From Whitney Tilson’s email to investors

1) The 8th annual Take ‘Em to School Poker Tournament & Casino Night, which I’m co-chairing, is coming up two weeks from tomorrow on Wednesday, July 26th at Gotham Hall. It benefits Education Reform Now, a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that all children have access a high-quality public education regardless of race, gender, geography or socioeconomic status.

Also see

Seth Klarman: Investing In A Tech Bubble

 

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 a Sebonack golf trip with a one night cottage stay, a table at Rao’s for 8, power lunches with some of the world’s top investors, and a set visit for The Walking Dead. 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.

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The event always includes special guests and in the past has featured poker stars Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Layne Flack, Vanessa Selbst, Andy Frankenberger and Samantha Abernathy; WPT TV hosts Mike Sexton, Vince Van Patten and Lynn Gilmartin; sports icons Alex Kovalev, John Starks, Dwight Gooden, Charles Smith and Allan Houston; Avenue Capital Founder and Milwaukee Bucks Owner Marc Lasry; co-creator of the hit Showtime series Billions and co-writer of poker blockbuster Rounders Brian Koppelman; America's Next Top Model contestant Jamie Rae and Shannon Elizabeth from American Pie. To view a highlight video from last year's event, please click here.

For information about purchasing tickets or tables, please reply to this email or visit TakeEmToSchool.org.

I hope to see you there!

Whitney Tilson, Event Chair
John Sabat, Event Chair
Michael Sabat, Event Chair
Jae Hong
Shavar Jeffries
Jason Mudrick
Charles Smith
John Petry
Alex Spiro
John Starks

 

2) I’m flying tomorrow to Bari, Italy, where I'll be co-hosting with my Italian friend, Ciccio Azzollini, the 14th Annual Value Investing Seminar on Thursday and Friday in the lovely seaside town of Trani. There’s a great line-up of speakers and I’m looking forward to catching up with many old friends. On Saturday night, I'll start my trip home, which includes a 15-hour layover in Moscow (from 5am - 8pm Sunday) – my first time ever in Russia!

3) A very disturbing (but entirely unsurprising) article: Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment, www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/technology/women-entrepreneurs-speak-out-sexual-harassment.html. Excerpt:

 

Their stories came out slowly, even hesitantly, at first. Then in a rush.

 

One female entrepreneur recounted how she had been propositioned by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist while seeking a job with him, which she did not land after rebuffing him. Another showed the increasingly suggestive messages she had received from a start-up investor. And one chief executive described how she had faced numerous sexist comments from an investor while raising money for her online community website.

 

What happened afterward was often just as disturbing, the women told The New York Times. Many times, the investors’ firms and colleagues ignored or played down what had happened when the situations were brought to their attention. Saying anything, the women were warned, might lead to ostracism.

 

Now some of these female entrepreneurs have decided to take that risk. More than two dozen women in the technology start-up industry spoke to The Times in recent days about being sexually harassed. Ten of them named the investors involved, often providing corroborating messages and emails, and pointed to high-profile venture capitalists such as Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital and Dave McClure of 500 Startups.

 

I’m glad this article named the harassers – public humiliation, far more than legal action, is the best way to combat this crap.

 

PS—Note to my many reporter friends: I guarantee that it wouldn’t take much digging to find similar stories in the hedge fund industry, I’m sorry to say. I published two articles on the NYT web site on this topic in early 2014:

  1. Evaluating the Dearth of Female Hedge Fund Managers, https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/evaluating-the-dearth-of-female-hedge-fund-managers
  2. A Deeper Conversation on Women in Hedge Funds, https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/a-deeper-conversation-on-women-in-hedge-funds

4) A very interesting study, with implications for investing: Winner and loser effects in human competitions. Evidence from equally matched tennis players. Here's the abstract:

Animals winning an agonistic encounter are more likely to win their next encounter while losers are less likely, even when controlling for motivation and physical size. Do these winner and loser effects exist in human competitions? Drawing on a large database of professional tennis matches, we were able to control for players' ability and thereby test for winner and loser effects. We narrowed the database to matches between players who on average did not differ significantly in rank, and further to matches in which the first set was fought to a long tiebreak. These closely fought matches present a natural experiment because players are assigned to treatment conditions – winning or losing a set – despite similar ability and performance. We found that among men, the winner of a closely fought tie-break had an approximate 60% chance of winning the second set, the loser a 40% chance. These effects did not exist among women, a finding consistent with the hypothesis that androgens mediate winner and loser effects. Our results may help in the design of competitions in sport as well as in work environments, where it may prove useful to either encourage winner effects or to attenuate their occasional adverse consequences.

 

5) A story in the WSJ today about how Buffett and Berkshire are turning more toward wholly owned companies and less on stock picking – a trend that’s been underway for decades. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Moves Away From Stock Picking, www.wsj.com/articles/warren-buffetts-berkshire-moves-away-from-stock-picking-1499765400. Excerpt:

 

With its latest energy bid, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is relying less on stock picking for its future.

 

Last week, the billionaire investor’s firm offered to buy bankrupt power-transmission firm Energy Future Holdings Corp. for $9 billion in cash. Should the deal go through, Berkshire would be expanding its reliance on running stable and highly regulated industries to deliver growth.

 

6) The WSJ with an insightful three-part series on executive pay:

 

  1. Better Ways to Measure Your Boss's Pay, www.wsj.com/graphics/ceo-pay-heard
  2. How to Solve the Problem of Misaligned Executive Pay, www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-solve-problems-of-misaligned-executive-pay-1499252867
  3. CEO-Worker Pay Ratio Generates Outrage—and Some Insight, www.wsj.com/articles/ceo-worker-pay-ratio-generates-outrageand-some-insight-1499332341

Coates Page Tennis 2017(1)