I have decided that one of my personal projects is going to be revisiting the thousands of posts we put into the private archive prior to launching our asset management firm and, to the extent reasonably possible, release them back to the public blog if we feel they might be useful from an academic, entertainment, and/or historical perspective. NOTE THAT THIS POST WILL BE FEATURED AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG HOMEPAGE WHILE THE PROJECT IS ON-GOING. NEW POSTS WILL APPEAR BEHIND IT UNTIL THEN.
Keeping an eye on numerous individual companies, as well as a broad array of economic data, I am far more optimistic about the next ten years than I was this time last month. Yes, there will still be challenges, but it looks like much of the worst-case scenario has been averted. Now, it’s about navigating the problems we will encounter due to the specific policy decisions made in the midst of the pandemic.
We started to see toilet paper (multiple varieties, sizes, etc.) as well as occasional bottles of Lysol appear at local stores, and beaches are once again full with people running, sailboats in the distance, and folks riding their bicycles. Many of the independent retail shops have reopened, and restaurants are beginning to accept diners, again.
Over the past year, one of my favorite tracks to listen to while I work is an instrumental piece by Iranian-born composer, producer, instrumentalist, and performer Sami Yusuf. In referring to his genre of music, Yusuf calls it “Spiritique”, which blends Eastern and Western sounds into something new and different.
Several incredibly talented people collaborated on a disco-style track called “Kill the Lights” that Aaron and I have been listening to on endless repeat. The build-up to the chorus and explosion of happiness is great, especially when the volume is turned up, the sun is shining, and you’re getting stuff done. You can’t help but dance. It’s probably going to be the song we remember most from Spring 2020 (even thought it was released several years ago and just flew below our radar). There is just so much joy in it.
Unreal Engine 5 – one of the big video game development engines upon which the modern gaming industry is built – has been revealed. It looks spectacular. This is going to allow much smaller studios to develop titles that would have only been possible with far higher budgets and resources only a few years ago.
Over the past few weeks, an interesting, and rather dramatic, development has occurred: A good minority of the population, often those in possession of what they deem to be stable incomes and sufficient savings, or who are otherwise cradled by some sort of safety net so they need not worry about homelessness and destitution, have moved the goalposts of the lockdowns from “flatten the curve to buy time for the hospital system to deal with a dramatic rise in patient loads” to “shelter-in-place until a vaccine is developed so this thing doesn’t spread.” The latter is predicated upon a fundamental misunderstanding that ignores the scientific reality of what we are facing. Looking at subsequent developments in the pandemic, it’s time to face facts based upon all available presently-known factors.
Given that so many of our family and friends can’t travel to see us during this pandemic, Aaron and I wanted to share an early access glimpse into our asset management firm’s new home. It’s not the same as seeing it in person but it should at least give you an idea of where we will be spending a lot of our time in the coming years as we allocate capital and scale operations.
The expected death toll from COVID-19 in the United States has been reduced dramatically to 100,000 to 200,000 people. While that may be a scary number, it’s actually good news because in a “normal” year, around 2,813,503 Americans die from a wide range of causes. While tragic, these numbers are not civilization-ending.
We need to have a hard conversation. These conversations are not natural, or even comfortable, for a lot of people but at this time, in this moment, it is necessary. To that end, I am going to be candid and may even offend several of you. That is not my intention. Rather, I think it is important for us to be honest about what we are facing, the trade-off calculations that are going to have to be made sooner rather than later, and the political and social ramifications of those decisions.
Along with 1 out of 2 Americans, including the entirety of the rest of the State of California, Aaron and I have been sheltering-in-place and practicing social distancing. Given that we spent a vast portion of our lives together living semi-retired, this is not a significant change for us. If anything, it feels like a return to our Missouri days, especially considering that after two years in the heart of Newport Beach, we decided not to renew the lease on our existing place and, instead, move up to Newport Coast so we can decide if that might be where we ultimately want to buy a house once our kids are born.