A Few Things....

October 9, 2019

I share a few things with you weekly because I like you and want to learn from you.

The act of writing allows me to synthesize and crystallize my thoughts and then your feed back is the real gem because it allows both of us to have a dialogue and learn from each other. Thank you for reading this.

A. Recent discussion with a friend about investing, venture. China and Longevity reminded me of the Hype Cycle.

It always amazes me how many charts look like this - Crypto 2017/2018, Nasdaq 2000/2001, US Real Estate 2006/2007…..

The trick to good investing is to either buy in at the Innovation Trigger or at the Trough of Disillusionment.

Sadly it’s easiest to invest at the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

To borrow from Gartner Research: How do Hype Cycles work?

Each Hype Cycle drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle.

Innovation Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.

Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.

Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.

Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology's broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

So where are different emerging technologies now in the Hype Cycle ?

You can read the whole piece here.

Where do you disagree with them ?


B. Amazing news: The future of Education, Colleges and Distressed Real Estate​…..

The nature of education is changing globally. I can already see that with my daughters - 6 & 8.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen recently predicted that half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.

That seems like an amazing stat and goes to the heart of how quickly education has changed. There is a lot to be done around the Future of Education & Work.

I’m involved with a handful of edtech startups and would love to see more.

But back to those colleges and universities…..What will happen to all that real estate?

Maybe colleges will become massive retirement homes, maybe they'll become community centers, or maybe they'll become large communal living spaces. Regardless, this seems like a massive opportunity.

The campus fire sales are already happening. The College of New Rochelle recently filed for bankruptcy. The 15.6 acre campus is just 20 miles from New York City, and it's known for tree-lined paths and a 19th-century castle.

H/T David Perell.


C. I was recently discussing Max Tegmark’s book: Our Mathematical Universe with a friend (you might know Tegmark for his more popular book - Life 3.0).

The key idea of Our Mathematical Universe being pretty radical: that our physical world is not only described by mathematics, but that it is purely mathematics and only has mathematical structure. He shows how this theory may provide answers to the nature of reality itself. If you want to skip the book, check this video.

Which made me think of this New Scientist article on more advanced agent-based modeling of things like the economy with the goal of predicting the future. But, as we discussed in last week’s email, predicting and forecasting is hard. The best you can hope to do is get closer to knowing the range and general likelihood of outcomes.

And this is before we even discussing quantum theory and how the world at that level is entirely probabilistic.


D. A few things worth checking out:

1. Great first principles article on “The Three Big Forces Shaping The World”

2. Latest from Ray Dalio on the “The Threat to Limit Capital Flows to China and Pending Impeachment Conflict: Next Logical Steps in a Classic Dangerous Journey?”

3. NY Times on “Are We Living in a Post-Happiness World?”


Quotes I’ve been thinking about:

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

- Epicurus

"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

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

- Harry Truman