If you ever get a chance to go, I recommend it. It’s the lowest-ego conference I’ve ever been to (hard to accomplish in this space).
Most of the talks were pretty good, but a couple resonated with me in particular:
“How to actually cultivate calm” by Jonny Miller of Nervous System Mastery. It was the antithesis of the (IMO terrible) “hustle culture” idea, but instead of some woo-woo “find your true purpose” stuff it was rooted in practical and scientific understanding of how the body works for productivity and satisfaction, tips to control its various states, and some techniques for reaching the sweet spot between being too-hyped and sluggish.I’ll probably sign up for the course myself (no kickbacks here for sharing this). Ignoring the life-satisfaction aspects (which are most important), being able to balance the body’s states are key for performance.
A fantastic workshop put on by Ryan Tansom on how to run and view your company as a financial asset. “Intentional Growth” was the title (and the title of his pod). The meaning of this is around intentionally pulling the levers of a company to reach a stated goal, instead of how most of us do just bumbling around just trying to “make more”.Some good concepts here. Balancing revenue growth (which can kill profit), deciding if you’re optimizing for distributions or long-term enterprise value, tax optimization, interesting exit options (like ESOP’s which I’d never heard of), etc.Ryan does have a course, which I have not taken, but it seems to offer a lot of what the workshop was about (they appear to have a few free videos).
Lastly, before we get into the meat of the newsletter, sending some love to the Dynamite Circle crew in Bangkok. I’m FOMO’ing on not being able to make it this year.
Aight, let’s do this:
The “Mystery” AI Writer
A bit overwhelmed by all the positive responses I received to last week’s email, so thank you .
But if you look closely at the screenshot I think over half of y’all just wanted to know the name of the amaze-balls AI writer I mentioned (I don’t blame you). Clearly there is some interest.
The AI writer I mentioned is Content At Scale.
It’s not like the others though (like Jasper, WordHero, etc). Those are useful for short descriptions or rewriting something, but this tool creates full mostly ready-to-publish blog posts almost instantly.
Proof? Here is a post that I made, posted here without any editing or formatting. Just copied and pasted, including title, URL slug, and meta description.
It’s Bananas right? If you’re interested in this, I made a short video showing it in action, as well as talking about some outside-the-box ways to use it that I think are the best of all.
(Just to be clear: that’s an affiliate link, but I was I think the first paying customer, and you get extra article credits by using my link.)
Can you think of any more interesting ways to use this tool other than what I mentioned? If so, hit me up, I wanna play.
What was it really like to live through the Great Depression?
This book is a firsthand account of a young struggling lawyer in Youngstown, Ohio living through the Great Depression. He kept realtime journal entries for the entire decade writing down his daily struggles, thoughts and impressions of what he saw happening around him throughout this crisis.
What makes it so fascinating to me is that it’s not another typical history book looking back in time on this era as an outsider, forming the narrative afterwards.
It’s a day-by-day journal of what ordinary Americans were actually thinking during all this.
What were they thinking? How did they feel? What were they afraid of? What did they predict would happen next?
And then it’d flash forward to a diary entry six months or three years later and show how all of these predictions actually panned out.
It was enlightening to see how many things were similar to today.
Unease about the currency . The political party in power would kinda cook the books before elections to make progress seem like they did better than they actually did (like the US changing the calculation of inflation this year). Pundits spouting their theories about knowing what is next.
So much of what happened back then you see happening right now when you read the news.
I guess human psychology and politics never change.
Takeaway: keeping liquidity is vital
For me, a major takeaway from the book is that it’s important to keep a super-healthy cash balance.
Some people would claim that you should be fully invested all the time. That doesn’t work for me. I’ve always kept a higher cash balance than recommended by professionals.
Ya know who else does this? Señor Buffet is who.Berkshire Hathaway always keeps a very large cash balance.
Of course doing this allows me to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
But more importantly: it just keeps me sane. It keeps me from making bad decisions. It allows me to be more patient and logical with my moves as I’m never stuck in an awkward, over-exposed, position.
When the world’s going crazy around me I can sleep better at night and not panic.
(And there’s a LOT of value in that.)
4%+ short-term treasury yields make chilling in cash easier than ever too.
Some other takeaways that stuck with me:
In the end, the businesses with solid fundamentals at reasonable prices will do well even in dark times, but it can take a very long time to prove and be taxing on the psyche.
A lot of the “smart money” was in cash before the crash. They bought the dip in 1931. Unfortunately they all bought too soon and ended up almost as bad. (lesson: investing is hard.)
Margin, debt and lack of liquidity significantly ups the chances of financial death.
Diversification, in good assets, is key. In the book you hear story after story of rich successful people who go broke because everything they had was in 1-2 bank stocks paying high dividends.
Keeping money in high quality bonds is important (cash-ish). Poor quality bonds will just fail, all stocks can swing. Actual bonds in good companies and governments are much more stable. (Note* I don’t believe bond ETF’s are the same, actual bonds).
One benefit of the Great Depression (and downturns in general) is that people return to a more simple life. They start enjoying the simple pleasures in life again, instead of the status items we’re all so obsessed with.
The book was truly enlightening and I highly recommend reading at least a part of it. I think you’ll probably get the gist of it by just reading ⅓ or so.
You Might Be Personally Liable For Your DAO’s Decisions
A super interesting development in the crypto space.
The CFTC says that if you vote with your tokens in a DAO, you might be personally liable for the actions your DAO takes. (If you’re holding tokens and don’t vote, you’re off the hook.)
That’s a big development. And it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Parker and Patrick McKenzie explain it far better than I could:
That’s all for this newsletter, until next week.
Take care,– Travis