Never been to see the Dead before. We are going to see them tonight at Wrigley. I don’t own any tie-dye. I never have had the chance to see them. In high school and college I never had the money to go to concerts. I can count on one hand how many I went to. Once I got out of college, we’d go see a couple but neither of us were active concert goers. If the Grateful Dead was in town, I usually didn’t have the time. This will be the first major concert in Chicago since the legislature legalized pot. I am sure there will be a lot of people heading into Lakeview with medical conditions.
In the last several years there has been a lot of fund formation in venture capital. New funds have started. Existing funds have raised much larger funds. There is a lot more money being put into innovation today than there was ten years ago. However, the amount of money in geographical areas has remained uneven. Sort of like income inequality, where the rich get richer while the poor stay about the same. For example, there are 12 VC funds in Michigan. There are 12 in one building in Palo Alto.
Spent much of the last two days at the Stigler Center. Professor Luigi Gonzales organized a pretty powerful conference. It was a lot to take in, and in the University of Chicago tradition, it wasn’t just one opinion being spouted. People had to defend their ideas, and there was consistent debate. As a passive audience member, some of my assumptions were challenged. It was a lot to take in and frankly, I am still taking a lot of it in.
One of the ideas that came out of the conference was that some sort of digital authority should be established to police digital companies.
I am headed to the University of Chicago the next two days. They are hosting a conference on data privacy and security. There is a large debate in the US right now about whether to regulate, or not to regulate digital companies like Facebook and Google. Both left wing and right wing politicians are advocating for regulation.
My gut tells me not to regulate.
Professor Luis Zingales is running the conference. If you click the link I posted above, you can see the agenda and who is speaking. For example, the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, is speaking. Recently, he published an article advocating for the breakup of Facebook. I am interested in what he has to say, and to understand how he is framing the issue. Is he seeing something that I am not?
Yesterday in Illinois, the Illinois Senate approved a massive income tax increase. We will go from 4.95% to 9.5%. Others have covered the particulars of it all here.
Here is a different way to look at it. Let us look at it relative to the Big 3; California, New York and Illinois. Really we are looking at LA, San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, and Chicago.
If we look at competing states with big cities and big economies, New York and California stand out. Sorry about the formatting. There are slight differences for filing single or married filing jointly but they are tremendous. You get the gist.
Here is NY. Recall NYC tacks on a city income tax as well.
Pretty damning. Chicago citizens saw right through the case from almost the very beginning. Chicago politicians want to protect power so they aren’t doing much about it. It’s a travesty.
I wish more reporters would do reporting like this. Here are a couple of other examples.
Crain’s published an article by a couple of union mouthpieces defending the progressive income tax proposal in Illinois. It’s full of lies. They state that Illinois budget deficit is only around $3.2B dollars. It’s more like $10B to $15B. But the elephant in the room is pensions and medical deficits which are around $237B in the red. Fortunately, the guys
I came across this video of a bear emerging from his den after hibernating all winter. This was not my impression of how bears emerged from their dens. I thought they came out and were ravenous. It’s more of a process.
Nature is like that. It surprises you. Nature follows a process and while it’s similar year after year it is never exactly the same.
I have a few Nest cameras around my place in Minnesota and I look at them every day. I was hoping (expecting) to see a lot of wildlife moving around our lake in the winter since there are no people around. I thought we’d see a moose, deer, wolves, coyotes scavenging food and trying to survive the winter. We did see a couple of deer but nothing really showed up.
Apple announced that they weren’t coming out with their wireless charging mat for devices as announced. I was an angel investor in a Chicago company, NuCurrent, that is the industry leader in wireless charging. It’s super technical, and it is super hard.
NuCurrent has many Ph.D. electrical engineers working daily on the problem. NuCurrent has a patent portfolio that is second to none.
Katlin Smith of Simple Mills was recently on the Today show. I am a seed investor in Simple Mills. They are based in Chicago.
Often as investors, we are asked why we invest. Watch this video. I think you will get the gist of why people invested in Katlin when she was raising money for her company. At the time she was pitching the company, I was 1000% impressed with her and what she was doing. I liked the market and thought she had incredible potential. However, I had invested in many other consumer products companies that didn’t work out. I had experienced 100% failure. Mark Tebbe encouraged me to invest in Katlin so I did. I am glad I followed my gut and not the prior data.
The above is a great discussion. Robert Alter and Jai Shekhawat scaled companies and sold them. Amanda Lannert is CEO of Jellyvision, and is scaling. Jellyvision is consistently touted as one of the best companies to work at in Chicago. They all know the chapters and verses of the journey from two people with an idea to scaling and selling the company to a major acquirer. They have accumulated bumps and bruises along the way, but survived.
You can do it too!
Chicago Booth Review has some great research on their site. Hal Weitzman has done a very good job with it since starting at Chicago Booth awhile ago. It really causes you to think about things differently. I read it all the time.
Yesterday I read the news that my friend Professor Ray Ball received an award. Big hearty congratulations to him. Like me, he likes to cook and drink good wine.
He is a PhD Economist that has done a lot of research in the field of accounting. In 1968, he wrote a paper on “An Empirical Evaluation of Accounting Income Numbers” which was published in the Journal of Accounting Research.
It was groundbreaking.
He received the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize along with co-author Phil Brown. Professor Brown is also a PhD economist from Chicago. The prize is given biennially. If you are an academic and receive the prize, it’s highly likely that you received a Nobel Prize. Harry Markowitz and William Sharpe received previous prizes.
From 1986-2013, I was on a trading floor. From the late 1980’s when I first got my membership until I left I was a member of CME’s political arm. It went by various names. The “job” wasn’t anything underhanded. It was all volunteer. Frankly, you donated money to the PAC and raised money for the PAC from members on the floor. We also would talk to Congresspeople when they came to CME and interact with their staff. Once a year, we’d go to Washington and have a party. It was always well attended.
Our PAC donated 50/50 to both parties. I had to talk to Chuck Schumer, and Lindsay Graham and make the same points.
Virtually every year in the budget there was a provision to tax trading. It was called a transaction tax. I have blogged about it several times before but it is one of the stupidest tax Continue reading “Let’s Do It This Time”
This study is from the liberal think tank, The Brookings Institution. Their conclusion is wrong. It’s not about affordable housing. It’s about an affordable life. If Governor Pritzker has his way, housing in Illinois will get a lot more affordable.
New York and LA beat Chicago. Houston, Denver and Dallas are where millennials are moving. We already knew that people over the age of 55 were leaving in a massive migration. Check out the differences in the all in cost of living in the various places and you can see why some cities are attractive and some are not.
I guess all the bullshit that prior Governor Rauner passed around higher tax rates, sanctuary state, sanctuary city, abortion on demand isn’t important to them. What they really want is a job and an opportunity to build wealth so they can have productive lives, build families and chase the American DreamContinue reading “Millennials Leaving Chicago”
Every single town has its own idiosyncrasies. Chicago has some. Everyone knows about deep dish pizza. We are famous for hot dogs (no ketchup please). We are also famous for other kinds of sausage like Maxwell St. Polish and Bari Italian Sausage. It’s why “Abe Froman The Sausage King” was so funny in Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. You might have heard of Chicago’s italian beef and giardinara. Odds are you haven’t heard of Malort.
It’s a Chicago liqueur with a special taste. I love the comments on this video. “Malort uses the same process as vodka, but instead of using potatoes they use recycled tires.” Let’s put it this way, it is an acquired taste. If you haven’t had it, many bars will carry a bottle. It’s Swedish. Carl Jeppson Continue reading “Drink Local.”
When I started Hyde Park Angels at the very first meeting I said we would invest in things that the Midwest was good at. We weren’t Silicon Valley and why would you want to be. If you want to compete with them, you were guaranteed to lose since someone could get in a car or on a plane and be there shortly.
There was a gubernatorial election last fall in Illinois. On Tuesday, Chicago voters go to the polls to elect a new mayor. If our current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was running he would not make the top two. John Kass says to “Wake up Chicago” and on Tuesday I hope everyone is woke.
An aside, is it voter suppression to have an election at the end of February in Chicago when the weather is almost guaranteed to be bad?
If we look at the state, it’s in a financial mess. We have had the same speaker of the house for over 40 years in Illinois. The state has basically been run by Democrats and crony capitalist Republicans for my entire lifetime. Governor Bruce Rauner was the only Republican that offered up out of the box changes, and he was bounced.
I read the budget address by Illinois new governor yesterday. Basically, there was nothing new in it. They are going to legalize pot, legalize sports betting and estimate they will get some tax revenue from it. The Democratic Machine is going to push for a progressive income tax that will hurt middle class families and families that can’t move out of state badly. No reforms. No pension reform. No corruption reform. It’s pretty disappointing.
Sort of reminds me of the movie It’s A Wonderful Life and the difference between Bedford Falls and Pottersville.
Something else occurred to me though.
In the early 1990’s, the membership at the Chicago exchanges split into two factions. On the floor of both the CBOT and CME there were groups of members that wanted to invest heavily into technology. They didn’t have the power in the board rooms of the exchanges. They also weren’t the Continue reading “The Luddite’s”
I went to the Chicago Blackhawks game last night. I am not a hockey expert, but I like watching the Blackhawks play. The United Center wasn’t empty, but it wasn’t full either. The national anthem was still stirring. I hope that never changes. The Blackhawks have been on a win streak but they still aren’t playing exciting playoff type hockey. They are last place in their division. The arena lacked the vibrancy of the past days. It was low energy.
It sort of kills me to type that since we had a great run of Stanley Cups and playoff hockey.