Friday, March 24, 2017

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

It is...easy to be certain. One has only to be sufficiently vague.--C.S. Peirce

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt







Setting Small Goals That Move You Forward
19 Ways to Boost Your Motivation and Personal Effectiveness

Commitment Moves You In The Direction of Your Goals


 How You Measure Out Your Time Determines How Successful You Are

  Geography lessons in a USSR school, 1951

Girls of the IRA, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1969. Photograph by Patrick Chauvel. 


Bogle says Vanguard growing at "kind of a frightening rate" taking in $1b/day. Full quote via Grant's..

Achieve Your Goals by Focusing on Critical Activities

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quotes of the Week

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.” – Laurence J. Peter
“Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.” – Goethe

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.” – John Dewey

“The capacity of the female mind for studies of the highest order cannot be doubted, having been sufficiently illustrated by its works of genius, of erudition, and of science.” – James Madison

“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” – Thomas Berger

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The mathematician who cracked Wall Street | Jim Simons

The mathematician who cracked Wall Street | Jim Simons

Jim Simons was a mathematician and cryptographer who realized: the complex math he used to break codes could help explain patterns in the world of finance. Billions later, he's working to support the next generation of math teachers and scholars. TED's Chris Anderson sits down with Simons to talk about his extraordinary life in numbers.
Philanthropist, mathematician

After astonishing success as a mathematician, code breaker and billionaire hedge fund manager, Jim Simons is mastering yet another field: philanthropy. Full bio
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
TED Talks are free thanks to our partners & advertisers

Published on Sep 25, 2015
Jim Simons was a mathematician and cryptographer who realized: the complex math he used to break codes could help explain patterns in the world of finance.

Billions later, he’s working to support the next generation of math teachers and scholars. TED’s Chris Anderson sits down with Simons to talk about his extraordinary life in numbers.

Magic bullets, secret weapons and prayer

 " Stop Reading Lists of Things Successful People Do.”  

Stephen Covey and other purveyors of panaceas...  is a good point.

‘silent evidence.’

Magic bullets, secret weapons and prayer – the truth is, there are no investing shortcuts

In investing and life, it’s tempting to believe in magic bullets – a set of rules and habits that, if followed, guarantee success.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey sold more than 20 million copies by appealing to this common sentiment.

The Harvard Business Review, however, almost begs readers to avoid temptation in the March 13 column “Stop Reading Lists of Things Successful People Do.”

The authors argue that just because certain habits worked for a few people, it doesn’t mean they work for everyone, or even most people. 

More importantly, they cite Nassim Taleb’s point that “failure is silent.”

HBR points to an anecdote in Prof. Taleb’s The Black Swan that Cicero told about Diagoras of Melos, the ancient Greek poet and atheist.
“When Diagoras was told that praying saves sailors from drowning, he wondered about those who prayed but drowned anyway,” HBR said.
“Prayer receives credit for saving sailors because all those who survived prayed. Yet this strategy is utterly useless if those who died also prayed, which is a fair assumption. … Taleb refers to the people who didn’t survive as ‘silent evidence.’ These are the outcomes that we don’t get to see; their absence leads to a false sense of effectiveness of certain actions.”
The investing world has seen numerous secret weapons in the form of valuation techniques.

Jim O’Shaughnessy’s 'What Works on Wall Street' touted the use of price-to-sales ratios in combination with other metrics.
Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, the man who beats the S&P 500, focused on price-to-cash-flow ratios.

Enterprise value to EBITDA also had its day in the sun as a revolutionary valuation method.
(EBITDA represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.)

But in the hands of less talented investors, these tools were often found ineffective.
The belief in investing magic bullets is a belief that markets are a problem tied to physics, with immutable laws that apply every time. In my opinion, more answers are to be found in biological ecosystems, which are what scientists term a complex adaptive system.
This means that not only are there more factors affecting asset markets than we can account for, and that the strength of these influences wax and wane over time, but also that markets adapt – investor buying and selling can change how it functions.
There may come a time when a combination of intelligence and computing power can design an equation that accurately predicts markets. 

Until then, there are no shortcuts.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Investment Tips

Inside Japan's largest 'love doll' operation

March 17, 2017
Japan's oldest and largest "love doll" maker, Orient Industry, has been producing silicone love dolls since 1977.

“Value investing requires you to see where the crowd is wrong, so you can profit from their misperceptions.” — Guy Spier
Warren Buffett famously said “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” With Guy Spier’s book, The Education of a Value Investor, this is certainly the case, though I’d argue the true intrinsic value of his book is immeasurable.
Guy Spier, along with another investor, Mohnish Pabrai, won a charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett back in 2008 for $650,100. In his book, Guy gives you “a seat at the table”. It’s not what you’d expect. He covers it all in Chapter 6. Since their lunch, the price has gone up a bit. Reportedly the winning bid was $3,456,789 in 2016.

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” — Warren Buffett is about business, entrepreneurship, startups and investing. I run a private Investment Fund and I’m also the CEO of Valhalla – Live the Legend


“You never fail until you stop trying.” — Albert Einstein

Once you realize everyone is completely irrational, your life gets a lot easier — Scott Adams

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” — David Ogilvy

 Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech  –
Top 10 Investment Tips from Warren Buffett — the Most Successful Investor in the World - ValueWalk
The Mathemetician Who Conquered Wall Street – Notes Off The Margin

For over two decades Simon’s Renaissance Technologies hedge fund employed mathematical models to execute trades around the world.

While the typical hedge funds were charging “Two and 20”, two percent fixed fee and 20 percent of the profits, Renaissance Technologies, according to Simons, charged “Five and 44”. He says they charged the highest fees in the world at one time, but still made their investors spectacular amounts of money. When people got upset with the high fees, Simons would tell them they could withdraw, though the typical response was “How can I get more?” Simons says he eventually bought out all his investors at a certain point because there’s “..a capacity to the fund.”

Simons started his career as a “code breaker” and was eventually fired for his views on the Vietnam War. He was also the Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Stony Book University for a decade before founding Renaissance Technologies in 1982.

Simons retired from Renaissance Technologies in 2009. His flagship Medallion Fund had one of the best records in investment history, returning more than 35 percent per year over a 20-year span. Reportedly worth $16.5 billion, he now concentrates on philanthropic work. You can view the entire interview here.

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.” — David Ogilvy
Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins, was written 1923. It is considered the origin of ad testing, customer tracking, and loyalty programs. Much of it is applicable to selling online today. It covers Headlines, Psychology, and using “free” samples. I purchased a paperback copy from Amazon although the book is available online for free as a PDF