Welcome to The Nightcrawler, a weekly collection of thought-provoking articles and analysis on technology, innovation, and long-term investing. The Nightcrawler is published every Friday evening by Eric Markowitz, Nightview Capital’s Director of Research.

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    In this evening’s email… 

    Quote of the week: “A man with money is no match against a man on a mission.” – Doyle Brunson (1933 – 2023)

    The enduring value of curiosity

    Here’s a hypothetical: what will be the single most valuable human trait over the next century? In my opinion, there’s a strong case for curiosity. (My friend Tom Morgan has written about this in depth). Curiosity has always been valued across art and science, but it will arguably become even more important in fields like software development, business, and investing—especially in an era of AI. 

    This week, the writer Anne-Laure Le Cunff tackled this idea. She writes: “There are compelling reasons why human curiosity is needed more than ever in the age of AI, and they stem from the fundamental differences between human and AI curiosity.” She continues:

    • Key quote: “Humanity’s intrinsic motivation to explore can drive us to pursue questions and ideas that may not have immediate practical applications but can lead to groundbreaking discoveries and innovations. The discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1965 is an example of a groundbreaking discovery made while exploring for the sake of curiosity. Penzias and Wilson were using a radio telescope to study signals from space when they encountered a persistent background noise they couldn’t explain. This noise turned out to be a remnant of the Big Bang.”


    Building a modern semiconductor fab

    Innovations across the semiconductor industry have powered some of the most profoundly important technological changes of the last few decades. In a recent essay, Brian Potter, the writer and engineer behind Construction Physics, takes readers on a fascinating journey inside the building of a semiconductor fab. “For the last several decades, one avenue of technological progress has towered over nearly everything else: semiconductors,” Brian writes. He continues: 

    • Key quote: “Semiconductors are materials that can have their conductivity varied by many orders of magnitude, which makes it possible to selectively block and allow the flow of electrons. This property makes it possible to manufacture all sorts of electronic devices, not least of which is the digital computer. As semiconductor technology has advanced over the past several decades, the cost and size of electronic computation has steadily fallen, making the PC, the internet, and mobile phones all possible. Today, semiconductors in the form of powerful GPUs that can perform enormous numbers of matrix multiplications are the keystone for advancing AI technology. Increasingly available computation to do enormous amounts of search and learning drives progress in things like game-playing AI, computer vision, and large language models (LLMs).

    A few more links I enjoyed: 

    Mitch Rales – The Art of Compounding – via Art of Investing

    • Key quote: “The power of compounding over that 40 years, tax free, by the way, is what I refer to as the eighth wonder of the world. It’s a phenomenal thing. And you don’t really get started until you hit the 10-year mark. So we watch a lot of what’s happening in the world of short-termism today, whether it’s the day-to-day mark-to-markets that hedge funds have to go through, the 3- to 5-year cadence that PE and venture capital are engaged in. It’s really hard to build anything lasting that’s great when you take those type of time horizons.”

    The Practice Of Value Investing by Li Lu – via Longriver / Graham Rhodes 

    • Key quote: “The end result is that no two people’s circle of competence will be the same. Every value investor’s portfolio will be different and that’s OK. You don’t need to communicate too often with other people. You don’t need to invest in too many things. Because you need to understand everything in which you invest, you can expect it to take a long time. It will be the same for every stock and every company. The circle of competence you ultimately build will be small, as will the number of companies whose future you can predict with a high degree of certainty.”

    How to Find a Partner like Charlie Munger – via Frederik Gieschen

    • Key quote: “Investing is a lonely path and having a friend and intellectual sparring partner is invaluable. I’ve been reflecting on how he influenced Buffett and Berkshire (for Munger’s take on Berkshire, see his 50-year analysis) — and how we can each find our version of someone like him.”

    Elliot Turner Returns – via The Business Brew / Bill Brewster

    • Key quote: “Elliot Turner, Managing Partner and CIO of RGIA Investment Advisors, returns to The Business Brew for a great conversation. To start, Bill and Elliot discuss what Elliot learned from the period of 2021 to now. They then discuss some specific stock ideas, thoughts on portfolio management, and much more.”