This Week I Learned #6

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up”
— Charlie Munger


  • Wise: Professors Gary Latham and Edwin Locke found employees were more motivated by personal goals than corporate/organizational goals. Makes fucking sense. Personal goals relating the individual's own mission raise performance levels in employees. Ergo, if companies want a sales growth of 10% they should break it down to the point of why it matters to the employee's personal mission.  


  • Healthy: I drink a lot of water. Approx. 4-5L a day. About 1-2L of that is carbonated. Either Sodastream or Gerolsteiner. Carbonated water helps with digestion and overall was cited to have no negative impacts to health. But I heard about it's damage to teeth due to acidity. Turns out our dental enamel in teeth dissolve every time we drink liquids without calcium or phosphate ions. The more acidic (i.e. lower pH) the liquid the greater the demineralization. Water is neutral at pH 7. Most people have pH levels of 5.5-6.5 in their saliva. Anything below that is acidic for you personally. Turns out most carbonated water is pH of 4.5 on average, my favourite Gerolsteiner is at 5.12. Closer to your levels the less the deminieralization. Pop like Coke and 7up is extremely erosive/acidic in the 2 pH level. Even Orange and Lemon juice float in the 2-3 pH level. Side note, people think freshly squeezed OJ is healthy but it's practically the same negative sugar content has coke with no caffeine. Coffee is at pH of 5 too. So yeah, carbonated water good? Not really. But compared to anything else out there? Definitely better.


  • Wise: So far, this is my favourite episode on Joe Rogan's podcast. I had no idea who Henry Rollins was but his views and paths to life is amazing and admirable. Professional citizen of the world. I just loved this episode and found it highly motivating.


  • Healthy: MEAT! Some people think eating too much meat is bad. I get it a lot. The number of people quoting shit like saturated fat being bad or too much red meat giving me cancer. Hilarious. In 2016 the largest study was performed to see the impact of red meat on mortality. Like many before it, it saw corollaries. But, it turns out all the folks who had higher mortality rates all had at least 1 of the "unhealthy lifestyles" of being: obese, heavy drinking, heavy smoking or being sedentary (i.e not active enough). The participants who had a healthy active lifestyle saw no increase in mortality from red meat consumption. Like all studies, you have to check the inputs and look for other factors. It's not the meat that'll kill people. It's their shitty habits. We all know all the unhealthy lifestyles listed above give rise to higher risk of cancer. Why? My simple understanding is that cells get damaged. These cells have to be killed off and cleaned out. But, those unhealthy lifestyles disrupt this normal process. So now you have a bunch sick/dying cells allowed to live. They take up space for new fresh cells. They also expand and duplicate to make more dying cells. This damages the DNA. When this overloads and cells go beyond crazy points of mutation (i'm thinking zombies), you get cancer. But common reason cancer is correlated with meat? Well meat is has protein that increases IGF1 proteins. These IGF1s actually increase the risk of cancer. That's what they found in people who have genetically higher IGF1s. This is because IGF1s expedite processes of doubling the cells (I'm really dumbing it down to my level and not involving science talks here). Ah but you know what else IGF1 does? It increases lean muscle mass production, it increases burning of fat, grows new brain cells, prevents muscle atrophy, improve memory etc... So do I choose cancer or living great now? No, what you can do is focus on building a lifestyle that does not result in damaging your DNA. So your cell may grow quick but just make sure it's not shitty zombie cells.


  • Wise: Spoke with some friends in private equity and pension funds to learn some inner workings. In regards to the pension fund I learned that they don't have much of a asset under management (AUM) idea as they don't have "clients" and rather just a pool of pension money that continues to get allocated to different investment groups given opportunities. Also, they have to achieve at least 8% and my friend's group had an internal hurdle rate of 15%. The private equity friend was discussing how they shy away from having to find new management for companies they buy. So I asked: "Then why is there even a buying opportunity? If the management is great and the business is good why would they sell to a private equity?" Turns out many tend to be companies being sold out of other private equity funds that are near the end of the fund's 5-7 year lifespan. To return money to investors they have to sell off their holding companies and other private equity funds bid for it and the cycle continues. Similar to venture capital with the same group of funds trading up series A, B, C rounds to extract some value for investors. 


  • Healthy: Learned some affirming information on supplement choices. Met a guy who is a graduate student focused on performing nutritional research on physical performance. Turns out his lab does nutrition testing for MuscleTech, a popular health supplement company. I avoid most US supplement companies given the FDA's weak regulation of supplements. I especially avoid the big box brands. My new friend confirmed that he wouldn't recommend MuscleTech to anyone either and the quality was poor. I told him I use Canadian Protein because Canada has much stricter regulations on supplements and I liked the simple basic ingredients for Canadian Protein and he confirmed that was all accurate. He's not a supplement professional but as someone who researches such supplements and their nutrition elements, this is one additional data point.


  • Wise: Learning on high-performance culture design. A note from Gregg Popovic's San Antonio Spurs. As a team without superstars or top draft picks in a game that is the most superstar dependent of all sports (basketball) the Popovic's record over the past decade is admirable. Listening to a podcast interview with Daniel Coyle, who interviewed Popovic and spent some time with the Spurs I learned that Pop spends a lot of time actually trying to get to know his players. For example, they will spend time not just watching past game tapes but tapes of documentaries on things like the civil war movement. In these sessions, Pop will ask his players for what they would've done, what they thought and why. They also focus on creating team memories by eating together and even distributing an album of all the places they ate together at the end of the year. They also have established a team mission with a quote of "Pounding the rock". This is based on a story of motivation in the late 1800s about the plight from New York. That quote is translated in all 5 languages the Spurs players speak and have been ingrained into their psyche as always thinking about pounding the rock as a form of perseverance (i.e. because it takes a lot to break a rock by pounding it).

Daniel LeeTWIL