Discover more from Allocators Asia
Best Content of 2022
Curating my favourite articles, podcasts, videos, & books from 2022
“Quality, relevant content can't be spotted by an algorithm. You can't subscribe to it. You need people - actual human beings - to create or curate it.” ― Kristina Halvorson
Hello friends, enemies, and those still under review.
Through my work I sift through a metric shit tonne of content, so I’m keen to share with you some of the best I've come across in the past year.
If I had to pick a theme for the content I’m suggesting it’d be content that makes you think, yet makes you curious for more. Hopefully, anyway.
I’ve sorted them into Articles, Podcasts, Videos, and Books, and I’ve even included a blurb or summary for a lot of ‘em.
Incredible analysis that uses The Luxury Strategy by Jean-Noël Kapferer, a book considered the definitive guide to understanding luxury consumer brands and applies it to the French luxury giant Moet Hennessy - Louis Vuitton (LVMH).
Getting people’s attention has never been easy, but social media made it a nightmare. […] The solution for many writers has been a combination of clickbait, pandering, and fear-mongering. The loudest voice wins. But that’s short-sighted – it’s exhausting for readers, comes at the expense of long-term trust, and it’s easy to mistake people gawking at you for people paying attention to you.
But there’s a middle ground to gain and maintain attention:
Get to the point.
Good stories > deep lectures.
Transform gut feelings into words, explaining something people intuitively know is true but haven’t yet put into words.
Be broad. “Your job is to write something that a hedge fund manager will find informative but a complete novice will understand.”
Introduce a new topic through the lens of something readers already know.
You can give people information; you can give them an opinion; or you can try to change the way they think. The first is ultra-competitive. The second pulls you towards pandering. The third is, I think, by far the most powerful, and the best way to not only get but keep people’s attention.
Mark Manson, self-help blogger and author, best known for "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life." But what happens when a self-improvement guru burns out?
Despite being a cringetopia, LinkedIn does have a few redeeming qualities. The biggest being accountability. Since people use their real names and the platform is tied to their careers, people act relatively civil.
Li Lu might be the most interesting investor ever. Bold claim! But hear me out…
Born during the Cultural Revolution where his parents got sent off to labour camps so he bounced around peasant families that could take him in.
Survived the great Tangshan earthquake whilst all of his foster family perished.
He not only participates but helps lead the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 where he ends up on China’s most-wanted list.
He flees China and ends up in the US where he becomes a world-class value investor and best buds with Charlie Munger.
Something you never notice until you learn it. But Japan’s 12 standardized land-use zones is a solid reason why I love that place so damn much. Essentially, apartments, restaurants and schools can be built in all but two zones. Talk about A E S T H E T I C. “If you love me, let me go, back to that bar in Tokyo…”
Title may sound clickbaity, but the article is the bee’s knees.
China’s leaders are (rightly so) obsessed with the threat of a blockade. How would a blockade manifest first? By cutting China off the energy supplies from overseas.
Instantly, the flow of 10 million oil barrels per day would stop. So would the 15 billion cubic feet of gas per day. And the 250 million tons per year of coal. […]
There is, and will not be for at least 20 years, no valid alternative to fossil fuel to run a military force efficiently. Electric buses are possible, electric tanks are just not an option.
So in the case of war + blockade, you would need to save ALL the local gas & oil production for the war effort (military + industrial production of weapons).
I was in VietNam in August, and my god I wanna see it succeed so bad. Whatta place.
Vietnam since 1990 has been a solid development success story, but it’s still in the early days of the process. I’m really rooting for the country to succeed — if the government is willing to take the right steps, Vietnam could be the next Malaysia, or even, someday, the next South Korea. What a triumph that would be.
to heal my attention, it was not enough simply to strip out distractions. That makes you feel good at first – but then it creates a vacuum where all the noise was. I realised I had to fill the vacuum. […] Almost everyone reading this will have experienced a flow state at some point. It’s when you are doing something meaningful to you, and you really get into it, and time falls away, and your ego seems to vanish, and you find yourself focusing deeply and effortlessly.
And how to get in a flow state I hear you ask?
You need to choose one goal. Flow takes all your mental energy, deployed deliberately in one direction.
That goal needs to be meaningful to you. you can’t flow into a goal that you don’t care about.
It helps if what you are doing is at the edge of your abilities. E.g the rock you are climbing is slightly higher and harder than the last rock you climbed.
Bless Pradyu for providing a TL;DR
Economic development is dependent on the deal between elites of a country. In most poor countries, elites choose to extract resources from the economy because the policies that lead to development can endanger their political position.
When elites decide to have pro-growth policies, they’re taking a risk that it will work out and benefit them personally. Most elites do not want to take this risk, and would rather enjoy the spoils of corruption instead.
Some circumstances like the possibility of losing legitimacy (e.g. China after the Cultural Revolution) can force elites to focus on economic growth. But this doesn’t guarantee it. Elites also have to ration state capacity wisely and be open to correcting course for countries to escape extreme poverty.
Just a crazy tale. Crack a coldie on a quiet Sunday arvo and read this one.
It’s right there in the title! They’ve compressed 75 years in 3 hours, giving you the greatest ROI on your time you could hope for.
Mr Beast on The Joe Rogan Experience [Spotify]
Must listen for creators. Mr Beast, no matter your opinion of his content, is one of the most popular personalities on YouTube. So he knows his stuff. Talks about his YouTube journey, how to generate ideas, and viral content strategy.
Todd McFarlane — How to Make Iconic Art, Reinvent Spider-Man, Live Life on Your Own Terms, and Meet Every Deadline on Tim Feriss [Apple] [Spotify]
Todd is a quirky dude. Great storyteller. Great anecdotes. Imagine if your rambling uncle at Christmas was also uber-successful. I loved this interview.
Another one for creators. Ben is the OG business content creator, and this podcast and this one explaining the history and business of Stratechery itself is a banger.
The podcast I’ve re-listened to most this year. And one I will continue to re-listen to.
This episode was actually recorded prior to Abe’s passing. So at least you know there’s no sugarcoating. Great round-up and recap of his life in politics.
TSMC and Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry with Tim Koay, Historian on Taiwan Early Stage Semiconductor Initiative [Spotify] [Apple]
Absolute banger of a podcast on Taiwan’s Semiconductor Industry origins. Jon from Asianometry interviews Tim here (I’ve also done a deep dive on TSMC with Jon), so Jon knows what to ask and when to probe.
Enough to make me swear off alcohol after this silly season.
Raghav has a unique set of experiences and he shares valuable insights on how the investment research space is rapidly changing and why.
This is the Asian Century, and we’re all just living in it. Not just a cricket interview, Harsha gets philosophical around India’s relationship with the West and it gets pretty deep. Harsha is an amazing speaker and thinker.
Video essays that will make you smarter and satisfy your curiosity. All from 2022.
The most efficient way to share videos is through a YouTube playlist. I’ve tried to include a mix of both larger and smaller channels. But there is definitely a bent towards Asia-Pacific based content and creators. I like what I like okay!
Admittedly I only read a few books published in 2022 (~28 books read overall). But they’ve been highly recommended reads!
Super fun read that covers South Korea’s incredible rise over the last 100 years.
Only a quarter in, but already highly recommend. How he’s made the history of chips and their strategic importance into a page turner I’ll never know.
Accused of being defamatory, this book has copped a bitta flak in some reviews1.
But reading this after I read Bourdain’s long-time producer’s book, In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom Vitale2, it does help paint a more well-rounded picture of Bourdain. Less demi-god, more mortal. I still love Bourdain, his work, and his ideals. But he’s only human after all.
Personally a very good year. Half the year spent travelling through Southeast Asia3. Launched the Allocators Asia YouTube and have 700+ subs. Compounding Curiosity was downloaded more than 20,000 times4 in 2022 even with my extended break. Most importantly of all though, I am fucking loving every second of what I do
I don’t have to do this. I get to do this!
Wishing you, ya families, and every man and his dog a good chrissie, and a happy new year.
“That without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, moribund.”
― Anthony Bourdain
You can find previous posts here. I also interview legends at Compounding Curiosity, lurk on Twitter @scarrottkalani, and have a Discord server for everything Allocators Asia (I’d love for you to join the cool little community we got going).
Want to get in contact? Reply to this email, comment on Substack, or send a letter via carrier pigeon and trust that fate will deliver it.
Cheers for reading Allocators Asia! Subscribe for free to get new posts and support my work.
‘“Every single thing he [the author] writes about relationships and interactions within our family as kids and as adults, he fabricated or got totally wrong,” Bourdain’s brother Christopher told the New York Times last week. But none have spelled out exactly where the errors lie, suggesting that Leerhsen’s accounting might be emotionally rather than factually discomforting.”
Released in 2021 otherwise, I would have a dedicated write-up in this list. Amazing book. Great audiobook version too.