Quote of the week:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” — Bruce Lee

How to use “slow productivity” to produce exceptional work

One idea I’ve been thinking about lately is focus: in a world where we are increasingly bombarded with distractions, focus has become the primary skill needed to thrive. Cal Newport, the prolific writer, professor, and recent author of Slow Productivity, discusses this concept (and how to practice it) on a recent podcast with Tim Ferriss. The discussion will resonate among investors, entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives… or really anyone interested in how to cultivate mastery in their field over the long-term. 

 “When you go back and study people producing things of real value, using their brain, they were smart and they were dedicated and they worked really hard, but they didn’t hustle and they didn’t work 10-hour days, day after day,” Cal says. He continues:

“They didn’t work all-out, year-round. They didn’t push, push, push until this thing was done. It was a more natural variation. They had less on their plate at the same time, and they glued it all together by obsessing over quality. That’s the Slow Productivity approach. It still produces stuff that you’re really proud of but it doesn’t burn you out, and it doesn’t leave you in this weird out-of-sync balance where work is taking up almost all of your time.”


The link between investigative journalism and investing

In 1992, Warren Buffett spoke with the Omaha Press Club about his thoughts on the media industry. “News people and I are in the same business,” Buffett remarked. “Every morning when I come to work… I assign myself a story. The story always happens to be, ‘What is X worth?’ But that’s a story. I say 90% of investment is assigning yourself the right story.”

That quote always resonated with me, largely because I began my career as a business reporter—and later worked as an investigative journalist. This week, I wrote a short essay about what investigative journalism taught me—and how I use those skills as an investor and researcher today. 

“There are no shortcuts—no relying on someone else’s work. You must use primary sources. This is true in investigative journalism, but even more important in investing. Fact-checking is essential. Detective work is table stakes. Skepticism ensures survival. My favorite journalism credo is this: ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’”


The underdog taking on Google and OpenAI 

Aravind Srinivas, co-founder of Perplexity—the highly popular AI-powered search engine that recently raised funding at $1 billion valuation—spoke with Patrick O’Shaughnessy this month. The conversation is illuminating for anyone interested in the next phase of artificial intelligence: how Google’s search moat might be threatened, why cloud service providers like Azure, AWS, and GCP have an incentive to commoditize GPUs, what even the smartest investors don’t seem to understand about the implications of generative AI, and how Steve Jobs’ legacy inspires Aravind to bring the power of AI to “democratize joy.”

“AI is an interesting mind. It is a very knowledgeable mind. It is access to basically all the world’s knowledge in an instant, but it’s up to you to harness the power. Now why do we require humans to be great prompt engineers? Why do you want to sell that vision? The OpenAI vision of, ‘Oh, AIs are amazing, you guys figure out how to be good at using them.’ But what would Steve Jobs do? Steve Jobs would be like, ‘Bring the power of these amazing AIs to the mere mortal.’ In fact, he’s used the words ‘mere mortal’ in many of these e-mails. Our job is to bring the joy of personal computing to mere mortals. Those who can see it before others democratize the joy. That’s what we want to do for knowledge, bring the joy of learning to everybody. Everybody likes learning by the way. Everybody is curious and everybody is excited about learning something new.”

A few more links I enjoyed: 

“I’ve written about the concept of ‘investment edge’ on numerous occasions (see: What is Your Edge?), and how in today’s world, information has become easier to get and thus more of a commodity. But this information access, along with other technologies, has caused our attention spans to become shorter and shorter, which I think has diminished our patience and our time horizons. We want results now. This has created a ‘time arbitrage’ opportunity, and I expect this will only gain strength as time horizons and patience levels continue to shorten.”
“Shane and Chris discuss life and investment lessons he learned from his father and grandfather, why writing is more important to clarify one’s thinking no matter who’s reading it, and the surprising benefit of reading physical newspapers and wearing ties to work. Davis also shares his value-investing philosophy, what he learned from working with and meeting Charlie Munger, and what parents can do to not raise entitled kids. Davis talks about his alcohol drink tracker and why it’s important to him, why he never puts himself in situations where envy can grow, and Warren Buffett’s letter about why investment managers underperform.”
“The biggest risk to an evolving system is that you become bogged down by experts from a world that no longer exists. The more evolution you have, the more you should expect that expertise has a shelf life. And those most susceptible to that risk are the people you’d least suspect: The smartest and most intelligent, who at one point flashed their brilliance but struggled to admit that it can’t be repeated.”

This information should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. It should not be assumed that any of the investments or strategies referenced were or will be profitable, or that investment recommendations or decisions we make in the future will be profitable. This article contains links to 3rd party websites and is used for informational purposes only. This does not constitute as an endorsement of any kind. While Nightview uses sources it considers to be reliable, no guarantee is made regarding the accuracy of information or data provided by third-party sources. Nightview Capital Management, LLC (Nightview Capital) is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Nightview Capital including our investment strategies and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.