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Stock Picks

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I had a fun conversation this last Friday with some of my friends around stocks that we were holding on to. In early 2016, I remember telling them that Nvidia was the company to own for the next decade. Fortunately, we all had bought in at various points and have made a killing so far.

However, I remember telling some of my other friends back in 2014 that Nvidia was the biggest growth company and is one of the few companies that are creating exponential value. I sent the email on February 15, 2014 back when the stock was trading at ~$15/share. It now sits at $201/share, around a 1,171% gain.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a “I always pick the best stocks” post but rather just a more concrete way to seeing whether I’m actually right or not when I pick stocks. I never seem to log the trades so I figured I’d put it here. Below are my picks with price targets. Let’s see if I’m right!

  • NVDA – $350 by end of 2018 (currently $201)
  • BOX – $50 by end of 2018 (currently $21)
  • MULE – $50 by end of 2018 (currently $24)
  • MSFT – $175 by end of 2018 (currently $84)
  • MA – $225 by end of 2018 (currently $149)
  • HON – $215 by end of 2018 (currently $146)
  • JNJ – $200 by end of 2018 (currently $141)
  • WEC – $110 by end of 2018 (currently $67)

Just to be clear, these are completely non-calculated, non-scientific estimates. I’m basing my judgement purely on just looking at the business model with current market climates and thinking about where value may increase. Here’s to hoping!

21 Books I Read in 2016

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I never used to read because I never seemed to be able to get into the books I read. I’m not sure if that was a symptom of being forced to read certain books in school or not, but this year I decided to change that. I started out by buying any book that interested me and got over reading nerdy books. It must have been a left over feeling of being made fun of for reading science fiction but I started out by reading a science fiction book. That ultimately led me to read a ton. This list isn’t a review for each but more so a list on which ones I liked/disliked. For 2015, here are the books that I read.

  1. Foundation by Isaac Asimov – 5/5 – An old, classic, and incredibly great science fiction book. I loved it because of the chess game of wits that Asimov put into the book.
  2. Foundation and the Empire by Isaac Asimov – 4/5 – This is the continuation of the Foundation series. A great book but I didn’t get quite into it like I did the first.
  3. Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov – 4/5 – The last book in the Foundation Series. It was on par with its prior book of the series.
  4. Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku – 5/5 – This book blew me away. While there are some really far out there ideas, this book actually helped me a lot in thinking about our future and questioning certain premises. I’d say it largely influenced my thinking around Space and Genomics.
  5. Incognito by David Eagleman – 5/5 – A slow starter but ramps up by chapter 4 into something incredible. The experiments that Eagleman has performed to show the inner workings of “us” gave me a whole new perspective on who is really in control.
  6. Book of Physics & Astronomy by Cornelia Dean – 4/5 – Long read but incredibly fascinating. This book covers the history up until present day of some of the most astounding findings within the physics and astronomy field. I learned an incredible amount from this book.
  7. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey – 5/5 – I’m obsessed with this series. A science fiction book that takes place in the future of our solar system, this book literally sucked me in. I ready 3/4 of it in one sitting. The plot line, style of writing, and gripping mystery that all leads up to the end of the book makes it a truly special read. This series has me hooked.
  8. Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey – 5/5 – Like above, it’s just a great series. I love the vision and this series just gets me pumped. I wish we lived in a world that they’ve created.
  9. Abbadons Gate by James S.A. Corey – 5/5 – See above.
  10. Cibola Burns by James S.A. Corey – 5/5 – See above.
  11. Nemisis Games by James S.A. Corey – 5/5 – See above.
  12. The Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark – 4/5 – I didn’t think I was going to get into this book that much and while there were some dry spots that you have to grind through, this book was really rewarding intellectually. It postulates theories around our universe with in-depth explanations that, once again, put everything in perspective.
  13. Connectome by Sebastian Seung – 3.5/5 – This was a decent read but was dry. This is to be expected as it’s a book about the brain and the inner workings. I found many parts fascinating and loved the detail in Seung’s explanation on how memory and thoughts work.
  14. Atlas Shrugged by Aynd Rand – 5/5 – The entrepreneur “must read”. While the characters feel a little over played and sometimes too dramatics, the underlying message of the book was incredible. There were some things I disagreed with but many concepts that I completely embodied.
  15. Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan – 4/5 – Opening dialogue for this book will forever be engrained in my brain. Truly incredible dive into our solar system, this book covers many of the great discoveries we have made. There are parts that drag on a bit but it’s a really incredible book.
  16. Bold: How to Go Big by Peter Diamandis – 2/5 – I never seemed to really get into this book. I thought it was going to be more on futuristic thinking, a dive into different disruptions into industries, and exponential growth potential. Instead, a lot of the book talked about crowd funding and the likes. I didn’t glean much interesting insight from this one and wouldn’t recommend.
  17. Zero to One by Peter Thiel – 4/5 – Short read but delivers quality thinking into how to build up a company. While many concepts are widely known, the way some ideas that Thiel has used in his own businesses were delivered really struck a note. Worth reading if you’re ever going into business ventures.
  18. Choose Yourself by James Altucher – 3/5 – Picked this up for $1 after reading a Reddit comment about it. I’d say that there isn’t really anything spectacular about the book. It delivers a nice note of “follow your dreams” and talks a lot about Altucher’s personal business experience. I didn’t agree with probably 60%-70% of what he preaches, but it’s a book that will help you find your barometer on life and direction.
  19. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance – 5/5 – Christ, what a good book. I read this book in 2 sittings and couldn’t put it down. I know, I know… I’m a Musk fan boy. I honestly don’t care though. The drive, passion, and conviction that Musk has is unrivaled. Vance does a great job of telling the history of Musk and diving into the never ending massive challenges he has overcome.
  20. Player of Games by Iain Banks – 5/5 – Loved this sci-fi classic. This, like “Foundation” were incredibly fun to read for me primarily because of the mental games that are played. It delivers a nice dose of futuristic thinking while telling a gripping story line that showcases the inner workings of a chess-like genius.
  21. A Decoded Life by Craig Venter – 5/5 – Probably skewed the rating since I love genetics but this book was awesome. Venter goes into the history of his career, how he overcame massive problems, and how he is solving some of the worlds toughest problems. I especially like his personality that biases towards action. I’d love to meet the guy some day and, if I’m lucky enough, be able to compete in business against someone of his caliber. If you want a book that dives into how we’re accelerating the understanding of “us” as humans, this is a great one to pick up that never gets old.

As we enter 2016, I’ve got a small list of books that I want to read that is growing. Many of these revolve around genetics at the moment with a couple sci-books. In 2016, I’m hoping to read 30 books with a stretch goal of 40. Leave a comment if you have any that you think are worth reading!

Leaving Acquia

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In one week I’ll be leaving my current position at Acquia as a Product Manager on the Lift Personalization product. I’m incredibly sad to be leaving Acquia as I loved the people I worked with, the vision of the company, and passion everyone had for what they did. Starting June 1st, I’ll be moving to be a Product Manager at Localytics on the marketing feature set within their platform.

I first joined Acquia as a Product Marketing Manager for Cloud Site Factory. I didn’t have much marketing experience but they gave me the opportunity to prove that I make an impact to the business. This is one of the attributes that I loved about Acquia was the willingness to give people a chance to shine. It ended up working out well when we ended up doubling our lead pipeline.

Cloud Site Factory was a very challenging product to market due to the technical complexities and business impact. Site Factory allowed businesses to rapidly spin up site, maintain governance over their digital properties, and simplify the technical management for developers. It touched every aspect of the business and was often the catalyst for many companies looking to replatform their CMS but also to shifting towards a digital first company.

I was then given the opportunity to move into Product Management on the Lift Personalization product. Lift allowed businesses to provide contextual 1:1 marketing conversations with users on their websites. It was quite the learning curve but we ultimately pushed the product into an early success.

Acquia taught me a lot about mid sized company growth and how to transform to an enterprise focused company. It takes a broader mind shift to break into the enterprise market from how you sell to your value props to your support model. While going through this transformation, Acquia has been able to stay true to their core DNA and culture which I believe will ultimately make them the go to solution for enterprises in the future.

While bittersweet, I’m happy I was able to contribute to such a strong company and learn so much. I was given a great opportunity with Localytics to work on a whole different set of challenges to break through. Being a much smaller company at ~200 employees with double digit growth, it’s going to be another learning experience that will give me insight I need to start my own company in the future.

Cheers to Acquia on their move to State Street in Downtown Boston and many more years of success! And many thanks to the folks at Localytics for giving me an exciting new challenge to pursue.