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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Warren Buffett on Reading, Teaching, and Writing

July 3rd, 2013 No comments

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

"When you either teach or write, the person who does it, learns more than the person on the other end usually. It clarifies thought, there is no question about that. And having to defend your ideas. As a teacher, you are probably the number 1 student in the room"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dON-aSPiq0s

Categories: Life

An Old Interview with Carl Icahn – Notes

January 24th, 2013 No comments

“I’m just a guy looking to make money”

“I think I was great at making money, somehow I’m not too good at much else”

-went to Princeton University from Far Rockaway High School
-mother a school teacher wanted Carl to be a doctor, so he went to medical school
-quit medical school because he was hypochondriac couldn’t handle having sick people around him
-joined the Army. Won $10,000 from Army buddies playing poker. Quit after 6 months
-joined Dreyfus in 1961, started investing the $10,000
-made money buying convertible bonds on margin. Jack Dreyfus told him you’re going to lose it all
-1962 market cleaned him out, lost everything. Had to sell his car to eat. Making $100 a week at Dreyfus
-Decided “no more trading the market” “there is nobody who can tell you what the market’s going to do” “in long run there’s no question that we’re going to see a big drop, a big blowup”
-Learned options “always a workaholic” “really am obsessive in nature” “back then no computers” wrote options newsletter pricing options. Made $500,000 a year for a few years
-Bought a seat on the exchange and learned arbitrage. Buy convertible bond and short the stock on 90% margin. Made tremendous amount of money for 7-8 years
-What I do today is same kind of arbitrage. “What I do is buy stocks out there that are cheaper than what the underlying values of the assets” “You have to know what you’re doing; you have to do some analysis”
-Reason you have disconnect is management. “management is screwing up the company”
-CEO of most companies are the social guys, not the smartest or brightest, but likeable and reliable. “He makes very few waves.. just moves up (the ladder)” One skill “he’s a good survivor”
-CEO doesn’t want anyone under him who is smarter than him, why should he feel threatened? So he puts a likeable person little dumber than him under him, who becomes the next CEO
-I buy stock in these companies and I threaten them, hopefully they do something to narrow the value gap

Categories: Life

Ted Turner Words to Live By

February 4th, 2012 No comments

-take honor from me and my life is done
-always put forth maximum effort
-you’ve got to play on
-be sure you’re right, then go ahead
-you can turn enemies into friends
-we need to build bridges with each other
-use your influence for good
-grit your teeth and make a come-back
-challenge your heroes
-set your goals higher than you can achieve
-rewrite the rules
-you’ve gotta have hope

Source: Oprah’s Master Class

Categories: Life

Learnings from David Neeleman, Founder of JetBlue

July 18th, 2010 No comments

-at 23 started a travel agency, he lost everything. “always bolster your business with plenty of capital”

-at 34 sold second startup, Morris Air, to Southwest Airlines where he was fired after five months “always be your own boss”

-at 39 founded JetBlue. He was ousted by his board

-in 2008 he started Azul. Raised $235 million and invested $13 million of his own money

-”All of us have failures. What matters isn’t what happens to you in life. What really matters is how you react to it

-how to succeed in airline business: “Have the best product. Have the lowest cost. And kill’em with frequency”

-Neeleman makes $200,000 a year with no stock options

-Herb Kelleher “Don’t think about shareholders. Think about crew members. The crew will take care of the customers. The customers will take care of the shareholders”

-”When things are going south, communication should increase” his mistake in dealing with JetBlue’s board

-He owns 15% of Azul but has voting control, so board can’t oust him. “I’ve set it up so I can’t get sucker-punched again”

-”The stock price doesn’t lie” regarding JetBlue -40% in three years

Categories: Life

General Petraeus on Leadership

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

-communicate effectively on day one. Sent a letter to the troops, to the commanders. And you just echo it and re-echo it in every forum, in every communications opportunity you have
-learn and adapt, tell the truth
-best leaders? foundational level of sheer physical fitness, soldiering is still an outdoor sport. A certain degree of mental toughness, integrity, sheer professional expertise (technical and tactical competence), but what separates the stars. judgement – hugely important
-Ulysses Grant vastly under-rated. Great book by Jean Edwards Smith, Grant. Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command. He just had sheer determination

Categories: Life

Importance of Writing

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

“..the importance of writing. I’ve explained that it’s integral to learning, that to write well you have to read well, and that to read well you have to think hard. Thinking hard is how we learn” – Douglas Brown

Categories: Life

Quote from Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

How has your study of Jobs and Apple helped you in your job as a venture capitalist?

Extraordinary, rare companies like Apple in those first two or three years have some common traits. The individuals will be different, the businesses will be different, the decade will be different, but the purpose, the drive, the sense of mission, the intelligence of the founders, those will be common. If you have been around the start of success, it’s far easier to recognize it again.

Categories: Life

Stress Symptoms and Fixes

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

From a WSJ article, psychological stress can take a physical toll on many body systems, causing for instance:

-increased blood pressure
-increase heart rate
-muscle aches
-digestive problems
-weakened immune system
-skin disorders
-allergies, asthma
-increased sensitivity to pain

To keep stress under control by:

-physical exercise
-adequate sleep
-regular, balanced meals
-maintaining social connections
-biofeedback
-cognitive behavioral therapy

Categories: Life

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin Notes

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

The factor that seems to explain the most about great performance is something that researchers call deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice is hard. It hurts. But it works. More of it equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance. The chief constraint is mental. The required concentration is so intense that it’s exhausting.

Innate talent is nothing, success is 99% hard work.

Top performers perceive more
-They understand the significance of indicators that average performers don’t even notice
-They look farther ahead
-They know more from less
-They make finer discriminations than average performers
-Domain-specific knowledge is power

Examples:

Mozart’s early work was copying, arranging, and imitating the works of others. His first masterpiece, Piano Concerto No. 9, was created at the age of 21. After 18 years of extremely hard expert training. Mozart became Mozart by working furiously hard.

Tiger Wood started learning golf before the age of 2. After 17 years, at the age of 19 he was on the U.S. team in the Walker Cup. Asked to explain his success, he said “hard work.”

Warren Buffett was born on August 30, 1930. He bought his first stock at the age of 11 worth $120. He didn’t achieve any real success until he read Intelligent Investor at the age of 19. Before then he read every investment book at the library from market timing to technical analysis. At age 20, his net worth was $9,803.70. At age 21, it was $19,738. At age 26, it was $174,000 directly after studying under Benjamin Graham at Columbia and then working for him for a few years. So it took Buffett about 15 years before he really hit his stride. He also got better with age and more practice.

It looks like even for the great ones, it takes around 15-18 years to reach performance excellence.

The best performers set goals that are not about outcome, but about the process of reaching the outcome. They are thinking of exactly, not vaguely, of how to get to where they are going using self-observation.

Categories: Life

Rose Blumkin of Nebraska Furniture Mart

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

Sell cheap and tell the truth, don’t cheat no-body, and don’t take no kickbacks. When she made a sale, “Deliver it before they change their mind.”

Advice to graduating students, “First, honesty. Second, hard work. Next, if you don’t get the job you want right away, tell them you’ll take anything. If you’re good, they’ll keep you.”

Categories: Life