Last week, Kevin and I participated in our first ever car rally with Mike Ward Automotive for their annual autumn leaves driving event in the Rockies. I feel so fortunate to join this awesome community. We enjoyed some awe-inspiring drives with stops in mountain towns including Berthoud Pass, Independence Pass, Steamboat Springs, Aspen, and Vail.
There’s a lot going on in the world, and I’m closely managing my information diet these days to strike a balance between being informed vs. being overwhelmed.
In the 30 minutes I allow myself to read the news each day, I’m following events in Ukraine/Russia, Florida, climate change, and local crime in Colorado with deep concern and compassion for human suffering. It’s really painful to read the news, and I’m starting to think more tactically about what I can do to get involved. I’ve said “I’m not political” outwardly for a long time, but I think that’s changing soon.
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On the other hand, I’m following the mid-term elections and unwinding of a decade of money creation in the US with morbid curiosity.
I figure since we have no choice but to live through this part of the cycle, I better learn something from it, and to better understand our last dramatic inflationary period I started reading Michael Darby’s The International Transmission of Inflation (1984) last night. We’ve come a long way from hand-building models on Mark II and Mark III computers.
I’m grateful we were able to refinance our house when rates were at their lowest, and I’m looking at our other debt exposure to make sure we’re being smart. Kevin and I got married right before the 07/08 collapse, and we’ve been reflecting on what we learned from some of the top-of-market decisions we made last time. My hope is that we can make only new mistakes. The main topic of conversation is around how much more (if any) risk to take, how to collateralize it, and whether to pause development on the land we bought next door to our house since financing for construction loans has gotten very expensive and fixed rate options are basically not a thing at all right now.
Private Companies & Funds
At least in the face of all this volatility, we’ve continued to invest in startups and funds, and achieved our goal of deploying ~5% of our net worth this year.
Me: “Are you investing?”
Him: “If we had a fund I would. I’m super illiquid rn”
Me: “just deployed remainder of my fun money for the year, so I’m in the same boat”
So what investments closed out my dry powder for the year?
This week I put up my first capital call into the latest Heavybit fund (developer tools), and invested $100K in the Series A of a space tech transportation company (join my syndicate to see the deal details and participate in the SPV I’m leading). This is my first syndicate on AngelList, and wrangling investors has provided an education in LP communication that reminds me of the Mattermark party-round days. Kicking it off als led to some inbound interest about me raising a fund.
Although I’ve raised millions on AngelList for my startups, I haven’t been very actively on the platform as an investor. Now that I’m dipping my toe in, I can see there are benefits to having regular deals happening so investors get more and more familiar with what I’m into. So far, I’ve learned that running one-off SPVs is often time-consuming because it requires continuous cultivation of LP relationships an investor brand. I’m not ready to pull the trigger on this fund business quite yet, but I’ve got a few potential partners in mind and I’m definitely factoring this into my thought process as I start to rough draft my 2023 goals.
It’s probably time to circle back to these, but it’s been nice to have a break from tracking the market on a daily basis. I continue to hold my long concentrated positions in Twilio and GitLab, and I believe Twilio in particularly seems massively oversold (-78% in the past 12 months) while GitLab remains significantly below its IPO price. I’m looking forward to getting myself back into a position cash-flow wise where I can be a buyer in this market, but right now I am in look but don’t touch with these two and a handful of other names including Cloudflare, Palantir, Crowdstrike, Snowflake, and Porsche (why not?).
It’s a great time to read deeply and learn, but I’m not ready to transact or go back to building any kind of tracking portfolio.
Around Town in Denver
I went to my first two NFL games in Colorado, where we watched Broncos fans boo the home team… so that was interesting. It was an ugly win both games, but we got there! I’m a long way from being converted to a Broncos fan from my loyal Seahawks fandom, but it was fun to explore Mile High Stadium and I even managed to bruise my hand and lose my voice in my enthusiasm.
The real highlight was getting to hang out with former Mattermark team member Karlie (3rd from right) who recently relocated to Denver from Chicago. One of the many things I love about having lived more years is how wonderful people fro one chapter of life drift back to me again in another, through the natural course of events. I’ve got my O.G. cat loving space pants SoulCycle buddy back!
We’ve been enjoying the bounty of the season in our local Denver restaurants, especially fresh peaches and late season corn.
If you’re headed through Denver anytime soon, here are a few spots I recommend:
- Brunch: Bacon Social House in Sunnyside, Le Bilboquet in Cherry Creek North, Root Down in Highland, and of course Snooze (multiple locations)
- Chill Dinner: Lucina Eatery in Park Hill, The Greenwich in RiNo, Benzina in Park Hill and The Fifth String in Highland
- Fancy Dinner: The Wolf’s Tailor in Sunnyside, Restaurant Olivia in Wash(ington) Park, Bistro Barbes in Park Hill, and Beckon in RiNo
I’m pretty thrilled to see that people are reading my tweets and eating at these awesome spots!
All these places are amazing and you should try them. But as I write this I can see I need to branch out to different neighborhoods more often, and I’m ready to up my brunch game in particular. I’m fairly adventurous, but it’s easy to get into a pattern. If you have Denver restaurant recommendations, please add them in the comments!
I also asked for recommendations for our upcoming trip to Seattle, and I want to eat everywhere mentioned in the replies.
What I’m Reading
My Goodreads is as meticulously up-to-date as ever, and I hope you’ll join more than 700 people who follow me there for interesting updates in your books feed!
Theme: Social Status & Class
- The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy & Caste in America by E. Digby Baltzell (1964)
- Status: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter? by Cecilia L. Ridgeway (2019)
- Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis (2021) who also has an excellent Substack publication
- The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It by Will Storr (2021)
- Virtue Signaling: Essays on Darwinian Politics and Free Speech by Geoffrey Miller (2019)
- Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Dr. Becky Kennedy (2022)
- The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker (2003)
- What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill (2022)
Intermittent Fasting Update
Week 5 is done! This week I logged a new PR for hours in the fat burning “zone” (between hour 16 and 24 of a fast). It feels like I’m getting the hang of this. My biggest challenge is definitely dealing with the moodiness inspired by my physical feelings of hunger in the final hours of each fast.
My goal is to achieve ~16 hours per week in this zone and sustain that, which can happen simply by sticking to a simple 18:6 schedule (18 hours fasting, followed by a 6 hour feeding window) with a couple extra fasting hours tacked on when I feel like its going well and I can stand to wait a little longer.
I haven’t yet ventured beyond a 24 hour fast yet, but now that I have the all-clear from my doctor and some guidelines around where the limits are (refuel with healthy nutrient rich foods, don’t pass out, drink a LOT of water and pee nearly clear throughout) I’m hoping to experiment with ketosis soon to get some other health benefits besides weight loss. Fortunately, I did a blood panel in August and all my biomarkers are looking good, so I can focus on making this change while I’m otherwise healthy.
In addition to intermittent fasting, I’ve enrolled in a 12-week weight management course with Forward Health and got a referral for CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with a specialist focused specifically on this area. I am hopeful that I can make changes that are long-lasting (so that I won’t ever need to buy a new wardrobe of clothes again!), maintain good mental health along the way, and stay of the “obese” clinical category from now on (only ~5 pounds to go!) to reduce my exposure to the health risks associated with obesity.