Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Sept 25th, 2022
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -John D. Rockefeller
- Ignoring the racist vitriol, message is pretty relevant to everyone in my opinion. We all have to toughen up for the challenges coming our way.
“The Ancient Romans spent much of their time surrounded by enemies on all sides. What did they do? They made the most warlike men in history and dominated their side of the world. You must do this. You must take back power and self-reliance from this hostile government. Work in the shadows if necessary.
The Romans at least had a city to defend. White Americans are vastly separated and isolated. They’ve surrendered almost all their strength to the government. You must take steps to retake your power and a Warrior Religion is the best vessel to bring this about. Surrendering your military might to the government instead of the race was a terrible mistake, though you can argue when it happened, it was a government of the race. This situation we find ourselves in is in between a rock and a hard place.”
The Future of America and the Warrior Religion
Please read the previous part of the series: The Disciple of the Warrior Religion Let this be a recommendation for the…
2. Good message. Passive Income is a myth.
3. Love this podcast. I enjoy the discussions but in regards to Ukraine, it might be out of date considering the collapse of the Russian army and the massive advances in the South and East.
The guys are spot on though about economic issues and macro investing. And how stupid Europe has been with their energy policy.
4. “There is now talk of defeat on the Russian side. There was no sense of this in President Putin’s insouciant remarks at the Vladivostok economic forum, with Russia’s isolation symbolised by the lack of international presence (Myanmar, Chinese and Armenian representatives turned up).
He claimed that nothing had been lost by the war and sovereignty had been gained as if his desire to intensify autocracy and achieve autarky in the name of self-reliance has been worth the tens of thousands of Russians dead, wounded, and taken prisoner, and the years of defence production and economic modernisation up in smoke.
His forces might stabilise the situation, at least away from Kharkiv, and provide more breathing space while he hopes Europe’s economic pain leads them to abandon Ukraine. But as I argued in my last post that is unlikely to happen, and he may now have less time than he thought to find out.
Because of the opacity of Putin’s decision-making and his delusional recent utterances, presenting Russia as the keeper of some core civilisational values, there is no suggestion that he has reached the point where he can acknowledge the position into which he has led his country. Prudence therefore requires us to assume that this war will not be over soon. But nor should it blind us to the possibility that events might move far faster than we assumed — first gradually, and then suddenly.”
Gradually, then Suddenly
The Ukrainian flag is raised again in Kupyansk "How did you go bankrupt?" Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." ― Ernest…
5. “We live in a world where salespeople conflate validation with positive buying signals.. but I can assure you that a prospect who is serious about investing large sums of money into new software is not going to be chummy with you.
Decisions are Clarity. They are movement.
On the other hand, Validation, while nice to receive, can be a distraction & keep you stuck if it’s prioritized over getting a Decision.
If Sales is the Life blood of every company, Decisions are the Life blood of every salesperson.”
Seek Decisions, Not Validation
Good salesmen seek decisions, not validation. The Roman philosopher Marcus Cicero once said "More is lost by indecision…
6. “Liemandt had seen the future and decided to get out in front of it. In 2006 he quietly began building an enterprise software empire where innovation and growth take a back seat to sheer profitability.
Using his closely held ESW Capital, Liemandt began buying dozens of business-software firms with values ranging from $10 million to $250 million. Ever heard of Nextance, Infopia, Kayako or Exinda? Not many have, but these are the types of firms that run things like customer service and document management, humming in the background of an untold number of businesses.
Liemandt’s team was on a quest for the regular income streams associated with sticky software maintenance contracts. To cut costs, R&D and employee benefits were to be gutted. And as a sweetener, he began assembling a patent-litigation war chest. Through one of his holdings, Liemandt has sued 20 companies, ranging from SAP to Sears and Toyota. He’s currently suing Ford for $300 million.
Liemandt’s metamorphosis has transformed him from every dorm-room coder’s hero to an ominous force in tech as his expanding global cloud-force pushes down wages and turns computer programming into factory work.”
How A Mysterious Tech Billionaire Created Two Fortunes-And A Global Software Sweatshop
rom an office suite on the 26th floor of the iconic Frost Bank Tower in Austin, Texas, a little-known recruiting firm…
7. This is a masterclass in VC investing from one of the best in the business. I listened to this twice. It’s so good.
8. “While the showdown between Ukraine and Russia may be the only direct, high-profile kinetic conflict currently taking place, make no mistake: there is a multifaceted economic war quietly being waged between the major flags of the world. Behind closed doors, the US / NATO (EU) alliance is squaring off against Russia / China.
My intent is to simply point out that, no matter how wealthy or powerful you may be, any asset whose ownership is conferred by legal title is fair game for wartime confiscation. Your bank account, your stock portfolio, your house, your car — your ownership of these things is predicated upon the State upholding and protecting your exclusive right to use them. If that weren’t the case, anyone who had something coveted by their neighbour would have to be perpetually ready to inflict physical harm upon strangers who had that “lean and hungry” look.
The goal is to remain financially flexible in the face of the vagaries of war. 100% of your financial capital should never be parked in just one monetary instrument, whether that be Bitcoin, domestic fiat currencies, bonds, stocks, real estate, commodities, or gold. But your opportunity to move your fiat assets into Bitcoin and other “real” assets only exists today, and may not tomorrow. Remember that.”
For the War
(Any views expressed in the below are the personal views of the author and should not form the basis for making…
9. “Mentioned here for over a decade. Your passions and interests don’t matter. If you want to be successful you want to be a winner and be the best within *any* field. Yes. We’re telling you the things you were told as a kid = total lie. The only thing that matters is your ability to be the best (or close to it). Winners care about winning and being the best. That’s your “passion”.
Wealth Disparity: This has been a hot topic for years and will only get worse. How can someone claim an individual YouTuber is overpaid if they are a one man show. They can’t. You know this, we know this, everyone knows this. Software and advanced tech will remove all the overhead and push even more income to the person generating all of the value.”
“Their goal is to cut spending to bare bones, your goal should be to increase income as much as possible since there is no ceiling to earnings. You can earn $1K in a month or $1M in a month. There is no “limit”. For the frugality set up, there is always a limit so if you never move your income, you’re stuck with a “flat” savings percentage of say 50%. If you earn an absurd amount say $1M a month, it would be practically impossible to avoid saving/investing 90% of your money since you’re earning so much!”
Importance of a Second Income and Finding Talent
Welcome Avatar! Today we're going to revisit some high-level concepts with math and break the worst advice given to…
10. There is a lesson here somewhere.
“Interviews with more than 15 former Airlift employees depict a company torn in two: Inside Airlift’s corporate offices, young workers who were experiencing the highs of belonging to the most-celebrated startup in the country, rallied behind Airlift as it went all guns blazing on a path of unbridled growth; meanwhile, the company’s operations staff, responsible for executing the ambitions of Airlift’s amateur leadership, were allegedly neck-deep in chaos: inventory mismanagement, pricing inefficiencies, and fraud were rampant. Eventually, the growth-at-all-costs model became untenable, and collapsed.
“It felt like they were doing it all for valuation because there was no way that they could have ever thought of becoming profitable like this,” a former warehouse manager from Lahore, who had previously worked for a number of large Pakistani corporations, told Rest of World. “It didn’t make sense.”
How to blow $85 million in 11 months: The inside story of Airlift's crash
Omer Aamir Raja, a young marketing manager from Islamabad, walked into Airlift's office in Karachi's buzzing Fortune…
11. Yikes, this is all I have a say when reading this.
I don’t understand at all why a VC is investing in this at all.
Two dozen tech founders living in a mansion. What could go wrong?
The people here are young and friendly and full of hope. And why shouldn't they be? For one month, they get to live in…
12. “What happens when two Hollywood actors who know nothing about soccer buy a middling pro team in Wales?”
Inside Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's Great Wrexham Gambit
What happens when two Hollywood actors who know nothing about soccer buy a middling pro team in Wales? GQ's Tom Lamont…
13. “Japan stands out as the one economy in the world with a relatively benign inflation shock. Where in America, consumer prices are now up by more than 9% from a year ago, Japan’s CPI prints barely above two percent. This may come as a surprise, given the global nature of the inflation shock: excess money and credit, supply bottlenecks, the war in Europe, the surge in pent-up demand as the pandemic abates.
Further, the global cost-push pressures — from rising energy, electronic components, and food prices — have been compounded by a falling Yen: in the United States, the price of oil is up approximately 60% in US dollars since the end of December. In Japan, the Yen price of oil is up almost 90%. And yes, America is a net exporter of energy — and food — while Japan is one of the worlds largest importers of energy — and food.
So how come that, despite greater and more severe exposure to global inflationary pressures, consumers in Japan are much less affected by the global inflation tsunami than they are in America?”
Who's afraid of inflation? Not Japan
July 14, 2022 A specter is haunting the world economy, the specter of inflation. Economists are fiercely debating from…
14. “Support every portfolio company, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because each one might be your fund returner. Disengaging with a portfolio company may harm your ability to double down on the breakouts, as mentioned earlier.
While social proof can be a valid signal, it’s necessary to be confident enough to invest without social proof from other investors, especially if you’re leading deals.”
15. “Though the war is far from over and Russia can find new ways to punish Ukraine, collapsing Russian forces have not only been pushed back; in abandoning their former headquarters in Izium, they also left behind large stores of equipment and ammunition that the Ukrainians can now use against them. Even if the Russians stabilize the line in the coming days, they will be in a far worse position than they were on September 1. Building on months of careful efforts to both prepare Ukrainian forces and waste Russian ones, Ukraine has achieved a strategic masterstroke that military scholars will study for decades to come.”
Ukraine Pulled Off a Masterstroke
What happens on the battlefield is rarely the thing that decides a war. Normally, the preparations beforehand determine…
16. “However, Brands concedes that “this is actually kind of normal for Russia — it is a great power that has never been as great as it thinks it is. So it constantly tries to punch above its weight in international affairs (by waging a Cold War against the entire Western world, for instance). That leads to failure, which leads to dramatic contractions of Russian power and influence, which leads, after a time, to a period of resurgence anew. Russia will be down for a while if things keep going in this direction — but don’t count it out.
The former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, General Mark Hertling (retired), notes that some countries were able to rebound fairly quickly from the damage done by fallen leaders as Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu, and Adolf Hitler. But, Gen. Hertling says, “Russia is different.”
Specifically, he accurately notes, Russia’s “military failed because of corruption, grift, poor equipment, failure to follow a doctrine that was disconnected from capability or training, a lack of both individual and team preparation for the demands of the modern battlefield… but most of all, extremely poor leadership at all levels. But here’s the most important lesson: you can’t fix any of that, within any period of time or with any amount of money, as long as the government the military serves is dysfunctional and corrupt.”
What Happens to Russia After It Loses?
In the aftermath of Putin's catastrophic war on Ukraine, Russia will never be the same. With reports of Russian troops…
17. “We are at the point in this struggle where as a people, we must exile themselves to the metaphorical desert, to face nature again, and reforge what was lost. Hell, we’re not even that far. We’re still trying to pull our own out of hell, to show the demoralized the light, to find some way to organize. How can we disconnect a people from a hostile regime? How can you steer a people back toward self-reliance?
It all comes back to you. You have to figure it out. Identify where you are on the path to self-reliance and move forward from there. The man of the ancient world was many things. He was a warrior, a farmer, a patriarch, and a priest. The best among men became warlords and kings. The legendary get remembered. The enemy has co-opted the most powerful country in the world, but it’s our people who made it the most powerful in the first place. It ain’t the technology, it’s the warrior.
Recognize the defeat for what it is. The America you were taught to love doesn’t exist anymore, but Americans still do. Your purpose, your Great Work, is to get as many of your own to the light. To embody excellence on a level to match, if not surpass, the enemy’s technological capabilities. You must find a way where there seems to be none. Our ancestors faced the New World and the frontier with hard discipline and a martial spirit. We must do the same.”
The Life Stolen From Man
If men could be made to understand what was stolen from them, what would happen to the country? It's one thing to tell…
18. Slava Ukraini! I hope this also shuts up the Putin appeasers on the hard left and right in the west.
“Ukraine has turned the tide of this war in its favor,” said the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based defense think tank, in its Sept. 12 report.
“Kyiv will likely increasingly dictate the location and nature of the major fighting, and Russia will find itself increasingly responding inadequately to growing Ukrainian physical and psychological pressure in successive military campaigns unless Moscow finds some way to regain the initiative.”
Experts now believe that Ukrainian pressure in Kherson Oblast, combined with its rapid counter-offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, presents Russian forces with a terrible dilemma.”
With successful Kharkiv operation, Ukraine turns the war in its favor
KHARKIV - In warfare, there's no such thing as a miracle. Yet what happened in early September in the east of Ukraine's…
19. Yup, Russian Agitprop is still very active. But yet so many people fall for it & lots of “Useful Idiots” here in the West.
20. Will to win matters. Good summary of what’s happening in Ukraine from a US military vet.
21. I like this framework.
“The next time you’re evaluating an investment, ask yourself if this company or product is a vitamin, painkiller, narcotic, or religion and gut check it with your heart monitor — the higher your heart rate the better. If you’re a founder, you need to take a cold hard look at your product and ask if people genuinely care.”
Is your product a vitamin, pain killer, narcotic, or a religion?
Venture capitalists use many mental models to help grok an investment opportunity. One of those mental models is to ask…
22. “If I take hundred photos per week maybe I have 1–3 that are really good and worthy of posting. And that’s how I think about everything: do your work well but only share what’s really great. Create layers between yourself and the Internet for reflection, curation, quality, and depth.
Cause the truth is that most of our thoughts and work are shit or at least mediocre and should not be shared. It takes time, focus, and creative energy to make something really good and worthwhile of people’s attention and one’s own self-respect. We are doing ourselves a big disfavor by always reacting instead of slowing down to create and respond with intention and quality.
I think we need to think of ourselves as artists, in the Picasso tradition, and not of productivity rats. The artist experiments, drafts, creates, fails, discards, try’s again and the latter only runs, and runs, and runs ad infinitum.”
You're an Artist, Not a Productivity Rat
Digital minimalism is not about technology but about self-discipline and inner peace. It's about creating healthy…
23. “The trick is that the larger an entity is, the harder it is to retain human faith and confidence in the reasons for its expansion. As nations and companies get larger, they lose their ability to serve the needs of their constituents and customers. You can have a billion customers (like McDonald’s) or citizens (like China), but they won’t be able to reach anybody when there is a problem. Chatbots can’t deliver like a person on the phone.
How long can an entity sustain loyalty after the lines of communication start breaking down? Not very long. This is why it is quite possible that the superpowers — Russia, China and even the US — may break into smaller, more manageable groupings after the current leadership move on. Size matters. Nation-states and global companies have become too big to manage. Smaller is becoming better.”
It is quite possible that the superpowers - Russia, China and even the US - may break into smaller, more manageable…
24. Holy crap. 20B! Adobe acquires Figma.
Adobe shares plunge on deal to acquire design platform Figma for $20 billion
Adobe announced Thursday morning that it will acquire design software firm Figma in a deal worth about $20 billion in…
25. All new founders trying to fundraise from VCs need to read this. Really good stuff.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm... - Chris Neumann
There are a lot of hidden "traps" that founders can fall into when fundraising. There are phrases that come across…
26. I find this terrifying, considering how incompetent & deluded our politicians and bureaucrats have been in the West last few years.
“Many people at the time warned that even though letting the private sector figure it out would bring healthy benefits, not every utility was made for the free market. Notably railways are hard to privatize and we are now finding out that airports most probably need far more oversight from the state, in exchange for lower profits. Quite possibly an entirely new business model.
Energy too may be best provided by a public utility rather than some offshore entity with shareholders who could not care less if some Dutch retirees will have to light a candle to make it through the winter. Governments catching up with chaos on the ground are struggling to fill the gaps that the market can apparently no longer fix.”
The State is Coming Back
It is interesting that I get lots of e-mail on topics to cover and a few subjects stand out. One is the energy crisis…
27. This is where the guys shine: discussing and dissecting tech businesses and transactions. So much insight here.
28. Good summary of the latest monopoly news.
“There are other reasons to be wary of the deal. Adobe is paying 50 times the revenue of Figma, which is a crazy price unless it is trying to maintain its market power. It feels sort of like Facebook buying Instagram, which seemed wildly overvalued at the time, but in retrospect was a clear way for Facebook to prevent disruption of its business as social network moved from the desktop to the smartphone.
It’s also not the first time that Adobe has bought a competitor to retain its monopoly revenue stream.”