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5 artículos que has de leer

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Coincidiendo con los períodos valle de trabajo (Navidades o vacaciones) aprovecho para revisar mi lista de artículos favoritos para releerlos. Siempre encuentro nuevos matices y puntos de vista que se me pasaron por alto en la primera lectura, o bien refresco concepto olvidados. Comparto los 5 que en esta segunda revisión más me han resonado y que creo que son de lectura obligada. Mi top 5 desordenado es:

1. The Psychology of Money

Let me tell you the story of two investors, neither of whom knew each other, but whose paths crossed in an interesting…

Lectura larga (33') y llena de referencias y buenos consejos sobre la psicología humana y cómo afecta a como invertimos y gestionamos el dinero. Sabemos menos de lo que creemos, y la mayoría de las variables que nos afectan están fuera de nuestro control, pero seguimos pensando que somos muy listos y lo tenemos todo controlado, cuando la realidad es diferente. Introduce dos de los conceptos más importantes que he leído en los últimos años para una buena salud financiera: Compounding y leverage. Pueden cambiar tu vida.

Comparto mis notas de esta lectura:

“Most of the time, something big happening doesn’t increase the odds of it happening again. It’s the opposite, as mean reversion is a merciless law of finance”

“Opportunity is almost always inversely correlated with popularity.”

“Managing money isn’t necessarily about what you know; it’s how you behave”

“Historian Deirdre McCloskey says, “For reasons I have never understood, people like to hear that the world is going to hell.”

“People underestimate the need for room for error in almost everything they do that involves money. Two things cause this: One is the idea that your view of the future is right, driven by the uncomfortable feeling that comes from admitting the opposite. The second is that you’re therefore doing yourself economic harm by not taking actions that exploit your view of the future coming true.”

“Historians — or anyone analyzing the past as a way to indicate the future — are some of the most important members of many fields.

I don’t think finance is one of them. At least not as much as we’d like to think.”

“A stable strategy designed to endure change is almost always superior to one that attempts to guard against whatever just happened happening again.”

“Few things stay the same for very long, which makes historians something far less useful than prophets.”

“Don’t do anything,” are the most powerful words in finance”

“Wealth, in fact, is what you don’t see. It’s the cars not purchased. The diamonds not bought. The renovations postponed, the clothes forgone and the first-class upgrade declined. It’s assets in the bank that haven’t yet been converted into the stuff you see.”

“Real contrarianism is when your views are so uncomfortable and belittled that they cause you to second guess whether they’re right”

“An attachment to financial entertainment due to the fact that money is emotional, and emotions are revved up by argument, extreme views, flashing lights, and threats to your wellbeing.”

“One is that money is ubiquitous, so something bad happening tends to affect everyone, albeit in different ways.

“efecto global debido a las interconexiones entre los elementos del sistema. Estos sistemas con tantas dependencias son muy frágiles. No hay cortafuegos”

“Anchored-to-your-own-history bias: Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.”

“Most people’s views have holes and gaps in them, if only subconsciously. Crowds and social proof help fill those gaps, reducing doubt that you could be wrong.”

“People like the feeling of predictability and clean narratives. “

“The purpose of investing is to maximize returns, not minimize boredom. Boring is perfectly fine. Boring is good.”

“There are many things in academic finance that are technically right but fail to describe how people actually act in the real world”

“The cornerstone of economics is that things change over time, because the invisible hand hates anything staying too good or too bad indefinitely.”

“The idea is that you have to take risk to get ahead, but no risk that could wipe you out is ever worth taking. The odds are in your favor when playing Russian Roulette. But the downside is never worth the potential upside”

“A key point here is that few things in money are as valuable as options. The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, and why you want, has infinite ROI.”

“There are three parts to this:

You see a lot of information in the world.

You can’t process all of it. So you have to filter.

You only filter in the information that meshes with the way you think the world should work.”

Confirmation bias

“wealth is what you don’t see.”

“Ben Graham once said, “The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.””


2. Status as a Service (StaaS)

Editor's Note 1: I have no editor. Editor's Note 2 : I would like to assure new subscribers to this blog that most my…

Eugene Wei ha trabajado en el área de producto de compañías como Amazon. Hulu, Flipboard y Oculus. Además tiene un blog bastante propular del que forma parte este artículo publicado hace ya 3 años. En él explica las diferentes etapas de construcción de una red social, la importancia de los modelos basados en redes y el papel del status y el ego en la toma de nuestras decisiones. Somos seres imperfecto, predecibles que buscamos patrones repetitivos que nos den seguridad y certidumbre.

Mis notas:

One of the fundamental lessons of successful social networks is that they must first appeal to people when they have few users. Typically this is done through some form of single-user utility.

The second fundamental lessons is that social networks must have strong network effects so that as more and more users come aboard, the network enters a positive flywheel of growth, a compounding value from positive network effects that leads to hockey stick growth that puts dollar signs in the eyes of investors and employees alike.

“Come for the tool, stay for the network” wrote Chris Dixon, in perhaps the most memorable maxim for how this works.

What ties many of these explanations together is social capital theory, and how we analyze social networks should include a study of a social network’s accumulation of social capital assets and the nature and structure of its status games. In other words, how do such companies capitalize, either consciously or not, on the fact that people are status-seeking monkeys, always trying to seek more of it in the most efficient way possible?

With the rise of Instagram, with its focus on photos and filters, and Snapchat, with its ephemeral messaging, and Vine, with its 6-second video limit, for a while there was a thought that new social networks would be built on some new modality of communications.

When modeling how successful social networks create a status game worth playing, a useful metaphor is one of the trendiest technologies: cryptocurrency

People are status-seeking monkeys*

People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital

Eficiencia energética vital y necesitados de ego.


3. The Future of Self

The computer could then do basic tasks that you find boring with the exact same tastes and preferences as yourself. It…

Lectura (14') que en su inicio te recordará a Matrix o Black Mirror. Habla de como el aumento de la complejidad de nuestra civilización (pensar como si fuera un sistema donde cada vez hay más variables en interacción) dificulta cada vez más tener una identidad definida. La tecnología habilita la posibilidad de tener múltiples identidades según los diferentes contextos reales o digitales. Esta lectura está relacionado al concepto de sociedad líquida del filósofo Bauman.

Mis notas:

“the printing press. Cheap and available books allowed people to read and peer into the minds of others, to empathize with their ideas”

“Today, we’re seeing even more abstract definitions of one’s identity, with even such fundamental definitions such as one’s gender, sexuality, race and physical appearance coming into flux and becoming relative.”

“1. Genetic engineering and nanotechnology”

“2. Robotics and AI”

“Then you get to the 20th century and industrialization made producing shit so cheap and easy that people just started buying stuff for the fun of it, not because they needed it”

“all of your identities are entirely and utterly contextual, made of information and nothing more.9”

“for much of the 20th century, identity was largely defined by how one consumed, by how one spent their money.”

“Uploading our entire personalities to a network may sound insane, but you upload a large percentage of your life to social media, email and “the cloud.” Is that uploaded data an accurate representation of “you”? Is it part of your identity? If it were all deleted and replaced with other information, would “you” have changed?”

“In the future, we will likely reach the point where our physical bodies can be changed and upgraded at will, where our consciousness can be uploaded, modified, downloaded and exchanged from a cloud network, where machines and artificial intelligence will manage most of the important global tasks giving us an almost unlimited amount of time for leisure, and physical location will become almost inconsequential with the power and sheer amount of global connectivity.”

“If you find yourself on an island with a tribe of people and none of them know how to swim, you will quickly cement your identity as “the swimmer.”

“Our possessions are being dematerialized — music, photos, videos, messages and written words, data and information, even our money is being digitized”

“While many of us still see a pretty clear divide between the digital and “real” world, even these mental boundaries are gradually dissolving.3"

“And the more technology allows us to manipulate and mold information, the more we will be able to manipulate and mold ourselves until that very conception of self is no more.”

“virtual reality may give us an unlimited ability to alter our personalities in a virtual world and test the limits of how we conceptualize ourselves in a safe, consequence-free environment”

“Due to the massive free-flow of information in recent decades, our identities are becoming more fluid and more extended because our circumstances change so rapidly”

“what we come to see as ourselves, our identities — what we’re good at, what we look like, what we believe in, what we value — is largely determined by the technological and economic circumstances in which we find ourselves. “

“If You Think It’s Hard to “Find Yourself” Now, Just Wait a Few Decades”

“What will result, then, will be a majority unemployed population. Most people will have nothing productive to do for the simple reason that their skills are easily outmatched by computers.”

“it will likely cause a worldwide identity crisis as well.”

“the exponential growth in computer processing power, combined with the exponential decrease in cost of that processing power, means that it is inevitable that eventually, all but the most creative and intensive service jobs will be successfully outsourced to AI-based machines.”

“3. Virtual Reality”

“the whole concept of a singular individual identity may become a vestige of a long-forgotten past, much in the same way we look back at the concept of a tribe or a kingdom today.”

“Our memories are being stored as digital photos, status updates, comments, and “likes” that can all be accessed in seconds”

“Here are just three major areas of technological development that could completely scramble who we are and who we see ourselves to be.”

“Gene therapy will allow us to potentially select and choose our own genes and the genes of our children.


4. What the Hell is Going On?

Let's play a game. I'm going to describe your least favorite politician: Everything they say goes viral. The…

Llegué a David Perell a través de su podcast, y desde entonces es una fuente de referencias sobre economía digital. Este artículo (54') es en mi opinión uno de los mejores: habla de cómo ha cambiado la publicidad, el retail, la educación y la política con las tecnologías digitales. Tecnologías que han habilitado nuevos modelos y comportamientos. Una lectura con muchas y buenas ideas para la reflexión.

Mis notas:

In the past decade, the information environment has inverted from information scarcity to information abundance, and the effects are evident in every corner of society.

Across consumer goods industries, brand loyalty is dying. The percentage of affluent consumers in the top 5% of household income who can identify their favorite brand is in sharp decline (see Figure 1).

The reason is simple: brands are about trust and signaling. They’re a substitute for incomplete information. When information is scarce and asymmetric, consumers flock to trusted brands. But in many parts of the economy, when consumers have reviews at their fingertips, they no longer defer to brands when they make a purchasing decision.

Signaling brands are context-dependent. Signaling brands thrive in environments with high geographic and social mobility

Before the internet, sellers usually had more information than customers. information was asymmetric.

Writing in his 1970 Nobel Prize-winning paper, George Akerlof discussed the Market for Lemons. In it, he observed that the quality of goods in markets with asymmetric information decreases over time, leaving only low-quality products. Handicapped by information asymmetries, customers were unable to distinguish good cars from bad cars

Commerce and media are interdependent. You can’t understand commerce without understanding the media environment.

Major media outlets, such as television networks and newspapers, had a monopoly on distribution to customers. Centralization in distribution mirrored the centralization in advertising agencies and media conglomerates. The four major advertising agency holding companies (Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic, and Publicis) were built for a Mass Media world with limited media outlets.

Skeptical and unaware of obscure brands, people with money to spend flocked to big brands with big-time name recognition. Habits formed

Once a person trusted a brand, they kept buying its products. From 1923–1983, in the top 25 CPG categories, 20 market leaders maintained #1 share the entire time.

Spurred by steep barriers to entry for emerging competitors, advertising and shopping environments — which were defined by scarcity — ensured the continual success of America’s biggest brands.

Fueled by economies of scale, the big got bigger. In 1958, the average company in the S&P 500 had been there an average of 61 years. Only the biggest brands could afford television advertising and endure costly funnel inefficiencies.

“In effect, if you didn’t have a big volume, you couldn’t use network TV advertising — which was the most effective technique. So when TV came in, the branded companies that were already big got a huge tailwind.”

Small brands with unique value propositions were impossible to find. Television equalized culture

Millions of Americans were in sync. They watched the same shows at the same time.

As any savvy CPG executive can attest, the internet has accelerated the pace of change in the consumer goods industry. The traditional methods of content creation, marketing, and advertising no longer work.

The internet is hyper-fragmented

Brands, which used to be mass-produced, are now micro-targeted.

The internet has unlimited shelf space, so monopolizing brick and mortar shelves is no longer a defensible strategy.

“This mass of micro brands with massively efficient marketing are, in aggregate, having a much bigger impact than anyone thinks. Using hyper-targeted marketing, just-in-time manufacturing, and social media, these brands find and engage their audience wherever they may be.”

we underestimate the potency of internet trends, such as the rise of micro brands

By creating unlimited shelf space and reducing information asymmetries, power in the internet age is shifting from suppliers to customers.

customers are informed and educated

After purchasing the product, customers can rate their experiences on platforms like Yelp, Amazon and TripAdvisor.

Since every customer can share positive and negative experiences on the internet, brands have an incentive to treat every customer with care and respect

Reputation is now public and quantified

Mass Media advertising, the weapon of choice for America’s biggest companies, isn’t as effective as it once was.

Big brands are losing share of America’s GDP pie.

In the past three years, over $17 billion in sales has evaporated from the 10 largest U.S. packaged-food companies

The Rise of Higher Education

Accreditation is a signal of competence, so HR directors save time and money by restricting their applicant pool to graduates from top-tier universities. Ivy League graduates, for example, passed a quality bar which made them attractive to employers.

They justified exorbitant tuition costs by funneling graduates to respected, well-paying companies, such as big banks and consulting firms.

As a result, college acceptance is a brutal zero-sum competition, where an ever-expanding number of applicants fight for a limited number of university spots.

Since knowledge could only be accessed at top-tier universities, strong network effects emerged. Two universities, Harvard and Yale, produced12 of America’s 44 presidents.

Over time, though, the system bloated. Tuition rose faster than inflation. Students needed more and more education just to find a job, which created a chronic oversupply of PhDs. Even as the quality of a standard undergraduate education barely improved, the amount of education required for even the simplest of jobs increased

Previously, the success of universities depended on privileged access to information. But today, there’s more information on the smartphone in your pocket than in the university library.

With oceans of knowledge at their fingertips, digital natives use the internet to educate themselves

As colleges lost their monopoly on information, college became less about learning and more about signaling.

Peter Thiel argues that college has become an expensive insurance policy for upper middle class parents who don’t want to see their children fall through the cracks of society.

Emerging forms of accreditation will reduce the value of college as a signaling tool, and students will be increasingly uneasy about the cost and time required to receive a diploma.

Three trends will initiate the downfall of higher education: (1) the global rise in the number of college graduates, (2) the rise in education costs, and (3) new methods of educating and accrediting students

Higher spending has yielded no improvement in the quality of higher education since 1973

The absolute return of a college degree has decreased 10–15% since the late 1990s

credential inflation, where the level of education required to find a job increases

“Would you rather have a Princeton diploma without a Princeton education, or a Princeton education without a Princeton diploma? If you pause to answer, you must think signaling is pretty important.”

Paradoxically, as college degrees become commoditized, the cost of acquiring them continues to rise. Since 1991, tuition has increased by more than 300%, according to the US Department of Labor’s “tuition and school fees” component of the Consumer Price Index.

Since there’s no way to measure the quality of an education, universities are gauged by superficial optics such as sticker price, acceptance rates, and questionable rankings systems.

Harvard and Stanford will be okay, but dark days are ahead for mid-tier universities

Clayton Christensen, who coined the term “disruption,” predicts 50% of the 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States will be bankrupt in the next 10 to 15 years

Now that information is easy to access and new employer signaling mechanisms are emerging, exorbitant university costs are increasingly difficult to justify.

The transition away from universities will be slow but new accreditation systems will be the final nail in the mid-tier university coffin.

Like multinational conglomerates, the information explosion has crushed university monopolies. Information has moved from a position of scarcity to abundance.

Ten years from now, online lectures will be more entertaining and personalized than anything students can experience in-person

Students can access information without universities and professors can scale their expertise on the internet.

Accreditation is the final pillar holding the system together. Accreditation methods will form slowly, so the transition away from universities will be gradual.

Shift: #1: From Scarcity to Abundance — How Information Scarcity Created Authority

More information is published in a week than you can read in a lifetime.

In complex domains or when information is scarce, people defer to credentialed workers, such as doctors with medical school degrees, and trained lawyers who can interpret jargon and technical language on their behalf.

Entrepreneurship is cool. Rather than joining an institution, the young people I speak with dream of starting their own company.

“The information technologies of the twenty-first century have enabled the public, composed of amateurs, people from nowhere, to break the power of the political hierarchies of the industrial age… Industrial hierarchies are no longer able to govern successfully in a world swept to the horizon by a tsunami of information.”

Shift #2: From One-Way to Two-Way

The Broadcast era was shaped by high barriers to entry, which centralized the entire media industry.

Information flowed in one direction, from producer to consumer.

When Cronkite spoke, America listened

“If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” Everything changed. One man. One night. One report. In a centralized media environment, that’s all it took to sway American consciousness and alter the course of an international war.

When information sources were limited, we traded truth for coherence.

Peter Kaufman on The Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking: Transcript

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a talk by Peter Kaufman on the Multidisciplinary Approach to Thinking…

Este texto es la transcripción de una conferencias de Peter Kaufman en el Cal Poly Pomona Economics Club sobre la multidisciplinariedad (tema sobre el que estoy interesado). De esta interesante y amena charla destaco dos conceptos: El primero es la Reciprocidad que según es el principio que rige nuestro mundo orgánico e inorgánico. Y el segundo es Simple, que es un paso más allá de ser un genio. Simple implica que has entendido el concepto y eres capaz de desentrañarlo de una forma simple y entendible para todos. Por cierto que vuelve a salir el concepto de Compound que os comentaba en la primera lectura.

Mis notas:

So bucket number one we live in, 13.7 billion years. Bucket number two is what we’re part of, biology. 3.5 billion years. And number three is 20,000 years of recorded human history. That’s the most relevant of all. That’s our story. That’s who we are.”

“Bucket number 2 is 3.5 billion years. It’s biology on the planet Earth”

“Albert Einstein once listed what he said were the five ascending levels of cognitive prowess. (link) Now there’s nobody in this room that doesn’t want to be level number one. Right? That’s why we’re here. You don’t want to be level number five. You want to be level number one. Wait until you hear what these levels are, it’s going to blow your mind. So number 5 he said, at the very bottom, was smart. OK. That’s the lowest level of cognitive prowess is being smart. The next level up, level 4, is intelligent. Level 3, next up, is brilliant. Next level up, level 2 he said is genius. What? What’s higher than genius? He must have that backward. No he doesn’t. Wait until you hear what number one is according to Albert Einstein. We just demonstrated it. Number one is simple. Simple transcends genius.”

“compound interest is dogged incremental constant progress over a very long time frame”

“It’s the inorganic universe. Physics. Geology. Anything that’s not living goes in my bucket number 1. 13.7 billion years.”

“Your entire life. Every interaction you have with another human being is merely mirrored reciprocation.”

“The problem that human beings have is we don’t like to be constant”

“So why is it important to be a multidisciplinary thinker? The answer comes from the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (link 1, 2, 3) who said, ‘To understand is to know what to do.”

“We go to bucket number 2. 3.5 billion years of biology. What’s the most powerful force in three and a half billion years of biology? It’s the machine of evolution. How does it work? Dogged incremental constant progress over a long time frame.”

“Albert Einstein again. He said, ‘The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.’”

“Why do you need to be multidisciplinary in your thinking? Because as the Japanese proverb says, ‘The frog in the well knows nothing of the mighty ocean.’ You may know everything there is to know about your specialty, your silo, your “well”, but how are you going to make any good decisions in life…the complex systems of life, the dynamic system of life…if all you know is one well?”

Siempre es mejor “beber de la fuente" que quedarse con las notas de otros, por lo que os invito a leerlos. Feliz descanso estival para el hemisferio norte.