Notes to Myself



Smarter Every Day…

Winston Churchill once said: “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught”. Churchill was a Punekar (Puneite) in that sense. I too, like any genuine Pune resident, don’t like to be taught; but I am always willing to learn!


And if you really want to learn with above motto, this is the best time period to live in! A phenomenon called “YouTube” has revolutionised the concept of learning. When I say “YouTube” it mainly refers to online learning through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by edX, Coursera, Khan Academy, and Indian initiatives such as NPTEL. But YouTube is more representative.

These online tools have achieved three main things:

  1. Shifted focus from Teaching to Learning – Now you can learn based on your needs and learn via various sources (Video, online class, online books, tests etc) rather than only from an assigned “teacher”
  2. Made learning a continuous process and on-demand – You can access learning resources at your own pace and convenience and as and when you need it
  3. Connected great minds and thoughts from the past directly with the present generation – I can now watch a recorded speech or talk from 1986 by Warrent Buffett to an MBA graduating class. I can watch a rare speech by Dr. Ambedkar / Mahatma Gandhi and others. I watched on YouTube a great docu-series by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and learnt much more about his ideas than fron Economics book. It wouldn’t have been possible to learn from “eminent dead” without this new medium. It has also enabled each and every person to become a tutor, a trainer, a teacher by leveraging free platforms such as YouTube.

So when Google bought YouTube in 2006 for an unbelievable and astronomical sum of $1.65 billion, everybody was flabbergasted! It defied all the conventional wisdom of valuation and generated huge debate whether Google had committed a blunder. 12 years on I think debate is well settled. YouTube is probably worth far more than $1.65 billion.

I intend to write a separate blog series on Valuation and will write in detail about YouTube valuation. However the purpose of this blog is to share an interesting series/initiative on YouTube for learning new thing everyday.

The series is aptly called “Smarter Every Day” posted on the YouTube Channel with the same name.

A guy posts small videos for each day which help us learn a new, interesting thing, idea, principle everyday and thus make us smarter each day. The video is meant as a quick learning intervention which could then be followed by in-depth learning from various resources. I liked the idea and it’s great to see how people can come up with such innovation, once a platform (like YouTube or Vimeo etc) is made available to them. Another example of this is the YouTube channel on Indian Classical Music which I blogged about few days back.

Check the Smarter Every Day YouTube channel and these videos in particular:

The Backwards Brain Cycle


The Archer’s Paradox


Slow Motion Flipping Cat Physics


D8: Steve Jobs Onstage: Full-length Video

Steve Jobs interview at D8 – All Things Digital conference…he mentioned about iPhone 4G leak and within a few days, i.e. Yesterday Apple announced iPhone 4G!!! Look forward to watching Steve Jobs product launch presentation soon…

~ Kaustubh

The New Buffettology: Book Review: Part 1

I recently read this book – ‘The New Buffettology’ by Mary Buffet (who was Warren’s daughter-in-law for 12 years before she divorced her husband and Warren’s son, Peter) and David Clark.

I immensely enjoyed reading this book; though not a fool-proof, it has some very interesting snippets and anecdote’s about Warren Buffet’s investment strategies and business acumen. It gives you some insight into how Warren thinks and makes his investment decisions.

The books is filled with small write-ups/ tid-bits used to explain some basic concepts/ Warren’s investment philosophies. Here is one excerpt on the shortsightedness of Mutual Fund and how investing in Mutual Funds with long-term perspective is not a good idea (to which I fully agree. I had similar thoughts but was not able to put it in such precise words as te following write-up has done!)



A number of years ago the authors were having dinner with a middle-aged mutual fund manager who oversaw tens of billions of dollars for the money management division of a large West Coast Bank. He brought along an enormous book that contained a brief analysis over two thousand different companies that he and his fellow analysts followed. They called it their “investment universe”. At his invitation we thumbed through the book and found a company that we knew Warren had been buying, Capital Cities Communications. Capital Cities was a television and radio broadcasting company run by Tom Murphy, a management genius with a keen eye for the bottom line. Warren loved this company and once said that if he were stranded in a deserted island for ten years and had to put all his money into just one investment, it would be Capital Cities. Definitely a strong vote of confidence.

Our friend also had a list of the stocks his fund had purchased. As we read through the list, we noticed that he didn’t own any Capital Cities. We quickly pointed this out and told him that Warren had recently been buying it. He said that he knew it was a great company but he didn’t own it because he didn’t think the stock price would do much over the next six months. We told him that was insane. That it was a fantastic long-term investment selling at a great price. He told us that he was under great pressure to produce the highest quarterly results possible. If he couldn’t beat his competitor’s returns quarterly, his clients would take their money elsewhere, which meant that he would lose his job, his Porche, and the income to send his son to Harvard. (Sounds grim, doesn’t it?)

Our mutual fund manager felt he couldn’t buy a single share of Capital Cities for his fund, even though he knew it was a great investment, because he wasn’t sure that it was going to go up in price over the next six months. This is the nature of mutual beast; it caters to the short-term oriented mutual-fund-buying public. If it doesn’t, money flows out the door and down the street to the fund that produces better short-term results.

(in case you are wondering, Capital Cities eventually merged with the ABC television network, which eventually merged with entertainment giant Disney, making Warren billions in the process. Good things do come to those who have patience and foresight.)


I am now fully convinced that investing in Mutual Fund with a long-term perspective is a bad idea…and have vowed never to invest in it 🙂

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