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.
Wherever self-determination and resistance to the encroaching power of the state and oligarchical institutions find expression, there should our full hearts be also.
And our full voices.
There are some stories that we will want to believe no matter how much contrary evidence we find, and no matter how much we know that the story is bogus. And when these stories convey a sense of control? All bets are off.
“What you call love was invented by guys like me. To sell Nylons.”
Every missionary has his own version of the Don Draper quote.
Politician: What you call values were invented by guys like me. To win power.
Fancy Asset Manager: What you call ESG was invented by guys like me. To gather assets.
The Sell-Side: What you call a rotation trade was invented by guys like me. To earn commissions.
We all know we’re supposed to figure out who the patsy at the table is, but somehow everyone we see ends up being a straw man. Maybe fine in normal markets, but in periods of stress? If you don’t know who owns it, you don’t know anything.
Everyone is right about buybacks. They’re good. They’re fine. They’re ethical. Oh, and they’ll be gone, too, if the industry doesn’t realize that it’s playing a metagame and not a parliamentary debate.
Some things are only palatable when they have been transformed into a cartoonish version of themselves. For financial professionals that raises a moral question: how much emphasis on the cartoon of expertise about us is too much?
We get a lot of email and responses, but we REALLY got a lot about our comments on a curriculum that could replace the signaling-minded post-secondary degree industry. We publish them here.
Golf, as the saying goes, is a good walk spoiled. But ET contributor Demonetized finds meaning in golf’s pathology of failure.
Swing mechanics and gimmicky shortcuts? Please. In golf and in investing, you’ve got one simple rule to improve your game.
Commit to the shot.
It’s the Pack Gathering, a small conclave of like-minded people interested in talking ideas and enjoying good, genuine company.
The first event will take place in our headquarters town of Fairfield, Connecticut. New England and Mid-Atlantic, this is your event.
Missionary activity isn’t always intended to mislead. But when it is, it is almost always aided by another sociopathic tendency – the complete unwillingness to admit error. What’s worse – we are practically designed to empower it.
So if you COULD prepare most Americans for their jobs and lives in less than a year, how WOULD you? Well, we took a shot at answering just that, and I’m sure you’ll all agree completely and wholeheartedly with our conclusions.
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.