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Invest Like the Best

Exploring the ideas, methods, and stories of people that will help you better invest your time and money. Learn more and stay-up-to-date at InvestorFieldGuide.com
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Now displaying: December, 2017
Dec 26, 2017

My guest this week is Chris Dixon, who has written some of my favorite essays on technology and venture investing. Chris is a prolific investor and thinker, having been an entrepreneur, angel investor, and now partner at the well-known venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Our conversation focuses on major trends in technology, including cryptocurrencies and the future of autonomous vehicles and drones.

Chris has a rule of thumb for technology trends: find out what smart people are working on during the weekend, and you’ll know what other will be doing years in the future. After surveying his old essays, it’s clear you use Chris’s writings as a similar litmus test.

Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments

Please enjoy this great conversation with Chris Dixon on the future of tech.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Books Referenced

Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages

Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World

 

Links Referenced

Douglas Hofstadter

Daniel Dennett

How Aristotle Created the Computer

New Yorker Cover on automation

The World of Numbers website

Jerry Neumann podcast episode

David Tisch podcast

ERC-20 Token Standard

Eleven Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology

 

Show Notes

2:04 (First Question) – Why did Chris choose to study philosophy

            2:23 – Douglas Hofstadter

            2:24 – Daniel Dennett

            3:20 – How Aristotle Created the Computer 

3:35 – Where has his thinking and viewpoints changed the most having been in the real world 

4:42 – What is the real driving force behind all of the technology that we are creating and will automation kill all of the jobs

            6:16 – New Yorker Cover on automation

            6:57 – The World of Numbers website

8:36 – A look at his history in networks and network design

            11:03 – Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages

            11:07 – Jerry Neumann podcast episode

            12:32 – Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World

13:06 – What are the market and technological forces that make it difficult to regulate software hardware companies

14:39 – The best features of proprietary centralized networks and open networks

16:40 – What things are better centralized vs decentralized

            22:30 – David Tisch podcast

23:03 – When it comes to cryptocurrencies, what are the concerns that the protocols themselves hold value and could this lead to centralization of the system problems

            24:02 – Block size debate (topic)

            26:40 – ERC-20 Token Standard

27:23 – Is the blockchain the answer to the stagnation of the big tech players 

32:47 – Does Chris find investment in individual crypto tokens analogous to seed funding in companies 

34:39 -  How does Chris think about the dichotomy of investing in people vs technologies

            34:59 – Eleven Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology 

37:45 – What organizational structures of companies are most compelling 

41:50 – Any major trends in technology a cause for concern for Chris 

42:34 – Any interesting trends by people looking to disrupt the centralization of internet power to a small few 

44:09 – What major trends is Chris passionately pursuing 

51:15 – If everyone agrees on a future trend of technology, can you still make money investing in them 

52:20 – How do you encourage younger people to approach the world and a career differently in this ever-changing world 

57:39 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Chris

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

Dec 19, 2017

So far I’ve spent no time in the podcast discussing real estate, so I was excited to get the chance to talk to the team at Sorin Capital, a billion dollar hedge fund which specializes in commercial real estate, REITs, and commercial mortgage backed securities.  Sorin is lead by Jim Higgins, who founded the firm, and Tom Digan, who coincidentally was a college classmate of mine at Notre Dame.

The conversation has two unique angles. The first, which starts about 20 minutes into the conversation after we introduce the sector and opportunity set, is a deep dive into a specific trade: a fairly contrarian take on the retail industry, specifically comparing different types of retail real estate. As you’ll hear, the dispersion of mispricings in the sector may be huge, creating opportunities for specialists to earn real alpha by doing bottom up work.

The second angle we explore is what I believe to be a strong model for the future of asset management businesses, that is tailoring products, strategies, and even specific trades to the needs and risk-return profiles that clients want and need, instead of just selling a one-size-fits-all comingled fund. 

You’ve probably heard me joke that this podcast should be called “This is who you are up against,” and this episode is a good example. I always enjoy exploring a niche part of the market, and this conversation on real estate is a perfect example of the type of work that firms do on behalf of their clients.  Please enjoy my conversation with the team from Sorin Capital.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Books Referenced

Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions

Liars Poker

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

 

Show Notes

2:43 - (First Question) –Outline the Real Estate Investment Trust world and what the assets and total value look like

6:10 – What does the profile of investors in the space look like compared to investors in the broader debt markets

9:43 – What are the characteristics of a liquid real estate portfolio that make them so attractive to investors

10:54 – Looking at the history of Sorin Capital and how the business has evolved to where it is today

12:35 – Understanding the idea of securitization of commercial mortgages

17:01 – What really led to the formation of Sorin after working for Bear Stearns

20:19 – Looking at the retail sector in real estate in the scope of actual trades that are being made

25:08 – From an investing standpoint, how do you craft a portfolio that takes advantage of the real estate space as retail appears to be suffering on the surface

30:09 – The different type of real estate investments in the retail sectors and what piece of the pie do they make up

32:43 – How does the business model of the mall work and why is it so connected to the department stores

34:08 – What is the future of malls itself with the big changes happening to the legacy stores that helped them proliferate

37:44 – Why won’t the same thing that has happened to apparel stretched to all sectors of the retail industry

39:09 – How do they search for inefficiencies in the market

41:20 – One of the craziest things they saw on the road that outlined real world craziness in real estate investment

42:23 – What is the duration involved in these types of investments

44:41 – How the portfolio is positioned across these different real estate types

47:49 – Why haven’t others come in and taken advantage of the investments that Sorin is able to

49:03 – Reaction to the idea that the growth of passive ETF’s and investing styles has lengthened the time over which certain inefficiencies would be corrected and are distorting things

51:27 – How much does momentum play into their thinking

54:19 – How evenly distributed are the vintages of these ten year cycles

57:15 – Explaining the idea of deep value bottom up work in the real estate investment world that they have done a deep dive on

59:31 – Best stories from boots on the ground visits

1:04:04 – The origin story for the original Sorin partnership

            1:04:42 – Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions

            1:04:43 - Liars Poker

            1:04:44 – Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

1:07:51 – What was it like for Tom getting started and the lessons he learned after an incredible hard time for the market

1:09:24 – What was it like for Jim coming through the crisis

1:11:18 – What is the trend for funds to craft investments specific to investors vs having them buying products that they produce

1:18:29 = Are other hedge fund firms moving to a client demand or solutions-based model? Or are we still very early in the transition

1:22:50 – What would the generalists miss in this space vs someone like Sorin that is a specialist

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

Dec 12, 2017

My guest this week is Franklin Foer, the author the recently published book “World Without Mind.” The topic of our conversation is one that I’ve been thinking through often this past year: the impact that large technology companies have on our minds and behavior. This conversation is only indirectly related to markets, but given that the companies we discuss are now several of the largest by market cap in the global stock market, what happens to them likely impacts all of our portfolios whether we own them or not. Given that these companies compete for our attention and dollars, they also affect our businesses.

As an example, My friend Brent Beshore and his team at Adventures wrote a long and incredibly thoughtful piece on how they think about Amazon as a force in the market, and how they plan on navigating around such a fierce competitor.

Franklin’s book, especially the early history, is very thought-provoking, so it was no surprise that our conversation was too. Please enjoy our talk on the tech giants.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Links Referenced

Free PDF of The Whole Earth Catalog

Amazon Must Be Stopped (New Republic)

Hannah Arendt Philosophy

Time Well Spent

 

Books Referenced

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

The Whole Earth Catalog

The Lessons of History

 

Show Notes

1:40 - (First Question) – As part of Jonathan’s new book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, exploring the idea of the whole earth catalogue.

            4:09 – The Whole Earth Catalog

            4:36 – Free PDF of The Whole Earth Catalog

4:49 – What happened next for Brand and how he laid the early groundwork for today’s modern Silicon Valley

7:43 – Franklin’s personal journey into writing this book

            10:00 – Amazon Must Be Stopped (New Republic)

11:48 – Thoughts on the advancement of technology in our world

15:52 -  Filling the gap into Brand’s influence on Silicon Valley from the early 80’s to today

18:57 – How does the current state of the free internet without gatekeepers hold up for the next generation

20:53 – Is there a chance that technology’s unlimited mining of our attention is not the horrible thing we often make it out to be

24:47 – What are the ways we can have a free internet and other technologies, but not let them get perverted

28:09 – How will people respond to our tech monopolies

31:54 – The Lessons of History and the rise and fall of centrist powers

33:02 -  A look at Franklin’s work and how its impacted by the reliant on a few large tech companies

35:28 – The dangers that tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, etc, have created for us

40:45 – Is there a technology, company, or trend that Franklin is really excited for

42:19 – Will there be movements that emphasis detachment from technology

44:05 – Why most innovations have happened to people thinking in a very separated or contemplative mode

45:58 – What’s the most exciting thing that Franklin is thinking about now

49:30 – What was the most memorable content in researching this book that Franklin would suggest other check out

            49:59 – Hannah Arendt Philosophy

52:37 – Are there specific things that Franklin does to be more contemplative

            53:26 – Time Well Spent

54:47 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Franklin

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

Dec 5, 2017

My guest this week is Adam Ludwin, the founder and CEO of Chain, a blockchain technology company targeted at large enterprises. Before shifting his career to focus solely on crypto, Adam was a venture capitalist focused on FinTech, which is how he came across the Bitcoin whitepaper earlier than most. I called this episode “a Sober View on Crypto” because Adam’s take is so balanced. He is certainly long crypto, both in his portfolio and career, but he is very skeptical of much of what is happening in the ecosystem today. For example, he offers the best reason I’ve heard for not launching an ICO or investing in them. 

If you haven’t read Adam’s widely shared open letter to Jamie Dimon, it has become a must-read piece for crypto-enthusiasts. Read it as soon as you can.

I edited out an earlier chunk of our conversation as it was largely introductory. If you need a broader introduction to cryptocurrencies, I suggest starting with episode one of Hash Power and working your way forward. One key insight from Adam in our offline discussion what how cryptocurrencies function very much like equities or bonds. Just as equity financing enables the activity of joint stock corporations, cryptocurrencies enable activity in decentralized applications. We pick up our discussion with Adam discussing whether anyone really uses these decentralized apps today.

Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments

 

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Show Notes

2:35 - (First Question) – Will anyone use cryptocurrency in the real world at a large scale

3:43 – The idea of censorship resistance

12:29 – Will society be accepting of this technology

14:39 – Why decentralized apps can’t be acquired

18:24 – The idea of exponential vs linear improvements on a trend and if there are limits to the growth of decentralized technologies

23:26 – The struggle with early adaption of blockchain

25:41 – Best application for bitcoin, storing value

29:52 – Adam’s introduction to cryptoassets and how his thinking has evolved in the space

36:44 – In this hyper frothy market, is there a situation that makes an ICO exciting to Adam

43:51 – Even though it appears to be easy money, Adam explains why you shouldn’t just create an ICO

50:59 – A look at what Chain is doing and what Adam is excited about

53:23 – How does what Adam is working on help to improve the ledger of his clients

1:02:00 – Why you can easily be an early investor in crypto currency

1:04:27 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Adam

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

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