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Some things and ideas: August 2022
Some random thoughts on articles that caught my attention in the last month. Note that I try to write notes on articles immediately after reading them, so there can be a little overlap in themes if an article grabs my attention early in the month and is similar to an article that I like later in the month.
My monthly overview (Monthly recurring piece)
I consider YAVB my “empire” with four core pieces: this blog / substack (the free side), the premium side of this blog, my podcast (also on Spotify, iTunes, or YouTube), and my twitter account. You can see my 2022 vision and goals for the empire here. If you like the blog / free site, I'd encourage you to check out the pod, follow me on twitter, and maybe even subscribe to the premium site!
I try to be as helpful as humanly possible to anyone whose research / writing I enjoy. In almost every post I do, you'll notice I link to other subscription services or investors who I like. I don't get referral fees or anything for that; these are almost always organic links and highlights that I do not because I was asked to but because one of my goals with the (very small) platform I have is to shine light on other people who are doing good work and make sure they have a platform big enough to encourage them to keep doing good work!
If you're launching a subscription service, or a new blog, or you're an investor who has done some really good research and wants to get some more eyeballs on it, please drop me a line and let me know. If the quality is there, I would love to link to your blog post or subscription service or research (and if the quality isn't there, I'm happy to provide feedback! I have done so with several services and I think my advice is good / appreciated / helpful!), and I'd love to have you on the podcast to talk about all of it. I can't promise anything, but most podcast guests / people I've linked to have been very happy about the reception / feedback they've gotten (I've even been called the king of the sub bumps / almost as good as Twitter / a big sub bump, and I've generally heard from investors with LPs who come on the podcast that they're delighted by the response). My DMs are always open, so feel free to slide into them if I can be helpful!
A bonus note: I get asked from lots of people about how to break into the finance industry. I detailed it more here, but my top advice would be to go out and start a substack.
Hello from Greece!
I try to get these monthly pieces out on the last day of the month (or first day of next month if it’s a weekend), like clockwork. With Labor Day coming up and my wife about to start a new job, I’ve been on vacation in Greece for the last ~week. It’s been nice and relaxing (Greece is absolutely lovely!)…. but I am raring to get back to work and my normal routine (and, of course, see my best friend Penny).
Anyway, I only mention this because this month’s piece might be a little light given I’ve been on vacation and was cramming calls and research into the days before vacation instead of prepping this piece. Also, I’ll try to get back to any emails, but I have had almost no internet service this week…. so please don’t feel like I’m ignoring you / feel free to reach out again next week if I accidentally did!
FinTwit board game night
I am an absolute board game nut, and I’m guessing some of my readers are as well, so I wanted to get a FinTwit board game night going.
General idea is simple: we’ll meet up at my office (it’s in the Nomad area) around 6, play some board games, and have a good time. I’ll likely order a few pizzas for the crew, and everyone is welcome to some drinks if they’d like to!
For the first set of games, I was thinking we’d play some classics (Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and/or 7 Wonders), but my interest in board games is very wide (true story: I’ve bought so many board games and they take up so much room in our apartment, my wife has forbidden me from buying more…. and that rule only gets broken once a month or so).
Anyway, if you’re interested in joining, feel free to send me an email or slide into my DMs and drop me your email there. I’ll send an email out to everyone who’s interested early next week, and we’ll hopefully have our first gaming session sometime the week of the 12th. If all goes well, I plan on turning it into a monthly or even semi-monthly thing!
State of the markets (Monthly recurring piece)
I know it’s silly… but the past few months I’ve included a “state of the markets” piece, and I’ve found it’s really helped me think through what I’m seeing. So I’m going to make this a monthly recurring piece.
Anyway, as mentioned above, this month I’m on vacation, so I’m not spending too much time here…. except to note that things feel pretty normal. There are pockets of the market that look cheap to me, but in late May to early July I thought huge swaths of the market just looked wildly cheap unless we were entering a depression. Today, not the case. The CNN fear & greed index backs that up; I know it’s not the best indicator, but it’s simple and I’ve found it’s about right. Things seem about average to maybe a little on the cheap side.
Last month I mentioned “online ad spend dropping like crazy” and how I thought the bear case for most big tech was sustainability of earnings (yes, they look cheap on trailing numbers, but they can get disintermediated so fast that earnings can go to zero in a heart beat.
Obviously I had that thought process in mind when reading “Gen Z uses TikTok like Google.”
Do I think TikTok “kills” Google? No. But it could seriously hamper YouTube, and just the risk and seeing how youngsters use it shows how quickly things can shift in tech.
Nerd Corner (Monthly recurring piece)
There’s no hiding it; I’m a massive nerd. I read 3-4 fantasy books a month, my favorite pastime is playing board games with my wife and friends, and I religiously watch every new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and listen to fantasy show recaps on Binge Mode (so much so that I even did a Twitter Space talking about the MCU!). Plus, I was an eager supporter of the Brandon Sanderson Kickstarter (yes, I splurged and went for the hardcover books).
Anyway, I figured a few of you are nerds like me, so I’m starting this segment to give recs of what I’m nerding out over currently, with the hope that you’ll either try it and enjoy it or recommend me similarly nerdy things that I’ll enjoy. This month’s recs:
Between the vacation downside and the flight to get to Greece, I’ve had a ton of reading time. Some of the books have been awful, but there’s two I can whole heartedly recommend and one I can recommend if it’s your jam.
Cradle book 11, Dreadgod, came out, and it took me 48 hours to read. Fantastic.
Wandering Inn is…. different. And it’s slow. I was hesitant to recommend it because it’s pretty out there…. but I’ve found myself completely engrossed in it and borderline unable to put it down, so I figured I’d get over the embarrassment and recommend something I’m clearly enjoying!
PS- outside of my monthly recs, I constantly get asked what my favorite fantasy books are. So I’m just going to throw this list out monthly:
Kingkiller is probably the best books I’ve ever read; waiting for the third is agony.
Gentleman Bastards is right up there with Kingkiller; the mix of fun and world building is outstanding.
Red Rising series is more sci-fi, but my god is it good. I would literally stay up all night to read every book the day they came out (note: I’ve only read the first trilogy; I’m going to read the second when the last book comes out later this year).
If you’re looking for something a little more under the radar (most of the books above are widely regarded as some of the best fantasy books / series ever), the Licanius Trilogy was fantastic.
First Law trilogy is excellent. It can get a little brutal though; there are a bunch of sequels and spins, but I’ve never been able to finish them because one of them got so brutal I just put the book down and never picked it up agia.
The Cradle series probably isn’t as “good” as the books above, but I binged them and every fantasy fan I’ve recommended them to has said something along the line of “I read all ten books in two months after I opened the first one.”
Podcasts (Monthly recurring piece)
I launched the Yet Another Value Podcast in August 2020; the goal of the podcast is to do a deep dive into a high conviction idea from a sharp investor. No talking about the investor’s philosophy or history; just one well researched idea broken down (I provided a longer piece on my vision for the podcast at the start of 2021). They've been a blast so far.
A big update: I moved the podcast to a dedicated section of this blog. If you already subscribe to the podcast, no need to do anything. If you don’t….. well, you should!
This month’s podcasts:
Other things I liked (Monthly Recurring Piece)
Yes, I’m reading!
I feel like I’m in the wrong business having guests on for free. My god.