Taleb at Google, Nov. 2018

In which he reveals what he left out of his book, Incerto. When there is a lot of uncertainty, there is a lot of certainty about what to do about it. That bit around 12:00:


At 39:00, there is entrepreneurial advice.

“People ask me, what should I be doing?
Start a business, take some risk, now.”
“Start a business, create jobs, do not rent seek. Do not be a rent seeker.”

At 48:00, “Don’t tell people what they should be doing, tell them what you’re doing. Deadlifting.”

Memo by the late Robert Strasser, of Nike

ht @evgimanco


  1. Our business is change
  2. We’re on offense. All the time.
  3. Perfect results count – not a perfect process.
    Break the rules; fight the law.
  4. This is as much about battle as about business.
  5. Assume nothing.
    Make sure people keep their promises.
    Push yourselves, push others.
    Stretch the possible
  6. Live off the land.
  7. Your job isn’t done until the job is done.
  8. Dangers:
    Personal Ambition
    Energy takers vs. energy givers
    Knowing our weaknesses
    Don’t get too many things on the platter
  9. It won’t be pretty

I believe my favorite is no. 6. I also like the consistent grammar and punctuation (except missing period on no. 1), from an earlier time. I’d love to see the original, presumably typed.


Also noteworthy is how much no. 3 conflicts with some popular current thinking about best practices. As Ben Hunt (@Epsilon Theory) says, “these principles would be almost uniformly disastrous for a financial advisor.”


Beshore on base rate analysis

Assume you’re only going to be mediocre, then explore what business and life look like if that’s true.

Omg, such a great quote! I have been struggling with the concept of “base rate analysis”, and this makes it really clear to me. More specific to the topic, he says “Picking your field is arguably more important to your success than your current skill and future capacity. In some segments of business, everyone makes lots of money and the very best do outrageously well. In other areas, even the very best often declare bankruptcy. It’s a base rate analysis.”


That being said, over-strategizing is a very real danger. For example, base rate analysis may lead to good business decisions, and Tyler Cohen’s “Age of Deferment” (don’t even try to be the best because it’s impossible) may be “true”, but I think there is maybe a bit more to life 🙂 .




Tren Griffin on Richard Zeckhauser

“People feel that 50% is magical and they don’t like to do things where they don’t have 50% odds. I know that is not a good idea, so I am willing to make some bets where you say it is 20% likely to work but you get a big pay-off if it works, and only has a small cost if it does not. I will take that gamble. Most successful investments in new companies are where the odds are against you but, if you succeed, you will succeed in a big way.”

Much useful information about the need to overcome loss aversion AND the difficulty of visualizing an amazing result. Solution? Learn to look for situations as described. I’ll be looking more into this.


Tren Griffen on Proprietary Product Distribution

Businesses that can create proprietary product distribution are modern day alchemists.

“Proprietary product distribution is a customer acquisition system that is within the control of the business itself and which generates a customer relationship that the business owns.” This is in contrast to paid ads, which are increasingly less effective.

“Proprietary product distribution is the only approach to acquiring customers that can generate the necessary scale to create businesses with multi-billion dollar valuations.” There are also businesses which are a mix of proprietary and mixed. He uses the example of Disney, with its own network and also ads in other places.

And a nice bonus quote from Jeff Bezos, “The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies…the individual is empowered… The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it. If I build a great product or service, my customers will tell each other…. In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.” “Your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does.”

Interview with Anthony Deden

European wealth manager on picking companies for “permanent” investment. Looking for durability, thinking like an owner, and how to think about competitive advantage. Also advises to completely separate oneself from the financial industry, for example, growth through acquisition is “an accident waiting to happen”, and projected financials are worthless. “I’ve never had an investment idea from reading the news.”


Notes: https://saetacapital.com/2018/06/10/notes-from-anthony-deden-interview-by-grant-williams/

Transcript: https://www.slideshare.net/malpani/interview-with-anthony-deden




Chris Voss interviewed on negotiation.

As Chris Voss says, if you are thinking “I want”, you are in a negotiation. If I must negotiate, I will try to be half as good as Chris Voss. He has given a number (100?) of similar interviews promoting his book, “Never Split the Difference”. He is claiming to take “Getting to Yes” and updating it with some modern mental models, especially loss aversion. Many hacks as well as deep wisdom, especially about listening.