RR Journal No. 6

Freedom’s gonna feel like amphetamines. Ringing the Liberty Bell.

- Marcus King, “Blood on the Tracks”

If after enjoying your daily apple (as recommended by the 19th-century rhyme “an apple a day..”), you were to plant the core instead of tossing it into your motion-activated, stainless steel wastebasket - eventually, the seeds within would germinate, take root, grow, and become an apple tree.

There are no shortcuts from planting the seed to the tree. There’s no YouTube channel on apple core “flipping” or a course on getting from the seed stage to apples overnight.

Sure, the seed is valuable today for its potential, but the fruit tree is a true asset. The tree is something that naturally drops down treats on the grass for you to enjoy or sell to Whole Foods.

Over and over again.

Yes, there’s a metaphor here. You’re not going to get very far in life if you think big, juicy assets don’t take time to grow.

So, in my estimation, there are two people in this world: those toiling in today’s challenges (selling seeds) and those investing in tomorrow (planting trees).

Did I lose you yet?

Let’s look at it this way. Are you solving today's or tomorrow’s problems?

Bagging groceries and performing manual doc review as a high-priced, white shoe lawyer is the same job at different hourly rates.

The way to get truly rich, and I argue, do so with calm and poise, is to invest in or build something for tomorrow.

Remember the craze around fidget spinner toys? A mindless (yet harmless) toy that would allow you to dawdle at the office in between emails.

Rushing in to create more fidget spinner toys to meet demand on Amazon is a today problem. You’ll be compensated in the short term, face immense competition, and eventually be squeezed from the market as the trend shifts or you get priced out. You’re chasing a random trend out of your control. You may make a few bucks, but it’s fleeting.

I know someone who made around a million dollars selling these toys - now he’s onto other projects when opportunity and demand disappeared.

The future isn’t a place where everyone is using more and more fidget spinners. You’re not going to get rewarded much for playing in this market.

The future rewards real solutions, change, and innovation - things that make every day better for the average person.

Zoom out from fidget spinners to e-commerce in general.

Investing in smart fulfillment centers so more and more products can be packaged and shipped for more and more sellers of whatever is investing in the future.

Who do you think gets richer in the long run: the owner of the fidget spinner brand or the owner of fulfillment centers?

And it’s not about luck. It’s about thoughtful planning and taking a view on what would make the world a better place.

When I was on Wall Street, I knew intuitively that I was selling seeds, not planting trees, although I was making a lot of money. What I was doing eventually would be computerized and replaced. And although I designed and built many of the trading algorithms that would replace me, I didn’t own any of the IP. I was just a high-paid robot biding my time until the trend shifted or the actual robot showed up for work.

So I left.

Now, I take this view on social media - not as a category - but placing too much importance on individual platforms - especially if they’re not creating a net good anymore. I don’t own my Instagram channel. I don’t own my TikTok. Platform value fluctuates outside of my control. There will always be a new one, TikTok is showing Instagram how that whole game works.

I approach social media as a way to meet gather people around new ideas, invest in new projects, share my message, and have fun. Build things that I own that also make the future a better place. That’s the apple farmer in me.

I urge you to analyze what areas of your life or business is just solving today’s problems and collecting a fee for it versus planning for a smarter future.

Making the decision to only build better things for tomorrow brings about a feeling of confidence and freedom from the stress of competition and daily toil.

Are you selling seeds or planting trees?

This week, I’m taking meetings in Miami, FL.

 

Global Markets: Dinosaur Juice


The juice propelling machines of the future doesn’t come from dinosaur bones, but rather iron and lithium. Batteries will be driving our future in new ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

Battery manufacturers are definitely not as sexy as the companies that build the supercars and navigation tech, but their future is certain - they’re going to be selling a heck of a lot more batteries without question.

These stocks are trading at conservative multiples as compared to startup EV manufacturers.

Part of the “Really Rich” mindset is believing in a better future. Batteries make way for more conveniences than just getting from point A to point B when we factor in public transportation improvements, driverless automation, logistics, robotic long-haul trucking, etc.

If we think we’re efficient now, wait until materials move 24/7 with battery-powered robots who don’t take coffee breaks.

Do your research about what battery companies you like best (some of them trade with American ADRs). Plenty of these stocks are trading at a discount as the market continues to go under pressure in a rate-hike environment.

Suggestion: Revisit what companies in your portfolio are building the future you believe in.

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

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: Living like the Himalayan Swamis


Sometimes you read something so strange and contradictory that it stops you in your tracks. You quickly realize that there’s a chance you really don’t understand life in as profound a way as you thought you did. Maybe you’ve been a fool all along.

At least that’s what I thought when I started reading the work of Dr. Kapil Gupta, who uses a form of “question and answer” between a student and master to illustrate profound concepts about the human mind, living, and achieving wealth.

His works are about attaining a form of mental freedom, what he calls the “god mind” that allows you to remain in a creative, playlike state, unburdened from pain.

Gupta completely changed my mind about meditation (he thinks it’s a futile act) and financial achievement (hard work is optional).

Reading: A Master’s Secret Whispers & Atmamun by Kapil Gupta

 

Style: Pack Light


Packing sucks. You generally take an hour to think about it, an hour to procrastinate doing it, and an hour to actually get it done, sapping the joy from a pre-travel day or at the crack of dawn.

And you still forget your phone charger.

Like everything else, building a system around packing will save you critical time and avoid excessive decision fatigue.

The system stems from one rule: never check a bag.

Checking a bag will add an hour to each end of your trip. And if you’ve been reading my newsletter, that’s hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of lost time in your day. Meaning it’s an absolute no-go. I won’t get into the chance of lost or damaged bags, which is a very real risk.

Back to the system. Here’s how I pack for anywhere on earth and never check a bag. This will last you a weekend. With a washing machine at your destination, maybe a month.

  • Fly both legs in the same black Lululemon hoodie and joggers (no, I don’t do yoga)

  • One dress shirt for dinner, I recommend Eton or Suitsupply (both noniron)

  • Two or three noniron tee shirts from Cuts

  • Two dress pants, custom

  • One pair of black jeans, I wear Zara (I wear them until they fall apart)

  • Workout shorts, tee, and sneakers

  • One bathing suit for the hotel pool or beach

  • Two pairs of shoes suited for your destination, I prefer sneakers or Sabah

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


 

Mindset: Practice Being a Manager


You know through my content that I emphasize learning by doing rather than by studying or theorizing. Managing people, like snowboarding or bull riding, is best learned in the field, rather than in the laboratory.

The problem here is that most people, especially younger readers, have never had the opportunity to manage and make strategic people decisions. Still more young managers are thrust into a managerial role and really have no idea what they’re doing unless they have a few role models to mirror.

Managing is an art form and it’s more about people skills than driving your overall vision like a tyrant. Because nobody is going to do anything they don’t want to do or don’t believe in.

So, without heading to Harvard Business School, what’s the cheapest way to gain managerial experience today? First, you need a challenge or a bottleneck in your personal or professional life. Then, you need to hire an offshore virtual assistant or VA for a month.

In this simple act, which will cost you between $500 and $1500 depending on your VA’s skill level and domicile (I prefer hiring in the Philippines), you’ll unlock a series of exercises that will change your life.

  • Deciding what needs to get done

  • Building a job description to attract the right person

  • Choosing between qualified candidates

  • Holding interviews

  • Setting up their daily tasks

  • Reviewing work

  • Deciding if their work is providing more value to your life than the dollar amount paid (ROI)

Tim Ferris recommended this in his book, 4-Hour Workweek, but he did so with the wrong language. It was more about “feeling like a boss” than actually learning how to be a leader on a small scale.

Sure you can use a VA to solve easy tasks like travel booking, calendar management, or follow-ups, but you can go further into process automation, research, and formatting.

Don’t just hire someone to book your dinner reservations.

Contract labor, just like salaried employees still need to:

  • Feel valued

  • Understand why the task is important to the overall workflow and goal

  • Enjoy clear communication

  • Enjoy set tasks, goals, and performance review

  • Learn

In this little experiment, you’ve improved your quality of life and learned something that case studies can’t teach. I may have also just had a taste of what it’s like to build a small business.

And that, my friends, is one addictive drug.

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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