Network or Perish
Niall Ferguson’s, The Square and the Tower, highlights a wide range of social networks including the Nixon Administration, terrorist organizations, and social media companies. He discusses the value of weak ties: people, or entities, who are connected with a lot of people, on a basic level.
In the Bay Area’s highly competitive job market, the following adage resonates with a lot of people, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Getting a job at a major tech firm without a pre-established network is nearly impossible (unless you’re a developer); and when I reflect on my college experience, I regret overlooking networking opportunities. I assumed my degree and charisma were a guaranteed job ticket. The reality was bleak (it still is); I had next to zero work experience during college, and my peers were chanting, “Fake it till you make it!” I wish I invested more time connecting with like-minded people, not that I knew what I was interested in, but being one step removed is far better than isolation and unemployment.
As for social media, I hope the major tech firms heavily invest in protecting their networks from bad actors. The internet has made subversion abundantly easier, and removed the need for secrecy.
In the 2016 US election, Russian officials created a bunch of fictitious Facebook accounts, and spent several millions of dollars on advertisements, which influenced significant segments of pivotal voting blocs.
The importance of weak ties and key networks cannot be understated.
A reverse budget involves paying your known expenditures (e.g., rent and utilities), and scrutinizing all optional purchases. Food is necessary for survival, but soda is a luxury. Spending money on value added water should be reserved for the rich. If you want coffee, buy a grinder, whole beans, and a french press (congratulations, you just saved hundreds of dollars). If you need a jacket, buy something durable, but don’t spend money on brands. If you want to burn through your savings, buy fireworks.
5 Quick Stock Tips from One up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
- Determine assets, market cap, and PE ratio . . . follow the news, then invest.
- Find companies unknown to Wall Street.
- Look for niche companies that a chimpanzee could run.
- Keep an eye out for reverse splits and inside investing from executives; especially after diversification from the parent company.
- Invest in smaller, familiar companies to 10X your money. (Startup IPOs can be risky. Listen to the press first, and talk to friends in the industry.)