Brad Gilbert

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

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Brad Gilbert won an Olympic medalist, participated on Davis Cup teams, and coached Andre Agassi. In his book Winning Ugly he writes about winning at tennis. The book is really about winning at anything. Let’s see how.

The first step to winning is to not lose. Warren Buffett’s two rules of investing are, one, don’t lose money and two, don’t forget rule number one. Gilbert has similar advice.

“Don’t be afraid to swing at the ball but don’t try to impress the other player.”

“Unforced error determined results more than spectacular shots do.”

“Make sure your mediocre backhand doesn’t make world-class errors.”

“Hit the ball over the net and into the court. Make that the goal.”

“Playing not to lose’ is pejorative commentary. That might be wrong. Athletes, teams, inventors all need chances to win. More chances more winning. Willbur Wright wrote about this:

“The man who wishes to keep at the problem long enough to really learn anything positively must not take dangerous risks. Carelessness and overconfidence are usually more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks.”

Or as Jason Calacanis said about angel investing:

“What makes the great investors is they can be contrarian, they’re independent. The big cardinal mistake people make when they start angel investing is, they have a three hundred thousand dollar stack and say ‘f-it’ let me put one hundred fifty in this one startup…and soon you’ve blown your whole chip stack. I’ve seen people go through this who were invested in three startups and they quit angel investing.”

To do this well you have to know thyself.

“Don’t ask a skinny dog to fly.”

“Look in the mirror – do you see Pete Sampras?”

What are you really capable of doing, asks Gilbert. If you have a weak backhand, own it. If all you can do is pop it back, that’s fine. Think winning over beauty. This is hard to see in ourselves. We have biases. We’re in too deep. Instead, ask someone how they might defeat you. Gilbert had his coach do some scouting too.

 “Sitting on the sidelines it’s fairly easy to spot a match and see what’s happening; who’s doing what to whom.”

Objectively knowing your skills and weaknesses as well as your opponents allows for mismatches.

“I’ll lose if I go strength to strength. I’m good, however, at working my strengths against my opponents weaknesses.”

Michael Lombardi says that the best NFL coaches “make you play left-handed.” That’s what Gilbert wants too. Advantages don’t always come from your best skill but the biggest delta. The sweetest opportunities are in the largest gaps.

This is all in preparation and the best players plan in the calm.

“When things were getting desperate I had a mental compass that kept me on course and gave me a way to get back in the match.”

“Your body will try to do what your mind tells it to do. In this prematch review, you’re programming your mind to give the body correct information once the match begins and things start happening quickly under fire. You’re setting the course you want to take to arrive at your destination.”

Wesley Gray said that he plans in System 2. “All your (military) training is how to minimize system one errors and try your best to use the system two mentality.” This work will prepare for the storm.

“Psychologically 0-3 seems a lot heavier than it is. It’s still just one break.”

“You have to recognize it (anger) and you have to be able to regain control or it’s like playing with a broken racket.”

“My game didn’t fail me (against Connors). My mind did.”

“If you gang up on yourself there will be two people on the court trying to beat you.”

Tennis is a mental game too. Ken Fisher thought that John Templeton was a great investor because of his stability.

“His spirituality led him to a form of internal calmness that’s rare. He would make investment decisions other people wouldn’t make because he was so at peace with himself.”

Learning all this  requires paying attention.

“Who’s doing what to whom? Have at least a sense of it.”

 “After that (an unexpected loss), I started writing things down. It’s when I started my little black book.”

“I’d watch a match like I was studying for a history test.”

Gilbert wanted to find patterns in play. “Pressure,” he wrote about tight situations, “is the ultimate lie detector.”  What someone did when a point, game, or match was on the line carried weight.  This is the same attitude for finding secrets or gems.

“Most of the time there is a way to win. You just have to figure out what it is.”

I’ve never played tennis beyond a few summer afternoons with a wooden racket and Gilbert’s book isn’t really about tennis. It’s about everything. Knowing your limits but getting better. Being curious and writing discoveries down. Accepting luck, innate talent, and harnassing ambitions.


Thanks for reading. I’m mikedariano.


Marcus Lemonis

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Marcus Lemonis spoke with James Altucher about his show television show The Profit and what he’s learned after four season. Here are my notes.

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Photo by Andy Rusch.

10,000 hours and youth soccer? 10,000 hours or youth soccer.

“To be a business owner it’s not a glamorous job. It requires you to make a lot of personal sacrifices. If you want to meet a business owner with a great home life and a great life balance — they’re probably BS-ing you a little bit. It’s very difficult to be a business owner and have balance. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have good work-life balance.”

“In fairness to most people, I don’t have kids and I don’t want to minimize that because I have business associates who have kids.”

“If you’re young and single you can be reckless. As you get older and you have a family and children and responsibilities it has to be more calculated.”

Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of 10,000 hours as the staircase to the balcony of expertise – but he clarified to Stephen Dubner why:

Gladwell wasn’t promoting so much as pointing out. Ken Grossman wrote that when he was starting the Sierra Nevada beer company he felt guilty for not being home as often. Gene Kranz an early NASA engineer wrote, “Behind every great man is a woman – and behind her is the plumber, the electrician, the Maytag repairman, and one or more sick kids. And the car needs to go into the shop.”

For Lemonis this is an advantage. He can take bigger swings. He can handle more volatility. If things don’t work out he can go back to selling cars.

Know thyself, and thy soft spots.

“The ones with the dysfunctional people are the ones that are the most challenging for me and the ones I get burned the most because I have this notion that I can fix everybody and everything and it’s just not true.”

Soft spots are biases articulated. Daryl Morey had a soft spot for one type of player. Meb Faber has a soft spot for certain investments. Gregg Popovich has a soft spot for a style of play.

Knowing these preferences leads to better decisions.

Relationship debts.

“Put a heart with a face, not just a name with a face.”

“When you take care of your people as best as you can, you really will find out when shit goes bad who’s going to be there.”

Debts and surpluses compound accordingly. Richard Jefferson saw how physical debts (body fat, weight) negatively compounded. NBA players eat like kings but don’t want to work out too hard before games. That leads to weight gain.

There’s code debt, financial debt, relationship debt, turnover debt (loss of institutional memory. Less debt is better. As Peter Lynch said, “it’s very hard to go bankrupt if you don’t have any debt.”

Getting lost in the weeds.

“You knew it was going to be a problem, I didn’t know it was going to be a problem. When you’re in it it’s very difficult.”

“When you are a business owner it’s very easy to get lost in the weeds.”

Alton Brown said this happened to him while making Good Eats. His crew had a code word they used when talking to his wife about when he went too deep.

Aziz Ansari said much the same:

“When we do Masters of None we screen the episodes for people as we’re editing because it helps. You’re the craziest person to watch and judge this thing because you’ve been living in it, you’re in too deep.”

It’s why people like Daniel Kahneman and Michael Mauboussin advocate for the outside view. Be conscious of ‘what typically happens’ – or include someone who is.

Humility + Curiosity = Ideas. When he talks to business owners, Lemonis asks a lot of questions, “they’ll tell you if you keep pushing.”

“Thinking I had all the answers was the mistake.”

“It was like I turned into an infant again…I just kept asking questions of everybody all the time.”

“I have no trouble admitting when I don’t know something and need help.”

“Everyday you should be asking questions.”

“I think what happens to people is their pride gets in the way and they don’t want to say ‘I don’t know’ And that may be the single biggest mistake.”

Success comes from enough ego to believe you can, but not so much you expect to. This manifests as curiosity. Thomas DeLong put it this way to Ted Seides:

“If you live a more curious life, you’re going to listen more, you’re going to be more interesting, you’re going to learn a lot more. You need to move your life from certainty to curiosity.”

More inspiration is in Brian Grazer‘s book, A Curious Mind.

Change your POV.

“I have a little trick. I always turn my mind into a consumer and not a business owner. I think ‘Would I buy that? Would I pay for that?’ and I really work hard at it.”

Businesses exist to serve customers so knowing what they want helps. Grant Oliphant works in the non-profit area but has a saying that applies here too – nothing about me without me. Ask, ‘what do people want’ rather than ‘what do I want’.

Businesses who fail to do this are a – according to Scott Fearon – Dead Company Walking.


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Richard Jefferson

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Richard Jefferson spoke with Bill Simmons about the NBA, LA, and the media.

Place matters.

“I’m down there in San Diego with nothing to do. It’s beautiful but you get lazy as shit there really quick. Everyone is super happy and mellow. I had to move up to LA.”

Jefferson didn’t thrive in San Diego, so he left. Ken Burns lives in New Hampshire, not New York. George Lucas left Hollywood for San Francisco. Milton Hershey lived in central Pennsylvania. Warren Buffett lives in Omaha.

Place in part of our ecosystem. Place affects our actions.

Compounding debt or surplus?

“A lot of the things I learned there (in San Antonio) have helped me prolong my career since I left there. Like the way, you need to work out during the summer. The way you need to take care of your body. The constant focus on your weight and your body fat.”

As a Spurs fan, I was excited when Jefferson signed with the team. Their engagement was a disappointment. But he learned about physical debt there. If you don’t take care of your body then the debts pile up, compound, and come due.

Surpluses compound too. Adam Grant said his first book took twelve years to write. That’s compounding. Illmind compounded his work into a career. Compounding also works in Fitness and Finances.

Accounting for our debts and surpluses helps because we’ll be in situations where we can’t pay down or build up. The NFL is like this said Michael Lombardi. There’s no time to build up your intellectual capital during the season.

Added value.

“I’m always surprised that some owner hasn’t given Chip Engelland twenty million dollars a year. Think about all the money they spend on players, coaches, and everything. This shooting coach has transformed all these different people. I would think that’s worth at least as much as an all-star.” Simmons

Engelland is the “shot doctor”. The question is, how many wins can a coach add? This may be an analytics edge.

In baseball, this played out Big Data Baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirate’s analytics team found that shifting players, ground ball pitchers, and the right catcher were one way to win. Hiring analysts to maximize player value was cheaper than an all-star.

The Pirates adopted the design mindset to express, test, and cycle. What organizations shouldn’t do is cut and paste.  As Adam Grant and Shane Parrish explained, you want to ask, in what conditions does this work? The Spurs are famous for their culture. It’s one of the building blocks of Gregg Popovich‘s team. Remember, place matters.

The skill jar of Jason Kidd.

“He was so smart that he had this whole second part of his career when he was athletically thirty percent of what he was but he knew where to go and who to set up.” – Simmons

Whether mental or physical, much of life is about being in the right place at the right time. We can do this one of two ways.

  1. Move quickly, physically or mentally changing our position.
  2. Be accurate, begin close to the correct place.

Kidd shifted his career from one to another.


Media reports. About the 2004 Olympics Jefferson said:

“We were murdered by the media. They were like, they don’t care. No. None of us had any experience in this.”

“I’m introducing myself for the first time two weeks before the Olympics. And Larry Brown was the worst possible coach we could have had. For that team, they couldn’t have picked a worse coach.”

Media is like a funhouse mirror. Parts will be accurate and parts will be distorted. Andre Agassi was ‘all show and no go.’ Russell Martin was ‘bad.’ These are only the outside view. The media has both objectivity and information deficiency.


Thanks for reading. I’m mikedariano.

Maha Ibrahim

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Maha Ibrahim spoke with Kara Swisher about her seventeen years in tech.

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Timing is everything.

“Timing is everything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my venture career, that’s it. Timing is everything.”

The Brilliant Visionary story skews praise from the situation to the person. This is a mistake. Politics, for example, is full of people whose skills matched the circumstances. Tom Brokaw arrived in California at the right time. Without an interesting governor who would go on to do big things, Brokaw’s career would have been different. So too for Karl Rove (in Texas) and Teddy Roosevelt (in New York).

Timing matters for books too. The Great Gatsby was stacked in warehouses unread. Even further back Martin Luther benefitted from a printing price.

Examples across domains and time is a good way to find true things. “I have a rule that it has to be timeless and universal,” said Ray Dalio.


Bubbles are impossible to call but Swisher provides a good ear-to-the-ground signal. Other signals? THE TALLEST THING headlines. Big parties. Binder boys.  Pricing guides for cards or collectibles.

Depression babies, women in tech and ecosystems.

“We’re looking at the last nine years of up and to the right. We’re also looking at a cast of characters in the venture industry where a lot of them have only seen up and to the right. They look at their jobs as selling money. That’s not our job. Our job is to return capital to our limited partners.”

It’s a skill to separate your work from your ecosystem. Ducks, said Warren Buffett, don’t flap their wings in pride because the tide came in. Conditions matter. In their environment women often have headwinds.

“Every woman had a story (about sexual harassment). Every good man was surprised.” – Swisher

“What we hear collectively from entrepreneurs – and we meet collectively with a lot of female entrepreneurs is that they all have a bad story.” – Ibrahim

Success despite disadvantage changes the evaluation. In the NFL this is figuring out if an offense was good or a defense was bad. In investing it’s figuring out if you’re brilliant or you were just in a bull market. For leadership questions it’s thinking about what happened at Yahoo?.

This was the tagline for the Tim Ferriss podcast. Why does someone that looks like they shouldn’t succeed, succeed? Nassim Taleb explained it this way to Russ Roberts.

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Skinning cats.

“I’ve been in panels where male investors say, ‘We feel like women shoot for the moon and not the stars. We feel like women are not as ambitious as men.’ They are using that as an example of no female Mark Zuckerberg. There doesn’t have to be.”

Looking for the next Zuckerberg is a terrible idea. Scott Norton said that if manuals exist you aren’t doing something new enough. The next Zuckerberg is like that. It’s not new.

In investing this comes up when people talk about David Swensen. It’s good to know what’s made him successful, but you can’t be Swensen. Both David Salem and Charley Ellis are quick to point this out.

Building relationships. Kara Swisher has advice for Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

“I think Trump has a lizard brain. He understands that people are going to be mad at Bezos later over jobs and everything else. So he’s attacking him on the wrong thing but it’s right.”

Nice people get the benefit of the doubt. Nice people have relationship capital (non-GAAP). Kip McDaniels said this is “underinvested in because it’s not a clear revenue item, it’s a cost on their balance sheet.” Gregg Popovich said basic strategy, talented teammates and relationships are what makes a team successful.


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Gregg Popovich

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

No panaceas. Before his thirty-minute talk, Popovich said, “I don’t have any secret plays. It’s about organization, discipline, and relationships with your players.”

Magic wand solutions are lies. Brent Beshore said the biggest secret about business is that there is no secret. Instead, “do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.”  Ben Horowitz wrote to use lots of lead bullets rather than search for a silver bullet. The only panacea is a lot of hard work, and that’s not really a panacea at all.

The only panacea is a lot of hard work, and that’s not really a panacea at all.

No egos. The San Antonio Spurs are known for their success and their culture. Both come from limited egos.

“The fiber of your team is the beginning of everything that you do. We want players who have gotten over themselves.”

“When you amass enough character on your team you can handle someone that might be a little off the mark in one-way shape or form because he follows the example.”

That applies to the coaches too.

“I don’t care where an idea comes from. You have to be comfortable enough in your own skin to realize that an idea can come from anywhere

Alton Brown said that he tries to be around people smarter than him so he has to “fight to keep up with the brilliance of everyone else.”

Marc Andreessen said:

“Naturally as we go through life we accrue beliefs about how the world works, beliefs about causes and effects and beliefs about patterns that we’ve seen. I try as hard as I can to be as ruthless as possible in shedding the old beliefs and leaving them behind. They are so rarely predictive of something new.”

Ego is deceit, humility is honesty.

Soft spots. Popovich blames ESPN for the state of basketball. It’s too many three-pointers and dunks. “It’s like the carnival,” said Popovich. Even though he hates it, “I’m not stupid.”

Popovich has a soft spot for another form of basketball. That’s what he’d like to coach. But soft spots are bad ideas in competitive fields.

Meb Faber has a soft spot for betting against dividend stocks. However, “I can’t imagine a less popular fund than going on CNBC and saying ‘We’re going to avoid dividend stocks.’ My god, people will just run for the hills.”

Daryl Morey had a soft spot for big guys who play tough. Scott Fearon had a soft spot for HoJo hotels.

Soft spots are places where the world you want diverges from the world that is.


Argue well. “R.C. Buford and I can tell each other what we think and then go have a beer together and not worry about it.”

Good organizations have this kind of culture. Ken Burns has it when he makes movies. Phil Jackson had it when he coached. Jeff Bezos had it during the early days of Amazon.

Mohnish Pabrai said that Charlie Munger suggested he do this in their first meeting. “He told me that it’s very important for an investor to have people to talk to,” and “When God tells you to do something, you do it. What you do by talking to people, not on your payroll is you get rid of vested interest and conflicts.”

Decentralized commend. Popovich said he’ll call timeouts and talk with the coaches first. This lets the players have a moment. Sometimes they don’t even need him.

Decentralized command works because the participants understand a situation best. Alex Blumberg runs Gimlet this way. Charles Koch runs Koch Industries this way too. Melanie Whelan said that SoulCycle aims for this too, telling their staff:

“Here’s the format for the class but you’re free to lead it how ever you’re inspired. What’s meaningful in Seattle is different from what’s meaningful in Coral Gables.”

Finite and infinite games. Popovich has no goals. “My goals are basic and general.”

“It’s ingrained in those guys that it’s a journey and the joy is in the process. The joy isn’t the final culmination but the journey is what you’re proud of.”

“The goal for us has been to be the best prepared and healthiest team we can be by playoff time.”

It’s hard to win a game with a finish line. Life is about more than basketball says, Popovich. Life is about answering the essential question.


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Ray Dalio

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

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Ray Dalio started his book tour for Principles and first up was a chat with Tim Ferriss. Here were my favorite quotes.

Be Different. Out performing, according to Howard Marks, means being both different and right. Different things are sometimes mistakes.

“I’m a professional mistake maker. Being an entrepreneur or being in the markets requires one to bet against consensus and when one does that a fair amount of times you’re going to be wrong a fair about of time.”

That’s actually good, says Dalio. Just make sure the missteps don’t kill you. Patriots coach Matt Patricia said, “we talk a lot that before you win you have to learn not to lose.” Good decision making is like good skiing; fall down as you try new things to improve but don’t go off a cliff.

Fifteen uncorrelated assets said Dalio is the “Holy Grail of investing.” Finding them takes work.

The best clues come from out of sample data. Look for things that hold over time and space. Cliff Asness said, “If you give me enough data I will find you something that has worked in the past – but it might be total gibberish.” But out of sample data is “very calming because it makes you think there’s a much smaller chance that you’re just lucky.”

Argue well. About his first loss Dalio said:

“In retrospect, it really was the best thing that happened to me because it gave me the humility that I needed to become more successful. It shifted my attitude from thinking ‘I’m right’ to asking myself ‘How do I know I’m right?’ That opened my mind a lot. It led me to look for people who disagreed.”

“Triangulation of great people is an excellent way of raising one’s probability of making a good decision.”

“To me, it’s a weird world that there’s a phobia about making mistakes and knowing one’s weaknesses. Mistakes are part of the process and everybody has weaknesses.”

‘Bridgewater culture’ makes headlines because it’s unusual. But many good organizations have health disagreements. Ken Burns, Ed Thrope, and Phil Jackson all argue well. Good culture means finding facts and eliminating egos.

Curiosity. Dalio is intensely curious. To use the words of Peter Theil in Zero to One, Dalio believes there are secrets to find.

“Many surprises come because things that happened as surprises never happened in one’s lifetime before. So it’s advantageous to look beyond one’s life to understand how the world works so that one can learn all the rules of how the world works. That’s the beauty of it.”

“Basically everything is ‘another one of those’… the key to success is to identify which ‘one of those’ it is.”

“I’m very curious. Curiosity is a big motivator.”

“The world has got much too much to offer relative to my capacity to digest it.”

Dalio learns by talking to other people (arguing well), making mistakes (but not permanent ones), and reading books. He tries to go through books quickly and separate the main ideas from the digressions Only if a book has good “flavor” will he take time to chew on it. He suggested to Ferriss: Einstein’s Mistakes, Sapiens, The Undoing Project, The Upside of Inequality, The Serengeti Rules,  From Bacteria to Bach and Back, The Lessons of History, River Out of Eden, and  The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Evolution is a principle Dalio uses for decision making. If you haven’t read On the Origin of Species, said Naval, you should. A modern extension of Darwin’s book that I enjoyed was Matt Ridley’s The Evolution of Everything.

Curiosity explains Dalio’s expression, don’t pick your battles, fight them all. This idea comes from a curiosity as to why things are happening. “Little things are symptomatic of bigger things,” he explained.

Believability weighted decision-making. Rather than use opinions to make decisions, Dalio wants facts. “The idea that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion,” said Danny Kahneman, “was a California thing – that’s not how we did things in Jerusalem.” Dalio agrees.

“There’s such a bias to think that just because you have an opinion that it’s valuable.”

Bridgewater has “believability weighted decision making.” It’s a three step process.

  1. “Put your honest thoughts on the table. A lot of people are hesitant to do that, they keep their honest thoughts back.”
  2. “Thoughtful disagreement.”
  3. “If disagreements remain you have to have meritocratic ways of getting past that disagreement.”

That meritocratic way is everyone votes on an iPad but some votes count more than others. Domain expertise means more sway. This works because everyone buys into doing things this way.


 “Psychology is a big deal in the markets.”

“Taking the emotions out of it is a real plus.”

“It’s not like you buy something and from that point forward it goes up.”

Wes Gray said that he likes to plan in System 1 so not to be overrun by System 2. Choice architecture is Richard Thaler’s term for nudging behavior. Dalio isn’t prohibited from going against his models, but he created a system where that’s harder to do. As Thaler explained, “because we are dealing with humans rather than Econs, they sometimes need help.


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NFL 2017 #1

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Mike Lombardi talked with Tate Fraiser about the preseason and first week of the NFL season. Here are some notes about how these ideas apply beyond football.

1/ The rest-stress balance.  “The Redskins were one of those teams that went to training camp to stay healthy and they didn’t look like they were ready to play.”

“The quality of the football is going to get better as we get going because in the preseason the teams aren’t getting ready for the season, they’re just trying to stay healthy.”

Brad Stulberg gave an interesting interview where he talked about a stress-rest balance for improvement. Success comes from compounding, Stulberg said, and it’s better to design a plan with activity-recovery periods.

This is what John Urshel did when he was in the NFL. Urschel would play games on Sunday, attend (remotely) M.I.T. classes on Monday and Tuesday, practice hard physically on Wednesday and Thursday, and prepare mentally on Friday and Saturday. Urschel’s pattern fits this rest-stress pattern.

2/ Headwinds, Tailwinds, penalty-winds. “Cleveland looks like they played great defense in the game but you factor in 144 yards of penalties, that’s a lot of ground you have to make up to get first downs.”

Investors weigh this question too. Rather than ask if a defense is good they’re wondering about a company, and instead of penalties, it’s a bull market.

Jack Schwager said, “If you’ve done well in a ball market all you can assume is you’ve been long during a bull market.” This is what makes Intelligent Fanatics  so compelling. They’re like football teams that win despite penalties.

3/ Alpha erosion. “Teams have shown who they are and where they play people. How the Giants utilize Evan Engram. How the Cowboys utilize their personal. That’s all been declared now so defensive coordinators can get a handle on what’s going on and offensive coordinators can get a handle on what’s going on. I think you’re going to see a more match up conscious game. After the first week, you do have some tendencies. You have declared what you’re going to do. The quality of football will get better because of that.”

Offseason edges will soon be eroded. This the theory on Wharton Moneyball as to why Aaron Judge’s home run rate has declined. Pitchers know his tendencies. Now it’s up to Judge to improve again.

Daryl Morey saw alpha erosion as the Rocket’s draft board became less unique and more ubiquitous. Ed Thrope said, “any edge in the market is limited, small, temporary, and quickly captured by the smartest or best-informed investors.”

But new edges spring up. Leigh Drogen said his data edge will last for maybe another decade, but like cars in a train, more will come. “There will always be new data sets and there will always be new heuristics and inefficiencies that humans operate on relative to the data sets.”

4/ Coaching is a skill. “When Al Davis was first doing his thing in the NFL, players mattered the most, coaches didn’t. It was one scheme, man to man, two backs in the backfield. The game was really simple…But when video came into play everything started to change. The game became more complicated.”

“When Al was watching players and doing his thing in the sixties and seventies there wasn’t that great differentiation. Everybody was running basic schemes so the coaching pool didn’t really matter.”

The two-jar model is a theory that says outcomes equal skill plus luck. Michael Mauboussin writes that if you can lose on purpose it’s a skill heavy domain.

Football outcomes have lucky moments, where the ball bounces a funny way.

But it’s skill based too, with a growing influence from coaches.

5/ Playing left handed. “Wade (Phillips) has done a really good job of matching up and making you play left handed. Good defensive coordinators make you play left handed.”

Connor O’Shaughnessy said that current data bears this out about tennis. The best players in the world don’t hit winners so much as they don’t hit losers.

Understanding this was a turning point for Andre Agassi. Brad Gilbert coached Agassi through this change. After one of their first practices, Gilbert said, “Sometimes the best shot is a holding shot, an OK shot, a shot that gives the other guy a chance to miss.”

6/ Culture. “The special teams coaches set the culture of your organization…if you want your team to be all in then everybody should be all in and the players should play some part of the kicking game. That develops the all-in mentality”

Jerry Kaplan explains culture:

“Companies are not conscious in the human sense, but each one nonetheless has its own personality…The culture may be explicitly acknowledged as a credo or mission statement, but more often it exists as a n unexpressed set of accepted procedures, practices, and behaviors that may at times be at variance with the professed goals. This underlying code is not visible in inventories or income statements, but it is the soul of the company.”

“These characteristics are not created by fiat. They are not mandated, manufactured, or bought. They arise out of a natural process that reflects the personalities and desires of the founders, economic conditions, the available labor pool, and cultural attitudes. And that’s why the first few hires are so critical.”



Thanks for reading, I’m mikedariano.