Top Podcasts of the Week

Below is our “Top Podcast” episode with our new curator, Colby Donovan! Holler with any feedback!

Today we have an episode about ESG investing, an amazing episode on culture, and a conversation with Jeff Ma (from the movie 21) on applying analytics to sports and business.


  • Capital Allocators: Kip McDaniel — How to Get an Allocator’s Attention. Kip McDaniel is the Chief Content Officer and Editor-in-Chief at Institutional Investor and covers the lessons he’s learned in producing content about and for allocators. He explains what he’s seen asset managers’ Chief Marketing Officers do that’s been successful and how he and his firm work with them, provides advice on ways to best provide content, and says his four characteristics for great content are access, revelation, narrative and conflict. The episode is a great listen for any firm trying to provide content as a marketing tool. [December 9, 2019–57 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link
  • What Works on Wall Street Podcast: ESG The Right Way. Jim O’Shaughnessy and OSAM PM Travis Fairchild discuss Travis’ recent paper on ESG, which discusses the nuances associated with ESG investing. While most ESG products are designed as one size fits all, that becomes difficult to implement for different types of investors when they have different goals (some want to focus on avoiding certain energy companies and others want to avoid companies selling sugary or smoking products). They also discusses the power of ESG investing to encourage certain behaviors within companies (like having more female representations on boards) and the importance of understanding the factor construction of your portfolio after you implement ESG, which typically tilts away from value. [December 13, 2019–41 minutesiTunes Podcast | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Twenty Minute VC: Unusual Ventures’ John Vrionis on Why We Need To Raise The Bar In Venture. Vrionis is the co-founder of a venture capital firm, Unusual Ventures. The episode revolves around the themes his firm is focused on: redefining seed investing and trying to truly help the entrepreneurs he invests in. He believes firms should work better with founders to help them with their businesses by developing more trust in the relationship. He also touches on the fact he believes VC firms need to become more specialized, although some of the best performing funds are more generalist. [December 9, 2019–33 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link

The Rest

  • ***Must Listen***a16z Podcast: The Stories and Code of Culture Change. You will be hard to find a better episode on culture than this. It is with a16z co-founder Ben Horowitz about his new book, What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business CultureWith his background both starting his own VC firm and helping countless founders build companies, he has had a unique point of view into building and maintaining cultures. His main takeaway is that your culture is defined by virtue over value (actions over words). He also touches on the importance first principles and that the why matters more than the what. He has great examples and stories to reinforce his ideas, from the Haitian revolution, Uber, and jail inmates. [December 7, 2019–59 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link
  • Invest Like The Best: Jeff Ma — Making Decisions with Data. Ma was on the famous MIT Blackjack team (from movie 21 and the book Bringing Down the House) and has spent his career focused on analytics within professional sports and data science. He talks about his time working with the 49ers and other professional teams while focusing on applying analytics to both analyzing players, building teams and constructing contracts. He also addresses applying analytics to gambling— the best gamblers, similar to the best investors, are focused on process over outcome and continue to adapt their models since outcomes are non-stationary. At the 24 minute mark he begins to talk about his time working for Twitter as VP of Data analytics and his experience with data science, where he learned the value of hiring people with non-traditional backgrounds. Lastly, Ma states that the biggest insight the data science team had at Twitter was deciding to move the focus of the company from trying to grow monthly active users to daily active users, and that insight helped investors better understand the key metrics along with the company. [December 10, 2019–53 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link



Tim Ferriss (Author, Podcast Host):

  1. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz — Favorite book of many super-performers. His main message is don’t overestimate others and underestimate yourself.
  2. How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur’s Guide by Dan S. Kennedy — The book provides a menu of options to convert your ideas into millions. It is steroids for your entrepreneurial cortex and has great examples of business stories from Domino’s to casinos.
  3. One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work by Stephen Key
  4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber — Discusses how to use a franchise mindset (not model) to create a scalable businesses based on rules and systems.
  5. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts — The book convinced him to stop making excuses and pack for an extended hiatus. It is helpful to determine your destination and serve as a philosophical reset.
  6. Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony de Mello — Ferriss has probably re-read it 5–6x in the last 2 years. When he’s feeling overwhelmed or scattered, reading this is one of the first steps he takes. It was suggested to him by Peter Mallouk because reading it gave him peace of mind for weeks at a time.

John Vrionis (Founder & Managing Partner, Unusual Ventures):

  1. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant — One of the most transformative books any founder or investor could read.
  2. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight — The book is about the story of Nike and is a great representation of what authentic entrepreneurship is.

Michael Batnick (Director of Research, Ritholtz Wealth Management):

  1. The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society by Binyamin Applebaum — Easily the best economics book he has ever read.

Here’s ours:

The Best Investment Writing Volume 3: Ben Johnson – When Markets Are Tough, Don’t Look

Episode #192: Tim Hayes, “The Base Case Is We’re Still In The Same Secular Bull Market That We’ve Been In Since 2009”

Good investing,
Meb Faber