The Reis Release #9

What I’m listening to…

Ryan Caldbeck – Quant in Private Markets (Invest like the Best podcast, available on iTunes)

Ryan is the founder of Circle Up which is a fund and an online platform that connects entrepreneurs to funders, democratizing investing in private markets. The episode focuses on Helio which is described as a machine learning platform (a division of Circle Up) that identifies, classifies, and evaluates early-stage consumer and retail companies to shine a light on breakout brands. Ryan does not miss a beat during this conversation and sounds like a drill sergeant turned savvy investor. What intrigued me was the datasets they built and their non-traditional approach to private investing. He discusses how they breakdown product packaging using computer vision, colors, and words to identify success factors. For example, clean product packaging (simple/limited text) has a correlation to success which was one factor that led them to invest in RX Bars. I was surprised by his comment, “offline matters a lot still” as well as the biggest thing investors think matters that doesn’t is units sold per store per week (they have found no correlation to success here). He ends with a touching story on how he developed a mindset to try with confidence/self worth and went on to make the Duke basketball team!

What I’m reading…

Are you living in a computer simulation? By Nick Bostrom

Admittedly I have only the read the intro (below) so far but I am sufficiently intrigued particularly as some well-respected minds believe as outlandish as it sounds, it could be possible. For example, Elon Musk on the subject said, “There’s a one in billions chance we’re in base reality” (i.e. we are in a simulation). If only there was a way to test if we are in a simulation…

Preview: Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears.

What I’m pondering…

While at to a bar last night I noticed there’s very little technology inside besides the credit card processor and the lights (oh and everyone on their cell phones). Of course I had to wait in the crowd for a drink and then attempt to get the bartenders attention for a mere beer (I have no skills here). Then I questioned, why isn’t there a beer vending machine that delivers a beer with a quick swipe of a credit card? Apparently, one does exist called Beer Box but I have yet to see anything like this in NYC (this would also be great for sporting events and perhaps you could scan your ID to verify your age). In the future there will likely be a robot mixologist that makes any fancy cocktail you desire and hey maybe you won’t even have to tip the robot.

Quote I enjoyed…

“I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.” – Jonas Salk. I like this for two reasons: 1) it suggests pushing yourself harder and 2) that those who do (i.e. are proactive) are given the opportunity to do more (originating from what they already did). It kind of reminds me of the quote, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.

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