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How to keep yourself informed when investing
Some resources I use to help me make investment decisions and keep myself in the loop in what's happening in tech
Garbage in, garbage out is a term in computer science about data. Shit data in results in shit data out. This applies to life too. It’s no secret that if you eat bad food, drink and don’t exercise, you’ll feel like crap.
And it’s no different to investing. If your information diet is poor, so will your decision-making be. If you don’t know where to look, I’m here to help. Today, I’ll highlight some sources that help me make investing decisions.
Widely seen as the OG, TechCrunch has been the de facto source for tech and startup news for over a decade. If a company has raised a round or is launching a new product, you’ll read about it on TechCrunch.
It’s a site to skim. Very rarely will I read an article thoroughly, it’s there to keep me informed.
The Information is where to look if you’re after long-form content and scoops. Its subscription price is expensive but worth it. By reading it, I‘ve got my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and an idea of its current trends. Once you understand trends, you can decide which are worth following and which are all hype.
The European tech scene is growing. And since I live in the UK, subscribing to Sifted is a no-brainer because they cover Europe's tech and venture scene. What’s great is they do breakdowns are particular sectors and highlight investors and deals happening in them.
I don’t think you can be an investor without looking at the macroeconomic (big) picture. Fortunately, some of the best venture investors in the world are on hand every week to talk you through what’s happening. And when I say some of the best, I mean it. David Sacks, David Friedberg, Jason Calacanis and Chamath Palihapitiya are either former founders, former operators or both. And now, they’re investors.
All-In is probably my favourite podcast. Not only do you finish every episode feeling informed, but you also get a lesson in how to have healthy disagreements. Something a lot of people should learn from.
Harry (excellent name) Stebbings started this podcast in 2015. Seven years and 901 (as of writing) episodes later, he has $140m across two funds and is the leading podcaster for the venture capital world. The archive that Stebbings has built is one to get easily lost in. If there’s any particular VC you want to learn from, the likelihood is that they’ve been on 20VC. So trawl through Stebbings’s library and come away enlightened.
Speaking of libraries, the beauty of books is that they’re evergreen. Read them, absorb them, apply them, and come back to them if needed.
Zero to One - Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
Anybody working in tech and following venture investing probably knew I’d recommend this. Why? Because it’s THE book. It’s that simple. In 2012, Blake Masters (now a US Senate candidate) attended a class taught by Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, Founders Fund and brilliant guy) on entrepreneurship.
The book is typical Thiel in that it eschews ideas that we commonly believe true. For instance, he argues that monopolies can actually be good. A certain type of monopoly, ‘creative’ monopolies, have an abundance mindset and little fear to innovate and frequently release new ‘zero to one’ products.
I don’t want to spoil it too much because it is worth a read.
Angel - Jason Calacanis
JCal is the GOAT. The story of his investment in Uber (which he will always find time to mention) is legendary. His $25k investment netted $100m, a 4000x return. If that doesn’t earn you GOAT status, I don’t know what does. And he wrote a book on how to do it.
Angel is a great guide to getting started, getting good and getting even better (and I’ll be doing a piece on it in the future). Like Zero to One, this is a book I often go back to and re-read.
That’s it for now. Next time we’ll talk about something everyone forgot about in 2020 and 2021, due diligence…