Epsilon Theory In Brief
Daily short-form pieces for those without the time (or attention span) for classic Epsilon Theory notes. Look out for regular features like the subscriber mailbag and guest contributions from within the Epsilon Theory network.
There’s a point in any human activity – investing, politics, religion, or business – where a thing we do together becomes a thing in-itself. It’s a point that changes our thinking and the moral questions we are forced to answer. Knowing where this point lies is in all our activities is important.
Great Truths can be important engines for social unity and shared identity. In the hands of some, however, they can become tools for obscuring actual truth – facts – in service of cynical use of the emotional memes attached to those Truths.
We spend a lot of time on our trade ideas, and do a lot of hand-waving at what we believe that everyone else believes. It’s a core problem for investors, and one that can’t be avoided.
If Memorial Day is anything, it is a day for telling and re-telling stories about Full Hearts. Let me tell and re-tell you the story of Milton Lee Olive III.
I like to think that we do a good job responding to our readers’ questions. If we have a weak spot, however, I know where it is. It is the unerring target of the question we receive most often: “What books would you recommend?” It is a completely fair question to ask. Our work references …
New from ET contributor Demonetized … how do you handle a counterparty that has engineered a Heads I Win, Tails You Lose investment?
You must be able to hurt your counterparty for realz. No matter what the docs say.
Or in the immortal words of Steve Zissou, “What about my dynamite?”
Hyper-awareness of narrative, memes and cartoons can become paralyzing. Once we see them, we see them everywhere. But much of that paralysis comes because the demands of Clear Eyes are less than the demands of Full Hearts. And it’s the latter – identity – that truly matters.
We know what fiat news is: the presentation of opinion as fact. We also know what fiat news looks like: pop on over to Vox and skim a few stories.
But how does fiat news WORK?
New from ET contributor Demonetized, a clear-eyed look at wolf traps and sales funnels.
Disney is making a play to return to Neverland, a land where valuations are based on establishing market share and dominance of an emerging industry, where the moment you start worrying about how much money you’re making is the moment the narrative breaks. For students of markets and narratives alike, it will be worth watching.
The arrest of Julian Assange presents one of the most fascinating, explainer-laden, Fiat News-driven narrative maps we have seen. Tread carefully in taking what you read about this one at face value, friends.
The gravity of political polarization is real, and the mass which lies at the base of its well are narratives of existential risk.
When it comes to telling us how ‘the smart money’ and ‘the dumb money’ are playing it, there’s always someone who will tell us it’s Duck Season, and someone who will tell us it’s Rabbit Season. The reality is that it’s always Elmer Season. You and me? We’re Elmer in this cartoon.
An interesting question with a straightforward answer. Put simply, if a fund manager tells you they’re selling, ignore the reason they give and replace it with “Big founder wants liquidity.”
It’s the most valuable lesson I’ve got for any smart, young coyote embarking on a career in the Mob or in Wall Street: never ask for a cut on an existential trade idea.
Our Thing isn’t about the money. IT’S. ABOUT. THE. MONEY.
Except when it’s not.
ET contributor Demonetized takes a fresh look at the fable of the Ants and the Grasshopper. Or rather, it’s an Epsilon Theory look, with Clear Eyes and a Full Heart. Metastability, too.
We take a break from Fiat News to talk about the much simpler, much more straightforward ways that we are told how to think.
They’re not new, but in the widening gyre of our current political Zeitgeist, they are becoming the main attraction.
Helicopter parenting produces kids whose ability to evaluate and take risks has been crippled. If we’re not careful, helicopter parenting from policy-makers will do the same to us as investors.
One of the missionary’s most powerful tools is admiring the unsolvable problem – finding new ways of describing what’s wrong without an honest effort to actually fix it.
With apologies, add this to the list of things that you will now see everywhere.
Ben has already talked about the biggest and most important thing we can do in the face of the admissions bribery scandal.
But many remain convinced that this scandal is an inflection point, a change in the Zeitgeist. It isn’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be watching for our opportunity to weaken the influence of the Church of Credential.
“Oh, little Jimmy is going to 20-Years-Ago-This-Was-A-Second-Rate-University? I hear really good things about that school. Congratulations!”
“Thanks! We’re all very pleased. Everyone except my bank account, that is. Hahaha!”
It’s true, everyone is VERY pleased by the current system. Prestige university credentialing is a steam valve … \whispers\ just like elections.