EIEIO Best of...911 America
By: Michael Moe, CFA, Brent Peus, Owen Ritz, Catherine Merrick
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"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve." - President George W. Bush
“September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for.” - Lamar Alexander
“We Are All Americans.” - Le Monde
Originally Published on September 12, 2021
Twenty years and a day ago, America’s illusion that we were an island unto ourselves was shattered forever.
I was in Washington DC on September 10th meeting with Blackboard’s founders Michael Chasen and Matthew Pittinsky and flew that night to San Antonio, Texas.
On the morning of September 11th, I was having breakfast with USAA’s star portfolio manager Eric Efron when our meeting was interrupted by his office calling him to tell him a private plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Weird, but not at the time seeming like anything other than a terrible accident, we kept talking about stocks we thought might be going up and down.
Roughly, fifteen minutes later, when the second plane went into the South Tower, we knew the World had just turned upside down and there was nothing else to talk about other than how to get home.
Racing to the San Antonio airport, it was impossible to imagine what was even going on but shortly after getting to the airport, I was watching CNN when the third plane went into the Pentagon and I realized, there wasn’t any flights going out of anywhere for the foreseeable future.
Luckily, I got to the Hertz counter just in time to get the last car and I drove to Houston where I was supposed to spend the next couple days visiting with clients. Obviously, there were no business meetings happening but the portfolio manager at the hyper growth asset management firm AIM invited me to his home in Houston and we just talked about life and how precious it was.
We had just started ThinkEquity in July of 2001 thinking that we were launching the firm just after the Dot-com bubble had burst and we were poised to ride to glory and of course, 9/11 pushed us all off of the cliff.
For our small, fledgling firm, 9/11 became a catalyst to pull together and fight to survive and ultimately thrive. For the United States of America, 9/11 was a unifier that made us all United in our resolve to throw aside our disagreements but focus on our love of Country.
About three weeks after September 11th, I was in NYC and went down to where the Twin Towers were destroyed. The stench of death was omni-present but my overwhelming feeling was the pride of being an American and resolve, that we were going to rise up and show the World what we were made of.
I was so proud that in the weeks and months after 9/11 the USA rose up, and were focused on what brought us together as opposed to what tore us apart. That it wasn’t about Red America, or Blue America but about the United States of America.
So twenty years later, it's so sad and disturbing that not only that the group that were co-conspirators in the most sinister act that’s ever affected our country large and in charge in Afghanistan but we as a people are so divided, the us versus them is internal versus external.
Here’s the real 911 America. If we as a Country don’t come together urgently as one TEAM, we will be relegated to another case study of once powerful countries that lost their way.
The good news, I believe, is that most of us care about the same stuff…we may have a disagreement how to get there but we have the same objective. Todd Rose in his research says that we as a people have the SAME view of what the priorities of the Country should be.
We all believe that having equal access to quality education is a key foundational fundamental to having a thriving society.
We all believe that protecting the environment and promoting sustainable resources is the only way to be good stewards of the planet.
We all believe that race, religion, gender or preference of who you want to love shouldn’t prevent your opportunities.
We all believe that freedom of speech, religion and activities is the backbone of America.
We all believe in America, the only thing that limits our opportunity is our vision and ambition.
And while I say, “we all believe”, I realize that we ALL don’t believe. But the time is now to step up and come together in not what separates us but what brings us together.
America has been the most influential experiment in the history of the World in terms of creating the opportunity of self made success and opportunity…but like everything, you get better, or you get worse, you don’t stay the same.
Today is the day we need to rise up and Unite as a Country to continue the aspiration of being the place where everybody has the opportunity to realize life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For the week, the NASDAQ and S & P 500 were down -1.9% and -1.3%. The Dow slid -.8%.
The S&P 500’s decline was driven by its largest constituent, Apple. Apple lost $200 billion of market cap in two days after news that (1) Chinese government employees would no longer be able to use iPhones and (2) the new iPhone 15 Pro may cost a staggering $1100.
Top growth companies continue to launch new products as the Fall heats up.
Roblox announced plans to launch avatar-based voice calls with facial motion tracking as it expands beyond being a game platform for kids.
Duolingo confirmed that its adding math and music lessons, all in one app alongside its flagship language-learning product.
Uber continues to build its “Super App,” as code in the iOS app suggests that the company is working on a TaskRabbit-like service named “Chore” that lets users hire people to conduct various tasks.
Lastly, short seller Grizzly Research published a Short Report on PDD Holdings, claiming that TEMU is the most dangerous malware/spyware package currently in widespread speculation.
We remain optimistic about the outlook for growth stocks and believe there continues to be upside for many of our favorites. Accordingly, we are BULLISH.
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GSV’s Four I’s of Investor Sentiment
GSV tracks four primary indicators of investor sentiment: inflows and outflows of mutual funds and ETFs, IPO activity, interest rates, and inflation. Here’s how these four signals performed last week:
#1: Inflows and Outflows for Mutual Funds & ETFs
#2: IPO Market
Reuters reported this week that Arm’s IPO is six times oversubscribed. Arm will decide early next week whether to raise its IPO price range above $47-$51, which values Arm at $50-54 Billion.
Source: Renaissance Capital
#3: Interest Rates
Charts of the Week
Chuckle of the Week
Entrepreneurship: 53% – YC companies that raise a Series A (Garry Tan)
Innovation: 94% – decrease in solar panel cost since 1989 (Rocket Solar)
Education: $38,000 – NYC spending per student in FY2024 (Chalkbeat)
Impact: 17% – US adults who regularly attend religious services in person and watch them online (Pew Research)
Opportunity: 61% – Americans that say there is such a thing as the American Dream (YouGov)
Connecting the Dots & EIEIO…
Old MacDonald had a farm, EIEIO. New MacDonald has a Startup…. EIEIO: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Education, Impact and Opportunity. Accordingly, we focus on these key areas of the future.
One of the core goals of GSV is to connect the dots around EIEIO and provide perspective on where things are going and why. If you like this, please forward to your friends. Onward!
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