Ari Paul is the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago’s $8 billion endowment. Ari earned a BA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from the University of Chicago with concentrations in economics, entrepreneurship, strategic management, and econometrics & statistics.
In this episode, we talk about Ari’s passion for poker, and what the game taught him about investing, risk, and table selection, a powerful concept that applies to just about every field. Ari recently identified what he calls “the opportunity of a lifetime” — cryptocurrency. It led him to start investing in cryptocurrencies, a decision that was guided by Ari’s commitment to stretching boundaries. Finally, Ari discusses his passions for backpacking and travel, and like so many guests, Japan was one of Ari’s favorites.
2:30 – 6:20: Background and departure from science.
6:20 – 9:35: Playing poker and complete information. Tilt.
9:35 – 14:25: Table selection. Phil Ivey. Sharp Ratio.
14:25 – 17:40: Childhood/youth. Building skills and transferring them to trading.
17:40 – 20:30: Value investing vs. momentum investing. Path dependency for crypto.
20:30 – 24:00: All heuristics are regime dependent.
24:00 – 28:25: Shorter attention spans. Analogies. Changing minds.
28:25 – 32:30: Backpacking. Consuming information vs. going off the grid. Stoicism.
32:30 – 35:40: Japan/Osaka/Kyoto. Accelerated living.
35:40 – 40:00: Consciously stretching boundaries (“Life is lived at the margins”). Behavioral economics. Internalizing stereotypes.
40:00 – 43:20: Stretching boundaries applied to cryptocurrencies. Principal component analysis.
43:20 – 44:00: Specializing vs. building bridges in your career.
44:00 – 45:30: Moving away from hard skills
45:30 – 49:20: Perspectives and trust building pre and post internet. Signaling. Psychological bias. Overconfidence vs. familiarity.
49:20.- 50:10: We don’t know people like we think we do.
50:10 – 53:35: Blogging and personal brand. Blogging as a way to falsify ideas. Cunningham’s law.
53:35 – 57:45: Learning > Ego. Power laws. Combined talents out of necessity can create a combinatorial edge.
57:45 – 59:50: The experience of starting a crypto fund.
59:50 – 1:03:50: Agency when there’s no roadmap. MBA students.
1:03:50 – 1:08:45: Breaking through natural momentum. Anchoring. Status quo bias. Fat pitch. Crypto as the opportunity of a lifetime. Hard work, burnout, and compounding.
- Ari Paul Twitter
- Blocktower Capital
- Seth Klarman
- Benjamin Graham
- Phil Ivey
- Sharp Ratio
- Cunningham’s Law
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