As speculator Jesse Livermore said, a hundred years ago, “There is nothing new in Wall Street. There can’t be because speculation is as old as the hills.
Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again.”
Plenty of blame to go around on this one, but Jesse had it right all those years ago: People don’t change.
Josh Brown has a short list of nine conditions necessary to be able to steal lots of money from lots of people. Mostly stupid people. But even so…
The more you read about financial history (and the more of it you live through), the more you start picking up on repeating patterns. This is not because the markets never change. They absolutely do. But people…people don’t change.
The dueling twin instincts of fear and greed are as old as the species itself and perhaps even older. We possess these instincts because they’re the reason we’ve made it as far as we have from an evolutionary standpoint. The woman who didn’t run from a sabretooth tiger with the rest of her clan did not pass on her genes. The man who never attempted to rise above the circumstances into which he was born through the pursuit of more resources probably wasn’t the most popular mate in the available gene pool.
So we’ve got these two inalienable parts of our personalities and biochemical makeup. They make us do things. We have some self-control, but not fully. As William aka the Man in Black from Westworld asks rhetorically this season, “What is a person but a collection of choices? Where do those choices come from? Do I have a choice? Were any of these choices ever truly mine to begin with?”
Why You Should Never Recruit Trophy Board Members
Fred Wilson and I almost never agree on anything. But we do agree on this.
Trophy board members are more concerned about their reputations than your company and will often react badly in times of crisis and challenge, which is exactly when you need your board members at your side more than ever.
Trophy board members often miss board meetings, show up unprepared, and frequently don’t take the time and effort to truly understand your business.
I am a huge fan of independent directors to complement the founders and investors on a board. The quality of the board is highest when there are more independents on it than investors and founders. Try to get that ratio right on your board as soon as practical.
But don’t put “names” on your board. Put operators, ideally very seasoned operators, who have done everything you want to do, ideally multiple times, and can help you spot the issues before they become problems and spot the opportunities with enough time to go after them.
And for a very strange take on Theranos
Try this on for size: Holmes should be held up as a model for young women to emulate. C'mon - Really? The author even suggests the world has never seen women sociopaths until now; to which I can only add “bullsh&t.” Anyway, … here it is:
Last, A New Book on Holmes, Theranos & Co.
In case you haven’t had enough of Holmes yet.
*Feature photo by Max Morse for TechCrunch