May 12, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Mike Allen, Co-Founder of Axios: Brevity is Confidence

Mike Allen, co-founder and executive editor of Axios, talks about the forward-thinking Axios approach which is chronicled in Allen’s book, Smart Brevity. Listen to this week’s podcast to learn transformative communication methods and how brevity is confidence.


Tim Ranzetta: Hey, it's me, Tim Ranzetta co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance. Thank you for tuning in to this NGPF podcast today, extra special guest, and it's an author's corner, which means we've got Mike Allen. Not only is he the author of Smart Brevity, he's also the co-founder of Politico and Axios, so he's going to walk us through his entrepreneurial journey, which let's face it, . Media has been a tough business. But Mike has found a way. He and the co-founders have found a way to succeed in a very challenging media environment. But we're gonna spend a lot of time talking about Smart Brevity, how saying less is more. So there's lots of tidbits in here, both for our written communication as well as our verbal communication. Without further ado, Mike Allen.

Welcome Mike Allen.

Mike Allen: Thank you Tim, very much for having me. A treat to visit with you and your guests. Congratulations on what you've built. You've lived an amazing life with lots of chapters and seasons, so excited to be with you this evening. 

[00:01:08] Becoming a Journalist

Tim Ranzetta: You've written a lot about politics over your lifetime. I wonder, you know, was this something that was inevitable based on your upbringing? I mean, is this something that was discussed around the dinner table or kind of what led you towards this path where you've been writing about politics for most of your career? 

Mike Allen: I grew up loving newspapers, loving the news. We used to have the papers in our driveway. In high school I filed stories about my high school football team for the local papers. Kind of got a kick outta that, learned a little bit. The other thing that I did was the high school paper. And I owe a lot to my teacher, Betty Brower, who was the sponsor of the newspaper. And that's where I really got the bug. I realized that you could find out what's going on. You could help tell other people. There were privileges that came with it. If you worked on the newspaper, you got a whole book of hall passes, that you could sign yourself, which in high school is the ultimate currency. And then I went to college and realized that this was something that was not just fun, but was important and something that I was good at.

And my number one message for your guests and listeners is, one, the dream you have is to have a gift. But second, try and figure out what that gift is. Tim, you and I have known so many people who it's only late in life or maybe never, that they realize what they're true calling their true gift is. So the more things that you can try early in life, the more things you can encourage young people in your life to try, the better off they are. And then third, the dream where you and I both have landed is try and find somebody who will pay you to do what you're really good at, what your superpower is, what your dream is. 

Just to give them a sense of my arc, my journey, I started in a very traditional journalistic jobs, worked for an evening paper in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Freelance Star covered the King George County Board of Supervisors. Then I went to the Richmond Times Dispatch, where I covered night police, graduations, parades. That's where I started covering politics. And then I went to the Washington Post where I covered Virginia politics for the Metro Desk. I went to the New York Times, where I covered Rudy and Connecticut. Came back to the Washington Post to cover George W. Bush at the White House. That's where I met Jim VandeHei, my partner, both Politico and Axios. He was covering George W. Bush for the Wall Street Journal. I was covering the White House for the Washington Post and quick stop at Time Magazine, where interestingly enough, my boss and the person who hired me was Jay Carney, who later became President Obama's Whitehouse Press secretary, now with the Airbnb.

And then in 2007, and we could talk more about this if your guests are interested. 2007, I and two friends started Politico 10 years to the day later. Jim VandeHei, Roy Schwartz and I, the co-authors of the book Smart Brevity, started Axios. It means worthy in Greek and are promises to make you smarter, faster on the topics that matter most.

[00:04:20] Covering Bill Bradley's Campaign

Tim Ranzetta: I want to kind of dive into a couple things cause I saw some things in your background that, selfishly, I'm interested in. You covered as short-lived as it might have been, you covered Bill Bradley's campaign in 2000, is that right? I grew up in New Jersey, He was a great basketball player and politician, and seemed to get himself involved in some pretty meaty policy decisions. But yeah, tell me something about Bill I should know. 

Mike Allen: That was my first national campaign. I can tell you something about Bill Bradley, but first I'm gonna share a little life lesson about that campaign. So, 1999, November, December, I started covering the Bill Bradley campaign. They gave us luggage tags to the press core that had a map of Iowa, New Hampshire and the Dr. Seuss slogan, Dr. Seuss drawing. And it said, oh, the places we'll go. And it turned out that Bill Bradley, in fact, did not go much farther than Iowa and New Hampshire. But it was the first time I'd covered it.

And he had a top official that I worked closely with in that campaign. This is now 24 years ago, really dating myself. That top official was Anita Dunn, who later was communications director of the Obama White House, and now is one of the top advisors to President Biden. So for a quarter century, I've been covering Anita then and my takeaway for your guests is that you never know. Whenever I speak to a group of students, I always . Say, I love the privilege of speaking to my future boss. It's often true in life that very often that the intern today is the press secretary, next cycle is the campaign manager, is the cycle after that is the candidate 10 years later. And so, like knowing people, appreciating them, treating them with respect, all that makes a huge difference in any type of endeavor.

When I was assigned to cover Bill Bradley, this was '99, the internet was a baby. I went to the Library of Congress and went to the hard copies of the Life and Look and the magazines from that time because I'd remembered my parents talking about Bill Bradley and the Rhode Scholar who became an NBA star. And when he went to London for his Rhode scholarship, it was like a big story because he was a famous Princeton athlete at the time. And so I had in my mind what a big star he'd been at the time, what a American celebrity he was when he was in his prime. And I had all these printouts of microfilm from the Library of Congress in my back. And then I went out on the campaign trail and there was none of that electricity, none of that excitement.

And that contrast was what really put me onto the fact that there was something missing from this campaign. This is missing a connection with voters, which is something you can't coach or buy or teach. You just have it or you don't. And so that was one of my early lessons, both in what it takes, to quote the great Richard Ben Kramer, but also as a reporter to having the fresh eyes, the clarity to see it and tell your readers and viewers about that. Because that's the ultimate mission of a reporter is we're privileged to be on the campaign planes ,to be on Air Force One, to be on the bus, to be in the van with these candidates. And that's all in service of our audience, the readers, the viewers, the listeners, to help bring that alive to them. 

And that's why at Axios, the first two words of our manifesto online are audience first. And that's how we make every decision, Tim. Whether we're tr trying to make a journalistic decision, something about an event, whatever we're trying to decide is, we always think audience first. What would we do if we were in the audience? What would we want if we were in the audience? 

[00:08:23] From Reporter to Entrepreneur

Tim Ranzetta: Right. So I wanna get to Axios in a minute, but I want to actually capture this. You're going from a reporter to an entrepreneur. You talked about how Jim was at the Wall Street Journal and you were at Time. So your relationship, how that came together, and then the decision, it's a big jump. You go from a reporter to an entrepreneur, and this concept of we're gonna create a publication that's strictly focused on politics. Talk about that process.

Mike Allen: The big insight behind Politico, I and Jim VandeHei, who became the CEO of Politico and is now the CEO of Axios and John Harris, my longtime friend going back to the Richmond Days, who was Jim's editor at the Washington Post, very talented writer who became the co-founder of Politico. Like the insight that we had was that there was all this great technology out there that wasn't being fully used. So in 2007 when Politico started, like the internet and a lot of the digital tools that we have today, were the same and they were available, but they really weren't being used. You'll remember back then that news was still very much produced on the cycle of an evening newscast or a morning paper as it was back in the days when the news was thrown in your driveway. News organizations weren't taking full advantage of the web. And so the insight of Politico was what if we brought more urgency, speed, voice authority, expertise to an area that people were extremely passionate about? Because, you know, people were super into politics. Politicos are as into it as any sports fan. And that's what we did with Politico, is we took the tools that were out there that anybody could have used and got some of the best journalists in the business, people who had authentic expertise. In their spaces.

Jonathan Martin, now a columnist of Politico, formerly a political reporter at the New York Times, was our blogger, to bring back an old term for Republicans. Ben Smith, a former New York Times columnist, was on the Democratic side and they pumped out the news of the 2008 campaign as it happened. And that was a real insight. I remember the scramble of Hillary Clinton for the super delegates, what a big deal of the super delegates were for her count to get the Democratic nomination. Her team would hold a conference call with reporters and Ben Smith would post about it like 20 minutes later and that was seen as revolutionary. Huge buzz because before used to having to wait till that evening or the day before to find out the news. Now of course it would be broadcast in real time. People would be live tweeting and you maybe could be listening to it. But at that time, that tool was being used in a powerful new way. 

The great insight that John Harris had was that reporters are always more interesting in a bar than they are in the paper. And the mission of Politico was to close that gap. And again, it's thinking about the audience. What would I be curious about if I were on that call or on that bus or in that van? And we're bringing people like Jonathan Martin, we talk about his love of the game. People who had this in their blood, loved it and could convey both that passion and their inside knowledge, their perspective, to the audience. That was the magic formula, the secret sauce.

Tim Ranzetta: How much of a Smart Brevity philosophy was developed at the outset as you were laying down the tracks at Axios and building a team out in terms of, okay, here's this new format. Which is, you know, it's kind of revolutionary a little bit in delivering news information in the way you've done it. But I wondered how much of it was you and Jim getting together at the outset saying, okay, here's the model. Now we gotta go hire people to kind of write articles that follow this model versus like, hey, we've got some idea, but we're gonna continue to iterate. 

Mike Allen: That's a great question. Our early writers, like all of them helped iterate it, as you say. But the light bulb moment, the genesis on Smart Brevity, came from when Roy and Jim and I in 2016 were traveling around the country asking people like yourself, like people who need trustworthy, efficient information, asking them what the pain points were in their information consumption. And Tim, there were two things we heard again and again, wherever we went, whether it was academia, whether it was government, whether it was in corporate life, whether it was a nonprofit. The first was the fire hose, right? There's just too much. And, and this was seven years ago, so imagine how much worse that is now. People were just overwhelmed underwater. But here's the second thing that we heard again and again, and that is people told us, if I put something aside to read later, I never do. And that was the aha moment, Tim, because we realized that the busier you were, the more influential you were, the more connected you were, the more wired you were, the less time you have. And so the germ of Smart Brevity was, we know that people aren't gonna go back in time. And so how can we make people smarter about the topics that matter most in real time? 

In our book, we talk about the the core four. The format are one, what's new. And this, the easy way to remember this is this very much follows the arc of a human conversation. Tim, if you and I were to have coffee or Irish coffee or chips and salsa, we'd sit down and what would I do? You'd be like, what have you? So what's new? Why it matters to you. It's kind of the new, all politics is local, right? Why do I care about this? Then you can pull back and add some context, add some data, some color, and then at the bottom, go deeper. How can I take you to other information, show you my work, where I got my information, lead you to, lead you to more data and otherwise to get smarter, faster on this topic. And so let's unpack the magic of that formula. The most important part of that formula is that I, on the front end took the time to think what's gonna be important to you? What do I want you to remember? 

And Tim, a little story about that. A middle school teacher who's not far from where I am, I'm in Arlington, Virginia. This teacher is in Falls Church, Virginia. And he read my morning newsletter, Axios AM and he would write emails to his parents. And he thought, my parents must be really dumb because I answer a question in the newsletter, in the email I send them, but then they write me back and they ask me what I've already answered, why aren't they reading it?

And so he saw an Axios AM the important point that we highlighted the key points, used bolding, used bullets, used numbers, made it friendly for you if you're skimming or scanning. And everybody is, we're all skimming. And so Tim, this teacher tried it with his audience and he put his newsletter in the Smart Brevity format. I didn't even know him at the time. And it was like magic in the Smart Brevity formula. Suddenly his parents were smarter. They weren't writing back and asking him questions that he'd already answered. Why was that? And here's the takeaway for your audience, and that is, it was the magic was not the bold or the bullets or the numbering. The magic was that he had taken the time on the front end to figure out what is the one thing I want my parents to do? What is the one thing I want them to know? What's most important? And then put it at the top. And that is the secret sauce. That is the, the competitive advantage of Smart Breviy. I figure out what you need to know. I say it clearly sharply. I say it conversationally the way that I would say it to you right here. Then I explain why you should care. Then I give you some data, some context and nuance and show you where to check my work and where to get more information, where to go deeper. That is the Smart Brevity secret.

Tim Ranzetta: Sounds like a good model for lesson planning for all the teachers here to think about really starting off with what's new and why it matters. 

Mike Allen: If you think about any piece of content that you consume. So a podcast, a newsletter, a Zoom like this, an industry meeting, a sermon, any piece of content that you consume, any event that you attend. If you think about it, if you come away with one new idea, if you come away with one learning, that's a win. Right? Think how many podcasts we listen to, how many emails we read, how many Zooms we sit on, where we come away with nothing. And Smart Brevity . Flips that on its head and says, the most that someone's gonna remember from your piece of content is one thing. And so figure out what that is. What do you want them to remember? Why do you want them to care about this piece of content? Why are you telling it to them? Make sure that they know why this is important and then say that at the top. Don't let them pick because if you throw out four different ideas, they're not gonna remember any of them. I wanna think about what are they gonna walk out and tell to their significant other, or tell the person that they're having Irish coffee with or tell to their seatmate, like, what are they gonna tell their boss? The person who works for them? That's the magic. That's what we want to capture with Smart Brevity because they're not gonna remember or process four things. You're not gonna run into somebody at the mailbox and say, you wouldn't believe what I heard on a Zoom today. And then tell them four different things. No, you're gonna tell them one interesting thing and that's how Smart Brevity teaches you to communicate. It gives you more power and lets you be heard. 

[00:18:26] A Word from NGPF

Jessica Endlich: Right now you're listening to a podcast from NGPF, but there's also a new podcast for teens about money called Financially Inclined from Marketplace. NGPF's very own Yanely Espinal is the host in collaboration with Marketplace. Our team created student listening guides, which you can find on the NGPF blog, as well as in the description notes. For each episode, check out financially inclined on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:18:55] Advice on Presenting Data 

Tim Ranzetta: So I started my career as a management consultant and so we really spent a lot of time on the data and content side. Any advice on presenting data too? 

Mike Allen: Key point is that if people don't instantly get something or recognize something, I think they just skip it and move on because here's a piece of gravity. Gravity is, you can believe in it or not believe in it, but. It's gonna be there and it's gonna work whether you believe in it or not. So one of my pieces of gravity for you is that an average piece of content on the average media site, they're gonna have maybe 20 seconds that you're gonna look at it. And once you've gotten somebody to open your email, if you're communicating within your organization or communicating to your stakeholders, once they've opened the email, every single sentence is a chance to lose them.

Every single sentence. If it gets dense, if it gets foggy, if it has unfamiliar terms, if it has a bunch of numbers, they don't have context, you're gonna lose me. Whereas a chart or a sentence that gives a piece of data and stark relief, like we'll sometimes say stunning stat. And that just gets the mind of the reader oriented to, okay, I'm about to get some data here.

And here's a hack. The number one tip that we give to people in business who are trying to write more clearly is read it out loud. So when you and I are sitting having breakfast or having lunch, there are social cues that keep me from boring you, right? I don't use what my grandma powers would call $10 words, SAT words. I don't repeat myself, I don't tell you stuff you already know. If you start to kind of zone out, I'll pick up on it. 

But then think about it. When we sit at a keyboard, any human, including maybe especially professional writers, people are paid to be good writers. When we sit in a keyboard, we suddenly lock up and we do all those things. We use the fancy words, we use the wrong sentences. We tell you background that you already know, we repeat ourselves. All those bad habits. Which go back to our school assignments because when you were in school, when was the last time you were assigned one important idea? No, you were assigned like either a number of words or a number of pages, which you then triple space. So all these bad habits go way back. And what smart brevity says is you can get past those bad habits. You can communicate in a crisp, powerful way, and that's gonna set you apart from all the other like sea of words that your audience is gonna be getting in a given day.

[00:21:45] Developing a Business Model 

Tim Ranzetta: I should have asked this question earlier. I know there'll be some teachers here who teach business and, media has been a really tough business. I wonder if you go back to the start of Axios, it's you know, you're either thinking subscription or you're thinking advertising. Talk a little bit about the decision you make when it comes to business model. I believe you started with advertising and then you add the pro later as a subscription service.

Mike Allen: A key part of it is knowing who your audience is. Who are you trying to reach. We're trying to reach smart professionals about topics that matter most. Just having the best market site in the world isn't enough. Just having the best politics site in the world, just having the best tech site in the world. No. What you need now is experts who can connect you to how does politics meet media? How does media meet tech, how does tech meet business? Like how does AI affect all of those> but connecting those worlds is more valuable than ever. And so that's part of the idea behind Axios, is how can we help smart professionals navigate all those worlds? And you're right from the beginning, most of our content was supported by partners who were trying to reach that audience. Now we have a second approach to the business which is the Axios Pro subscriptions.

[00:23:09] Verbal Communication Tips

Tim Ranzetta: We've spent a lot of time talking as about Smart Brevity when it comes to written communication. Talk about whether the same principles apply and how given the fact teachers are communicators, right? Largely verbal communication. How to apply those principles to verbal. Is it similar and how is it different?

Mike Allen: Such a great question. And here's what's important to realize is for your teachers to think about, what would they be receptive to? So this is where the read it out loud idea becomes very powerful. And where some of your teachers are the leading experts in the world on this, as you've mentioned, they kind of practice it kind of naturally that they're used to communicating with words.

Here's a secret that, I dunno if it always applies in classrooms, but it applies to presentations and other ways where you're communicating vocally. And that is the two words just stop. So I watched someone making a sale and they maybe are a good salesperson. They maybe have a great product, and I'm watching them talk. I'm watching the body language of their prospect, and they are a good salesperson. They have a good product and they've got 'em. They've made the sale. And then what happens again and again, they keep talking and sometimes the salesperson keeps talking so much and they raise so many questions that finally the prospect says, okay, I'll think about it.

Whereas if they just made their key point and stopped, they would've walked out with a signed order. Similarly, when we ask for a raise, when you ask for a raise, you should say what you've done and what you're gonna do, and then just stop. But instead, we tend to be like I know there's a lot going on right now and I know it's tough times in the sector, and, no, just stop. Think about what your clear point is, say it, and then stop. And I think your teachers probably naturally do that, but that's gonna be very powerful for them. Like what is the one thing they want their students to remember? Because as they know a lot better than you or I do, the, their students are most likely to remember one thing max. Know what that is. Hone it, shape it, say it clearly, and, deliver it. And then just stop. 

A quick story about that. There was a minister near here in Alexandria, Virginia. And he shared with his congregation the advice that he gave his kids and the advice he gave his kids boiled down to do the next right thing. So five words, do the next right thing. And the thinking behind it was, we don't always know the future. We don't always have ideal conditions, but given the conditions we have today, given what we know today, do the next right thing. Obviously good life advice. But the point of telling this story is think about how much work went into boiling that down to five memorable words that you and I are talking about years later. Lots of study, lots of writing, lots of false starts, but he spent the time on the front end. Thought about his audience, thought about what he wanted them to remember, thought . About what he wanted to say, and said it in those five crisp, clear, memorable words that we're now discussing years after that sermon.

[00:26:35] Why Smart Brevity Works

Tim Ranzetta: I like the fact you you said it took a long time to get there. What's the research behind why Smart Brevity is effective? Because I get the sense you've spent a lot of time thinking about what attention. We're being bombarded by people who wanna steal our attention. I always thought it was three points you could get away with telling people three reasons why. And now I'm gonna have to rethink this and just make one point. But yeah, what's some of the research behind why this is an effective way to communicate other than the fact you've got a very successful business you've built? 

Mike Allen: It completely is the idea that you only have a few seconds that, that I'm going to either engage you or lose you. I think your teachers will agree that it's very rare that they are gonna have students who are zoned out and they're suddenly zoned in. You get them at the beginning, can you keep them? And that's the magic of Smart Brevity is that we know that we have those few seconds to engage you. That's why the long wind up, the sort of fancy starts, the backing into it, the setting, the scene that we used to do in newspapers like is not effective. 

Now, what Smart Brevity says, and this is a very important point, Smart Brevity says that nine times out of 10, the best way to tell a story is efficiently. Now, for that 10th time out of 10, we give you the time to do that. So there gonna be times you wanna read the New Yorker article or wanna read the Atlantic article or wanna listen to the full hour long podcast. Jim VandeHei sometimes says, nobody would want the Godfather to be 10 minutes, right? And so the point is that the most of our communication is transactional. I know something I want you to remember. I have something that I have expertise in. I want to teach it to you. And if we do that efficiently and quickly and memorably, then that will give you time back to when it is time to read that full book.

[00:28:41] Brevity is Confidence

Tim Ranzetta: I'm reminded of something, Mike, when I saw you speak at the conference where you were kind enough to sign a book for me and agree to be on this podcast. You said something that really stuck with me, it's hard for people to stop talking because they're so nervous. And you said something again, very brief. You said brevity is confidence. 

Mike Allen: Brevity is confidence. Length is fear. What do we mean by that? If you've really mastered the subject, Smart Brevity, done right, you do not sacrifice nuance or context. Smart Brevity, you're more likely to say something with more rigor and precision because you've done the work on the front end. Something that I think is broadly true in life is a lot of people are faking it, right? And one of the biggest, where there's a point we make in the book, Smart Brevity, is that one of the biggest ways we think it is with word, because we don't really know the argument, we don't really know how it works. And so we kind of give both sides and we just say a lot and we figured the audience will think that we've done a lot of work, whereas with Smart Brevity, we have to understand it crisply and sharply to be able to add two and two to get four and say it to you. And so that's why brevity is confidence 

[00:29:55] The Tweet Hack

Tim Ranzetta: I love that. I have a lot of work to do on that, by the way. Mike, real quickly, the workbook that's available for free also, how can people use that to be better? 

Mike Allen: Yeah. Thank you. So on, we have some materials to help you do this. But here are a couple hacks that your audience can instantly become better communicators. Here's a hack that is not in the book cause this is something that we have discovered more recently and that is what is the Tweet? So we would work with our reporters to try and get a news story in as good a shape as it could be, to make their point as clearly crisply precisely as we could, so that the audience would instantly understand it and remember it. And time and again, we'd work really hard on a story. And the first sentence, the lead, and we'd pop it on the web and then the reporter 30 seconds later would Tweet something that said the thesis of the article so much more clearly and understandably than we had in the web. 

So this happened with a reporter I'd been working with. We'd worked hard on this story. We've gotten it a lot better, a lot clearer, a lot sharper. We popped it up on the web and sure enough, he Tweeted in a way that I'm like, oh, now I understand what he was trying to say. So I called him and I said, this was one of our great rising stars, so I could do this. I called him and I said, freeze. Tell me why you can do that. We worked so hard on this story, and yet what you tweeted in 30 seconds is so much clearer and more interesting, and this is wisdom. This is the learning for you. The takeaway is he said, well, when I'm writing a piece, an article, and update a research report, whatever it is your audience is writing, I'm thinking about all the material I have. When I Tweet, I'm just thinking about what's hot, what someone will share, what will someone will remember. I'm like, yes. 

So that's the what's the Tweet hack? And that is that whether you're writing a, an annual report, an annual letter, whether you're writing a research paper, whatever you're writing, think about what the Tweet is. And that might be a good headline. It might be a good first sentence. Maybe you won't use it at all, but at least it will help sharpen your thinking. 

[00:32:14] Conclusion

Tim Ranzetta: Mike, you've been so generous with your time. I really appreciate you talking, about your book, your approach. 

Mike Allen: Take 20 seconds and tell them how we met. I think they would like that story. And cause it's a great way to illustrate the power of Smart Brevity and is maybe a great drop the mic way for us to stop. 

Tim Ranzetta: Okay, perfect. Yeah, I interrupted Mike. Mike was signing, he was about to go on stage. Imagine a ballroom, about 800 , and he is sitting at a table signing books. And he's got his head down and I'm like, you know, I've been a political reader., I've read Axios, never met Mike, but saw him. And I was like so he is gotta be the author of this book. And I think it probably played in my favor that I was so nervous. I blurted something out about, you know, there's this great community of teachers. I know they would love to hear your message of Sart Brevity. Can we get you on a podcast? And he said, sure, here's my email address. And here we are. That was November. So I guess we're six months later. And so just really thrilled that we did have the opportunity to meet and for you to say yes. So I guess the power of asking. I guess that's the lesson here. 

Mike Allen: Well thank you for the privilege and now I will take my own advice and just stop.

Tim Ranzetta: Thank you, Mike, that was a lot of fun.

Some housekeeping items before we go. We'll put links to first of all, his book Smart Brevity, as well as his news site, Axios, as well as some of the other resources that Mike mentioned. We'll put those in the show notes, which you can find at Better yet, subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, leave us a review. We'd love increasing the size of our audience. So they can hear from these amazing guests. Wanna thank Ren Makino who produces our podcast every week, including the detailed show notes, and he's always good at making sure I get him the intro and conclusions too. Thank you Ren, for your persistence. So on behalf of Mike and myself, I wanna thank you again for tuning in to this NGPF podcast. Have an amazing week.

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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