This week in charts
How families have changed over 50 years
A “lighter” argument for nuclear power
Howard Marks Memo - I beg to differ
“In 1978, I was asked to move to the bank’s bond department to start funds in convertible bonds and, shortly thereafter, high yield bonds. Now I was investing in securities most fiduciaries considered “uninvestable” and which practically no one knew about, cared about, or deemed desirable ...and I was making money steadily and safely. I quickly recognized that my strong performance resulted in large part from precisely that fact: I was investing in securities that practically no one knew about, cared about, or deemed desirable. This brought home the key money-making lesson of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, which I had been introduced to at the University of Chicago Business School: If you seek superior investment results, you have to invest in things that others haven’t flocked to and caused to be fully valued. In other words, you have to do something different.
“Investing strikes me as being very much like golf, where playing conditions and the performance of competitors can change from day to day, as can the placement of the holes. On some days, one approach to the course is appropriate, but on other days, different tactics are called for. To win, you have to either do a better job than others of selecting your approach or executing on it, or both.
“The same is true for investors. It’s simple: If you hope to distinguish yourself in terms of performance, you have to depart from the pack. But, having departed, the difference will only be positive if your choice of strategies and tactics is correct and/or you’re able to execute better.”
This week’s fun finds
EdgePointer of the month – July 2022
If you're going anywhere with Goss* on his home turf in Halifax, be sure to give yourself some extra time, as he seems to know the whole city. Goss is always ready to share a few words and his trademark grin with friends old and new. The secret to his success is simple – stories. Everyone seems to have a different favourite Goss story, while he seems to have an unlimited supply to tell. We're very fortunate that he's willing to share them during his annual "fireside chats" at our internal partners' meetings.
Goss is the epitome of work hard, play hard – he's always a threat to start up a dancefloor with “the worm” or a chorus of Hallelujah that can inspire even the shyest singer to hit that secret chord. When he isn't helping to lead the Sales team or busting a move, Goss enjoys overseas cycling trips, sitting back and diving into a suspenseful non-fiction spy novel or playing a round of golf. Goss was the fourth person to join EdgePoint and his passion, both for the company and life, has influenced everyone who's had the fortune to work alongside him.
Prior to joining EdgePoint, he built the wholesaler team at Invesco and worked as a regional director at Brandes Investment Partners. He earned his B.Comm. in Marketing from Mount Allison University.
And a two-part bonus from Goss himself.
First, some of his favourite overseas bike trips:
- France (Provence) – Perfect for anyone who loves the challenge of a steep climb. Mont Ventoux is a personal favourite
- Spain (Mallorca, Sa Calobra) – From mountains to the oceans, Spain trails are incredibly fun
- Italy (Tuscany) – A chance to really appreciate the wineries by biking by them (and having a sip at the end of the day)
Second, some of his favourite non-fiction spy novels from Ben McIntyre that seem to be too good to be true:
Operation Mincemeat: A WWII British Deception Operation – The story of how a Spanish fisherman, British intelligence and a corpse with fake correspondence fooled German forces and helped the invasion of Italy
Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal – The story of Eddie Chapman, an England-born, but German-trained spy whose loyalty to the British Isles was proven multiple times during World War II
The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War – The story of two double agents working on opposite sides during the Cold War – a KGB agent working for MI6, while a CIA agent followed orders from the KGB
* Goss was willing to cede first name rights to Geoff Macdonald since they'd known each other from their PEI little league days (albeit on opposing teams).
Cut the meetings, make more friends
If you are both amazed and horrified by how many meetings are being crammed into our working days — you are not alone. Data from Microsoft research show that since the start of the pandemic, the number of meetings has risen by 50 per cent. It seems that our default on any task is to use that simple button to schedule a virtual meeting — and we are doing this multiple times a day.
As a psychologist who studies work, I could tell you that this highly scheduled way of working is likely to reduce your daily productivity. That’s because you are inadvertently squeezing out the time you need to be disconnected and alone. By doing so, you are limiting your capacity to focus undisturbed on more valuable tasks that require deeper concentration.
By doing so we are losing the opportunity to engage in an activity that can in the longer term bring profound value: the activity of building and sustaining friendships with others. By pressing that scheduling button for our next virtual meeting, we are taking away time from that messy, unpredictable business of making friends.
When we make friends, we strengthen our resilience. We are also making the time we spend at work more pleasurable. Take, for example, Gallup polling which puts “I have a best friend at work” as one of the best predictors of whether you will stay in your current job. This resonates with me.
The Power of Our New Pop Myths
The rise of what might be called “narrative universes,” like “Star Wars,” Marvel and “Harry Potter,” is usually explained in business terms, as a way for media companies to wring extra profits out of valuable pieces of intellectual property. Marvel films have grossed $22 billion at the box office, while the Star Wars franchise has grossed $11 billion and Harry Potter $9 billion, according to 2021 data from Comscore. And that’s before you start counting the toys, videogames and theme parks.
The interesting question, however, isn’t why media companies are so eager to keep supplying the market with new content from the same franchises. It’s why the demand is so insatiable. Why do audiences continue to flock to the 10th Star Wars movie or the 20th Marvel movie? What imaginative appetite or cultural need keeps us coming back for more?
Today’s narrative universes also resemble myths in bringing us face to face with fundamental mysteries of human life. Was I born for a purpose, and if so, how do I discover what it is? Why does evil exist? What am I willing to give my life for? Traditionally, people looked to religious and patriotic stories to answer such questions. In 21st-century America, those kinds of narratives no longer have the power to unite us; they are more likely to ignite suspicion and division. Popular culture has stepped into the gap, offering new myths that are less fraught and easier to share.