Pods & Recs: No. 175
Today we have private equity titan David Rubenstein on his career journey, what a hotel chain’s CFO is seeing in the tight labor market, and great conversations with authors David Epstein and Maria Konnikova.
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Odd Lots: The Labor Episode: How the Omni Hotel Chain Is Dealing With Hiring Right Now. This episode covers every part of what’s going on with employers struggling to find work. The Omni’s CFO talks about the process of scaling back staff last year, struggling to rehire employees, hosting job fairs that are seeing <20% of attendees than before the pandemic. Then he shares what they’ve seen when states have curtailed higher unemployment benefits and the ways they’re trying to entice people to both start and remain employed at the company. Importantly, he talks about what trends he sees sticking and what he views as a blip. [July 12, 2021–59 mins] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
Capital Allocators: Private Equity Masters 4: David Rubenstein — Carlyle Group. Rubenstein co-founded The Carlyle Group, which now has $260 billion in assets under management. Rubenstein shares his path into private equity and creating The Carlyle Group. He then walks through how he innovated by expanding both the number of funds and geographic footprint of the firm. He explains the decision to take the firm public and what it was like to learn the importance of working for both LP’s and shareholders, both of which were focused on different metrics. Towards the end, Rubenstein talks about what he’s focused on now that he’s stepped back from the firm, which includes interviewing, writing, and philanthropy. [July 12, 2021–1 hour, 1 minute] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
“Buyouts will work 90% of the time. In venture capital, probably 90% of the deals don’t work. Now it seems like every venture deal works.”
The Indicator from Planet Money: Shrinkflation: Inflation’s Sneaky Cousin. Quick & fun episode on how inflation happens without prices going up. Hint — you aren’t getting as much toilet paper, cereal, or ice cream as you used to. Check out the shrinkflation Reddit thread devoted to items that are being sold in smaller packages for the same price. [July 8, 2021–9 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
The Meb Faber Show
The Meb Faber Show: #328 — Startup Series — Katie Echevarria Rosen Kitchens, FabFitFun — Paying $50 And Getting Over $300 In Full-Size Products Is A Pretty Cool Thing. Katie Echevarria Rosen Kitchens is the co-founder of FabFitFun, a lifestyle membership that provides a curated selection of full-size products each season. Katie starts with the origin story of how FabFitFun transitioned from a media company into a subscription service that now has 2 million members. She walks through the process of curating boxes for women of all ages throughout the entire country and what led them to use influencers before influencers were a thing. (Visit fabfitfun.com and use the code “MEB” to get $10 off your first box) [July 12, 2021–51 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
The Meb Faber Show: #329 — Samantha McLemore, Miller Value Partners — We’re In Optimism With Pockets Of Euphoria. Samantha McLemore is the founder of Patient Capital Management and a Co-Portfolio Manager at Miller Value Partners along with Bill Miller. She shares how the firm defines value and thinks about its edge in the investment process. Then Samantha walks through some names in her portfolio and the thesis behind them, including ADT, Stitch Fix, GM, and even some SPACs. Finally, she goes back in time and covers what was going through her mind as she navigated 2020, and the lessons learned from that experience. [July 14, 2021–1 hour, 3 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
“Whenever we’re making an investment, we’re trying to understand, ‘Why is the market getting this wrong?’”
People I (Mostly) Admire: 35. David Epstein Knows Something About Almost Everything. Epstein is a sports scientist and author of the best-seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in A Specialized World. Epstein argues we have overemphasized the importance of specialization in society and there are actually a number of ways specialization sets you back in the long-run. He also covers best practices for learning, how to better calibrate data points (which is easier if you’re a generalist) and why he doesn’t think the 10,000 rule is a “rule.” [July 9, 2021–50 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
Being willing to learn from my critics is both a competitive advantage and more satisfying approach.
If there’s anything I’d identify with being a good generalist, it’s epistemic humility. You have to be humble and ready to update your models.
The Decision Education Podcast: Episode 009: Courage and Cutting Your Losses with Dr. Maria Konnikova. Konnikova is the author of The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, which she wrote about her journey learning the game of poker from Erik Seidel (arguably the best player in the world). She begins with her windy career path and, like Epstein discusses in the episode above, why a non-linear path is beneficial over the long run. Then she dives into topics covered in the book: the role of luck, how to better calibrate data points to make the optimal decision, and when to decide to take risk and go for it. [July 13, 2021–58 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link
I think that what’s always governed my decisions in terms of life is not, “Where do I want to go in 20 steps?” because I can’t plan that far ahead and I don’t know what life’s going to look like. But does this seem interesting? Does this seem fulfilling? Does this seem like something I’m curious about and that will help me expand who I am?
The James Altucher Show: 732 — How to start a conversation with Strangers? with Joe Keohane. Keohane is the author of The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World and talks about the benefits of connecting with others in a world where we are more and more isolated. After discussing the benefits of connecting with those we don’t know, he shares some tips on how to quickly connect with others and establish rapport. He also shares the benefits of weak ties (casual acquaintance) over strong ties (your spouse or best friend) to further the argument for connecting with others. [July 13, 2021–1 hour, 4 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker
David Rubenstein (Co-Founder, The Carlyle Group):
- The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser
- Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight
- Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington by Ted Widmer
Mark Suster (Managing Partner, Upfront Ventures):