Top Podcasts of the Week

Below is our “Top Podcast” episode with our curator, Colby Donovan!

Today we have a must listen with Naval on innovation, Nobel Prize winning economist Vernon Smith on housing bubbles, the story of the taxi medallion bubble, and an overview of U.S./China relations.


***Must Listen*** Naval & Matt Ridley on Innovation

  • Naval: Matt Ridley: How Innovation Works, Part 1. This is a fascinating 2 part episode between Naval and Matt Ridley, How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom, who are both so bright and great conversing with one another. In the first episode, they talk about the fact that innovation doesn’t occur from just one individual, but rather teams who are geographically focused (ex. Silicon Valley), why Naval believes bitcoin is the first time innovation has not been this way and why that will be the future of technology, and why they think China & India are the two places where innovation is likely to come from in the future.[July 9, 2020–29 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Naval: Matt Ridley: How Innovation Works, Part 2. In part two, Ridley says we’re living through an innovation famine not an innovation feast, mostly because the environmental movement opposes new technologies, many of which are good for the environment. They also touch on handling COVID and how parts of the world with democracies are headed toward the Swedish model one way or another, and what Naval thinks about bitcoin and the innovation that built it. [July 15, 2020–30 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
Financial Bubbles
  • The Jolly Swagman Podcast: #99: Housing Bubble Week Epilogue: Not All Bubbles Are Created Equal — Vernon Smith. Vernon Smith is a professor of Economics and won the 2002 Nobel Prize with Daniel Kahneman for his contributions to behavioral economics. This episode is all about housing bubbles and what contributes to them (see his 2007 WSJ article on the U.S. housing bubble here) and he offers great stories since he grew up during the Great Depression. They cover the animal spirits that contribute to bubbles, why housing bubbles are something that repeat (Florida land bubble in the early 1900’s, U.S. in the early 2000’s, and Australia’s current housing bubble), and how government and central bank forces contribute to inflated housing prices. [September 26, 2020–2 hours, 24 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Spectacular Failures: NYC Taxi Medallions’ steep fare. This podcast is similar to Planet Money by NPR and this specific episode is about the NYC taxi medallion bubble. Even before Uber and Lyft began operations in NYC, the bubble began to burst. Government intervention and encouragement that these medallions were worth a ton mixed with loose lending practices led prices for medallions to soar by 15% annually for over 70 years. The city promoted this since they received a 5% cut from all sales, but eventually prices tanked when operations for Uber and Lyft started, leading to despair for many families who went underwater. [September 28, 2020–39 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
Other Business
  • Real Vision: Finance, Business & The Global Economy: The Interview — Larry McDonald: “The Cobra Effect.” This is a must-listen with Larry McDonald, New York Times bestselling author and founder of the Bear Traps Report. They talk about what their expectations are assuming monetary and fiscal policy run too hot. McDonald explains why he expects a rotation from technology to value, why he thinks the Fed is underestimating the possible unintended consequences of their intervention into the markets (leading to the cobra effect), and what he expects to see regarding inflation. They also touch on the upcoming election — what’s being priced into the market now assuming Biden wins and where they believe fiscal spending will go under both possible administrations. [September 26, 2020–50 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Village Global’s Venture Stories: Keith Rabois and Jacob Helberg on The US-China Cold War, The Election, and Silicon Valley. This is a great overview on the U.S./China relationship with Rabois, a partner at the Founders Fund, and Helbert, who is a Senior Advisor at Stanford. They say the idea that we could help China grow and become a more democratic regime as they are intertwined into the global system hasn’t worked and politicians on both sides are now coming around to that, why they think the NBA/Hong Kong situation in 2019 was the tipping point to make the U.S. population more aware of these tensions, what they think needs to be done going forward from the U.S., and what their thoughts are on the election and impact of either Trump or Biden winning on the U.S./China relations. The last 10 minutes with Rabois giving his thoughts on SPACs and the startup landscape. [September 27, 2020–1 hour, 8 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Meb Faber Show: #252 — Cem Karsan, Aegea Capital — 30 Day Vol Tends To Be Overbid And You Have Extended Supply In The Back Of The Curve Historically. Karsan, Founder and Senior Managing Partner of Aegea Capital Management, talks all things volatility (his firm’s strategy is focused on long-volatility). A lot of the episode is focused on events of 2020 since it provides a unique lens to look into his strategy, both with COVID early on and the election next month. He explains the structural inefficiencies around market volatility (which typically increases during times of market stress), risks around liquidity and bonds yielding essentially nothing, and what the market is pricing in for the election (>65% chance of a contested election is being priced in right now) and how he thinks you could put on a trade to take advantage of that. [September 30, 2020–56 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
The Rest
  • Ted Talks Daily: 3 secrets to Netflix’s success | Reed Hastings. Netflix has one of the most well-respected cultures of any business in the country and Reed Hastings explains the three core principles that have helped them create it, which are inspiration, creativity, and candor. Some of the main takeaways:
    • On Hiring: he only wants to hire the best of the best and is willing to pay for that.
    • Uses the Keeper Test: if you wouldn’t fight to keep an employee if they told you they were leaving today, give them a generous severance package now and find someone who passes that test.
    • Netflix is not a family: a family is about loyalty above all and a company is about performance and execution.
    • The company has no rules: employees are empowered to make decisions and while mistakes do happen, the only way he believes the company can thrive over a multi-decade timeframe is by having no rules and empowering employees you trust and believe are competent in their roles.
[September 25, 2020–30 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Mark Yusko (CEO & CIO, Morgan Creek Capital Management):

  1. Hedge Hunters: Hedge Fund Masters on the Rewards, the Risk, and the Reckoning by Katherine Burton

Vernon Smith (Nobel Prize Winning Economist):

  1. The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki

Web Smith (Founder, 2PM):

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Good investing,

Meb Faber