Inspiration for the week

“Gradatim Ferociter”
“Step by Step, Ferociously.”
— Blue Ocean’s motto

You can’t skip steps. You have to put one foot in front of the other. Things take time. There are no shortcuts. You want to do those steps with passion and ferocity. — Jeff Bezos explaining “gradatim ferociter”

Blue Origin’s coat of arms is packed with symbolism


“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
— Special Forces slogan

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
— Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker and author (1921-1989)

“Ambiguity is central to Boyd’s vision… not something to be feared but something that is a given…We never have complete and perfect information. The best way to succeed is to revel in ambiguity.”
— Grant Hammond, The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security


A key reminder from the tv show Billions

There is an interesting scene in Billions. Axe Capital thought it had inside information on the location of a new casino, so they bought the debt of the town that was to get a new lease on life for pennies on the dollar. When the trade starts to fall apart, Axe Capital is faced with an existential dilemma. Should they enforce austerity on the town to recoup their investment, or should they allow the town to default to prevent the people from suffering?

Taylor from “Billions”

This was Taylor’s thought process:

It is unfortunate. Offensive, actually, to even be talking about this. That people have to live in near-poverty.

But in many ways, a town is like a business.

And when a business operates beyond its means, when numbers don’t add up, and the people in charge continue on, heedless of that face, sure that some sugar daddy, usually in the form of the Federal Government, will come along and scoop them up and cover the shortfalls, well, that truly offends me.

People might say you hurt this town.

But in my opinion, the town put the hurt on itself.

Corrections are in order.

There’s a way to make this work, and that way is hard, but necessary.

As Taleb says, “Become antifragile, or die.”

Once we do this, the town will face that challenge and come out stronger. Or it will cease being.

Either result absolutely natural, as in, of nature itself.

I’m not interested in what Axe Capital will do. Because either way, the destiny of that town is being decided by someone else. And this is a terrible position to be in.

How did the town get into this situation? Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved.” The failed town didn’t have the data. They didn’t act on the data. And then they ran out of time.

If the local government treated the town as a business, they would use KPIs (key performance indicators). They would collect metrics that are upstream of the results, set targets, and measure against them regularly. They would have early warning indicators, and time to take action.

Are you using KPI’s? You can keep the Axe Capital’s of the world from deciding your fate.

You can Manage from Metrics.

Super fun happy day

On the 10x podcast, Joe Polish mentioned an idea from Dean Jackon, called a “Super fun happy day”. Since many high achievers are used to having their days packed, taking a free day can be a challenge. Solution: plan your free day.

My ideas for what would consist of a super fun happy day:

  • Good food (steaks, Little Goat Reuben sandwich, ice cream, etc)
  • Good people
  • Playing tennis
  • Skiing
  • Hiking
  • Seeing a movie in the theater
  • Bike ride
  • Concert
  • Watch a sunrise, sunset
  • Get a massage
  • Have a cocktail (paloma, old fashioned, etc)

I need to schedule one of these, stat.

Google AI

Thesis: AI is making people better, by facing AI. 

Deep learning has the ability to find nuances, and teach people new strategies through the competitive nature of games. Humans can strategize, compete, and synthesize the new information revealed in the game to become even better.

Summary: Playing anonymously with the stealthy usernames ‘Magister’ and ‘Master,’ DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI has been vanquishing the world’s top Go players online. An updated version of Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence has compiled a 60-0 record against some of the game’s premier players recently, including the reigning world champ.

Why it’s important: Last year, Go-playing AI AlphaGo made headlines when it defeated world champion Lee Sedol. But by uploading its AI system to the cloud and facilitating direct interaction with humans (without their knowledge), Google DeepMind has proven that the AI revolution is already here.


Look beyond your local market – but don’t stop there

ATTOM Data Solutions just published their monthly housing report. Their lead story is about urban, city dwellers acquiring investment property out of state. In the story, they profile a lady in California who sold one rental she had locally for 27 in Alabama.

“We can sell a package of 10 to 15 homes to an individual investor whose 401(k)
didn’t do very well during the recession,” said Whitmire, providing as an example a California woman who sold the one rental property she owned in California and used the proceeds to purchase 27 rental homes in Alabama…

“She’s making a very significant cash flow,” he said.

At Audantic, out of state ownership is a feature we utilize when building our models. But we don’t stop there. There are many macro economic factors that may influence how to choose the city, the market. But once the market is selected, how do you pick the neighborhood to invest in? Realtors can be helpful, but we like data.

Let’s say you wanted to acquire properties in Charleston, SC. A metric to consider is home price divided by rent. How much do you have to pay per dollar of rent?



While you might be tempted to buy on the coast – it’s very beautiful – but it would be a terrible rental investment.  On average, you would pay $275 per $1 of rent. But in Hanahan, where the chart is a dark green, you can acquire $1 of rent for just $100.

A single family house may cost $750,000, with a rent of $3,000.

But off the coast, the median is $114,800 with a rent of $1,100.

Much, much better numbers.

Early to rise…

Found this on the interwebs on how to build the habit of waking up early:
Ok, like 2 years ago I decided to brute force my way into being a morning person. I don’t buy people saying that it’s just something people are or aren’t because I was a night owl thru and thru until I made a focused effort not to be.
First, having a routine to prep for bed is good. I usually stop with any electronics and have a cup of tea. I didn’t even like tea when I started, which actually kind of made it good to pair with a new habit since I didn’t have any old habits associated with it.
Try and go to bed around the same time every night. The first times, you’ll be like “I’m not tired though” and may even end up laying in bed for hours on end bored out of your mind and unable to sleep. There was many a night that I just laid there unable to sleep and would realize it’s 2 am and I’ve been doing nothing since 10. That’s ok! Your body will eventually get with the program. Don’t give in and do other things to try and fall asleep. That’s only keeping your brain more active. And if you say “but it helps me fall asleep,” then start doing that earlier as part of your bed time routine.
The next parts gonna sound weird. So you’re on board with the early bed time and you’re able to fall asleep. Here comes the morning and even though you got your full 8 hours, you still find yourself hitting the snooze button. I would argue the answer is that it’s a habit at this point. So, you need to make getting out of bed as automatic as hitting the snooze. Enter some classical conditioning. During the day when I was not actually sleeping, I got into bed and pretended to be asleep for two minutes. I set my normal alarm to go off and when it did, I immediately turned it off, stood up and walked to the bathroom (the first step in my morning routine). I did this not once, but like 5 times back to back. And I did it a couple of different days too. A little countdown is also a trick I used (I’d think to myself, “getting out of bed in 3, 2, 1). Making it a habit to use a countdown on something I knew I’d actually follow through with makes the countdown more effective. I rarely can even sleep past 8am these days even if I stay up way too late.
Finally, how to not feel groggy. I personally started waking up at 5 so I’d have time to go for a jog because otherwise I’d dread having to exercise all day and make excuses not to. And exercise is also just a fantastic way to wake yourself up. Better than coffee. It sucks, but it takes discipline. Discipline is what keeps you going when motivation gives out. This small change in my daily schedule got me working out consistently and I managed to lose over 40lbs with little to no dietary changes. Once I started improving my health in other ways, I got down to almost 100lbs less than my starting weight. And getting a consistent sleep schedule was a huge factor in improving my overall health.
You are the habits you keep. It takes a week or two for this to really work. Stick with it and you will see results. If it’s not working for you, well then I’d say you didn’t stick with it long enough.
Keep consistent and good sleep habits. Condition yourself to get up out of bed immediately rather than hit snooze. It sounds silly, but actually physically practice getting out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm.