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Life is Crazy or Ask Scott About Life


ScottHall
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No takers for a wall of text? Alright, fine. Feel free to ask away then, or just ignore this.

 

Double edit: It's back now, in a slightly modified version.

 

I told you all about my life in the other post, so I thought I should share the value of what I have learned in my life for each of you. You can take my advice or not. I accept they are unconventional and not for everyone, but they're worth a shot to some people. That's all I can really count on.

 

Some of the things they have convinced you about public education are close enough to hyperbole to be fraudulent. You do not need any real level of formal education to succeed in the western world. I dropped out of the fourth grade - after much controversy with the county and my family - and never regretted the decision.

 

The reason for this is what I was taught was mostly useless, and we were required to go at the pace of slowest folks in class. As the time, given this was an agricultural community in Northern California, the slowest people in class were the children of migrant workers from Mexico.

 

So come Social Studies, we went at their pace. Took them awhile to read out a paragraph. A whole class sometimes. It's not their fault for being placed in a class in a language they weren't familiar with, but even so, I quickly understood that this was not a system I could tolerate, and left. It's a wonder I didn't make it out sooner, except my family tried to protest it at the start.

 

I learned that what they wanted didn't matter, on account of I could just skip school over "sickness' to avoid its dreary existence. Eventually they gave in, we moved counties, and the hands weren't talking with each other.

 

I spent the rest of my childhood playing video games, without any real friends to speak of. I met them online on the chat rooms. Talked to people all over the world, and found out that British people don't use dollars. Couldn't grasp the concept of alternative currencies at that point, but it was a good thing to understand.

 

Boy was I lucky, because the internet really started taking off right when I hit my teen years. I could adopt so many subjects just by searching about them. I chose investment, studied it for a few years, and got a job involving looking at stocks on a day-to-day basis.

 

I don't do that anymore, but it was a fun three years. Now I'm on to learn new business-related subjects, to improve my knowledge of how successful businesses operate and what their cost structures should look like. I am lucky to enjoy myself every day, so it's not even really like work.

 

The summary version is that you shouldn't just accept what the government says when evaluating how to educate yourself or your children. As far as I'm concerned they have no business in my life at all, beyond coming for more money every year as a silent partner in everything I do.

 

That is fine, but sometimes their ideas of what's optimal really isn't. College is even worse, at least where I attempted to attend it. Keep in mind the opportunity cost. The time bandit is the biggest bandit I know of.

 

Another thing you need to know is that you shouldn't buy stuff just because most people do. You all are value investors allegedly, so this should be an intuitive thing for you. But many of you will not try sleeping on the floor to see how you like it.

 

I did this for years with just an old sleeping bag and I felt great. I now have a blow up bed that my brother left behind. I now sleep on it, and will do so for as long as it has air in it. But when the time comes to replace it, it's back to the floor for me.

 

Much of this, of course, is based on the hassle of learning to do maintenance activities that are of dubious value given the alternative. I am a very lazy person, and have structured my life around my laziness. I got out of school so I could play videogames all day.

 

I got a job that offers very generous personal life balance. Unlimited vacation, and legitimately so. I took off two months pretty recently, and by the time I got back I had earned a promotion. There was no ill will at all. Sort of the opposite.

 

You must also understand that one great way to accomplish great things for your company is to be willing to get fired tomorrow. Every day that I go in to work, I understand that I could say or do something so offensive that I could be fired for it, and I love that possibility because it is the ultimate freedom.

 

Sometimes it is valuable to tap into that to get subjects on the table that would otherwise be considered sacred cows. If you're afraid of losing your job, it means you're probably not doing as good a job as you could be if you weren't.

Life has slowly become something that I understand.

 

And I have learned not to let it bother you too much, because bad things are going to happen to you. You just have to let them go, or at least not let them consume you. The dark spirals of depression and drug addiction are not good, but if you combine them, it's even harder to fix them.

 

I suffered deep depression from my mid teens to my early twenties before I realized we're all probably going to die, so not to worry about it. Other people use religion for the same effect. That'll work too; we all need our delusions, so long as we're not delusional in our business and investing lives.

 

More to come later. I am exhausted now and the Benadryl is kicking in.

 

Scott

 

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I agree with a lot of what you say on a deep and philosophical level. There's a lot of overlap here with the early retirement and financial independence community, especially the more interesting (ie not just hoard middle class money) segments, that are interested in things such as van-dwelling and freeganism. Such as me.

 

One thing that was unclear from what you wrote. One of your sentences seems to say that you just left the Motley Fool, but then another seems to say that you're still there, and were recently promoted? I think there's some misunderstanding on my part, right?

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No takers for a wall of text? Alright, fine. Feel free to ask away then, or just ignore this.

 

I read it this morning but was thinking about it before posting anything. No need to delete your thoughts just because no one responds in the first few hours?

 

Anyway, here it goes (very briefly):

 

I believe there exists a healthy balance to everything. Just as spending all or more than you make can be unhealthy, I also believe that being too extreme can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. I don't see how sleeping on the floor and saving $500-$x000 is going to help me over the long term. Maybe one can skip medicines as well and take mints as a placebo. It's cheaper right?

 

On average most people can hardly be called intelligent and among other things they lack decent discipline, an independent mind or critical thinking skills. Because of that, the things you did (leaving school, making it on your own and being emotionally freed of the need for material wealth) would never work for them. That's why the educational system works. It's why having debt to keep up with the joneses works in our capitalist society. Idem for 9-5 jobs etc. Most people need this structure to function properly. Take it away and you get a bunch dysfunctional fools. :D

 

Despite being sceptical on certain points, I have respect for what you are trying to do. I just don't think that we are even close to getting on that level (and beyond) as a society. We are all idiots trying to figure it all out. There is so little we know, especially on subjects like behaviour. So yes, life is crazy.

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Thus far I have made all investment decisions with tarot cards and have done poorly.  If I understand your post from the other day, these cards are a sham and I need to switch to regular playing cards.  Please expound on this.  Do I leave the jokers in?  Does my horoscope have any influence?

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From the comments, it sounds like this was a pretty interesting life story. As I'm always very interested in the stories of people who achieved success in an unconventional way (those stories typically have more to teach us, imo) I'd appreciate it if you'd consider putting it back up. I wasn't around from 8PM-4AM (the times originally posted and edited by my computer's clock), so missed it.

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Scott,

 

Appreciated the post before it was taken down.  There's a lot of value in what you've learned.

 

For what it's worth Scott and I had emailed back and forth mid-2011 and he was the only who mentioned the Walkers Manual of Unlisted Stocks to me.  From there I ended up deep in the weeds with unknown companies.  Those few conversations helped me blaze my own path in the investment world.  I doubt that was the intention but that's what happened.  Sometimes you plant a seed and it's unknown what type of plant will grow from it.

 

Thanks!

Nate

 

 

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Here is my summary version.  Scott had an unconventional childhood.  He dropped out of school in 4th grade to play video games.  He eventually landed in investing, goes against the grain and has moved up in the world.  He hasn't moved up conventionally, but by blazing his own path.  In his view too many clutter their life with material goods of dubious value.  His path isn't for everyone, but we would all be better served by thinking and at times acting unconventionally.

 

If you want the same results as everyone else do the same thing as everyone else.  If you want different results from the pack you need to be different.  Scott's results will be clearly different, I don't know if it's better or worse, but they will be different.

 

As someone who has mostly marched to my own drum through life I can feel for Scott.  It sucks he's had to deal with a lot of family hardship, but it sounds like he's made the best of it.  We don't get to choose our circumstances in life, but we do decide how to deal with them.  Many with Scott's background would be wasting their life away, he's chosen to do something different, something better.  I applaud that.  It's tough to be vulnerable and introspective.  If nothing else I think this thread could be a reminder that not everyone arrives at the same place in life the same way.  We're all on this same site but with varying backgrounds and it's worth keeping that in mind.

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Here is my summary version.  Scott had an unconventional childhood.  He dropped out of school in 4th grade to play video games. [...]

As an aside and because it ties in with the theme of unconventionality, today there are many people who play and live stream video games for a living. The most popular site (I think) for watching these streams is Twitch.tv. Some of the most popular streamers draw tens of thousands of viewers every day. The streamers make money from people who subscribe to their channel, from donations and from ads. Some of them make a very good living. The most popular ones probably also get paid by game studios looking for a channel to promote their newly launched games. Twitch takes a cut of subscription revenues and also makes money of the ads. Amazon bought Twitch last year for about $1 billion.

 

To me it is amazing how a site like this pops out of the ground and becomes an alternative to television for many (young) people looking for entertainment. It has allowed some entertaining gamers to make a career out of their hobby.

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Click on his name Scott Hall on his post on this thread. His profile comes up. Click on "show posts". I assume we're talking about the wall of text in the 4th post under Buffett's eating habits.

 

Good band name by the way "Wall of Text"

Totally missed whatever happened here.  ???

 

Ditto

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Here is my summary version.  Scott had an unconventional childhood.  He dropped out of school in 4th grade to play video games. [...]

As an aside and because it ties in with the theme of unconventionality, today there are many people who play and live stream video games for a living. The most popular site (I think) for watching these streams is Twitch.tv. Some of the most popular streamers draw tens of thousands of viewers every day. The streamers make money from people who subscribe to their channel, from donations and from ads. Some of them make a very good living. The most popular ones probably also get paid by game studios looking for a channel to promote their newly launched games. Twitch takes a cut of subscription revenues and also makes money of the ads. Amazon bought Twitch last year for about $1 billion.

 

To me it is amazing how a site like this pops out of the ground and becomes an alternative to television for many (young) people looking for entertainment. It has allowed some entertaining gamers to make a career out of their hobby.

 

In South-Korea, pro-gamers can be stars. The Starcraft scene, for example, has many teams with coaches who all live together and train all day long, with matches being shown on TV and streamed online.

 

This type of thing will only keep getting more popular over time.

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I agree with a lot of what you say on a deep and philosophical level. There's a lot of overlap here with the early retirement and financial independence community, especially the more interesting (ie not just hoard middle class money) segments, that are interested in things such as van-dwelling and freeganism. Such as me.

 

One thing that was unclear from what you wrote. One of your sentences seems to say that you just left the Motley Fool, but then another seems to say that you're still there, and were recently promoted? I think there's some misunderstanding on my part, right?

 

Hi Innerscorecard,

 

I am still at the Motley Fool. I was pretty tired when I wrote that (was on the Benadryl as a sleep aid), so going back, I noticed there were a lot of typos. It was more a stream-of-consciousness rant than a post with any real rhyme or reason to it.

 

I used to work as an analyst at the company, was promoted to senior analyst and am now working in the marketing department.

 

So were home schooled after you dropped out?

 

Briefly, yes, but I refused to do the work so that didn't last for long.

 

who's Scott and why should we care?

 

I am Scott. I am a novice in many fields and a master of none. I have ventured from investing, to marketing and general business principles. I am modestly skilled in all of them, but not amazing in any of them.

 

You may wish to care because there are probably things you could learn from me. I'm not particularly bright, but I have a decent amount of accumulated knowledge.

 

Thus far I have made all investment decisions with tarot cards and have done poorly.  If I understand your post from the other day, these cards are a sham and I need to switch to regular playing cards.  Please expound on this.  Do I leave the jokers in?  Does my horoscope have any influence?

 

Tarot cards are fake. You must use a poker deck for predicting the future, and horoscopes are useless. But palm reading is real.

 

My grandmother was an over-the-phone "psychic" who actually believed she was one. My family on that side is descended from gypsies, so I guess not much changed over the generations.

 

Thanks for sharing

 

can you share a bit more about your last 10 years and plans for the next 10 or 20?

 

much appreciated!

 

Sure. Over the last ten years, my interests drifted into (and out of) politics, and I once considered myself a socialist because my internet friends said it was the intelligent thing to do.

 

I've since decided that politics is a waste of mental effort, and moved into investing. I used my knowledge there to get hired by a financial newsletter publisher and worked on its analyst team for some time before moving to its marketing department.

 

I forged transcripts and got into community college, briefly, before I decided that it was a waste of my time and dropped out again.

 

My grandmother, both my grandfathers, and my father all died in the past few years. My grandmother from her dementia, one of my grandfathers from Parkinson's, the other from cancer, and my father from his third stroke brought on from drinking too much.

 

Various members of my family have taken this better than others, but one of my siblings in particular has had a rough go of it. I'm personally fine, on account of I suspect we shall all die some day. There's no reason to get upset over the inevitable, I think.

 

My plans for the next ten or twenty years are to wake up every day and try to enjoy myself with good meals and other treats. I may continue working, or I may travel around to experience the country and world. Basically, it's up in the air. I've never really made plans.

 

How are we supposed to ask questions when we don't know who you are or what your background is? Nate's post shed a little light but nothing to really inquire about.

 

You can ask whatever you'd like, doesn't have to be about my background necessarily. I'll tell you my thoughts on pretty much any subject that I have an opinion about. I just want to create some conversation here that isn't dominated by value investing. We can talk about you, if you'd rather.

 

Can we ask someone else about life?

 

Yes. I don't want to dominate the topic, but since I started it I thought I'd put myself out there first.

 

I read it this morning but was thinking about it before posting anything. No need to delete your thoughts just because no one responds in the first few hours?

 

Anyway, here it goes (very briefly):

 

I believe there exists a healthy balance to everything. Just as spending all or more than you make can be unhealthy, I also believe that being too extreme can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. I don't see how sleeping on the floor and saving $500-$x000 is going to help me over the long term. Maybe one can skip medicines as well and take mints as a placebo. It's cheaper right?

 

On average most people can hardly be called intelligent and among other things they lack decent discipline, an independent mind or critical thinking skills. Because of that, the things you did (leaving school, making it on your own and being emotionally freed of the need for material wealth) would never work for them. That's why the educational system works. It's why having debt to keep up with the joneses works in our capitalist society. Idem for 9-5 jobs etc. Most people need this structure to function properly. Take it away and you get a bunch dysfunctional fools. :D

 

Despite being sceptical on certain points, I have respect for what you are trying to do. I just don't think that we are even close to getting on that level (and beyond) as a society. We are all idiots trying to figure it all out. There is so little we know, especially on subjects like behaviour. So yes, life is crazy.

 

Yes, I don't think my way of life is ideal for everyone. Some people will need or want structure, and that's fine. I just ask that folks be open to attempting it. I will say that I've found my back feels much better from sleeping on the floor, although the bed is more comfortable while I'm actually doing it.

 

I used to wake up with awful back spasms that wouldn't go away for weeks. Haven't had one in years. The blow up bed my brother left behind has yet to do that, but if it does I will certainly quit using it.

 

A lot of value here also comes from the lack of maintenance I have to do for it. A similar thing: I don't wash my clothes often. I once went 6 months without doing a load of laundry, but was told by my family that people were probably just being polite about the smell. No one complained, though.

 

The reason for not doing these things is because they're massive time sucks, in aggregate, and don't really add much value to myself. I would rather learn something new or perform an activity that I enjoy instead of these maintenance activities, so I defer them as long as possible.

 

For an investing comparison... I treat my chores as John Malone treated his cable systems at TCI.

 

Regarding why I deleted the post: I thought there was no interest. If that was the case, I was going to take it down and post it on one of my other online communities. But I'm anonymous on some of them, so I wouldn't like people to copy my stories in Google and tie me to this account as well.

 

From the comments, it sounds like this was a pretty interesting life story. As I'm always very interested in the stories of people who achieved success in an unconventional way (those stories typically have more to teach us, imo) I'd appreciate it if you'd consider putting it back up. I wasn't around from 8PM-4AM (the times originally posted and edited by my computer's clock), so missed it.

 

It is not so much my life story as some of the things that I've learned from life. A short version of my life story has been posted in the Buffett eats like a 6-year-old thread.

 

Scott,

 

Appreciated the post before it was taken down.  There's a lot of value in what you've learned.

 

For what it's worth Scott and I had emailed back and forth mid-2011 and he was the only who mentioned the Walkers Manual of Unlisted Stocks to me.  From there I ended up deep in the weeds with unknown companies.  Those few conversations helped me blaze my own path in the investment world.  I doubt that was the intention but that's what happened.  Sometimes you plant a seed and it's unknown what type of plant will grow from it.

 

Thanks!

Nate

 

Thanks Nate.

 

I had good fun talking with you back then. Time sort of crept on me and I have not done a great job in keeping touch with you, except through Twitter, but it was enjoyable. I am glad that you found some value from it in your own life.

 

For everyone else: I will repost the original shortly. I kept it saved in case I wanted to post it elsewhere.

 

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Here is my summary version.  Scott had an unconventional childhood.  He dropped out of school in 4th grade to play video games. [...]

As an aside and because it ties in with the theme of unconventionality, today there are many people who play and live stream video games for a living. The most popular site (I think) for watching these streams is Twitch.tv. Some of the most popular streamers draw tens of thousands of viewers every day. The streamers make money from people who subscribe to their channel, from donations and from ads. Some of them make a very good living. The most popular ones probably also get paid by game studios looking for a channel to promote their newly launched games. Twitch takes a cut of subscription revenues and also makes money of the ads. Amazon bought Twitch last year for about $1 billion.

 

To me it is amazing how a site like this pops out of the ground and becomes an alternative to television for many (young) people looking for entertainment. It has allowed some entertaining gamers to make a career out of their hobby.

 

In South-Korea, pro-gamers can be stars. The Starcraft scene, for example, has many teams with coaches who all live together and train all day long, with matches being shown on TV and streamed online.

 

This type of thing will only keep getting more popular over time.

 

Starcraft is so 2000's. LoL/Dota2 are where it's at.

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