This blog started I guess roughly in the middle of the last recession. NZ wasn't as hard hit as the US but it still felt the echos for a few years. For long time readers you know where it's taken me so I'm ever grateful for that initial step – and the ...
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Last recession and more | bwagy


Last recession

This blog started I guess roughly in the middle of the last recession. NZ wasn’t as hard hit as the US but it still felt the echos for a few years.

For long time readers you know where it’s taken me so I’m ever grateful for that initial step – and the many that followed.

Now that you’re at home, what new things could or should start now?

If you have nothing to do, embrace being bored, play some games, read, spend time with friends/family.

It’s hard but it can be a realigning around the things that you really want to be doing. Or should be doing.

Give it some thought, mull it around, start something. Truly, if not now, when?

    
 


Pre-mortem and backcasting

I recently finished Annie Dukes, Thinking in Bets.

Three takeaways from the book:

Place an actual bet
When people are at a disagreement, consider asking to put money down. And seeing how if that changes your position. It forces you to consider what weighting is going in to your POV and find the strengths and weaknesses of the position.

Noah in Why Is ThisInteresting – The Certainty Edition gave a succinct example:

I was recently accused of being obsessed with gambling. It wasn’t from driving to New Jersey to bet on sports (though I’ve considered it), but rather because I was trying to convince a friend to make a bet on a political prediction he was making. I wasn’t pushing him to bet because I was trying to take his money (though I feel confident I would have), but rather I was legitimately trying to understand how strongly he believed in what he was arguing. When he said he was sure this particular set of events was going to occur, I didn’t know if he was saying he was 90% or 10% certain. And there’s obviously a vast gap between those probabilities.

The other two are related, Pre-Mortems and Backcasting.

Backcasting is looking at an end result, then working backwards to go, what had to go right for that goal to happen. This is very astute. And forces a focus on making quality decisions, rather than just focusing on the next step.

Pre-mortems, are looking at a decision and figuring out what could go wrong for it to fall over. Then you can adjust.

All three practices, are to sharpen the quality of your decision making. Do read the book, there are other skills she shouts out which are invaluable.

    
 


The web is failing us

I’ve recently become obsessed with this idea of finding new and different videographer talent from emerging areas, to throw some briefs at. Just to experiment, to explore. 

The challenge – finding them. And not that finding new and undiscovered or up and coming talent is meant to be easy. I mean it’s in the brief. 

Bare with me. If you search on Google, all you find is marketplaces. No real blog posts. Fresh new content isn’t indexed, because it’s not created like it used to be.

If you search on the social networks themselves, you don’t find anything, because they’re made for finding content, or specific people. 

Not types of people nor types of content. 

It’s a weird problem.

The web has failed us, in that it has become silo’d, we know this instinctively. But it’s not till you try find something new, something that you can’t just hit a like button and an algorithm will find it. 

Google has been the last bastion of discovering new. But now it’s seo’optimized to the lowest common denominator, that which gets a click. And people have stopped their own curating or publishing on their own blogs or tumblrs. 

It’s especially now, that hard, tangible, real, is what we need. 

If anyone knows some creative folks, who are having fun with video. I’m here.

    
 


2019 Buffett Letter

I’ve yet to read ALL of his letters but have had a habit of reading them each year. For those who don’t know, each year Warren Buffett does an annual letter, updating on the company, commentary on general market and outlook.

This year is no different, you can read it here.

Here is my highlighted version with a few comments.

See my PDF for highlights but having a read a few things stuck out to me:

  • Reminding shareholders of the power of retained earnings. Berkshire owns public stocks in companies that they can’t control or unlikely to get a controlling position. Each share is paying a dividend yet retaining earnings 2-3 times that of the share. I think as shareholders you expect the shares to go up but do forget the ‘entitlement’ you have – and that those retained earnings are an investment back in you. Something to think about before you hit sell on shares – but also on time frames. It takes years for retained earnings to pay ‘dividends’ pun intended.
  • He grumps on the change to GAAP rules which require reporting unrealized gains/losses. So suggests a focus on operating earnings, to better reflect the reality.
  • To achieve a reputation as a good manager, you must buy good businesses.
  • In insurance they need disciplined risk evaluation. I think all businesses need this, more frequently. Consistently evaluating the risk and making decisions accordingly. I’d argue that this is the hallmark of all Berkshire companies. And something I want to improve in mine.
  • He speaks on Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which has only had modest consumer price increases whilst investing in renewable energy.
  • Berkshire tax payments represented 1 1/2% of ALL corporate tax payments in America. Crazy that it is so high.
  • There was a shout out to the new book, Margin of Trust, on the culture at Berkshire. Which I’ll pick up and have a read.
  • He lays out thoughts on what will happen post-Warren era, which for anyone who hasn’t or is thinking about future planning, worth reading.

My takeaways, there has long been talk of what play with Berkshire do next. And the hints are overt, a big play in energy, he’s calling out their track record of consumer prices, investment in renewables but also as a customer of the tax system. Read, we have a play that we will probably want government support on.

    
 

Play the cards you’ve got

It’s no use spinning wheels on things you can’t do.

If you’re getting stuck, do an audit of what cards you do have. Then play those. Push off. Make that move.

    
 

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