This Week I Learned #24

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


  • Wealthy: Lessons on podcast + content marketing/strategy from coffees with industry veterans. First, fix the plumbing. Currently the podcast and site is hosted by Squarespace and though it was an easy way to start I've found numerous barriers to configure the site to achieve what I want + limitations with podcast analytics makes it hard to make a case for paid advertisement. The focus is to own the podcast RSS Feed and have more control over my site domains and capabilities. Wordpress and Simplecast are the current candidates for the new foundation. Second, content marketing. Utilizing top publications on Medium to submit my weekly content and republish through their publications to get more eyes on my posts to draw traffic into the main site. Third, podcast market reality is that the Canadian audience (my target) is nothing like the US and hence any business model built based on existing top podcasts will fail because we operate in different markets. Hence, my advertisers will care for my unique niche of an audience. The young Canadian professionals who listen to my stories on Accounted For because they are at a specific point in time in their career where they now are questioning their choices for the first time and are lost and are in need of some perspective. 


  • Healthy: A technique on gratitude that has helped me with my own sleep. From AJ Jacob's podcast on Tim Ferriss he talks about a technique where you go through something you are grateful for in the day and you do it alphabetically so something that starts with an A and then B and then so on. I've been doing this for the past week and it's been a great way to fall asleep, it has a form of a meditative quality to it. Previously I used to use a breathing technique with the Oak meditation app and prior to that a counting technique from 1000 to 0 with Headspace but both have been 'okay' in effectiveness. This one is the new technique and we will see how sustainable it will be.


  • Wealthy: An interview with Stan Druckenmiller on Real Vision TV. I previously eluded to Stan's emphasis on how the single most important factor a money manager should be aware of is whether he is 'hot' or 'cold' because if you are 'hot' then you must know to press on the advantage and if 'cold' to then make small bets. He firmly believes in the 'streakiness' of an investor's career. It was neat to learn that his wins could be summed into few massive trades he'd made on macroeconomic factors as plays on commodities, currencies or bonds and not so much in the world of equities. The overarching focus being on liquidity. "To me it's all about liquidity" - Stan Druckenmiller. It's looking at where liquidity may cease to be the case. It's also revealing to see how his investment approach has evolved with the growth of AUM. When he first started with 800K in AUM he did bet heavily on equities and illiquid instruments to "build the wealth" and now with billions in AUM it's about the "preservation of wealth" so he focuses on liquidity and diversification. Stan's firm, Duquense capital, is also made up of small business owners as clients. Not institutional money. I'm sure he has some now since institutions are never really the "smart and patient" money, so they like to enter at the "wealth preservation" stage of most successful money managers. But it all but validates how small business owners are the only client of clients who will be sticky enough to stay for the long term gains for many stuck with Stan even when he went on his 4 month sabbaticals or poor performance in the early 2000s.


  • Wealthy: Ian Cassel of Microcap Club on Focused Compounding podcast. Personally a big fan of Ian given shared investment and business strategies. In performing scuttlebutt on microcaps he eluded to the importance of speaking to the folks at the bottom of the totem pole to decipher the culture of the organization. Given he looks at microcaps, the companies tend to be smaller and how those at the lower-end of the payscale are treated would be a good indication of how much or little the company cares. An argument could be made that it's harder for larger companies but that also proves that larger companies have weaker company cultures. Ian also highly favours learning about investing from people who don't invest like him. Gives him a different perspective. I have found it somewhat counterproductive after a certain point of reading about value-oriented managers and even just working with them constantly to brood a form of group think. We all end up finding the same companies with the same thesis. But like how Marc Andressen reads about Buffett and other public investors I too find great joy learning about other investors too.


  • Wealthy: Reframing the relationship between 'moats' and 'high return on capital'. Historically, a high return on capital and stability (or increasing) operating margins have been used as indicators for a possible existence of a moat. But listening to an episode of the Focused Compounder podcast with Geoff Gannon made me think twice about that relationship. Because you can have companies that have competitive advantages, heck even monopolies, but actually result in not having high returns of capital because that is just the nature of the product itself.. the business could be a low profitability one that just has a competitive advantage. Same for margins... you can have a low margin business but it can be very high return on capital too if you are selling more than intended.... now the desired sweet spot is both. but separate work must be put into assessing the sustainable nature of both. a business with a competitive advantage that has high return on capital.


  • Wise: Producer Brian Grazer (i.e. Friday Night Lights, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind etc..) on Google Talks on having a career in curiosity. Brian has done what he calls "curiosity conversations" about once per week for about 30 years and have met over 1000 people whilst doing so. In getting the inspiration for A Beautiful Mind he refers to a moment 7 years before the movie when he was speaking to an individual who had gone through PTSD (my memory is a little foggy on the recollection but it was a tragedy unrelated to the movie. That's the point). It's such curious conversations where one seeks to expand his own perspective that will allow one to build out a lattice work of mental models and at such intersection of various models will we experience opportunities to be creative and innovative. It was truly a wonderful talk on the power of staying curious and the immense value that could bring.


  • Healthy: Not a new learning but a mistake I need not make twice today. We arrived in Seoul and I realized that we arrived a day ahead. We booked the Airbnb from 17th to 19th and I realized we arrived on the 18th, after having departed Vancouver on the 17th. So now, as I write this, we are on our 5am train out of Seoul to Osaka after having arrived just 12 hrs ago. With this nice shock I started hyperventilating upon arrival to our Airbnb and I am so grateful for my partner's cadence and swiftness is going through the stoic checklist of "the worst is not the worst". She has been a rock during that moment. It may sound like an over-exaggeration but a major weakness of mine is handling system breakdown in the short term and having someone constantly remind me I'm fine and hat we were fine has been essential. 


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Daniel LeeOMD VenturesTWIL