This week on The Millionaire Choice Podcast, Tony talks with Johnathan More, CEO of Starr Peak Mining Ltd. Tony and Johnathan discuss dressing for success, the value of precious metals, and how to ready yourself for taking advantage of opportunities when they arise.
Johnathan started working at age 13. He spent his summers in the back of an office shredding papers, running errands, and meeting people in the industry. Learning golf and playing during college eventually landed him his first job out of school.
About Johnathan More
Johnathan More is the CEO of Starr Peak Mining Ltd., which is focused on mining discoveries and finding new places to drill. The company currently has a $100M valuation and has raised over $9 million in just over a year, which will help avoid any down time in exploration and drilling work.
Johnathan More has over 25 years of experience in North American and European capital markets focused on natural resource industries. He had a history of achievement from his years with Canaccord Capital. In August 2008, Mr. More retired from Canaccord Capital as an investment advisor to apply his experience and contacts to the public company sector. Mr. More also serves as a Director of Power Metals Corp. and Superior Mining International Corp.
Learn more about Johnathan More, https://starrpeakminingltd.com/
Welcome back to the millionaire choice show. Today on the show, we're gonna be talking about mining. And, I'm not talking about cryptocurrency mining like some of you may be learning about today. I'm talking about real resource mining, real goods, real world stuff; not digital stuff. I'm gonna be talking with Johnathan More, chairman and CEO of Starr Peak Mining limited. Welcome to the show, Johnathan.
Johnathan More (00:24):
Thanks Tony. It's great to be here.
Thanks for coming on. I honestly have to say, I don't think I've talked to any miners yet, so I'm interested in this; because, as I started to expand my financial knowledge past mutual funds, which I was stuck in for 15 years, I started learning about all the different ways that you can invest in so many different things. There are so many different avenues to build wealth. You don't have to be locked into just mutual funds. In fact, you probably shouldn't be locked into mutual funds even for an average investor, but I never really had considered the idea of, investing as a partial owner in a mining operation. That fascinates me. I haven't currently done that, but I've been learning more about it. And, that's the place you operate.
Johnathan More (01:08):
I will say that I'm not a geologist by all means. I probably know enough to be dangerous. So, for the geology side of things, we rely on experts, and I think we've amassed a pretty good team to handle all the geological aspects of what we do, but I'm a finance guy like yourself. I'm, self-taught; I'm a man of knowledge; I like to read. When I get into something; I really wanna get as much information as I possibly can. I'm still learning every day. I mean, everything I read, I wanna just get more and more and more. So, really, it's a fascinating area to sink into. And, it is cyclical. So, if you're doing it for your whole life, you're gonna see a lot of ups and downs, but I think the timing of it right now is very unique. And, we're in one of those situations. It's something that I'm glad we're talking about; because, I really want people to know that this is an important aspect of people's portfolios and people really have to pay attention to this.
I think for the average America, when you look back, the old days versus today, old economies, like where wealth really came from, you were looking at like resources, land, gold, silver, small business, and those things. And, today the economy- it's very interesting to see how over the 100-200 years that you really have this ascension of what is more like 'fake wealth' or 'paper wealth' or 'stock wealth,' which, if you're buying a company, you are buying into something, but it's still it's paper. It's not like you really own it. And, I think that's most evident in things like the general motor stuff that went down in 2008/9, when the economy crashed. And, people that thought they owned shares of general motor stock, but then it went bankrupt and the government wiped out all that shareholder value. Only the debtors were the ones that got paid; not the shareholders. And, so it is an interesting time. But, you got into to gold and mining and stuff. Before that, your story was very interesting to me because not everybody that is millionaire was born with a silver spoon, but you did get a very, very early start didn't you?
Johnathan More (03:23):
You know what I did, growing up in Vancouver, I had a great education. One of the things my parents really, really enforced in me, and actually I now give to my kids is; the first check that I'll write any year, as my parents did for me; was to make sure I had the best education. And, I was very fortunate for that. That was the biggest part of why I'm thankful for my parents; the fact that they really, really pushed my education. So, I was young and in my summertime, I had to work at 13 years old, when I started; I think it was in the summer; I actually started instead of getting a paper out, I went and, started working in the back office of a Vancouver Brokerage firm, and put on a suit and tie at that age and went to sit in the back office.
Johnathan More (04:17):
And I was filing, but my main job was shredding paper. I shredded all the documents that had to be shredded and the thing would jam up and I'd have to un-jam it. And, I did it day after day for the entire summer. And, I'd come home every day covered in white dust from all the paper that was being shred in that room. And, really that's, that's what I did. And, I think the following summer I came back and then I was shredding paper and I was getting lunches. I got all the brokers and all the bankers lunches every day. I was the gopher. I was the runner that was running around doing things that people didn't wanna do. It was a job, but what really got me into it was getting into meeting the people in the industry, and really seeing how they interact on a daily basis and seeing how they would speak to people, how they would answer the phone, whatever it might be.
Johnathan More (05:09):
I was fascinated by it. I had a mother that was actually at the same company. So, she'd drive me in and I'd go home with her in the afternoons.I did it for three or four years, and every summer I'd get a different gig. And, when I was getting a little bit older in my last year, I started golfing with all these brokers and financial advisors. And, I was the young kid, but I was a good golfer. I actually continued golfing into my college years. The more I hung out with these types of people, and saw them doing their business; I knew that's what I wanted to do. That's what I wanted to do in my life. So, when I left, I went into university and continued my golf career. But, that's how I got my start. It was in Vancouver.
Well, I had to laugh at that because I'm thinking of you going to work every day as a 13 year old in a suit and a tie. I'm like, wow, that's committed right there.
Johnathan More (06:16):
It was. You feel important, you put that suit on and your friends are maybe going and working at the local pool or at the ice cream shop or whatever it might be. And then, there was me putting on this, probably suit I bought for 40 bucks and put on a tie as well. But, that was a part of me. And then, for the next 30 years that I was in the business, the suit and tie went on every day. It's not like it is today. Mind you, I mean, you look at the bar, the markets today, and everyone seems to be dressed in golf shirts. I think it's been relaxed a little bit, but I had a great time and I have no regret on the direction I took, and going into that at a very young age.
When you talked about that, it hit me up with that principle, the guy, John T Molloy, 'dressed for success.' I don't know if you've ever read that book. I've not read it, but I grew up in a very different job. I was wearing shorts and t-shirts and wearing gloves when I could afford them or have them, to pull weeds and paint curbs. My mom managed convenience stores. So, I got that. That was my job from 13, and I hated that job. I mean, I can't say I hated many of my jobs that I had, but that was one, I literally hated it. I had to wash sidewalk, concrete, get stains off concrete at gas station.
That was just terrible. But, I was probably; when I started 'dressing for success,' like really thinking that way about how to reach the next level; I was probably about 37 years old because most of the jobs that I had, my dad was a blue collar guy. He's working hard and been doing carpentry work, my mom was doing that and I went into the engineering field, but I was more in manufacturing engineering. So, I'd come home dirtier at the end of the day than I did when I went in. And, finally I started getting into a job, technology related job, where you're using more of your brain instead of your body to work. And, I finally got to a point where I'm like, "you know what? I've been successful up to this point because my income went up, my leadership abilities went up," like everything was going in the right direction.
And, I looked at what I was wearing, which, could be sandals, nice jeans and a t-shirt on any given day. And, I had a leadership job, but I'm like, "I'm successful today, but am I really prepared for success tomorrow?" And, when I started asking myself that question, I had to say, you know what, I gotta change some things about me. I've gotta change some things about myself. I was doing some things right and something's wrong. And, I hired a fashion consultant. I was 37 years old; hired a fashion consultant. And, she came in the first thing she did, she went into my closet. She said, "I need to come to your house first and inspect your clothes." And so, I put her clothes and she literally threw out about half of what I had in my closet.
And then she separated the remaining portion into two pieces; the stuff I could wear to work, and the stuff that I could wear when I wasn't at work. And, then from that, I met her one day at a department store. She got there an hour before me, and then picked out all these clothes; had this whole rack of clothes. And, all I did for an hour was go to the changing room and put on what she said to put on. Then come out and she would gimme feedback. And, sometimes she would say, "yes, we'll get that. No, we wouldn't. And then she would send a little runner to go change out for sizes if the size didn't work for me." And, it was just an interesting time in life, cuz I was trying to hit that next level of success. And, then interestingly enough, after I did that and started wearing those clothes to work, my boss asked me what changed and I told him and he's like, "can I have her number?"
And so, he called her and next thing she's dressing him too because his clothes were worse than mine. He had jeans with holes in the knees. I just had jeans on, and he was wearing flip flops, but we were at a startup company and it was seeing some rapid growth and we were all evolving at that time. But, I think it's interesting because at a very young age; you were already at age 13 dressing for the future and dressing for success.
Johnathan More (10:27):
I mean, I was at a Catholic private school growing up too. This was part of, the education my parents provided me, which again, I'm so thankful for. I had to put on a uniform every day on that front. So, it really wasn't new for me to dress up, put on a tie, whatever it might be. But, I mean in the financial market; you look at it as you grow, and as I got into the markets further in my career, I mean, as shallow as this sounds, I mean, who are you gonna wanna entrust with your money? Some guy there standing in a beautiful suit with a tie on, and a nice pair of polished shoes standing there.
Johnathan More (11:08):
And then right next to him, you're seeing a guy with some jeans, with some holes in the knees and a dirty t-shirt? I mean, who are you gonna wanna give your money to manage? I mean, as shallow as it sounds; you're probably gonna go with the guy with a nice suit and, it's, it's, then you take, there is another book I read, I can't remember the name of it, but it was in that. It was like, "you're looking at boats that are all in a Harbor." So, in Vancouver we have this area called Cole Harbor, and you see all these beautiful boats out there, and you see these little smaller boats and you say to your friends, who in this harbor do you think has the most money?
Johnathan More (11:42):
Well, quite honestly, it's probably the guy with the smallest boat, cuz he's probably the smartest. So, there's different things, but you don't notice it all the time, you just do what you're told. My mom said, "you gotta put on a suit if you're gonna go to the office." So, I said, "okay, well let's go buy a suit for $40." I think I got two tip top tailors. I think it was. And, I bought these two suits, and I think I wore them for the next four years, but you just do what you're told and then you look back at it now and you say, "you know what? Hmm, maybe that did have a difference in what I was doing today."
It was shaping your thinking, and I'm just so blessed to talk to different guys that come on the show and they all get their start in different ways. I probably started a little later than some of my guests, I really got started at age 25, some of my guests on the show were millionaires at age 25, but they grew up in broken families and made choices, and just got started. They made a millionaire choice and shifted and moved in that direction, which is cool. So, when you started building your wealth; you're into mining now; but, is that where you've primarily stayed or have you played around with different things?
Johnathan More (12:49):
So, when I got out of college, I played college golf and injured my back, and I wasn't able to play competitive golf anymore and I was destroyed. I thought life was over and it was like, "what am I gonna do?" Well, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because it got me out of that giving a hundred percent of my time and effort to golf. It actually got me back into university. I finished off with an economics degree up in Canada, a place called university of Victoria, beautiful town on the bank of Ryland.
Johnathan More (13:28):
And because I'd had all the connections through the brokerage extremity, young age and meeting all the brokers and everybody knew who I was and golfing with them. I was able to, as soon as I graduated, I got, went into actually a guy that I caddied for. I went into his office and I said, "look, I need a job. I just graduated." And, he goes, "okay, good. You start Thursday." So, I was able to become a broker at a very young age. When you're starting out- I lost money, I made money, but I mean, when you're that young, you doesn't really matter if you're losing any money, cuz it's insignificant amounts anyways. You're just learning the tricks of the trade.
Johnathan More (14:10):
And, really what I did then is just entrenched myself with these ideas and the people that I really wanted to push. And, and I started forming a serious business model. After a few years, I hit it hard and became the youngest vice president in the firm's history, probably, still today. But really, I took a focus on being in Canada. That's where a lot of these mining companies are incubated. It's a startup capital of North America.
Johnathan More (14:58):
There's a saying in Vancouver, which is- I don't know if it's a good saying, but people gotta hear it. So, in New York you have Wall Street, and Toronto, you have Bay Street. Well in Vancouver, the main street is called House Street. Well, it's the only street in the world that's shady on both sides. I mean, there is a lot of crap that comes outta that town and really what I think I was good at was wading through it and getting through to the quality stuff. And, that's just by doing; number of failures leads to successes. You basically learn, "well, I'm not gonna make that fail. I'm not gonna make that mistake again." And, really I got in and I managed to get through that early.
Johnathan More (15:42):
And, so when I was 26 I was a millionaire many times over. I hit it pretty- the timing was perfect. And then, in 2008, I got really lucky on something. And, I love to use the saying it's sometimes better to be lucky than smart. And, I really, really mean that. I mean, that's a phrase that I use very often. I even say it to my kids, but, I got really lucky on something. And then, I didn't have to manage anyone's money anymore. I could just manage my own and that correlated into taking companies public; mainly in the precious metal sector. But, I also did other things. I mean, we had the cannabis boom. I was big in the cannabis space. I was, what else did I get into... A little bit of tech when I was into it, but really now in the last three years, really heavy into the precious metals and base metals; I've stayed away from crypto.
Johnathan More (16:37):
I don't like it. I just don't understand it. That's probably the main reason I'm not in it, but I mean, I think if you're a gold based investor, then you're not even gonna look at cryptocurrency. So, that's a whole 'nother conversation, but I was in the business probably for 25 years in the brokerage years. When I was 32, I got on my own and started doing this other side of the business. I'm working harder today than I ever have. I enjoy it immensely.
Well, I think you got a lot of wisdom in there. You're sharing. I wanna rewind a little bit and talk about how you talked about getting lucky. You said that you sometimes feel like it's better to be lucky than smart, but that breaks what I call the three misbeliefs of wealth. Cause, a lot of times people that aren't wealthy believe that the rich people got lucky, or rich people are bad, or the big one is, "I'll never be rich cause I'm poor or low income. I'll never be rich." All of which I think are lies. But, one thing I will say; I'll callenge you; maybe you were a little bit lucky in that moment, but it was probably all of the preparation you did up until that moment. And, I would say like, for me; opportunity is gonna come knocking at some point in your life and it's really, "are you ready to take advantage of that opportunity?" Because, it's all of the preparation you do beforehand that makes you able to take advantage of the opportunity. If you haven't prepared properly, then the opportunity's gonna pass you by and you're gonna miss it.
Johnathan More (18:03):
I agree. I mean, I'm very modest. So, I mean, I work my butt off. My friends were out; they were going on one month holidays going to- they'd go to Mexico or they'd go to Thailand, and I'd never miss a day. And, really, as you started getting a taste of success, as you started to really- "wow, I just did that. Look, I just did this!" As you start to get that momentwhen you're young; it just lights a fire inside of you. I remember I just wanted it more and more and more. So, when I say 'better to be lucky than smart.'
Johnathan More (18:43):
You gotta put yourself in that situation to be able to have that lucky event. For me to get into- it was an oil play and it was in the Haynesville Shale; an investor and I bought 5,000 acres of private land. I mean, we were smart enough to get into this area to begin with. And, by the time we bought it for $80 an acre and then in three months we're selling it for $500 an acre. You gotta be smart enough to get yourself into that position. So, luck was the timing, but we didn't buy it because we didn't think the timing was perfect. So, we looked pretty smart when we handled the transaction, that's for sure.
It's interesting you bring that up. I've got an associate of mine in Nashville, and he and a buddy bought 30,000 acres out in Colorado. And, it's supposed to be one of the largest oil deposits, around. But, even though they own the land; they're having trouble getting the funding to get the oil out of the ground.
Johnathan More (19:48):
You'll probably have more people offering money now with the price of oil going up. I've seen a lot of speculation coming back into the oil business right now.
Well, what he said he was running into was; some of these oil giants; you only get to play at that level if you're part of the group. So, they've run into a lot of blocking where they would be really close to getting the finance they needed to get the oil outta the ground, but then all of a sudden, for no reason, they would get blocked; money coming from different areas. This has happened to them several times now. And, I think that's one of the cases where you're not allowed to play in the game unless you- "it's who you know." So, they get blocked, but I may have to connect the two of you guys. Maybe you can give some wisdom on that since you played in that space before?
Johnathan More (20:32):
I'd love to. I love the oil business. I didn't like it a year ago, but, now that what we're seeing geopolitically; the price of oil is just moving, and I think it's gonna be high for some time.
We went from an administration that wanted energy independence to an administration that wanted to import everything, and double the gas prices.
Johnathan More (20:56):
I mean, I don't know if you wanna talk about that stuff on this show, but don't even get me started with the way these administrations are managing fares in our country here. I just can't comprehend it. And, I mean, you wanna talk inflation? All these factors; I mean, oil; we could be avoiding this completely if we didn't destroy our national oil industry and start relying on all these foreign countries. And, again, it doesn't make any sense to me, but that's a whole 'nother conversation.
Well, there are some things we can touch on today. The thing I tell my political friends today is, "if you're still looking at politics and using the word politics, you're probably using the wrong word, you really need to start to understand politics through a criminal lens." Like, there's a lot of similarities between the political climate and the political organizations today and criminal organizations. When you look at how much money is moving around, even what you mentioned; I think in the pre-show we were talking about Ukraine a little bit, but even the politicians that have family members; they're involved in business dealings inside of Ukraine from the U.S. And from other areas and the more you dig into this stuff and learn about it, you're like, "oh, okay. That's what's going on."
What makes that interesting is, and I think it's okay to talk about that because it's not about politics. You're talking about people's finances. And, when gas prices go from $2 a gallon to close to $4 a gallon- I think on average across the country- that's affecting people's livelihoods. A lot of families are spending $400 a month in gas to move around, to go to work or more at $2, and then all of a sudden it goes to $4. Now they're spending $800! And, that's if you take $400 times 12 that's $5,000 a year when the average household income I believe is probably around 60 grand. So, that's the huge chunk of money coming out of the average individual's home and family. So, you at people that are playing games financially for their own benefit, and it's criminal.
Johnathan More (23:16):
I think it's 100% criminal. And, I mean, I'm gonna lay it on; two words, a hyphenated word, it's called fear-mongering. And, with what we're seeing right now; the press has been doing this for eons; they make big deals outta nothing. And, when we're talking for instance, this Ukraine situation, this is a complete and utter fearmongering job. There's no reason for this reaction for- what did we just hear that there was gonna be? Biden said that there's an immediate invasion going in on the Ukraine from Putin. Well, I mean, "really? Did you read his mind?" And, all we're seeing is this is this rhetoric that, "there's an invasion!"
Johnathan More (24:04):
But, here's the thing. I mean, it's the media that has just taken complete control of this, and it just completely drives fear and chaos into the public. And then, what happens to that? Well, then you got a stock market that becomes volatile as hell. You got oil prices going through the roof; gas prices, obviously, going through the roof with the oil price, you got commodities and gold and base metals completely going up. And, I'm not complaining about it, selfishly. I mean, I'm in a position where I'm profiting from the enterprises that I'm involved with, but I mean, this stuff has to stop. And, I think that the political situation it's too connected with the media. And, it makes me sick every time I turn on the television now, and I put on the news that it's all divided political banter.
Johnathan More (24:56):
So, I've taken a rule in my house. My family, we don't put on the news. Why bother watching it? It doesn't make any sense. It's all rhetoric. It's whatever they wanna push on a political agenda. So, I just get my news flow from the subscribing sites that I read every morning. And, some of these things are very, tell you how it is; there's no political view in it, but this is, in my mind, the biggest problem United has is controlling the media.
I agree with you. I think, for people that are listening to the show, I'm not gonna make apologies for talking a little bit of politics on the show. Cause you gotta understand that your family, and your family's well-being, and your family's future for generations to come is all tied back into what happens on the political sphere. I would like to say, though, instead of saying politics, the more we say, political-criminal activities. I think if we wanna change things, we've gotta start using those two words in conjunctions. It's not about division between whether it's Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or any of that. There are good people and bad people in all three of those parties. The reality is you have to understand that, Tulsi Gabbard, I love her.
I wish she would run. I wish she would get the presidential nomination. I think she's just fantastic. She is pro people. But, she's been ostracized because she is pro people. So, she gets a bad rap, but when you look at, all of the stuff that's going on economically, you have to look at it. And, at some point, when you go, "why are they doing that? Why is this happening? Why did the gas price go from $3 a gallon pre-president Trump to $2 with president Trump and then back to three within a few months of being out there?" Regardless of who you believe or who you liked, you have to ask those questions. Like, why are two by fours go from like $2.95 cents to, seven or eight bucks and as high as $9 at one point in the last year? You have to ask why, and then when you get to the bottom of that, you go, "oh, I'm asking too many whys." The answer is very simple. It's all intentional. Like, everything's intentional- inflation; why is inflation where it's at? Some people say it's up at 20%. Statistically, governmentally; it's much lower than that with like 7-8%, but we know that's not right.
Johnathan More (27:18):
Who believes those numbers?
It is just not true. It's all rigged; the whole thing. And, where I was gonna go; you mentioned the media, and a lot of people don't know this, but there used to be laws that would block the media, legally, from being used as a propaganda tool and those laws in the last, I believe it's been in this in the last two decades. I think in 2000, right around 2008-2012, right in that window. I'd have to go back and confirm it, but those laws were considered null and void. So, now it's not against the law anymore for media to be used as a propaganda tool against the American people. But, it was prior to that. So, then when you say, "the media's fear-mongering, the media's doing this," you start to go, "oh, there's a purpose. There's an agenda driven behind this stuff. That's pushing us in a certain direction," a narrative, if you want to say. But, the reason that's important is cuz you gotta understand financially where it goes. And, you mentioned the economic markets being manipulated a little bit. You didn't use the word manipulated, I'll use the word manipulate, but I firmly believe that's true. They are manipulated.
Johnathan More (28:31):
100% manipulated. I'm glad you brought that up. I mean, we are not playing in a level playing field. I will actually go and say that a lot of the things that we do in investments, and especially in the public markets; it's not investing. Okay. You're basically going into a situation where you think that it's an open market and you think that the pricing is fair, but you're more or less going into a casino where they've completely rigged the bets that you're going into. And, for instance, the gold price for the last three years. It's not real. Every time you wake up in the morning, gold seems to be up, say $10-15, on the gold price.
Johnathan More (29:15):
And, then 10 minutes before market opened the gold price for 40 days in a row decides to go down 15 bucks, five minutes to the open of the market. No, this is completely manipulated. And, you gotta look and see, "well, why would they be doing this? What's the reason?" And, there's algorithms out there which are completely destroying the market. These algorithms; for people who don't know; they're basically computerized trading that set a mark, or they set some sort of price or strategy. And, they program it into a computer and then low and behold, the trading that goes on is completed by the second millisecond, so that it just completely prints and distorts the true value in my mind of what that price of whatever we're looking at is, and it's completely manipulative in nature.
Johnathan More (30:04):
And nothing seems to be done about it. I mean, the inflation price; you're right. Inflation is in my mind, close to 20%, and you know what, it's going higher. We're still not even- you have all this unemployment- and people: have you tried to grab an Uber lately? Well, you can't even get an Uber because nobody's working. You try to go to a restaurant; no one is working. No one's going back to work yet. Well, the only way that you're gonna get someone to go back to work is to pay them more money. Okay. So what does that do? Well, it's gonna drive the price up on everything. Okay. That's just wage inflation. Well, then let's take another step and then let's look at rents and the cost of living. Well, let's look at people's rents for instance; oh, I should add once you pay someone more money, once they take that raise and they come back to work, when the economy suddenly starts to get better and say a year or whatever it might be, do you think you're gonna call them up and say, "Hey, okay, now let's start paying you less because things are now firing in all cylinders," that wage is gonna stay high and it's never gonna come down.
Johnathan More (31:05):
So, then you go to this, what I said about, rents; well, people's rents are going up. Okay, well, their landlord then charges more and people are paying more. Do you think in a year's time from now that they're gonna start asking for the rents to go back down? No, the rents are gonna continue to go up. So, we haven't seen this other inflation hit the market yet. We haven't seen this, and this is what is gonna blow this thing outta the water is the inflation. It's scary. And, it isn't going away. The government has completely missed it. The fed has completely played the wrong card. Yet, six months ago, Powell was saying that this was a transitory phenomenon. This was going to pass. And then, four months ago he came out and says, "inflation is a problem. It isn't transitory.
Johnathan More (31:55):
We admit it's here to stay." I don't care how many great hikes you do this year. I will go ahead raise them. Because at the end of the day, you looking at, what, 2.5% Interest rate? Well, you still have negative rates with the inflation. So, I mean, you could raise rates to 10% in my mind, you're still gonna be negative rates. So, really, I don't know who's driving the bus here, but they're leading us on a crash course and it's scarier than Hell.