Started a Venture Studio, Kelly Criterion and the Future of Democracy
Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater
Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.
Starting a Venture Studio. After lots of research last year about venture studios, I’ve started one! We incorporated Purpose Built Ventures Studio this week. I’m really excited to get started. We’re a people-first rather than idea-first venture studio. We work with founders to create new startups from scratch. Part of what makes us different is that we have an emphasis on the professional and personal development of our founders. Our ventures are mission-driven with the theme of helping Americans reach for economic opportunity. More to come.
Fortune’s Formula. You were holding out on me! The book Fortune’s Formula is an intoxicating blend of finance theory, history of information theory, stories of gamblers, mobsters and early hedge funds plus tinkering, academic feuds and RICO suits. What’s not to love! I learned a lot more about the Kelly criterion (why did I not know about this before?!) which postulates an optimal strategy for picking bet, trade or check sizes for any given deal. In theory you are not going to go broke (assuming no transaction costs, mistakes, infinitely divisible bets, etc.) but you may have more volatility and the ride may be more painful if losses hurt more than gains. Here’s a blog post that lays out the math. Have you ever used the Kelly criterion?
Alcohol and Kids. If you want your kids to avoid abusing alcohol, are you better off introducing them to alcohol at home in a safe environment or having a zero tolerance policy? What behavior do you model? The Addiction Inoculation argues that earlier exposure (even at home) leads to more drinking later. She cites this study for example. What about European attitudes about earlier alcohol consumption? Does that lead to healthy outcomes? Perhaps not according to WHO data.
Missing Words. Which words do you wish we had in the English language? Ones I’d like:
Singular third-person pronoun non-gendered
Fine tuned expressions of forecast or epistemological uncertainty
Observation vs conclusion vs hearsay (“I saw that it was raining” vs. “I think it is raining because I heard the sound of rain” vs “Someone told me that it is raining.”)
American Democracy. What’s the future of democracy in America? Are we headed towards a breakdown in civil order, a Presidential power grab or constantly disputed elections? Do we need to count fewer votes or make sure to count them all? President Biden said it well: we must make sure “the will of the people is heard; that the ballot prevails, not violence; that authority in this nation will always be peacefully transferred” and “You can’t love your country only when you win. You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.”
Until next week,