DSTNC.com – For People That Love Cycling and of Course Fashology (Fashion meets Technology)

Good morning everyone and as they say in the Jewish community L’Shana Tova (have a happy and healthy new year).

I am on a bus heading north out of Dublin to our next round of golf.

This weekend, one of our portfolio companies did a soft launch of their cycling e-commerce and content site called DSTNC.com (NOTE – the content is not yet fully integrated)

If you are a fan of this blog I would appreciate you setting up an account and ordering something from the amazing selection of the highest quality cycling brands from around the world. Here is what the simple shopping experience looks like…

I am fascinated by the cycling industry and Social Leverage is excited to invest in and help Nave and Sharona – the husband and wife founders – get their company seeded and launched. Nave was a professional cyclist on the Israeli team for many years. Think Farfetch but for cycling, running and endurance enthusiasts both on bike/road and off bike/road.

It is the very early days for ‘fashology’ (fashion and technology) and the cycling industry is seeing hyper growth as people start to gravel bike and e-bike, not just road and mountain bike.

My new favorite brands that Nave and Sharona have discovered and curated include:

100% (eyewear)

Biehler – Technical cycling gear

Assos – Technocal Cycling gear

POC – eyewear and amazing helmets.

District Vision – clothing and eyewear

The key component of all this is incredible curation and amazing back end logistics for returns when dealing with all the disparate brands which DSTNC makes a delight.

Thanks in advance for spending some time on DSTNC shopping.

Sunday Reads – Is It The Fed Or Crypto That Is The House of Cards

Happy Sunday.

I took the day off my blog to be humiliated by golf at The European Club outside Dublin, Ireland.

It was a glorious day of sun, no rain and 40 mph winds (some pictures here).

I have lived in the Southwest too long. I am a fair weather golfer. But, I did manage to scrape myself around the course (called the toughest in Ireland) with a 90 and my partner Greg and I won our team best ball. I sunk a 20 footer on 18 to close out the match.

I carried my own bag around the course and this morning I am more sore and tired than after climbing Stelvio.

Today we are off to Portmarnok and more importantly, we have caddies.

Onwards to some some thoughts on the markets…

It is hard to even look at the markets these days other than closing prices.

I have been harping on ‘valuation compression’ for at least a year on this blog and so I should not be surprised at the prices. What surprises me is how poorly positioned it seems The Fed, ‘professionals’ and most investors seem to be…including me.

I like the way Josh Brown sums up the actions of The Federal Reserve in this take down. The gist:

At a certain point, a person who is charge of price stability should probably look in the mirror and say “For whatever reason, I am not good at this. Or whatever method I am using to make decisions is not going well or producing positive outcomes.”

I don’t think this is so much to ask of the people we put in charge of our institutions.

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee for example. If in any given year you find yourself oscillating furiously back and forth between stimulus and austerity, perhaps it’s time to stop and reevaluate. It might be the data you’re using or the way in which you’re using it. It might be your instincts. It might be a combination of things. The pendulum should swing, just not all the way in both directions all the time. That’s not a cycle, that’s a circus.

If your forecasting abilities led you to the conclusion that you would not have to do any rate hikes in 2022, followed a few months later by having to do the sharpest rise in interest rates of all time, maybe you’re not good at this. If you’re buying mortgage and treasury bonds to stimulate the economy in the month of March and then deliberately trying to crash the markets and create a recession in September, you’re probably not the right person to have in charge of the money supply. You may not be the “price stability guy.”

No matter how I want to assign blame, it is my job to manage risk and assume The Fed knows nothing and the markets are rigged.

About a year ago I went to 60-70 percent cash in my stock market accounts. It is ok to panic if you panic first.

I have no idea how low we go, but my job as an investor is to stay in the game and protect capital.

The damage caused and still to come from the unintended consequences of the rate of change in interest rates, the US Dollar, political blame game and the war as winter comes to Europe is likely horrifying and impossible to game.

The Washington Post spent months writing this weekend piece titled ‘Is Crypto A House of Cards – A Look Behind The Scenes Of An Unstable Industry‘. You can taste the smugness in the title and tagline.

This article could easily been titled ‘Is The FED A House of Cards – A Look Behind The Scenes of a Politicized and Unstable Agency‘.

While we bicker about the ‘bubble’ in crypto and stocks, the ‘superbubble’ that popped was interest rates. It comes at a time when Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have too much corporate power. I said this last week…

I wrote a few months back that the markets looked crashy and we rallied.

It looks extra crashy this weekend so I hope by writing this…we rally.

I have no idea if we rally this week, this month or year, but eventually a new bull market will take hold.

What we need for a new bull market though is growth.

What we need before growth is some stability in policy and leadership. That stability bet seems like a long shot right now which is why I worry about a crash.

Very soon, I expect company after company to start blaming The FED, the dollar and the war to force some policy change and stability.

People will start freaking out pretty soon.

Rituals and Community

Good morning everyone.

I am at Heathrow airport on my way to my last leg of my road trip. I am headed to Dublin for a few days of golf with friends.

I have not played golf or picked up a club in a couple of months. I am mostly dreading the game, but it is Ireland and so you play golf, drink and try to stay dry. I shipped my clubs last month to the hotel while I set off on my trip to Toronto.

It is one thing to dread the game and yet another to be on a WhatsApp thread with 11 other guys who can’t get enough of the game and have been shot out of a cannon fresh from Los Angeles.

I stopped in London yesterday on my way from Tel Aviv to have dinner with my good friend (and mentor) JP Rangaswani to catch up on all things finance, markets, data and community. It has become a ritual of mine while in Europe to come through Heathrow and stay out in the country for a night to have a meal with JP. I am not a foodie but I do like good meals and JP knows food. Yesterday he took me for great Indian food. Here is his 2012 Ted Talk titled ‘Information is Food‘ and my beginning of pandemic ‘Panic With Friends‘ chat with him.

We covered a lot of ground yesterday but mostly crypto, web 3 and community.

Later JP shared this 24 year old piece from Amy Jo Kim titled ‘9 Timeless Principes For Building Community‘. I really enjoyed it.

As I am always thinking about community, Stocktwits and a now a new project around building community and utility in a web 3 world, there are some great reminders on how big an opportunity proper community building continues to be.

Have a great day.

Revisiting The Battle At The 200-Day Moving Average

Good morning…

I am off to London for the day.

I had a great time in Tel Aviv as always.  Last night Yoni and Ronen the brother co-founders of Etoro took me for dinner to HaSalon. I highy recommend it and if you do go make sure you do the late sitting. By 10 o’clock, mostly young Isareli’s are dancing on the tables. I did 10 minutes of stand-up in Hebrew (I kid).

It is nice to have so many good friends now in Tel Aviv. I have been coming regularly since 2010. Ronen was telling me that the population of Israel is up 500 percent in the last 50 years which seems unsustainable. Tel Aviv real estate makes the Hampton’s look cheap.

Good luck getting a Taxi, Gett or Uber by the way …

I snapped this picture of the boys which I really like…

Ronen recently stepped away from full time at Etoro to get back to his roots of building and launching products and companies at Team 8. I am excited for him.

Back in the real world of crashing markets…we have crashing markets.

In mid August, the markets were testing the 200-day moving average and while I hoped for a battle by the bulls, we have seen a massacre. My post is here.

As of today’s close we are now below the 200 day moving average for the longest period of time since 2008 and the ‘Great Financial Crisis’.

As I have been writing here for months, bad things generally happen below the 200-day moving averages and now the weight of evidence and dread continues to pile up on stocks.

I am sitting on my hands.

Tel Aviv – Food and Tech…Tech and Food

Good morning.

My blog was down most of yesterday so many did not receive the email …so here it is again.

I had a fantastic day with founders and investors yesterday around Tel Aviv.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jefferies is having a #techtrek event here and there was so much founder and investor brain power – multi generational in nature as well – in one hotel it was intimidating.

Sometimes you just get lucky and the Jefferies people were kind of enough to let me attend and mingle.

Here is the patio venue last might…

It was fun to catch up in person with Abe Finkelstein of Vintage Ventures…

Vintage is one of the largest venture firms in Israel and one of the original venture fund of funds backing so many great funds. I have had Abe on my podcast talking about all this and if you have not listened it is worth doing so. Here is the episode.

I’m off to the rest of my meetings.

Have a great day.

Peak Connected and Hello From Tel Aviv

Hello from Tel Aviv (Kampinski hotel lobby to be exact which is also quite nice)…

I LOVE Tel Aviv. Nobody here cares about the $VIX but the intensity is 10,000 percent all the time (with a smoking kicker). It is my kind of city and the perfect opposite to all of Italy where the $VIX never rises above four and high intensity is frowned upon (which is also my type of place).

I am here for a few days of meetings and I have already run into a few friends I did not expect to see because Jeffries is having a big event at the hotel (which I have now crashed).

I am three weeks into my five weeks on the road.

I’ve gone from San Diego to Toronto, to New York, to Italy, to Germany and now Tel Aviv. Later this week I will be in London and end my trip in Ireland.

In the past I have gotten homesick for the United States after two hard weeks of travel.

This morning, after a long day of travel from the Alps via, planes, trains and automobiles, I woke up and was excited to get to work in Tel Aviv for an 8 am meeting. It could be empty nest life has lowered my stress and guilt as Rachel and Max do not need me, but I believe it is more the connected world. I am constantly able to chat with Ellen and the kids and my partners at Social Leverage.

The iPhone and iMessage, Google Maps, Gmail, Whatsapp, Zoom, Twitter, shared calendars, Uber, Stocktwits…I am connected to everything I need to ‘feel’ like I am caught up.

The long ‘post financial crisis’ boom gave us some ‘clown cars’ and many messes to be cleaned but we got wired up and networked. We are as connected as we want or need to be. The tools might change (features and privacy), but almost everyone can live in the connected future.

From this place that I try to live at the edge of, I can see why the best investors of the last boom have moved from the network and the ‘social graph’ to Web 3, alternative energy and climate.

Whether it is Fred Wilson doing regenerative finance and nuclear investments and Chris Sacca coming out of ‘retirement’ doing a carbon/climate fund, I am optimistic that new seeds of growth are being planted in new areas of high risk, pain and potential growth.

I am all about following people that have a long history of getting big trends right, not following MORE people. This is the greatest benefit of the connected boom. There is no such thing as information overload…only filter failure.

PS – Of course I have had my first falafel and Kebab sandwich. A fave spot is Miznon in the Sarona ‘Chelsea Food Market’ also the center of Tel Aviv tech scene…

Tomorrow, my pal Ronen is taking me to his new ‘fancy’ restaurant.

Life is good.

Momentum Monday…What Will Apple Do and What Are The Best Venture Capitalists Excited About

As a reminder, Marketsmith (by Investor’s Business Daily) is now a sponsor of the weekly show. All the charts you have been seeing in the videos and will continue to see are from Marketsmith. They are offering my readers a three week trial for $19.95. Click this link if you would like to try it out.

Good afternoon from Munich.

I am out of the Alps and back in the real world where the $VIX is 28.

I am headed to Tel Aviv in a few hours to meet with investors and founders for a few days. I am looking forward to the energy.

As always, Ivanhoff and I did our weekly Momentum Monday video and you can watch it here. I have embedded it below in my blog:

I riffed on Fedex, Apple and my conversations with the best investors of last couple of booms moving into climate chance and alt energy (nuclear energy). Do not expect the majority of past leaders to lead us in the next bull market and boom.

Here are Ivanhoff’s thoughts:

The main indexes have made three consecutive lower highs and lower lows since mid-August. The number of distribution days is growing. It seems they are headed for a test of their summer lows. Some mega-cap stocks like META, GOOGL, and NVDA already made new year-to-date lows and those are the ones that are the most sensitive to the economic cycle.

The year-over-year Inflation keeps coming above 8%, which probably won’t change in the next few months. This would give the Fed all the excuses they need to keep raising interest rates. As the Fed keeps fixating on inflation, the market is starting to worry about a potential recession in 2023 due to Fed’s action. New credit creation is shrinking quickly as interest rates are rising. Companies that are economic bellwethers keep lowering their earnings guidance by a shocking size. The most recent examples are FedEx (FDX) and Nucor Corporation (NUE).

While the indexes and most stocks are in a clear downtrend, there are some groups that are showing notable relative strength. Anything related to alternative energy is holding relatively well – EVs (TSLA, RIVN), solar (ENPH, FSLR, SPWR, NOVA, etc.), lithium (LTHM, ALB, etc.), others (BE, PLUG, STEM, etc.). Ironically, the only group that is holding well is the one that is expecting hefty government subsidies.

Charlie’s 10 charts were helpful and worth a skim.

I have been a broken record, but with major US indexes still well below their 200 day moving averages …why waste too much energy on the markets.

Go for a bike ride or something…I did.

Have a great week.

Disclaimer: All information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal or tax advice, or an offer to buy or sell any security. For full disclosures, click here.

My 57th Birthday Climbing Stelvio …

I turned 57 yesterday and was joking on Stocktwits and Twitter that ‘I am so old I come to Fintwit for the bond picks‘.

I am having one hell of a birthday week thanks to my pals and the Alps. I am so incredibly grateful for how lucky I am to have these opportunities and a family that understands my wierdness.

As hard as these adventure cycling trips are, I feel younger after I complete each one. There is something about the grind and pain of climbs (and the cameraderie at the end of them) that makes me feel alive. There are worse vices.

As luck would have it, my birthday fell on the day we climbed Stelvio.

Stelvio is just a beast of a mountain pass in the Italian Alps (Wikipedia page here).

My buddy Michael Kinsbergen brought me here in June 2016 with a group of his pals and I have had the cycling bug ever since it kicked my ass for 4.5 painful hours (2016 blog post here).

Long story short about yesterday…it kicked my ass worse this time even though I completed the pass in less than 2.5 hours. The pass we took yesterday time is 21 km (13 miles) and 4,500 feet of climbing with an average grade of 7.5 percent. The hard part was the rain, snow, ice, cold and wind. At one point on yesterdays climb the wind chill was -6 degrees. You can’t train for the elements which is part of the thrill.

Here I am climbing near the top…

This video my pal/guide Fillipo took is about the only way you can appreciate the scale of Stelvio. I was almost blown over a couple of times and had to stop to layer on clothing three times (Fillipo has done the climb 36 times having grown up in the area). Here are some other photos from the climb.

My buddy Uli came over from Copenhagen to join us for my birthday and the ride (I met him on the 2016 trip) and is taking us all to Oktoberfest tomorrow in Munich tomorrow as we drive out of the Alps. Here is Uli and Mike Dean and I all innocent at the bottom yesterday as we left Bormio..

We are staying tonight at a fantastic hotel that was an old hunting lodge called Castel Fragsburg…

If I was a better photographer you would see the Alps through the window below, but I am enjoying the hotels reading room as I write this post and catch up on emails and work (there is a grandfather clock ticking off to the side as well which is rather soothing)…

I am looking forward to this evening as the Biko team always puts together a 15 minute video of the whole adventure.

Tomorrow night after Oktoberfest I head to Tel Aviv.

Thanks to so many for the kind and hilarious and mean birthday wishes. It makes all my blogging worthwhile.

I LOVE The Alps

Our crew of eight has moved on from Lake Como to the Alps.

We did it in style with a helicopter to the town of Bormio an amazing place if you like being outside all the time biking, hiking and skiing.

Technically, Lake Como is the ‘foothill to the Alps’. I loved loved loved it as you know, but, the Alps is really my favorite place to ride and I have been reminded of that quickly again.

We have done a few incredible rides in the moutains around Bormio and tomorrow we ride up Stelvio. All I can hope for is some good weather and legs that hold up.

This morning I woke up to this view from my hotel room…

Yesterday, we had a brutal climb (some 18 and 20 percent grades) up Forni (you can watch me grind for 30 seconds here).

Our guide Fillipo arranged for Matteo and his sister Francesca to guide/ride with us. We learned a few things for sure.

Here we all are at the top grabbing a beer (Francesca had to get to work and got tired waiting for us)…

Here is the ride for those wanting to try it one day (you call follow all my rides on Strava)…

PS – Thanks Toby for the drone shot of the day which I can’t wait to frame (that is me in the mustard top I swear)…

Best of Panic With Friends: Ted Merz – Journalist Turned Product Manager, Former Global Head of News at Bloomberg on Financial Journalism and Information Dissemination in the Age of Social Media