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Hi friends, 

Hope you've had a great weekend. It feels like a good time to 'keep on keeping on' and focus on what you want to achieve and what you can control. 

In an increasingly complicated world, every issue of the day is more nuanced than the emotive performances on social media suggest. As such, I've decided to join The Unspeakeasy, an Intellectual Community For Freethinking Women founded by Meghan Daum.

What is it, exactly? I don't really know yet, but when I read the line "The epidemic of groupthink that has taken hold of our society has rendered many of the most urgent conversations "unhaveable,'" I knew it was for me. 

Today's Contents:

  • Good Reads: Sensible Investing
  • Good Reads: Life
  • Movie Review: The Worst Person in the World
  • Weekly Song: Ain't It Fun

Good Reads: Sensible Investing

Sam Lessin, GP of Slow Ventures, has been on a Twitter roll recently. I recommend two short pieces of his:
  • Valuation / Capital Raise = Impact is the crudest way to look at value of capital… and it looks ugly for VC at the moment. Here
  • The Actually Important Practical Crypto Use Cases, in one screenshot. Here.
Conversation at Panmure House. The latest Howard Marks memo here.  Lines that I liked from the interview:
  • [talking about his son] He's an optimist. (He would say he's not an optimist - that he's a realist - but of course all optimists think they're realists, and all pessimists think they're realists.)
  • What are things that can be a source of superior investing if everyone has access to the readily available quantitative information? A better comprehension of the future and a superior ability to process qualitative information [I'd say those are essentially the same thing]

Time is Ripe to Snap up Bargains, says debt investor Howard Marks in the FT here

Keep It Going. Here by Morgan Housel. He reinforces the point made by Druckenmuller, i.e., that it's important for investors to be in the right psychological space and take breaks on occasion to have longevity and make the best decisions. 

Compounding is just returns to the power of time. Time is the exponent that does the heavy lifting, and the common denominator of almost all big fortunes isn’t returns; it’s endurance and longevity. “Excellent returns for a few years” is not nearly as powerful as “pretty good returns for a long time.” And few things can beat, “average returns sustained for a very long time.”

That’s the biggest but most obvious secret in investing: Average returns for an above-average period of time leads to magic.

Are Two of the Hottest Startups in South Asia in Trouble?

Why Deloitte Has Not Signed Byju's Financials for 2020-21 after 15 Months. Here. Byju's is, according to private market marks, the most valuable education company in the world and the highest valued 'startup' in India.

It's an interesting case. Everyone person that I've ever spoken with about Byju's has had...questions. The Ken, the premier startup publication in India (with spectacular analysis and writing style) has been asking questions openly for years as eager foreigners decided that Byju's was the industry leader to empower with their capital.  

Here are the four bullet point summary from The Ken:

  • Byju’s has built up an accounting house of cards through refunds, loan guarantees, and unusual revenue recognition practices
  • It has also sold eight tranches of its securitized trade receivables between March 2020 and March 2022
  • The company is yet to file financial reports for the financial year that ended 15 months ago, triggering panic among investors and rival edtechs
  • The future of Indian edtech rests on a successful IPO by Byju’s. Such scrutiny spells trouble for all edtechs downstream.

Airlift: Trouble in Startup Paradise? Here. Another interesting case.

Why is Airlift notable? In August 2021, Airlift announced its $85-million Series B financing round - the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history - co-led by Josh Buckley (Buckley Ventures) and Harry Stebbings (20VC), both individual investors.

At the time, Airlift said the funding round had added 5% to Pakistan’s FDI for the fiscal year 2021.

lived in Pakistan for little less than a year in 2011 and have proceeded to work with the government on and off for the next 10 years. My first question when I saw the news was "I wonder how much time Josh and Harry have spent in the country?"

Pakistan is a beautiful country with wonderful people. It is also an incredibly difficult place to do business and the rule of law be polite...different from the US and UK. The macro economic environment and political instability might be a large reason why $85M would comprise 5% of Pakistan's FDI. 

Good Reads: Real Life


Yesterday Would Have Been Anthony Bourdain's 65th Birthday. Here's a message from the past. 


46: A Blagenflorble Heart. Every year, product designer Buster Benson does a review of his life. This year's reflection is worth a skim. Parts I appreciate:
  • The first framing about where he is in his life cycle and what he has left
  • Exploration of the question "What does a life deserving of human dignity require?"
  • His explanation of the phrase he came up with "blagenflorble heart" A blagenflorble heart is a heart that has been broken, and repaired, and broken, and repaired, and broken, and repaired, hundreds of times.
  • Throughout I was thinking "this guy definitely got divorced this year," and I wasn't wrong. 
  • Note: I enjoyed Benson's book on productive disagreement (review of "Why are we yelling?here) and used his pet project for about a year. Maybe I'll start again. 

Movie Review: The Worst Person in the World. 

Trailer and information here

The Worst Person in the World is a Norwegian film about a woman finding her way through life in her late 20s and early 30s. It was smart and fun. 

In a sea of mindless action movies or utterly depressing dramas, the movie a good use of two hours. The New Yorker called it a 'sham except for the performance of the lead actress'. I can see their point, but I still recommend it to you. 

Weekly Song: Aint It Fun

Music video here.

This song felt a great tongue-in-cheek anthem for the week. Upbeat but realistic. 

"Aint it Fun" by Paramore

I don't mind
Lettin' you down easy, but just give it time
If it don't hurt now, well, just wait, just wait a while
You're not the big fish in the pond no more
You are what they're feedin' on

Ain't it fun
Livin' in the real world?
Ain't it good
Bein' all alone?


Thanks for reading, friends. Please always be in touch.

As always,

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Katelyn Donnelly
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