at. Your numbers are very much in line with what Tykr looks at. Like the lower debt, great free cash, high profit margins, all that good stuff. You’re looking at the meaning of the business, which we touched on. You only invest in what you know, and then the moat is big. That’s really big. We’re big on that. What are your thoughts on leadership, like CEOs? What are things you look for in a good leader?  
[00:14:57.790] – John
Well, ethics, intelligence, integrity, energy. So, I mean, it’s very difficult if you don’t meet these people to sort of judge their characters and their personalities. And they obviously have good PR departments. But people like Steve Jobs, inspirational visionary, the Bill Gates and the succession of management at Microsoft again, where you have very high quality people with ethics and a focus on the interest of not just the shareholders. I think it’s important that companies have got their employees and their community at stake. I have to admit being something of a sort of 60 plus year old dinosaur, and this may not resonate with the audience, and I apologize in advance if it doesn’t. I’m very less taken by all the ESG stuff. I think a lot of that is very fetish and I think it can be very distractive for companies. Companies will look after their environments, they will look after their people. They don’t need to be dictated to by external parties who are just basically trying to bang their own drum, in my opinion. But I like to see great quality management. I watch a lot of the financial news, not because I’m interested in the price changes day to day, but I’m always interested in corporate development and what companies are saying about what they’re doing.  
[00:16:19.580] – John
So, inspiration. And again, if you want an absolute brilliant example of this, of course, it’s Buffett and Munger, where I’ve read every single one of the Berkshire Hathaway letters, some of them twice, because the information you get and the insight you get about the character and the personalities of those two gentlemen is quite remarkable.  
[00:16:41.490] – Sean
Thank you for saying that. I’ve been looking at those guys for as long as I can, not as long as you, but they’ve been a huge inspiration. And I agree with you. You can see the personality kind of peppered throughout the articles and it’s really brilliant. I do agree with you with the ESG comments. You’re right, because we do have a lot of listeners, a lot of investors that get into ESG, and that’s fine. That’s something we do have in Tykr, and we’re making improvements to it just to make it easier to find and make it stand out. But there are companies out there, and you’ve seen it, that they kind of doll up their marketing and make it look sexy, like they’re doing something that’s environmentally friendly or something like that. Yeah, as I said, doll it up is the best way to put it. It’s overdose.  
[00:17:28.100] – John
Yes. Keep it diplomatic.  
[00:17:30.350] – Sean
Right. I really like what you’re doing there. You’re looking at the four M, we call it. We always tell people, start with the math, you can do that really quick Tykr does that for you and then you want to go to the meeting. Moat management. So you’re doing all those things. That’s amazing. I want to talk about, was there like a particular investment win, like a big win over the last 1015 years that you’re willing to share?  
[00:17:56.790] – John
There would have been the Microsoft, Microsoft and Broadcom. I mean, I bought a number of these companies in the run up to the.com bubble bursting and some of them, of course, were I had Cisco and I had something else, which was disastrous. So my investment performance has been sort of steady in the sense that I’ve really only been managing this large amount of money for a few years now and I wouldn’t like to sort of pick out anything because it’s all been a very well, it’s been a rising tide for the last couple of years, and it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. But I’m not back to where I was, as it were. So had I held the Microsoft shares or the Broadcom shares and not sold them, which could I just cleared out this little portfolio that I had, they would have shown a very good return. The lesson that I learned from that is actually you have to have the time in the market to make the returns and I don’t go into any stock expecting them to double or trouble or quadruple in the next three, four, six months. I mean, I just don’t look at it like that.  
[00:19:09.870] – John
I’m looking at stocks where and frankly, if they go down, and often they do immediately after you bought them because there’s a bit of news or there’s some comment made on Wall Street. It doesn’t matter. One jot to me because I still believe if you buy good quality businesses and my largest shareholding is in Berkshire Hathaway, and that won’t surprise anybody from the comments I’ve already made. And I firmly believe that it’s not going to be the highest performing investment. And had I held it since 1967, obviously I’d be a much happier chap that I didn’t have age six, I didn’t quite have either the capital or the experience. But it’s that mindset which is I’m not chasing big winners, I’m not chasing ten baggers, I’m looking at long term, compounding led capital growth from very high quality businesses and very often very large businesses, rather than trying to pick out the next tiny little business which is going to become a megacap.  
[00:20:12.300] – Sean
I love your case study there on Broadcom and Microsoft. We have a lot of investors that come to me and they’re always looking for the exit points just as much as they are the entry points. And I have to ask, why? Why are you wanting to leave this? And it’s always the fear that it could go down really low. Well, if you invested in a good business in the first place, it’s time in the market, not timing. Timing, absolutely right.  
[00:20:40.810] – John
My view is that I don’t intend to sell any of these stocks if I don’t need to, and actually, I might trim them if I decide I want to have some income from my portfolios, but I’m never planning to exit them. One of the advantages of having stocks in what we call over here, a self invested pension plan, which is a bit like a 401K in the United States, is actually it falls outside of the inheritance tax. So I see every possibility of being able to leave a large portion of this portfolio to my children, and they will be able to do that without being hammered for tax by the government. But not only that, but I have a one year old grandson, and when he was born, first thing I did was I gave him inside a tax protected wrapper, which is an Icer Junior Icer. I gave him one share of Berkshire Hathaway, and the next birthday, which was last August, I gave him another share of Berkshire Hathaway. And I will continue to do this for the rest of my life. And my message to him, fortunately, his father is very smart and financially sophisticated.  
[00:21:43.630] – John
He works in finance, and my message to him is, keep this in your Isa and enjoy the proceeds. When you’re 60, or possibly if they break up Berkshire Hathaway, you may have to redeploy the capital at some point after ten or 20 years, after we no longer have the benefit of Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger, but there is no intention to sell this. This is a long term investing strategy, and the next thing I’m thinking about is building a little pot of money to give to my daughters, only one of which, at the moment, has children, and say, Right, this is a seed capital for your children’s children investments. So our son Argentin is called Venice. So when he has children, I want her to pass this money across, and it’s been invested from now for those children to then start having that investment capital. Because I’ve only probably got, I know, 20, 30, 40 years worth, 40 if I’m lucky. I’m 61 years of life that they’ve got the the rest of the century ahead of them. And as you said, it’s time in the market, but it’s time in the market because the returns compound, and that’s how you get a real build up of wealth through stock market investing.  
[00:22:56.560] – John
And so that’s the sorts of time frames that I’m looking at.  
[00:22:59.850] – Sean
Yeah. One key call out. I’d like to really emphasize here is the financial education you’re passing down to your children. And then, of course, you know, your grandson is a little young to take in the information at one right now, but just wait till he hits like five, seven, eight. I might start asking some questions. And he’s probably going to listen to Granddad on a few things.  
[00:23:21.920] – John
At least I can keep him awake long enough. Yes.  
[00:23:26.050] – Sean
Right, let’s take a quick commercial break.  
[00:23:29.570] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean. I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for taking the time to listen to this one. I have a quick request, if you have a moment. Could you please head over to Apple podcasts and leave a five star review? The reason is the more ratings we get and the higher those ratings are, the more Apple will share us with the world.  
[00:23:52.240] – Sean
So thanks in advance for doing that.  
[00:23:54.040] – Intro
And then I have a quick comment. If there are any questions you want me to ask the guests, please head over to our Tykr Facebook group. You could drop a question right there. I’ll go ahead and make a note and I’ll do my best to ask that question on the podcast. All right, back to the show.  
[00:24:09.790] – Sean
Really appreciate your background and your personal journey. I’d like to transition to what you’re doing now and you’re having a ton of fun doing it, which is creating courses. Why don’t you talk about the courses a little bit and where people can find those?  
[00:24:22.640] – John
Yeah, this started because, frankly, I wanted to find some way of capturing all my knowledge and experience and being able to share it. It has the benefit of acting like a sort of pension pot for me because the business and hits a number of good things, it’s highly scalable. I’m building intellectual property, which has a moat around it, and it has the ability, because I largely produce every green content, it has the ability to continue to sell. I keep it updated and things going forward. So I’m building my own moat and my own sustainable business and my own income stream, passive income stream over time. But I do it for the joy of the fact that I just love making these courses. So I’ve made courses around a number of areas that I started off teaching how to make courses. I mean, funnily enough, in the early years ago, going back to 2013, it was a very young market and what people really needed to learn was how to make courses. So I did very well for a period just doing that. I then I’ve done marketing. So the things I do, I share. So one of the things I do, and you’ll appreciate from my somewhat English accent that I have a very good face for radio, as they say.  
[00:25:33.770] – John
So I do voiceover gigs on fiverr and that’s a really I mean, again, I really just enjoy it. I’ve done two this afternoon, and that came out of my audio video work for making courses. So I know how to handle the audio side. And that’s not a scalable business because obviously each one is a separate project. But then I realized there was a tremendous demand for courses around finance. At the moment, I’ve done quite a number of courses about financial analysis and about investment banking, but I’ve realized that a lot of young people, particularly they don’t understand how to build wealth. So I’m writing a course at the moment about how to build wealth. And the the lead into the core part of the course is all about how to make intelligent, relatively safe, long term stock market investments without making any big mistakes. And that course will probably end up being five to 10 hours. I predominantly sell my courses on Udemy, and I do this for two reasons. One is that they do all the marketing, which is great. But the other thing is that the Udemy prices, which have been very heavily criticized by many people, particularly instructors who want to make a lot of money out of their courses very quickly, is that the prices on Udemy are extraordinarily reasonable.  
[00:26:47.580] – John
So I get 35% of any sales on Udemy, and the average Udemy sale is about $10. So I make about $3 a sale per course. And I’ve got a 14 hours course on how to write a business plan tied into financial strategic education. You think I’m insane? I should be selling that for thousands. But you’re very fortunate. You won the life lottery. You live in the United States. Had you been born in Bangladesh, or in Vietnam, or in any parts of Africa, or in poorer parts of Latin America, you won’t have $100 to spend on the course. You won’t have $1,000 to spend on university education or go and get a master’s degree. But I’ve got over 200,000 involvements in my course, and now I know that I was giving a lot away. So I think of about 40,000 of those are completely free, which I’m completely happy about. My goal is to reach a million. And yes, I get a little bit of a return from it, and frankly, the return for the lifestyle that I have, which is relatively modest. We like traveling a bit, but I don’t have a Ferrari, and I don’t want a boat, and I don’t want anything in the I like a glass of wine, but it doesn’t have to be Chateau Left Feet.  
[00:28:02.260] – John
And so I make a nice living from the courses, but I feel I’m giving an awful lot back and providing an awful lot of benefit. And it’s lovely because I get messages sometimes on YouTube, but also through people like, come and find me on LinkedIn. And if anybody’s listening, say, you’ve heard me on the Past podcast, come and find me on LinkedIn. John Colley. And people say, oh, look, I’ve. Just done your course and I helped you to get a job or help me to get a promotion. And that means the world to me. That’s really my little dent in the universe is being solely chipped out, and I’m very chuffed about all that. And so that’s essentially the the motivation. And, you know, if you give me a chance to talk, as you see, I’ll talk to her legs off a donkey. My wife says most of the time people don’t know what I’m talking about. But hopefully your your audience is a bit more focused on our commentary of interest.  
[00:28:53.850] – Sean
Hi. I love it. And I think the audience will love this too. And what I want to do here very shortly is transition to the Rapidfire Round. But I really like your background, but also because you come from a place where finance can be really complicated in emergence and acquisitions, investment banking, and it’s not for the layman. And then kind of moving into the space where you’re now serving the retail investor and serving everybody and making that transition to simplifying education. I absolutely love it. You are solving a big problem. We’re trying to do the same thing as make investing easy and approachable for everybody. Right. Before we get to the Rapid Fire Round, is there one major key takeaway you would like to leave with the audience?  
[00:29:38.490] – John
I think keep learning. Never, ever stop learning. And the easiest way to do that is obviously reading. But audiobooks. I mean, I listen to audio books all the time. I actually quite like Ironing now that sounds really sad. And starts off in the army when you learn to have to iron everything in sight, bed covers. But when I’m ironing, I listen to audio books. And the ironing is very calming and therapeutic. There’s a lot of Zen in ironing, but the brain is being engaged. And when I do what little exercise I’m doing at the moment, I should be doing more exercise again. If I go out for a run, I’ll listen to an audiobook. So you can access knowledge in so many different ways so easily. And if you’re interested in finance, then just systematically read around the subject. And if you don’t want to read heavy textbooks, but you can think, read things like Benjamin Graham The Intelligent Investor. But if you read biographies, you’ll often learn as much in the lessons of the biographies as you would from a heavy Vaunted textbook. And because you’re learning from stories rather than from academic treaties, they tend to be much more easy to absorb, much more engaging and enjoyable.  
[00:30:55.560] – John
So I just exhort everybody, become a lifelong learner. Never ever think you’ve learned enough. I did promise myself that after I did my MBA, I would never take another exam again. But that learning has nothing to do with examinations. It’s much more fun when you can learn without having to do the exams.  
[00:31:13.790] – Sean
Right on. I totally agree. All right, let’s transition to the rapid Fire round. This is where we get to find out who John really is.  
[00:31:22.730] – John
Very scary.  
[00:31:24.650] – Sean
I was waiting for a reaction like that. If you can try to answer each question in about 15 seconds or less, you ready?  
[00:31:31.600] – John
[00:31:32.670] – Sean
All right. What is your favorite podcast?  
[00:31:34.930] – John
Okay, I haven’t listened to many podcasts for a little while, but the one that I listened to more than any other and which really gave me, actually, great inspiration for us was Entrepreneur on Fire with Johnny Duma, who actually I interviewed for my podcast when I was doing my podcast, entrepreneur on Fire. Tick.  
[00:31:53.450] – Sean
Nice. All right, what is a recent book you read and would recommend?  
[00:31:57.510] – John
The book I’d push forward is The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, which is about two inches thick, and it’s the biography of Warren Buffett and any aspiring investor. It’s a wonderful read, beautifully written, and they’ll learn an awful lot about investing and the whole approach that Buffett takes just by reading that book.  
[00:32:18.780] – Sean
Right on. We got a fun one here. What is your favorite movie?  
[00:32:22.500] – John
Well, I wanted to include nine, and you said I couldn’t because I’m a Star Wars junkie. So I love Star Wars. I actually love Lego as well. And I make Star Wars Lego. So I’d have to say it’s the original Star Wars movie, which I think is now Episode Four A New Hope, but Starbucks every day of the week. And the original one is, I think, the best and always will be.  
[00:32:46.310] – Sean
I had to put the pressure on you there because there there are nine fun films, some some better than the others. But you’re right. I mean, 1977. New hope changed the game of sci-fi. Yeah. Awesome. All right, we got a few business questions here. What is the worst advice you ever received?  
[00:33:09.070] – John
This was a difficult one. I think anything around going to work for the government. So there were you know, I was Army Barmy from the age of about six, and nobody ever really sat me down and explained why it wasn’t a good idea. But to work, you know, for the big man, and particularly in a contract, what was then a contracting organization. So never work for the government, I think is probably the worst advice. Working for the government is a really bad advice. It took me a while to work that one out.  
[00:33:41.220] – Sean
Got you. Okay, well, let’s flip that equation. What is the best advice you ever received?  
[00:33:46.660] – John
Don’t work for the government. Do what you’re really passionate about now. It was realizing that I really had to follow my passion, which was and I’m not talking about a hobby. I’m talking about the fact that I like to have my brain engaged rather than my hands. I’ve changed tank engines in 30 degrees, -30 degrees on exercise up to my eyeballs in mud and hate it every minute of it, whereas if you sit down and ask me to write a complex financial model, I’m as happy as Larry just zone in and off.  
[00:34:22.530] – Sean
I get him.  
[00:34:24.690] – John
I’m really answering the question.  
[00:34:27.810] – Sean
It’s still entertaining nonetheless. That was brilliant. All right, now we have the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?  
[00:34:39.850] – John
I would go back to just after I became an army officer. So just after I graduated from our military academy. You have West Point. We have the Royal Military Academy. Santos and I was already then interested in finance. I was reading the Financial Times, and I would go back to myself and say, start to learn and understand the power of compounding. Because had I done that, then every investment decision I made from that point forward would have been influenced by understanding how I can harness compounding to my advantage. And I was at that stage, I was 22 years old, and I think that would have been the the most valuable thing. And that’s one of the things I try to get across to young people when I talk to my children’s friends and things. I try to get around to the subject of compounding and tell them a few funny stories about how many times you have to fold a piece of paper to get to the Moon. And the answer is 46. You can’t actually fold a piece of paper 46. But theoretically, if you did a 1 mm piece of paper 46 times and doubled it every time you get to the Moon with it and the power of compounding is something it took me a long time to understand, but the younger you are and that you can grasp it.  
[00:36:00.610] – John
And then I could have made so many better decisions if I really understood how that works.  
[00:36:08.390] – Sean
Thank you for landing on that last point. Compound interest. It truly is, some people say, the 8th wonder of the world.  
[00:36:14.620] – John
It is.  
[00:36:15.590] – Sean
Incredible way to bring it home. All right, where can people reach you?  
[00:36:22.170] – John
I have a website, but to be honest, I don’t do very much on it. Jbdcolly.com the best way to you can find me on LinkedIn? I’m on LinkedIn a lot. Just look for my name John Collie, and if you look for my name, John Collie on Udemy, you can find my courses there. I’m not trying to sell them to you. If you want to go and get them, that’s great, but you’ll be able to get them really affordably and I hope that you’ll enjoy them and I’ll make a couple of dollars. But frankly, that’s not really why I’m sending you there, because I want to share the experience and the knowledge that I have and give you something which will hopefully help you in your financial journey. God, the journey word, never mind along the way. So check me out on you. To me, Jeff, definitely say you heard me on the podcast and come and connect with me on LinkedIn and I’ll connect with you. And always happy to give advice to people if they ask me simple questions. I don’t give investing advice, I don’t give company recommendations, but I’ll always talk about the how and the why, if not exactly the what.  
[00:37:27.710] – Sean
Give them the education, they can make their own educated decisions. Right, quick call out here, listeners. I’m going to put in a link to John’s Udemy page, and I see you’ve got dozens of videos here, it looks like, and 118,000 students and over 9000 reviews. So no joke.  
[00:37:53.830] – John
I have a YouTube channel as well, John colleague. You can find me on that. And you can get all that for free, obviously, and there’s content on there which you’ll find interesting, I hope.  
[00:38:02.480] – Sean
Right on. Well, thank you so much for your time. I love this episode, love the interview. Thanks for joining me.  
[00:38:08.030] – John
No, it’s been a wonderful experience. I love Tykr. I really enjoy your company profiles and your reviews, and I think your methodology is particularly fascinating because it’s so and you’re very open about how it all works. It’s very easy and clear to understand. And I think for somebody who doesn’t have the benefit of my experience but wants to learn about finance, I think it’s a fantastic platform to learn from. And I thank you for putting all the hard work in to make it possible.  
[00:38:38.050] – Sean
Thank you. We’ll see you, Jam.  
[00:38:39.820] – John
Yeah, cheer. Good to talk to you.  
[00:38:42.950] – Intro
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast.  
[00:38:54.150] – Sean
And leave a review?  
[00:38:55.020] – Intro
The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. I’ll talk to you later.  
[00:39:16.820] – Sean
See you.