(Bi)Weekly Learning Journal 10 (7/12/2020)

Hi RIP readers, welcome to the LAST RIP (Bi)Weekly Learning Journal.

It’s episode 10! We need to celebr…

Whaaaaaaat?? Are you serious?? Are you shutting down the WLJ, well, actually the (B)WLJ? We love it!

Yeah, I know… all the good things must come to an end, live with that!

I’m killing (B)WLJ to give life to…

But but but you’re killing services at a faster rate than Google! What’s wrong with you? Yes, I know, this is supposed to be a personal finance blog, but let’s be honest RIP, you suck at finances! Let’s pivot!

… to the MLJ! The Monthly Learning Journal 🙂

Ah… so you’re just lazy. Got it.

TL;DR: This series will slow down to be a monthly one. I don’t have the bandwidth to handle such a mass of work anymore, so… once a month! First Monday of each month.

Maybe, but I’m not committing to it, that I’ll also drop mid-month dry “learning journals”, with just a series of links and maybe a “one sentence” intro/comment. But it may also be that the entire Learning Journal will be moved over my Public Roam Database, my Digital Garden 🙂

Next MLJ episode on Monday January 4th, 2021

Enjoy!


Designing Your Life (WIP/10)

Link

In the previous WLJ I announced the birth of the RIP Book Club, and that the first book was going to be Designing Your Life, by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett.

There are 25 people in the book club (on bookclubz), and we are reading chapter 2 3 4 right now. I’m behind (reading chapter 3), but I hope to catch up next week.

So far it’s been an interesting read, full of hard questions to answer.

I’ve put my notes, my exercises, and my book highlights in my new Public Roam Database. They’re rough, the Roam Database needs to be better designed, but it’s there to stay.

It’s my Digital Garden 🙂

You’re welcome!

Some interesting extra material related to the book:

  • Dave Evans short video on Dysfunctional Beliefs (link)
  • Dave Evans 2017 TED Talk about Design Thinking (link)
  • Odyssey Plan course on edX. I registered! (link)
  • Q&A with Dave Evans about Odyssey Plan. (link)

Ok, Dave’s TED deserves a full embed (I embedded Bill’s one in last WLJ episode).

Enjoy 🙂


Frode Alexander Hegland’s free book “The Future of Text” (9/10)

Link

This book is a collection of articles by many talented writers including Andy Matuschak, Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Tiago Forte, and many others. Surprisingly excluding Venkatesh Rao, who wrote a lot about the topic.

It’s a highly speculative book about – yes, you guessed right – the future of text!

I haven’t read it yet, so the high rating is for the project, the idea!

It might be one of the next book for the RIP Book Club.

Enjoy!


Naval Ravikant on Joe Rogan Experience (8.5/10)

Link

I’m slowly making progresses in my “study Naval Ravikant” learning project. This podcast is from June 2019, and here Naval touched some aspects of the “Happiness” chapter of his Philosophy of Life.

There are 2-3 things I disagree with Naval, that would make for a good “5 things that I disagree with Naval” blog post, that I added to my infinite backlog 🙂 Spoiler: UBI, Machine Learning and creativity, Cryptos.

But the section on Meditation is simply amazing.

I listened to this podcast in loop 2 times without my full attention, during a long Terraforming Mars match against Mr VCF, which I brutally won like the previous 4 or 5 (I’m now +3, close to declare Technical K.O.). Need to listen to it again and extract notes 😉


Ben Felix on Investing in Tech Revolutions (8.5/10)

Link

This is a masterpiece by Ben Felix!

Please, watch it if you’re considering investing in Tech, Tesla, Bitcoins, Tech IPOs…

Enjoy 🙂


Naval Ravikant’s Tweetstorm on Meditation (8/10)

Original Twitter Thread Link, ThreadreaderApp Link, Quick follow up

According to Naval, “Meditation is The Art of Doing Nothing”.

Meditation is your birthright. It’s your natural state. It requires no one, needs no thing, and has no technique. If something requires a guru, a mantra, or a teaching, it isn’t universal, and it won’t free you.

I like his approach.

I’ve tried meditation several times in the past with good results, but it never became a habit for me.

We say that we want peace of mind but what we really want is peace from mind.

Good point!

In an age of mental gluttony, meditation is fasting for the mind. Before paying a therapist to listen to you, listen to yourself. Before clearing your inbox, clear your mind.

He made the “Inbox Zero” metaphor in his appearance in Joe Rogan’s podcast:

It is really tempting to join his 60 days, 60 minutes a day Meditation Challenge… I actually did it for two days, 60 minutes doing nothing! But… it’s not the right time in my life. Well, maybe it is the best time of my life for hardcore meditation, but I took so many things on my plate that I need to postpone this challenge.

Added to the infinite backlog of things to do 🙂

And it scares me, because – according to Naval – meditation should ruin your current life!

Bonus: extra Q&A audio with Naval on Meditation.


Italian – Fufflix (8/10)

Podcast Link, Facebook Group

I can finally retire my Ufficio Antisqualo, my Italian page about exposing Fake Gurus and Contrepreneurs.

I’ve found someone who does a way better job, with real legal protections against criminals-with-an-army-of-lawyers, and with greater reach and visibility.

Germano Milite is the guy behind Fufflix, an anti-Italian-contrepreneur media. He has a podcast (available on all major podcast platforms), a YouTube channel, and a private Facebook Group I’d recommend you to join if you want to discuss “is X legit or a fake?“. I’m active in the group 😉

I’ve received 3 letters from lawyers so far, while Germano stopped counting them months ago. He made fighting fake gurus a mission, and as a journalist he has legal protection from the “journalist’s guild” (I don’t know how to translate “Ordine dei Giornalisti”, sorry), and from the law.

Fighting snake oil salesman is not my core interest, and without protections I’m better off taking a step back, and offering as much help as Germano needs. Wanna collaborate, Germano? 🙂

Take a look at this video where he walk through a lawyer letter and reply point by point


Italian – Andrea Ciraolo’s podcast about Fake Gurus with Germano Milite (7.5/10)

Link

This interesting podcast episode is (of course) connected with the previous entry.

They try to classify the Italian Fake Gurus patters, the Italian Contrepreneur Formula, and I must admit Germano found the perfect set of signals, wordings, and intentions.

I’m receiving 2-3 mails every day by Italian readers that ask me “what do you think about XWY (usually a contrepreneur)?

I used to reply with a 3-4 sentences opinion, usually negative, and then adding the newfound Shark on top of my Ufficio Antisqualo list. From now on, I’m going to reply with a link to this video 🙂

I learned 2-3 new things, and I’m going to write a “Fake Guru Checklist” page in the Italian section of this blog that’s going to replace the Ufficio Antisqualo.

Enjoy this podcast episode! 🙂

And prepare to say Goodbye to Ufficio Antisqualo in a few days 🙁


Michael Batnick about Generations and Demographics (7.5/10)

Link

Michael is commenting on a Bank of America study called “OK Zoomer: Gen Z Primer“, and analyzing some interesting aspects: how do different generations consume news? Sport? Handle money? how many Gen Z are there? Where do they live?

Michael linked to the full study on his blog. Enjoy!

And say goodbye to traditional sport! In 30 years there might be no real basketball player, only e-basketball players!


Eugen Kiss 7GUIs Programming Benchmark (7.5/10)

Link

A week ago Conor White-Sullivan (Roam Research CEO) Tweeted about their hiring process

(it’s a twitter thread, click on it to see other tweets)

Conor mentioned this 7GUIs benchmark as the first step in their application process.

I took a look at the tasks, and I must admit I was tempted to write some code 🙂 Writing code is fun! But I’m (or better, I was) a backend engineer, not very proficient with frontend code. As you can see there’s no C++, Python, or Go in the implementation samples.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a career in Tech try these things out. Take a “challenge” like this one, keep your repo public, and share your findings! The era of “sending a CV” is dead.

Take a look at the Dimensions of Evaluation as well. They tell you what an employer looks in your code and in your thinking process. As a former awesome software engineer I can’t agree enough with the choice of evaluation metrics 😉

There are other similar challenges, some of them listed here.

Happy coding 🙂

Bonus: Cult Creation II, by Steve Newcomb, 2016 (link, 8.5/10)


r/antiMLM post about the Hunbook (7/10)

Reddit Link, Hunbook Link

There’s this antiMLM subreddit that I’m subscribed to that exposes bad practices of the “Huns“, the sad stories of people destroying their life and their families to become “boss of themselves”… you know, those MLM companies, yeah, no need to tell names, John Oliver did it for us few years ago.

The post linked above is about a person who found a page of the Hunbook in their office printer.

The Hunbook is the manipulative “manual” about “overcoming objections” while persuading someone to join a cult MLM. Here’s the manual, I also saved a full PDF copy, and a Google doc if needed.

Ok, if you’re here you probably don’t need to be “saved” from MLM scams, but maybe you know someone who could benefit from knowing the strategies. Please, share it with them 😉

Most of the tactics are also useful to troll a Financial Advisor, spot a Fake Guru and so on.

Know your enemies, know their strategies, and steel man them all the time 🙂


Ben Carlson about The Future of Bitcoin (6.5/10)

Link

BTC recent surge in price made the Crypto topic hot again.

Is really “Bitcoin’s destiny” to become the “Millennial/Gen-Z gold”?

According to Ben, the high volatility in BTC is not that different from Gold’s own volatility.

I’m still not convinced.


Robert Twigger about Polimath and Renaissance Man (6.5/10)

Link

RIP, are you only posting this to brag about your Twitter exchange with Jacob Lund Fisker and Mad FIentist, right?

What? No no no… no 😀

Ok, yes, I can’t wait for the next Mad FIentist podcast episode to go live, with Jacob Lund Fisker, the ERE guy in person!

Anyway, Jacob recommended me to read this article on the Renaissance Man, the concept that’s at the core of Early Retirement Extreme philosophy, and that can be summarized with his quote “We consider spending money a failure to solve our problems by smarter means“, that I asked Mad FIentist to expand on in the podcast.

We’ll see when the episode comes out 🙂


Nick Maggiulli about why he’s not $500k wealthy by age 31 (6/10)

Link

A good and bad article, I’m rating it a 6 as the average between a 5 and a 7.

The 5/10 rating is for him not not being $500k rich at his age. He said he picked a safer path compared to his friends who tried more startups, huge tech companies, anywhere where they got more stocks than salary. He said that playing safe slowed his growth down, “by 6 digits”. Which means nick is not even $400k wealthy.

He started working and earning a nice salary since age 22, according to his post. He’s 31 now. how can he not be $400k?

I set up a spreadsheet.

Given the market returns of the previous 9 years, if he started from zero and saved (and invested in S&P500) 36k per year his NW would be 500k today. If he saved 30k per year he’d be above 400k.

Ok, joining a huge tech company like I did, or a lucky startup will make you 500k rich by age 30 (unless you joined the golden eggs laying company at age 35 like me, of course). But also saving a larger portion of your salary (which I assume has always been decent enough for Nick) during a bull market should have been enough.

What am I missing? Maybe “nobody starts at zero” in US? Well, if you start with a positive NW the math gets simpler. Problem is if you start at -200k student loan, and that’s what I could be missing in Nick’s story.

Anyway, the remainder of the article, how we “begin our lives as growth stocks, but end our lives as value stocks”, is inspiring and so true, rating that 7/10 🙂


Logan Kane about “how to invest $1M” (5/10)

Link

This is a bad article, in my opinion, that made me scream at almost every sentence. It would deserve a sentence-by-sentence analysis, but time is scarce.

“My goal in writing this is to show the simplest way to beat the S&P 500 with minimal time investment

  • “Beat the S&P 500 on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis.”
  • “Support a 5 percent annual withdrawal rate, adjusted annually for inflation (if desired, though fixed percentage withdrawals tend to have smoother outcomes than fixed amounts).”
  • “Spend less than 1 hour per week managing the portfolio.”

… and then he recommends taking a margin loan of 700k (perfectly calibrated to have survived recent crash) to invest 350k on “factor investing” (not bad), 100k in 10 high dividend stocks at 5% yield (oh come on), 500k in an actively managed bond ETF (PIMIX), 600k in S&P500 futures (!!!), 100k in gold, and 100k in treasury bonds futures.

Back tracked the portfolio since 2014 and demonstrated that cherry picking works.

Please, Seeking Alpha, do not become the next Motley Fool, I have high opinion of you!

My ranking is 4/10!

Hey RIP, maybe you made a typo, I see a 5/10…

Ehm… that’s because I’ve spent some time reading Pimco Income bonds docs, and there’s some interesting stuff that I want to explore more. The PIMIX is actually a great rated fund, with enough history. But it’s an institutional fund, not a retail one. Minimum Investment 1M, not available on IB… anyway, a “+1” in rating for having opened this can of worms. I knew about Pimco and their good reputation, and maybe in this low yield environment there’s value in an actively managed income fund that compensates for the 1.09% TER (I’m still skeptical though). It’d be a tough bet, but I’m considering it in case I find a retail alternative with similar past 10 years performances and costs.


Frances Cook TED Talk about FIRE (5/10)

Link

I don’t know why, but TED Talks are degrading in quality at the speed of light.

This one about FIRE is so empty, so “nothing”, that instead of embedding it here I’m going to embed my reaction to it:


Italian – Roberto Saviano’s about Maradona’s Death (D10S/10)

Link

I remember clearly Mexico 1986 World Championships, I remember Maradona’s era. My father is a Napoli supporter, and 90% of my wife’s family comes from Naples. My wife’s bedroom in her parent’s house has a Maradona poster on the wall…

It’s been a sad day, and Saviano’s article strikes the right chords.

RIP Diego!


FIREthe9to5 blog shutting down (SAD/10)

Link

The Blogger behind FIREthe9to5 is shutting down her blog in a month or less. It’s always sad to see a FIRE blog disappear.

What is (was) this blog about? It’s about the story of a single mom, slightly older than I am, who quit her job in early 2020, and kind of lost motivation to blog.

Anyway, she’s living a happy life 🙂

Read few of his best posts before they disappear in the void: when she quit, thoughts on Early Retirement, an update after few months of ER


Coffeezilla on how to make money online ($$$/10)

Link

Simple, easy, quick.

How to make money online in under 2 minutes.


Italian – Tutti a Casa (LOL/10)

Link

During the March-April lockdown, Francesco Lancia, an Italian standup comedian, impro theater actor, and a Radio and TV shows author, organized a series of lockdown-induced live streaming on Facebook with several “resident” comedians like Francesco De Carlo, Daniele Fabbri, Chiara Galeazzi, Valerio Lundini, and some renown (Italian) guest stars.

This second “soft” lockdown they launched the Tutti a Casa show again, with better video and audio quality, on Twitch and on YouTube.

Take a look at this episode, with guest star Marina Cuollo. She’s hilarious! Even the fake ads are expression of pure creative genius 🙂


Others

Here follows a list of other resources I’ve consumed over the last two weeks that didn’t make into the main section 🙂

Mark Manson about Purpose. Link. Meh. Ok, not that bad… Mark, please, just write. Don’t do videos.

James Veitch‘s speech breakdown on The Speaker Lab. Link. Mini rabbit hole, thanks to my previous post.
ITA – Marcello Ascani video about Tinaba, an Italian FinTech that’s both a payment system and a “traditional” Bank. Link. Not convinced… As a Roboadvisor, the fees are way too high: 1% below 20k, it drops to 0.5% between 200k and 1M… As a payment they claim to be “the only entity that charges nothing to move money within the circuit”. Well, what about Revolut? It has also Geolocalization features that make me scream about privacy. I’ve been in the Privacy Working Group of Hooli Maps for 2 years and I know how painful it is to implement these features in a privacy and security safe way.

Daniele Fabbri podcast (Contiene Parolacce) about Don Alberto, a young priest/youtuber. Link. Very good! Against hypocrisy, indoctrination, and moral forgiveness (which is disrespectful).
ITA – Astutillo Smeriglia about how to recognize charlatans. Link. Amazing and funny. Yes, a lot of Italian content in this WLJ, and a lot of Fake Guru content as well 🙂


That’s all for this week 🙂

10 comments

  1. Smart move, so skipping one time now gives you 2 months time.

    It were too many posts anyways, even for me as a reader.

    1. Which one? Fufflix?
      Well, if you follow the link (or if you Google “Fufflix”) you rach the Group page. Then you click on “join” and ask to be added… it doesn’t seem a big deal. What am I missing?

  2. Ma non riesco a capire come ti siano arrivate le tre lettere degli avvocati se il tuo sito è anonimo e tu non mostri mai chi sei

    1. A parte che scoprire la mia identità è piuttosto facile, questi tizi hanno mndato delle PEC al mio indirizzo di mail del blog.
      Ora, avrei tranquillamente potuto stamparle ed usarle come sostituto per la carta igienica (e lo sto facendo), ma siccome prima o poi vorrò mostrare la mia identità preferisco preventivamente levarmi queste rotture di scatole da torno

  3. Hi Mr. RIP!

    Speaking about Terraforming Mars, would you ever do an article talking about board games and maybe about your favourite ones?
    Luckily I’ve been able to come to Italy from Switzerland to enjoy the holidays at my family’s home and since time is not an issue (thanks pandemic), I bought several board games to increase my (small) collection. Now after work, almost every night is game night and right now we are having a blast playing Terra Mystica (probably my favourite game ever alongside Puerto Rico and Food Chaing Magnate).

    Would really love to know more about this and I’m sure I’m not the only one 😀
    Anyway, good post as always!

    1. Well, it’s not strictly related to the dozens of “main themes” of this blog, but it’s really tempting 🙂
      Maybe I’ll do, I’m going to append this idea somewhere in the “mid priority” post ideas, which has already a hundred ideas, so I’m not probably writing about it 😀
      Joking, yes, I want to write about board games. Sooner or later.

      Terra Mystica is also one of my all-time favorite, and during my first 2 years at Hooli we played TM twice per week during Hooli board games evenings in the office 🙂
      I was one of the first beta testing https://terra.snellman.net/ which is probably the most hardcore website (developed by a former colleague) for TM tournaments, stats, and AI (written by another former colleague).
      TM (both Terraforming Mars and Terra Mystica) is tattooed in my heart 🙂

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