Below is our “Top Podcast” episode with our curator, Colby Donovan!
Today we have a great episode on trend following and managed futures, a deep dive into $USO and negative oil prices, Bill Ackman on success and how he invests, and Ryan Holiday and Simon Sinek with lists on how we can better ourselves right now.
- *Must Listen*** The Derivative: Texas Style Trend Following with Salem Abraham. Abraham has 30+ years of experience in the trend following/managed futures space. The first 12:25 are about his background personally. Then they talk about how a chance meeting with Jerry Parker (one of the original turtle traders) led him to take an interest into trend following. He then discusses how he started his first fund, what his thoughts are on oil and how low it can go based on recent activity and what he’s heard from people in Texas, starting a foundation with T. Boone Pickens, being the first person to ever send computer-generated orders electronically to the CME, why managed futures makes even more sense as an allocation now with bonds essentially yielding nothing, and lots of thoughts on risk and managing a portfolio in general. [April 30, 2020–1 hour, 19 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
I know that first crash in 1987 was an education for me. The interest rate markets made a 37 standard deviation move and I had taken statistics about a year before. They talk about 1, 2, and 3 standard deviations and 99.7% is within three standard deviations. Well it’s that 0.3% that is outside of that three standard deviations and it’s the most important part and that’s the part they never talk about, because that’s the part that breaks you or kills you.
- Macro Voices: Hot Topic #14: Crude Oil BLACK SWAN ALERT with Jim Bianco. This is an incredibly dense episode but well-worth the listen to understand how and why oil has gone negative in the futures market and why there may still be a crisis brewing in the oil market. The host summarizes Bianco’s idea at the 15 minute mark, but his argument is that retail money is plowing into $USO (which is an exchange traded product (ETP)) and results in $USO buying more futures contracts. This is encouraging oil producers to continue to pump oil and sell to $USO buyers on the futures market instead of the spot market, even though there is almost no more storage anywhere in the world. It’s pretty incredible to hear Bianco explain it all, and he says there are only two fixes: stop the $USO which is negatively impacting the market or hope we have a v-shaped recovery and go back to using 10 million barrels of oil a day unlike the 6 million we’ve declined to. [April 27, 2020–51 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
- The Knowledge Project: #82 Bill Ackman: Getting Back Up. Ackman is the legendary hedge fund manager and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management. The beginning of the episode is how he has dealt with failure and used it as a learning experience, both in his professional and personal life. He also talks about how he sources and thinks through investments, the impact of passive investing on the market, his approach to managing his book as he realized COVID-19 could have a major impact, what led him to put on a hedge that eventually generated him over $2 billion, addressing pushback from his CNBC interview saying “hell is coming,” and what he thinks the long-term impacts are from COVID-19 (real estate, retail, leverage). He finishes the episode talking about what he’s learned from Warren Buffett and some general thoughts on Berkshire Hathaway, which he owns. [April 28, 2020–1 hour, 39 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
The single most important thing you need to understand is how to deal with failure, and the vast majority of people who’ve gotten into Harvard Business School or pick your favorite or top business or law school, has not had to deal with failure and that is the determination of success. — Bill Ackman
- The Meb Faber Show: #216 — David Samra — The Primary Driver of Our Behavior Is Finding a Company That Trades At A Discount To Intrinsic Value. This is a great episode all on value investing. Samra is a managing director of Artisan Partners and founding partner of the Artisan Partners International Value Team. He starts with his background, at both Columbia University and a short stint for Mario Gabelli. He then talks about the four things he looks for in a business: cheap stock, good business, strong balance sheet, and good management. He also gives his thoughts on both political and legal constructs in foreign countries as it relates to investing, how certain countries have changed how they prioritize shareholders (Japan), and where he sees the best opportunities right now. [April 29, 2020–55 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
- The Meb Faber Show: #215 — David Chan — How Do We Make Farmland As An Asset Class More Accessible? Chan is the COO and a founding team member of farmland investing startup, FarmTogether, a platform with a mission to democratize farmland investing and make it more accessible as an asset class. During the episode, they explain the ins and outs of farmland as an asset class, why it’s historically been so fragmented, and why institutions typically only allocate 2–3% to farmland. They finish with the different models of farmland ownership and give an example of how a real deal from the platform. [April 27, 2020–57 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
- The Daily Stoic: What Marcus Aurelius Can Teach Frontline Responders During COVID-19. This is a recorded speech Ryan Holiday gave to the USAF’s 31st Fighter Wing, stationed in Aviano, Italy. For those who don’t know, Holiday is a best selling author, including his most recent book, Stillness is the Key, which is based on the practice of stoicism. He explains to the group how Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor, handled a situation extremely similar to what we’re experiencing now with COVID-19 over 2,000 years ago. He provides great ideas for all of us to think about right now regardless of who you are or whether you practice stoicism. [April 26, 47 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
The five points Holiday focuses on are:
1. We don’t control what happens; we control how we respond
2. When the system breaks down, leaders stand up
3. What hurts the hive hurts the bee
4. Alive time or dead time, which will it be?
5. Character is fact
- How I Built This with Guy Raz: How I Built Resilience: Live with Simon Sinek. Sinek is the best-selling author of multiple books including his most recent, The Infinite Game. The book is around the idea that there are two types of games, finite and infinite. He defines finite games as having known players, fixed rules, an agreed upon objective, with a beginning, middle, and end, and the existence of a winner and a loser. He defines an infinite game as having known and unknown players, the rules are changeable, and the objective is to perpetuate the game or stay in the game as long as possible. In his view, we are players in the games every day in our lives (there’s no such thing as “winning” in your marriage, your career, global politics, health care, and others). He dives into these differences and expands on the five principles listed below. [April 23, 2020–19 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
Sinek’s five principles to adopt an infinite mindset:
1. Advance a just cause
2. Build trusting teams.
3. Study a worthy rival (not competitor- he denoted a difference)
4. Prepare for existential flexibility (ability to make a 180 degree turn quickly)
5. Demonstrate the courage to lead
Salem Abraham (Fortress Fund):
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason — Talks about the importance of savings and having the discipline to save. I think one of the biggest things about building wealth is savings.
Peter Zeihan (Geopolitical Expert):
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond — Most important book he’s ever read. If you want to get an idea of how the world came to be in the shape, that’s the best place to start.
Ryan Holiday (Best-selling Author):
- Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Goodwin
Patrick O’Shaughnessy (CEO, O’Shaughnessy Asset Management):
- Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism by Jeff Gramm — The author is an activist hedge fund manager and he found old letters by activists that are interesting and provocative. The first chapter is a letter from Ben Graham to a railroad company.
- Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson — Non-fiction book about a group of divers who find an unidentified U-boat. It’s about these guys relentlessly uncovering the story of the boat and shows the value of persistent diligence.
Meb Faber (Chief Investment Officer, Cambria Investment Management):
- Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creative: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex — One of his all time favorite books and is about evolutionary biology.