Tuesday, October 17, 2017


"Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each one of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see." -Marcus Aurelius

Graham & Doddsville: Fall 2017 (LINK)

Opinions on Everything (LINK)

Goodbye Gatekeepers - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Your Next Home Could Run on Batteries [H/T @morganhousel] (LINK)

Loss Leader or Value Creator? Deconstructing Amazon Prime - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Can We have an ETF Meltdown? - by Rick Bookstaber (LINK)

Nassim Taleb on Black Monday, Fed, Market Lessons (video) (LINK)

Jim Chanos Shares 'Bizarre' Black Monday Experience (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

"60 Minutes" on the opioid crisis (video) (LINK)
Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi says drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities -- knowing that people were dying -- and says industry lobbyists and Congress derailed the DEA's efforts to stop it
The Family Making Billions From The Opioids Crisis [H/T The Browser] (LINK)

"60 Minutes" talks with Danny Meyer [from last week] (video) (LINK)
Related books: 1) Setting the Table; 2) Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories
Tim Urban talks with Patrick O'Shaughnessy (podcast) (LINK)

What Facebook Did to American Democracy [H/T The Browser] (LINK)

Containers: An 8-part audio documentary (and podcast) about how global trade has transformed the economy and ourselves (LINK)

TED Talk -- Kristin Poinar: What's hidden under the Greenland ice sheet? (LINK)

How Domestication Ruined Dogs' Pack Instincts - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Microbes That Supercharge Termite Guts - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Walter Isaacson talks to Charlie Rose about his latest biography, Leonardo da Vinci, which was released today (video) (LINK)

Ebook of the day (You can also read the posts that make up the ebook for free online, HERE.): The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why

Sunday, October 15, 2017


"The struggle ends when gratitude begins." -Neale Donald Walsch [H/T Ferriss]

"For me, Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci have the same life lesson, which is: be interested in everything.... If you can be interested in everything, if you can be cross-disciplinary, then you can see the patterns of our cosmos, and how we connect to them. And that's the magic of Ben Franklin, but even of Steve Jobs...and of course the ultimate of that is Leonardo da Vinci, who was the greatest creative genius in history because he spanned disciplines." -Walter Isaacson [In his answer to the first question in podcast below.]

Walter Isaacson talks with Tim Ferriss (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: Leonardo da Vinci
The Case Against Bridgewater Isn't Proven - by Matt Levine (LINK)

Mohnish Pabrai with a brief interview on ET NOW last week (video) (LINK)

How China’s first ‘silk road’ slowly came to life – on the water [H/T Claire Barnes] (LINK)

What Killed Post-Break Up AT&T? What Lessons can be Learned from this Titanic Modern Failure? - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Waymo Safety Report  (an overview of how their cars work) [H/T Recode] (LINK)

Scott Galloway's Ask Me Anything on Reddit (LINK)
Related book: The Four
The scale of tech winners - by Benedict Evans (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Platforming the Future (LINK)
Related book: WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
Exponent Podcast: Episode 127 — The Worst-Case Scenario (LINK)

FT Alphachat Podcast: Richard Florida on geographic inequality (LINK)
Related book: The New Urban Crisis
Adventures in Finance Podcast: 37 - Hours from Oblivion: Inside the White House During The Cuban Missile Crisis (LINK)

Atul Gawande: "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman: "A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Darwin's Backyard: "How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Octopus-Inspired Material Can Change Its Texture - by Ed Yong (LINK)

How a Quarter of Cow DNA Came From Reptiles - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Ancient Origins of Both Light and Dark Skin - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, October 12, 2017


"If the past, by bringing surprises, did not resemble the past previous to it (what I call the past’s past), then why should our future resemble our current past?" -  Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness

Ray Dalio talks with Shane Parrish on The Knowledge Project Podcast (LINK) [Note: This conversation took place before the release of the Grant’s Interest Rate Observer piece on Bridgewater, so that is not discussed.]

Q&A with Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke on integrating Whole Foods despite cultural differences and the reasoning behind opening a second headquarters (LINK)

The David Rubenstein Show: Masayoshi Son (video) (LINK)

Grant's Podcast: Hamburger Helper (LINK)
Jim and Evan discuss opportunities and risks in the restaurant industry with John Hamburger, president of the Restaurant Finance Monitor. 
Naval Ravikant on The James Altucher Show (podcast) (LINK)

One last look at Saturn (LINK)

Books of the day:

Grant - by Ron Chernow [released this week]

Life After Life - by Raymond Moody [H/T Preston Pysh]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


"I am satisfied, if every day I take away something from my vices and correct my faults. I have not arrived at perfect soundness of mind, indeed, I never shall arrive at it." -Seneca ("On the Happy Life")

"Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man." -Benjamin Franklin

Great notes from a July workshop given by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

An audience with Jack Bogle: 'Warren can get a little intoxicating' [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Income Investors: It’s OK to Be Sad, But Don’t Get Desperate - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Sir Richard Branson talks to Tim Ferriss (podcast) (LINK)

The Final Episode of Patrick O'Shaughnessy's audio documentary on the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies: Hash Power – Ep. 3 – Funding, Forking, and Our Creative Future (LINK)

Tim O'Reilly on EconTalk (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
The Making of Richard Thaler's Economics Nobel [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Related book: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics - by Richard Thaler
Edge #501: Richard Thaler Wins Nobel Prize in Economics (LINK) [A re-post of... Edge Master Class 2008: Richard Thaler, Sendhil Mullainathan, Daniel Kahneman - A Short Course in Behavioral Economics]

Sunday, October 8, 2017


"It is obvious that the information age, by homogenizing our tastes, is causing the unfairness to be even more acute—those who win capture almost all the customers." - Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness

The Science Behind Mona Lisa’s Smile - by Walter Isaacson (LINK)
Related book: Leonardo da Vinci
Why Market Valuations are Not Justified by Low Interest Rates - by John P. Hussman (LINK)

Tax Reform, 2017: Promise of Plenty or Poisoned Chalice? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

The Tail Risks Optimizer’s Dilemma: Taleb Vs Spitznagel - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

Procter & Gamble vs. Nelson Peltz: A Battle Over the Future of Big Brands (LINK)

CNBC's full interview with billionaire investor Nelson Peltz (video) (LINK)

The Truth Is Catching Up With Tesla (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons about Business from Anthony Bourdain - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Adventures in Finance podcast -- Battlegrounds: From Warfare to Wall Street with Preston Pysh (LINK)

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia (LINK)

How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds ($) (LINK)

Jony Ive’s iConcern (LINK)

Books of the day:

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere 

Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt [H/T @morganhousel]

"One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him." - Lao Tzu [H/T CIO]

Friday, October 6, 2017


"Ambition means tying your well being to what other people say or do. Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions." - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Kyle Bass on Greece, Puerto Rico and Cryptocurrencies (video) [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Google's Search for the Sweet Spot - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Horizon Kinetics: Diversification and the Active Manager (Part I, Part II)

Notes From Great Investors Best Ideas Conference (GIBI) Dallas 2017 (LINK)

Eric Cinnamond answers some reader questions (LINK)

The destabilizing truth of the retail apocalypse: it’s more about inequality than e-commerce. (LINK)

The value of raising the threshold of crappiness - by Rory Sutherland (LINK)

PBS FRONTLINE: North Korea's Deadly Dictator (LINK)

New Neuroscience Reveals 2 Rituals That Will Make You More Mindful (LINK)

The Most Beautiful Death Trap - by Ed Yong (LINK)

A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas (LINK)
Related book: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes - by Adam Rutherford
The book of the day is the one Jeff Bezos tweeted was long his favorite novel: The Remains of the Day - by Kazuo Ishiguro

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Networks, platforms, and business value

From the book Modern Monopolies:
Networks are the new aggregator of business value....when the world becomes more connected, what a company owns matters less than the resources it can connect to. Today's most valuable businesses are those that can build and orchestrate large networks, not those that can aggregate and centralize large amounts of resources under one roof. In the old model, scale was a result of investing in and growing a business's internal resources. But in a networked world, scale comes from cultivating an external network built on top of your business
And a related, and complimentary, excerpt from the work of Ben Thompson at Stratechery:
Because aggregators deal with digital goods, there is an abundance of supply; that means users reap value through discovery and curation, and most aggregators get started by delivering superior discovery. 
Then, once an aggregator has gained some number of end users, suppliers will come onto the aggregator’s platform on the aggregator’s terms, effectively commoditizing and modularizing themselves. Those additional suppliers then make the aggregator more attractive to more users, which in turn draws more suppliers, in a virtuous cycle. 
This means that for aggregators, customer acquisition costs decrease over time; marginal customers are attracted to the platform by virtue of the increasing number of suppliers. This further means that aggregators enjoy winner-take-all effects: since the value of an aggregator to end users is continually increasing it is exceedingly difficult for competitors to take away users or win new ones. 
This is in contrast to non-platform companies that face increasing customer acquisition costs as their user base grows. That is because initial customers are often a perfect product-market fit; however, as that fit decreases, the surplus value from the product decreases as well and quickly turns negative. Generally speaking, any business that creates its customer value in-house is not an aggregator because eventually its customer acquisition costs will limit its growth potential.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


“The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Baupost Group owns nearly $1 billion worth of Puerto Rico's bonds (LINK)

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, on Charlie Rose discussing his new book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone (video) (LINK)

Solar Grew Faster Than All Other Forms of Power for the First Time [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Shopify Tumbles After Citron Calls the Company a ‘Get-Rich-Quick Scheme’ (LINK)

Atul Gawande on the Tell Me What To Say podcast (audio) (LINK)

May 2016 presentation by Niall Ferguson: "Five Ingredients for a Populist Backlash" (video) (LINK)

Sample chapter of Tim Ferriss' upcoming book, Tribe of Mentors (LINK)

Books of the day:

The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom [H/T Evan Osnos]

King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America's Spymaster in Korea

“Lead the ideas of your time and they will accompany and support you; fall behind them and they drag you along with them; oppose them and they will overwhelm you.” - Napoleon [H/T Lewis]

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Warren Buffett on CNBC.... The full video is available HERE. Links to individual segments are below:

Warren Buffett: Don't pay much attention to the Fed

Warren Buffett: Think GOP will pass 'tax cut' act this year

Berkshire acquires 38.6% equity stake in Pilot Flying J

Warren Buffett: Want people responsible for Wells Fargo scandal to pay

Warren Buffett: Keeping our Wells Fargo holding just under 10%

Warren Buffett: We'll be holders of Bank of America stock for a long time

Warren Buffett: 'Death tax' is a pejorative term

Warren Buffett: Corporate tax rate not hurting our businesses


When to Sell a Great Company? [H/T @anand1383] (LINK)

Episode 2 of Patrick O'Shaughnessy's audio documentary on the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies: Hash Power – Ep.2 – Cryptocurrency Investing (LINK)

Home Builder Lures Millennials With Offer to Help Pay Their Student Loans [H/T @morganhousel] (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter - October 2017 (LINK)

Trustworthy Networking - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Facebook Is Still In Denial About Its Biggest Problem (LINK)

Why Trump’s Words on North Korea Matter - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Gravitational wave discoverers win physics Nobel prize (LINK)

The Absurdity of the Nobel Prizes in Science - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, October 2, 2017


The Lessons of Leonardo: How to Be a Creative Genius - by Walter Isaacson (LINK)
Related book: Leonardo da Vinci
Warren Buffett’s “2 List” Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities [H/T Kevin Rose] (LINK)

Howard Marks: Nobody knows what will happen (interview) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Bias from Incentives and Reinforcement (LINK)

Stop Wasting Time - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Will You Be Ready When the Stock Market Crashes Again? - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

A Half Dozen Lessons about the Right Burn Rate (Post Product/Market Fit in a Connected World) - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Stonyfield Yogurt: Gary Hirshberg (LINK)

How the Feuding Kellogg Brothers Fought their Cereal Wars (podcast) [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Related book: The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek
Grant's Podcast: Resources roundtable (LINK)

Jim Chanos on Bloomberg last week (video -- Chanos enters at the 24:30 mark) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Mutual Fund Observer, October 2017 (LINK)

Seth Godin: "You're doing it wrong" (LINK)

Author and NYU professor Scott Galloway on the Recode Decode podcast (from a couple of weeks ago) (LINK)
Related book (released tomorrow): The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): “Tell Me Something I Don't Know” on the topic of Behavior Change (LINK)

Desert Island Discs: Siddhartha Mukherjee (audio) (LINK)

Edge #500: Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination - A Conversation With Tim O'Reilly (LINK)
Related book: WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
Why T. Rex's Puny Arms Are a Sign of Strength (LINK)