Issue #11: How Much is Too Much?

How Much Is Too Much?

With limited time and energy in each day, finding the point of optimization in that formula has been an ongoing challenge for me. Since I was in high school, my intense drive to study my interests has made finding the optimal amount difficult since I tend to obsess over these interests, namely finance and investing. While this means I learn very quickly and regularly discover new concepts, I understand there is a need to have balance in the way I spend my time.

In high school and college, where one has very few real responsibilities, dedicating hours and hours to the study of an interest was easy. With a full time job currently, it is still possible but more difficult.

Now, how does this relate to the podcast and small company investing? I think about this optimization point in my professional life just as much. How long is too long for a podcast, article, or newsletter? How rigid is too rigid for my episode release schedule? When do you have enough job experience to acquire companies yourself and when is it proper to seek further experience rather than hanging your own shingle? How many side projects is too many? How much due diligence do you need before you have 85% of the answer to whether the opportunity is worth pursuing or not?

Recently on Twitter, Patrick O’Shaughnessy announced that he was taking a break from his podcast, Invest Like the Best. Frankly, I don’t know how it took him so long to reach a burnout point. The podcast he’s managed to produce on such an extended and consistent basis is otherworldly in quality and the gold standard for finance podcasts. Producing an interview based podcast every week is a ton of work, I can’t imagine how anyone does it, even if the audio editing is outsourced.

I initially thought about doing a podcast every week. Most sites that talked about starting a podcast explained that publishing on a weekly basis was best if you wanted to increase its popularity and have it be a success in that sense. But that’s not my objective. My objective is to build learning relationships with the smartest professionals in this space. Period. That objective doesn’t need popularity to be achieved, as long as I’m meeting new people as a result of the podcast that’s enough for me. I don’t care how many downloads, likes, reviews, or subscribers I have because those aren’t the measures I care about to build new relationships. The numbers that are important are how many professionals reach out via the contact form or Twitter, how many reply to these emails and start an interesting conversation, and how many new friendships I build.

The more I think through these ideas, the more I see opportunities to optimize how I spend my time and effort. Cutting back on certain areas will no doubt lead to me missing opportunities for growth and learning, but is that true over the long run? Perhaps limiting myself today will prevent burnout and give me more time and energy over the long haul?

What are some of your opportunities or challenges? Do you struggle with balancing your career with your family? With your hobby or friends? I have a lot of work to do, and I’d appreciate your help and experience.

Capital Notes

  • Kent Collier of Distressed Debt Investing shares his perspective on starting a company.

  • I’ve shared with you my desire to become a better writer a few times in this newsletter, here are some writing tips I enjoyed from Alex Danco.

  • More Alex Danco, he had a great interview with Brent Beshore recently.

  • For those young professionals thinking about hanging their own shingle as a permanent capital investor, this article from HBR on career earnings will be interesting to you.

  • Samir Patel of Askeladden Capital writes some career advice for enterprising young college students: “One of the major commonalities between all the successful state-school alumni in finance that I know is that they view(ed) school as the biggest impediment to (rather than driver of) their success.  Nobody in the real world cares about 80% of what you learn in school.”

  • While public market investing has a lot of differences from private investing, hearing Robert Vinall of RV Capital talk about his evolution as a hedge fund manager has a lot of parallels.

If you found an interesting article, podcast, or interview that I missed, please let me know, I’m always looking for interesting stuff!


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