Gustavo Ballvé on March 10th, 2011
Food for thought, Home, Investment Themes, Mental models, Portfolio Management, Risk management, Signal or Noise

Three short stories we’ve read over the holiday (we also read many bigger ones, which deserve their own posts in the next few days). We’ll go from Carl Icahn and the hedge fund industry, to Seth Godin and marketing, to a review of the TED Fellows program by a TED 2011 attendee. Three very different subjects – choose the one(s) that best matches your interest, but always make a point to stretch yourself every now and then and read something you don’t expect to like, by someone you don’t expect to agree with.

Carl Icahn is returning all outside money in his hedge fund, according to Bloomberg and DealBook stories. While he’s clearly uncomfortable with the markets and sees the possibility of a “dislocation” ofsorts, the most likely factor is that his age and bank account makes him far less prone to accepting shareholders’ “fear and greed” cycles. His own funds are more than enough for Mr. Icahn to continue shaking up Corporate America, and we’ll always keep an eye on him.

On a completely different subject, Seth Godin highlights the limits of evidence-based marketing – or debate, for that matter. His evangelism of online/social/content marketing of idea spreading via inspiration is his bread-earner and should be taken with that in mind, but it’s still interesting.

Finally, an attendee at TED 2011 blogged about the TED Fellows program. It’s easy to forget this piece of the TED puzzle, but this effort to nurture promising people – albeit by TED’s standards, which are one way of looking at it – is really quite interesting. First, it gives them an audience they couldn’t ever hope to reach. Second, it gives them tutoring and access to a network of highly influential and probably brilliant people. Third, it stimulates “leverage” by strongly suggesting that each Fellow spread this “gift” in his own community. Finally, by “rotating” the fellows every year (or 2 years if they are Senior Fellows), it allows for an ever-increasing community of people and stimulates those who apply to keep trying. Learn more about the program, including about how you can help it, starting in this page and following the links (don’t miss the video).

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