Whitney Tilson in his email discusses ERN Poker Tournament on July 20th; Similarities between Ironman Training & Investing; Roddy Boyd nails Insys Therapeutics; To Secure Loans, Chinese Women Supply Nude Photos; books he has read; financiers supporting Trump; his favorite t-shirt; Trump discussion. Lots of good stuff in here!
Whitney Tilson: ERN Poker Tournament
1) The 7th annual Take ‘Em to School Poker Tournament, which I’m co-chairing, is coming up next month on Wednesday, July 20th. It benefits Education Reform Now, a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to ensuring that all children can access a high-quality public education regardless of race, gender, geography, or socioeconomic status.
It’s always a great night for players, spectators, and education reformers alike. The tournament will feature 250 poker players battling for prizes that in past years have included golf outings at exclusive clubs, a table at Rao’s for 8, and power lunches with top investors. For those attending as cocktail guests there will be a variety of casino games and entertainment. The event also features a full swing golf simulator, which will host Long Drive and Closest to the Pin contests.
The event always includes specials guests and in the past has featured poker stars Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Sam Abernathy, and Layne Flack; sports icons James Blake, Alex Kovalev, Apolo Ohno, John Starks, Charles Smith and Allan Houston; America’s Next Top Model contestant Jamie Rae; and award-winning actors Hank Azaria, Billy Crudup, Shannon Elizabeth and Seth Gilliam. Our special guest speaker will be Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
The event always sells out, so reserve your seat/table today by replying to this email or going to: www.TakeEmToSchool.org. I hope to see you there!
Whitney Tilson, Event Chair
John Sabat, Event Chair
Michael Sabat, Event Chair
Whitney Tilson: Similarities between Ironman Training and Long-term Investing
2) My friend and fellow value investor, Chris Woolford, did a triathlon and shared this email with me about the “Similarities between Ironman Training and Long-term Investing”:
Similarities between Ironman Training and Long-term Investing
For the first 8 months of 2015, I had the privilege of training for, and completing, my first Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). Completing an Ironman had long been a life goal of mine. For my race, I picked the inaugural Ironman Muskoka since I was familiar with the location and would have lots of family support.
As I reflect on my experience, I often find myself comparing my Ironman training to my career in investment management. The similarities are striking.
- It’s a marathon (literally), not a sprint.
If the pace is too hard (like trying to make money too fast), slow down.
- The prepared body (and mind) wins.
Be prepared and have a plan. I had a detailed training program and race day strategy for each event. For each investment idea it is important to have a rigorous underwriting process, timeline with key signposts, robust monitoring mechanisms, and a pre-mortem.
- Focus on process, not outcome.
The unhappiest people in an endurance event are those that try to get a time. This is similar to investors who try to get a certain percentage return regardless of market conditions. When I look back on my race, I think about the journey – – the early morning swims, the long solo rides, the runs with friends. I thoroughly enjoyed the training process. Similarly, strong investment performance ensues from good process.
- If you compete (invest) long enough, sh** will happen.
You will get injuries, blisters and cramps; face unknown course obstacles, gear malfunctions, and flat tires; encounter rain, high winds, and/or intense humidity, etc. The same holds true in investing: the unexpected will happen. Your favorite short will get bought, you’ll have bad years, and your most supportive investor will abandon you. Remember to smile, cope as best as possible, and keep moving forward.
- Both pursuits are multi-disciplinary.
This sounds obvious, but to the main triathlon events I added physical therapy, yoga, strength training, nutrition, and rest/recovery. Similarly, investing is about more than analyzing stocks. It is also about time management, creative thinking, emotional intelligence, knowing the other side, visualization, networking, scuttlebutt, and communication.
- Compound everything.
As I trained and became a better cyclist, I noticed that I became a stronger swimmer and runner as well. Similarly, becoming a better short seller can help improve your ability to identify great companies to own, or value traps to avoid.
- Find a coach and join a team.
Before I started my Ironman training I hired a coach and joined a local triathlon club. For my career I have mentors both within and outside of my firm. The support, feedback, advice and camaraderie are invaluable. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Whitney Tilson: Roddy Boyd nails Insys Therapeutics
3) Kudos to Roddy Boyd, who’s nailed Insys:
Mr. Roper and a former sales representative, Fernando Serrano, were arrested on Thursday on federal anti-kickback charges, accused of paying thousands of dollars to doctors to participate in what federal prosecutors described as “sham” educational programs in exchange for prescribing millions of dollars worth of fentanyl. Criminal charges against drug company employees are unusual, legal experts said, underscoring the sordid nature of the case and its connection with fentanyl, which is frequently abused and can lead to deadly overdoses if inappropriately prescribed.
The federal indictment, which quotes Mr. Roper’s emails, does not mention Insys by name. But other details in the document — including when the drug was approved and its annual sales in 2015 — make it clear that Insys, based in Arizona, is the company in question. Insys has previously disclosed that it is under federal investigation for its sales and marketing practices. Last year, a nurse pleaded guilty to federal charges of accepting kickbacks from the company.
Federal prosecutors say that the case is particularly egregious because it involves inappropriate marketing of fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine and abuse of which has been skyrocketing in the United States. Fentanyl is the drug that the musician Prince accidentally overdosed on, killing him, although it is not clear what form he took. Fentanyl is a generic drug and is sold in many forms. The version sold by Insys is for cancer patients.
“Fentanyl is an incredibly dangerous and highly addictive drug that is finding its way into, and destroying, too many lives in our communities,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement. “As alleged, Roper and Serrano helped feed this devastating surge of opioid addictions by tapping into another age-old addiction, greed.”
Here are all of Roddy’s articles about it:
Whitney Tilson: To Secure Loans, Chinese Women Supply Nude Photos
Just when I thought I’d read it all!
Women in China are sending naked photographs of themselves holding their ID cards to peer-to-peer lenders as collateral, Chinese state media have reported, in a trend that may involve thousands of people.
The phenomenon, which the Beijing Youth Daily said was taking place on a popular online peer-to-peer lender called Jiedaibao, is provoking alarm and sympathy on social media. It has also led to calls for women to protect themselves from predators who