For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had issues breathing through my left nostril. Turns out I had a severely deviated septum. I had surgery to get it fixed earlier this week and now in recovery mode. The recovery process has been… uncomfortable. Not painful really, just really, really uncomfortable. I’m also weird and absolutely do not want to take the Tylenol 3s. Being Canadian, the whole process from seeing the doctor, then the nasal specialist, then the surgery, was all… free. Blows my mind. I feel very fortunate and grateful to live in such a wonderful country in this day and age. Anyways, things might be a little quiet around here until the end of the month. I am, however, active on Twitter so if you want to see what I’m thinking about in under 120 characters, connect with me over there. Come to think of it, I have been much more active on Twitter in the last few months. It’s a great platform once you get your bearings. Anyways, I am on hiatus over here for the next little while, which I am blaming entirely on my nasal surgery and the need to recover.
After some additional thinking on the concept of models from yesterday’s post and reading an article on the mind-blowing performance of The Medallion Fund at Renaissance Technologies, I have some additional thoughts to add.
I was recently having a sweaty conversation about the construct and use of models while sitting in a sauna with a friend. We were talking about how the aggregate polling forecast turned out so wrong on the 2016 Presidential Election. I took the position that models are important to have (or else we would just be making random guesses) but can be dangerous if you become overconfident in your model(s). Let’s hash this out.
I’ll admit it right off the bat: out of two pretty piss poor choices for president of the United States, I would have voted for Hillary Clinton. Not because Clinton was some paragon of virtue, honesty, and integrity, but because she was – in my opinion – the lesser of two evils. One candidate was secretive, sly, and carried decades of political baggage that featured many, many skeletons in the closet. The other candidate was an openly racist, misogynistic, megalomaniac who seemed to amplify and provide a voice for the shitty side of humanity. Both had their flaws. My opinion was one had deeper flaws than the other. The greatest takeaway from this election, especially if you were not a Donald Trump supporter, is just how easily so many people got sucked into a circle jerk inside an echo chamber.
I recently came across on Twitter one of the most bizarre letters I have ever read. This one letter addressed to Warren Buffett on why this investor is no longer going to be an investor of the company is probably one of the most convoluted and bat-shit insane thing I have read in awhile. I’ll keep it short for you this weekend – just the letter.
Walking the tight rope of life entails keeping an eye on the past, projecting into the future, and struggling to stay in the present. When it comes to money, I often find myself making projections into the future: a month from now, 6 months from now, a year from now, 5 years from now, a decade from now, decades from now. So often, I’m planning for the future, I find myself struggling to stay in the present. I know that the ultimate goal of all this future oriented goal planning is not to spend the present projecting the future, but often times I feel like all I am wasting the present for a future that has not yet arrived.
I’m currently reading Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies on my Kindle to and from work. It has little to do directly with finance, but I often find that there are trickle down effects of knowledge and insight to gain from different disciplines that are very helpful when thinking about finance. It helps you build better mental models to deal with complexity. A passage I read this morning got me thinking about our tendency to warp the past, usually for the better.