“It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to have brilliant ideas”

One of my favorite recent podcasts was a conversation with Dorie Clark, author of The Long Game: How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world. As the title suggests, Dorie’s book offers a practical framework for maximizing long-term bets in a world that tends to force us into reactive, short-term decisions.

One of the seven strategies that Dorie outlines in the podcast was the concept of actively creating “white space” in our calendars—i.e., free time to actually let the best ideas percolate. “In a very literal sense for most of us, if you look at your calendar, you’re probably going to see a sea of blue,” she says. “White space—time that is unspoken for—is probably pretty scarce.” Dorie continues:  

“A few years ago, I interviewed David Allen, [author of Getting Things Done], and he told me something interesting. He said, ‘It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to have brilliant ideas. But what it takes is space.’ It’s almost like a Zen koan if you roll it around in your head. But it’s true. We all know if you have to come up with some innovation, some new idea, it’s not, ‘Oh, I need to set aside 40 hours and bang my head against the desk.’ That’s not how the brilliant ideas come. It comes, sometimes in a moment, a flash. You’re in the shower, you’re walking, you’re jogging… but what enables it to come is having the space to make the connections. We will never get that space if we are constantly pulled down by details, by worries, by ruminations, by back-to-back meetings that are so intense that we can never catch up. We need white space if we are going to make the mental bandwidth to be able to even to engage in long-term thinking.” (H/T Cam Tierney)


The next generation of AI will require a first principles approach to chip design

In the pursuit of self-driving cars and humanoid robots, AI researchers have consistently been stymied by the challenges of achieving scale—and the availability of enough localized computing power. Despite the introduction of vast training data sets and improved neural network architectures, the limiting factor thus far has been the availability of supercomputing platforms. (In layman’s terms: AI researchers have been stuck using a squirrel brain to try and complete tasks only a human brain could ever hope to achieve.)

Enter Dojo. Dojo is Tesla’s in-house supercomputing division that’s using a first principles approach to rebuild the silicon firmware (i.e. the brain) from scratch—all in the pursuit of creating a supercomputer capable of creating sentient robots and fully autonomous vehicles. This week, the annual Hot Chips semiconductor conference featured several Dojo presentations, recapped in a smart piece by The Next Platform.

Our analyst Cam Tierney also attended the event, and recapped his top observations in an excellent thread here

“Just like the superpowers of the world underestimated the amount of computing power it would take to fully simulate a nuclear missile and its explosion, perhaps the makers of self-driving cars are coming to the realization that teaching a car to drive itself in a complex world that is always changing is going to take a lot more supercomputing. And once you reconcile yourself to that, then you start from scratch and build the right machine to do this specific job. That, in a nutshell, is what Tesla’s Project Dojo chip, interconnect, and supercomputer effort is all about.”

A few more links I enjoyed: 

“The importance of turning points can be observed in many areas, from the personal to the geopolitical. Sports stars, ballet dancers, and gymnasts peak and then decline. They are still very good, but they no longer play for the first team or win Olympic medals. Cyclists struggle to the top of the mountain, but then speed down the other side. Empires spend centuries in expansion, only to collapse in a few years.”
“I think in a lot of ways, that’s sort of the ideal is to find people that we can partner with who are doing something sustainable that works in a lot of different environments. And they can do it not just for five years and we get a great return, but they can really compound the capital for 10-15-20 years. And if you do the math on that, it’s just really powerful to get that compounding even 5-10 years of extra compounding makes a huge difference. It’s like that. The statistic that a huge portion of Warren Buffett’s wealth—like 99% came after he was 60, or something like that. If you do the math of the compounding, if somebody compounds at 15%, net, if you stay an extra five years, then you get twice as much money from the relationship, and the profits are twice as much. So we really have a big focus on longevity. And there are all kinds of reasons why it’s really hard to generate a 20-year track record, but we’re really trying to select the people who have a shot at it.”

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.