This week’s highlights: Uruguay, Hedge Fund Fees, and Roman Emperors
by David Wells – Nashville TN
Happy Friday –
I shared the thoughts below earlier this week in an update email from my company. I thought it made sense to reprint them here:
More of the Same
There is a meme making the rounds on social media where people post a selfie for each month of 2020. Each picture is supposed to best represent the month. The common thread among them, celebrities and everyday Joe’s alike, is that June/July/August pictures are all the same. Earlier in the summer, we spoke briefly of the fatigue from everything that happened in March/April/May. Yet where we stand today at the end of August, I think we can all agree that each day feels more and more like Groundhog day.
Theologian David Gibson in his reflections on Ecclesiastes, that Old Testament book of wisdom, summarized it well “We long for change in a world of permanent repetition, and we dream of how to interrupt it.” What to do? Gibson suggests that we are to “stop thinking that meaning and happiness and satisfaction reside in novelty.”
As we stare down the remainder of 2020 and months ahead that may look just as similar to the ones behind, it feels like a good word to not look for escape, but instead to see the gifts that may be embedded in current circumstances difficult to do as that may be.
- “We Only Do Good Deals” is Not An Investment Strategy – Part 1 Far too often, family offices who are choosing to go down the path of direct investing are unable to articulate an investment strategy beyond that of “we only do good deals.”
Food for Thought
- Nature – How the pandemic might play out in 2021 and beyond This coronavirus is here for the long haul — here’s what scientists predict for the next months and years.
- NYT – College Is Everywhere Now Yale students in Barbados. Michigan students in Brooklyn. Berkeley students in Las Vegas? Off-campus housing is way off-campus now.
- BostonGlobe – A math problem stumped experts for 50 years. This grad student from Maine solved it in days
- AWCS – What Happened to the Middle Class?
- Travel and Leisure – Surf, Turf, and Plenty of Wine in Uruguay I can’t decide if travel writing is a good thing in our COVID times. Regardless, I know very little about Uruguay and thought this profile was most enjoyable.
- MarketWatch – Hedge fund fees — whether or not you make money — are truly shocking Over the past two decades, the hedge fund industry has kept 64 cents of every dollar of gross profits that it has generated above the risk-free rate.
- Forbes – The Inside Story Of Robinhood’s Billionaire Founders, Option Kid Cowboys And The Wall Street Sharks That Feed On Them
- NYT – ‘The Big Short 2.0’: How Hedge Funds Profited Off the Pain of Malls As the pandemic accelerated the demise of some brick-and-mortar retailers, a group of investors profited handsomely from their travails.
- Inc – ‘A Growth Industry Like I’ve Never Seen’: Inside America’s No. 1 Fastest-Growing Company Kabir Barday, founder of OneTrust, is a first-generation entrepreneur–and was early to realize that online privacy laws are creating a massive new market
- GRA – The Ten Commandments of Risk Management
Culture / Tech / Science
- BusinessWeek – Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm Thomas Hargrove is building software to identify trends in unsolved murders using data nobody’s bothered with before.
- CityLab – Suburbia, Reconsidered In ‘The Sprawl,’ author Jason Diamond argues that America’s much-maligned suburbs are more diverse, culturally rich, and strange than you thought.
- Medium – Appearance of The Principate What happens if you feed a neural-net images of ancient Roman emperors – crazy photoreal depictions of what they might have looked like
- CoolMaterial – How to Take a Punch