Capital Allocators Monthly (February 2018)

February 28, 2018 by Ted Seides

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Markets back to the bull, volatility in check, and a doping allegation in Olympic Curling. Go figure!

1. My latest Institutional Investor column is entitled “Bullish on Private Equity in Theory, Bearish in Practice. Where Will the Rubber Meet the Road.”  In the online version, it’s called “The Hidden Tax on Private Equity Investors.”  You can find it here:

2. Matt Levine’s daily Money Stuff column on Bloomberg View is awesome. I used to read the WSJ and NYT every day. Recently, I substituted both (except the NYT Sports Section) with Matt’s column. He delivers more informative news and interpretation about key company and market events than almost everywhere else combined. Sign up to receive his column here

3.  Annie Duke’s new book, Thinking in Bets, is a thoughtful book that describes why we are hard wired to make poor decisions and how we can (slightly) improve our process. It’s a gem.

4. I’ve asked podcast guests what they read that others might not know about.  Here’s a list of recent answers – take your pick:
Meredith Jenkins: Michael Cembalest, Eye on the Market
Paul Johnson: Read books, not newspapers
Chris Acito: Publicly filed pension fund minutes
Margaret Chen: The New Yorker
Michael Mauboussin: Frameworks and mental models, Charlie Munger
Bill Spitz: The Economist
Seth Masters: Fiction that helps make sense of the world
Annie Duke: Books on evolution – The Greatest Show on Earth and Why Evolution Is True
Ali Hamed: Paid content behind a firewall

This was one heck of a month. I had a great roster of guests, and we got in deep on decision-making processes, old school endowment investing, and new investment ideas.  Every one of the conversations was a doozy. The roster is below, and I also listed ‘Best of the Rest’, which are my favorite podcast episodes from the month (excluding Capital Allocators of course).

Capital Allocators
1. Michael Mauboussin, investment strategist, is one of the best thinkers about investment process. He’s an amazing speaker and we got into some great topics.

2. Bill Spitz, legendary endowment chief at Vanderbilt, now is Chairman of Diversified Trust Company. Bill talked about endowment investing then and now, and the subtle differences applying an endowment model to individuals.

3. Seth Masters, former CIO at AllianceBernstein, is a thoughtful investment polymath across a wide range of topics.  His insights on China and flaws in Investment Committees were fascinating.

4. Annie Duke, former professional poker player and decision-making expert, discussed her new book. Like Paul Johnson and Paul Sonkin’s Pitch the Perfect Investment, Annie’s book had me rethinking how I process decisions of all types.

5. Ali Hamed, twenty-six year old founder of CoVenture, contemplates the intersection of finance and technology and has created a firm across venture capital, lending, and crypto assets that invest in novel, previously unpriced assets.

Best of the Rest
1. Patrick O’Shaughnessy with Josh Wolfe.
Extraordinary insight into investing from a superstar venture capitalst.

2. Wondery’s new podcast, Business Wars.
The inside story on Netflix vs. Blockbuster was the first tale.  Fascinating insider perspective.

For over a decade, I have participated in a fundraiser for rare cancer research called Cycle for Survival. Cycle got started by a classmate of mine from business school, the late, great Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband and fellow classmate, Dave Linn.  It started in a single Equinox gym in NYC back in 2007 and has grown to a national movement that has raised $160MM and funded over 100 clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

I’m riding in a few Cycle events over the next two weeks. For anyone interested in contributing, I’d welcome your support in the battle to fight rare cancers.


Have a great month!