Delivering Alpha, Secret IRS File, The Psychology of Money

June 8, 2021

Welcome to the 200+ subscribers who joined this week on the back of Kuppy sharing it on Twitter.

Thank you Kuppy!


“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

- Albert Einstein 

“When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.”

- Carl Sandburg 

“There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”

- Dale Carnegie 

“Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.”

-E. Joseph Cossman (American inventor)

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

- Leo Tolstoy


A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:

1. Dennis Lynch, Head of Counterpoint Global, where he oversees over $100bn in AUM and boasts one of the strongest track records of any public investor, was on the Invest Like The Best podcast.

They covered Dennis's unique approach to building a research team, how misclassification of companies often creates the highest upside opportunities, and how Dennis has adapted his investment process over the past 20 years.

2. The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax according to ProPublica. I don’t agree with their methodology.

My big takeaway: the world's wealthiest people don't rely on a salary or income to build their fortunes. You have to own upside or equity.

3. How can we approach our life to optimise for wealth and happiness?

Morgan Housel is a great writer and has written a useful book. I summarised the 20 chapters into 20 tweets to save you time.

4. Chinese e-commerce companies play a very different game to anything we have seen in the West. This great expose of Shein by Packy McCormick demonstrates just how many years ahead they are.

5. Prof. Andrew Weil spoke to Lewis Howes to discuss the Habits & Foods To Increase Brain Function, Eliminate Inflammation & Live Healthy Longer.

This podcast notes summarises the 95 mins into a 5-min read.

6. I mostly read non-fiction because I’ve (wrongly) seen fiction & literature as entertainment (and not something I associate books with) and non-fiction as learning.

This book: Wonder Works by Angus Fletcher, makes the case that literature is an amazing piece of human technology that our species invented to program our brains and to help us deal with what comes from being human and living amongst others.

It’s not an easy book to read, but the ideas are important and it covers the 25 most powerful inventions used in stories. Angus has dual degrees in neuroscience and literature so he brings a scientific lens to the art of story telling.

7. Wired UK’s cover story this month was on the mRNA vaccine revolution. The article discusses how mRNA technology could be used to tackle flu, malaria, HIV & beyond.

If you’d rather listen to the podcast.

8. America Has a Drinking Problem according to The Atlantic

9. Chamath Palihapitiya has gained prominence by launching a series of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, which are among the fastest-growing financial instruments in the world.

Chamath promotes the SPAC as an innovation that “democratises access to high-growth companies” while “dismantling” the “traditional capital market.”

But he has sometimes acknowledged a simpler allegiance. “I want the fucking money,” he told students at Stanford’s business school, in 2017. “I will play the goddam game, and I will win.” Here's how he built a hype machine into an economic engine. 

“People either love Chamath or they hate him, and that’s fantastic, because polarisation gets attention."

This New Yorker article by Charles Duhigg is a good read.

10. Remote Work Is Inexorable - Because It Offers What Most Stakeholders Want, by Tomas Pueyo (author of last year’s viral piece - The Hammer and the Dance).


B. Present Future

A friend who was at Google Ventures for a decade, and is now spinning off to start his own fund to focus on deep tech recommended Guy Perelmuter’s new book - Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution.

The foreword is by Josh Wolfe @ Lux Capital.

The book over 11 chapters covers the eleven big technologies driving the deep tech revolution. Guy steps through the past, present, future of the eleven big technologies to give you a flavour of what can be built.

Here is speaking to Bilal Zuberi, Lux Capital about the book.


C. The Crypto Section

1. Why do so many smart people dismiss Bitcoin and so many other smart people think it’s the most extraordinary investment they’ve ever seen? 

This blogpost written by someone who goes by the pseudonym, Croesus, links it to IQ points AND belief and trust in the existing system. It sounds fairly obvious but to unpack it you really must read it. 

2. The crypto market has come a long way in recent years. But it's still far less efficient than your typical established market.

The Bloomberg Odd Lots podcast spoke with Sam Bankman-Fried. Sam is a former international ETF trader at the prop shop Jane Street Capital. Now he's building a crypto empire with his hedge fund Alameda Research as well as his own exchange called FTX. He talks us through his path into the industry and how it works more broadly.

3. Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum) spoke to Lex Fridman on Ethereum 2.0.

To which Elon Musk said:


As you go about your day today:

"Planning and preparation are useful until they become a form of procrastination. Is this task enhancing my actions or substituting for them?"

- James Clear