To Begin, Let’s Question Everything
Easily the most popular link I’ve included in these first 15 issues has been the wonderful ‘momento mori’ style article by Wait But Why, linked to in Issue #004. In fact, after I linked to that seven year old article, another much more popular newsletter also linked to it. I’m not saying they copied me.. but I’m not not saying that either.
Anyways, after putting out last week’s ‘career funk’ theme I came upon this excellent piece by the Wait But Why guy on choosing the right career path. It’s a long read. A really long read. But, it’s also an excellent read. I suggest you try to devour it over the course of a week by reading segments at a time.
It’s certainly the best thing I’ve read this year and probably for a much longer time before that.
The times you feel pure happiness are temporary, drug-induced delusions—like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship or new job or the high following a long-awaited success. Those moments are the perfect golf shots of a mediocre golfer’s outing—they’re awesome, and you should enjoy the shit out of them—but they’re not the new normal, and they never will be.
A better goal is contentment: the satisfying feeling that you’re currently taking the best crack you can at a good life path; that what you’re working on might prove to be a piece of an eventual puzzle you can feel really proud of. Chasing happiness is an amateur move. Feeling contentment in those times when your choices and your circumstances have combined to pull it off, and knowing you have all that you could ever ask for, is for the wise.
Sadly, America’s version of Andrew Denton, interview-extraordinaire Larry King, passed away at the age of 87. Even if you don’t recognise the name you no doubt have seen him before.
Here’s an example of why he was a certified dude.
Squeeze me, baby
One of the big stories that occurred over the past two weeks was the short-squeeze on Gamespot and other stocks supposedly coordinated by /u/WallStreetBets.
The short (heh) version is: many investors borrowed Gamespot shares from holders, planning to sell them immediately and buy them back later once their market price had fallen. This is called ‘short-selling’. After buying them back, their plan was to return the shares to those holders that had leant them, and keep the difference between the price at which they sold them initially and the price they paid to get them back. Profit ensues.
But the WallStreetBets subreddit started buying the Gamespot shares in the open market, which meant the market price didn’t go down as the investors had expected. Instead, the price went up quite a bit. So, all the investors that had promised to return Gamespot shares had to buy them back in the open market for more than they had sold them for. This is called a ‘short squeeze’.
As more investors got squeezed and had to buy the shares back, the price went up even further. Which then panicked still more investors that had sold short, who then had to pay an even higher price, and so the cycle continued.
Much squeezing took place and a few Redditors became millionaires and a few hedge fund managers became very sheepish. Importantly for us, Twitter was all over the story and put out some great links. Like this lady, who did a much better job at explaining what happened than I ever could:
But there has also been some fascinating proper analysis on what happened, like this tweet, which suggests some of the Redditors that were involved were borderline genius on how they identified the short-squeeze opportunity and exploited it perfectly.
Of course, all this news about ordinarily people becoming millionaires has drawn crowds into the stock markets. And, sadly, I suspect many of those will come to regret their decision to play.
Just for the avoidance of doubt: If you’re thinking about entering the market to follow day trade tips you saw on the internet, please, don’t do it — you will lose your money and it will make you very sad.
Another Reddit link, it might be worth bookmarking this link just in case you ever need a reminder of just how far we’ve come.
These ‘life advice’ links always seem to be popular, and so here’s another good one by Morgan Housel, who lists some of the big ideas that have changed his life.
Self-interest can lead people to believe and justify nearly anything. Think about businesses trying to survive competition being run by people trying to prove their career worth, and the incentive to run with the option that provides the cleanest path to the next win is huge, even when that option is something you wouldn’t accept in less-stressful circumstances. I have seen investors justify strategies and sales techniques they fiercely argued against at previous employers, coming around the moment their career depended on it. These are good, honest people. But self-interest is a freight train of persuasion. When you accept how powerful it is you become more skeptical of promotion, and more empathetic to those doing the promoting.
(Via The Curious Bunch)
Thanks for subscribing!