If you think of what @davetisch discusses about who gets first dibs on the best co's in the podcast, it's imperative for aspiring founders and investors to be reflective or concerned when their "best hires" and "best deals" are coming in the most competitive times of the year.
Working is a comparative advantage most when other people aren't—or can't. There is less competition from incumbents for hires and to close competitive startups mid-fundraise on holidays. I benefited from this during the summer where almost everybody but founders are on vacation.
1/ I'm not a fan of "the next Silicon Valley (SV)" idea. If geographic/brand NFX are permanent moats, SV will be number one forever. So, no next SV. If the future features distributed work and value chains, innovation hubs will be spread out across the world. So, no next SV.
2/ Globalization is a decentralizing force. It requires local economies to pursue specialized production in remaining competitive and differentiated in the larger market. Countries and cities will succeed by defining an identity.
3/ New York, Seattle, DC, LA, Boston... Hong Kong, Zurich, or Tel Aviv. They all have unique attributes that SV doesn't have. It's interesting to think at least for the media (take it how you will), "what makes something quintessentially Silicon Valley" is no longer a compliment.
1/ We should value and merchandise our ideas and beliefs as products. This creates an idea meritocracy internally for yourself and externally for your relationships. The goal is to weigh precious truths with compelling and clear ROIs.
2/ What makes the best products? They are___
- useful and elegant.
- simple and accessible.
- impactful and differentiated.
- authentic and responsible.
- positive-sum and uniting.
- inspiring and evolutionary.
They all started with courage and first seemed unreasonable.
3/ Great products first seem unreasonable. But they represent enduring visions of the world. So they finish by inspiring the next generation of products.
The combination to great products often originates in first principles (physics) AND evolutionary biology (history).
1/ Contrarianism is key to exceptional returns and legacy companies. But it's mistaken for weak converse statements. The crowd overuses it.
Avoid lazy opposites, search for contrarian truths which yield actionable ideas with power.
2/ Contrarians understand this. Be contrarian. Be right.@reidhoffman
The Myth: Contrarians are perpetual cynics that disagree for the sake of disagreement. Crowd.
The Reality: Contrarians are long-term independent thinkers who are humble and courageous. Heroes.
3/ Contrarians understand public opinion is inevitable in society and markets. Shaped by beliefs and desire, public opinion follows events, rather than lead it. Public opinions are at the whims of greed, fear, envy, impulsivity, pride, and hope.
1/ Many should exercise more caution in predicting China's future. Those overly attribute short-term market opportunity for innovation ability. They also omit serious macro factors and structural concerns. It's a "treadmill to hell" and "Gravity will not be repealed."
2/ The conventional attitude towards China: invest in the promises of today but ignore the risk. Consumption, global trade, and technological innovation are the promises. Excessive debt, frothy markets, Ponzi-like financial structures, bureaucracy, and opacity are the risks.
3/ Software bends the cost-curve downwards, improving productivity and economic growth. @pmarca brilliantly noted to @karaswisher "slow" (no software) versus "fast" (with software) sectors. The US says "There are no more jobs!" But should be saying: "There are not enough jobs!"
1/ Happy Birthday to the Oracle of Omaha! We are humbled, blessed, and inspired to witness your excellence and character. Always a Berkshire student—regardless of my endeavor. Here are my favorite teachings from @warrenbuffet that benefits everyone.
"It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results."
"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
1/ A new version of "Buffet's Alpha" (2013) will be published in the Financial Analysts Journal. Version 2.0, unfortunately, does not answer the claims in "Buffet's Alpha: A Behavioral Response (2017)."
2/ Both articles reflect a historical debate on demand efficiency. Every investor should have a position on this, but the discussion gets little coverage. It's been nice revisiting "Buffet's Alpha."
3/ The Efficient-Market-Hypothesis (EMH) states an asset's price reflects all information. With EMH, prices take a Random Walk, so predictions are futile. This drives a multi-trillion dollar index fund industry.
1/ Back from a social media hiatus, I noticed all my friends are using Instagram stories, not Snapchat. Looking over Snapchat's Q2 earnings, the situation for Snapchat is more serious than some might imagine.
2/ Q2 earning report features two red flags: stagnant growth and declining user engagement. As a result, Snapchat's desire for profitability, growth, and long-term market position against Facebook is jeopardized.
3/ Their woes are attributed to Instagram stories and Snapchat themselves—characterized by lackluster execution and innovation. From Spectacles to the update that cost them 3 million users.
1/ @jordanbpeterson is a controversial character, with many views that I am skeptical. However, JP's bold and unfiltered insights have utility for those who want to survive in this world—better yet want to change it.
2/ Inspired by Christian religious text, Jordan Peterson asserts that life is suffering. He assumes truth in Heideggerian ontology and "Being." Heidegger expresses "B" in "Being" as
1. Not reducible to the material. 2. Requires its own term.
3/ The world swings on a pendulum between chaos and order. The Taoist symbol: chaos as the "yin" and order as the "yang." Humans walk across the border between the yin and the yang.