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"The Times They Are A-Changin'" Bob Dylan

"But first, I’m going to reach out and ask for a little help. I have just signed an agreement with my publisher, Wiley, to do a new book called Investing in an Age of Transformation. I’ve been thinking about this book for many years, and it is finally time to write it. As my longtime readers know, I believe we are entering a period of increasingly profound change, much more transformative than we’ve seen in the past 50 years. And not just technologically but on numerous fronts. There are going to be substantial social implications as well. Imagine the entire 20th century fast-forwarded and packed into 20 years, and you will get some idea of the immensity of what we face.

Now think about investing in this unfolding era of change. Companies will spring up and disappear faster than ever. Corporations will move into and out of indexes at an increasingly rapid rate, making the whole experience of index investing – which constitutes the bulk of investing, not just for individuals but for pensions and large institutions – obsolete.

Just as we wouldn’t think of relying on the medical technology of the early 20th century, I’m convinced that we need a significantly new process for investing that doesn’t depend on the concept of indexing created deep in the last century. In an age of exponential change, being wrong in your investment style will no longer mean you simply underperform: you will not merely be wrong; you will be exponentially wrong.

Of course, the flipside is that if you get it right, you will be exponentially right. We will be exploring some new investing concepts in Thoughts from the Frontline as I write the book, since this letter is actually part of my thinking process. I’ve been spending a great deal of time lately exploring new ways of thinking about the markets, different ways to manage risk, and strategies to take advantage of overwhelming change.

This project will be significantly more complex than any book I’ve attempted so far. I’m looking for a few research interns or assistants to help me on various topics. Some topics are technological in nature, and some are investment-oriented. You can be young or old, retired or working in any number of fields; you just have to be passionate about thinking about the future and be able to spend time exploring a topic and going back and forth with me through shared notes and conversations. It’s a plus if you write well. If you are interested in exploring a topic or two, drop me a note at transformation@2000wave.com, along with a resume or a note about your background, plus your area of interest. Now let’s jump to the letter."  Mauldin, J. (2015, July 25). Europe: Running on Borrowed Time.

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 01:01PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Author Malcolm Gladwell: More data doesn’t mean you know everything

This item, from GeekWire, points out the power of the counterfactual.

Those of you who have taken Logistics in the Supply Chain with me will recall (I hope) the assigned text, Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Creating Value-added Networks, by Martin Christopher.  I assigned this text partially for what it didn't say about the topic.  You were challenged to discover what was not there.

There is great value in determining what's missing.

"If stated reasons don't sit well with your conscience or stand the test of logic, look for deeper motivations." Docent Glax Othn in Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, 1st Edition ed. (Tor Books, 2002) 0-765-30157-1.


Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 06:47AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

“The most profound technologies are those...

...that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

Mark Weiser in Rus, D. (2015). The Robots are Coming. Foreign Affairs, 94(4), 2–6.

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 07:10AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | Comments1 Comment

The Essential Hayek

Your attention is called to this small book (85 pages) summarizing the thinking of Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel laurette in Economic Science (1974), and arguably one of the great thinkers of the last century (Boudreaux, D. J. (2014). The Essential Hayek. The Fraser Institute).

I particularly call your attention to Chapter 9: The Challenge of Living Successfully in Modern Society.

You can find a free pdf on the web. 

My LEAD 101 students need to be alert to this as an assignment.

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 06:09PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

What are the characteristics of a good question?

I have long believed that good questions yield good answers that lead to good decisions.

Some time ago I came across Quora and posted thereon "What are the characteristics of a good question?"  I usally check on Quora every day and this morning I saw the following notification:

Elynn Lee merged What are the characteristics of a good question? into this question. 7 answers were moved.

What has emerged is a set of interesting answers to which I specifically direct my students.

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Where does talent go?

From Wladawsky-Berger, I. (2015, May 12). Imagination as a Journey of Survival and Discovery

The study concluded that while digital, virtual interactions are important, they are not sufficient.  “As computing, digital storage, and bandwidth performance improve exponentially, virtual [knowledge] flows are likely to grow more rapidly… However, physical flows will not be fully replaced by virtual flows.  As people become more and more connected virtually, the importance of tacit knowledge exchange through physical, face-to-face interactions will only increase, leading to more physical flow… Talent migrates to the most vibrant geographies and  institutions because that is where it can improve its performance more rapidly by learning faster [emphasis added]…  Increasing migration suggests virtual connection is not enough - people increasingly seek rich and serendipitous face-to-face encounters as well.”

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 07:27AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Renewables Are Disruptive to Coal and Gas

This is from a blog post by Tyler Cowen.

This article suggests significant changes in the structure of geopolitical power due to disruption in state economies.  There would also seem to be the possibility of major disruption in the global distribution of bulk commodities.

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The test of time for a society, institution, and individual is...

...their capacity for change to remain relevant.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 06:26AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

I think to myself, That’s the problem, all right, where to start.

From page 63 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.  This starts an extended section the compares and contrasts the classic and romantic views of the world.  I commend this section to your attention.

Posted on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 06:25AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

A New Way of Thinking

I was reading Toolkits of the Mind in the May/June 2015 issue of the MIT Technology Review and I came across the following:

Software developers as a species tend to be convinced that programming languages have a grip on the mind strong enough to change the way you approach problems—even to change which problems you think to solve.

I struck out the last part of this extract because I'm a bit uncomfortable with the notion that the language dictates what we think about it.  On the other hand, it may well be that the language we use -- differential equations, economics, visualization, diplomacy as examples -- may well be a constraint that that keeps us from understanding and potentially resolving some of the intractable issues of the day -- the Middle East, income and capability inequality, race relations.

If all one knows is arithmetic then all one can resolve is issues that can be described in arithmetic.

I think of some of the issues I face, most often the need to modify human behavior (sometimes my own), and think that maybe I'm using the wrong language.

Most successful programming languages have an overall philosophy or set of guiding principles that organize their vocabulary and grammar—the set of possible instructions they make available to the programmer—into a logical whole.

Posted on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 07:56AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment
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