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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: April, 2019
Apr 30, 2019

This week’s guest is Will Thorndike, an author and investor whose book The Outsiders is an all-time favorite of mine. Our conversation is in two parts. First, we dive deep into the lessons of his 8-year research project studying CEOs who were master capital allocators. These CEOs include Henry Singleton, John Malone, Tom Murphy, Katherine Graham, and Warren Buffett. We discuss how these CEOs tended to be contrarians on topics like dividends, buybacks, acquisitions, and the use of debt. As we go through each of the tools in the capital allocators toolkit, you’ll hear several useful lessons for running or evaluating a business.

In the second part, we cover Will’s career in private equity. Will founded and continues to run Housatonic Partners, investing in buyouts, recaps, and search funds. Will has been one of the most active search fund investors for decades, and given how much time I’ve spent in past episodes on the searchers or operators in the micro-cap, permanent equity space, it was great to get the perspective of an experienced LP. As always, we also take time to survey the dangers and opportunities in today’s private equity market.

For comprehensive show notes on this episode go to http://investorfieldguide.com/thorndike

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

Apr 23, 2019

My guest this week is Josh Wolfe, co-founder and managing partner at Lux Capital. I had Josh on the podcast last year which was one of the most popular episodes in the shows history. This is a continuation of our ongoing conversation about investing in the frontiers of technology. My favorite thing about Josh and the way that he invests is the mosaic that he and his team at Lux are constantly building to understand the world and where new companies may fit in. We cover a crazy variety of topics from business model innovation, roles of a CEO, the military, the death of privacy, and arrows of human progress. Please enjoy round two with Josh Wolfe.

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

1:22 - (First Question) –Ability to tackle massive scale problems

4:05 – Key roles of leaders and his checklist for evaluating them

5:55 – Common traits among founders that make them incredible storytellers and leaders

10:22 – The concept of ill-liquidity

14:53 – Thoughts on the types of companies going public

16:41 – Most innovative business models

19:14 - Advice for LP’s

23:51 – Common devil

            24:01 – The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

25:09 – Big internal debates at his firm, starting with price discipline

28:45 – The value debate internally

33:34 – CRISPR from an investment standpoint

36:50 – Edge cases they are looking at

46:52 – How they target ideas in a single concept

            50:01 – The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage

51:04 – New theses that they chase

56:31 – Recent adventure with special operations guys

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

Apr 16, 2019

My guest this week is Katherine Collins, who is the head of sustainable investing at Putnam Investments, a portfolio manager on two of Putnam’s sustainable investing funds, and the author of the book The Nature of Investing: Resilient Investment Strategies through Biomimicry.

Our conversation is on the ins and outs of ESG and impact investing, a young but increasingly common topic in the investing world. This is challenging ground for me as a quant, because the data available is so new and limited—so Katherine’s perspective was very helpful as we continue to learn. Given the importance of this topic, I’m also searching for more guests with both positive and negative views on the role of ESG in an investing framework, and welcome suggestions for future guests. Please enjoy my conversation with Katherine Collins.

 

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

1:29 - (First Question) –Mechanical vs human judgement processes

4:21 – ESG, and the non-utility portion of it.

7:11 – Data behind the objective function that is different from returns

12:34 – What are the most interesting data sets

16:04 – How does she determine what factors to target

19:31 – Why do we know that diversity of experience/opinion/background is good for a company

21:30 – The social vertical and how it plays into her investing system and better returns

            25:51 – Corporate Sustainability: First Evidence on Materiality

27:00 – Environmental factors and the issues that jump to mind

29:48 – Importance of signing the UNPRI and is it just box checking

32:33 – Data for companies on the solution oriented companies

34:53 – Why doesn’t the market recognize the Alpha

36:17 – LP interest in ESG investing

38:25 – How other groups of investors approach ESG

40:03 – Best practices at business making an impact in ESG

44:01 – Unique or interesting tactics in environmental

46:33 – Who is the biggest opponent or position in opposition of ESG

47:37 – Most interesting edge

48:20 – Playbook for business managers thinking about social for the first time

49:59 – Measurements vs principles/values

51:21 – Advice to quants trying to use ESG in how they gather data

53:04 – Most memorable encounter with a company through the lens of ESG

53:53 – Where to learn more about ESG

54:50 – How much role regulation plays in the future of business sustainability

56:30 – Any more lessons from her research into natural systems

57:05 – Kindest thing anyone has done for her

 

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

Apr 9, 2019

My guest this week Geoffrey Batt and the topic of our conversation is how to earn transformational returns in very hard markets. In his case, that means Iraqi equities which we cover in detail. He now runs a large pool of capital in Iraqi stocks through his firm Euphrates, but the journey was arduous to say the least. This is one of my favorite boots on the ground contrarian investments stories thus far on the podcast. I hope you enjoy the story and the lessons that Geoff has to offer. 

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

1:15 - (First Question) – What does it take to earn transformational returns

4:43 – How he deals with LPs, especially given the volatility of the market he invests in

10:26 – Why LPs have to think about the other investors in a fund

1:17 – How Geoffrey got interested in the Iraqi market

16:15 – Factors he was considering when exploring Iraq

            16:53 – Harvey Sawikin Podcast Episode

19:20 – Visiting companies in Iraq

22:30 – Most memorable meeting with a company on his first trip

27:18 – Size and nature of Iraqi market when he first got interested

30:44 – A specific allocator in Iraq

34:37 – Does price reflect the work over there

37:51 - What does he perceive as his role in the changes to Iraq’s equity market

40:12 - How do Iraqi equities look today compared to when he started and is the opportunity still interesting

44:14 – How businesses perceive him now that the market has opened up more

47:28 – Scale of potential return and where it comes from

49:51 – Advice for younger aspiring investors exploring frontier markets

52:16 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Geoffrey

 

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

Apr 2, 2019

My guest this week is Brian Singerman, a partner at the venture capital firm Founders Fund. Founder’s Fund is widely considered one of the top VC firms and its partners are known to have diverse investment strategies.

Brian invests across industries and focuses on backing exceptional founders. You’ll hear right off the bat that he cares about moat, market, and strong execution. I love his point that the only way to become a good investor is to do a lot of investing. He describes himself an investor who uses his gut a lot, which took me a while to get used to in our conversation. But I have to say that at the end of this episode I felt refreshed and generally excited to keep putting in reps in my own way, both in the podcast and the quant research settings. I hope you enjoy.

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 Notesd

1:28 - (First Question) – What Brian looks for when evaluating companies

2:38 – What a moat looks like in investing

3:11 – Most memorable initial moat

4:17 – How he evaluates a potential market

5:28 – Attributes they look for in founders

6:24 – Most significant technological changes and how they have impacted his investment strategy

8:57 – The sourcing of his deals

13:00 – Qualities he likes at various stages of deal sourcing

13:46 – How he evaluates the teams he may fund

15:17 – His take on the pricing landscape for deals

16:13 – How he allocates his time as a board member

17:16 – Thoughts on long term stock exchange

18:26 – How much research does he do on an industry in order to stay on top of his investments

20:10 – Outside information he follows

21:20 -  Other investors he’s learned a lot from

23:12 – What values does Peter Thiel instill in the partners

24:05 – Process of StemCentrics

26:03 – Other places holding his interest today

26:57 – His interest in e-sports

31:44 – Interactions with LP’s

32:51 – What they look for in recruiting new partners

34:32 – How geography impacts the opportunity for new ideas

36:24 – Opportunities in public companies and other investment types

37:57 – Aspects of overseeing a startup venture

39:26 – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

 

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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