David Einhorn arguing that low interest rates are hurting the economy. Very interesting talk and David Einhorn lays his case out very clearly. Even if you don't agree, it's a great watch.

Low Interest Rates Hurt the Economy

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donderdag 9 mei 2013

Very nice interview of Bill Ackman who has been a lot in the news for his short position on Herbalife. It's pretty lenghty and Ackman talks about his strategy, his office and charity and also about some investments they have in their portfolio and why. I love how he thinks about activist investing and the role the activist has within capitalism.

Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Interview

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woensdag 8 mei 2013

As it turns out, they are granted pretty often but less then 50% of the time. Take a look at these Patent Statistics I found while researching my latest article on Seeking Alpha. In the last couple of years the number approaches 40%.

How Often Do Patents Get Granted?

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dinsdag 7 mei 2013

While doing research into patents for my upcoming article on Seeking Alpha about the paper producer  Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc. (SWM). I came across this interesting article about the difference in patent applications between China and the USA and Europe. On the surface China is already more innovative then the West but dig deeper and stats turn out to be deceiving.

This is a great experiment and cool clip by Paul Miller. The tech-blogger at the Verge who went without internet for a year to find out what it's like. Ever feel stressed and and like you are wasting a lot of time on the internet? See what it is like, to go without and what it will do for you.

TechBlogger Goes A Year Without Internet

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maandag 6 mei 2013

Interesting study that explains some of the things most people realize but that are good to read in print. How and why analysts do their job. What gives them an advantage and why it's hard to take advantage of their knowledge. Inside the Black Box of Sell-Side Financial Analysts.

Malcolm Gladwell telling a 50 minute story in November 2012 about predictability of the results of the Box Offices of Hollywood movies. Near the end he makes a claim 50% of Hollywood films is now fueled by Hedgefunds. There are several "claims" he makes I have my doubts about. Yet, Malcolm Gladwell is interesting as ever and even seems to put some of his findings into practice.

Malcolm Gladwell is an author for the New Yorker and wrote several excellent and highly entertaining books. Outliers is one of my favorites:

Hollywood Box Office Results Predictable

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maandag 29 april 2013

In a way this talk by Alain de Botton is related to my last post with the talk by Mike Rowe. It's very interesting to me as the way we attribute succes and failure is so flawed.

It's good to be wary of this as you can easily fall into the trap of congratuling yourself on your skillful stockpicking when the market is soaring and you are overweight a great sector and at the same time it's hard to let go of a stockpick that turns sour. While the realisation that sometimes it just doesn't work out due to circumstance, can be helpful in dealing with the stresful up and downs. Ofcourse it's not a healthy habit to attribute failures to external circumstances but sometimes there just wasn't much that you could have done different.

In a way Alain de Botton argues not to judge your fellow man by their results in life.

Just like we should not be results oriented with every stockpick.

If your process was sound, you just have to accept the results, whatever they may be.

Status Anxiety
Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed new book, immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love. To demonstrate his thesis, de Botton ranges through Western history and thought from St. Augustine to Andrew Carnegie and Machiavelli to Anthony Robbins.

A few of Alain de Botton's most Famous Books

How to Think More About Sex (The School of Life)
We don’t think too much about sex; we’re merely thinking about it in the wrong way. So asserts Alain de Botton in this rigorous and supremely honest book designed to help us navigate the intimate and exciting---yet often confusing and difficult---experience that is sex.

Few of us tend to feel we’re entirely normal when it comes to sex, and what we’re supposed to be feeling rarely matches up with the reality. This book argues that twenty-first-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment.

Covering topics that include lust, fetishism, adultery, and pornography, Alain de Botton frankly articulates the dilemmas of modern sexuality, offering insights and consolation to help us think more deeply and wisely about the sex we are, or aren’t, having.

How Proust Can Change Your Life
'What a marvellous book this is ...de Botton dissects what [Proust] had to say about friendship, reading, looking carefully, paying attention taking your time, being alive and adds his own delicious commentary.

The result is an intoxicating as it is wise, amusing as well as stimulating, and presented in so fresh a fashion as to be unique ...I could not stop, and now much start all over again.' Brian Masters, Mail on Sunday

'It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction ...de Botton, in emphasizing Proust's healing, advisory aspects, does us the service of rereading him on our behalf, providing of that vast sacred lake a sweet and lucid distillation.'
John Updike, New Yorker

The Consolations of Philosophy
From the internationally heralded author of How Proust Can Change Your Life comes this remarkable new book that presents the wisdom of some of the greatest thinkers of the ages as advice for our day to day struggles. Solace for the broken heart can be found in the words of Schopenhauer.

The ancient Greek Epicurus has the wisest, and most affordable, solution to cash flow problems. A remedy for impotence lies in Montaigne. Seneca offers advice upon losing a job. And Nietzsche has shrewd counsel for everything from loneliness to illness. The Consolations of Philosophy is a book as accessibly erudite as it is useful and entertaining.

What a guy thinks about while biting of testicles of a lamb, Aristotele ofcourse... This is about as far away of investing as I feel comfortable posting up this blog here. Yet the first half of this talk is pretty good and about things I care about: Like challenging your own perceptions.

Last few minutes are optional, they add very little to the presentation imo.

Aubrey de Grey is a very interesting character and I enjoyed watching a few of his talks. At the moment it appears his research is nowhere. His foundation stimulates anti-aging research, essentially by running up a jackpot for scientists who can make mouse live far beyond normal lifespans (currently it stands at over 4 million). If this research ever gets anywhere it sure would be a major black swan for several industries.

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference," (2000) and "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" (2005), both of which were number one New York Times bestsellers.

Malcolm is a terrific speaker who is highly entertaining while getting his point across. I can watch his talks on Youtube and TED for hours. His books and audiobooks are must haves.

Outliers: The Story of Success Outliers made a very large impact already and is perhaps his most famous work. It's very interesting in the light of investing and money management to learn about how extraordinarily results are achieved.

The main thesis is that we pay too much attention to personalities and too little to circumstances. Something that is well known in psychology, and Warren Buffet is a great example of a person who realizes very well, how much he owes to circumstancial events.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Predicting if an idea or trend will spreak like wildfire has very obvious applications in the investing world. Malcom Gladwell explores this subject in his trademark narrative tone in a way that is both incredibly entertaining and illuminating. He is one of my favorite writers of this moment.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem.

Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?

 This book was an eye opener to me. It made me accept that when I can't explain exactly WHY I like or don't like an investment, that's admittedly a weak proposition, but doesn't necessarily mean I shouldn't listen. Traders have known this for a long time ofcourse, to investors it can be liberating from the chains of logic and accountability.