Hi, Steven here. This is Product Matters, a semi-regular newsletter on Products and Strategy. Each issue I try to share something I’ve written on the topics of products, digital strategy, and design.
If that doesn’t interest you or you signed up by accident, you can unsubscribe by clicking here. If you like it, share it with others.
How are you doing? It's been a crazy few weeks. I hope you are coping with the new state of the world. The video calls are getting exhausting, though it's the only way to maintain any sense of connection with the rest of the world. Without it, I would only have my partner, my dog, and Slack.
I have been having a hard time finding the motivation (or maybe it's discipline) to write anything new. Every time I sit down to write, I get distracted or wish I was doing something else. I get the sense that we are all experiencing this low-level hum of anxiety or malaise, just below our level of perception. We get the effects of it but can’t explicitly identify it happening.
So how did I get past my procrastination? I did what I always do in these scenarios: start something new. This past week I published the first issue of a new project: munny.club. I have been interested in personal finance for a long time, to the point that I think it even influenced my career path (leaving a potential path of medicine to pursue business). I regularly read many books about all sides of money (saving, investing, psychology of money, being a financial advisor) and have formulated my own perspectives over time.
I had a couple of false starts with munny.club since buying the domain and conceiving the idea in 2017. I thought about doing an email course about personal finance basics, or doing a more robust “program”. I thought about have an SMS-based weekly tip. Each of these ideas held my attention for a week or two as I hammered out topics and article stubs.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. In the middle of one sleepless night (literally), I decided I would make a simple email list. I would write in the Seth Godin style of just 200-500 words about a topic, but be consistent about it. And just like that munny.club was born. I set up Substack, wrote the first post, and published it on Wednesday. You might already be on the list, but if you’re not, check out the first issue here and let me know what you think.
Breaking from my traditional link-sharing format, I’ll just talk about a single thing I read the other day and expand a bit further on it. Michael Mauboussin is an incredibly smart and interesting investor and writer. He previously wrote a great paper called Measuring The Moat which talks about the financial analysis you can do to identify whether a business has a moat or not.
Earlier this week he published a new paper called Dispersion and alpha conversion. In it, he decomposes investing as a skill into its key practicable elements, and shares an interesting formula.
Information Ratio = Information Coefficient ∗ √𝐵𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑡ℎ
where a higher IR means a higher return.
The paper goes pretty deep into their research but what I found interesting was a few things:
How have you been passing the time in this quarantine? Have you read anything interesting? Reply and let me know! I'm always looking to discover new things.
That’s all for this time. I’m always looking for feedback on both my writing and my ideas. Have something on your mind? Just reply to this email. I would love to hear from you and I read every response.