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Circle of Competence Issue #116


"What do you want to be doing in 30 years? And is that reflected in how you spend your time?" - Nat Eliason


The Circle of Competence Podcast - Episode #06

This week, I spoke with Blair Silverberg, the CEO of Capital Technologies which is a software-based lending platform focusing on the venture debt space. In prior years, he worked at the illustrious venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and also invested personally in the private credit space. In his current role as CEO of Capital, he leads a team whose mission is to create a modern alternative to equity financing to put power back into the hands of the entrepreneur. Founded in 2019, Capital helps company founders understand their cost of capital and secure financing offers from $5-50 million. We discuss the burgeoning venture debt space, venture capital industry as a whole, capital allocation for entrepreneurs, and his vision for a fully-automated, artificial intelligence driven lending platform at Capital.

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30 year thinking (Nat Eliason)

I've been re-reading Greg McKeown's Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and it pairs exceptionally well with Nat Eliason's essay above on long-term thinking. McKeown's book focuses on helping people of all backgrounds figure out the most important things in their lives (personal and professional) and prioritize them relentlessly. Nat Eliason's piece is a nice supplement to McKeown's work because it asks the simple, but tough question:

"What do you want to be doing in 30 years? And is that reflected in how you spend your time?"

That question hit me hard.

And it doesn't just pertain to skills. It also pertains to people, commitments, jobs, and any other way we could possibly spend our time. The more I learn about business and investing, the more I see that the best way to think about investing is not in terms of dollars, but in terms of time.

When we say 'yes' to one investment, opportunity, relationship, event, commitment... we say 'no' to every other possibility in that moment. I have yet to learn how to read two books or be at two coffee meetings simultaneously. McKeown's book reminds us to prioritize the most important things each day and scrutinize whether our choices align with our long-term vision. Because if they don't, we will wake up one day wondering how we arrived so far from our desired destination (Eliason):

"It's easy to fall in the "one day" trap. Believing that once you make more money, have more time, finish this project, you'll suddenly be free of the obligations standing between you and your ideal self. But "one day" never comes. We have to start creating that day now."

Anyways, I highly recommend both McKeown's book and Eliason's essay. You will come away with more questions than answers about your life, but that is the mark of a good read.


How to be successful (Sam Altman)

This essay is worth reading, re-reading, and re-reading again.


1. Compound yourself (and your learning)

2. Have almost too much self-belief

3. Learn to think independently

4. Get good at “sales”

5. Make it easy to take risks

6. Focus

7. Work hard

8. Be bold

9. Be willful

10. Be hard to compete with

11. Build a network

12. You get rich by owning things

13. Be internally driven




Oldie, but goodie - Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville (Warren Buffett)

Public to private equity in the United States: a long-term look (Michael Mauboussin)

Speculation and innovation (Investor Amnesia)

Why did a hedge fund manager worth $700M take a $600k job managing an oil fund? (Institutional Investor)

Hayden Capital 2Q 2020 letter to investors (Hayden Capital)

Real Estate

Paul Hobby interviews legendary real estate developer Gerald Hines, 2007 (Houston Library)

The Real Estate Guys' COVID-19 crisis investing seminar - 13 episodes of in depth experts survey the economy and investing outlook (The Real Estate Guys)

The European cities using COVID as a cure for Airbnb (Intelligencer)


Where does growth come from - Clayton Christensen (Talks at Google)

Lazard 2Q 2020 Euro venture report (Lazard)

Will India's Jio be Silicon Valley's next tech giant? (Fortune)

Brian Armstrong & the future of crypto (Invest like the Best)


Chinese security threats offer the chance to rethink the U.S. economy (Foreign Policy)


Expiring vs. permanent skills (Collaborative Fund)

On the sufferings of the world (Arthur Schopenhauer)

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