PNL For A Purpose: The Playlist!

Sunday Music (Charity Edition)

PNL For A Purpose: The Playlist!

I had the great pleasure of joining PNL for a Purpose this week. The 12-hour, 24-guest, Susan G. Komen benefiting, cancer-fighting modern telethon (YouTube-athon?), put together by the good people at Excess Returns and SpotGamma.  

If you want to watch the full replay, you can here. If you want to see snippets of the shorter interviews broken out, check out the Excess Returns YouTube channel. And - if you want to donate - you can still do that too (the link is embedded in the event’s YouTube page, look to the right on a desktop, look below the video on mobile). 

The interviews focused on a ton of markets and investments themes - from macro, to options, to ETF launching, to venture capital, and even how to fight with your work-spouse. But even if that’s not your jam (or your jam croissant), let me propose another way to jam on this incredible event.

They may have solely invited me to help cover interview duties, BUT… you know I had to make a mixtape out of it. Behold:

The PNL for a Purpose 2024 Playlist (Liner Notes Edition)

Andy Constan has this beautiful metaphor he uses of ideas-as-islands. It’s perfect for thinking about how you can change course in life. You know who else loved that metaphor? Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers: “Islands In the Stream

Mike Taylor was a big part of how Susan G. Komen became the charity of choice for this event. He’s not only a legendary healthcare investor and scientist, but he’s also the founder of the PINK ETF which donates all of its proceeds to charity. I can think of only one thing to raise to him (besides raising money with him - remember to donate, and it’s also Pink (OK, P!nk): “Raise Your Glass

Cem Karsan somehow can talk immediate/near term volatility and relate it to the longest of long-term projections in a way that almost loses me but completely captivates me. It’s in time and out of time, it’s modern and classic, it’s a lava lamp flow with a raised razor’s energy. If I put it into musical terms, it’s a lot like Led Zeppelin (sparing you a much more drawn out commentary where I ask “is Cem Karsan the John Bonham of options vol analysis?): “Rock and Roll

Katie Stockton knows controlling risk is the key to staying in the game. Her toolbox of choice is technical analysis. How she flips and picks her tools though, much like how she flips and picks what risk to be exposed to (or not exposed to) and when, is the magic. Know what following trends and avoiding being cast out reminds me of? Yes, it’s high school all over again, but in the “if I knew then what I know now I’d be so good at this” way. Nada Surf got it, good luck getting this out of your head: “Popular

Mike Green didn’t talk about passive investing? Thank the gods (great interviewing guys), because I was looking for a fresh existential crisis here. He unpacked all things inflation. From how we measure it, to how we talk about it, to how it will alter all sorts of assets and their valuations. Oh, and how it’s everywhere. So if you’re asking what can inflation do for you while fearing what it might, go ask David Lee Roth era Van Halen, who is trying to spin it optimistically for us: “Everybody Wants Some

Corey Hoffstein wrote this incredible thread on 15 lessons he’s learned from 15 years in finance, which actually had 16 things but lets not focus on that, and somehow Jack decided we should cram all 16 of those 15 things into a < 30-minute slot on this livestream that Justin and I would be responsible for curating. Corey said yes. And somehow we did it? Only one thing can come to mind. That time Gift of Gab (RIP) reworked all 26 letters of the alphabet into a rhyming frenzy that lasts just over 2 minutes (so, looks like it’s your move Corey, can you cut it down?). Blackalicious: “Alphabet Aerobics

Jerry Parker is one of the original Turtle Traders and has gone on to do all sorts of fascinating things. You could spend all day talking about turtles with him, but there’s so much more to him. Which makes it completely relatable to somebody else who had to talk about The Turtles way too much, and while the connection is important, there’s so much more there including what trends you say “yes” and “no” to. Here’s De La Soul: “Say No Go

Noel Smith starts his talk about volatility trading strategies by saying he feels abandoned. He’s talking about being abandoned by the other hosts (Brent did this one solo), but it’s an interesting musical analog. Who else felt abandoned and volatile in an entertaining way? Nirvana: “On A Plane

Que Nguyen has some fascinating takes on AI. As someone who’s internalized change in ways I can’t imagine (her family fled Vietnam for the US in the wake of the Vietnam War) she might still relate it all back to avoiding investment mistakes, but I’ll connect it to avoiding getting trapped in your prior conceptions of what creates value. Here’s Ghostwriter as Drake AI: “Heart on my Sleeve (Ft. The Weeknd AI)” 

Darius Dale deserves better than a Hootie song for obvious reasons (personal apologies to all people named Darius that aren’t that Darius for what they’ve endured). I’m also not going Dick Dale on him either, but a surfing analogy would have worked too. Darius is crazy with his data and charts and discipline. He’s nearly blinded me with these presentations for years. Know who would get him? Thomas Dolby: “She Blinded Me With Science” 

Meb Faber has had a lot to say about the investment strategies of major endowments over the years. He even wrote a book on it. He even applied, albeit unsuccessfully, to take over for the famously befuddling California State Pension fund (CalPERS). If it wasn’t so entertaining, I’d say let it go, but it works for Meb. He’s literally got a riot goin’ on in all of his research and writing. Which is why his song has to be The Coasters: “Poison Ivy

Rafael Resendes has unique takes. Every time I hear him talk I think about how many individual investors and advisors probably will hear him and say, “hey, that sounds like the way I think.” Watch this guy, he’s got an updated version of why things like stocks are safe if you change a few things about your perspective with them. What else could be more safety-themed and fun than Men Without Hats: “The Safety Dance

Samantha LaDuc started by turning Justin on his side (check the live stream at the 5:55 mark, it’s pretty funny), but then she got into trading macro to micro strategies with Brent. I can’t help this one, she’s a teacher, and it makes me think of other’s talking about their teachers (and that other “Duke”). Pardon the gender flip, but here’s Stevie Wonder: “Sir Duke

Wes Gray gave us just enough technical difficulty downtime for me to remind Justin of when we met. Wes originally introduced us to each other two and years and one day prior to this event. Life is pretty wild, right? Wes joined in and we talked a ton of things, but most memorably, we discussed his idea of “Value Juice.” It’s a stock/factor thing, but when pressed on what container he’d bottle actual Value Juice in, he had thoughts. The obvious pick here might be “Gin and Juice” given Wes’ West Coast vocal vibes. But, I can do so much better, and I think Value Juice has to come in a bigger bottle than any of us imagined on the livestream. Here’s the right answer, via Sublime: “40oz. To Freedom

Ben Hunt broke the inflation narratives down as only he can. He explained why the map is not the terrain. He explained why the inflation terrain is not the strategist, politician, or everyday person’s map, even though it’s attempted to be captured/packaged there. His metaphor is a profoundly useful perspective, because it helps us defend against unsolicited directions from others (pun intended). Kelly Clarkson’s breakout hit, “Since U Been Gone” was also based on a map. A hit song, amplifying a tiny story from a much smaller non-hit song, that writers Max Martin and Dr. Luke remapped to serve a broader purpose. That sounds like a good future Cultish Corner segment on Breaking News, eh? Here’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Maps” 

Perth Tolle is single-handedly changing how we discuss and invest in so-called emerging markets. Her Life and Liberty Indexes offer data-based perspectives on how investors can vote, with their money, in countries who, via policy, hold freedom in higher regards. The avoided country lists are heartbreaking, and the overall rankings are eye-opening. Plus, her back story, there’s a reason people keep calling her their favorite interview on this live stream. Perth gives me these vibes because she won’t us down, and she won’t give us up either. Here’s George Michaels: “Freedom! ‘90

Jim O’Shaughnessy is like everybody’s coolest uncle in the financial industry, right? The one who knows all the deepest cuts, most intriguing reference points, and how to delightfully tick off every family member at Thanksgiving in their own unique way without making anyone upset at him. The playful yet committed to values vibe, it reminds me of somebody else. I wasn’t going to use this, but I don’t think anything does “playfully committed to values” better than Beyonce: “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)

Tobias Carlisle came on to talk deep value investing, but Justin short-circuited the conversation with an AC/DC question. We got to deep value, but I think the question is still messing with me. What captures quality and distressed valuation the most in AC/DC’s catalog? Toby’s answer is going here, because the sheer waiting and anticipation required for this song to start, it feels like spreadsheet-religious coal miner investors biding time in a growth stock bull market. They’re convinced the growth stocks will break and they’ll be rewarded. They’re ok with a song being 60% intro, so long as it rocks out for a minute in the middle. The deep value song is and has to be AC/DC: “Thunderstruck

Bob Elliott talks boats and barges like Andy Constan talks islands. It’s poetry really. His reminder to remember how hard it is to turn a big ship gives me this vibe (notably, I was torn to use “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” but decided Bob deserves something catchier, hence), The Beach Boys: “Sloop John B” 

Mandy Xu is a derivatives specialist. She can process information and do math at a level I can only relate to about eating processed food acquired from a dollar menu. Fortunately, she can also explain things to people like me at my level, because she’s brilliant like that. The mix of over my head, just of reach, and still fascinating won’t escape me here. The math and madness, it means I had to sneak one hyperpop song in to reflect my confused/fascination by derivatives strategies with ultra-derivative music (sorry Mandy, you got my weirdest track), here’s 100 gecs: “Dumbest girl alive

Cullen Roche’s PragCap site meant a ton to my personal education. His new(er) site, for Discipline Funds, means a lot to my continuing ed. I was thrilled that they discussed his Macro Dashboard tool because hearing him talk through it is better than hearing the voice in my head talk through it. It’s such a, dare I say it, pragmatic framework, that the song has to be another profoundly pragmatic framework. Here’s The Notorious B.I.G: “Ten Crack Commandments” 

Joseph Wang worked at the Fed. And he has stories. About the role of the Fed, the people inside of it, and how everybody on the outside thinks about it. The Fed will always make me think of the Feds, and aren’t ex-Fed people who broke out or broke away kind of interesting in the same way people broke out or broke away from the Feds? Here’s The Clash: “Jail Guitar Doors

Victor Jones held the penultimate interview spot, which is an important place for the guy from Tasty Trade, because Brent needed the interview to tastefully help land the broadcast. Since they both started by shouting out their parents, who they admit don’t totally get what they do but still support it, let’s lighten things up a bit too. Here’s DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince: “Parents Just Don’t Understand

Doug Clinton and Gene Munster helped close us out, and brilliantly displayed how two partners can disagree with each other while still nudging each other’s thinking forward. I can’t understate how important and impressive this is. My head is also swirling from listening to them discuss how slowly and rapidly technology like AI can change everything. They make me think about time itself, and how it slips away into the future, which means we have to end on Steve Miller Band: “Fly Like An Eagle

Wait, bonus track - mostly for Jack Forehand and Brent Kochuba who put the most time in for this marathon. Guys, you’re the best, and none of this could have happened without you. In what still might be the greatest hidden track ever, let’s end things here (and where you probably retreated to after a long day of talking to people, maybe in a less awkward teenagery way let’s hope, but still), I offer you, the blissful isolation of - Green Day: “All By Myself

OK, maybe that got a little weird. Extra extra bonus track. We did a good thing. Together. EVERYBODY who was a part of PNL for a Purpose. Especially all the behind the scenes people too (and there were a lot). In a word, I have to end this playlist more… charitably. No matter how exhausted we are. Here’s all of your favorite stars, especially Stevie Wonder (two time star! More on his contribution to this one here), and yeah, it’s not that they’re curing cancer, but they are singing for all of us, which is as anti-cancer as it gets. We end on this one. Here’s USA For Africa: “We Are The World

Go, donate, and THANK YOU.