Capital Allocators Monthly (April 2018)

April 29, 2018 by Ted Seides

I’ll be heading the Omaha this weekend for my last annual public drubbing.  Stop me and say hello if you’re there.  If you happen not to catch me amidst the sea of shareholders, I’ll be joining Jeff Gramm, Brent Beshore, Patrick O’Shaughnessy and some other friends at Mr. Toad’s for a happy hour after the meeting.  Come on by!

1. Editorial. After a half-century, Institutional Investor has closed its print magazine.  The decision and rationale in Kip McDaniel’s piece is an interesting look into the impact of technology on a traditional industry.

2. My latest in II here and here.  As a result of the change at Institutional Investor, the pacing of my columns may change going forward.  For this month, Institutional Investor published two. “The Edge You May Be Overlooking” discusses how home field advantage can apply to allocators and “Your Brain Wants to Make Bad Decisions. Here’s How You To Avoid Them” describes some of the investment lessons in Annie Duke’s book Thinking in Bets.

3. Amazon annual letter.  Jeff Bezos’ description of high standards and accomplishments is both mind-boggling and energizing. Commentators are referring to his letters as the Warren Buffett letters of the future.  This one is a sound example of why.

4. HQ Time.  If you caught the wave of HQ Trivia, you’ll enjoy this analysis of how it developed a strong following in such a short period of time.

5. Quote. From Andrew Niblock, a wonderful educator at my kids’ school.  “A good friend was telling me about a wise professor he had when studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He and his classmates had been scoffing at the latest top 40 hit when his professor, an accomplished songwriter and producer, put a halt to the conversation and said, “It’s a hit. There is genius somewhere in that song – you want to be musicians… find it!”  Life-changing question number one…Where is the genius?”

Capital Allocators – this month’s guests had us on a roll!
1. Andy Redleaf, founder of hedge fund Whitebox Advisors, offers a tour of his 40-year career and subtleties of changes in markets over that time.

2. Chris Brockmeyer is a Trustee of eleven multi-employer pension funds that benefit Broadway workers. He navigates tricky politics and gives an inside look of the complexities, working with consultants, and evaluating OCIOs.

3. Steve Galbraith helped me celebrate the one-year anniversary of the podcast by joining me for a 2nd conversation, this one about his experiences in the boardroom.

4. Michael Cembalest, widely followed head of strategy at JP Morgan Asset & Wealth Management, shared stories from his career, and his take on politics, debt, energy, and active management.

5. James Williams is the highly regarded CIO at the Getty Trust.  Those who have enjoyed the conversations with long-tenured CIOs like Scott Malpass of Notre Dame and Andy Golden of Princeton won’t want to miss this one.

Best of the Rest
1. Planet Money on sports. I started listening to Planet Money two years ago after participating in a very well done episode on the bet.  Some of my favorite episodes get inside businesses around sports (no surprise to listeners of Capital Allocators).  There’s one on roaming vendors at baseball games, another on the dynamics of ticket scalpers, one on Stephon Marbury’s Starbury, an inexpensive baskeball shoe, and one on back room gambling in poker tournaments

2. Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s ILTB always has at least one to highlight and his pod with Nikhil Kalghatgi was my favorite this month. I happen to know what’s coming up on ILTB, and all I can say is stay tuned.

I’ve created a group of listeners who are interested in helping me think about and develop the podcast.  You can sign up for the Capital Allocators Forum if you’d like to join the fun.

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Have a good one,