Notes from Invest Like the Best: Josh Wolfe

Link: http://investorfieldguide.com/wolfe/

About Josh: Founder of VC firm Lux Capital


  • Core beliefs
    • Confident that by being curious and following leads and being relentless will lead you to the next idea.
    • Confident you won’t know when or how you happen upon the idea.
    • Confident that the idea lies in the edges of companies that are doing innovative things, often from first principles or science, and very few people are looking there.

=> These principles propagate from a commitment to benefitting from optionality and positive convexity of non- linear relationships. When analyzing how they found deals it only made linear, narrative sense after the fact

    • Examples
      • Studying meta materials with negative index of refraction led him to antennas without moveable parts which can lead to internet everywhere which led him to Bill Gates who was backing the guy will all the parents, which led him to Orbital Insight in SF and Planet which were mapping the globe with a huge network of inexpensive satellites.
      • Looking at vehicle automation led him to a company modeling software on GPUs 5 years ago which led him to learn about NVDA and then they backed Nirvana which was later acquired by Intel.
  • Moonshots
    • Exploring modalities to allow pets to communicate. Follows the trend of zeitgeist that animals are more than our possessions. This is based on observations, not predictions. The tech side leverages our expanding ability to sensor and detect signals.
    • X-men: with 7b people in the world there are extremely rare genetic conditions. Hypertrophy, height, memory etc. Hacking these genetic anomalies to discover enhancements for the general population. Kind of like prosthetics led to military exoskeletons.
  • Business Tips
    • Learning rabbit holes: talking to people, getting leads following up. Quickly see who’s full of it and what’s valid. He uses a mind map to link the people.
    • “Funnel wide, filter high”
    • Drunkenmiller was early investor. Wolfe attracted to outsiders with a chip on their shoulder. Grit and outside view.
    • Pay attention to the frauds and bad operators. Don’t short promotors and religions. They are good at fundraising!
    • Amazing salespeople, amazing operators. A pitch only demonstrates the first.
    • Best performing companies in the portfolio were the companies that were heavily disagreed upon but 1 person enthusiastically saw the value. Not surprising, outsize returns never follow consensus.
    • Jim Watson (of double helix fame) says “Avoid boring people”. It has a double meaning.
    • Keep track of people who make bad choices as opposed to people who have had success.
    • Respect for Musk, Bezos, John Malone. Although says Tesla is a bad business. Much respect for SpaceX
  • On business advantage
    • Moat because of competitive advantage, low cost of production etc. That will lead to dominant unit economics.
    • Focus on TAM is silly. It’s not predictive of return. How much capital goes into a sector is inversely correlated with future returns. Need to look where this few competitors and high barriers to entry.
    • Ironically, a bad competitor can ruin a market if they are the first customers interact with.
  • Is there more innovation or less depending on liquidity in markets?
    • Slime mold is spore which expands in every direction when resource rich. Similarly, when financial conditions are loose, many businesses are started and speculated on. The detritus of the fallout ( Global Crossing was a major disaster for investors but a boon for the Third World which got connectivity for free) will provide the nutrients for the next seeds of growth.
    • When capital is scarce, only the best projects get funded so an opportunity exists but it’s probabilistically rare to earn a return from in all parts of the business cycle.
  • Random allusions
    • Tattoo asymmetry: 60 bucks to get one and fast, but later regret and massive expense to undo
    • Possessions as anchors
    • Happiness comes in doses. Dissatisfaction is important.

Notes from Invest Like the Best: Will Thorndike

Link: http://investorfieldguide.com/thorndike/

About Will: Author of The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success


  • Case study of 8 CEOs he viewed as masterful capital allocators. They had very diverse backgrounds despite operating in similar fashions

Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway)

Henry Singleton (Teledyne)

Bill Anders (General Dynamics)

John Malone (TCI)

Tom Murphy (Capital Cities Broadcasting)

Katharine Graham (Washington Post)

Dick Cinema (General Cinema)

Bill Stiritz (Ralston Purina)

    • Malone and Singleton were mathematicians. 4 had engineering degrees, only 2 had MBAs.
    • 1/2 of them were CEOs under age 40, they were all first time CEOs
    • They were not visionaries or charismatic. Minimized time on investor relations or simply ignored it
    • Tax savvy and efficient
    • They were emotionally cool, pragmatic, highly analytical and opportunistic as opposed to having an opinion about the way things should be.
    • Strong operational acumen often with a key deputy or partner
    • 5 Ways a CEO can allocate capital and observations from the CEOs profiled. (Good capital allocation looks a lot like value investing)
  • How they approached their capital allocation decision set
    1. Dividends
    • Tax inefficient (double taxation). These CEOs cut against the grain and didn’t pay them or paid little
    • The exception was special one time dividends which usually coincided with pending tax law changes
    • From 2000 to 2012 dividend rates were lowest in history despite enjoying a tax advantage. Since 2012, dividend rates have increased despite the law actually making them far more expensive. The companies which paid special dividends before the Jan 2013 law change self-selected for being especially tax savvy.
    • Since 2009, a high dividend yield no longer correlates strongly with other measures of cheapness (P/B, PE, etc).
    1. Acquisitions
    • Other than Malone, acquisitions were sporadic, rare and very large. The logic for them would generally be rooted in the ability to scale costs effectively.
    1. Cap-ex
    • Very analytical and disciplined. ROIC guided their decisions. Often having quantitative filters for screening projects early (the idea of ‘funneling high’)
    • To combat managers from ‘teaching to the test’ as far as showing projects which met the predefined hurdle rates, there was a decentralized budgeting process which would audit and evaluate investments to impose accountability retroactively.
    • They were not strictly wed to long term plans and far more flexible and reactive to the ‘cards dealt’
    • Lean operations, choosing to focus on expenditures on their end product whether it was goods or media content

4. Pay down debt

    • They had a strong sense of what band their leverage ratios (debt to EBITDA, ie 3x or 4x) should be to balance returns through variations of the business cycle

5. Buy back stock

    • Singleton was pioneer in buying back large chunks of the float at opportune times, capitalizing on cases where the market had underpriced his company. This contrasts with the current trend of systematic buybacks. He would use tender offers.
    • When the stock got frothy he who would issue shares
    • All Outsiders except Buffet utilized this strategy

Notes from Invest Like the Best LiveStream: Peter Attia M.D.

Linkhttp://investorfieldguide.com/attialive/

About Peterhttps://peterattiamd.com/about/


Maximizing lifespan and more importantly healthspan including recommendation
  • Insight about lifespan 
If you are >40, if you don’t smoke and don’t commit suicide there’s an 80% chance you will die from:
1. Heart disease and stroke
2. Cancer
3. Neuro-degenerative disease Alzheimer’s)
4. Accidental death
    • 50% of fatal car accidents happen on freeways; his hack to maintain concentration: imagine there is a random driver on the road whose sole intent is to kill you
    • 40% of fatal accidents occur at intersections with an oncoming driver approaching from the left, usually running a red light
  • Defining Healthspan 
1. Cognition
    • Executive function
    • Processing Speed
    • Short Term Memory
2. Physical
    • Maintenance of muscle mass
    • Functional movement
    • Freedom from pain
3. A sense of Purpose and Social Support
4. Distress Tolerance
  • Medicine regimes and their associated breakthroughs which increased longevity
    • Medicine 1.0
      • Up to last century; not scientifically rigorous; breakthrough’s in this era for increasing longevity was an understanding that microscopic germs caused sickness and then antibiotics and the advent of sewers/sanitation
    • Medicine 2.0
      • Randomized Control Trial which provided a means to test; this allowed us to more accurately map the proper to treatments to a diagnosis (HIV, heart disease, life support)
      • A common feature of advances in this era is that its methods were best suited to treat conditions which afflict patients quickly (heart at
      • tacks, infections, HIV)
    • Medicine 3.0 is concerned with increasing healthspan
      • While the earlier regimes made sharp jumps in improving lifespans, the challenge of studying techniques to increase healthspan is the impossibility of truly randomized, controlled, longitudinal, humane studies.
      • This regime is more of an empirically driven strategy that we must embed while tolerating a need for certainty that will not be satisfied. It relies on inference from studies and logic to make bets on the healthspan maximizing courses of action. These bets can and will be re-calibrated if the weight of evidence warrants unseating prior knowledge. The parallels to investing include being highly critical, curious, probabilistic in thought, and a servant to both a degree of randomness as well as the cumulative sum of compounded decisions. Recognizing every treatment has an opportunity cost or even an outright side-effect is health’s version of TAANSTAFL. Every habit or remedy has risk and reward. In some cases (ie antibiotic for a UTI), the trade is an easy choice. In some cases, it may be a difficult choice (extend a cancer patient’s life for X months with a brutal treatment) and in some cases, the choice may not present its pros and cons so plainly (“do these vitamins even work?”).

 

  • Our active role in medicine 3.0
There are 7 macro levers we can pull which can provide us with our own experiments and each lever has an infinite number of combinations within the lever and between the levers.
    1. Diet
    2. Exercise
    3. Sleep
    4. Modulation of stress
    5. Drugs
    6. Hormones
    7. Supplements
Without a sound abstracted strategy we will hopelessly flail between levers, so before diving into the latest fad we must take inventory about what we might know about these levers, how much confidence to have in this knowledge, and have a model for how to evaluate what new information makes sense to incorporate into our canon.
The strategy (imperfect as it must be) is to triangulate on possible answers using the 3 sources of knowledge we have which are capable of informing longevity.
    • Data on centenarians (about 1 in 250 people);
      • pro(s): they are humans
      • con(s): no experimental evidence, purely observational. No insight into causality
      • These studies suggest a large genetic component to longevity. While they smoke at 2x the rate as everyone else they are far more likely to carry genes which code for certain growth hormone receptors, APO-C3, APO-E2 etc
    • Studies on animals
      • pro(s): we can have controlled experiments
      • con(s): they are not humans so we are always making a leap by generalizing
    • Molecular biology
      • Discovery of senescent cells and studies of mTOR protein; these are cellular agents of biological aging
      • Studies of parabiosis (blood transfers); shows promise but we don’t understand the mechanism
      • Understanding of autophagy (body ‘rebalances its portfolio’)
  • Using evolution as a guide
    • Agriculture period coincides with .10% of our genetic history.
      • Ramifications
        1. We now live in an era of caloric abundance
          • Our ancestors thrived despite regular periods of fasting
          • We should at least be critical of ‘food in a box’
          • Preference for nutrient-dense organ meat or dark green veggies
        2. We do not need to exercise the way our ancestors did
          • Effect of sitting (our ancestors had no chairs)
          • Look how pre-school age children move perfectly
    • Sleep
      • Reasoning to why sleep must be important
        • Our ancestors’ purpose was to eat and procreate; in a dangerous world sleeping 8 hours per day (which is what the record shows our ancestors did in fact do) would appear to be a vulnerable activity to be selected against.
        • It is easy to imagine how adaptive it would appear to not require sleep and the advantage it would have conferred to those individuals. However, the odds of carrying the gene which lowers your need for sleep is less than 1 in 1000!
        • In modern times with electricity and reasons to be awake longer, it is conceivable that such an adaptation will be selected for but such changes occur over thousand of generations.
        • Summary of Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”
    • Evolution can be an irrelevant guide
      • He did not find evolution to be a relevant lens for evaluating mindfulness (he expected that our ancestors were far more ‘present’) nor pharmacology (the intensity and depth of drugs being absent in ancient times)
      • In the last 200k years, our APO genes have expanded from a single type to three different types. The newer types have made our brains more resistant to brain parasites and less resistant to alzheimers.
      • Paleo people argue that meat was the way of our ancestors while vegans argue that our ancestors had no need to worry about heart disease or health in old age. Ancestral considerations will have more difficulty bearing on the sources of food.
  • Studying the sources of knowledge which represent the pillars of his strategy there will be many tactics within each of the 7 levers to employ. Some of the tactics he has incorporated as the longest standing habits in deference for the overwhelming evidence of their benefits:

 

    • Lifts weights and sprint/similar (strength and bone density as insurance against accidental/falling injuries in older age)
    • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
    • Time-restricted feeding
    • Don’t spike insulin; eat fewer carbs
    • Movement matters; be strong in the positions your ancestors would have been in
    • Meditation
    • Gamified feedback (wearing a glucose meter or aura ring) to nudge desired behavior. Note how the 7 levers do not offer immediate feedback making them difficult to learn from.

Notes from Invest Like the Best Podcast: Peter Attia M.D.

Link: http://investorfieldguide.com/attia/

About Peter: https://peterattiamd.com/about/


Shifting your longevity function which is a function of lifespan and healthspan up and to the right.

 

 
  • Lifespan or not dying is about delaying the onset of the 3 largest killers of those 40+

  1. Cancer
  2. Atherosclerotic disease
  3. Neurodegenerative disease
Disease is #1 killer and 80% of them are listed above. The next biggest killer is accidents.
 
  • Healthspan is about preserving 3 elements of life

  1. Brain function
    •  Executive Function
    • Processing Speed
    • Short Term Memory
  1. Body
    • Muscle mass: metabolic benefit and orthopedic benefit
    • Functional movement with strength and flexibility
    • Freedom from pain
  2. Spirit: Support network and sense of purpose
 
  • What has science taught us about improving lifespan?

  1. Centenarians studies (notably done at Albert Einsteins in NYC)
    • Long lifespans are attributable to genetics not behavior. Genes code for proteins and centenarians carry more proteins that are associated with protection from the the above disease categories which kill most of us.
  1. Studies on 4 categories of animals.  Generally, observations which improve healthspan across all 4 groups are most interesting since they span millions of years of evolution.
    • Yeast
    • Flies
    • Worms
    • Mammals
  • What has worked across the board to extend life?
    1. Caloric restriction
      • Tactic: Calorie Restriction Memetics –> Intermittent Fasting
        •  This works because repair begins long after the last meal is digested. Autophagy is the process by which cells decide which cells to starve off in the name of efficiency, an artifact of the fact that our evolutionary history characterized by stretches of relative feast or famine. Since we have no metabolic signature for autophagy and cannot track the protein contents of our cells. This is why nobody knows which intermittent fast schedule is optimal.
    2. Rapamycin
      • It inhibits the protein mTor which regulates cellular metabolism, growth, and proliferation. There are analogs for these proteins across all 4 categories of animals
 
  • History of nutrition research

On the subject of obesity, the WWII era German scientists were making great progress on nutrition. In the wake of WWII propaganda German science was considered ‘tainted’ and the baby was thrown out with the bathwater as what is now revealing itself to have been good science was ignored and detoured us into the fallacy of all calories being equal (maybe not from a nutrient POV but surely from a fat storing POV).
  • Importance of muscle mass for insulin disposal

Muscle mass is important for glucose disposal since muscles have a much larger capacity to store glucose than the liver,  which are the only places glucose can be stored very quickly. An oral glucose tolerance test can measure how quickly our bodies can dispose of excess glucose which is important. However the body’s method of doing this is to use lots of insulin, this is not constructive. Your muscular reservoir is how you dispose of spikes in glucose without excessive insulin which casts doubt on the mainstream obsession of burning calories. We can control what we eat (the input) and control the muscle mass (the output). Continuous glucose monitors measure your average blood glucose and standard deviation which taken together may be the best estimate for how much insulin has been released in our blood over time.
  • Metabolic impact of food more crucial than caloric balance

Change in fat levels depends on the difference in energy we consume (food) vs expend. But while calories matter, the metabolic impact of food matters more. Some food will cause more insulin to be produced and some food will (double whammy) cause your cells to be more insulin resistant. While we understand that insulin is the hormone which disposes of glucose by using it to promote cell growth, we need to focus on what causes people to grow which are made of billions of cells.

Notes from Invest Like the Best Podcast: Peter Zeihan

Link: http://investorfieldguide.com/zeihan/

About Peter: Peter Zeihan. Geopoliticial author, former think tanker, strategist at Stratfor a top private intelligence company. His clients include energy and agricultural interests, universities, and the US Military.

Transcription: Otter.ai


Natural Advantages

  • “crunchy on the outside, gooey in the middle”: mountains/ocean borders, arable land throughout. Temperate winters to deter disease. Rivers which can transport at 1/12 the cost of land. US has better factors than any preceding powers inc Russia, France, Germany, UK, Japan, and “certainly China”

4 Periods

  1. Imperial: handful of nations dominate the globe. Era of most technological advancement and ultimately WWII
  2. US picks up peices and instead of silo’d imperial cores, US with a magnitude of order stronger Navy ensures safe trade in return for alliance during the Cold War.
  3. Third stage is winding down and was the ‘autopilot’ stage which saw globalization, unprecedented degree of capital formation, and technological advancements.
  4. The age that is approaching. Recognition that has been 30 years in the making that US has little need for the current global structure in which the US needs to ensure guarantee trade and acts as planet cop. No clear foreign policy but recognize that it can afford to be more isolationist

Picking up the Pieces after WWII

  • Bretton Woods agreement was bringing the world into the US capitalist sphere. Basically a bribe in which the US would secure the seas for trade in exchange for inclusion. With a safe ocean, international transport become cheaper, and the manufacturing base expands. Supply chains stretch from where they are most naturally efficient. “iPhone touches 1200 different facilities and 50 different countries today. And that’s allowed us to have a huge advancement in the human condition, and to spread wealth and democracy far and wide. This is all an inadvertent outcome of the strategic order the American setup. But this was never the goal. This is a side effect.” Global trade is up 1000x since 1930, 95% by sea.
  • With the exception of the US and UK, every superpower’s entire Navy was blown out in WWII. And after the war, with the US guaranteeing the oceans, nations did not have an incentive to rebuild especially since they were impossibly behind. Although the Chinese are rebuilding now, they are generations behind at current rates of Navy building esp with the US now rolling out the latest supercarriers. US Navy is stronger that 10x the rest of the world combined.
  • With the US less dependent on this arrangement this process of improving economies of scale moves in reverse if we see a “collapse of global manufacturing from these far flung dangly multi continent supply chain systems into much more constrained networks were inputs, production consumption aren’t simply physically secure, where the CO located right now the only place on the planet that happens is North America.”

US trends towards isolation

  • Increasing politically: 4 presidents in the making culminating with Trump.
  • Increasing militarily: we have cut the number of ships in half while concentrating them about 11 supercarriers. This gives us 11 mobile bases of unrivaled strength but sacrifices a speedy fleet designed to police trade routes. We are slowly becoming less able to perform that task and it will reach a tipping point in which it will be apparent that the US is not securing global commerce, inviting an international free for all on the open seas.
  • US trade is 10-15% of GDP and most of that within NAFTA. China is 2x, Germany is 3x! The rest of the world relies on a secure sea far more than the US
  • The 2007 crash and loose lending that accompanied it was symptomatic of the immense availability of capital stemming from demographics and its accompanying appetite for investment. Excess capital meant lower hurdle rates, more speculative projects, and massive acceleration in horizontal drilling. Shale boom means that US is largest producer of natural gas, near the top in crude oil and largest exporter of refined product.
  • Light vs heavy oil product mix is clever arbitrage. We import the less expensive heavy oi (mostly from Canada and Venezuela), refine it and export as refined products. We produce light oils and shale is “infant oil”. Since it’s trapped in rock it’s uncontaminated. Given recent prices and the glut of light oil in the US we are retoolling our refineries to process light oil, making us far less dependent on global supplies.

Breakdown of order

  • “We’re in a system right now, where global norm is stability, that’s not normal. That’s just normal in our lifetimes. If you go back to the world before 1946, the world was not a single financial space. Direct arbitrage among the various markets was thin and nonexistent. And markets, not to mention countries went to zero, often all the time.”
  • What does the end of the EU look like?”The European Union is an institution that is 100% dependent upon the global order without American strategic largest and I’m access to the global market. The Europeans cannot hold together as a single entity because they can’t defend themselves they start competing and that is the end. For example ,look at Southern Europe. Everybody knows their indebted; everybody knows their indebted in euros, do you really think they’re going to keep in Northern European dominated currency when the system ends? So then the question becomes what are all these loans denominated in. So if you’re in Italy do you want keep paying in euros when your own currency is devaluing, which means that you will default which means that the Northern European banks will go to zero, or do you pay in lira, in which case the Northern European banks [also] go to zero. I mean, there’s no way out of this…The more you haven’t danced under these global structures, the greater but distance you have to fall”

    France

    France is on the extreme western end of Europe, it has never integrated to the degree with the rest of the European structures that say the Germans have, they’ve got an independent military capacity and independent food supply system and independent energy supply system. So I don’t mean to suggest that the French aren’t going to suffer significantly when the earth system cracks. But it’s going to be nothing compared what happens in Germany, or Poland.

    Germany

    “Germany is the quintessential example of the country that can thrive under the global order because the global order remove the need for the Germans to be well to be blunt, German, it’s like all of a sudden didn’t have to fight for anything everything that they fought for in World War Two, market access and resource access, the Americans just walked in and said, ‘Yeah, you can have that you have to be on our side against Soviets.’ And so for the first time, the German didn’t have to worry about strategy or military tactics at all. The Americans took care of that. And they could just focus all of their attention on manufacturing, lo and behold, they kick some serious ass. What happens when that ends? The the supply chain system is spread throughout a dozen countries in Europe, the military system is a joke, it’s it’s arguable that they don’t even have a Navy and Air Force right now. Their energy comes from Russia from the Middle East, very little of it from within Europe itself. So the Germans in a day have to go from being basically Scandinavian socialists to be in German again and you want to talk about something that’s going to rewrite the face of Europe.”

    Rest of the world

    Not enough to go around if world trade breaks down. Not enough resources, not in the right proportions. Local conflicts, wars of disintegration (ie Syria)

    Possible Major Wars

    • A desperate Russia vs Europe. Expect minimum of 7mm barrels of oil to go offline
    • Iran vs Saudi Arabia with the Asians picking sides!”We’re in this very strange position right now where Iran has become the country of order in the Middle East, they basically one and now they’re kind of like the dog that caught the car, they just don’t know what to do. The Saudi strategy is basically to burn the whole place down because if the entire Middle East is on fire there on the other side of the desert, so we now are at least the Trump administration for now is allied against the country that is trying to hold up some sort of civilization and allied with the country that wants to burn civilization down. This is not a sustainable position for the Middle East. This is not a sustainable solution if the United States but this is currently happening right now, no matter how that conflict goes, energy is going to go offline, whether it’s Iranian Kuwait, Iraq, you saw it all of the above, and that just leaves Northeast Asia. Now the Northeast Asians import almost all of the recruitment Persian Gulf, there’s just nowhere near enough production locally. If you take all of the energy production put together, it’s only about a quarter of what they actually need. So you get the Japanese, the Taiwanese, the Chinese, sailing their ships to the Persian Gulf picking sides and a centuries old blood feud that has turned into a knife fight, loading the crude themselves and then shipping at home and probably rating each other along the way those three conflicts or nothing less than the end of the world that we know that’s the end of global financing, global energy and global agriculture and global shipping”

What about Hans Rolling and all this talk of the world getting better?

The world’s natural historical state is conflict. It has improved in countless ways in past 50 years but it all relied on the unchecked economic growth and trade that relied on relative peace.

Japan

Navy with the second largest range. It would be demolished in a toe to toe confrontation in Asian seas against China but if they positioned ships further away would be able to win easily, cutting Chinese energy supplies. Japanese productivity leadership has allowed them to overcome awful demographic headwinds that have existed since the 1960s. They are relatively less exposed to the new order since their domestic market has managed to grow dramatically.

China

15% of the arable land of the US midwest. Shortage of water where it is needed. Its “breadbasket is in a slow motion collapse”. Only one navigable river whose surrounding politics differe greatly from the northern powers. The south is fragmented by mountains and climate changes. 3 part strategy in trying to “hold things together”

  1. Immediately put down dissent
  2. Lots of economic “throughput” even if unproductive
  3. Acceptance by Nixon into the global order as an ally against Russia. It’s rise into modernity has coincided with the most abnormal historical period of order. It’s overlevered so an unwinding of that order is highly threatening.

Argentina

Generally favorable view of their prospects. They have been poorly managed but maintain similar geographic advantages to the US. If they can turn around their management in the new order, they will thrive, if not they are probably not worse off than now.

Canada and Mexico

NAFTA is really based on numbers and very important agreement but has remained secure. No major changes, but there could have been if these agreements had broken down. This would have been a major blow to all parties.

Current US Political Climate

Going through upheaval but is ultimately positive and natural and has followed many historical transitions (War of 1812, Reconstruction, Great Depression). System is being reformed in realtime. Groups are searching for the next major thing that can form the nucleus of what the emergent parties will coalesce around. Until that happens, the framework will not be addressing the most pressing, cohesive, long-terms needs.

Our most pressing issues

  • Navigating the new world order. What happens in the next decade will shape the century
  • The transition of baby boomers from tax payers to tax takers as they age will be transformative and challenging. And whatever challenge this is for us, the rest of the world is in a worse situation. Our millennial is an enormous generation to pass the baton to, but they have no counterpart in Asia or Europe leaving them as the sole earning power in the developed world for the next few decades.
  • Infrastructure: decrepit, needs and upgrade. Roads (easy problem if you can get the money). “Mississippi is about 13,000 miles of navigable waterway that is more than the combined systems of the rest of the planet. Now, most of the locks on our system that allow it to be navigable are in excess of 60 years old, and a scary proportion of them over a century, replacing all of them wholesale, every little bit would cost only about $200 billion. So in terms of cost benefit, that’s cheap.”

Technological advances he’s excited about

  • Digitization of customs cuts shipping costs by 15%. Huge impact
  • Facial recognition software used on agriculture. Cameras —> automation in the field —> much more effficient chemical use (1/10th). So less pollution

The impact of technology on foreign reporting

In the past 25 years, decline of foreign offices for large media companies. Decline of journalism budgets and the need for large foreign infrastructure to support reporters in the field. That leaves us with less news and more opinions. In the US, Bloomberg is by far the best but worse than they were due to a recent editorial change. Next best is Al-Jazeera but ironically unreliable for Middle East news. Xinhua news is good as long as not reading about China or US. France One remains strong. The upside of the digitization is a proliferation of good but harder to find decentralized sources that can be aggregated to a feed.