Capital Allocators Monthly - October 2020

November 3, 2020 by Ted Seides

Hello Fellow Listeners,

Announcements and Gratitudes

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Capital Allocators Book Cover

Capital Allocators (the book) distills the many lessons from the first 150 episodes of the show. A shout out of gratitude to Craig Pearce and Harriman House for all the work they have done to make this book a reality.

* New sponsor – Bares Capital Management.

It’s exciting when a top notch money manager reaches out to sponsor the show. I’ve known of Brian Bares for years, and many guests on the show are BCM clients.

Reading (Ordered by reading time: tweets first, books last, and blog posts and articles in between). 

I try to keep my recommendations to a handful, but failed this month.

1. Sean Connery story.  Brian Koppelman, co-writer of Billions, shared this story of his experience with Sean Connery sixteen years ago. Connery was as authentic as they come.  RIP Sean.

2. Apex mountain for growth?  My longtime friend Ted Aronson announced he is shutting his quant value shop AJO Partners and returning $10 billion. Jason Zweig tells the story in this article. The timing reminds me of Julian Robertson closing Tiger Management in Q1 2000 two months before the bubble rolled over.

3. Rising tide on D&I. While Yale may not be the first mover, David Swensen is the ultimate bellweather. The WSJ reported that Yale added a D&I lens/ultimatum to its monitoring of portfolio managers. If you want to learn more, next week’s 100 Women in Finance 2020 conference has a terrific lineup of speakers on the topic.

4. Bloomberg Opinion columnists.  I’ve long been a fan of show guest Matt Levine and enjoyed this profile of him in the NY Times. It takes a journalist as special as Matt to have a rival publication sing your praises.  With Matt on paternity leave, I started reading John Authers’ daily. He follows investments markets and investors and has a keen eye on the topic. There’s an Ugly Side to Investment Beauty Contests is a good example. (The article is behind Bloomberg’s paywall, which I get frequent pop-up reminders about despite being a paid subscriber).

5. Amp it Up!  Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman shares his practices for boosting performance through pace and intensity.  My head was spinning just reading it.

6. How I Invest My Money, Josh Brown and Brian Portnoy.  Josh and Brian asked investment professionals to describe how they invest their own money and why. As a bonus, Carl Richards created sketches for each chapter.  The book is personal and refreshing. Josh discusses the sketches with Carl on his video blog, The Compound.

7. Geopolitical Alpha, Marko Papic.  I love this book, particularly the first half. Marko is a terrific storyteller and shares a framework for thinking about political analysis for investment decisions that is logical and different from the orthodoxy – think Moneyball for geopolitical investment analysis. The area is outside of my circle of competence, and immediately helped me think about better questions to ask macro managers.


Capital Allocators

Special thanks to continuing sponsors:

iConnections logo

Episode 159: Scott Wilson – Concentrated Investing at Washington University-St. Louis

First Meeting Episode 23: Mathieu Chabran – Good Deals Have No Wheels at Tikehau Capital

Episode 160: Carrie Thome – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained at WARF and beyond

Episode 161: Marko Papic – Moneyball for Geopolitics at Clocktower Group

Best of the Rest

The Edge.  Ben Reiter, show guest, Sports Illustrated columnist, and author of Astroball, created a 6-episode podcast to explore the cheating scandal he missed that turned the Astros from victors to villains. The self-created feedback loop is impressive, as is Ben’s ability to tell stories.

My Guest Needs No Introduction. I recently discovered Letterman’s Netflix show, now in its third season. The interviews with Kim Kardashian and Robert Downey Jr. are outstanding.

Have a good one,