Some things and ideas: October 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 (substack recently gave me a referral code if you start one; if you use that, awesome! But I’ve been recommending starting a substack logn before they offered referrals!)
I’ve been having a lot of trouble staying asleep for the full night for the past year or two. I know how important sleep is, so that’s been pretty frustrating for me. I’ll wake up every night after like 4 hours of sleep and just find myself unable to fall back asleep. I think that got particularly bad this month, as Elon would literally give me night terrors from my TWTR position.
So I’ve been trying to improve the quality of my sleep and sleep longer / through the night. Three things that I’ve found really helpful so far:
Eight sleep: if you follow a ton of athletes / influencers, you’ll undoubtedly stumble on eight sleep. I think it’s because they have a pretty rich referral program (that’s a referral link BTW), but whatever. I caved and got one 3 months ago and I have been loving it. I like to sleep in a super cold bed; my wife like to sleep in a warm bed, and that caused lots of temperature issues between the two of us. We got the mattress cover and our temperature issues have been non-existent since. Takes a little time to install, but super comfy and I’ve really been enjoying it. I travelled earlier this month and slept in a friend’s guest bedroom and noticed I was having real trouble relaxing / falling asleep as quickly without the 8sleep
Sleep mask: I’d never used one before, but I don’t have blackout blinds so my room can be pretty bright. Someone mentioned masks to me over the summer, and I finally caved and got one. I’ve found it great for relaxing / falling asleep, but I will admit I’ve had trouble sleeping all the way through the night with it on. Maybe just an adjustment period, but overall I’ve enjoyed it / found it useful so figured I’d mention.
Whoop: This is a fitness band tracker. Honestly, I’m back and forth on it. The tracking on it is worlds beyond any other product I’ve seen (my apple watch, the 8sleep, etc.); the issue I’ve run into is there’s not a crazy amount to do with the data it gives you. However, it does an incredible job of sleep tracking, and I’ve found myself being more religious about setting my schedule to get consistent sleep and wake times (and make sure those times are long enough to get proper recovery) thanks to the whoop, so I figured I’d mention it if only for those reasons.
Anyway, those are the three things that have helped me…. but I’m still looking for more! If you’ve got any suggestions for things that help you stay asleep throughout the night, I’d definitely be interested!
FinTwit board game night (Monthly recurring piece)
I am an absolute board game nut, and I’m guessing some of my readers are as well, so I’ve started hosting a FinTwit board game night. We’ve done two so far, and both have been a blast!
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 bring some drinks if they’d like to!
We played Settlers of Catan last month, 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). We’ll likely try to get some 7 Wonders or other games going in the near future
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 later this week or early next week to plan a game in the middle of the month.
If all goes well, I plan on turning it into a monthly thing, so no worried if you can’t make this one!
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.
What a difference a month makes! Markets basically wiped out all of the September swoon; the Russell was up ~10% in October and the S&P was up 7-8%.
Where’s that leave the markets? I’ve taken to using CNN’s fear / greed index as a short hand for where the markets are. That index has the markets just tilting into greed, which feels a little aggressive to me. I still sense a little hesitation from most of the people I talk to…. a little fear that “this is just a bear market really; the market is headed lower and I’ll buy some there.” The VIX is still at >26, which also suggests some fear.
Still, I’m seeing a lot less fear today than I was a month ago, and people do seem to be shifting to a more aggressive stance. It’s definitely harder to find obvious value today than it was a month ago….. but I still think there’s plenty of cheap stocks / value to be had.
Anyway, personally with the rise in markets / decline in fear I’m a little less bullish today than I was a month ago…. but I still think markets overall are on the cheap side, it’s a great time to be a saver, and there’s good value to be had if you’re looking!
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:
Foundryside: really, really good. This came well recommended, and my book club read it. I think everyone in the book club really enjoyed it; I would probably have given it a 7.5 out of 10 and I was probably the low man on the totem pole. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series….. But I’m not sure when I’m going to have time because Mistborn book 7 / Wax and Wayne book 4 is coming out this month and I probably need to do some rereading of that series in preparation!
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 series 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 again. But the first trilogy is really, really great.
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 YAVP (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)
I’ve been enjoying the daily newsletter from TIP
I’m a mammoth fan