Practice makes perfect and arguably the most intelligent person alive is showcasing that here. It's Bill Gates in Omaha, Nebraska with Warren Buffet working at a Dairy Queen. Besides it being comical for a couple of laughs you should also note that it showcases that Practice Makes Perfect and even on Bill Gates first attempt to make a Soft Serve Ice Cream cone you can see that it's not the most pretty cone and Buffett gives it a big laugh. With practice though I'm sure Gates would be able to make a beautiful cone for the Dairy Queen visitors of Omaha.
A big part of leadership is deciding, and good decision-making benefits from intelligence, thoughtful deliberation, and experience, but also, as i hope you agree, from sound values.
Seth Klarman a hedge fund manager from the Boston, Massachusetts area that I have admired for years and author of one of my favorite finance books "Margin of Safety" has a great quote in a recent Harvard Business School speech. The quote is "A big part of leadership is deciding, and good decision-making benefits from intelligence, thoughtful deliberation, and experience, but also, as i hope you agree, from sound values."
Other great lessons in the piece can be found here for my reference: https://www.alumni.hbs.edu/stories/Pages/story-bulletin.aspx?num=6818
While the crisis of World War 2 is not an apples to apples comparison by any means the future hopefully will reveal the unsung heroes like Chiune Sugihara who was recently re-honored in a nice NY Times piece seen here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/opinion/sugihara-moral-heroism-refugees.html
Some excerpts from the piece:
“heroic imagination,” a focus on one’s duty to help and protect others. This ability is exceptional, but the people who have it are often understated. Years after the war, Sugihara spoke about his actions as natural: “We had thousands of people hanging around the windows of our residence,” he said in a 1977 interview. “There was no other way.”
A second characteristic of such heroes and heroines, as the psychologist Philip Zimbardo writes, is “that the very same situations that inflame the hostile imagination in some people, making them villains, can also instill the heroic imagination in other people, prompting them to perform heroic deeds.” While the world around him disregarded the plight of the Jews, Sugihara was unable to ignore their desperation.
“I told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was a matter of humanity. I did not care if I lost my job. Anyone else would have done the same thing if they were in my place.”
Decades from now we will likely here the stories of those fleeing violence and corruption in their country and how a man or woman came to their rescue...time will tell?
Stories that seem almost too good to be true that would make for a great film would certainly be the Babani Sissoko film. This is the story of the man from West Africa who used his black magic skills to get a middle eastern bank to give him over $200 million dollars. He ended up in hot water in Miami was arrested but was so generous and helpful to the community there that the judge was lenient on his sentence and let him go early. In the end he's back home in Africa now living a quiet life but the hope is that a film about his wild story is created one day.
For now we have this BBC Documentary but a full length hollywood thriller would be great as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKALCS0Fe5w
Steven Hawking a true legend has passed away and one of the smartest individuals alive if not the smartest. His work will forever be ingrained in our society and some have said his disability gave him an advantage to learn even more and think in unique ways.
Founder of business social network Linkedin Reid Hoffman is one of the most well connected people in Silicon Valley and throughout the world. Be Casnocha has co-authored two books with Hoffman: The Alliance & The Start-Up of You. As he followed Reid around for over two years he learned a ton of great lessons and has shared some of them with readers which I recommend checking out here: http://casnocha.com/reid-hoffman-lessons
For those who want the cliff notes of the top 16 he lists they are below:
- People are complicated and flawed. Root for their better angels.
- The best way to get a busy person’s attention: Help them.
- Keep it simple and move fast when conceiving strategies and making decisions.
- Every weakness has a corresponding strength.
- The values that actually shape a culture have both upside and downside.
- Understand someone’s “alpha” tendencies and how that drives them.
- Self-deception watch: even those who say they don’t need or want flattery, sometimes still need it.
- Be clear on your specific level of engagement on a project.
- Sketch three possible outcomes for a project: the likely upside, likely ‘regular’, and likely downside scenarios.
- A key to making good partnerships great: Identify and emphasize any misaligned incentives.
- Reason is the steering wheel. Emotion is the gas pedal.
- Trade up on trust even if it means you trade down on competency.
- Tell the truth. Don’t reflexively kiss ass to powerful people.
- Respect the shadow power.
- Make people genuine partners and they’ll work harder.
- Final: The people around you change you in myriad unconscious ways
Like other powerful Silicon Valley Titans Ben talks about Reid's mission to save and change the world for better.
"But what he really wants to do is save. He wants to use his talent and network and money to change the world for the better and solve some of humanity’s biggest problems. He is among the most selfless and externally-generous people I’ve met in my life."
An interesting perspective as always on what the meaning of life is. You can ask 50 different people and you will get 50 different answers but this is one explanation that suffices: https://markmanson.net/the-meaning-of-life
On a recent Chat with Traders interview somebody I have followed for years Ed Thorpe was interviewed. I highly recommend those that are into Mathematics to listen to it here.
The interview is for an upcoming book release by the famous mathematician and Beat the Dealer author. At the end of the interview he discusses his memoir and how he got started in life and into things like Blackjack, Roulette, the stock market, and the different profit centers that he found along the way. These include statistical arbitrage and a hedge fund that was chronicled in a book that I read years ago called "Quants". He also says at the end of the interview that you can still beat 90% of the investors without doing a lot of work as the majority of people are lazy. It is however important about finding out whats really important in life. Most people in life just don't get it because some people put too much value into work and not into truly living because money truly isn't everything. People get hooked and don't stop working for money because you can never have enough and thats what drives a lot of people to pile up more and more money (not true wealth) and then wondering what it was really for? In the end if you can't go out and enjoy it why did you work so hard to obtain it?
Lesson: Don't just pile up wealth. Do something of value in life. Think about how you will be remembered.
Starting 2017 off on the right Cycle Robert Marchand has an impressive feat at 105 years old. Almost 100 years ago Robert Marchand was told by a cycling coach that he should give up as he would never amount to anything on a bicycle. Well here we are almost 100 years later and that coach long gone but Marchand in Saint-Quentine-En-Yvelines, France was the place where he just finished riding 14 miles in one hour and setting a new world record for his age!
He awaits a rival to compete against him and said he would have had a better time had he seen the current lap time. At the end of his 92 laps he received a standing ovation showing the world that you do things for yourself and do not worry about what the others say. Haters are always going to hate and try to stop you. Make up your own mind and do what you want to do as Robert Marchand has done.
Person of the week thanks to a story I just read on Business Insider is Jonathan Greenblatt. Greenblatt is the Jewish director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which campaigns against anti-Semitism and other bigotry which is nice to see how passionate our country is to ensure that we stand up and fight for equality for all citizens.
Given the history of the Jewish people and how we are educated to remember these very strong words "Never Again" it's important to protect and acknowledge others in the world regardless of their faith or background. Greenblatt said if a registration of Muslims was created that he would register himself in that database.
Thanks to the publicity regarding this subject the ADL has seen a rise in donations. If you feel strongly about fighting Bigotry and Anti-Semitism and want to bring equal justice for all then visit: The ADL's Website here
"So much to do.
So much ADL can do.
So much it MUST do!
Your gift will allow us to:
- Monitor hate groups
- Fight bigotry in the courts
- Pass laws that bring equal justice for all
- Educate the next generation to reject bias and bullying"