Saturday, November 16, 2019

David Goggins quote

From the audiobook version of Can't Hurt Me:
You have to turn that around yourself. No one is coming to save you. We have this mentality of "I'm going to wait to be saved. I'm going to wait for someone to come and help me." And I'm telling you right now, I believe in God—a lot of us believe in praying on it and stuff like that. Yeah, you can pray on it. But if you sit in a room and pray on it and do nothing about it, nothing's gonna happen. You have to put work behind everything in life. You have to put effort. You have to put friction behind something for something to change.

Friday, November 15, 2019


"We could make a lot of decisions about a lot of things very fast and very easily. And we’re unusual in that respect. And the reason we’re able to do that is there’s such an enormous other lot of things that we won’t allow ourselves to think about at all. It’s just that simple. I have a little phrase when people make pitches to me, and about halfway through the first sentence, I say, 'We don’t do startups.' They don’t exist. Well, if you blot out startups, there’s a whole layer of complexity that goes out of your life. And we’ve got other little blotter-out systems. And using those, we finally find out that what remains is still a pretty large territory that we can handle." --Charlie Munger (2008)

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: Joel Greenblatt - Investing Off the Beaten Path (LINK)

Scaling Fallacy in Investing (LINK)

The Softbank-WeWork End Game: Savior Economics or Sunk Cost Problem? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

The Brooklyn Investor blog: What It Takes, Dimon, Twitter etc. (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Growth Underwriter: Marcelo Lima on valuing SaaS businesses Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix (LINK)

Five Good Questions Podcast: Alan Klement - When Coffee and Kale Compete (LINK)

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: Disruption and electrification in the auto industry featuring Cliff Maxwell and Ned Calder (LINK)

Apes Might Know That You Don’t Know What They Know - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, November 14, 2019


"I would say that I like a certain amount of social intervention that takes some of the inequality out of results in capitalism. But I hate, with a passion, rewarding anything that can be easily faked. Because I think then people lie, and lying works, and the lying spreads. And I think your whole civilization deteriorates." --Charlie Munger (1996)

Sam Zell on Bloomberg TV discussing buying distressed oil assetsdiscussing WeWork, and discussing why he's not investing in Hong Kong.

Past as Prologue - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

The Case Against Boeing (LINK)

Stephen Schwarzman on The David Rubenstein Show (video) (LINK)
Related book: What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
Planet MicroCap Podcast: 100 - Investing: It’s All About the Journey with Ian Cassel (LINK)

The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast): #1383 - Malcolm Gladwell (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers
The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #395: Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More (LINK)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sorfis is now on Schwab

I'm pleased to announce that we've added Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. as a second custodian for offering our services. Given the extent of the Schwab platform, as well as the desire of some potential clients we've spoken with for a more diversified product than the Absolute Return Strategy, we are also now willing and able to offer more customized accounts.

For more details, please see the Services section of the website.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


"Charlie and I spend a lot of time thinking about things that could hit us out of the blue that other people don’t include in their thinking. And we may miss some opportunities because of that, but we feel it’s essential when managing other people’s money or, for that matter, managing our own money." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Common Plots of Economic History - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The Google Squeeze - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Oaktree Insights: A Deeper Dive into Structured Credit (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: What It Takes with Stephen Schwarzman (LINK)
Related book: What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
Invest Like the Best Podcast: Daniel Ek – The Future of Audio (LINK)

Business Casual Podcast -- Risk it all: Matt Ball dissects the streaming wars (LINK)

Signaling: The Language Peacocks, Gazelles, and Humans All Speak (LINK)

How the Nile River Has Stayed In One Place for 30 Million Years (LINK)

Monday, November 11, 2019


"We really like things that you don’t have to carry out to three decimal places, you know. If you have to carry it out to three decimal places, it’s not a good idea.... It’s like if somebody walked in the door here and they weighed somewhere between 300 and 350 pounds. I might not know how much they weigh, but I would know they were fat. That’s all I’m looking for, is something that’s financially fat." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Jamie Dimon on "60 Minutes" (video) (LINK)

Chuck Akre and John Neff of Akre Capital Management on WealthTrack (video) (LINK)

Ironing Out an Investing Mystery - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)
‘Earnings management’ has become even more widespread in emerging markets than in developed markets like the U.S.
Pensions Venture Into Risky Corners of the Market in Hunt for Returns ($) (LINK)

Wise fiscal policy is not about helicopter money - by Claudio Borio (LINK)

The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising (LINK)

What is the endgame for Disney+? (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Rory Sutherland on Alchemy (LINK)
Related book: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life 
Exponent Podcast: 177 — Principle Stacks (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: Why The Repo Markets Went Crazy, And Why December Could Be Even Worse (LINK)

Grant’s Current Yield Podcast: Let the analytics department pitch to Drumbowski (LINK)

Short Wave Podcast: Can Global Shipping Go Zero Carbon? (LINK)

The New Yorker: Politics and More Podcast: How Facebook Continues to Spread Fake News [with Evan Osnos] (LINK)

For the golf fans out there.... Are You Not Entertained? Podcast: 208 - Jeehae Lee & Craig Connolly (the wee man) on the future of golf (LINK)

The ‘Ghost’ Genes of a Nearly Extinct Animal Live on in Texas - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)
A photographer began shooting unusual-looking coyotes on Galveston Island. They turned out to be descended from a very rare wolf species.

Thursday, November 7, 2019


"It’s crazy to have people get so big and so important that you can’t allow them to fail, and allow them to be run with as much knavery and stupidity as permeated the major investment banks. It’s not that Berkshire hasn’t had wonderful service from investment banking all these years, because we have. It’s just that, as an industry, this crazy culture of greed and overreaching and overconfidence in trading algorithms and so on creeps in. I would argue it’s quite counterproductive for the country, and it ought to be reigned way back. These institutions are too big to fail, and it was demented to allow derivative trading to end up the way it’s ended up and with the current risks that are embedded in the present system. And it’s amazing how few people spoke against it as it was happening. There was just so much easy money to be reported. A lot of the money that was reported as being earned wasn’t really being earned. It was in that wonderful category of assets that I call 'good until reached for.' They sit there on the balance sheet, and when you reach for it, it just fades away like — mist." --Charlie Munger (May 3, 2008)

Bill Gates at the DealBook conference (video) (LINK)

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

[The rest of the DealBook conference videos can be found HERE.]

The World Has Gone Mad and the System Is Broken - by Ray Dalio (LINK)

Three Things I Think I Think – Has The World Gone Mad? - by Cullen Roche (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Ian Cassel turns the tables and interviews Tobias Carlisle (LINK)

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman (podcast): Bill Gates — How to accelerate history (LINK)

The Hazards of Talking to Strangers (LINK)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


How to Build Your Own BRK [via @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)

The Popular Delusions newsletter relaunches (Dylan Grice) (LINK) [To subscribe, go HERE.]

Secrets of the Greatest Hedge Fund of All Time (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
Boyar Value Group's Q3 Letter (LINK)

Tech and Liberty - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

De Beers Cuts Diamond Prices by About 5% as Industry Crisis Deepens (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: George Rzepecki – Investing in Africa (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Venkatesh Rao on Waldenponding (LINK)

Big Questions with Cal Fussman Podcast: Charles Schwab: How To Own Your Tomorrow (LINK)

Making Sense with Sam Harris Podcast: #174 — Richard Dawkins (LINK)

The James Altucher Show (podcast): 503 - The Path to Stillness: Ryan Holiday on How to Develop Self-Discipline & Reduce Overwhelm (LINK)
Related book: Stillness Is the Key

Sunday, November 3, 2019


"In general terms, unless you find the prices of a great company really offensive.... I think it’s better just to own them. We could attempt to buy and sell some of the things that we own that we think are fine businesses. But they’re too hard to find.... So, to sit there and hope that you buy them in the throes of some panic, that you sort of take the attitude of a mortician, waiting for a flu epidemic or something.... I’m not sure that will be a great technique....  I think the main thing to do is find wonderful businesses.... We’ve had our share of flu epidemics. But you don’t want to spend your life waiting around for them." --Warren Buffett (1996)

"By definition, a great company is one that’s going to remain great for 30 years. If it’s going to be a great company for three years, it ain’t a great company. So, you really want to go along with the idea of something that, if you were going to take a trip for 20 years, you wouldn’t feel bad leaving the money in with no orders with your broker and no power of attorney or anything, and you just go on the trip. And you know you come back, and it’s going to be a terribly strong company." --Warren Buffett (1996)

Berkshire Hathaway's Cash Pile Hits a Record ($) (LINK)

The Making of the World’s Greatest Investor ($) (LINK)
Related book: The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
Masters in Business Podcast: Gregory Zuckerman on the Quant Revolution (LINK)

Sometimes the Stock Market Needs ‘Knights of Faith’ - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK) [Zweig also added some more detail HERE.]

The Absolute Return Letter - November 2019: How to invest in a low growth world (Part 2 of 2) (LINK)

Ray Dalio on The David Rubenstein Show (video) (LINK)

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: Leon Cooperman - Looking For More For Less (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Come for the Games, Stay for the Party (LINK)

Think Again Podcast: 218. Bill Bryson – the most extraordinary machine (LINK)
Related book: The Body: A Guide for Occupants 
A ‘Horror Movie’ Fish That Moves on Land—Or Does It? (LINK)

Thursday, October 31, 2019


The Latticework Podcast, presented by MOI Global: William Green with Arnold Van Den Berg at Latticework New York 2019 (LINK)

Rob Arnott Video: Past Is Not Prologue (LINK)
Chasing returns can be very costly. High valuations can go higher, but not indefinitely. At Research Affiliates’ recent Investment Symposium in London, Rob Arnott explains how the link between starting valuations and subsequent returns is powerful, and examines which investments look attractive today.
The Spectrum of Wealth - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Value investor Joel Greenblatt says this company could solve a key hurdle in esports’ growth [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Barry Diller on CNBC (LINK)

Apollo Asia Fund: the manager's report for 3Q19 (LINK)

Remember QR Codes? They’re More Powerful Than You Think (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: Jerry Yang on China, Yahoo!, and Early-Stage Investing (LINK)

What is Chasing You? - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Buildings are bad for the climate. Here’s what we can do about it. - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Key Takeaways from the book Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (LINK)

Key Takeaways from the book Who Is Michael Ovitz? (LINK)

An essay from Matthew Ball on how the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to be the most dominant cultural force Hollywood has ever seen (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Q&A with former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos about Mark Zuckerberg's recent comments on free speech and where he went wrong, Facebook's News tab, fact-checking political ads, and more (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Chad Cascarilla – The Future of Blockchain and Financial Services (LINK)

Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment” (video) (LINK)

Why Don’t We Know How to Protect Our Time? - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Monday, October 28, 2019


"We’re looking for the obvious, and something that is within our capability of doing something about. But we’re not trying to beat people at their own game where we’re not very good at the game." --Warren Buffett (1996)

How Jim Simons Built the Best Hedge Fund Ever (LINK)
Related book: The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
Disney Is New to Streaming, but Its Marketing Is Unmatched (LINK)

Bradley Jacobs Has Acquired More Than 500 Companies. Here's What He Has Learned. ($) (LINK)

The Australian fund manager who uses FBI training to see through CEO lies [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

What's Blockchain Actually Good for, Anyway? For Now, Not Much (LINK)

Biology is Eating the World: A Manifesto (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: Why Taiwanese Life Insurers Are The Great ‘Whodunit’ Of The Financial World (LINK)

The Peter Attia Drive: #77 – AMA #2 with sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D. (LINK)

How to Use Occam’s Razor Without Getting Cut (LINK)

How to Be Patient in an Impatient World - by Mark Manson (LINK)

Has Humanity’s Homeland Been Found? - by Ed Yong (LINK)
A contentious new paper traces the origins of modern humans to ancient wetlands in Africa, a claim other researchers have called far-fetched.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


"A really wonderful business is very well protected against the vicissitudes of the economy over time and the competition. I mean, we’re talking about businesses that are resistant to effective competition. And three of those will be better than 100 average businesses. And they’ll be safer, incidentally. There is less risk in owning three easy-to-identify, wonderful businesses than there is in owning 50 well-known, big businesses." --Warren Buffett (1996)

Horizon Kinetics Q3 Commentary (LINK) [Audio Q3 call is also available, HERE.]

Putting the Buy-and-Hold Gospel to the Ultimate Test - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Microsoft Is the Surprise Winner of a $10B Pentagon Contract (LINK)

How much longer can the debt-burdened consumer hold up the U.S. economy? (LINK)

The Fall of WeWork: How a Startup Darling Came Unglued ($) (LINK)

Adam Neumann Is the Most Talented Grifter of Our Time - by Derek Thompson (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: The WeWork “Acquisition” (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Connor Haley talks long/short microcaps (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 176 — The Second Estate Era (LINK)

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: 64 - Supernova in the East III (LINK)

Sequoia - Remembering Don Valentine (LINK)

Fossil trove shows life's fast recovery after big extinction [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Thursday, October 24, 2019


"I love focused management. If you read the Coca-Cola annual report, you will not get the idea that Roberto Goizueta is thinking about a whole lot of things other than Coca-Cola. And I have seen that work time after time. And when they lose that focus — as, actually, did Coke and Gillette both, at one point 20 to 30 years ago somewhat — it shows up. I mean, two great organizations were not hitting their potential 20 years ago. And then they became refocused. And what a difference it makes. It makes tens of billions of dollars’ worth of difference, in terms of market value. GEICO actually started fooling around in a number of things in the early ’80s, and they paid a price to do it. They paid a very big price. They paid a direct price, in terms of the cost of those things, because they almost all worked out badly. And then they paid an additional price in the loss of focus on the main business.... So, we like focus. We love focus." --Warren Buffett (1996)

Jeff Bezos at the International Astronautical Congress (video) (LINK)

Evolve or Die - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Scaling Fallacy in Investing (LINK)

Ben Thompson interviews Ghost CEO John O’Nolan (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #392: Ben Horowitz (LINK)
Related book: What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
The Meb Faber Show (podcast): #183 - Ben Inker (LINK)

Conversations with Tyler (podcast): Henry Farrell on Weaponized Interdependence, Big Tech, and Playing with Ideas (LINK)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


"If you can protect downside, you don't need to figure out upside. In fact, those will give you the best upside because markets hate them till the upside is clearly visible." --Mohnish Pabrai

How did Mohnish Pabrai inspire Guy Spier? An interview in the Aquamarine Fund's office in Zurich (video) [H/T @mstafford] (LINK)

Satya Nadella at Stanford (video) (LINK)

Oaktree Insights: Emerging Markets Equities Strategy Video (LINK)

Useful Biases - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Netflix Versus Blockbuster (LINK)

Neumann to Get Up to $1.7 Billion to Exit WeWork as SoftBank Takes Control ($) (LINK)

Death and Deals: Sick Children Suffer, Private Equity Profits (LINK)

The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast): #1366 - Richard Dawkins (LINK)

Monday, October 21, 2019


The Internet and the Third Estate - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

25th Anniversary of Financial Shenanigans with Howard Schilit - Author Series: Financial Reporting & Analysis Edition (May 2018 video) [H/T @colemanrhawkins] (LINK)
Related book: Financial Shenanigans
Greenhaven Road Capital's Q3 Letter [H/T @mastersinvest] (LINK)

Massif Capital Q3 Letter (LINK)

Patience: An Undervalued Virtue - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Joseph Boskovich talks with Tobias Carlisle about finding great owner/operators (LINK)

Grant’s Current Yield Podcast: Time to make the Donuts (LINK)

North Star Podcast: Ryan Holiday: Timeless Lessons From History (LINK)
Related book: Stillness Is the Key
A Textbook Evolutionary Story Is Wrong - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Warren Buffett on share repurchases and intrinsic value

From the 1996 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:
If you’re repurchasing shares above a rationally calculated intrinsic value, you are harming your shareholders, just as if you issue shares beneath that figure, you are harming your shareholders. 
That’s a truism. Now, the tough part of that, of course, is coming up with the intrinsic value. 
A good example might be Coca-Cola. 
I think a number of people might have thought Coca-Cola was repurchasing shares at a very high price, because they’ll look at book value or P/E ratios. But there’s a lot more to intrinsic value than book value and P/E ratios. And anytime anybody gives you some simplified formula for figuring it out, forget it. 
You have to understand the business. The people who understood that business well, the management, have understood and been very forthright about saying so over the years, that by repurchasing their shares, they are adding to the value per share for remaining shareholders. 
And like I say, people who didn’t understand Coca-Cola, or who thought mechanistic methods of valuation should take precedence, really misjudged the value to the Coca-Cola Company of those repurchases. 
So we favor — when you have a wonderful business — we favor using funds that are generated out of that business to make the business even more wonderful. And we favor repurchasing shares if those shares are below intrinsic value. 
And I would say that if it’s a really wonderful business, we probably come up with higher intrinsic values than most people do. 
We have great respect, Charlie and I with — I think it’s developed over the years — we have enormous respect for the power of a really outstanding business. And we recognize how scarce they are. And if a management wishes to further intensify our ownership by repurchasing shares, we applaud. 
We own — we just went over 8 percent of the Coca-Cola Company, probably, in the last three or so months, by a very tiny fraction. But we had a second purchase one time. 
But our percentage interest in the Coca-Cola Company has gone up significantly through their repurchases. And we are better off because they have bought those shares at what looked like, to some people, perhaps, high prices. And we thought they were wrong at the time, and I think now it’s been indicated or proven. 
So, I urge you, if you’re trying to decide on the wisdom of repurchases, or of share issuances, that you don’t think in terms of book value. You don’t think in terms of specific P/Es. You don’t think in terms of any little model. 
But you think in terms of what would you really... A) pick businesses you can understand; and then think what you really would pay to be in those businesses. And that’s what counts over time, is whether the repurchases are made at a discount from that figure. 
And I would say with the companies that we own shares in — our interest in GEICO went from 33 or so percent to 50 percent over a 15-year or so period, simply through repurchases. And we benefited significantly. 
So did every other shareholder, I might add, that stayed with the company. And we benefited in no way disproportionate to them. 
But that was a very wise action on their part. And there too, they were usually buying that stock at at least double book value. And you could compare it to other insurance stocks and say, “Well, that’s too much to pay.” 
But GEICO wasn’t an insurance company that was comparable to other insurance companies. It was a very different sort of business. And they were very wise, in my view, to be following that course of action.


Related previous post: Warren Buffett on Share Repurchases

Saturday, October 19, 2019


"In baseball terms, you want to buy [a stock] in the second or third inning and get out in the seventh or eighth. Walmart was in only 15% of the United States when they were a 10-year-old public company. All they did for the next 30 years was go from 15% to 100%. The stock went up 50-fold. They had a great formula, and they just rolled with it in the United States." --Peter Lynch

Lessons from an investing legend: Former Fidelity fund manager Peter Lynch shares some of his secrets to success [H/T @TaoValue] (LINK)

Oaktree's Howard Marks on Negative Rates, Demanding Safety, U.S. Recession (video) (LINK)
Related memo: "Mysterious"
Time for Advisers to Speak to Us in Plain English - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Neil Woodford: the inside story of his rise and dramatic fall ($) (LINK)

Why It’s So Hard to Make a Better Baby Formula (LINK)

The World's Largest Geode Formed When the Mediterranean Sea Disappeared [H/T Linc] (LINK)

"Some things are inevitable. But you really shouldn't think you know when." --Howard Marks

Friday, October 18, 2019


"The vast majority of today’s negative-yield bonds are in Europe and Japan.  One of the biggest questions surrounds whether negative rates will reach the U.S. This question takes me back to my immediate response to Ian’s suggestion that I write this memo: nobody knows, and certainly not me.  When something hasn’t happened in the past, it’s impossible to be sure you know how it’ll end up.  Different people will express opinions on this subject with differing degrees of confidence.  Yet I remain certain that none of them 'know.'" --Howard Marks ("Mysterious")

Disney, IP, and "Returns to Marginal Affinity" - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

Media mogul Barry Diller: Match is in a ridiculous phase of growth (video) (LINK)

The Rental Economy Is at Risk in a Downturn ($) (LINK)

Are We on the Cusp of the Next Dot-Com Bubble? - by Derek Thompson (LINK)

Disrupting the IPO Process: Challenging the Banker-run Going-Public Model! - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Sohn San Francisco Investment Conference Notes (Part 1, Part 2)

Which Way Do You Run? - by Ben Horowitz (LINK)

Six Trends Revolutionizing Games (LINK)

Hollywood’s Video Game Blind Spot (LINK)

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested [H/T @Atul_Gawande] (LINK)

How To Academy Podcast: Rory Sutherland - How to Be Less Rational (and More Brilliant) [H/T @CravenPartners] (LINK)
Related book: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life 
Cal Newport and James Clear in conversation (LINK)

Adults Are Getting More Food Allergies. Scientists Still Aren't Sure Why (LINK)

A Hidden World of Strange Starfish-Like Creatures in the Abyss - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Howard Marks Memo: Mysterious

Link to Memo: Mysterious
Negative interest rates are nothing short of a mystery; they’re likely to throw off whatever we knew about the financial world and how things worked in the past. With more than $17 trillion of global debt trading at nominal yields below zero — and about double when considering inflation — this phenomenon has prompted differing perspectives about its purpose and consequences. Howard Marks offers his in this memo, in which he discusses why negative rates have become prevalent, what implications they might have, whether they will reach the U.S., and what investors can do as they navigate these uncharted waters. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


On Howard Marks’ Memos (LINK)

Portrait of an Inessential Government Worker - by Michael Lewis (LINK)
Related book: The Fifth Risk (upcoming paperback edition)
Google and Ambient Computing – by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Why New Technology Is A Hard Sell - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: Season 5, Episode 5: Atari (LINK)

How Salesforce Closed the Pay Gap Between Men and Women (LINK)
In an excerpt from his new book, Marc Benioff says he initially didn't believe any pay gap was pervasive in the first place.
Tuning up photosynthesis to feed the world - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


"Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it." --Benjamin Franklin

Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan (LINK)

Fall 2019 issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

The Heilbrunn Center's Schloss Archive is also worth going back and checking out periodically (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: #68 Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 175 — The Abyss Stares Back (LINK)

The Next Big Idea Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell and David Epstein on the Keys to Success (LINK)
Related book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Monday, October 14, 2019


"The businesses at the top of my portfolio are not necessarily going to be the ones that perform the best over the long term but are the ones I know will perform." --Chris Bloomstran [Source

1986 article: How to Tame the Casino Society - by Warren E. Buffett [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Non-Ergodicity and its Implications for Businesses and Investors - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

A Big Little Idea Called Ergodicity (Or The Ultimate Guide to Russian Roulette) (LINK)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Skin in the Game (video) (LINK)
Related book: Skin in the Game
Robert G. Hagstrom on Liberal Arts Investing (video) (LINK)

Making a Killing with Bethany McLean (podcast): Tesla, and why "Elon Musk doesn't care about you" (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Big Decisions: Michael Mauboussin talks luck, skill, success, risk, mean reversion and the base rate (LINK)

Robert Iger talks with Oprah Winfrey about his career at Disney (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Yuval Noah Harari & Steven Pinker in conversation (video) (LINK)

The world is uniting to help this group - by Bill Gates (LINK)
Bill Gates delivers a speech at the Global Fund Replenishment conference in France.
The Many Contradictions of Thomas Edison - by Derek Thompson (LINK)
Related book: Edison - by Edmund Morris
It's only $4.99. But Costco's rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price (LINK)

A tweetstorm from Tren Griffin about wholesale transfer pricing power (LINK)

Why So Negative? - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

What Economists (Including Me) Got Wrong About Globalization - by Paul Krugman (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: Why Governments Haven’t Learned The Lessons Of Japan (LINK)

The New Yorker Radio Hour (podcast): New Yorker Writers on Hong Kong, and Nixon After Tiananmen Square (LINK)

The New Yorker: Politics and More Podcast: Trump’s Abandonment of the Kurds Appeases Erdoğan and Infuriates Republicans (LINK)
Dexter Filkins joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the incursion into Syria is affecting one of the most volatile regions in the world, and what it could mean for Trump’s Presidency.
5 Tenets of a Negative Self-Help - by Mark Manson (LINK)

Magnetars are the most powerful magnets in the Universe. Here's how they're made. - by Phil Plait (LINK)

What Made Me Reconsider the Anthropocene - by Peter Brannen (LINK)

Investment Masters: Learning From Chris Bloomstran

Link to: Investment Masters: Learning From Chris Bloomstran:
Whilst I’m a long-time avid follower of all of the Investment Masters, and I have to say a veritable devourer of their collected wisdom, there is nothing more valuable to me as an investor than actually speaking with these amazing people. Whether it’s a meeting at Berkshire, the odd telephone dialogue or even an interview, all of these interactions deepen my understanding of their unique views on financial and business matters and for that matter, the investment world. 
Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to Interview Chris Bloomstran of Semper Augustus. Chris is a veteran of the Investment Fraternity and a recognised Master; The stocks in his portfolio have compounded at 4.7% above the S&P 500 since launching Semper Augustus more than 20 years ago. I’ve always valued what he has to say and our interview was no exception. 
We covered many topics in the few hours in which we spoke, and I am incredibly grateful to Chris for being so open in sharing his knowledge and experience. I have collected the gems from our interview below.

Related links: 

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Note: The early bird discount for the Project Punch Card Value Investing Conference expires on Tuesday, October 15th (when the price will increase from $245 to $495).


Is Amazon Unstoppable? - by Charles Duhigg (LINK)

That Time Warren Buffett's Investment Was Blocked by Bank of America’s Call Center (LINK)

GMO Quarterly Letter | Shades of 2000 - by Ben Inker (LINK)
The years leading up to the 2000 stock market bubble were extraordinary and unprecedented. They caused unique pain to the portfolios of valuation-driven investors. The valuation extremes, though, created the greatest opportunity set for valuation-driven investors since the Great Depression. While the events of the last decade have not been as striking as those of the late 1990s, the recent cycle has gone on for significantly longer and the pain caused to our portfolios has begun to approach 1990’s levels. As the current cycle has ground on slowly but surely, the valuation extremes have moved wider, creating an opportunity set for valuation-driven investors that looks as extraordinary as what we saw 20 years ago.
Bill Nygren Market Commentary | 3Q19 (LINK)

Greece, Once in Crisis, Joins Negative-Rates Club ($) (LINK)
Debt-laden country sells bonds yielding less than 0% for the first time
China Forces the N.B.A. to Weigh Value Against Values - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Shipping Fuel Is About to Get Cleaner. What It Means for Investors. ($) (LINK)

Is a split in the works between Zambia and its long-time business partner, China? [H/T @michaelxpettis] (LINK)

My New Book, Why I Wrote It, and Where the Money Will Go - by Ben Horowitz (LINK)
Related book (end-of-month release): What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
The Talk Show With John Gruber: 265: ‘Thompson’s Razor’, With Special Guest Ben Thompson (LINK)

Kosmos with a K Podcast: #7 Tyler Cowen (GMU) on less homework, Swiss science culture, and low university completion rates (LINK)

MartyrMade Podcast #13 – God’s Socialist, pt. 3: Head North, Then Turn Left [H/T @maxolson] (LINK)
In this episode I trace the trajectory of the civil rights movement through the 1960s, and the gradual shift in emphasis and leadership from the stoic southern marchers following Martin Luther King, Jr to the militant Black Power soldiers of the northern ghettos.
The Andromeda Galaxy ate its small friends… twice - by Phil Plait (LINK)

The day our galaxy exploded - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot (LINK)

It’s Possible to Inherit More DNA From One Parent Than the Other - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

TED Talk: What Bruce Lee can teach us about living fully | Shannon Lee (LINK)

Marcus Aurelius on How to Control the Mind (LINK)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


"You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think." --Marcus Aurelius

Bill Gates' Professor Hawking Fellowship lecture: Why I think we can predict the future (LINK)

A Value Investor Defends Value Investing (Despite Its Recent Track Record) ($) (LINK)
Joel Greenblatt says if you do good valuation work, the market eventually will agree
Your Stock Trades Go Free but Your Cash Is in Chains - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

The Price of Certainty - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

The China Cultural Clash - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Leithner Letter No. 241-244 (LINK)

Capital Allocators Podcast: Jonathan Tepper (LINK)
Related book: The Myth of Capitalism
Masters in Business Podcast: Robert Shiller Discusses Narrative Economics (LINK)
Related book: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast: Jason Fried: Optimizing efficiency and work-life balance (LINK)

Ryan Holiday on EconTalk discussing his new book, Stillness Is the Key (LINK)

What I Learned About Life From Buying a Goat on Craigslist - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

"Human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day." --Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 5, 2019


"The inflow of money and outflow of money should not be, in our view, attempted to be matched too carefully in this world, because you get investment and business opportunities at times that differ from the times that funds come in. And one of the most important disciplines in running a business or managing investments is to not try to coordinate your actions simply with the availability of cash." --Warren Buffett (1996)

Channels: The Business of Communications periodical, dated November 1986 (Warren Buffett cover) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

How a Public Narrative Can Move Markets - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

Why Ken Fisher Advertises So Much (LINK)

The Map and the Terrain - by Ben Horowitz (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 174 — Distracted at Facebook (LINK)

The Ezra Klein Show (podcast): Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers
The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #389: Neil deGrasse Tyson — How to Dream Big, Think Scientifically, and Get More Done (LINK)

HBR IdeaCast: 703: Melinda Gates on Fighting for Gender Equality (LINK)

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: Jenny Wallace - Identifying Value at the Summit (LINK)

Mars sounds weird - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Project Punch Card Conference 2019

This was a great conference last year, and it looks like it will be another great conference this year. For those interested, the Early Bird Discount will be expiring soon. So if you plan on coming, here's a link to more information (including the speaker lineup) and the portal to buy tickets: 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Note to readers: I'm traveling with limited internet access over the next week or two, so posting will probably be less frequent than normal.


"We think that when we make a decision, there ought to be such a margin of safety that it ought to be so attractive that you don’t have to carry it out to three decimal places." --Warren Buffett (1995)

Beachheads and Obstacles - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Bubble Yet? (The Brooklyn Investor blog) (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter - October 2019: How to invest in a low growth world (Part 1 of 2) (LINK)

Michael Bloomberg’s Answer to the U.N. General Assembly - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Kyle Bass: Hong Kong Protests are Chinese Regime’s “Worst Nightmare” in US China Trade War (video) (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: How Financial Repression in China Helped Cause the Trade War (LINK)

Hidden Forces Podcast: Financial Fault Lines, Central Banks, and the Law of Unintended Consequences | William White (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Brian Grazer Discusses Imagine Entertainment (LINK)

The James Altucher Show (podcast): 493 -- Frank Abagnale (LINK)

What Got You There Podcast: #158 Brent Beshore (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast -- Jim Collins: Keeping the Flywheel in Motion (LINK)

Externalities: Why We Can Never Do “One Thing” (LINK)

The Messy World of Crime-Solving Genealogists - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Montaigne and trying to see things as they are...

Even his simplest perceptions cannot be relied upon. If he has a fever or has taken medicine, everything tastes different or appears with different colors. A mild cold befuddles the mind; dementia would knock it out entirely. Socrates himself could be rendered a vacant idiot by a stroke or brain damage, and if a rabid dog bit him, he would talk nonsense. The dog’s saliva could make “all philosophy, if it were incarnate, raving mad.” And this is just the point: for Montaigne, philosophy is incarnate. It lives in individual, fallible humans; therefore, it is riddled with uncertainty. “The philosophers, it seems to me, have hardly touched this chord.” 
And what of the perceptions of different species? Montaigne correctly guesses (as Sextus did before him) that other animals see colors differently from humans. Perhaps it is we, not they, who see them “wrongly.” We have no way of knowing what the colors really are. Animals have faculties that are weak or lacking in us, and maybe some of these are essential to a full understanding of the world. “We have formed a truth by the consultation and concurrence of our five senses; but perhaps we needed the agreement of eight or ten senses, and their contribution, to perceive it certainly and in its essence.” 
This seemingly casual remark proposes a shocking idea: that we may be cut off by our very nature from seeing things as they are. A human being’s perspective may not merely be prone to occasional error, but limited by definition, in exactly the way we normally (and arrogantly) presume a dog's intelligence to be. Only someone with an exceptional ability to escape his immediate point of view could entertain such an idea, and this was precisely Montaigne’s talent: being able to slip out from behind his eyes so as to gaze back upon himself with Pyrrhonian suspension of judgment. Even the original Skeptics never went so far. They doubted everything around them, but they did not usually consider how implicated their innermost souls were in the general uncertainty. Montaigne did, all the time. 
We, and our judgment, and all mortal things go on flowing and rolling unceasingly. Thus nothing certain can be established about one thing by another, both the judging and the judged being in continual change and motion. 
This might seem a dead end, closing off all possibility of knowing anything, since nothing can be measured against anything else, but it can also open up a new way of living. It makes everything more complicated and more interesting: the world becomes a vast multidimensional landscape in which every point of view must be taken into account. All we need to do is to remember this fact, so as to “become wise at our own expense,” as Montaigne put it.  
Even for him, the discipline of attention required constant effort: “We must really strain our soul to be aware of our own fallibility.” The Essays helped. By writing them, he set himself up like a lab rat and stood over himself with notebook in hand. Each observed oddity made him rejoice. He even took pleasure in his memory lapses, for they reminded him of his failings and saved him from the error of insisting that he was always right. 

Friday, September 27, 2019


"If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires." --Epicurus

Penny-Pinching Funds Are Going to Get Even Cheaper - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Jim Grant Is a Wall Street Cult Hero. Does It Matter If He’s Often Wrong? (LINK)

Miami Real Estate Is About To Collapse... (LINK)

Five Good Questions Podcast: John Browne - Make, Think, Imagine (LINK)
Related book: Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization
Acquired Podcast: Sequoia Capital (Part 1) (LINK)

The Life-Changing Magic of Having ‘Enough’ - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. What does it matter how much a man has laid up in his safe, or in his warehouse, how large are his flocks and how fat his dividends, if he covets his neighbour's property, and reckons, not his past gains, but his hopes of gains to come? Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough." --Seneca (Source)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett on compensation systems

From the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting...

Charlie Munger: 
Where a business requires practically no capital, we tend to reward the management based on the earnings. The minute the business starts requiring capital we tend to put a capital factor into this compensation system.  
We don’t have any one standard system. They’re all different, based on accidents of history and circumstances.  
But where capital’s an important factor, of course, we take it into account. 
Warren Buffett:
When capital is an important part of the business, we stick a charge for capital in. If it’s an unimportant part of the business, we don’t stick it in. We don’t believe in making things more complex than needed. 
So, we don’t try for...all kinds of little refinements — which a compensation consultant would come in and tell you was needed, because that’s how he would justify a large bill. And he would also come in and tinker with it a little the following year, and the following year, and so on.  
We have very simple systems on comp. But some of our businesses are terrific businesses, and so we have very high standards of performance before people get performance bonuses.  
Some of our businesses are very tough businesses, and the threshold is much lower, but the managerial talent needed to reach that threshold is just as much as...with the higher threshold in other businesses. 
Compensation is not rocket science. I mean, people will want you to think it is, and you read these proxy statements and it blows your mind, what they get into.
Charlie Munger: 
And on EVA, there are ideas implicit in that that we use. For instance, hurdle rates by — based on opportunity costs. Perfectly reasonable concept.  
But to us, that system, with all its labels and lingo, has a lot of baggage that we don’t need. We just use the implicit, simple stuff that’s buried in EVA. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


"Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself and learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work." --Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

Howard Marks picks not losing money over fear of missing out (LINK)

Brookfield CEO Flatt Says Business Has Been Good Since Brexit (video) (LINK)

Neither, and New: Lessons from Uber and Vision Fund - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

WeWork Lessons That Apply To Lots of Stuff - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Decrypted Podcast: Inside WeWork’s IPO Disaster (LINK)

Are Company Visits Good or Bad? [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)

Walmart’s First Healthcare Services ‘Super Center’ Opens [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

Are autonomous vehicles actually disruptive? It all depends on this often overlooked question (LINK)

Why I'm Worried About the Repo Market - by Narayana Kocherlakota (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Bill Gurley – Direct Listing vs. IPO (LINK)

The Meb Faber Show: #177 - Alex Rubalcava - We Want To Help Build Companies That Are Solving Hard Problems That Matter (LINK)

TIFF Industry Conference Panel -- The Big Screen: Have Rumours of My Demise Been Greatly Exaggerated? (video) (LINK)

The Art of Manliness Podcast: #546: How to Get a Memory Like a Steel Trap (LINK)

Genetic Deep Dive Helps Explain How Whales Evolved to Become Aquatic (LINK)

Thousands-of-Years-Old Baby Bottles Reveal How Ancient Infants Were Fed (LINK)

Talking To Strangers - by David Perell (LINK)

8 Life Lessons From a Primal Elder to Younger Groks - by Mark Sisson (LINK)

Monday, September 23, 2019


The Messy Marketplace Podcast is now available. I enjoyed the book (my review is HERE), and I think I'll likely enjoy this audiobook—in podcast format—even more, given it has the added benefit of commentary from Brent and Emily. For more details, see INTRODUCING ‘THE MESSY MARKETPLACE’ PODCAST

The Slow-Burning Success of Disney’s Bob Iger (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Thomas Cook Collapses, Ending 178-Year Reign in the Travel Business (LINK)

Fallout From Thomas Cook’s Demise Will Reach Far and Wide in Travel (LINK)

‘The Bells Start Going Off.’ How Doctors Uncovered the Vaping Crisis ($) (LINK)

IEX Exchange to Exit Listings Business ($) (LINK)

The Amazon of 2030 - by Ted Seides (LINK)
Amazon stock ballooned, crashed, and then not so gradually rebounded to what it is today. Remind you of anything?
Capital Allocators Podcast: Gary Klein with Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson – Conducting Pre-Mortem Analysis (LINK)
Related paper: "Rendering a Powerful Tool Flaccid: The Misuse of Premortems on Wall Street"

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Friday, September 20, 2019


The Netflix three-part docuseries, "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates," was released today.

A Taxonomy of Moats - by Jerry Neumann (LINK)

How We Should Bust an Investing Myth - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Three Things I Think I Think – Repo Madness! - by Cullen Roche (LINK)

Jim Chanos videos on CNBC on why he's shorting DaVita and shorting Grubhub.

Exponent Podcast: 173 — The Exponent IPO (LINK)

The Bill Simmons Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers
The Quiet Disappearance of Birds in North America - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Though the continent has lost 3 billion birds since 1970, those losses are hard to glean because it’s the commonest species that have been hit hardest.
The Real Danger of Booze-Making Gut Bacteria - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Microbes can produce so much alcohol that people become drunk—and sustain liver damage—without touching any booze.

Thursday, September 19, 2019


"The whole secret of investment is to find places where it’s safe and wise to non-diversify. It’s just that simple. Diversification is for the know-nothing investor; it’s not for the professional."  --Charlie Munger (2008

"And there’s nothing wrong with the know-nothing investor practicing it. It’s exactly what they should practice. It’s exactly what a good professional investor should not practice. There’s no contradiction in that. A know-nothing investor will get decent results as long as they know they’re a know-nothing investor, diversify as to time they purchase their equities, and as to the equities they purchase. That’s crazy for somebody that really knows what they’re doing. And you will find opportunities that, if you put 20 percent of your net worth in it, you’ll have wasted the opportunity of a lifetime, in terms of not really loading up. And we’ve had the chance to do that, way, way in our past, when we were working with small sums of money. We’ll never get a chance to do that working with the kinds of money that Berkshire does. We try to load up on things. And there will be markets when we get a chance to from time to time, but very seldom do we get to buy as much of any good idea as we would like to." --Warren Buffett (2008)

What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max? - by William Langewiesche (LINK)

Bob Iger Remembers Steve Jobs, the Pixar Drama, and the Apple Merger That Wasn't. (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Insights on VC Pricing: Lessons from Uber, WeWorks and Peloton! - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Am I a market fundamentalist? - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Steve Schwarzman talks with James Altucher about his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence (podcast) (LINK)

Malcolm Gladwell talks with Oprah about his new book, Talking to Strangers (podcast) (LINK)

One Protein Makes Ebola Deadly. Scientists Can Turn it Off (LINK)

A final message from T. Boone Pickens shared before his passing on September 11, 2019 (LINK)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


"There have been...several times I had 75 percent of my net worth in one situation.... You will see things that it would be a mistake — if you’re working with smaller sums — it would be a mistake not to have half your net worth in. You really do, sometimes in securities, see things that are lead-pipe cinches. And you’re not going to see them often and they’re not going to be talking about them on television or anything of the sort, but there will be some extraordinary things happen in a lifetime where you can put 75 percent of your net worth or something like that in a given situation.... There’s quite a few people in this room that have close to a hundred percent of their net worth in Berkshire, and some of them have had it for 40 or more years. Berkshire was not in a cinch category. It was in the strong probability category, I think. But I saw things in 2002 in the junk bond field. I saw things in the equity markets. If you could have bought Cap Cities with Tom Murphy running it in 1974, it was selling at a third or a fourth what the properties were worth and you had the best manager in the world running the place and you had a business that was pretty damn good even if the manager wasn’t. You could have put a hundred percent of your net worth in there and not worry. You could put a hundred percent of your net worth in Coca-Cola, earlier than when we bought it, but certainly around the time we bought it, and that would not have been a dangerous position." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Warren Buffett Protege to Leave Berkshire, Start Own Firm ($) (LINK)
Tracy Britt Cool says she wants to work with companies ‘too small for Berkshire’
Q&A with Brandes: Why Look for Opportunities Overseas? [H/T @MebFaber] (LINK)

‘This Is Not the Way Everybody Behaves.’ How Adam Neumann’s Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork. ($) (LINK)
The skills that helped fuel We Co.’s breakneck growth are piling up as potential liabilities as the company prepares to go public
Is the Price of Gold Manipulated? (2018 video w/ Grant Williams) (LINK)

How billionaire philanthropy provides reproductive health care when politicians won’t [H/T @NicoleFriedman] (LINK)
This is how we’ve arrived at a point where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the biggest philanthropists in the world, are the leading providers of access to contraception worldwide, and Buffett is the leading provider of abortion access for poor women in the U.S.
The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Use ancient remains more wisely [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

How Ancient DNA Can Help Recast Colonial History - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day: That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea