Weekend readings - 16 Jul, 2021 : Edition 50
A compilation of few interesting, multi-disciplinary links from the internet
“It is wrong to blame anyone for failing to forecast accurately in an unpredictable world. However, it seems fair to blame professionals for believing they can succeed in an impossible task. Claims for correct intuitions in an unpredictable situation are self-delusional at best, sometimes worse. In the absence of valid cues, intuitive ‘hits’ are due either to luck or to lies. If you find this conclusion surprising, you still have a lingering belief that intuition is magic. Remember this rule: intuition cannot be trusted in the absence of stable regularities in the environment.” —Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking, Fast and Slow”)
Section 1 - Investing & Personal Finance
Opinion pieces on Zomato IPO are in a bull market of its own these days. Many experts have already consumed zillions of terabytes of data in threadbare stock analysis of this company. Heated discussions on investing forums & social media have already taken place.
In my opinion, there is no doubt that eating out in restaurants and how we order/consume food is changing rapidly. This twitter thread by Aaryaman Vir outlines Easy Eat operations and how it is changing the restaurant industry, one QR code at a time.
Section 2 - Economic Trends & Themes
Widespread looting took place in Johanesburg, South Africa last week while a rare large pro-freedom rally was held in Cuba, Havana. Two articles on these incidents in particular caught my attention - The Developing world in a tinderboxand Why Cuba is having an economic crisis.
What is happening in these two countries is essentially an aftermath of high inflation created due to Covid pandemic. Protests always have many causes but inflation is often a precondition. Arab Spring protests, which toppled many governments, began as food inflation protests. So did the French revolution. Keep an eye on the emerging markets in the weeks ahead, especially if the inflation remains high.
Section 3 - Personality study & Development
One of the pleasures of the lockdown has been my drastic shift to podcasts in the last 15 months instead of just reading online. Vishal Khandelwal of Safal Niveshak conducted a session with Vinod Sethi (ex-Morgan Stanley) on multi-disciplinary thinking (a key ingredient of this newsletter!). It deepened my perception that investing is not so much about numbers but how you perceive life in the form of stories.
As an investor I have always been fond of "stories”. My strong belief has been that if the story is good, numbers will definitely chase it. To the contrary, if the story is bad, no matter how good the numbers look at the time of investing, it may not be worth investing in. This insightful conversation brought my storytelling form of conviction to the forefront!
Section 4 - Business History & management
One positive impact of Covid-19 pandemic for me is that it has increased my productivity significantly. I am saved from excruciating travel, which many times is completely unnecessary and avoidable. I am able to devote the time, money and energy saved from travel to useful and productive tasks.
Carl Newport recollects an interesting tale how remote work happened even in 2004. After going through this, I have little doubt that this arrangement will continue in the post pandemic era also; and limit my work-related travel to only “unavoidable” categories. I have absolutely no reason to doubt that there are numerous other people who are happy with the present arrangement and would like this to continue.
Section 5 - Entertainment
One of our key investment themes in which we have been steadily building positions over the last couple of weeks is in (online) gaming stocks. This article by John Velez articulates how gaming is actually good for kids - on how it helps in developing interpersonal skills, persistence, teamwork and problem solving.
Check out our Portfolios - Special Situations and India Opportunities Strategy on the Smallcase platform. We have completed 10 weeks in SS and delivered 31.09% absolute return since inception (last updated: 15 Jul, 2021).
Now Watching : मुझसे पहली सी मुहब्बत : फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़ : Surekha Seekri
Surekha Seekri passed away this morning due to cardiac arrest at the age of 75. RIP. Go well, madam!
That's it for me. Have a great weekend ahead!
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