Monthly Archives: October 2008

On Humility, Creativity, and The Importance of Others.

Humility.

I just had one of the most profound conversations that I can remember with a guy who has taken an entirely different path through the same twenty-nine years we have been on the planet to arrive at the same place where I arrived tonight at an event with a bunch of “Internet” people down the street from where I live.

The discussion began exploring concepts similar to those underlying my post last week about Emotional Analysis Paralysis, in that we were discussing an idea presented in an existentialism course we both attended today, which basically suggests that:

Unexamined beliefs that are emphatically held onto, and for which reflection is actively denied, can unintentionally become “true” about ourselves in some very powerful and unfortunate sense.

And that accepting such beliefs without opening ourselves up to considering our rationales for them is a form of “bad faith” in life.

Such a dogmatic refusal to examine one’s beliefs can range from situations as simple as interpersonal relationships, to situations a complex as being the central banker of the world economy. Mr. Greenspan today acknowledged a change in one such belief in his world view in this article on Bloomberg: Greenspan Concedes to `Flaw’ in His Market Ideology

`Yes, I found a flaw,” Greenspan said in response to grilling from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.” Greenspan added he was “partially” wrong for opposing the regulation of derivatives.

“We have to do our best but not expect infallibility or omniscience,’ he said.

Part of the problem was that the Fed’s ability to forecast the economy’s trajectory is an inexact science, he said.

“If we are right 60 percent of the time in forecasting, we are doing exceptionally well; that means we are wrong 40 percent of the time,” Greenspan said. “Forecasting never gets to the point where it is 100 percent accurate.”

This humble admission by one of the most brilliant market observers in history reflects a basic truth about ourselves: we are fallible, and as a result we should always subject our beliefs to questioning and revision.

Creativity.

One of the challenges I have been wrestling with lately is finding a way to be creative in a world where: 1) chaos and massive uncertainty exists 2) I am limited and flawed and 3) inspiration is presumed to precede innovation.

The conversation not only elucidated a framework for humbly accepting certain of our principles as “true” only after examining their rationales (and in the context of a life-long process of constant re-examination), but it also wrestled with the tension between creativity as “work” versus creativity as “inspiration.”

I have been thinking about this lately in the context of entrepreneurial innovation, but also more generally as I seek to figure out just how I will make my mark.

One takeaway from our talk that I gleaned was that: hard work is almost always necessary for creativity, if for no other reason than to learn the tools of the trade – to play the guitar, to speak the language, to bring resources to bear.

But, I also took away that work is not enough. One must also create the space where inspiration can materialize.

I am still not sure if such a space is created through a destructive/Nietzschean questioning of assumptions, or if it is one that simply emerges from a more Buddhist-minded acceptance of one’s place in the world.

But maybe it is a bit of both – by destroying/challenging one’s stated understanding while at the same time accepting the world as it presents itself, perhaps one is able to create the space for inspiration and creativity to emerge.

The Importance of Others.

However, besides this internal and personal activity, another thing that has hit home in spades over the last few weeks for me is the importance of a supporting cast.

For me that is many of you who read this blog, my other friends and family, and the people I come across in the world like the new friend I met tonight.

But, ultimately, I am convinced this will not be enough for true greatness.

Given our limited nature and the necessary recursive process – self-reflection, destruction, assertion, creation, repeat – that one must go through in life, I think having a partner is absolutely essential…at least for those of us who are not lucky enough to be gifted with the kind of child genius of a Picasso or a Mozart.

In response to the concern that I (and apparently many other people) have about being “too old” to achieve greatness, Malcolm Gladwell recently published a piece in the New Yorker in which he juxtaposed the lives of Picasso (and other “early bloomers”) with Cezanne (and other “late bloomers”) in hopes that showing that we “late bloomers” should not give up hope.

He emphasized just such a notion – the importance of a supporting cast – in this piece: Late Bloomers: Why do we equate genius with precocity?

“On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all.

Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith. (Let’s just be thankful that Cézanne didn’t have a guidance counsellor in high school who looked at his primitive sketches and told him to try accounting.) Whenever we find a late bloomer, we can’t but wonder how many others like him or her we have thwarted because we prematurely judged their talents. But we also have to accept that there’s nothing we can do about it. “

If you are the type of creative mind that needs to experiment and learn by doing, you need someone to see you through the long and difficult time it might take for your art to reach its true potential.

This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is highly contingent on the efforts of others.

In biographies of Cézanne, Louis-Auguste invariably comes across as a kind of grumpy philistine, who didn’t appreciate his son’s genius. But Louis-Auguste didn’t have to support Cézanne all those years. He would have been within his rights to make his son get a real job, just as Sharie [the wife of a "late bloomer" author named Fountain] might well have said no to her husband’s repeated trips to the chaos of Haiti. She could have argued that she had some right to the life style of her profession and status–that she deserved to drive a BMW, which is what power couples in North Dallas drive, instead of a Honda Accord, which is what she settled for.

But she believed in her husband’s art, or perhaps, more simply, she believed in her husband, the same way Zola and Pissarro and Vollard and–in his own, querulous way–Louis-Auguste must have believed in Cézanne.

Late bloomers’ stories are invariably love stories, and this may be why we have such difficulty with them.

We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.

“Sharie never once brought up money, not once–never,” Fountain said. She was sitting next to him, and he looked at her in a way that made it plain that he understood how much of the credit for “Brief Encounters” belonged to his wife. His eyes welled up with tears. “I never felt any pressure from her,” he said. “Not even covert, not even implied.”

That we need others, and ultimately the love of *another* in life is becoming more clear as life goes on.

That we are recursively tracing our way along a strand of an infinitely complex set of possible outcomes in one fine-tuned dance that we call life is surely one of the few things we can know with certainty.

But just how we should dance, who we will share this journey with, and whether the tools, preparation and possibility will open up for us in just the right way are mysteries that only the future – or Someone much greater than me – could know.

In the mean time, I don’t think I could stop reflecting on these and other questions if I tried. Thank you for wrestling with them with me.

Consciously Navigating Da Nile

As this article on Naked Capitalism points out, some of the smartest pessimists out there are starting to get significantly more bearish lately.

I have hesitated to to publish some of this content, but I think it is worthwhile to consider positions like the ones discussed here: Roubini Foresees Possible Market Shutdown

After the Fed, ECB,, Bank of England, and other central banks took unprecedented measures over the last month to restore liquidity and recapitalize banks, Nouriel Roubini sounded slightly less gloomy. He had deemed that the authorities has avoided a systemic financial meltdown, but a nasty, protracted recession was in the offing.

It appears that Roubini has reversed himself with his latest remarks He now says systemic risks are increasing due to hedge fund margin calls, redemptions, and liquidations, and the authorities may be forced to close financial market

Similar negativity can be found here:
The Folly Of A Depression Thesis

In short we are setting up for what looks like an even Greater Depression, perhaps something similar to the 1873 panic. While the causes would be very different in practice, in principle they seem to be the same – malinvestment caused by “easy money” that, when business conditions turn, becomes “protected” by government – leading to Depression instead of an ordinary business recession and bankruptcy of those who overextended themselves. Now, as then, we have companies that have spent incredible amounts of money to buy influence – it was recently disclosed that AIG, for example, continues to pay lobbyists in an attempt to loosen regulation even though they are now surviving on money borrowed from The Fed!

Be prepared, get out of debt and position yourself so you can survive without the use of consumer or business credit of any sort.

If you have liquid cash, you will be in a great position to pick off property and other goods that people are forced to abandon as the situation worsens. There are many people who became fabulously wealthy as a consequence of The Depression, and all of them had one thing in common – they had cash when things got really bad, and were able to pick off assets cheaply in forced sales.

The difference between 2 years ago, when I was on the same page of many of these same writers and today, is that much of today’s contagion is being driven by forced selling of assets that are far below their intrinsic value.

I am not talking about the toxicity associated with the still deteriorating real estate market, financial companies, retail-based companies, or consumer credit companies.

Rather, I am talking about the fact that the bank-debt market is trading the $60′s right now for companies that are only 2-4x levered through the bank debt. Basically this implies that many of these healthy companies will go into bankruptcy and liquidate for something like 1-2x EBITDA.

Although I seek to avoid this financial jargon here, the translation is simply this: It is absolutely positively an inaccurate reflection of reality.

I am not one to speak in absolutes, but I can tell you that there is absolutely no rationale for such a valuation for many of the companies that are being “valued” in this way.

The reason for this price-action is completely tied to the forced-selling around asset-liquidations, hedge fund failures, and other “forced” selling action. This is a classic “technical” signal in a market, and although it is important to notice these for trading purposes, it should not be mistaken for a reflection of intrinsic value.

The VIX (a measure of volatility) hit another all-time high today intraday, suggesting that people are panicked, afraid and more importantly they are *uncertain* about the future.

This uncertainty creates a space for someone to fill in the void. They need someone – actually lots of someones – to step up and fill this void of uncertainty with some words of wisdom and common sense to settle their nerves.

Thus, although I think there is a distinct possibility that the uber-bears are right. I am consciously breaking ranks with them because I firmly believe that there is finally a possibility that they might be wrong.

It could be the case that we will find a way to stem the decline in housing prices (my suggestion continues to be to renegotiate mortgages to keep people in their homes), stimulate the economy (likely through more fiscal stimulus), and ultimately find a floor for the various credit markets that are continuing to go through contracting pains.

I am *not* suggesting that you leap into equity markets unhedged, but I am suggesting (perhaps as a broken record by this point), that consciously focusing on the positive will help us determine our future trajectory from here.

The choice of how to fill this void of uncertainty is ours to make. I am choosing to deny the doom – at least for today.

Creating The Future. Not Predicting It.

I have often said that I like to try to predict the future. This materializes most concretely in the area of investing – I think the core being an investor is literally attempting to predict how the world will look in the future. If your view is different from other people, and you are correct, then you win.

However, lately as the markets have played out like a broken record the results of a too-levered too-risk agnostic system, my thoughts have turned from future predicting to future creating…and this brings my thoughts to entrepreneurship.

The world today has many problems:

  • A challenged financial system driven by a falling real estate market and a slowing economy.
  • A massive and growing national debt.
  • Homeowners with too much mortgage debt.
  • Middle class families that are being squeezed by expenses ranging from health care to consumer credit.
  • An educational system that does an inadequate job for many – especially minority urban youth.
  • Environmental challenges.
  • A dependence on foreign oil.
  • Global poverty and illness.
  • A health care system that does not serve the poor.

However, the only way these problems will be solved is if *we* fix them. Thus, the inspiration for entrepreneurship emerges.

Rather than standing by and watching these problems and “predicting” their continuation, instead I think we should try to envision a future where these problems are solved. And further, I think coming up entrepreneurial solutions to these problems is crucial.

And so lately my mind has shifted to this mode of thinking.

I don’t think I could stop the “future predicting” part of me if I tried. But I feel like trying to think about trying to solve these other problems for the next period of time.

Please share any ideas you might have, and I will do the same.

Another $Trillion Lesson

According to Bloomberg, projected losses in the corporate CDO market may approach $1T.

CDO Cuts Show $1 Trillion Corporate-Debt Bets Toxic

Investors are taking losses of up to 90 percent in the $1.2 trillion market for collateralized debt obligations tied to corporate credit as the failures of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Icelandic banks send shockwaves through the global financial system.

The banks that structured the securities and investors both failed to do “fundamental credit analysis,” said Janet Tavakoli, president of Tavakoli Structured Finance in Chicago. “They were using correlation models, they were using spread models, but they weren’t doing analysis on the underlying corporations.”

As the article highlights, this is yet another example of a situation where people relied on overly complex mathematical models rather than on simple common sense.

The problem with trusting the smartest-guys in the room is that even they are limited by their models and their understanding of the world.

I am not saying that the people who built the models are to blame, nor are the professors who established the theories underlying them.

Rather it is a the establishment of a system of overconfidence in these models, theories and individuals which are to blame.

We must take these failures as a lesson in humility for the future and integrate these lessons into our businesses and personalities so as to avoid repeating these mistakes again.

The clouds remain dark and the shoes are falling like rain, but like all storms, this too shall pass.

On Leadership (Video)

I ordinarily do not like to post simple links here on my blog (I prefer My Twitter page for this).

However, I wanted to share this with those of you who don’t use Twitter, as I think you should really check out this content if you have some time. Or rather, you should try to make the time to watch some of these videos from last week’s HBS Centennial Celebration.

The topics covered range from leadership, to the current crisis, to the future of capitalism and other topics:

The HBS Business Summit Video Content

Some of the featured speakers include:

Bill Gates,
John Doerr,
Jeffrey Immelt,
Meg Whitman,
Larry Summers
…and many more.

If you just watch 1 video, this is probably a good one. It is a discussion of leadership hosted by Charlie Rose, featuring 3 of the 5 above:

Leadership for the 21st Century

As Charlie Rose said in closing:

I wish that this could have been heard by people across the country. Discussions of confidence for the country and self, respect for people and laying out the challenges and what we should do…

And if you have time for two, watch the keynote with Bill Gates.

Bill Gates Keynote Address, A Conversation With Professor Jim Cash

Emotional Analysis Paralysis

“I want you to want to clean the dishes.” Brooke Myers to Gary Grobowski in the 2006 movie The Breakup.

Today in a philosophy course on free will and morality, we discussed the distinction between first-order and second-order desires. In the above mentioned scene, Jennifer Aniston’s second-order want was frustrated by Vince Vaughn’s lack of first-order volition to clean up around the house. The author contended that it is our ability to have so called second-order volitions that makes us ‘persons’ as opposed to mere biological creatures. It is our mastery of these second-order wants, which is supposed to be central to any concept of free will.

However, in an era when we are bombarded with messages, influences and guidebooks on what we “should” be doing with our time, I wonder: how much does this distinction stands up to our everyday experiences?

I know that there certainly are times where I consciously aim to cultivate my first-order desires (e.g. I am currently working my way through a book, Getting Things Done, which is supposed to help me to corral the various different low-level wants and priorities I have on my plate). However, there are many times where I don’t “try” to want anything at all. I just *do*.

Especially in the areas of romance and interpersonal relations, I think an overly-controlled set of lower desires can create bad outcomes and confusion. I can know that I *do* love someone, but do I want to feel that way? Should I want to want her? What about wanting to want to want her?

The problem with self-reflection and self-analysis in the area of desires is that there really is no basis for the analysis. Who decides what is right and wrong?

Should I want to be his friend? Should I enjoy our conversations? Should I want more of her company?

Given the massive amount of information we have at our fingertips when making everyday decisions about our ordinary wants and desires, to place an undue burden on higher-order analytical processes creates the potential for paralysis. Have you ever heard or experienced “analysis paralysis”? I know I have, and often it is at this higher order of abstraction, where “what if” scenarios lose their grounding.

I think listening to your conscience is sometimes helpful, and sometimes you should go with your gut. Sometimes your instincts know best, and sometimes the help of a friend can make a situation easier to handle.

Perhaps biggest challenge in life is that there is no handbook, and it is in wrestling with these kinds of questions that philosophers and joe the plumbers have been perplexed for eras. This uncertainty is also perhaps life’s greatest gift as it creates the possibility for true freedom – the ability to define our own rules and our own futures.

Maybe men should want to want to do the things that women want them to want to do. Or maybe women shouldn’t want to want the men to want to want the things they can’t help wanting them to do.

To be honest, I think the inner workings of such relations will remain a mystery far longer than anything in the realm of physics or the “hard scientists”.

For any of you science-worshipers who point to chemistry as your end-all-be-all here, I point to the current state of the financial markets to show the status of the mathematics underlying the research in your beloved “neuropsychiatry.” If the most well compensated people on earth can’t model something as simple as housing prices do you really think some scientist working in a lab is going to statistically “prove” that our emotions can be predicted by a certain combination of neurochemicals and brain matter?

We are decades away from anything close. And unfortunately likely centuries away from finally recognizing the futility of our current conceptions and theories about consciousness.

I don’t think that means we should give up trying. I don’t think we could if we tried. But maybe a little less analysis would help with the indecision…and our relationships.

HBS Centennial: Social Entrepreneurship In Education

Below are my notes from a panel during this week’s HBS Centennial Celebration.

The Panel, hosted by HBS Professor Stacey Childress, featured 4 of the leading entrepreneurs making changes in education nationwide.

Steve Barr - Founder of Green Dot; Kevin Johnson – Founder of St. Hope and Sacramental Mayoral candidate;  Michelle Rhee - Washington D.C. Schools superintendent, and Wendy Kopp founder of Teach For America.

Introduction

The definition of Social Entrpreneurship: pursuing social change, regardless of the resources you currently control.

Some stats about our educational system:  3 million teachers and 50 million students. 40 percent of poor are in largest 100. We spend $450 billion annually. This has doubled over 30 years but the outcomes have declined.

Our students are tops in the world in math and science in the 4th grade,  but by high school they fall to 25th in math (out of 30).

There are 4 general areas we need to address:

1) Achievement gap.

2) People problems.

3) Performance tools.

4) Institutions.

Steve Barr – founder of Green Dot

Founded it himself (with his Chocolate lab) after a death in the family. When you lose your family, you get bolder.

In the old days – high school was enough. His, brother dropped out. He was jock.

Looking back on his experience he decided he wanted to create schools where everyone gets attention – not just the cool kids and the jocks.

Most schools are very undemocratic – centralized. In contrast, small private schools have: high expectations, college acceptance, no big office downtown, accountability, call back, connected.

He wanted to replicate this private school environment. So he started with one school…built from there. Now at 19 schools. Now he wants to create political will to change current system.

Kevin Johnson- St. Hope

Grew up in Oak Park Sacremento. After high school he got a scholarship to Berkeley. Realized he was totally unprepared. Played for Suns in NBA – visited cities nationwide. Started St. Hope after school program for kids while playing for the Suns…but the schools were so bad, he realized that is not enough.

All poor places were the same – kids were told they weren’t allowed to have same opportunities just because of where they were born.

3rd graders that are behind 80 percent never caught up. We build prison systems based on these reading scores.

Finally decided to create new schools.

Wants to revitalize a community. Public schools, economic development, return and the arts. Focused on one area in a community. Pre-k through twelve. Need a continuum. Runs Sacramento High School -2nd oldest high school in the country. Took college acceptance rate from 20-30 percent to 80 percent.

Michelle Rhee – Washington D.C. Schools

50k students. Highest risk school in the entire country. 70 percentage point achievement gap. 12th percentile in reading and 8 percentile in math. Kindergartners start close close to their peers…by 3rd grade they are far behind. Schools are so bad they make kids worse off the longer they stay.

Money was not the issue: they spent a lot of money per pupil, but had bad results.

Transformational focus 2 areas:

Accountability. The Adult has responsibility and stake in success. Pay based on performance. Red tier or green tier. Green tier – 40 percent raise + upside possibilities…up to 131k in salary. People backlashed. You have to give up tenure.

Leadership. No school board. Just mayor. She hates boards. Change will take different kind of leadership. Must reject compromise. Need decisive change…she received advice from someone who said “soften your message.” She said, “I totally disagree…we spend too much time softening our message. We don’t do a good enough job calling out the issues.”

Wendy Kopp - Teach For America

Problem of educational iniquity is so big, we need to channel future leaders into they system.

The program: commit 2 years to high poverty communities. Both helps kids and shapes leaders.

This is a solvable problem. Kids do have the potential. She rejects silver bullet theories. It will take hard work. 2/3rds of her people end up staying in education, but some leave. And that is good too.

Goal is to keep growing. Last year 25,000 applicants. 7,000 teachers next year. We are seeing reasons for hope – schools are improving…snowball is rolling. New Orleans is changing.

General Thoughts

Warren Buffett: if you want to fix public schools, make private schools illegal.

We need political will.

Change is necessary.

Need reform from within plus political will. Takeaway from Aspen Ideas Festival. Someone needs to be a chancellor, someone needs to be a mayor.

Michelle has a billion dollar budget, showing that big institutions can help to make change because of their resources if organized properly.

Leaders are putting kids first.

Cities are incubators for nationwide change (i.e. a one-sized fits all approach might not work).

Political will is absolutely crucial: Michelle *needs* Fenti (mayor) to make it work. Closed 15 restructured 27 fired 1/3 of principals. Most politicians fold under the pressure.

We need unrelenting leaders like Kevin.

Ms. Rhee’s compensation system is being funded by foundations…charter schools are worried, but ultimately public school competition is necessary.

The end goal: we are so far from where we need to go. We need systems of schools to have systems like what we have in GE. We need much better efficiency.

Limit is not the kids: it is the getting the right adults.

Leadership is important. Adrian Fenti saw Klein in New York did it…followed him. We need a different kind of leadership. Elect Kevin.

How can graduate schools of ed help? People are taking watered down approach. We need the systems themselves to retain, attract, train best talent. Need more research.

We have not embraced the technological revolution enough. Someone needs to pioneer the technology revolution in schools.

We have a crisis. We need to make people realize the implications: Economic development, public safety etc.

How are we going to save the economy? Education.

Perspective Matters. Especially In Tough Times.

The Reality: We are facing real challenges.

I really hate to admit it, but I think there is more bad news on the horizon. The news coming out of the hedge fund industry is really troubling, and the issue with this industry’s challenges (like that of the banking industry) is that as these firms are forced to sell assets en-masse, values of securities fall in a disproportionate relation to their intrinsic value.

This phenomenon is very similar to the one that is occurring in the housing market: banks are foreclosing on houses, and selling them into a market where there are not enough buyers.

These pressures are likely to remain for awhile. And we should be prepared for this.

In addition, the pressure that the middle class in America is feeling from strained personal balance sheets in addition to a growing pessimism about the economy will likely cause spending to fall as: 1) people stop buying because they are worried and 2) people stop buying because they just can’t stretch any farther and no one will lend to them.

All of this is likely going to materialize slowly over the next few weeks and months.

Warren Buffett’s Pro-American stance.

However, now is not the time to dwell on these issues.

As I mentioned below (Dealing With Bad News), it is natural to retreat into a cave when bad news strikes. People don’t like to face the music and unfortunately this is materializing in the markets as investors stand on the sidelines in fear.

However, at least one investor – and arguably the best investor in History – is buying American stocks. And urging the rest of us to do so: Buy American. I Am.

If prices keep looking attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United States equities.

Why? A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors.

….

Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.

Warren Buffett is stepping up in the way that few others in this country have done yet to point out in simple and clear terms: America has the best economy in the history of the world, and we can’t lose sight of all of the great companies and innovation going on here today and the strength of our economy in the long term.

Case in point, Google, a perfect example of the kind of innovation that makes this country great, has continued to grow as advertisers continue to recognize that the old media’s approach – pushing ads down people’s throat – has been defeated by Google and others who allow us to consume our content (and our advertising) in ever more flexible and personalized ways.

In addition to Google and new media there are exciting things happening in education, clean technology, biotech & healthcare, the entertainment industry, the power industry, biotech plastics, and many other industries.

So before you give up on our country while it is down, step back for a moment and think about it.

Optimism has real impact.

Someone I admire a lot told me today about a study that was done recently where 2 groups were given a set of identical household tasks to perform over a period of weeks. Group 1 was told nothing special about their chores. Group 2 was told that the tasks they were performing as a good form of exercise and good for their health by a group of healthcare professionals.

A surprising result ensued: those who *believed* their efforts were healthy for them lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and got healthier.

This was a study done by serious researchers at a major academic institution. The takeaway: our perspective sometimes matters as much as the reality.

I believe we are capable of facing the world, the good and the bad parts of it, and keeping our optimism intact. And right now our country needs us to do just that.

Who Won The Debate? America. (Video)

America won the debate tonight. The candidates agreed on 1 thing – education. Regardless of our politics this issue is the most important for our future. Now let’s hold them to their promises.

How Investing Is Like Relationships

  • There is always a large amount of uncertainty.
  • It is much harder to stomach when there is volatility.
  • When things are good, it feels great. When things fall, it hurts like hell.
  • There is always room for improvement.
  • Not all ideas are good ideas.
  • Everyone has their own strategy.
  • While there are lots of guidebooks, there surely is no rulebook.
  • At the end of the day, you have to take a leap of faith to have any chance of winning.
  • When the world changes you should consider changing your approach.
  • A lifetime track-record of success is almost impossible to retain.
  • Anyone with half a brain and some guts can do it well.
  • Imagination is crucial.
  • Once you pull the trigger, commitment is key.
  • Following the herd not only is a bad idea, it is dangerous.
  • You never know when or where inspiration will strike.
  • There will certainly be valleys, but if you believe in your convictions, they will also lead to peaks down the road.
  • The greatest are admired by almost all of us.