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Hi friend, 

It smells distinctly of pine trees in my lobby, which is one of the signs that it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in the Pacific Northwest.  Perhaps the more telling sign, though, is the crush of Amazon boxes that arrived as well to a building full of shoppers who used their couch time to participate in the time honored traditions of Black Friday (and, more recently, Cyber Monday).  As much as 2020 may feel different, there is at least a few signs of holiday spirit and familiar patterns of behavior that are readily visible. 
I hope there’s good cheer where you are and good times ahead.  Let’s get to it.
Today's Contents:

  • Weekly Song: Time
  • Obviously The Future: "The News" has got to change
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Sponsored Post: Alternative Assets
  • Macroeconomics
  • Good Reads

Weekly Song: Time 

In honor of the passing of time, I picked the eponymous song by Hootie and the Blowfish for this week. It has a great lyrical rhythm to it. 

"Time" by Hootie and the Blowfish

Can you teach me about tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow
Running free?
But tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in

Time is wasting
Time is walking
You ain't no friend of mine
I don't know where I'm goin'
I think I'm out of my mind
Thinking about time

Obviously The Future: Filtering Individual Voices to Curate Your News

Time is wasting
Time is walking
You ain't no friend of mine
I don't know where I'm goin'

Believe it or not, I’ve run out of time.  In curating links for this deep dive, I’ve found myself asking more questions than I expected and engaging in more materials than I could synthesize into something to share.  That’s okay.  I’ll put more work into this over the weekend and look to share something that does the tough work on a complex topic to distill it into what you need to know.  Which is the essence of what you’ll hear me say when I write my views on the future of news – reflecting on the learnings I’ve had over nearly a year and a half of these weekly digests.

As an appetizer for next week:  

Editor's note: Sponsored posts

This is not intended to be a profit-generating venture.  I write to engage with my friends: past, current, and future.  To share articles worth reading and data worth digesting. 

In the instance when someone wants to sponsor an edition, I'll consider it. Your time and trust are an incredible privilege. As ever, I'd only accepted sponsorship from products or services that I myself subscribe to, participate in, or am a purchaser of. Everything thoughtfully curated.

I was excited when Stefan, a fellow newsletter writer, reached out to sponsor this week. He writes an in-depth newsletter that I enjoy called Alternative Assets. If you're interested, check it out below.

Sponsored Post: Alternative Assets

Alternative Assets
Unique investment ideas worth exploring. 

There's a million newsletters about stocks and VC. This is about the wide world of investment options that don't get talked about as much — with a focus on digital assetswebsites and micro private equity.

Every week, Stefan dives into a different alternative asset. Past issues include investing in classic carsfarmlandbillboards, even newsletters themselves.

Explore Alternative Assets

I don't know where I'm goin': Low-Interest Rates Rule Everything Around Me. 

Why are alternative assets interesting? Because our economic landscape is dominated by the phenomena of low and sometimes negative interest rates.

As investors seek yield, the investor base will become increasingly geared toward opportunities that are more speculative, technology-enabled, and future-focused. DS member, Paul Anderson, nails the assessment of the investing environment in his explanation of how he is positioning his personal portfolio in 2021 and his orientation to alternatives. He's also started a club to discuss alternative investments. 

One idea people are debating is that individuals should and/or will start to build investment portfolios that look more like University Endowments than the traditional 60/40 equities/bonds. Will the endowment model for individuals yield the best results? TBD. Ivy League endowments have under-performed a 60/40 portfolio of late according to Markov Process International research

Big money doesn't know what to do. Nothing was more exemplary this week that nobody knows what's going on than the largest pension fund in the world, GPIF in Japan, with $1.6 Trillion assets issuing an RFI ”requesting information on the mechanism that has generated and entrenched this global zero-interest-rate environment, and for ideas on a way to estimate the expected future for domestic and foreign bonds in the midst of such an environment”  WHAT? Also, they aren’t going to pay you for your advice. Anyway, if you want to do the Japanese a solid, you have until Jan 21st to respond. Info is here.

So, what are they going to do? How much of that $1.6T is GPIF going to allocate out of bonds and into equities? Or alternatives? 

Some fun charts illustrating the sign of our economic times

Tesla vs every other automaker:

US Call Options Volume

Fun deal tidbits:

Luminar ($LAZR), a technology company that is developing key components needed for driverless cars, went public via SPAC this week. It’s valued at $10B with no revenue today - and the promise of vast sums in 2026.  Investor presentation here.

Collectors Universe, a company that authenticates sports memorabilia, that was a recent activist target by Alta Fox Capital was bought this week at a 30% premium by an investor group

Can you teach me about tomorrow?: Good Reads

How should you and your co-founder divide equity? A UChicago professor explains. 

Simple math to set up a B2B Sales Team - David Sacks writes some of the best enterprise saas advice. 

Torturing Geniuses - An article reflecting on the notion of genius in the Queens Gambit. 

We praise people who insist on being themselves as courageous and independent—except when we blame them as selfish and narcissistic. Likewise, we have a positive word for people who follow the rules—“cooperative”—and a negative word for the same thing, when we don’t like it: “conformist.” The line between cooperativeness and conformism is often a fine one, and yet the distance between the valence of the words is massive. This creates a verbal illusion: because we have to pick a word, we’re liable to overstate—especially to ourselves—our confidence regarding which side of the line we’re placing the person on. The ethical gulf between the “supportiveness” of Beth’s chess entourage and the “complicity” of the Genius’s philosophy entourage is smaller than we are inclined to think it is.

End of week entertainment: Watch an airplane emergency land on a Minnesota freeway. 

Thank you for reading. Please always be in touch. 


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Katelyn Donnelly
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