Surf Report: No, not that sustainable.

Issue 22: 02.21.2021 (Free Version)

February 21, 2021

Hey everyone—I’m so glad to have you here. What a week.

Guess what: Best Buy just topped Barron’s yearly rankings of sustainable companies. This might have you scratching your head if you’re an environmentally-conscious investor and don’t have $BBY on your watch list. Do they use recycled cardboard boxes? Electric trucks? Solar-powered warehouses?

No, not that kind of sustainable.

Barron’s cited Best Buy’s overall performance during the pandemic based on how it treats employees, customers, communities, and the environment. Sustainable business practices are about the health and longevity of the firm, and include environmental but also social and governance factors. In this case, Best Buy shifted early to curbside pickup, cut executive pay by 20% in order to maintain a $15 minimum wage for hourly workers, and still managed to fund emergency support for its 51,000 furloughed workers (half of whom they rehired). That’s just good business.

The idea that we need to care for the environment at the expense of our business and budget isn’t quite right. In fact, too much lopsidedness in that regard can lead to long-term fragility that can be just as damaging as neglecting environmental concerns altogether. The real lesson of sustainability isn’t to prioritize the environment at the expense of everything else, but to learn from nature itself and think like an organism. If your environmental initiatives don’t feel win-win yet, then it may be time to pause and reflect.

This virtuous relationship between external care and personal benefit shows up in the world of food and health all the time. For example, animals that are well-treated and given large spaces to live and play produce more nutritious eggs, meat, and dairy. And when plants aren’t protected by pesticides (i.e. when they’re organic) they are forced to mount more of their own defenses against predators in the form of antioxidants and tannins. These are the same vitamins and compounds in fruits, veggies, coffee, and tea that make them so nutritious for our own bodies. The healthful effects come from the resistance they force our bodies to mount. Dealing with problems is where strength comes from, in both bodies and businesses.

The whole thing calls to mind the classic book by James P. Carse called Finite & Infinite Games. A finite game ends when someone wins—it’s a zero-sum situation. But an infinite game is one where there are no winners and losers at all. Those types of games can be played forever.

“Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory, but infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander.”

The object of an infinite game isn’t to win. The object is to ensure continuous play.

Until next time,


“Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.” —Nelson Mandela

Breaking 🌊

🤑 Crypto exchange platform Coinbase is being valued above $100 billion, ahead of direct listing. Seems high, but then again so does everything.

🎮 U.S. gaming had its best January in history, with video game spend reaching $4.7 billion—a record for the month of January and a 42% increase compared to the year prior—and the Saudi Public Investment Fund is betting big on gaming with a $3.3 billion investment into Activision, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two.

📊 Rumors were flying about what the two fancy new stocks Warren Buffett added to his legendary portfolio and they turned out to be… Verizon and Chevron. (I’ve actually owned both for years and keep adding, most recently to Verizon since it’s particularly out of favor at the moment. $VZ has a dividend yield of 4.4% and $CVX close to 5.5%)

🎬 Chinese box office numbers send US theater stocks higher on optimism at the prospect of summertime reopenings.

📉 The global bond market appears to be collapsing entirely, but no one seems too alarmed about it. (I mean I am, but what do I know I’m just paying attention.)

💱 As the price of bitcoin soared past $57,000 it also reached a monumental milestone of a 1 trillion dollar market cap, which finally puts it in striking distance for large institutional investors. (It took Google 24 years to reach the $1T mark) Also, in the same week that the first North American bitcoin ETF boomed on its debut with $165 million of shares trading hands, Morgan Stanley applied to the SEC to launch a Bitcoin ETF of their own. Meanwhile BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, confirms they are “starting to dabble” in bitcoin, and Microstrategy filed to offer $600M in notes in order to buy even more. As for the rest of us: Bitcoin supporters are giving themselves laser eyes on Twitter as the price marches to $100k, including two members of Congress. ("She also responded to someone who noted that her lasers were crooked and offered to give her a fresh set of beams.")

From The Tweetbox 🐦

Lots of rational people calling for market crashes in the near future but they forget that central banks and elected officials have outlawed sustainable market corrections through their use of intervention and stimulus.

It's far better to provide immense, life-changing value to 100 people than lukewarm value to 1,000 people.

Experience doesn’t mean anything in a paradigm shift

“The easiest way to have business ideas is to start a business. Any business.
You’ll quickly see how many problems have yet to be solved to make the experience enjoyable and accessible to everyone.”

“Bond King” investor and longtime gold/dollar bull says bitcoin may be better than gold and a “stimulus asset.”

For The Pros 😎

Insight 💡

A recent study showed that displaying the number of views a product has can increase purchase intent by up to 56%.

Similarly, displaying the number of purchases a product has can increase purchase intent by up to 58%. After while the effect starts to reverse (in the study: 1500 views), so switch over to sales after reaching a certain threshold.

Check This Out 👀

👂 This Chrome extension enables you to listen to any web article in your podcast player.
💲 This Chrome extension pops up a stock chart when you hover over a cashtag on Twitter.

Worth A Read 📃

Is Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme? Lyn Alden explores this question in depth and concludes it is not.

Detractors often assert that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value and that one day everyone will realize for what it is, and it’ll go to zero. Rather than using this argument, however, the more sophisticated bear argument should be that Bitcoin will fail in its goal to take a certain percentage of persistent market share from the global banking system for one reason or another, and to cite the reasons why they hold that view.

The Man Who Abandoned Value.

Alsin, now 63, threw away almost every investment principle he had once held.

PNGs 🖼

Boomer glossary on Bloomberg. #Boomberg

Use the news for investment advice at your peril.

“The beginnings of all things are small.” —Cicero

Groms 🐣

New startup College Cash plans to tackle US student loan debt by helping students pay off debt in exchange for user-generated content. Founder Demetrius Curry recently chatted with TechCrunch about it.

He says that even as Silicon Valley continues to idolize dropouts from prestigious universities, stakeholders have less interest in recognizing the accomplishments of founders who fought their way through poverty or found opportunity in geographies where opportunities are harder to come by.

“You can’t look for something different if you’re looking in the same places,” Curry tells TechCrunch. “When you look at the topic of ‘underserved founders,’ it’s not only a skin color thing, it’s also about where they came from and what they’ve been through.”

Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you have in your portfolio.” —Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Drop Ins 🏄

My latest investments & trades
Buy & Hold Investments (I will hold these forever)

This section is only available for contributing subscribers. If you’d like to trade and invest along with me, consider one of the paid tiers!

Swing Trades (1-3 month time horizon)

This section is only available for contributing subscribers. If you’d like to trade and invest along with me, consider one of the paid tiers!

Barrels 🎯

Portfolio Highlights
  • Winning Trade of the Week: $OBSV, which finally broke out for a 26% return and is just getting started.

Pods & Schools 🐬🐠

🔊 This episode of the Bitcoin Fixes This podcast with Jimmy Song is actually about traditional finance. It’s a discussion with PlanB, creator of the popular S2F (stock-to-flow) and S2FX (stock-to-flow cross-asset) models. It’s an easy to understand introduction to financial markets, and covers stocks, bonds, futures markets, and options trading. Super helpful for anyone lost in the sea of terms and concepts and trying to make sense of it all.

📓 Brett Hall (philosopher/astronomer/physicist/science communicator) and Naval Ravikant (billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist) hopped on Clubhouse to chat and someone took a great set of notes on the discussion. Right off the bat Naval calls one of my all time favorite books, The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, “Maybe the best book I’ve ever read in the genre of things that are directly useful.”

Tools of the Trade ⚒

Products I use to make money

Swan. I recently became an official Swan partner because I love them so much. So if you're like me and just want an easy, automated way to buy bitcoin on the regular with the lowest fees in the game, head to You even get $10 for free ✨

Wealthfront. ~25% of my portfolio is in Wealthfront, which since 2016 has netted me a time-weighted return of ~65% (~62% money-weighted) at the time of this writing, all while harvesting tax losses just like the pros. Use this special link to get your first $5,000 managed for free

StockCharts. I easily make back the small monthly subscription fee with the superpowers it gives me.

Carrd. I use card for all my landing page needs. Use this link or referral code 892PYX69 to start your own web empire.


Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial advice. Do your own research.