Dan Sweet

The Cult of Done Manifesto

If you haven’t heard of The Cult of Done, then you need to check this out. Working at a huge corporation, there are no shortage of people who will add you to the invite list for their standing weekly meeting if you so much as look at them sideways. The Cult of Done Manifesto is a reminder to get your work done and move on to the next thing. I love the encouragement to stop thinking and planning and just DO.

Actually doing something takes balls. It’s much easier to design requirements or write scope statements or document desired outcomes and key resources that will be needed. Technology today often makes it possible to produce a finished product in the same time it used to take to sketch a draft of what a product might be. I get that process is mission critical in some contexts. I also get that a lot of people default to process because they are lazy. I like the “Manifesto” angle and find it personally helpful to cultivate a certain level of disrespect for and animosity towards people and institutions that default to process over doing.

The poster version of the Cult of Done Manifesto is pasted below.
1. Print it out.
2. Hang it up.
3. Go DO something.

The Cult of Done Manifesto - poster

Quora vs. Namesake (Quora wins by TKO)

I’ve written glowingly about Quora before. I’ve since cut back on my Quora usage significantly. I think this is probably common and natural. I’d also “applied” for membership to Namesake.com months back, and just got invited to register today.

Quora won.

Originally the two sites had similarly strong buzz. Looking at the landscape today it looks like Namesake’s invite-only closed beta approach lost them the fight. No critical mass of users = no compelling content base = TKO. Still stumbling around, but it is obvious to everyone else you are done.

Quora is completely crushing Namesake based on my 15 min of browsing. Namesake seems like a ghost town compared to Quora. Activity levels and total membership both look low in comparison. With those initial impressions of the site, I’m not motivated to contribute. I work in finance, so lets take the Corporate Finance topic as an example. 7 people are following it and one conversation exists. The one conversation is basically this: “Demand Media’s IPO went well, don’t you think the market is overpriced?” First of all, it is the market. That is what it is worth. If you disagree, then go short it. This doesn’t sound like the place I am going to go for corporate finance advice. Additionally, if only 7 people are following the Corporate Finance topic, do I really want to start spouting my thoughts on corporate finance? I might get “endorsed” or become an “expert”, but that doesn’t jive with the real world. I know way more than 7 people at P&G that have much more sick finance skills than me. Pretending I’m a baller on the internet doesn’t seem like a value-added activity. At Quora, people throw out opinions that get vetted/validated by the crowd. You don’t need to claim any expertise to participate. Upvotes fly fast and furious to incent participation and the ranking of answers based on votes vs a chronological ordering seems to be a much more elegant and engaging solution.

It looks to me like Namesake lost this one. Worst of all, it looks like they did it to themselves with their choice of beta style. Alternatively, the alignment of their PR efforts and product readiness was just way off. That’s the only way I can explain this outcome.

Simple Portfolio for 2011

Placed the orders this morning. (<3 Interactive Brokers and $1 commissions.) AAPL 14% (Huge margins, huge revenue growth, tons of cash.) GOOG 22% ("Less than free” looks likely to crush most competitors.)
GTU 23% (US policymakers will continue printing money = gold higher.)
FCX 20% (The developing world will continue developing.)
IBB 22% (All those smart scientists will eventually do something cool.)

I’m often accused of being ADD in my fantasy baseball league, so we’ll see how long I can leave this alone. Ideally I wouldn’t touch this for at least a year or two.

Test: posting via iPhone

I’m posting this via iphone. I’ve always wanted to post more consistently and am hoping this might help. I always have my phone on me and this app seems decent so I’m giving it a go. I’m a little scared I will have some unfortunate Damn You Autocorrect moment thanks to the iPhone but no risk no reward right? Insert test of multitasking skills: just turned on the SiriusXM app and got the address for DYAC.

http://damnyouautocorrect.com/4077/10-most-popular-autocorrects-from-december-2010/.

Check that link out for a good laugh and be grateful you don’t have an iPhone so it can’t brutalize you like it did those poor saps. Ok, end of test – looks like this basically works. We’ll see if this enables me to post more frequently.

How not to invest.

I am not good at trading. I try to be honest with myself, admit that, and avoid trading. However, in our Jim Cramer/Fast Money era it seems like you are leaving money on the table if you don’t have at least a couple positions on at all times.

Here is a summary of my trades of the last 4 years or so.

Trade #1 (Winner) – Buy Gold via CEF with gold at $600 back in 2008ish? Sell at $1000+ and rebuy at $900. Just sold again at $1500+ last week. 2.5x

Trade #2 (Winner) – Close all positions with market at roughly 11,000 in fall 2008 when I see on C-SPAN that Congress isn’t going to pass first TARP bill. I look like a hero as market falls to 6,000ish. Avoid getting cut in half.

No Trade #2.5 (Loser) – I never rebuy. Buffett say its time to buy, I see 4,000 around the corner and take a pass. Market now at 12,000+ and all of a sudden Trade #2 doesn’t look so great. Miss an easy double.

Trade #3 (Loser) – Try to make money shorting commercial real estate over a long period of time using a short term structured ETF. Very bad idea, lose lots of money. I suck at trading. I’m reminded yet again to not even play if you aren’t going to put the work in. Lose 75% of position.

Trade #4 (Winner) – Buy SLV at $13.89. Sell last week at $45ish. 3x

Net – I’m basically completely flat over those 4 years. Basically on par with the market.

I’m completely in cash now but want to get back in and “set it and forget it.”

Current shopping list looks like this:
Buy AAPL
Buy GOOG
Buy CEF (Canadian gold trust)

This passes the Warren Buffett test where hypothetically the market closes tomorrow for 10 years. I’d feel just fine owning these three. Keep it simple.