RR Journal No. 5

Everything, all the time.

- The Eagles

Late August. From hazy, Los Angeles pool parties to windy, beach gatherings on the Long Island sound (and, of course, rafting up with other boats in Biscayne Bay) floats the hum of a similar conversation.

A new dance move. Lipsyncs. Teens falling off of elevated surfaces.

The limitless variety of entertainment popping up on TikTok. It seems endless.

However, there are actually only a few underlying principles holding constant in our ever-shrinking attention span as humans.

In other words, the trends all contain the same basic ingredients.

And there are three: learning, laughing (or being entertained), and empathy (or “community”). I’m not counting “outrage”.

Seeing a new, viral dance move is both entertaining and allows you to learn a (questionable) skill.

There’s a communal aspect to it - that’s where the empathy comes in.

There’s little reason to believe that anything else matters when it comes to posting something on the internet besides learning, laughing, or empathy.

Notice what’s missing from the list? You.

Social media (and the world, for that matter) is no longer about closed circles as it was in the past.

That means, no matter how lit your holiday fit is in Cannes (or Tulum, or Tenerife, for that matter), unless you’re structuring it in a way that educates or inspires - it will fall flat.

Or worse, it will make you look like a tone-deaf idiot.

No one cares about you per se (besides your mom), people care about what you can teach them either directly or indirectly.

And this isn’t a bad thing - once you latch onto this idea, you can begin to move mountains with what you do in person and online. This is empowering stuff.

Because it’s never about you. It never was about you.

It’s been about your gift to others.

No one cares when you’re “feeling yourself” today and post a selfie - that’s a deep sign of vanity (ya know, the deadly sin).

Put another way, vanity hoards, while educating and entertaining gives.

I’m pretty biased in my belief, that we’re all either becoming a media company or we’re opting out to our own detriment by not participating in some way. A global set of eyeballs on whatever you do is incredibly valuable in dollars (obviously) and meaningful relationships (less obviously).

In other words, you are “finding your people”, wherever they are. Hint: they’re no longer living in the dorm next door or the cul de sac around the block.

They may be in a coworking space in Portugal. Or Panama.

Finding your people is so damn important in the future of AI and machine learning - because many of your skills can be performed faster and cheaper by a robot.

When you find your people, you can change the world, not just make your ex jealous.

What you can do skill-wise will matter much less than who you are as a person. Heck, even Elon said he should be valuing his hires’ personalities more.

And this is a blessing.

Because most things we perform as humans are repetitive and make us less human.

Writing the script to my nth “Rich vs. Really Rich” skit is human - laboriously cross-posting to every account, layering-in captions, sound effects, and titles (which takes an hour a day and a hire) could be streamlined with technology.

The future is bright simply because we’ll have more time to be ourselves: creative, ever-growing things aspiring to be more like the ideal we have in our heads. And during that journey towards greatness, we can show others what we’ve learned and maybe help them on their way too.

If we think of technology as a way to amplify both our virtues and vices as creatures, we can start to harness the good and attempt to do less of the bad.

Choose your adventure:

Human good + technology = exponential human good

Human evil + technology = exponential human evil

I know what path I’m choosing.

So, don’t show me your luxury holiday, new car, new job, new girlfriend who just-so-happened-to-be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, without showing me how you got there.

And I’ll do the same for you.

This week, I’m taking meetings in Chicago, IL.


 

Global Markets: Alt Investments


Having just hopped on a podcast owned by an alternative investment shop (it goes live in September), I feel compelled to explain a few things to the reader.

Namely, WTF is an alternative investment?

It’s kind of like pop music vs indie. Pop is on the radio at the gym. Alt is in the blogs, coffee shops, and sub-Reddits.

Everyone knows about the stock market (and hopefully the US Treasury market), but few ever hear about legal finance or financing commercial marine activities such as boat purchases.

These lesser-known and generally more illiquid investments all get lumped together under the term “alternative”.

And there’s a good reason most people haven’t heard about these things. You don’t start with alternative investing.

So, when do they come into play?

There’s a phenomenon that happens to both professional investors and “really rich” people in certain market environments, they run out of places to put their money to work. And being rational beings, they hunt for new forms of yield or return on their cash.

Also, they can’t put all their money in one place - diversification, systematically rebalanced over time is the way to go.

Because, we can’t just leave cash sitting around, remember? ‘Cause Inflation, idiosyncratic risk, fiat risk, geopolitical risk, bears, dragons, attack rabbits.

Never stack your chips in such a way that you can lose it all (or lose all your yield).

The simplest example of this (and this ain’t just for the really rich) is seeing your already low savings account interest rate become effectively negative in a high inflation rate environment.

Your return - rate of inflation = your real return

If this real return is negative, you must move cash elsewhere, otherwise, you’re getting poorer in your sleep.

Alt investments provide an opportunity to get returns that have little to nothing to do with other areas of your portfolio (namely stocks) - what we call uncorrelated assets.

Because at the end of the day, it is our mission to earn a fair return on our capital.

Getting comfortable with alternative investments, even if you don’t put a cent into them, is a great way to see the world through a new lens.

You’ll soon realize how many different ways there are to make a return and start to, in a very real way, understand what an investment means to begin with, outside of the everyday ways we see on our newsfeed.

Suggestion: Educate yourself on how other people make money in obscure corners of the market.

Holdings: Cash ($USD), S&P500 (small), REITs

Bullish: Residential real estate, collectibles, vintage American sports cars, and crude oil

Neutral: US Equities

Bearish: UST Bonds, Euro Equities, PayPal

* This isn't financial advice and is for educational purposes only.

 

Reading & Listening: Psychedelic Therapy


Humanity has an uncanny ability to adapt and overcome even the darkest side of our most powerful creations: namely the stress, anxiety, and depression associated with consumer technology.

Scroll up and reread the “Weekly Tone” article and think about how many people are using social media in a self-serving way and are left feeling hollow and frustrated.

What’s interesting about the solution in question is the fact that it stems from the oldest-ass source - dirt. Mushrooms and other forms of plant medicine with usage dating back tens of thousands of years.

It only takes a few minutes into How to Change Your Mind, a new mini-series on Netflix based on the book by Michael Pollan, to see the unbelievable impact this kind of treatment has on patients who struggle with any progress from traditional therapy.

Like alternative investments, I don’t think alternative therapies should be the first stop. However, I do think these compounds should continue to be investigated and explored, especially with those who suffer from PTSD and other forms of depression from time in the Armed Forces.

And these compounds strike me as the anti-drugs - they leave patients quitting addictive pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, and alcohol in awe-inspiring numbers.

A less suffering world is a more creative and evolving world. We should do everything in our power to embrace new ways of alleviating pain and opening new pathways of thought.

I believe the next wave of mass innovation will be fueled by the pathways opened by psychedelic medicine.

Not only will we be healthier, we might actually get richer as a side effect.

Suggestion: Be on the lookout for new solutions to medically evasive illnesses and the booming companies building the best solutions around them.

* This is not medical advice.


 

Style: The 80's Tuck


I’m a uniform dresser. Notably popular with both the genius, Steve Jobs, and the cartoon character, Doug Funnie. That means it takes me five minutes to get dressed, but I look like a million bucks. It’s a hack anyone can learn.

I open my closet and there hang organized duplicates of things that fit me perfectly. No guessing, no deliberating.

My hours are worth $X,000. I’d be wasting some serious cash debating what socks to wear. Not to mention, it saps critical decision-making juice I desperately need later in the day.

Over the years, I discovered what looks good on me and stuck to it. I have five to ten variations on the same thing - the same black tee shirts, the same tailored pants, the same jeans.

I quite literally buy them in bulk.

Nothing could possibly save me more time and money than sidestepping the disposable fashion game.

It’s called developing personal style, which doesn’t fluctuate erratically like fashion.

Every once in a while, I hit upon a new look that gets incorporated into the rotation. So, after careful research, allow me to proclaim that the 80’s tucked-in tee is a new staple.

You’ll see it in this TikTok, paired with a suit.

If you want to feel like Gordon Gekko stepping off the beach on the Hamptons, tuck in your damn tee shirt into a pair of tailored trousers. A jacket is very optional.

Then, grab your brick phone, and get ready to ink some deals. Let me show you how.

The 80's are trending on Google and the tuck is just one part of the equation. Power suits and bold prints are all coming back into the mainstream.

It shows you can take risks. You know the difference between a muni and a govvie.

Also, a tucked-in tee shirt always looks more polished without the need for a button-down in the summer (hello Miami!).

First, make sure your tee shirt is the right size - dare I say perfect. Buy both sizes if you’re in-between and return the one that didn’t work. A too-tight tee shirt will be uncomfortable and a too-loose tee shirt will look sloppy.

Your pants also need to be tailored property or the waistline will sag. You can go custom-made as I do or simply tailor inexpensive off-the-rack trousers to achieve similar results.

Finally, and this is critical, tuck in your tee shirt neatly, making sure the front is clean with a light fold over your waistband. A messy tuck will ruin the look, so take your time.

In uniform dressing, you spend time upfront to save on the back end.

Now, while you build your uniform, we'll all wait patiently for the price of yellow gold Rolexes to return to MSRP to complete the look.

Suggestion: Determine how much you’d save in time and money from adopting a uniform and ignoring external fashion.

About this newsletter.

This weekly email is written by me, Nicholas Crown. Meaning: this email is not professionally edited (yet), so please reach out with any suggestions or errors by replying. This is not investment advice.

If you want to meet me 1:1 you can always book a time here.

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