Real Talk on Bill Ackman, Futuristic Automobiles, Donald Trump, and Mark Spitznagel

Nov 7 2017 | 1:31pm ET

Today we discuss Bill Ackman’s ADP flop, Mark Spitznagel’s goat cheese glory, Bob Lutz’s automotive dystopia, and Trump’s latest chest thumping.

Quotes of the Day

“We were greatly disadvantaged in this contest because ADP did not permit the use of a universal proxy card where each shareholder could choose which directors it wanted to represent them on one proxy card.”

That’s Bill Ackman after ADP’s annual company meeting.

Shareholders re-elected all ten of the company’s directors to its board.

Ackman lost a three-month proxy battle, but he claims that it isn’t over.

With that in mind, the financial media isn’t giving Ackman, who spent a long lunch hour talking about Pershing Square and his investments on Monday, much of break here.

This is a headline from Business Insider:

We all just witnessed the fall of a Wall Street god


Perhaps Ackman should just start targeting community banks trading under tangible book value and tap into the ongoing consolidation trend.

Everyone else is doing it. 

“Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap or trade it on a module.” 

That’s Bob Lutz.

The former GM executive doesn’t expect a bright future for driving enthusiasts.

In a weekend essay, Lutz offers what we consider to be a dystopian vision of the future for transportation. Dealerships are doomed. Auto magazines are done. And auto retail?

Well, you can put one and one together.

Boy we can’t wait to sit on automotive pods like transportation was right out of some Philip Dick hallucination.

Exit question: How the heck are we going to get anywhere when cars are banned and the grid is taken down. Technology has a price. The black market for motorcycles will explode.

“The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me… I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.”

That’s President Donald Trump.

He’s in Asia. Shh… don’t tell him…

Other things that have the stock market at all-time highs.

  • Quantitative easing.
  • Low interest rates.
  • Irrational exuberance.
  • Inflation
  • Irrational confidence in Elon Musk 

“I would tell anyone that they should own real, tangible, sustainable assets.”

That’s Mark Spitznagel.

Bloomberg has a new report on the success of one of Spitznagel’s ventures.

But this one has nothing to do with Black Swan Investing or reversions to the mean.

The head of Universa Investments made a six-figure investment into a Michigan farm that produces “French-styled goat cheese such as Idyll Gris.”

And the cheese has generated a ton of buzz.

“At the 2017 American Cheese Society Conference in July—the dairy world’s version of the Oscars—Idyll Farms walked away with seven awards, the most for any goat cheese producer in North America,” Bloomberg authors Larissa Zimberoff  and Chris Rovzar write.

Someone had better call Lloyd Blankfein.

If they don’t tell how good the cheese is, he’ll be mad.

That’s some good-ass cheese, Lloyd.

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Garrett Baldwin is the voice of the The Daily Alpha, the features editor for Modern Trader magazine, and the author of The Man with The Big Red Balloon.

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