In their latest episode of the VALUE: After Hours Podcast, Bill Brewster, Jake Taylor, and Tobias Carlisle discuss:
- Journalytic Launch
- Cathie Wood Predicts Bitcoin To $1 Million By 2030
- 10-3 Inversion and Recessions
- SBF And FTX GTFO
- No Bear Market Ends Before The Associated Recession Has Begun
- Demographics Look Bad For The Next 15-20 Years
- The St. Petersburg Parabox
- Mark Newfield – Keep Going!
- Liver King Busted After Leaked Email
You can find out more about the VALUE: After Hours Podcast here – VALUE: After Hours Podcast. You can also listen to the podcast on your favorite podcast platforms here:
Tobias: All right, I think we’re going to get a message. I think we’re live.
Jake: And we’re live.
Tobias: It’s Value: After Hours. It’s Tobias Carlisle with Jake Taylor and Bill Brewster as always. What’s happening, fellas?
Jake: Good to be here. It’s, what, 10:30 on the west coast?
Jake: [laughs] 10:30-ish?
Bill: Shoutout to the listener in Yorkshire.
Bill: I’ve been cleaning out my Twitter inbox. Fair amount of fans who sent me DMs that got so buried, it was in the section of the junk that said, “This may contain harmful or abusive content.”
Bill: So, I never responded. I feel like a schmuck. If I didn’t respond to you, I’m sorry. It’s because Twitter thought you were harmful or abusive.
Jake: Was it mostly abusive content?
Bill: It’s all crypto spam. So, yes.
Jake: Okay. Yeah.
Tobias: Yeah, they’ve upped their game recently, haven’t they?
Jake: Yeah, thanks, guys.
Tobias: Crypto spammers are hard at work.
Bill: Yeah. But I feel bad. There’s a lot of messages that I wish that I had checked, but it was buried in– I thought it’d be like, I don’t know, whatever the heck harmful content is. Turns out it was a lot of nice people writing. So, my apologies.
Jake: Gee, thanks, Elon.
Tobias: Let me do some shoutouts, fellas, because we got some good ones here.
Tobias: Yeah, we’ve got Yorkshire, Gothenburg. Townsville in the house. Good on you. Nassau, Bahamas, London Town. Is SBF around? Give him a punch.
Jake: Yeah, tell him we say hi.
Bill: Toby, how do you–
Tobias: Nashville, Morocco Agadir.
Bill: When you get excited about a location, what drives the excitement? Are you more distance from where you’re at or is it being–? [crosstalk]
Tobias: Time zone.
Bill: Time zone.
Tobias: Time zone. That’s it. Time zone.
Bill: Okay. All right.
Tobias: If someone is up in Townsville, it’s probably like 3 or 4 in the morning. I’d pay that–
Tobias: Flanoaussie from Maui. Good. All right. Good show.
Tobias: We got a good spread. Italy. Wow. Oregon.
Bill: The Townsville guy, if we’re ever doing a thing and he’s there– or she, it could be a she.
Jake: But we’re playing the– [crosstalk] [laughs]
Bill: Lets us know. Come up and say, “I’m the person from Townsville,” you’ve got drinks all night.
Tobias: Everybody’s going to say that now.
Jake: Yeah, that’s fair. All right.
Tobias: I’m from Townsville.
Jake: Yeah. Where’s your accent? [laughs]
Tobias: We got a special edition of the show today because JT is launching something. He’s got an announcement.
Jake: Big announcement, right? Yeah.
Tobias: I don’t want to press it too much. So, without further ado, why don’t you take that away, JT? [crosstalk]
Jake: Well, let’s hear what else is on tap for today. Let’s just– [crosstalk]
Bill: No, take it away.
Tobias: Or let’s just do the intro. We’ll do some menu items that are going to come up.
Jake: Yeah, we got to tease it, baby.
Tobias: JT and I want to talk about SBF a little bit, because it turns out– [crosstalk]
Jake: You don’t really want to [crosstalk] filling. [laughs]
SBF And FTX GTFO
Tobias: I didn’t really know who SBF was, this is Sam Bankman-Fried, and FTX. I didn’t know who this guy was probably three weeks ago. I didn’t really know. I didn’t really know what it did.
Jake: Didn’t know or didn’t care? What was that like? [laughs]
Tobias: Little bit of both. I didn’t really know, didn’t really care.
Tobias: Now that he’s blown himself up and he’s got into the public eye, but I went and had a look at who he was, pretty unimpressive. But it’s amazing to see the mainstream media reporting on this thing. You would think that he’s been trying his hardest and he’s had a little stumble and it’s going to be terrible, because now he’s not going to be able to donate all of his money.
Jake: Yeah– [crosstalk]
Tobias: It’s not like there’s any fraud going on there.
Jake: Alleged fraud, but based on his own tweets, it sort of sounds he’s copped to taking money from the customers and then using it for whatever he wants. I thought you weren’t allowed to do that.
Tobias: Well, crypto is a brand-new world. There are no rules there.
Jake: Ah, okay, that’s the difference. Sorry, I was– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Because we’re in this world, so we’re seeing this stuff all the time. We know people that are involved or who at least know what’s going on. But I just wonder if the average person at home who doesn’t really pay attention this stuff really knows what’s happened. It sounds like this MIT grad, he’s has been trying his hardest and now, all of his philanthropic dreams have come to an end.
Jake: Yeah, it’s [crosstalk] shame.
Tobias: It’s all the passive voice. There’s no act– Nobody actually did anything bad. Nobody’s done anything, including him, particularly not him.
Bill: Is that the coverage? Is that what people are saying more or less?
Jake: Oh, it’s been Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, all three of them have had these puffy pieces about how it’s such a shame that climate change is not going to be addressed now, because this– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Or the pandemic.
Jake: And the pandemic, yeah, or the next pandemic is going to be rough, because he’s not there to be our savior. It’s like this weird narrative.
Tobias: He’s handed out a lot of money to a lot of those groups. It’s amazing to see them all this– [crosstalk]
Jake: Journalists or– [chuckles]
Tobias: I think I don’t want to get this wrong, but I thought Vox was one of them. The Intercept certainly. They’ve all got pretty big slugs of money, like a few million bucks. Sorry if that’s not true for Vox. I’m pretty sure it’s true for the Intercept. None of them have disclosed any of that until they’ve been told to do so.
Jake: Calm out.
Bill: Yeah. Well, and some of his backers probably have some media strings behind the scenes, right? It’s awful shit.
Tobias: A few podcasts that have been paid– [crosstalk]
Bill: Fuck that guy.
Tobias: A few podcasts have been made for mentioning– People are getting two and a half grand for saying FTX. Damn. I’d say it for one and a half thousand dollars. I’ll say it for one, FTX. Send the check.
Jake: Pay us. [laughs] You’re now in the long list of claimants- [crosstalk]
Jake: -bankruptcy out of here. Creditor.
Jake: It’ll be Thomas Braziel will be sending you a couple pennies out of the- [laughs]
Tobias: Yeah, are we getting some Lunar coin or something like that?
Bill: The guy’s a piece of shit. What is there to write?
Tobias: Yeah, well, they’ve been– [crosstalk]
Bill: Cool. He’s a piece of shit that promised nice things, still a piece of shit.
Tobias: No dispute from me there. But you wouldn’t be allowed to write that piece, I don’t think. Nobody’s really written that piece.
Bill: That’s why they come to Value: After Hours, for the real news.
Tobias: Yeah, the truth. We don’t know anything either. We’re just speculating from the outside. [laughs]
Bill: That’s right.
Cathie Wood Predicts Bitcoin To $1 Million By 2030
Tobias: Oh, the other thing was, I think this happened after the show, but Cathie Wood has called for bitcoin to a million bucks.
Tobias: So, I’m updating my forecast to a million billion. So, when it goes through a million dollars then, I’ll be right ultimately. A million billion.
Jake: Does she own bitcoin in ARK’s ETFs?
Tobias: She did it at one point, but she was forced to liquidate.
Jake: Why? Because it’s not approved securities or something?
Tobias: I don’t know. Maybe she was forced to liquidate part of this. That’s the way I understand it. Anyway, there’s some holding in that head to go.
Jake: Probably, because liquidated the top.
Bill: [crosstalk] down innovation.
Jake: Could be that.
Tobias: Innovation. Field of innovation.
Jake: Was that like a GE tagline? [laughs]
Tobias: No, it was Mr. Burns gave Homer Simpson an Excellent in the Field of Excellence Award.
Tobias: “Quadrillion zillion.” Yeah, thanks. Value Stock’s in the house. Valley Stock Geek.
Tobias: What’s the point of coming out with your million-dollar target on bitcoin other than to get attention?
Bill: That’s the point.
Tobias: So silly.
Jake: That’s [laughs] to it.
Bill: I bet we talk about her more than almost any other asset manager.
Tobias: Yeah, that’s probably fair.
Bill: So, that’s the point, right?
Jake: She’s living rent free right here.
Liver King Busted After Leaked Email
Tobias: But then, here’s the thing. So, Liver King got busted last night. You guys know who the Liver King is?
Jake: I’ve heard of him. Yeah, what happened?
Tobias: I can’t avoid him. It’s like this bloody Tate brothers are all over everything all the time too. But Liver King, clearly roided out of his eyeballs. He’s got this red physique. He’s got the veins and the shoulders, which are usually a pretty good indicator that somebody’s doing– So, I don’t think you can tell if somebody’s on gear, but I think you can tell with some physiques that can only get better using gear. He’s clearly that dude, right? And so, last night, he’s got busted because he’s sent some emails, needing some advice and laying out what he was taking. It’s like $15,000 a month in– [crosstalk]
Jake: In pharmacology?
Tobias: Do you want to take ancestral living advice from that bloke? No. Do you want to take financial advice from Cathie? No. I don’t think it helps you to be out there saying dumb shit all the time.
Bill: Yeah, but I guess it’s just like what’s the game she’s playing. Do we think she’s playing an investment return game? Is that really the game that she’s playing at this point?
Tobias: Yeah, I think that’s what she’s trying to do. 100%.
Bill: I think that’s what you’re doing. I don’t think that’s what she’s doing. [crosstalk]
Tobias: 100% she is.
Jake: Is it 100% game then?
Tobias: It’s both.
Bill: I don’t think so anymore, man. I think it’s just an AUM game and just trying to eke out whatever’s left of her reputation, get paid, and then disappear. Maybe go away for a couple years, open up the next fund, say smelling [crosstalk] shit. Yeah, she’s got one shot.
Tobias: She’s got to get attention.
Bill: I bet she’s made life-changing money.
Tobias: Oh, for sure. Yeah, for sure.
Bill: So, who the fuck cares?
Bill: You would care. But that’s why I like you.
Tobias: [crosstalk] All you got is reputation. All that other shit goes away.
Bill: Once you go to the beach and you’re no longer talking to people, you could get another reputation.
Jake: [laughs] Buy another one.
Bill: [crosstalk] came to the Bahamas.
Jake: That’s fair. I’m not sure I want to live like that though.
Bill: I know, but I don’t think that you can view the lens of your personal views and try to attribute what’s going on with her. I don’t think you’re the type of guy that would ever get on and say, “Berkshire’s going to a million dollars a share tomorrow.”
Tobias: Anytime anybody pushes their virtue forward, their religion or any of those sort of things like ESG. I’m always nervous. They’re just trying to distract you from what’s really going on underneath. [crosstalk] the ARK.
Bill: You need– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Innovation in the field of innovation.
Bill: That’s right.
Tobias: I’m up for human life-changing innovation.
Bill: I used to want to interview her, not so much anymore.
Tobias: I just don’t think you get a straight answer. There’s no self-reflection.
Bill: Yeah, I don’t know, man. We’ll see.
Jake: I could take the other side of this and say that I think she honestly believes all the stuff.
Tobias: I think so too. I think she honestly– [crosstalk]
Jake: Whether you think that that’s a realistic state of the world, then that’s a different conversation. But I think she’s earnest in what she’s saying. I’m not sure about the math always. Sometimes, it’s a little mathematically challenged but, hey, it takes lot of different viewpoints.
Tobias: But there are things that are knowable and there are things that are unknowable. If somebody is standing there telling you something that they know something that is unknowable, then I know that they don’t know the very basic– Don’t put this on a t shirt. They haven’t figured out the very basic circle of competence type idea. They don’t know what they can know and what they can’t know. They haven’t ever thought about that line and that person is dangerous.
Jake: Yeah, I would say that’s fair. I guess I’m scoring on intentions here.
Bill: I guess I almost think that– [crosstalk]
Tobias: I don’t know. [crosstalk]
Bill: I think we all agree she’s fairly intelligent, right?
Tobias: No question about intelligence.
Bill: So, I guess I’m not as willing to think that she actually believes what she’s saying, because I think she’s too intelligent to actually believe what she’s saying when she puts a number behind it. It almost strikes me as you’d have to be so dumb to believe that you can make those predictions with accuracy. I don’t think she’s dumb.
Tobias: Motivated reasoning.
Tobias: Motivated reasoning. Part of it too is she’s created this image of innovation in the field of innovation. So now, you can’t really step back from that and say, “Well, what I really want is cash flows.”
Tobias: Things that have traditionally– [crosstalk]
Jake: You tied to that math– [crosstalk]
Bill: Oh, I don’t think that’s true. I think there’s a very easy pivot for her to say, “These companies are going to be so profitable in the future and we just need to go through a little reset here and we’re comfortable with our long-term secular themes,” without saying stuff like, “We’re going to compound at 40% forward or bitcoin’s going to a million.” I think that there were a lot of chances for her to pivot. Now, less so.
Tobias: But if what you’re saying is we’re always finding these– We are able to identify cutting-edge technology in the public markets. It’s like a VC saying we’ve got this superior ability to identify all these new trends. If you then say what we’re doing is we’re looking for stuff that’s– I guess you are saying– [crosstalk]
Jake: Real businesses?
Tobias: Yeah, real businesses, that doesn’t sort of– You’re already seeing we’re not out right on the cutting edge. Now, we’re stepping back towards this a little bit further back during the– we’re at the cash cow end of the cycle, not whatever comes first.
Bill: Yeah, I guess, I don’t think that that’s necessarily true. I think that you can be looking for the cash cows of tomorrow and continue to do that. But I think that once you start putting forward numbers out there– and there’s a reason that regulators don’t let people typically talk like this.
Jake: Yeah. [laughs]
Bill: I think she’s smart enough to know that. That’s why, I don’t know, I’ve started to get a little more offended over time the longer it’s gone on.
Jake: That’s fair, because I do think that a lot of regular people who don’t do a lot of financial stuff see that and they don’t know that you’re not supposed to talk like that.
Tobias: David Wilson makes a good point. He says, “Tesla to $5,000 actually happened. Once you make one right prediction, it gives you leeway to keep making predictions.” That’s fair. That was a complete non-consensus view that did seem to happen.
Bill: Yeah. Bitcoin could hit a million. The dollar could be worth nothing. It’s possible.
Tobias: Bitcoin can do anything. But to come out and predict it’ll hit a million, it’s silly, right? Show us the reasoning for a million dollars. If it’s like she’s BTC maximalist because as you say, money gets inflated and nothing, then make that case.
Bill: Yeah, and assign a probability to it.
Bill: Keep playing. It’s not sexy to do such things.
Jake: Nope. But that’s actual real work.
Tobias: I’ll tell you something about bitcoin. Bitcoin, when it ran to $20,000 the first time, that was 2017 and it was around about this time–
Jake: Yeah, [crosstalk] 2017.
Tobias: Right, it was around about this time, 2017, that everybody was going completely apeshit. It ran from $15,000 to $20,000. It was all over the news, it was everywhere. We’re now below $20,000. So, there’s a reasonable chance that the five-year on bitcoin goes negative in the next couple of weeks.
Jake: Yeah, I stole something that Buffett did when– remember he talked about the cube of gold sitting inside an infield and then what else could you buy instead of that? And he talked about, I don’t know, it was like 18 Exxons and a whole bunch of other stuff, and you still had a billion dollars of walking around money. I stole that mental model and used it for bitcoin. And instead, you could get Intel, AMD, Micron, Nvidia, basically almost the whole computer hardware industry. Own all the picks, all the shovels, and still have some cash for walking around money.
Then I went back, I don’t know, maybe last year or something and looked to see what had bitcoin done versus my basket of things that I bought or that you could have theoretically bought for the same market cap as bitcoin and it was like– It wasn’t even close. Owning productive businesses crushed owning a token.
Tobias: To be fair, the $20,000 in 2017, it kissed and then fell back to whatever $3,000 or something like that. And then, it went to $60,000. So, there’s a chance of a 20 bag– That’s always what bitcoin’s got going for it. It’s got that massive volatility that it comes back down at some price. The only that– [crosstalk]
Jake: Well, if there’s nothing to anchor to, then you can go as high as the next guy wants to trade it for.
Tobias: A million’s a possibility, like any kind of number is a possibility.
Jake: Mm. Whoa, what if this is just a big St. Petersburg Paradox playing out, where if it’s a big enough number than the expected value, then you have to put all your chips in on.
Jake: No, don’t do that.
The St. Petersburg Parabox
Tobias: What’s the St. Petersburg Paradox is you flip a coin and you double your money.
Tobias: You can keep it until you flip a tail or you flip the wrong head. You get the wrong side, and then you lose the lot.
Jake: Right. How much should you be willing to pay to play that game? The mathematical expected outcome answer is infinity. All your entire net worth, you should be willing to play that game because of– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Because you’ve got this expected outcome that is however vanishingly small, it’s this gigantic– [crosstalk]
Jake: Times infinity.
Jake: Yeah. Creates infinity as the expected value, which is obviously– it’s hard to flip it enough times to win infinity.
Bill: Yeah, interesting.
Tobias: I’ve been trying.
Jake: Keep trying.
Bill: it’s a nice mental exercise, taken way too far and gone horribly wrong.
Jake: Well, that was the 1700s. They were working on probabilities and mathematical gambling ideas.
Bill: The zero in the middle of that really screws up the math.
Tobias: It does. That’s what you’ve got to avoid. Avoid the doughnuts. The zeros hit the compounding.
Bill: “Honey, we have nothing left. I bet at all to flip coins. I thought that there was a chance we could have everything.”
Jake: “But for a brief period there, we were very rich.”
Tobias: We had a lot of money for– [crosstalk]
Bill: Fuck that. “For like two flips, we had two bucks.”
Jake: [laughs] Yeah, and then you banked out.
Tobias: JT, you want to you want to take us away on the Journalytic journey?
Jake: Yes, please. So, yeah, today– [crosstalk]
Tobias: What is Journalytic?
Jake: Well, hold on, Toby.
Tobias: Sorry, dude. You’ve got a presentation. [crosstalk]
Tobias: Take it away.
Jake: Son of a bitch. So, today is a very special day for me. It’s literally years in the making to get to today. In some ways, it’s been more than 10 years to get to this very day. So, yes, as Toby was alluding to, this project that I’ve been working on is called Journalytic. It is open now for anyone who wants to go in there and log in and get journaling. We’ve been previously in a closed kind of beta, kind of invite only, but now it’s open to anybody. I thought maybe I would just like walk through what some of my motivations were for trying to build this thing.
If to rewind, go back, I’ve tried all kinds of different note taking apps over the years. Notion, and Roam, and Google Docs, and Slack channels with myself, all kinds of stuff. It always felt something was missing because all of those are such general-purpose tools. I was always wondering like, “Where’s that perfect investment journaling app that’s custom built for investment?” It’s a very specific use case, and I could never find it. So, I decided, yeah, maybe I’ll try to build something for myself internally running Farnam Street.
It turned out I felt what I was exploring and what I was wanting to get built, I’ve realized that might be able to help a lot of other people too. And so, the project got a little bit bigger than that, than just purely an internal tool to be built. I started building a team around me to help do it right. I’ve been incredibly blessed with the guys, with a super talented team that has come together to work on this project with me. The number of man years that are already invested in this is a little bit sickening in some ways, but [chuckles] it’s also exciting to finally get it out.
I had three primary desires, these itches of my own that I was trying to scratch with building this. The first one is that I wanted to feel more organized. So, for years, I had research all over the place. I would take notes in these yellow legal pads. They start stacking up. Some of them had investment research. Some of them had book notes. Some of them had just general interest notes. They were stacked up everywhere. Some were at home. Some were at the office. I couldn’t find what I was looking for most of the time. It was just a mess.
The real problem is that I couldn’t really search across them and I couldn’t leave tags for myself to find later, like little breadcrumbs that help you connect dots. I knew I was having a lot less epiphanies than I should have been having, because you can only load so much RAM into the RAM of your brain at any one time. So, to be able to work with the information, the material, it helps to have it in this external brain. And so, that’s what I’ve been trying to build to stay organized.
And now, Journalytic is basically my external brain for the last 18 months that I’ve been using it. I can easily organize all my notes. It uses this $1 sign, like a cash tag like Twitter does, where you could put in $MKL, and then all of your notes would be Markel related to– It would then be organized by Markel. And you could then search and just look and see all your notes for Markel. Or a hash tag with a particular phrase on it or a note that helps you to keep things organized, and to then be able to search through your different hashtags.
One of the things that I do regularly is I’ll use #redflag or #greenflag. As I’m going through, let’s say, a 10k, I’ll just affix a little #redflag on something that I don’t like. Anything on its own is not that big of a deal, but because it’s actually colored red and colored green, I can go through my notes really quickly for an idea and I could see like, “Oh, shit. There’s a bunch of red flags that have been accumulating and I didn’t notice it as I was going through in real time. But now that I can see the whole sweep of it and see the color, it starts to stand out. Now, maybe I need to re-underwrite some of my thinking about it.”
I also use the hashtags for scoring. So, I’ll put #capitalallocation1 or #capitalallocatioin2 or #capitalallocatioin3. One will be like when I see good cap allocation or three will be bad, and so I can start to score different companies, different management. Maybe I could do culture as well as a scoring or returns on capital, different things. Then, I could click through and see like, “Oh, here are all my companies that I’ve seen #capallocation1. These guys are really good at it. Is there anything common between all of them that I can then look for in another pattern matching for another company?”
The ability to search multiple items at one time. I can put in, let’s say, #thesis and then $Fairfax, and then it’ll quickly just show me right away like, “Okay, here’s my thesis for owning Fairfax,” or, “Here’s a KPI at Markel,” and then I can see, “Okay, here are the KPIs I keep my eye on for Markel.”‘ And then of course, you can backlink between entries so that you can organize webs of information.
The second human need that I was really trying to go after was to hold myself accountable. I knew that there were places in my process where I was being sloppy. I would research a name for a little while, I’d get distracted, and then I’d end up not finishing my process. I’d move on to something else that was a shiny object. I had an investment checklist, but it was this really long document that I would just go through and kind of like, “Oh, yeah, this doesn’t really matter” or, “Yeah, I should look into this later.” It really was defeating the whole purpose of having a checklist, which is to have system to thinking trigger to use [unintelligible 00:25:25] terminology. You’re not just blowing through it. A lot of times, I wouldn’t write anything down as I was going through my checklist. So, I wouldn’t be able to see how things were changing as I would rerun the checklist, which is really important.
So now, I can hold myself accountable in Journalytic in whole bunch of different ways. You can look through this idea list so you can see where all your ideas are in process. I can see where I got the idea, so the source of the idea. So, I have an idea of who is giving me good ideas and who isn’t, which is pretty powerful. It’s really easy to run checklists in there. We have 45 different categories of checklists that we’ve prebuilt into here. There’s more than 300 individual checklist items to work through if you want to build your own checklists within there. I can set reminders to follow up on different events like let’s say that there’s a management says something and I want to go and keep an eye on like, “Okay, well, they said within six months, this was going to happen. I’ll set a reminder,” and it’ll pop up and tell me like, “Hey, you wanted to go look at this.” And now, I can go check and see did management execute on what they said they’re going to do.
There’s also this cool thing where you can set an inactivity alert for a particular idea. Let’s say it’s been 30 days or 90 days, and you haven’t journaled about that idea, it’ll give you an alert if you set it so that you can make sure you stay up on all your stuff that you own or things that you would like to own.
It’s really easy to record probabilistic predictions, so to get back to, is Cathie doing a probability prediction of bitcoin at a million. It’s really trying to behave super forecasters like Phil Tetlock would tell you what you should be doing. Then, you could create contracts with yourself. Last week, we were talking about kill criteria. That’s one of the things that I have in there is, I have kill criteria set for ideas. It’s really about putting my best intentions into this contract with myself so that it helps control my behavioral biases that might be creeping in sunk cost bias.
Then, the last thing was that I wanted to really understand myself better as an investor. I knew that there were all kinds of data about my investment process that were really going unrecorded. I couldn’t learn from any of that because I didn’t have the data. So, where are my blind spots and what feedback loops were currently stuck open that if I could close them, I could learn so much more? Right now, Journalytic makes it really easy and fast to record a decision. Buy and sell decisions, obviously, a lot of people do that, but also actually pass and hold decisions and what’s my reasoning for each one. Why am I buying? Why am I selling? Why am I passing? Why am I holding? And then, to go back and look at the reason code that I use for each one of those particular buckets of decisions and I could see what the returns were really easily for those decisions in real time, it allows me to go and look at systematic biases that I have in my reasoning.
Also, the ability to see which ideas am I spending the most time on. Does that match up with where I have my portfolio allocated? Am I spending a bunch of time on ideas I don’t even own and I’m basically chasing shiny objects? Do I get better returns from focusing on my existing portfolio and understanding those names better or looking for some new opportunity? How many ideas am I looking at per year? How many decisions am I making per year? What’s my swing rate on buying versus passing? How many rocks am I turning over? How many things am I buying or not? All those stuff, I think, is really cool to know.
Then, the ability to record feelings and then see them overlaid really easily on a price chart, we’ve built this. And so, I really want to see how price is driving my own sentiment as much because I fear that it is. I’ve already seen that it does somewhat, which is a little bit scary. So, it shows you what Kahneman said before about like, “Just because the biases, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily controlling for them unless you take very specific actions.” This whole thing is built to basically try to help you take more specific actions that will control your behavioral biases.
My ask of the audience is to go to journalytic.com, create an account, it’s free. This particular set of features that we built to start is going to most likely– I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay free for as long as we do it. We’ll build other things that eventually will turn this into a business. But for now, we just want to get people in there and get them working on stuff and becoming better investors. And then, I would ask that you just record one feeling about any investment that you’ve been making or that you’ve been thinking about lately. And then, navigate to that price chart for that. It’s inside of there. It’s very easy. And then, see your feeling that’s recorded on that price chart and then imagine yourself, if you continually record that type of thing to see what’s going to happen, how price is changing your sentiment, I think it’s super powerful to just get started.
My hope is that these tools are going to turn all of us into way better investors than we would have been. I love the idea that our group of people who are using it are ironing out a bunch of the inefficiencies in the market and becoming the best version that they can become of investors. So, longtime in coming, lot of thought and effort and human– just thinking about this over and over and over again and working it out to figure out what’s the best way to structure this so it’s not overly complicated, but it’s still very easy to use. I’ve been using it now for about 18 months like a rudimentary version. I’ve got now more than, think 1,900 entries over that time period. I can search through any of them and I could see all kinds of stuff about myself. The more that I put in there, the more that I’m learning about myself. It’s starting to become an exponential curve to that. If you’re into self-improvement, I don’t think there’s a better tool out there for that. So, that’s the [crosstalk]
Tobias: Congrats, JT. Congrats there.
Jake: Thanks, man.
Tobias: Longtime coming.
Jake: Yeah, longtime coming. How long have we been talking about this behind the scenes? [laughs] Forever.
Tobias: At least 18 months. Two years, maybe more than that.
Jake: Oh, Jesus.
Bill: So, you are giving it away free to everyone?
Jake: [laughs] Free for– [crosstalk]
Bill: So, there is no reason that anyone shouldn’t at least check this out.
Tobias: Just $19.95 and postage– [laughs]
Jake: Yeah. [laughs]
Bill: I’m a little upset because I thought I was special but we’ll take that offline.
Jake: Yeah. [laughs] Well, listen, you got into the beta before it was open. So, that’s [crosstalk] entire special.
Bill: That’s right. I missed one of our scheduling sessions, which I’m sure would drove you a little nuts as it should have. But it’s a great product. I think Jake’s the right guy to bring something like this to market.
Jake: Thank you.
Bill: I don’t know if that helps you, by the way. The audience that loves you may not like me, but [Jake laughs] we are together on this one. Sympatico.
Tobias: You sent me some insights that you’d had and we’ll try to work out to what extent is that the market and to what extent is that you. But do you feel comfortable? Can you share some of those ideas that– I can probably pull it up. [crosstalk]
Jake: Are you talking about my decision analysis?
Tobias: Yeah. It doesn’t have to be the actual detail of it, just to give a flavor of what you do. Because I thought that was interesting. I thought it was useful.
Jake: Yeah. Maybe it would be good if you pulled up because you probably have that.
Tobias: Let me see. Not far back we have to go.
Jake: Well, here you go. I’m searching my process hashtag, which will take me right to that.
Tobias: Oh, yeah, I do have it here. I won’t read it. I’ll just lead you into it.
Jake: Yeah. All right, for buying things by reason codes, some interesting things that stood out from that, it’s a little bit annoying in some ways to look at this stuff. But when I had “increasing certainty” about an idea, yeah, that performed quite poorly. When I had loved the business, that didn’t do very well either. [chuckles] When I had asymmetric outcomes, which I thought was a dondo idea of heads I win, tails I don’t lose much, it turns out I lost more than I thought I was going to.
Jake: [laughs] But my core strategies of things that I work on like finding good cap allocators and reversion to the mean, I would call it which is basically traditional quant value bets, both of those did quite well and those tend to be the majority of how my assets are positioned. In general, it wasn’t as bad as it looked on a dollar-weighted basis, but there were definitely some surprises in there of things like increasing certainty and asymmetric outcomes both shoved it on me. [chuckles]
Tobias: It’s not a probably a long enough period of time to separate it out from what’s happened in the market. It’s probably been a market that’s shifted from better businesses to more quant type value, just deep value.
Tobias: But it’d be interesting to see that over time as the cycles change, see which ones– whether you do it like being a better business is more important over– So, maybe 18 months.
Tobias: Absolutely, cheapness is the right way to be, but five years– [crosstalk]
Jake: Or, maybe I’m not as good at identifying good business– [crosstalk]
Tobias: But that’s good to know too. That’s what you want to get told. That’s what you want to learn.
Tobias: That’s the idea.
Jake: That’s really what it’s all about. It’s just trying to close these feedback loops and learn about yourself. We’ve got a bunch of cool reports that we built that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s just all the stuff I want to know about my own process. Yeah, here’s some other funny stuff. On hold decisions, so things I didn’t sell, but I was thinking about it, these are my impulses that I said like, “Okay, well, I’m not going to do it, but I’m thinking about it.” Turns out that a good business result, which I thought like, “Okay, update on a 10Q seems good. You didn’t really do much.” Things I thought were of good value actually did pretty well. Businesses that I put on watch actually did very poorly. So, I maybe should have been listening to that a little bit more. It was red flags are showing up, but I’m going to give this a little bit more time. That didn’t work out very well.
Tobias: So, you intuitively knew something was wrong, but you should have acted earlier.
Jake: I didn’t. Right. So, there’s a feeling there that I ignored. When I thought the business was almost fully valued, but I didn’t sell it also ended up not doing very well, maybe that’s that debate– Having actual data to support the idea of never sell or not might be a good idea.
Tobias: I’ve got a question from Matt Hansen. “Is this interlinked with other people’s thoughts/journals? Will I see others’ thoughts?”
Jake: Not yet, but we are working on building a shared journaling experience where you could work with other people and have a dedicated shared journal. But for now, it’s just– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Your ideas are private.
Tobias: Yeah, no one– [crosstalk]
Jake: Everything’s private. Actually, security is very important to us. And so, we can’t see anything that your data actually. It’s all encrypted at rest, and then transmitted to the servers. We can’t see anything. Actually, we have this cool program that lets you see how people are moving around and clicking around, but then it blurs out all of what they’re actually typing and what it says. So, we can see the journey, but we can’t see what’s actually written in there. We can see like, “Oh, people are getting stuck on this particular thing. Let’s like fix that.” But we can’t see what they’re actually writing.
Tobias: I guess this is a question that you probably got to sign up to understand. “But we’d like to see what format this is, how the info is displayed, how the search works. I use Evernote all the time. It’s not ideal the bigger the note–”
Bill: It’s free. Sign up.
Jake: What was that last part?
Tobias: “I use Evernote all the time and it’s not ideal the bigger than note inventory. It needs better search, I think for big note inventories.”
Bill: Yeah, Jake, obviously this is your thing, but I don’t know that I would use it in the same way that I would use Evernote. You definitely could. But I think it’s more specific. If you’re like me, I use Roam for all my thoughts. Yesterday, somebody told me to look at Performance Financial Corp or something. I viscerally didn’t like it, but my notes, it’d say. “Got it from a Twitter DM. Collection of businesses that have little competitive advantage. Check trailing financials. Yada, yada, yada. Decision to pass.” And then I have pass decision, the date, and the reason why. By the way, if anything I said is stupid, please let me know. But it’s a little more security specific and it’s closer to my work process than what I would use Evernote or Roam for it. Do you think that’s fair?
Jake: It’s funny, because this is something we’ve internally debated, because people have it in their head that it’s journaling only and recording decisions. That’s one of the major use cases. Everybody’s using it to record decisions. That’s one of the driving factors. But I personally use it to take all my notes in, because I want to be able to search across ideas and notes to see how there’s interaction and tagging. But honestly, we wondered internally like if the size of the box for input actually drives people to how much do they feel they should be typing in there, there’s these weird psychology things that happen with software that I’ve learned that– It’s not as cut and dried as you would think. It’s not an engineering problem a lot of the time. A lot of times, it’s a psychology problem.
Tobias: And JT, journalytic.com is where people need to go.
Jake: Yes, please. Yeah, journalytic.com.
Tobias: “If you want to migrate your information away from there, is there a process?”
Jake: Yeah, we have the ability to download out into a text file. We might work on something to make it even more user friendly to leave, because I know that’s a big sticking point for people. They don’t want to feel like they’re trapped on a platform. I feel the same way. If I wasn’t personally, my fingerprint’s all over it so much. I would also not want all my stuff to get trapped.
Yeah, I think the other thing I should probably mention is that I think it would be awesome to get a nice group of good investors who are all working on it and then tell me what you want to build. What else do you what else do you want it to do? Because we’re in the stage of still building it out. We’re really just at the minimum viable product today, I would say. And so, what do you think would be cool, how would you want to work with other people, all that stuff, I want to know about it, because that’s what we’re working towards. We want to make it kick ass for people like us.
Jake: Yeah, and thank you for letting me have a few moments here to do a little pitch. But it is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve been pouring my heart into it for a couple years now. So, it feels good to finally get it over to this particular finish line, which is finally public.
Tobias: Congrats on making to the start line.
Jake: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Tobias: Congrats on starting the race.
Jake: Congrats on starting the marathon.
Tobias: It’s a little bit like having your first kid, like the nine months goes by and then the baby’s born and you are like, “Oh, hang on, that’s just the start.”
Jake: Yeah, we haven’t even done anything yet. [laughs]
Tobias: How do we pivot away? How do we transition out?
Jake: Yeah, let’s just hit us Q&A or we got any other topics?
Tobias: This wasn’t Q&A. I got to– [crosstalk]
Bill: I’ve got to plug my own pod real quick, all right?
Jake: [laughs] Yeah.
Bill: I forgot to mention Mark Newfield and I did an episode and it was about the cost of– well, the catalyst was the cost of taking care of my grandma in her old age. I think a lot of topics came up that would be worthy of listening to. It’s something that’s gone on in my life that I would not have had a look into until I was maybe a little bit older. To the extent that, you’re 35 to 50 and you have some aging parents, I think there’s probably some documents and some conversations that make some sense to have, the documents to get complete and the conversations to have before it’s sort of too late. There’s a lot of stuff like, where am I going to pay the bills? How long do you want to live in your house? How much do you want to go through before we start looking at a home? There’s just a lot of–
Aging is a very expensive process and I think that there’s a lot of things that families maybe don’t want to say, because it’s uncomfortable and I think it’s– It’s not maybe investment related, but I think it’s pretty important from a planning standpoint. [crosstalk]
Jake: Would you say that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in this particular–?
Bill: Yeah, man, it’s just really tough. My wife’s family came from Poland. Her grandparents didn’t even speak English. Before they could even go into home, they had to spend every cent that they had before the state would allow them to go into house. So, they basically died with nothing. On the other end of the spectrum, my grandma has always had everything she’s ever wanted, and just the sheer cost of taking care of her has been completely eye opening. So, I don’t know. I’m going to try to tell my kids, if I ever get to that point, “Just kill me in my sleep and I’m cool with it.”
Jake: Put me down personally. [crosstalk] [laughs]
Bill: I only say that half-joking. I don’t want to spend my entire family’s net worth dying comfortable– I want to figure out something else. I don’t know, it’s not a fun conversation to have, but I think it’s a really important one and it’s something that’s consumed a lot in my life lately. So, anyway, I checked that out.
And then as far as cyclicals, the main homey, Bob Rabadi’s coming on next week. I can listen to Bob speak forever. The guy walks into a room and I smile. He’s one of a kind. So, that’s coming up next week. And I think for some of the deeper value cyclical guys, it’ll be a good listen.
Jake: Bob’s great.
Tobias: What’s your podcast called?
Bill: Oh, it’s the Business Brew.
Jake: Never heard of it.
Tobias: Not that. The episode, just say the episode name again.
Bill: Yeah. The one that with Mark Newfield is the one that I think people should listen to and then Bob’s next week. So, anyway.
Tobias: All right. We got some questions here. “Any thoughts on longer-term oil and copper prices?”
Jake: Up and down.
Bill: Yeah, I’m going to go with that. One of the things that Bob talked about was–
Bill: Yeah, part of why I think it’s going to be a good episode. It is just how much additional capex is required to keep oil pumping pretty much the same. One of the big differences between now and I believe it was the early 1980s is we’re pretty close to equilibrium in a max output scenario. Whereas in the 1980s, I think we had a lot of latent supply or latent quantity– [crosstalk]
Jake: So, you mean the treadmill is set at a speed where you have to run hard to stay in place?
Bill: Yeah. So, I think higher for longer among the commodity complex is probably the bet I’d make.
Tobias: [crosstalk] another porn bot. The porn bots are strong in YouTube.
Bill: Hmm. Well, thank you.
Tobias: Sorry. Just in case you thought I was reacting to something you said.
Bill: I thought that it was nice that they saw our faces and they were like maybe some people be getting horny and they came on.
Jake: Yeah, that’s what happens.
Tobias: These guys need access to porn bots.[laughter]
Bill: Or they heard the Journalytic discussion and got all hot and bothered, started spamming. Anyway.
Jake: They are like, “Okay, sausage fest. Let’s insert the bots.”
Bill: It’s not just a sausage fest. There’s a few women out there and shoutout to them.
10-3 Inversion and Recessions
Tobias: I’d like to check the 10:3 inversion every-
Jake: Four minutes. [laughs]
Tobias: -15 minutes or so.
Tobias: The 10:3, the most it’s ever been inverted is negative 0.77, which was the 2000 crash. It was at 0.73 on Friday, 0.72 today, something like that. So, it’s close to being as inverted, as steep as it’s ever been. I don’t know if that means anything. I don’t know if that’s relevant or it counts. It’s just [unintelligible 00:46:45] me out.
Jake: It’s just poor market– [crosstalk]
Tobias: What the last few years I think have shown us is how many times things that have never happened before have happened, how much unprecedented stuff has gone on. So, I don’t think 10:3 inversion is great. There’s a little bit more research that came out. Cam Harvey has said it’s 90 days of inversion. Another one came out and said– When I look at it, it just eyeballing it, it looks to me every single time that we’ve inverted, it’s preceded a recession by about six months. But this research came out, I’ve actually gone and looked at it. They said all you need is 10 consecutive days. So, we’ve well and truly had 10 consecutive days. I think it started October 25. So, it’s more than a month now.
Jake: Do you think we’ll get to Cam Harvey’s 90 days?
Tobias: I don’t know. I’ve got no idea. On this little bit of research that I saw, these guys have said that 10 consecutive days is all we need and it leads it by 10 months on average.
Jake: Okay. So, [crosstalk]
Tobias: That’s predicted eight of the last eight recessions over the 50 years.
Bill: I think we’re going into a recession.
Tobias: It seems inevitable, right?
Bill: Yes. Let’s assign probabilities to it. But I would say anywhere between 60% to 70%.
Tobias: Yeah, fair enough. But I would say higher than that. It would be the first time that this indicator has been wrong, if it’s wrong.
Bill: Yeah, I just know I don’t know anything greater than 70%.
Tobias: 40%. 40% is my prediction.
Jake: Yeah, that the– [crosstalk]
Bill: Yeah. There you go.
Bill: No, the question is, what does it mean? I can’t see it being a good thing in the next 18 months.
Tobias: That’s right. I don’t know either.
Jake: What are we going to spend less money on? That’s I think the question we figure out.
Tobias: It just makes the E go down, which makes the P go higher, where there’s no market running out. So, the market gets more expensive and then the value does seem to predict–
Jake: Or it doesn’t.
Bill: You know something I was thinking about today is, I think enterprise values might be a little misleading right now, because the bonds are not trading at par. So, enterprise value is probably screening a little higher than market would say it is. It’s kind of interesting.
Tobias: Because they can buy the bonds at a discount too.
Tobias: So, you think heavily indebted companies have less debt, because they could buy them back at discount.
Bill: Yeah. On the other hand, if that debt comes due, you don’t get to buy it back for pennies on the dollar. It’s a hundred cents that the debtors want or the creditors want. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just something I was thinking about. It’d be nice to have mark to market enterprise values.
Tobias: That is interesting. Yeah. I saw this little tweet. This was– [crosstalk]
Jake: You think there’s real information in that though? Do you think the bond market has that kind of stuff right and you would want to change your EV calculation? Or you want the face value?
Bill: Uh, I don’t know.
Tobias: It is.
Bill: I think it probably depends.
Jake: We use market cap. So, that moves around all over the place. Why does the debt sit still?
Bill: Yeah. Well, I think because it’s a contract, but I get your point. I guess it probably makes sense to market to market until it doesn’t make sense in which case you’re totally screwed. So, it’s probably better to just be conservative all the time.
Tobias: Bram de Haas has a good line on– I think this is the inversion. “Maybe it doesn’t predict but cause it.” I did wonder about that a little bit too, whether there was something in the curve– [crosstalk]
Jake: Growth’s going a different way?
Tobias: Yeah, it wasn’t so much a prediction, but it shows there’s some malfunction in the underlying market.
Bill: Well, you get a lot less incentive to take long-term debt risk.
Tobias: Debt paid on the short term.
Bill: You combine that with credit standards that are starting to tighten. This is not a positive for velocity of money.
Tobias: Somebody sent me an interesting note that said that the inversion was the ordinary case. It’s only a reasonably recent phenomenon that there haven’t been an inversion, that when we were on the gold standard for hundreds and hundreds of years when there was essentially no inflation whatsoever and wealthy aristocrats used to put their money into gilts, they all traded in an inversion. I guess it was because they tended to put their money out on the short-term market and that doesn’t really make sense either, does it? [crosstalk]
Jake: No, that would be the opposite, right?
Tobias: Yeah, this doesn’t make sense.
Jake: There’s more demand for shorter-term, right?
Tobias: Yeah. I don’t know. The Twitter account sent me a paper. That’s apparently that’s pretty well known, the inversion zone. The inversion is the ordinary case. Before then, it was rare that it was the other way around– [crosstalk]
Jake: Well, I guess just you have natural deflation, which is what the 1800s saw.
Tobias: Maybe it’s predicting in deflation. Maybe that’s what it’s doing.
Jake: Yeah, so like further 10 years from now-
Tobias: That’s interesting.
Jake: -you would have a negative– [crosstalk]
Tobias: It’s predicting inflation– It’s predicting inflation or deflation depending on how the shape of the curve goes and that might be worth a paper.
Bill: I’ve been thinking about Peter Zeihan’s book. If anybody can introduce me, that’d be awesome, because I don’t want to just tweet it at them and continue to ask them on the pod. That’s a little bit loser-y.
Bill: But the amount of- [crosstalk]
Tobias: Whatever gets it done.
Demographics Look Bad For The Next 15-20 Years
Bill: -demographic shift and how bad demographics are going to look globally in the next 15 to 20 years, I don’t know. It’s very hard to get amped up about– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Do you mean that the sense that everybody’s getting older? Or do you mean in the sense of China’s going to be shrinking or how do you mean?
Jake: We got this upside down [crosstalk] of demographics of more old people than young people, which is not typically a good support for– well, it’s not good for any Ponzi like nature, where you need more people coming in the bottom of the pyramid.
Tobias: I got a good quote from– This was from Lombard. It was just a tweet that I saw that I retweeted. But it said, “No bear market has ended before the associated recession has begun.”
Jake: So, it would be too early to call the bottom? Is that what are you– [crosstalk]
Tobias: Is Bill frozen? Is that what’s happening?
Jake: Yeah, I think Bill– [crosstalk]
Tobias: He is staring intently at the monitor or he’s– There you go. He’s back.
Jake: Is he? I don’t know. I just got one screen update. [laughs]
Tobias: Yes, are you there– Nice. Can you hear us?
Jake: [laughs] Now, that’s a screen. [laughs] Oh, that’s funny.
No Bear Market Ends Before The Associated Recession Has Begun
Tobias: So, the quote was, “No bear market has ended before the associated recession has begun.”
Tobias: That seems counterintuitive, but it’s a little bit like that. The last one we saw where it was– the employment numbers, when the employment numbers start cracking, when employment starts going down, unemployment starts going up, that’s typically when the stock market rallies.
Jake: Because it’s always 18 months ahead or something? Is that the idea?
Tobias: Something like that. Yeah.
Jake: All right, if you say so. [laughs] I don’t know.
Tobias: The only defense that I have seen, the only argument against– This is the context. If there’s a recession, the only argument against there being recession is that the labor market is so strong.
Tobias: I forget the– Initial claims data. So, they have seen the initial claims data, someone’s taken the last recession projected it forward looking at current population and working people who are working and they said that you need 418,000 initial claims and we’re at 200,000 or something. So, it would typically take about a year to get from where we are to 418,000 initial claims, which would be indicating a recession. So, it’s all saying it’s a long way off, I think.
Jake: That [crosstalk] would match up with that lagging of the 10-month from the yield curve inversion. It’s almost all is lining up still?
Tobias: Yeah, I think so.
Tobias: It seems to be pointing to about– Yes, the 10 months from inversion would be, I guess, August next year.
Jake: Summertime. Bill’s got chipmunks or something happening in his– [laughs]
Tobias: All right, dudes. We’ve made it to full time.
Jake: We’ve made it.
Tobias: Let’s hang it up and–
Jake: Quit well we’re ahead.
Tobias: So, we’ll be back next week. I think next week might be the last one of the years. Is that right?
Jake: We’ll see.
Jake: Possibly. [laughs]
Tobias: That’s it. All right, amigos. Good seeing everybody.
Jake: Good seeing everybody.
Tobias: See you next week.
For all the latest news and podcasts, join our free newsletter here.
Don’t forget to check out our FREE Large Cap 1000 – Stock Screener, here at The Acquirer’s Multiple: