An Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology Event : Make Your Passion Your Profession
"Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be" -- Joseph Campbell
"I wish there was one grand artistic depot where the artist only need hand in his artwork. As things stand now, one must be half a businessman." --Beethoven

Celebrating Entrepreneurship Week with
John C. Bogle, Founder and Former CEO of Vanguard
John C. Bogle's Entrepreneurship Week Keynote:
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

On February 27th, John C. Bogle, the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group, and author of numerous speeches and bestselling books including the classic The Battle for The Soul of Capitalism, delivered Pepperdine University's keynote for entrepreneurship week. His speech, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes may be downloaded here, and it is not to be confused with the similarly titled video game: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

Mr. Bogle founded the Vanguard Group based on premises first set down in his Princeton senior thesis, and today Vanguard manages over one-trillion dollars in assets.

In 2004, TIME magazine named Mr. Bogle as one of the world's 100 most powerful and influential people, and Institutional Investor presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, Fortune designated him as one of the investment industry's four "Giants of the 20th Century."

Below please find Dr. E's introduction leading up to the event:

Celebrating Entrepreneurship Week with John C. Bogle
Founder of Vanguard
& Hero's Journey Entrepreneurship

Author: Elliot McGucken

Across the country, colleges and universities will celebrate Entrepreneurship Week (February 24 to March 3, 2007) with lectures and special programs reflecting on the significant role entrepreneurship plays in creating “the wealth of nations.”  Typically thought of as a venue for business and industry, entrepreneurship’s ideals and precepts can be found in all realms of a classical liberal arts education—in every epic story based on the classic Hero’s Journey, from The Odyssey, to the American Founding, to Wall Street entrepreneur John Bogle’s founding of Vanguard. 

Campbell’s Hero’s Journey tells of the reluctant hero hearing a “call to adventure.”  They embark on a “road of trials,” ascend the mountain, and “return on home with the elixir”—ideals rendered real in the service of others.  And classic entrepreneurs like Bogle, who keep the higher ideals above the bottom line as did Odysseus, are needed on Wall Street and Main Street, in Hollywood and the Heartland, in academia and government—such is the call to adventure in Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology 101.

Bogle first heard the “call to adventure” in 1949, when, while searching for a senior thesis topic at Princeton, he came across a Fortune Magazine article which stipulated that money managers rarely beat the market.  Why then—he applied common sense to the obvious—the same common sense which let Einstein, Shakespeare, and Twain spin gold from the obvious—are we paying money managers?          Bogle’s 1951 senior thesis set his ideals in stone, “The principal function of mutual funds is the management of their investment portfolios. Everything else is incidental . . . Future industry growth can be maximized by a reduction of sales loads and management fees . . . Mutual funds can make no claim to superiority over the market averages . . . funds should operate in the most efficient, honest, and economical way possible.”

Walter L. Morgan, founder of the famous Wellington Fund, read Bogle’s thesis and became his “mentor” and boss.  Bogle “crossed the threshold”—taking the train from Princeton to Wall Street—and went on to replace his mentor as head the Wellington Fund, whence he assembled a “fellowship” of whiz-kids who had achieved an extraordinary record over the previous years.  They accompanied him on the “road of trials as they lead Wellington to new heights.  But then, during the market decline in the early seventies, Bogle found himself fired in a “reversal of fortune.” 

In the darkness of the “belly of the whale,” he saw opportunity.  He would ride back into town for a “showdown.”  Bogle writes, “The Company directors who fired me comprised a minority of the board of Wellington Fund itself, so I went to the Fund Board with a novel proposal: Have the Fund, and its then—ten associated funds (today there are 100), declare their independence from their manager. It wasn't exactly the Colonies telling King George III to get lost, as it were, in 1776. But fund independence—the right of a fund to operate in the interest of its own shareholders, free of conflict and domination by the fund's outside manager—was at the heart of my proposal.”

Bogle won this battle, and he implemented the moral premise of his Princeton senior thesis in the form of the world’s first index fund, returning on home with the “elixir” that is Vanguard, enriching the common investor with “the ultimate boon.”  Managing the Wellington fund by hiring partners based on past performance had been a “refusal of the call he had heard back at Princeton—a “temptation from the true path.”  But our humble hero, buoyed by the eternal ideals of service, simplicity, and common sense, was “resurrected” in Vanguard, stronger than ever.

Bogle humbly describes the apotheosis: “The magic, such as it may be, of the index fund is simply that it gets the croupiers largely out of the game: No sales charges; no management fees; tiny operating costs; virtually no transaction costs; high tax efficiency. Anyone could have had—and I imagine many others did have—this banally simple, completely obvious insight.”  So it is that many hear the “call to adventure,” but all too often the story ends with the “refusal of the call.”  Like Odysseus, Bogle sailed it on home.

Some controversy surrounded Bogle stepping down as Vanguard’s chairman, but by then our veteran voyager had demonstrated that there was but one who could string the bow.  The Vanguard brand retains its value via Bogle’s senior thesis, books, and speeches—by his words, just as the Odyssey has voyaged over 2800 years by Homer’s words.  Ideals are real, and thus make excellent long-term investments. 

Just as Odysseus was opposed in his own home, Bogle has oft been opposed by Wall Street Lotus Eaters who prefer short-term temptations—the Sirens of speculation and Wall Street’s casinos—over the long-term wealth that is generated by the prudent allocation of capital towards rugged innovation, integrity, and classic entrepreneurship—the kind of investing that the world’s greatest investor—Warren Buffett—also happens to favor.  The common sense premise of classic entrepreneurship—the risk taker ought get the reward—resounds throughout all of Bogle’s works. 

While Odysseus was risking his life, serving his country in battle, the suitors to his wife Penelope stayed back home, partying and depleting the wealth of his estate, just as the ironic, managerial class is depleting the wealth of our savings, investments, and cultural heritage.  In the opening words of The Odyssey, Homer tells us why we ought to read Bogle’s Battle for the Soul of Capitalism:

He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.
But not by will nor valor could he save them,
for their own recklessness destroyed them all
children and fools, they killed and feasted on
the cattle of Lord Helios, the Sun,
and he who moves all day through heaven
took from their eyes the dawn of their return.

Of these adventures, Muse, daughter of Zeus,
tell us in our time, lift the great song again.

--Homer's Odyssey, translated by Fitzgerald

Battle is a most optimistic book, beginning with a call to the rising generation “To begin the world anew.”  Bogle “lifts the great song again,” reminding us that entrepreneurship is a humble hero’s journey—an art that must be performed in the context of immortal ideals.   Bogle writes, “In retrospect, I believe that idealism—the dream of a better world; fairness to one's fellow human beings; focus on simplicity; emphasis on stewardship—has driven my life from Blair Academy to Princeton, and then through my long career. Happily, I've learned that the link between idealism and economics is a powerful one. Indeed, both Vanguard's structure and the index fund concept are classic examples of the fact that enlightened idealism is sound economics.”

As we celebrate entrepreneurship week, we must celebrate those Great Books and Classics that have bestowed upon us the everlasting wealth that exalts the better angels of our nature.  The soul is defined not via science, but via Epic Story, and thus the soul of capitalism derives not from economics, but rather economics derives from story—from hero’s journey entrepreneurship performed both in living ventures and immutable classics.  By studying artistic entrepreneurship, students will see the vast opportunity that abounds in the humble service of higher ideals—in owning the risk of the renaissance.

So come join us on March 31st, 2007 for the first annual Hero's Journey Entrepreneurship Festival!