My guest this week is Stephanie Cohen, who is the chief
strategy officer for Goldman Sachs and a member of their management committee.
Prior to her current role, she spent the majority of her career in the
investment banking and M&A divisions at Goldman.
We discuss lessons learned from her career in M&A and
the many initiatives she now leads at the firm. I really enjoyed her
perspective on how a big, established firm like Goldman can balance innovation
with improving existing businesses. Please enjoy our conversation.
My guest this week is Josh Wolfe, co-founder and managing
partner at Lux Capital. I had Josh on the podcast last year which was one of
the most popular episodes in the shows history. This is a continuation of our
ongoing conversation about investing in the frontiers of technology. My
favorite thing about Josh and the way that he invests is the mosaic that he and
his team at Lux are constantly building to understand the world and where new
companies may fit in. We cover a crazy variety of topics from business model
innovation, roles of a CEO, the military, the death of privacy, and arrows of
human progress. Please enjoy round two with Josh Wolfe.
1:22 – (First Question) –Ability to tackle massive scale
4:05 – Key roles of leaders and his checklist for evaluating
5:55 – Common traits among founders that make them
incredible storytellers and leaders
10:22 – The concept of ill-liquidity
14:53 – Thoughts on the types of companies going public
My guest this week is Katherine Collins, who is the head of
sustainable investing at Putnam Investments, a portfolio manager on two of
Putnam’s sustainable investing funds, and the author of the book The
Nature of Investing: Resilient Investment Strategies through Biomimicry.
Our conversation is on the ins and outs of ESG and impact
investing, a young but increasingly common topic in the investing world. This
is challenging ground for me as a quant, because the data available is so new
and limited—so Katherine’s perspective was very helpful as we continue to
learn. Given the importance of this topic, I’m also searching for more guests
with both positive and negative views on the role of ESG in an investing
framework, and welcome suggestions for future guests. Please enjoy my
conversation with Katherine Collins.
1:29 – (First Question) –Mechanical vs human judgement
4:21 – ESG, and the non-utility portion of it.
7:11 – Data behind the objective function that is different
12:34 – What are the most interesting data sets
16:04 – How does she determine what factors to target
19:31 – Why do we know that diversity of
experience/opinion/background is good for a company
21:30 – The social vertical and how it plays into her
investing system and better returns
My guest this week is Brian Singerman, a partner at the
venture capital firm Founders Fund. Founder’s Fund is widely considered one of
the top VC firms and its partners are known to have diverse investment
Brian invests across industries and focuses on backing
exceptional founders. You’ll hear right off the bat that he cares about moat,
market, and strong execution. I love his point that the only way to become a
good investor is to do a lot of investing. He describes himself an investor who
uses his gut a lot, which took me a while to get used to in our conversation.
But I have to say that at the end of this episode I felt refreshed and
generally excited to keep putting in reps in my own way, both in the podcast
and the quant research settings. I hope you enjoy.
My guest this week for the third time is Michael Mauboussin.
If there is a major question about markets and investing, Michael has usually
written one of the best pieces of research on that topic. Today’s conversation
is a mix of several of his research pieces, but focuses on the sources of
The framing of the conversation is the brilliant question “who is on the other
side” of a given trade. If you are buying, who is selling, and why? Knowing the
answer to this question is one key to understanding where excess return comes
from. As is usual with Michael, we also explore tons of other interesting ideas
that will serve as food for thought. Please enjoy.
My guest this week is with Annie Duke, and the topic of our
discussion is how to improve decision making.
We break decisions down into their component parts: values,
beliefs, decisions, randomness, and outcomes. After diving into each, we
discuss how to make better decisions, how to work in group settings, and how to
harness power of tribes and identity to improve our behavior.
Annie has thought about this as much as anyone, and her various
tricks for getting us to think in probabilities and to stop evaluating
decisions based on outcomes that have been tainted by randomness will be useful
for anyone listening.
My guest this week is unique and so requires a short story.
I met our guest Michael Mayer because of twitter. I followed
and enjoyed one of several pseudonymous accounts that he maintains to
experiment with ideas. His various accounts have wide followings.
I think many of the best accounts on twitter are anonymous or
pseudonymous, and I’ve always made a point to get to know the ones I like best.
As it turns out, Michael was also an entrepreneur. He’d been building a new
company and was raising a small amount of outside capital.
I didn’t invest personally, in part because he raised it so
quickly after I spoke with him. Ever since, I’ve gotten to know him better and
followed his company, Bottomless, with interest. You know that I am always
hyper transparent about any potential conflicts of interest, so its worth
noting that while I am not an investor in this company, I expect to be at some
point in the future.
The topic of our conversation is both his social media
activity and his company. I am a coffee fanatic, and the problem he is solving
is one I live. I order a weekly bag of coffee beans but I often have too much
coffee or run out. Bottomless solves this by shipping you a simple scale which you keep wherever
you store your coffee, connect to your wifi, and set your bag of coffee
on. It automatically orders new coffee for you at the right time. Thus the
name: Bottomless. If you like the conversation, check out bottomless.com
With this podcast, all I’m really trying to do is find, meet,
and learn from interesting people. Michael certainly qualifies. I hope you
enjoy this unique episode.
2:06 – (First Question) – Why he writes under a pseudonym
2:58 – Positive impacts of writing this way
3:45 – His background
5:02 – Habits he improved upon
7:03 – Where did his exploration into technology and
start-ups come from
Peter is a geopolitical strategist who combines expertise in demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to assess an uncertain future. Before founding his own strategy firm, Peter helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies.
I came across Peter via his books the Accidental Superpower and the Absent Superpower. We discuss America’s changing place in the world and four additional countries poised to do well in the future. Spoiler alert: he believes the U.S. is particularly well positioned.
While we don’t discuss equity markets per se, all of what we talk about will obviously impact companies across the world for the remainder of our careers. Please enjoy our conversation.
1:32 – (First Question) – His model of the world
4:05 – What makes for a strategically advantaged country
5:35 – History of the Bretton Woods agreement and the order that it created
8:47 – The security apparatus that has made globalization of manufacturing possible
12:04 – The US’s pullback from being the naval police of global trade
My guest this week is Michael Kitces, who is one of our
industries go-to experts on all things financial advise and financial planning.
We discuss the past, present, and future of financial
advise, financial technology, and investing. If you are a financial advisor or
use one, this conversation is full of great history and perspective. Please