Ben Carlson

Ben Carlson

8 months ago

Bear market duration and how to invest during one

More on Economics & Investing

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

2 months ago

The current inflation is unique.

New Stiglitz just dropped.

Here's the inflation story everyone believes (warning: it's false): America gave the poor too much money during the recession, and now the economy is awash with free money, which made them so rich they're refusing to work, meaning the economy isn't making anything. Prices are soaring due to increased cash and missing labor.

Lawrence Summers says there's only one answer. We must impoverish the poor: raise interest rates, cause a recession, and eliminate millions of jobs, until the poor are stripped of their underserved fortunes and return to work.

This is nonsense. Countries around the world suffered inflation during and after lockdowns, whether they gave out humanitarian money to keep people from starvation. America has slightly greater inflation than other OECD countries, but it's not due to big relief packages.

The Causes of and Responses to Today's Inflation, a Roosevelt Institute report by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this bogus inflation story and offers a more credible explanation for inflation. CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation Report 202212.pdf

Sharp interest rate hikes exacerbate the slump and increase inflation, the authors argue. They compare monetary policy inflation cures to medieval bloodletting, where doctors repeated the same treatment until the patient recovered (for which they received credit) or died (which was more likely).

Let's discuss bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn of the wage price spiral, when inflation rises and powerful workers bargain for higher pay, driving up expenses, prices, and wages. This is the fairy-tale narrative of the 1970s, and it's true except that OPEC's embargo drove up oil prices, which produced inflation. Oh well.

Let's be generous to seventies-haunted inflation hawks and say we're worried about a wage-price spiral. Fantastic! No. Real wages are 2.3% lower than they were in Oct 2021 after peaking in June at 4.8%.

Why did America's powerful workers take a paycut rather than demand inflation-based pay? Weak unions, globalization, economic developments.

Workers don't expect inflation to rise, so they're not requesting inflationary hikes. Inflationary expectations have remained moderate, consistent with our data interpretation.

Neither are workers. Working people see surplus savings as wealth and spend it gradually over their lives, despite rising demand. People may have saved money by staying in during the lockdown, but they don't eat out every night to make up for it. Instead, they keep those savings as precautionary balances. This is why the economy is lagging.

People don't buy non-traded goods with pandemic savings (basically, imports). Imports don't multiply like domestic purchases. If you buy a loaf of bread from the corner baker for $1 and they spend it at the tavern across the street, that dollar generates $3 in economic activity. Spending a dollar on foreign goods leaves the country and any multiplier effect happens there, not in the US.

Only marginally higher wages. The ECI is up 1.6% from 2019. Almost all gains went to the 25% lowest-paid Americans. Contrary to the inflation worry about too much savings, these workers don't make enough to save, even post-pandemic.

Recreation and transit spending are at or below pre-pandemic levels. Higher food and hotel prices (which doesn’t mean we’re buying more food than we were in 2019, just that it costs more).

What causes inflation if not greedy workers, free money, and high demand? The most expensive domestic goods produce the biggest revenues for their manufacturers. They charge you more without paying their workers or suppliers more.

The largest price-gougers are funneling their earnings to rich people who store it offshore through stock buybacks and dividends. A $1 billion stock buyback doesn't buy $1 billion in bread.

Five factors influence US inflation today:

I. Price rises for energy and food

II. shifts in consumer tastes

III. supply interruptions (mainly autos);

IV. increased rents (due to telecommuting);

V. monopoly (AKA price-gouging).

None can be remedied by raising interest rates or laying off workers.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, omicron, and China's Zero Covid policy all disrupted the flow of food, energy, and production inputs. The price went higher because we made less.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, oil prices spiked, and sanctions made it worse. But that was February. By October, oil prices had returned to pre-pandemic, 2015 levels attributable to global economic adjustments, including a shift to renewables. Every new renewable installation reduces oil consumption and affects oil prices.

High food prices have a simple solution. The US and EU have bribed farmers not to produce for 50 years. If the war continues, this program may end, and food prices may decline.

Demand changes. We want different things than in 2019, not more. During the lockdown, people substituted goods. Half of the US toilet-paper supply in 2019 was on commercial-sized rolls. This is created from different mills and stock than our toilet paper.

Lockdown pushed toilet paper demand to residential rolls, causing shortages (the TP hoarding story was just another pandemic urban legend). Because supermarket stores don't have accounts with commercial paper distributors, ordering from languishing stores was difficult. Kleenex and paper towel substitutions caused greater shortages.

All that drove increased costs in numerous product categories, and there were more cases. These increases are transient, caused by supply chain inefficiencies that are resolving.

Demand for frontline staff saw a one-time repricing of pay, which is being recouped as we speak.

Illnesses. Brittle, hollowed-out global supply chains aggravated this. The constant pursuit of cheap labor and minimal regulation by monopolies that dominate most sectors means things are manufactured in far-flung locations. Financialization means any surplus capital assets were sold off years ago, leaving firms with little production slack. After the epidemic, several of these systems took years to restart.

Automobiles are to blame. Financialization and monopolization consolidated microchip and auto production in Taiwan and China. When the lockdowns came, these worldwide corporations cancelled their chip orders, and when they placed fresh orders, they were at the back of the line.

That drove up car prices, which is why the US has slightly higher inflation than other wealthy countries: the economy is car-centric. Automobile prices account for 9% of the CPI. France: 3.6%

Rent shocks and telecommuting. After the epidemic, many professionals moved to exurbs, small towns, and the countryside to work from home. As commercial properties were vacated, it was impractical to adapt them for residential use due to planning restrictions. Addressing these restrictions will cut rent prices more than raising inflation rates, which halts housing construction.

Statistical mirages cause some rent inflation. The CPI estimates what homeowners would pay to rent their properties. When rents rise in your neighborhood, the CPI believes you're spending more on rent even if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Market dominance. Almost every area of the US economy is dominated by monopolies, whose CEOs disclose on investor calls that they use inflation scares to jack up prices and make record profits.

Long-term profit margins are rising. Markups averaged 26% from 1960-1980. 2021: 72%. Market concentration explains 81% of markup increases (e.g. monopolization). Profit margins reach a 70-year high in 2022. These elements interact. Monopolies thin out their sectors, making them brittle and sensitive to shocks.

If we're worried about a shrinking workforce, there are more humanitarian and sensible solutions than causing a recession and mass unemployment. Instead, we may boost US production capacity by easing workers' entry into the workforce.

US female workforce participation ranks towards the bottom of developed countries. Many women can't afford to work due to America's lack of daycare, low earnings, and bad working conditions in female-dominated fields. If America doesn't have enough workers, childcare subsidies and minimum wages can help.

By contrast, driving the country into recession with interest-rate hikes will reduce employment, and the last recruited (women, minorities) are the first fired and the last to be rehired. Forcing America into recession won't enhance its capacity to create what its people want; it will degrade it permanently.

Nothing the Fed does can stop price hikes from international markets, lack of supply chain investment, COVID-19 disruptions, climate change, the Ukraine war, or market power. They can worsen it. When supply problems generate inflation, raising interest rates decreases investments that can remedy shortages.

Increasing interest rates won't cut rents since landlords pass on the expenses and high rates restrict investment in new dwellings where tenants could escape the costs.

Fixing the supply fixes supply-side inflation. Increase renewables investment (as the Inflation Reduction Act does). Monopolies can be busted (as the IRA does). Reshore key goods (as the CHIPS Act does). Better pay and child care attract employees.

Windfall taxes can claw back price-gouging corporations' monopoly earnings.

In 2008, we ruled out fiscal solutions (bailouts for debtors) and turned to monetary policy (bank bailouts). This preserved the economy but increased inequality and eroded public trust.

Monetary policy won't help. Even monetary policy enthusiasts recognize an 18-month lag between action and result. That suggests monetary tightening is unnecessary. Like the medieval bloodletter, central bankers whose interest rate hikes don't work swiftly may do more of the same, bringing the economy to its knees.

Interest rates must rise. Zero-percent interest fueled foolish speculation and financialization. Increasing rates will stop this. Increasing interest rates will destroy the economy and dampen inflation.

Then what? All recent evidence indicate to inflation decreasing on its own, as the authors argue. Supply side difficulties are finally being overcome, evidence shows. Energy and food prices are showing considerable mean reversion, which is disinflationary.

The authors don't recommend doing nothing. Best case scenario, they argue, is that the Fed won't keep raising interest rates until morale improves.

Thomas Huault

Thomas Huault

6 months ago

A Mean Reversion Trading Indicator Inspired by Classical Mechanics Is The Kinetic Detrender


Old pots produce the best soup.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Science has always inspired indicator design. From physics to signal processing, many indicators use concepts from mechanical engineering, electronics, and probability. In Superalgos' Data Mining section, we've explored using thermodynamics and information theory to construct indicators and using statistical and probabilistic techniques like reduced normal law to take advantage of low probability events.

An asset's price is like a mechanical object revolving around its moving average. Using this approach, we could design an indicator using the oscillator's Total Energy. An oscillator's energy is finite and constant. Since we don't expect the price to follow the harmonic oscillator, this energy should deviate from the perfect situation, and the maximum of divergence may provide us valuable information on the price's moving average.

Definition of the Harmonic Oscillator in Few Words

Sinusoidal function describes a harmonic oscillator. The time-constant energy equation for a harmonic oscillator is:


Time saves energy.

In a mechanical harmonic oscillator, total energy equals kinetic energy plus potential energy. The formula for energy is the same for every kind of harmonic oscillator; only the terms of total energy must be adapted to fit the relevant units. Each oscillator has a velocity component (kinetic energy) and a position to equilibrium component (potential energy).

The Price Oscillator and the Energy Formula

Considering the harmonic oscillator definition, we must specify kinetic and potential components for our price oscillator. We define oscillator velocity as the rate of change and equilibrium position as the price's distance from its moving average.

Price kinetic energy:

It's like:



L is the number of periods for the rate of change calculation and P for the close price EMA calculation.

Total price oscillator energy =

Given that an asset's price can theoretically vary at a limitless speed and be endlessly far from its moving average, we don't expect this formula's outcome to be constrained. We'll normalize it using Z-Score for convenience of usage and readability, which also allows probabilistic interpretation.

Over 20 periods, we'll calculate E's moving average and standard deviation.

We calculated Z on BTC/USDT with L = 10 and P = 21 using Knime Analytics.

The graph is detrended. We added two horizontal lines at +/- 1.6 to construct a 94.5% probability zone based on reduced normal law tables. Price cycles to its moving average oscillate clearly. Red and green arrows illustrate where the oscillator crosses the top and lower limits, corresponding to the maximum/minimum price oscillation. Since the results seem noisy, we may apply a non-lagging low-pass or multipole filter like Butterworth or Laguerre filters and employ dynamic bands at a multiple of Z's standard deviation instead of fixed levels.

Kinetic Detrender Implementation in Superalgos

The Superalgos Kinetic detrender features fixed upper and lower levels and dynamic volatility bands.

The code is pretty basic and does not require a huge amount of code lines.

It starts with the standard definitions of the candle pointer and the constant declaration :

let candle = record.current
let len = 10
let P = 21
let T = 20
let up = 1.6
let low = 1.6

Upper and lower dynamic volatility band constants are up and low.

We proceed to the initialization of the previous value for EMA :

if (variable.prevEMA === undefined) {
    variable.prevEMA = candle.close

And the calculation of EMA with a function (it is worth noticing the function is declared at the end of the code snippet in Superalgos) :

variable.ema = calculateEMA(P, candle.close, variable.prevEMA)
//EMA calculation
function calculateEMA(periods, price, previousEMA) {
    let k = 2 / (periods + 1)
    return price * k + previousEMA * (1 - k)

The rate of change is calculated by first storing the right amount of close price values and proceeding to the calculation by dividing the current close price by the first member of the close price array:

if (variable.allClose.length > len) {
    variable.allClose.splice(0, 1)
if (variable.allClose.length === len) {
    variable.roc = candle.close / variable.allClose[0]
} else {
    variable.roc = 1

Finally, we get energy with a single line:

variable.E = 1 / 2 * len * variable.roc + 1 / 2 * P * candle.close / variable.ema

The Z calculation reuses code from Z-Normalization-based indicators:

if (variable.allE.length > T) {
    variable.allE.splice(0, 1)
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allE.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allE[i]
    variable.MA = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allE[i] - variable.MA, 2)
    variable.sigma = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
variable.Z = (variable.E - variable.MA) / variable.sigma
} else {
    variable.Z = 0
if (variable.allZ.length > T) {
    variable.allZ.splice(0, 1)
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allZ.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allZ[i]
    variable.MAZ = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allZ[i] - variable.MAZ, 2)
    variable.sigZ = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
} else {
    variable.MAZ = variable.Z
    variable.sigZ = variable.MAZ * 0.02
variable.upper = variable.MAZ + up * variable.sigZ
variable.lower = variable.MAZ - low * variable.sigZ

We also update the EMA value.

variable.prevEMA = variable.EMA
BTD/USDT candle chart at 01-hs timeframe with the Kinetic detrender and its 2 red fixed level and black dynamic levels


We showed how to build a detrended oscillator using simple harmonic oscillator theory. Kinetic detrender's main line oscillates between 2 fixed levels framing 95% of the values and 2 dynamic levels, leading to auto-adaptive mean reversion zones.

Superalgos' Normalized Momentum data mine has the Kinetic detrender indication.

All the material here can be reused and integrated freely by linking to this article and Superalgos.

This post is informative and not financial advice. Seek expert counsel before trading. Risk using this material.

Cody Collins

Cody Collins

2 months ago

The direction of the economy is as follows.

What quarterly bank earnings reveal

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Big banks know the economy best. Unless we’re talking about a housing crisis in 2007…

Banks are crucial to the U.S. economy. The Fed, communities, and investments exchange money.

An economy depends on money flow. Banks' views on the economy can affect their decision-making.

Most large banks released quarterly earnings and forward guidance last week. Others were pessimistic about the future.

What Makes Banks Confident

Bank of America's profit decreased 30% year-over-year, but they're optimistic about the economy. Comparatively, they're bullish.

Who banks serve affects what they see. Bank of America supports customers.

They think consumers' future is bright. They believe this for many reasons.

The average customer has decent credit, unless the system is flawed. Bank of America's new credit card and mortgage borrowers averaged 771. New-car loan and home equity borrower averages were 791 and 797.

2008's housing crisis affected people with scores below 620.

Bank of America and the economy benefit from a robust consumer. Major problems can be avoided if individuals maintain spending.

Reasons Other Banks Are Less Confident

Spending requires income. Many companies, mostly in the computer industry, have announced they will slow or freeze hiring. Layoffs are frequently an indication of poor times ahead.

BOA is positive, but investment banks are bearish.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, outlined various difficulties our economy could confront.

But geopolitical tension, high inflation, waning consumer confidence, the uncertainty about how high rates have to go and the never-before-seen quantitative tightening and their effects on global liquidity, combined with the war in Ukraine and its harmful effect on global energy and food prices are very likely to have negative consequences on the global economy sometime down the road.

That's more headwinds than tailwinds.

JPMorgan, which helps with mergers and IPOs, is less enthusiastic due to these concerns. Incoming headwinds signal drying liquidity, they say. Less business will be done.

Final Reflections

I don't think we're done. Yes, stocks are up 10% from a month ago. It's a long way from old highs.

I don't think the stock market is a strong economic indicator.

Many executives foresee a 2023 recession. According to the traditional definition, we may be in a recession when Q2 GDP statistics are released next week.

Regardless of criteria, I predict the economy will have a terrible year.

Weekly layoffs are announced. Inflation persists. Will prices return to 2020 levels if inflation cools? Perhaps. Still expensive energy. Ukraine's war has global repercussions.

I predict BOA's next quarter earnings won't be as bullish about the consumer's strength.

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4 months ago

Startups are difficult. Streamlining the procedure for creating the following unicorn.

New ventures are exciting. It's fun to imagine yourself rich, successful, and famous (if that's your thing). How you'll help others and make your family proud. This excitement can pull you forward for years, even when you intuitively realize that the path you're on may not lead to your desired success.

Know when to change course. Switching course can mean pivoting or changing direction.

In this not-so-short blog, I'll describe the journey of building your dream. And how the journey might look when you think you're building your dream, but fall short of that vision. Both can feel similar in the beginning, but there are subtle differences.

Let’s dive in.

How an exciting journey to a dead end looks and feels.

You want to help many people. You're business-minded, creative, and ambitious. You jump into entrepreneurship. You're excited, free, and in control.

I'll use tech as an example because that's what I know best, but this applies to any entrepreneurial endeavor.

So you start learning the basics of your field, say coding/software development. You read books, take courses, and may even join a bootcamp. You start practicing, and the journey begins. Once you reach a certain level of skill (which can take months, usually 12-24), you gain the confidence to speak with others in the field and find common ground. You might attract a co-founder this way with time. You and this person embark on a journey (Tip: the idea you start with is rarely the idea you end with).

Amateur mistake #1: You spend months building a product before speaking to customers.

Building something pulls you forward blindly. You make mistakes, avoid customers, and build with your co-founder or small team in the dark for months, usually 6-12 months.

You're excited when the product launches. We'll be billionaires! The market won't believe it. This excites you and the team. Launch.


Nothing happens.

Some people may sign up out of pity, only to never use the product or service again.

You and the team are confused, discouraged and in denial. They don't get what we've built yet. We need to market it better, we need to talk to more investors, someone will understand our vision.

This is a hopeless path, and your denial could last another 6 months. If you're lucky, while talking to consumers and investors (which you should have done from the start), someone who has been there before would pity you and give you an idea to pivot into that can create income.

Suppose you get this idea and pivot your business. Again, you've just pivoted into something limited by what you've already built. It may be a revenue-generating idea, but it's rarely new. Now you're playing catch-up, doing something others are doing but you can do better. (Tip #2: Don't be late.) Your chances of winning are slim, and you'll likely never catch up.

You're finally seeing revenue and feel successful. You can compete, but if you're not a first mover, you won't earn enough over time. You'll get by or work harder than ever to earn what a skilled trade could provide. You didn't go into business to stress out and make $100,000 or $200,000 a year. When you can make the same amount by becoming a great software developer, electrician, etc.

You become stuck. Either your firm continues this way for years until you realize there isn't enough growth to recruit a strong team and remove yourself from day-to-day operations due to competition. Or a catastrophic economic event forces you to admit that what you were building wasn't new and unique and wouldn't get you where you wanted to be.

This realization could take 6-10 years. No kidding.

The good news is, you’ve learned a lot along the way and this information can be used towards your next venture (if you have the energy).

Key Lesson: Don’t build something if you aren’t one of the first in the space building it just for the sake of building something.


Let's discuss what it's like to build something that can make your dream come true.

Case 2: Building something the market loves is difficult but rewarding.

It starts with a problem that hasn't been adequately solved for a long time but is now solvable due to technology. Or a new problem due to a change in how things are done.

Let's examine each example.

Example #1: Mass communication. The problem is now solvable due to some technological breakthrough.

Twitter — One of the first web 2 companies that became successful with the rise of smart mobile computing.

People can share their real-time activities via mobile device with friends, family, and strangers. Web 2 and smartphones made it easy and fun.

Example #2: A new problem has emerged due to some change in the way things are conducted.

Zoom- A web-conferencing company that reached massive success due to the movement towards “work from home”, remote/hybrid work forces.

Online web conferencing allows for face-to-face communication.


These two examples show how to build a unicorn-type company. It's a mix of solving the right problem at the right time, either through a technological breakthrough that opens up new opportunities or by fundamentally changing how people do things.

Let's find these opportunities.

Start by examining problems, such as how the world has changed and how we can help it adapt. It can also be both. Start team brainstorming. Research technologies, current world-trends, use common sense, and make a list. Then, choose the top 3 that you're most excited about and seem most workable based on your skillsets, values, and passion.

Once you have this list, create the simplest MVP you can and test it with customers. The prototype can be as simple as a picture or diagram of user flow and end-user value. No coding required. Market-test. Twitter's version 1 was simple. It was a web form that asked, "What are you doing?" Then publish it from your phone. A global status update, wherever you are. Currently, this company has a $50 billion market cap.

Here's their MVP screenshot.

Small things grow. Tiny. Simplify.

Remember Frequency and Value when brainstorming. Your product is high frequency (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok) or high value (Airbnb for renting travel accommodations), or both (Gmail).

Once you've identified product ideas that meet the above criteria, they're simple, have a high frequency of use, or provide deep value. You then bring it to market in the simplest, most cost-effective way. You can sell a half-working prototype with imagination and sales skills. You need just enough of a prototype to convey your vision to a user or customer.

With this, you can approach real people. This will do one of three things: give you a green light to continue on your vision as is, show you that there is no opportunity and people won't use it, or point you in a direction that is a blend of what you've come up with and what the customer / user really wants, and you update the prototype and go back to the maze. Repeat until you have enough yeses and conviction to build an MVP.

Joseph Mavericks

Joseph Mavericks

8 months ago

5 books my CEO read to make $30M

Offices without books are like bodies without souls.

After 10 years, my CEO sold his company for $30 million. I've shared many of his lessons on medium. You could ask him anything at his always-open office. He also said we could use his office for meetings while he was away. When I used his office for work, I was always struck by how many books he had.

Books are useful in almost every aspect of learning. Building a business, improving family relationships, learning a new language, a new skill... Books teach, guide, and structure. Whether fiction or nonfiction, books inspire, give ideas, and develop critical thinking skills.

My CEO prefers non-fiction and attends a Friday book club. This article discusses 5 books I found in his office that impacted my life/business. My CEO sold his company for $30 million, but I've built a steady business through blogging and video making.

I recall events and lessons I learned from my CEO and how they relate to each book, and I explain how I applied the book's lessons to my business and life.

Note: This post has no affiliate links.

1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

Gary Keller, a real estate agent, wanted more customers. So he and his team brainstormed ways to get more customers. They decided to write a bestseller about work and productivity. The more people who saw the book, the more customers they'd get.

Gary Keller focused on writing the best book on productivity, work, and efficiency for months. His business experience. Keller's business grew after the book's release.

The author summarizes the book in one question.

"What's the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?"

When I started my blog and business alongside my 9–5, I quickly identified my one thing: writing. My business relied on it, so it had to be great. Without writing, there was no content, traffic, or business.

My CEO focused on funding when he started his business. Even in his final years, he spent a lot of time on the phone with investors, either to get more money or to explain what he was doing with it. My CEO's top concern was money, and the other super important factors were handled by separate teams.

  • Product tech and design

  • Incredible customer support team

  • Excellent promotion team

  • Profitable sales team

My CEO didn't always focus on one thing and ignore the rest. He was on all of those teams when I started my job. He'd start his day in tech, have lunch with marketing, and then work in sales. He was in his office on the phone at night.

He eventually realized his errors. Investors told him he couldn't do everything for the company. If needed, he had to change internally. He learned to let go, mind his own business, and focus for the next four years. Then he sold for $30 million.

The bigger your project/company/idea, the more you'll need to delegate to stay laser-focused. I started something new every few months for 10 years before realizing this. So much to do makes it easy to avoid progress. Once you identify the most important aspect of your project and enlist others' help, you'll be successful.

2. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

The author quote sums up book's essence:

Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog in the morning, it's probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day. Your "frog" is the biggest, most important task you're most likely to procrastinate on.

"Frog" and "One Thing" are both about focusing on what's most important. Eat That Frog recommends doing the most important task first thing in the morning.

I shared my CEO's calendar in an article 10 months ago. Like this:

CEO's average week (some information crossed out for confidentiality)

Notice anything about 8am-8:45am? Almost every day is the same (except Friday). My CEO started his day with a management check-in for 2 reasons:

  • Checking in with all managers is cognitively demanding, and my CEO is a morning person.

  • In a young startup where everyone is busy, the morning management check-in was crucial. After 10 am, you couldn't gather all managers.

When I started my blog, writing was my passion. I'm a morning person, so I woke up at 6 am and started writing by 6:30 am every day for a year. This allowed me to publish 3 articles a week for 52 weeks to build my blog and audience. After 2 years, I'm not stopping.

3. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Deep work is focusing on a cognitively demanding task without distractions (like a morning management meeting). It helps you master complex information quickly and produce better results faster. In a competitive world 10 or 20 years ago, focus wasn't a huge advantage. Smartphones, emails, and social media made focus a rare, valuable skill.

Most people can't focus anymore. Screens light up, notifications buzz, emails arrive, Instagram feeds... Many people don't realize they're interrupted because it's become part of their normal workflow.

Cal Newport mentions Bill Gates' "Think Weeks" in Deep Work.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates would isolate himself (often in a lakeside cottage) twice a year to read and think big thoughts.

Inside Bill's Brain on Netflix shows Newport's lakeside cottage. I've always wanted a lakeside cabin to work in. My CEO bought a lakehouse after selling his company, but now he's retired.

As a company grows, you can focus less on it. In a previous section, I said investors told my CEO to get back to basics and stop micromanaging. My CEO's commitment and ability to get work done helped save the company. His deep work and new frameworks helped us survive the corona crisis (more on this later).

The ability to deep work will be a huge competitive advantage in the next century. Those who learn to work deeply will likely be successful while everyone else is glued to their screens, Bluetooth-synced to their watches, and playing Candy Crush on their tablets.

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

It took me a while to start reading this book because it seemed like another shallow self-help bible. I kept finding this book when researching self-improvement. I tried it because it was everywhere.

Stephen Covey taught me 2 years ago to have a personal mission statement.

A 7 Habits mission statement describes the life you want to lead, the character traits you want to embody, and the impact you want to have on others.

I've had many lunches with my CEO and talked about Vipassana meditation and Sunday forest runs, but I've never seen his mission statement. I'm sure his family is important, though. In the above calendar screenshot, you can see he always included family events (in green) so we could all see those time slots. We couldn't book him then. Although he never spent as much time with his family as he wanted, he always made sure to be on time for his kid's birthday rather than a conference call.

My CEO emphasized his company's mission. Your mission statement should answer 3 questions.

  • What does your company do?

  • How does it do it?

  • Why does your company do it?

As a graphic designer, I had to create mission-statement posters. My CEO hung posters in each office.

5. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

This book is about Andrew Grove's OKR strategy, developed in 1968. When he joined Google's early investors board, he introduced it to Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google still uses OKR.

Objective Key Results

  • Objective: It explains your goals and desired outcome. When one goal is reached, another replaces it. OKR objectives aren't technical, measured, or numerical. They must be clear.

  • Key Result should be precise, technical, and measurable, unlike the Objective. It shows if the Goal is being worked on. Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly.

Our company almost sank several times. Sales goals were missed, management failed, and bad decisions were made. On a Monday, our CEO announced we'd implement OKR to revamp our processes.

This was a year before the pandemic, and I'm certain we wouldn't have sold millions or survived without this change. This book impacted the company the most, not just management but all levels. Organization and transparency improved. We reached realistic goals. Happy investors. We used the online tool Gtmhub to implement OKR across the organization.

My CEO's company went from near bankruptcy to being acquired for $30 million in 2 years after implementing OKR.

I hope you enjoyed this booklist. Here's a recap of the 5 books and the lessons I learned from each.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

Have a mission statement that outlines your goals, character traits, and impact on others.

  1. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Focus is a rare skill; master it. Deep workers will succeed in our hyper-connected, distracted world.

  1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

What can you do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary? Once you've identified it, focus on it.

  1. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

Identify your most important task the night before and do it first thing in the morning. You'll have a lighter day.

  1. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

On a timeline, divide each long-term goal into chunks. Divide those slices into daily tasks (your goals). Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly. Objectives aren't measured or numbered.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the ride!

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

6 months ago

Adam Neumanns is working to create the future of living in a classic example of a guy failing upward.

The comeback tour continues…

Image: Edited by author

First, he founded a $47 billion co-working company (sorry, a “tech company”).

He established WeLive to disrupt apartment life.

Then he created WeGrow, a school that tossed aside the usual curriculum to feed children's souls and release their potential.

He raised the world’s consciousness.

Then he blew it all up (without raising the world’s consciousness). (He bought a wave pool.)

Adam Neumann's WeWork business burned investors' money. The founder sailed off with unimaginable riches, leaving long-time employees with worthless stocks and the company bleeding money. His track record, which includes a failing baby clothing company, should have stopped investors cold.

Once the dust settled, folks went on. We forgot about the Neumanns! We forgot about the private jets, company retreats, many houses, and WeWork's crippling. In that moment, the prodigal son of entrepreneurship returned, choosing the blockchain as his industry. His homecoming tour began with Flowcarbon, which sold Goddess Nature Tokens to lessen companies' carbon footprints.

Did it work?

Of course not.

Despite receiving $70 million from Andreessen Horowitz's a16z, the project has been halted just two months after its announcement.

This triumph should lower his grade.

Neumann seems to have moved on and has another revolutionary idea for the future of living. Flow (not Flowcarbon) aims to help people live in flow and will launch in 2023. It's the classic Neumann pitch: lofty goals, yogababble, and charisma to attract investors.

It's a winning formula for one investment fund. a16z has backed the project with its largest single check, $350 million. It has a splash page and 3,000 rental units, but is valued at over $1 billion. The blog post praised Neumann for reimagining the office and leading a paradigm-shifting global company.


Flow's mission is to solve the nation's housing crisis. How? Idk. It involves offering community-centric services in apartment properties to the same remote workforce he once wooed with free beer and a pingpong table. Revolutionary! It seems the goal is to apply WeWork's goals of transforming physical spaces and building community to apartments to solve many of today's housing problems.

The elevator pitch probably sounded great.

At least a16z knows it's a near-impossible task, calling it a seismic shift. Marc Andreessen opposes affordable housing in his wealthy Silicon Valley town. As details of the project emerge, more investors will likely throw ethics and morals out the window to go with the flow, throwing money at a man known for burning through it while building toxic companies, hoping he can bank another fantasy valuation before it all crashes.

Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. Everyone on the Neumann hype train needs to sober up.

Like WeWork, this venture Won’tWork.

Like before, it'll cause a shitstorm.