Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Links

"The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money." -Warren Buffett (2000 Letter to Shareholders)

Buffett’s Bet on Store Capital Shows Not All Retail Real Estate Is Equal [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Yoplait Learns to Manufacture Authenticity to Go With Its Yogurt [H/T @Connor_Leonard] (LINK)

Taking the pulse of ESPN [H/T @BluegrassCap] (LINK)
The sports media giant is on the defensive about a declining subscriber base, layoffs and executive changes. What happened? And what’s the plan for the future?
Google Fined Record $2.7 Billion in E.U. Antitrust Ruling (LINK)

Scott Norton talks with Patrick O’Shaughnessy on the Invest Like the Best Podcast (LINK)

Brent Beshore talks with David Perell on the North Star Podcast (LINK)

Long Now: Conversations at The Interval -- Proof: The Science of Booze: Adam Rogers (LINK)
Related book: Proof: The Science of Booze
Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking -- James Gleick: Time Travel (LINK)
Related book: Time Travel: A History
How CRISPR Yanked Jennifer Doudna Out of the Ivory Tower - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Links

"Throughout his life, a wise man engages in practice of all his useful, rarely used skills, many of them outside his discipline, as a sort of duty to his better self. If he reduces the number of skills he practices and, therefore, the number of skills he retains, he will naturally drift into error from man with a hammer tendency....Skills of a very high order can be maintained only with daily practice." -Charlie Munger

A (Long) Chat with Peter L. Bernstein - - by Jason Zweig (LINK)
Looking through my files recently, I came across a buried treasure: a transcript of the highlights of my hours-long interview with the great Peter L. Bernstein at his vacation home in Brattleboro, Vt., on July 28, 2004.
Stockpicking Is Dying Because There Are No More Stocks to Pick - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons I Learned from Bill Gates Sr. - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Nudgestock 2017 videos [H/T Tamas] (LINK)

Short-Seller Nailed Home Capital, Then Got Stung by Buffett (LINK)

Lessons From the Collapse of Banco Popular [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)

How a Broke 30-Year-Old Failure Became America's Billionaire Tire King [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Related book: Six Tires, No Plan
Jack Ma talks with Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)

Amazon’s Nike deal took a billion dollar bite out of competing retailers (LINK)

The industrial robotics market will nearly triple in less than 10 years (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- TRX: Randy Hetrick (LINK)

Adventures in Finance podcast: Episode 21 - Ponzi Hunters: Harry Markopolos and His Dogs of Fraud (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Hear, hear Jim Bianco (LINK)
The renowned fixed-income analyst discusses the flattening yield curve, the reluctant Fed and the sinking finances of his home city, Chicago.
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2) (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 119 — Amazon and Avocados (LINK)

The 10 Commandments of Startup Success with Reid Hoffman (The Tim Ferriss Show) (LINK)

FT Alphachat podcast: On the verge of a productivity boom? (LINK)

Edge #494: Compassionate Systems - A Conversation With Daniel Goleman (LINK)

Daniel Dennett on Tools To Transform Our Thinking (audio/podcast) (LINK)
Related book: Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking
Stoicism and Buddhism, a dialogue between Robert Wright & Massimo Pigliucci (video) (LINK)

The Risk of Rushing Through Legislation (LINK)

Why Are Bird Eggs Egg-Shaped? An Eggsplainer - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day (mentioned by Mohnish Pabrai in his latest Google Talk): The Art of Being Unreasonable

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mohnish Pabrai: "Intensive Stock Research Can Be Injurious to Financial Health" | Talks at Google


Link to video

Charlie Munger's "The Psychology of Human Misjudgment"

The abridged and animated video of Munger's "The Psychology of Human Misjudgment" speech that has been making the rounds led me to go back and re-read the version Munger rewrote in 2005 for inclusion in Poor Charlie's Almanack. The copy I continuously go back to is from a Word file that I created in order to put the speech on my Kindle, which is a lot easier to carry around than the book. I also added a few additional things that I took from Tren Griffin's book on Charlie Munger. In case this is of interest to any of you, here is a link to that file: 


The italicized parts at the end of many sections are the additional quotes and comments from Tren Griffin's book. I noticed a few grammatical errors that I corrected when reading it through this time, and there are probably some others that I missed. If you happen to see them, please let me know so that I can correct them. And similar to Griffin's book additions, if you happen to come across other comments or examples by Buffett or Munger that might be worthwhile to add to the file, let me know that as well.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Links

Berkshire Hathaway Invests in Embattled Lender Home Capital (LINK)
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is providing a lifeline to Home Capital Group Inc., the embattled Canadian alternative lender whose near collapse sparked intense scrutiny of the country’s fraught housing market. 
Berkshire agreed to indirectly acquire C$400 million ($300 million) of the firm’s shares for a 38.4 percent stake and provide a C$2 billion credit line to subsidiary Home Trust Co., Home Capital said late Wednesday in Toronto. 
“Home Capital’s strong assets, its ability to originate and underwrite well-performing mortgages, and its leading position in a growing market sector make this a very attractive investment,” Buffett said in the statement.
Related previous link to the above (from the end of April): Home Capital Group - it is time for the Canadian regulator to act -- by John Hempton

Related video to the above: Marc Cohodes at the Grant's Fall 2016 Conference [short pitch on Home Capital Group starts around the 27:26 mark]

Canada's Housing Bubble Will Burst - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

Related to the above, from the Almost Daily Grant's commentary yesterday:
"Preliminary home price data in the formerly hot Toronto housing market is little short of shocking.  According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average transaction for the first half of June dropped below CAD $809,000, from CAD $863,910 in May and CAD $919,614 in April.   The reversal coincides with the introduction of a 15% foreign buyer’s tax at the end of April."
Jeff Bezos has advice for the news business: 'Ask people to pay. They will pay' (video plays) (LINK)
Bezos delivered some of this advice at the Future of Newspapers conference in Turin, Italy, on Wednesday. Here are the highlights:
  • Focus on readers first, not advertisers.
  • You can't shrink your way to relevance. 
  • Don't look for a patron or expect charity.
  • Use technology, but don't be a slave to it.
  • Advertising alone will not support investigative journalism.
  • "When you're writing, be riveting, be right and ask people to pay. They will pay."
RIGGED: Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing. [H/T @AlexRubalcava] (LINK)
A yearlong investigation by the USA TODAY Network found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past decade forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on debt they could not afford. Companies then used that debt as leverage to extract forced labor and trap drivers in jobs that left them destitute.
John Mackey: "The Whole Foods Diet" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Uber's Bad, Awful, Horrible Week: Doomsday Scenario or Business Reset? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast: "The Road to Damascus" (LINK)
In this week's episode, I track down a former CIA employee to hear the whole story, the true story, about a masterful spy and a terrorist who had a change of heart. What happened to them? And was it fair?
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 1) (LINK)
Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.
From Boardroom To Locker Room, How Joe Moglia Shocked Wall Street And College Football (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: 4th and Goal: One Man's Quest to Recapture His Dream 
Tony Robbins: The 6 Human Needs (LINK)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Links

"Unfortunately in this kind of work, where you are trying to determine relationships based upon past behavior, the almost invariable experience is that by the time you have had a long enough period to give you sufficient confidence in your form of measurement, just then new conditions supersede and the measurement is no longer dependable for the future." -Benjamin Graham

Jason Zweig‏ has annotated, added links, and highlighted some of his favorite passages from Benjamin Graham's 1963 lecture, “Securities in an Insecure World” (LINK)

Farnam Street: All Models Are Wrong (LINK)

Sohn Conference Hong Kong Notes 2017 (LINK)

Energy Checklist - by Eric Cinnamond (LINK)

Brexit In Reverse? - by George Soros [H/T Santangel's] (LINK)

MSCI to Add China Shares to Indexes, Opening Market to More Foreign Investors (LINK)

It’s Lonely at the Top—or It Should Be [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

An Early 20th Century Lesson on the Difference Between Convenience and Value (LINK)

NPR's Planet Money‏ podcast: What the Falcon's Up With Qatar? [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)

Geoffrey West: "Scale" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Simon Sinek: "The Finite and Infinite Games of Leadership" | Talks at Google (LINK)

a16z: When We Enter the Century of Biology (LINK)

Y Combinator podcast: How Should Business Schools Prepare Students for Startups?  (LINK)

Cool Tools for Travel – Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly (podcast) (LINK)

This Common Butterfly Has an Extraordinary Sex Life - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @Greg_Speicher]: One Buck at a Time: An Insider's Account of How Dollar Tree Remade American Retail

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Links

Warren Buffett’s Scout Inside Europe’s Biggest Economy ($) [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Zypora Kupferberg, the ‘eyes and ears’ of Berkshire Hathaway in Germany, could become more important as the company looks for new targets
Bruce Berkowitz on Bloomberg (full video) [H/T Will] (LINK)

Escaping the Magnetic Pull of a Bubble - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Ten Valuable Insights on Structuring Your Fund (LINK)

Insurance as a platform [H/T @sanguit] (LINK)

The future of supply chains as networked ecosystems – by Sangeet Paul (LINK)

Patrick O’Shaughnessy talks with Andy Rachleff on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK)
My guest this week is Andy Rachleff, who is the CEO of the automated investing platform Wealthfront. Andy was also a co-founder and long-time partner at Benchmark Capital–one of the most interesting and successful venture capital firms in the world.
James Grant on the Hidden Forces podcast (LINK)

Evan Lorenz speaks with Demetri Kofinas of the Hidden Forces podcast (LINK)

The Mussels That Eat Oil - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Links

Amazon's New Customer - by Ben Thompson (LINK)
This is the key to understanding the purchase of Whole Foods: to the outside it may seem that Amazon is buying a retailer. The truth, though, is that Amazon is buying a customer — the first-and-best customer that will instantly bring its grocery efforts to scale. 
Today, all of the logistics that go into a Whole Foods store are for the purpose of stocking physical shelves: the entire operation is integrated. What I expect Amazon to do over the next few years is transform the Whole Foods supply chain into a service architecture based on primitives: meat, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, non-perishables (Whole Foods’ outsized reliance on store brands is something that I’m sure was very attractive to Amazon). What will make this massive investment worth it, though, is that there will be a guaranteed customer: Whole Foods Markets.
Mutually Assured Destruction — What Have We Done? (LINK)

James Grant reviews “One Nation Under Gold” by James Ledbetter (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Rate hikes past, present and future (LINK)

Argentina Plans to Offer 100-Year Bonds (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- WeWork: Miguel McKelvey (LINK)

African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test (LINK)

"Obviously if you’re glued together and honorable and get up every morning and keep learning every day and you’re willing to go in for a lot of deferred gratification all your life, you’re going to succeed.  It may not be as much as you want.  But you’re going to success.  And so the main thing is to just keep in there, and be glued together, and get rid of your stupidities as fast as you can.  And avoid the bad people as much as you can.  And you’ll do reasonably well." -Charlie Munger (source)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Links

Mohnish Pabrai on The Steve Pomeranz Show (podcast) (LINK) ["Inaction and patience are very important traits, but they need to be coupled with decisiveness and willingness to act in size. So it's an unusual kind of trait to have someone who's happy watching the paint dry; but then when all the ducks line up, you swing hard.... The key is if you're not convinced you're looking at a no-brainer, take a pass." -Mohnish Pabrai]

The Tortoise and the Hare in the Pursuit of Return - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

On GE and the myth of the CEO superhero - By Roger Lowenstein (LINK)

Did the Jack Welch Model Sow Seeds of G.E.’s Decline? - by James B. Stewart [H/T @FourFilters] (LINK)

Berkowitz Says Amazon Deal Shows Value of Physical Retailing (video and article) (LINK)

The back story on John Mackey and his battle with Wall Street, which led to Whole Foods agreeing to sell itself to Amazon last week (LINK)

GreenWood Investors: The Battle For Whole Foods Isn’t Over (LINK)

Scott Galloway on the Recode Decode podcast (audio and transcript) (LINK)
[This interview was before the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods was announced.]... Everyone looks to Amazon for leadership and I’ve been predicting they were going to go into stores for five years. I can’t even really legitimately say I’m right, because they don’t have a lot of stores yet. They haven’t found a model that works for them yet. I still believe they’re going to buy a Macy’s, or a Carrefour or something like that. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t buy Whole Foods, for example, just because of the urban locations. They could close them down and just turn them into warehouses and I think they could justify the price.
The Radial Tire Lesson for Silicon Valley [H/T @trengriffin] (LINK)

How would Ann Miura-Ko have reacted if Bill Gates had walked into her office in 1975? - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Vegetable oils, (Francis) Bacon, Bing Crosby, and the American Heart Association - by Gary Taubes (LINK)

Book of the day: Speculation As a Fine Art and Thoughts on Life -  by Dickson Watts [See also: Rules of a Successful Speculator]

Friday, June 16, 2017

Links

John Huber's Thoughts on The Most Important Moat (LINK) [Some great thoughts from John, and it's a topic I've been thinking about a lot more lately, especially in regards to a few industries in particular, such as niche software companies and niche specialty chemical companies, among others. And the model of selling lower volume, higher margin products seems increasingly more at risk every day.]
In summary, I think it’s helpful to keep the following concept in mind: Value to the customer is one of the most important things to consider when analyzing companies. 
No longer can companies use a distribution advantage, a regulatory advantage, market share dominance, or some other barrier to entry that insulates them from competition. Those advantages can still be significant moats, but only if the end-customer is getting a good deal. If not, a competitor will spring up, gain scale in a shockingly quick manner, and figure out a way to meet the needs of that end-customer. Change happens more rapidly, customers have more choice (and more information), and barriers to entry are too low for big incumbents to rest on their laurels. 
Amazon buying Whole Foods Market (LINK)

Walmart to acquire Bonobos (LINK)

Amazon wants to become Walmart before Walmart can become Amazon (LINK)

Blockchain Technology Will Change Accounting [H/T Alex] (LINK)
Related book: The Business Blockchain
Exponent Podcast: Episode 118 — Podcasting and Centralization (LINK)

Actions, not words, reveal our real values - by Derek Sivers (LINK)

Which Animal Murders the Most? (video) (LINK)

What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Links

Mo’ Margins Mo’ Problems - by Eric Cinnamond (LINK)

Season 2 - Episode 1 of Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast: "A Good Walk Spoiled" (LINK)

Jocko Willink on The James Altucher Show (LINK)
Related book: Extreme Ownership
Freakonomics Radio: Evolution, Accelerated (LINK)

A Tiny Tweak to Gut Bacteria Can Extend an Animal’s Life - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Links

“Take the probability of loss times the amount of possible loss from the probability of gain times the amount of possible gain. That is what we’re trying to do. It’s imperfect, but that’s what it’s all about.” -Warren Buffett

A U.S. Shoe Town Tries to Rebuild From Warren Buffett’s ‘Worst Deal’ Ever (LINK)

The Seduction of Pessimism - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The 2017 Behavioral Economics Guide (LINK)

How a Philly Ob-gyn Ended Up Delivering a Baby Gorilla - by Ed Yong (LINK)

***

It looks like Amazon will be phasing out its aStore progam throughout the year. I've used it as a way to store book recommendations by category, so I'll have to find another solution as a way to organize things. But if there's anyone that wants to explore the lists before they are gone, you can find this blog's aStore HERE

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Links

"Black Swan logic makes what you don’t know far more relevant than what you do know." -Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan

2011 Video: GEICO Chief Tony Nicely - Scott Symposium Bridgewater College [H/T Linc] (LINK) ["Most people are where they are in life because they reach their comfort level way too soon. Don't allow yourself to reach your comfort level way too soon. Do as my grandfather said: 'Be your own best critic.' Because you will find others to criticize you...but the best critic you'll ever have is yourself."]

Canadian non-standard mortgages: a state of play (LINK)

There Is No New Chinese “Sharing Economy” - by  Jeffrey Towson (Part 1, Part 2)

Bill Gross' June 2017 Investment Outlook (LINK)

Could Amazon deliver your next prescription? (LINK)

Tim Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on an Autonomous Car System (LINK)

Podcasts, Analytics, and Centralization - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Tulips and Token Mania (LINK)

The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber [From last year, and worth reviewing given Honnold's recent feat.] [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Links

Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2017 Transcript [H/T Hurricane Capital] (LINK)

TED Talk -- Tim Ferriss: Why you should define your fears instead of your goals (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Risk Aversion Vs Loss Aversion (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons about Business and Investing I’ve Learned from Mike Maples Jr. - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Harry Markopolos – Who Exposed Madoff – Has Uncovered a New Fraud [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Does Anyone Remember How to Make a Subprime Mortgage? [H/T Matt Levine] (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Carol's Daughter: Lisa Price (LINK)

Daron Acemoglu on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)
Related book:  Why Nations Fail
Hunt, O'Hanley, Greenblatt on the Future of Actives (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)
PGIM President and CEO David Hunt, State Street Global Advisors President and CEO Ron O'Hanley, and Gotham Asset Management Co-Chief Investment Officer Joel Greenblatt speak with Bloomberg's Peggy Collins at Bloomberg Invest New York about the threat from passives and where they see the biggest areas for growth for active managers. (Source: Bloomberg)
92nd Street Y -- The Stripe Approach to Building a Better Business (video) (LINK)
The Stripe Approach to Building a Better Business with Patrick Collison, Timothy Geithner and Andrew Ross Sorkin. Recorded on May 11, 2017 at 92nd Street Y.
92nd Street Y -- Science and Communication: Alan Alda in Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson (video) (LINK)
Related book: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating 
The greatest sports achievement in my lifetime? - by Eugene Wei [H/T The Browser] (LINK)
A week ago, Alex Honnold free climbed El Capitan. With no ropes or climbing gear besides his shoes and chalk, Honnold became the first person to free climb what is universally acknowledged, among the climbing world, as the most daunting challenge in what most people consider to be less sport than a perverse game of Russian roulette with fate.
Book of the day [H/T @BaseHitInvestor]: The JD.com Story: An E-commerce Phenomenon

Friday, June 9, 2017

Links

"If you need to use a computer or calculator to make the calculation, you shouldn't buy it...It should scream at you...we do not sit down with spreadsheets and do all that sort of thing. We just see something that obviously is better than anything else around that we understand — and then we act." -Warren Buffett (source)

Don’t Touch My Money, Just Hold My Hand - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Geoffrey West on the FT Alphaville podcast (LINK)
Related book: Scale
Mark Spitznagel on Bloomberg TV (video) [H/T Jim] (LINK)

Mark Spitznagel at the Bloomberg Invest conference (video) (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 117 — Fruitful Clapping (LINK)

TED Talk -- Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned from life and writing (LINK)
Related book: Bird by Bird
The School of Life: An Interview With Alain de Botton (LINK)

Fetuses Prefer Face-Like Images Even in the Womb - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Did life here begin ... out there? Maybe its precursors did. - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Links

"In a world in which most investors appear interested in figuring out how to make money every second and chase the idea du jour, there's also something validating about the message that it's okay to do nothing and wait for opportunities to present themselves or to pay off. That's lonely and contrary a lot of the time, but reminding yourself that that's what it takes is quite helpful." -Seth Klarman

Seminars About Long-term Thinking -- Geoffrey B. West: The Universal Laws of Growth and Pace (audio) (LINK)
Related book: Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies 
How to Generate Stock Ideas: An Unusual Lesson from a 1939 Book (LINK)

Peer-to-Peer Live: David Rubenstein and Paul Singer (video) (LINK)

Elon Musk: The Man, the Myth, the Risk [WSJ $] (LINK)

Mike Rowe on Efficiency versus Effectiveness - by Cal Newport (LINK)

Tiny Jumping Spiders Can See the Moon - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Microbiologist and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins at the ASM Microbe 2017 keynote session. Moderated by Ed Yong. (video) (LINK)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Links

Testing Mattresses with Warren Buffett - By Bill Gates (LINK)

Habits vs Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life (LINK)

Murray Stahl’s Presentation on Value Creation from Value Destruction (video) (LINK)

Greatest Hits From Michael Mauboussin & Meir Statman - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

The Unsung Heroes of Investing - by Phil Huber [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)

An In Depth Look At The Greatest Minds Of Investing (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: The Great Minds of Investing - by William Green
Legendary short seller Jim Chanos tells us what he sees for the markets this year (video) [H/T Barry Ritholtz] (LINK)

Bill Gross talks about investing (video) (LINK)

Eric Schmidt chats with Reid Hoffman (podcast) (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Modernizing Government Services, from Food Stamps to Foster Care (LINK)

Cialdini Asks: Dan Ariely (video) (LINK)

Mark Sisson's Definitive Guide to the Ketogenic Diet (LINK)
Related book (to be released in October): The Keto Reset Diet
Scientists Have Found the Oldest Known Human Fossils - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Lawrence M. Krauss: "The Greatest Story Ever Told...So Far" | Talks at Google (LINK)
Related book: The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far: Why Are We Here?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Links

An Enterprising Thought: Cash as an Option - by Frank Martin [H/T Eric] (LINK)

Podcast: Steven Bregman On ‘The Greatest Bubble Ever’ (Passive ETF Investing) (LINK)

Ray Dalio’s updated thoughts on Donald Trump's policies and China's latest economic moves (LINK)

Apple's Strengths and Weaknesses  - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

From Startup to Scaleup | Sam Altman and Reid Hoffman (video) (LINK)

Roundup of lots of recent posts on crypto tokens (LINK)

Accelerating the Future: The Economic Impact of the Emerging Passenger Economy [H/T @AlexRubalcava] (LINK)

Nassim Taleb talks with Ron Paul (video) (LINK)

Beethoven and the Crucial Difference Between Genius and Talent (LINK)

Richard Dawkins on time [H/T The Browser] (LINK)
Related book (released in August): Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist - by Richard Dawkins
Book of the day (from a few years ago): Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know about Health Care Is Wrong

Monday, June 5, 2017

Links

"There's no such thing as analysis of what's coming. We don't know anything about the future, and you can't prove anything about the future. But if you've been in business and you've seen some cycles, and you've gained some experience and you've gone through those cycles with your eyes open saying 'What are the implications of cycles for our behavior?', then I think you can reach a point where you say, 'You know what, it just feels like the power is in the hands of the issuers, not the buyers. It feels like there aren't many sellers, just a lot of buyers. And the market is not acting in a disciplined way.' We want to buy when the market in panicked, not when the market is sanguine. Buffett says that 'The less prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own affairs.' When other people are optimistic, we should be worried. When other people are panicked, we should turn aggressive." -Howard Marks (source)

Two Decades of Winning by Not Losing - by Steven Romick [H/T @Wexboy_Value] (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Five Guys: Jerry Murrell (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Taxi! Taxi! (LINK)
Uber comes under the Grant's lens.
Grant's Podcast [previous]: The biggest pyramid scheme the world has yet seen (LINK)
Grant’s talks to China authority Anne-Stevenson-Yang.  
China’s Debt Crackdown Is Driving Borrowers Into Riskier Territory [H/T Matt] (LINK)
China’s crackdown on debt is driving some companies to a murkier form of financing as it gets harder to secure bank loans or tap the bond market. 
New loans from so-called trusts, firms that raise money from individuals and corporations to plow into riskier areas of the economy, reached 882.3 billion yuan ($129.5 billion) in the first four months of this year, according to data from the People’s Bank of China, nearly five times as much as the same period in 2016. 
Trust firms, which often charge borrowers higher rates than banks, occupy a middle ground between banking and asset management. They are licensed and loosely regulated by China’s banking watchdog, but they lack some of banks’ protections, such as government deposit insurance, and they have more flexibility to invest in risky areas than banks do.
Chinese Banks Face Up to Funding Squeeze[H/T Matt] (LINK)
Beijing is squeezing its financial system. Its banks may soon find themselves gasping for breath. 
Household deposits—long the backbone of China’s economy, funding inexorable loan growth—are fleeing: Around 1.2 trillion yuan ($176 billion) left the banking system last month. Meanwhile, growth in corporate deposits has slowed, reducing the rise in deposits overall to a crawl. 
The exodus is proving a double whammy for China’s banks. Not only are they losing a stable source of funding, they are also bearing the brunt of higher costs to raise cash as financial conditions tighten.
92nd Street Y: Destined for war with China? Graham Allison and Gen. David Petraeus (Ret) (video) (LINK)
Related book: Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? [There's also another recent video on the book and topic, with a panel that includes Niall Ferguson as well, HERE.]
Steve Keen on the Hidden Forces podcast (LINK)
Related book: Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis?
The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo (The Tim Ferriss Show) (LINK)

Getting Hacked, Lessons Learned - by Fred Wilson (LINK)

The Thoughts of a Spiderweb - by Joshua Sokol [H/T @BenedictEvans] (LINK)
Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind that isn’t fully confined within the head.
The energy expansions of evolution - by Olivia P. Judson [H/T @AlexRubalcava] (LINK)
The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire. The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events. Since no category of energy source has disappeared, this has, over time, resulted in an expanding realm of the sources of energy available to living organisms and a concomitant increase in the diversity and complexity of ecosystems. These energy expansions have also mediated the transformation of key aspects of the planetary environment, which have in turn mediated the future course of evolutionary change. Using energy as a lens thus illuminates patterns in the entwined histories of life and Earth, and may also provide a framework for considering the potential trajectories of life–planet systems elsewhere.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Links

A Dozen Thoughts from Charlie Munger from the 2017 Berkshire Annual Meeting - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

David Einhorn on GM Value, Tesla Profit, Apple (video) (LINK)

How Wells Fargo’s Cutthroat Corporate Culture Allegedly Drove Bankers to Fraud - by Bethany McLean [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

Competitive Advantage & Capital Allocation - by Pat Dorsey (LINK)

Differentiating Business Performance from Stock Performance - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Expiring vs. Long-Term Knowledge - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Eric Cinnamond On The Value Of Absolute Return Investing (podcast) [H/T @Jesse_Livermore] (LINK)

Meet the People’s Quant, a Former Marine Who Champions Value Investing (LINK)

Ed Easterling talks to Meb Faber (podcast) (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter - June 2017 (LINK)

Mutual Fund Observer, June 2017 (LINK)

Watch Mary Meeker give her 2017 internet trends report (VIDEOSLIDESPODCAST)

Marc Andreessen and Reid Hoffman at the Recode conference (video) (LINK)

Reed Hastings at the Recode conference (video) (LINK)

[More videos from the Recode conference can be found HERE, including Walt Mossberg's interview at his final conference.]

Crypto Tokens: A Breakthrough in Open Network Design - by Chris Dixon (LINK)

Transcript: A16z’s Marc Andreessen with Barry Ritholtz on Masters in Business [H/T Hurricane Capital] (LINK) [The audio is available HERE, in case you missed it earlier.]

The rise of the QR code and how it has forever changed China’s social habits [H/T @BaseHitInvestor] (LINK)

Mayo Clinic’s Unusual Challenge: Overhaul a Business That’s Working [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Thinking clearly about quality - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Edge #493: Curtains For Us All? - A Conversation With Martin Rees (LINK)

Astronomers may have seen a star collapse directly to a black hole - by Phil Plait (LINK)

How an Icon of Evolution Lost Its Flight - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Silence. Go within. Go forward.

A simple reminder I use whenever I start to feel the natural human ego arise from within: Silence. Go within. Go forward. 

There are two examples that I currently use to best illustrate what I mean by silence, and when it may be best to practice it. The first is from the 2007 commencement address given by Charlie Munger when—after talking about the importance of continuous learning and practicing his multi-disciplinary approach—he goes on to say (via Poor Charlie's Almanack): 
My mental routine, properly practiced, really helps. Now, there are dangers in it, because it works so well. If you use it you will frequently find when you're with some expert from another discipline—maybe even an expert who is your employer with a vast ability to harm you—that you know more than he does about fitting his specialty to the problem at hand. You'll sometimes see the correct answer when he's missed it. That is a very dangerous position to be in. You can cause enormous offense by being right in a way that causes somebody else to lose face in his own discipline or hierarchy. I never found the perfect way to avoid harm from this serious problem. 
Even though I was a good poker player when I was young, I wasn't good enough at pretending when I thought I knew more than my supervisors did. And I didn't try as hard at pretending as would have been prudent. So I gave a lot of offense. Now, I'm generally tolerated as a harmless eccentric who will soon be gone. But coming up, I had a difficult period to go through. My advice to you is to be better than I was at keeping insights hidden. [Or as he said when giving the talk in person, "My advice to you is to learn sometimes to keep your light under a bushel."]
The second example comes from a podcast with Patrick O’Shaughnessy and Brent Beshore. Beshore mentions some advice he took away from a group meeting he attended with Charlie Munger:
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I took out of it was that he said, "Don't feel like you need to be impressive to people." He said that for the longest time, [it was] the single biggest thing that affected his life negatively.... He said that his need to show people that he was right, and that he was smarter than them, and that they were doing something stupid...he said he would have been much more successful than he was if he had just been able to, I think he said "disguise your judgment."
The reminder to 'go within' has to do with focusing on self-improvement and on keeping an inner scorecard, as opposed to worrying about what other people are doing or what other people think of you. There's a good quote from Warren Buffett that illustrates this (via All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There): 
You always want to consider your inner scorecard – how you feel about your own performance and success. You should worry more about how well you perform rather than how well the rest of the world perceives your performance. 
And in the same section of the book I took that quote from, Peter Bevelin writes (through the character of the Librarian):
Don't live a life based on the approval from others. Be authentic – be and act in accordance with who you are, what you like and are good at, or one day your mask may fall off. As Seneca said, "No one can persevere long in a fictitious character; for nature will soon reassert itself."
And the reminder to 'go forward' has to do with not worrying too much about the past. As Warren Buffett said in his appearance with Bill Gates on Charlie Rose earlier this year: 
Don't fear failure.... Don't let it eat at you. Don't look back. Just keep going. You're going to have some things, but forget them. Go forward.