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The Best Newsletter Yet

Vol. 20

Happy. Saturday. Besties.

It’s almost steak kabob ‘o clock. While you let that meat marinade, here’s some unsolicited Dad advice…

  • From Mufasa, in The Lion King:Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”

  • Johnny Rose, Schitts Creek:Let me explain something about business. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow.“

  • From Phil Dunphy, Modern Family:When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like, 'What?!?!?’ “

  • From Zeus, Hercules: “A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”

  • From Burt Hummel, Glee:If you're not scared, it just means you're not sticking out your neck far enough.”

Dad’s advice, ya might get it whether ya ask for it or not. We love ‘em for it.

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Tesla had its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. The big decision — whether or not to give dad a bonus. And they voted ‘yes,’ giving Elon Musk a $49B check (well, 304M stock options actually. More on that in a sec). He danced on the stage in Price-Is-Right-style yelling “hot damn! I love you guys.” But let’s sprinkle on some context…

  • Biggest. Bonus. Ever: If all of Elon’s wealth was just this 1 bonus package, he’d be the 27th richest person on earth.

  • Elon’s resume: In 5 years, he 10x’d the value of Tesla from $50B to $500B.

  • The fine print: A Delaware judge still has to approve this, but it seems likely he’s gonna get paid.

  • But it’s not Cash, or Stock… it’s Options: Each option lets Elon buy a share of Tesla for $23, which is much lower than the current share price of $184. So the value of each “option” is the difference: $164. And 304M of those is $49B of value. And that get’s Elon up to a 20% ownership of Tesla… which (should) motivate him to grow the company even more, bonding the CEO and other Tesla shareholders like blood brothers.

    Elon + Tesla = 🩸👯

Nick’s working through Transforming the American Mind. It’s about how the architect Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced by Transcendentalism, the nature-centric ideology of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Wright rejected conformity and went on to live “an unconventional life.” Frank would have been a Yeti. #Rulebreaker.

Read it with me… or settle for the gist.

Jack’s rereading more on the Brooklyn Bridge (never gets old).

Food for thought: First Principles Thinking — The strategy of looking at something without considering anything already “known” about the subject…aka Thinking for Yourself. Question every element.

  • Here’s how you can practice it: Ask “why” questions about everything you do. Like you’re a curious 5-year-old. Apply First Principles Thinking to your circumstances, your work, your business, the way you go about your day. When you get down to the first principle, you see it differently. Now, can it be done differently?

  • Think about your wardrobe: Nick used to spend so much time choosing an outfit. Then he questioned, What's the point of the outfit? Do I value time or appearance? So he reworked his morning routine into a "uniform” — 5 shirts from Octobre in different colors, 3 pants from Rag & Bone in different colors. They all go together. FPT made him realize he didn't appreciate novelty, he appreciated efficiency - and that uniform solved his morning timing. Nick 🤝 Mornings.

  • A business example: Squeeze-able bottles of olive oil — Graza, is the fastest-growing OO brand because it asked, why does olive oil need to come in a glass bottle? What if it came out like Sriracha? Or squeezed out like shampoo? Questioning the status-quo olive oil bottle is how Graza became a $50M olive oil brand.

Reply if you’ve got a First Principles story to share.

💫 A sprinkle dinkle of inspo: Roger Federer gave a viral commencement speech at Dartmouth. If ya make a mistake today, just remember this:

🎾 Federer won 80% of his matches…

🎾 But he lost 46% of the points.

The Takeaway: Earth’s top tennis star barely won half the points in his career, but that was enough to be an all-time great. Your last error is behind you. Mistakes are inevitable on the road to victory. (The Roger Rule)

Up in San Fran: Breakfast at the Martell house is pretty high-brow. Recently, Nick instituted black sesame seed butter into his AM routine. It has a nice bite to it. And it turns your teeth black...in a fun way.

👋 Over in Vermont: We got an intern — Riley Tyler. He started this week with Jack on the East Coast. He’s out in Charlotte, Vermont (originally from Honolulu, Hawaii) and a rising senior at Middlebury College. Fun Fact: Riley spent most of his childhood living in South Korea, Malaysia, and Bali.

If ya missed an episode this week, we gotcha…

  • Moussaka Monday: Meme investing can defy physics, but only temporarily.

  • TBOY Tuesday: Costco’s a bully, but she’s our bully. And distribution is destiny.

  • Ceviche Wednesday: Netflix’s storytelling themes are universal: Economic angst worked for Squid Games, and the human question of self-worth is working for Baby Reindeer.

  • The New Friday: Our “Fraction Rule of Investing”: Don’t just look at the denominator (the amount invested)… look at the numerator, too (the potential upside gain).

  • Friday Vibe-day: The two biggest dad-hat brands just merged into a $2B cap biz. Happy Father’s Day.

And one more thing. When we were in LA last week, we got The. Exact. Same. Sweater. It’s periwinkle…or maybe, it’s lavender….mauve? Perilavenauve (let’s go with that). You tell us. Whatever hue it is, it’s fabulous. If you want to get in on the cashmere. Co-CEO has the same shirt = company uniform. It’s a write-off.

—Nick & Jack

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