#034: How facts ruin a good story - Phil Ruthven AM

By Jordan Michaelides
October 04, 2017

Image: Phil Ruthven

Listen via iTunes or Stitcher

Phil Ruthven AM is the founder and current director of IBISWorld, an international corporation providing online business information and forecasting - widely known for its breadth of information available. As a Member of the Order of Australia, Phil is respected for his commentary across all forms of media on business and the economy, revered by previous guests such as futurist and demographer Bernard Salt AM.

When I spoke to you in Bernard’s episode, I highlighted the importance of data and statistics in defining the story. Phil, himself, says in this episode that facts often ruin a good story, and so that’s why I felt you should hear from the man who paved the way for people like Bernard.

Too often you and I see people using hearsay and scuttlebutt (as Phil coins it). How many social occasions have you been to, where people start trumpeting phony realities that you know are most definitely wrong?

Phil outlines how you can to take a holistic approach in business or personal life, and how that will particularly hold you in good stead for life. The future of Australia is bright, particularly beneficial to our generation. While we spoke about what is actually coming, and how automation will impact your life, he also highlighted that politics will play a crucial part in that future - and why the current lack of political leadership could be disastrous for the long term.


What I respect about Phil is that he’s always strived to make better decisions, and in the process make you and I smarter in the process (or at least seem smarter). He has a genuine hunger for understanding what is happening in the world, and is always humble when doing so. I’ve never heard Phil speak poorly, or act aggressively to anyone.


It was an incredible opportunity to interview Phil (his last personal audio interview was with the ABC in 2008), so I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


Our key talking points:

  • What Phil is most well-known for

  • How he got into forecasting, IBISWorld

  • How he researches and what he reads

  • Taking a holistic approach to information

  • Understanding cycles in the business environment

  • Why facts ruin a good story

  • The future economy of Australia

  • How automation will change our lives

  • Opinion on the current political landscape

  • If he were to restructure politics in Australia

  • Political leaders vs business leaders

  • Lessons learnt from his parents


Enjoy the episode,
Jordan & Lauren




Show notes

  • What Phil is most well-known for {07:58}

  • How he got into forecasting, IBISWorld {08:59}

  • How Phil researches and what he reads {34:50}

  • Taking a holistic approach to information {37:00}

  • Understanding cycles in the business environment {37:54}

  • The future economy of Australia {42:07}

  • Opinion on the current political landscape {01:02:01}

  • If Phil were to restructure politics in Australia {01:10:52}

  • Political leaders vs business leaders {01:18:48}

  • What would he do differently from his past? {01:26:43}

  • Lessons learnt from his parents {01:27:53}

  • Recommended books {01:33:11}

  • If he could have a billboard anywhere {01:37:20}


Select things mentioned in the episode