New Year, New Thoughts for 2021

Last year this time I sat down and made a huge document of all possible things I could do. Then I prioritized them.

In the next days I will do the same.

I’m happy to say I’ve over-achieved my goal for 2020. Which makes me think I set my sights too low.

I’ve upped it for 2021.

Settle for one big goal

One major goal per year.

Because then you can achieve it without excuses.

My mistake has always been focusing on too many things.

If/When/Once you have conflicting goals, it becomes a slippery slope.

Before you know it, your life is riddled with complexity and you find yourself lacking a clear priority.

 

Listen to this ambient song. It’s good.

 

The Year 2020

Not the most fun year, but things have gone well.

I got back from Bangkok before the Corona Crisis restricted travel in late March. Since then I have been working from home and going to the gym.

Worked on:

-Investing and trading

-Swedish Finance Course w/ Mikael Syding (Finanskursen.se)

-Domain-investing.

Investing progress: 

As per the video interview w/ Ryan a month ago:

-Angler: Standstill.

-Azelio up 35%

-Bitcoin & Ethereum up 70%.

But now I am looking outside Sweden.

I got a new interesting stock idea, like a safer, ESG-version of Angler (numbers-wise).

Maybe more about that in the future. In the meantime,

I’ve written an in-depth guide on investing you can read here:

Following the advice in that article will save you at least 6 months, if you want to learn how to invest in stocks, starting from scratch.

You don’t need an MBA to learn investing. But you do need a strong interest and some time on your hands.

Gym progress:

I spent 2019 swimming and doing bodyweight workouts. 2020, starting April, I resumed heavier lifts inside of a gym with equipment available for compound lifts and such.

These are my current stats:

Bodyweight: 72 kg

6 x 47.5 kg dumbbell benchpress

5 x 100 kg benchpress

3 x 60 kg weighted dips

1 x 45 kg weighted pullup

1 x 45 kg weighted chin

10 Muscle-ups

1 x 180 kg deadlift (with belt)

3 x 120 kg squat (with belt)

BLT

Trends and Predictions:

Here are some global trends that interest me over the next 1-5 years:

  • The market as a casino // The Bubble won’t pop: This is my main scenario for 2021 and perhaps mid 2022. The market has never (during my active years) been more euphoric, volatile, and ripe for trading in such an event-driven manner. The reason is due to money printing, lots of new people entering the market, and the “gamification/memification” of stocks as examplified by Robin Hood and Fintwitter. (If I see another one of these GIFs w/ Leonardo Dicaprio raising his glass I’ll scream). This has two implications: (1) Look to stocks in gaming, gambling, brokerages, and cryptoexchanges. (2) Look to ESG-companies and scalable tech businesses not insanely overpriced.
  • Political fusion: We are due for a massive upheaval of the political landscape. The debate has been polarized for the last few years, and for good reasons; the social contract is long since broken, and most political parties suck. The next political movement will be the fusion of Conservatives and Libertarians.
  • Socialism, high-tax countries “locking in” their citizens and restricting capital from flowing out. This trend is escalating at a dangerous rate. The worst current examples are (1) the exit taxes imposed by Germany on rich individuals and large companies, (2) the increased financial reporting regulation and surveillance of citizens in the EU-area, and (3) the leftists destroying Silicon Valley.
  • Online Business, Cryptocurrency, Sovereignty. The opposite of above. The top 5%, contributing more than 80-90% to GDP will move where they benefit (as opposed to being exploited). This might lead to the collapse of the EU Union in another 10 years, likely followed by an attempt to expropriate the wealth of all productive and high net worth individuals, and if that should fail, a debt jubilee.
  • Envy, Mental Disorders, and Insanity will go up. Due to perceived relative status/success (The Dunbar’s Number of social media). Many girls already have panic attacks because they don’t fit in on Instagram, maybe boys are next. I could rant about this for a long time (perhaps better as a separate article) but two reasons will suffice: (1) The number of people who’ve become millionaires through stocks, crypto, online business, Pro Gaming, Instagram/YouTube, even through porn, is small in absolute terms (e.g: 0.1%) but they’re highly visible, viral, & have an outsized media presence — especially for young people — so that 0.1% might be perceived as being 20-35% by an irrational person. And most people under age 30 are irrational. (2) Social media and Youtube adoption are rising and most people are not intelligent or rational enough to use these tools to better their lives and learn things. Instead they are reactively sucked into wasting their time on mind-numbing gossip (furthered by “trending channels”) to fuel their dopamine addiction. Keep in mind something like 50% of social media users are under the age of 20. Their brains aren’t even fully developed. They are sold on get-rich-quick narratives and by the time they’re 25 and haven’t succeeded, they’ll have a speeded-up mid-life crisis, inferiority complex, or mental health issue. And that’s where….
  • Psychedelics, Therapy, and Eckhart-Tolle-stuff come into the picture, as a counter-effect to mental health issues. Because there can only be 5% in the top 5%. The quick fix and trendy thing is psychedelics, at least among men. Psychedelics could get huge in the next 5 years. For women, it’s most likely going to be a rise of female gurus (this is already happening, check out Lifecoachschool).
  • Everyone’s going to come online, somehow, someway. The nice way of putting it is to say that “We’re undergoing a golden age of democratizing online business and remote work, and that is the silver lining of Corona!”, but the reality of it is most likely going to be about “Selling the Dream,” as Ray Kroc put it. Then there will be consumer-faced tech companies that grow into massive global companies by providing a superior service to help people do their work or run their business online, and gain the whole market. I don’t know what these will be, but I’m thinking the next Shopify, WordPress, Elementor, Mailchimp (in its glory days). Maybe Webflow is onto something. Or Podia. Let me know if you have some ideas.

More Interesting Happenings:

Some things to keep in mind as we go into 2021.

  • Dangerous precedents: Mark Zuckerberg removes Donald Trump’s Facebook account and Jack Dorsey removes Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Mark Zuckerberg also removed Ron Paul’s Facebook account. This signals the Death of Free Speech.
  • Elon Musk becomes the richest man in the world (on paper). The moment he tries to sell his stock it will plummet to zero. Compare this to Warren Buffett (spending a lifetime making great investments), Bill Gates (building the most dominant computer company with a monopoly for decades). Or Jeff Bezos, getting lucky with the Internet bubble + genius + pioneering eCommerce like no one else. Then comes Elon Musk, who collects an army of IQ 80 people, posts memes on Twitter, runs a company with negligible profits (propped up with governments subsidy money), and becomes richer than all of them in ONE YEAR!
  • Peak Insanity on the Stock Market? One tweet from Elon Musk 120X:ed Signal’s market cap, in less than a week. I doubt the company is 120x better this week than it was last week.

In summary: The world is pretty crazy right now.

2021 will be one hell of a year.

Recommendations:

Books:

Money Masters is the best book on investing I have read.

Currently reading: Barbarians at the Gate – Bryan Burrough & John Helyar.

Videos:

  • Dai Vernon: Master of Magic
  • The Loudest Voice
  • Spartacus Blood & Sand:

Dai Vernon was to magic what Bruce Lee was to MMA.

Spartacus is like a more gory TV series version of Gladiator.

And the Loudest Voice is a good biopic about the Me-Too movement. Russell Crowe is such a good actor!

Mindsets to consider when planning your 2021:

  • Risk-Reward: a 400% upside at a 50% chance? Sounds good to me.
  • Effort-Ease: a project in 1-3 weeks that can remain for 1+ years?
  • Now-or-Never: an idea not conveyable 5 years from now? Do it now.

The Year 2021

If I can more than double-up again this year with my investing, I’ll reach the cut-off point where I can live off dividends.

So, as you can understand, I’m prioritizing investing over blogging and website stuff.

That said, these are the things I want to do next:

SGM Projects:

-BOOH Book Expanded

-An online course based on the most actionable parts from BOOH

-An upgrade of TUCS

You can join below to receive first dibs.

Get on the Waiting List for the BOOH Course:




(Note: If you got on the coaching list before, you’re on this one as well. I tried it and it did not work as a concept.)

Get on the Waiting List for the Upgraded version of TUCS:





What would be a meaningful accomplishment for you in 2021?

Leave a comment to share your advice & ideas with others!

P.S:

Thanks for the new reviews for BOOH. I appreciate it.

Comments

  1. Jason Collister says

    Nice article as always! Good to hear you are doing well.
    As of writing this I am shocked how some of your predictions came true.

    – The market truly is crazy right now! The whole Robinhood/Gamestop thing shows what empty demand can do and how uneducated masses are ruining themselves. You need to be educated in every aspect of financial matters especially investing IF you want to achieve something aside from “showing to those damn Wall Street bankers.” A lot of people have wasted their money to show how dangerously incompetent some Managers really are. End of story. This could be a chance for some but I would argue this was only a small episode.
    – Death of free speech: It is a dangerous trend but I think what Robinhood did in deciding to put a stop on buying Gamestop stocks (correct me here on my vocabular for I am not in any ways into Finance or Investing) was an even more dangerous precedent. I think we can conclude that the free Internet died on these two occasions. My prediction is that we are heading for a monitored Web like in China, Russia, North Korea etc. It would be wise to look into the Dark Web soon.
    – Politics: This is the only part where I am disagreeing with you. Your outlook seems too optimistic. Conservative parties won’t merge but will slowly start to undermine the political system in order to achieve autocratic control. Libertarians are a nice idea but as we have seen people don’t really value their supposed Freedom as much as they do money, entertainment and general comfort. Conservatives are already gaining power in many European countries. They will attract people with easy but empty promises and propaganda. The best cases would be freedom for prosperity aka the China Model but it’s just my speculation.

    I wish you a prosperous 2021! I hope to read more from you this year.

    • Well spoken, Mr. Collister.

      Blocking trading is hardly novel (remember FDR’s “Bank Holiday”?). Speech, as such, isn’t the real issue. What frightens me is that restrictions were undertaken so readily based on nothing more than some fucktards throwing their money at schemers who certainly bought Gamestop at basement prices and sold it to morons while claiming on Reddit that they were buying more. It was not remotely a bank run or even a general market collapse – why were the ordinary privileges to buy and sell taken away?

      I’m afraid you are right concerning Conservatism. Recent events like the 6 January Putsch have shown how few Conservatives are left. Neo-“Liberals” are now more favorable to Big Money and Big Business than Reagan ever was. I foresee a fragmentation between strains of reactionary lunacy, and we may well hope that they stay fragmented. As I wish the so-called “liberals” would fragment. Traditional Centrist views, Conservative or Liberal, have perished in America.

      Almost two centures ago now, De Toqueville reported that Americans talked about Liberty but only cared about money. That much ain’t changed.

    • Thanks Jason.

      You may be right about what you’re saying with regards to the trend of Populist Conservatism.

      I have an interesting theory related to Libertarianism that I may publish later this year.

  2. Thanks for all of your work and best Ideas Mr. Sunstrom.
    You’ve helped me, & many other people so much I am sure!
    Best Wishes,
    ‘Sebastian King’

  3. I also made the mistake of focusing on too many things. In 2021 I want to focus way more, especially on my fintech job, lifting and strong information diet (making sure I consume only from top content like yours).

    Your description of the global trends reminds me a lot of the book “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age”, which predicted (and still predicts ) a lot of the internet age amazingly well. You probably read it/know about it, but as you haven’t included in the article I thought worthy pointing to.

    Also looking forward to the BOOH expanded book.

    • Hey Danilo,

      I haven’t read the book in its entirety, but I’ve read summaries of it and heard it described verbally, so I have a decent idea.

      Another related book on that theme I would recommend is “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler. I wrote an article based on some thoughts from it:
      https://startgainingmomentum.com/future-shock/

      Update: I have now read The Sovereign Individual and recommend you to read the first half of it. 10/10 book.

  4. There has been some noise lately about regulating Bitcoin because of its use in illegal transactions/tax evasion. I have long been saying that governments will not tolerate a currency they cannot control.

    Americans do seem to be in a state of complete denial about government debt, and I agree they will let it go rampant until something triggers a collapse. What will happen then, and when, I have no certainty of.

    Conservatives and Libertarians have different ideologies, but (excluding nutjob pretenders) they have a lot in common. Both are rational, consistent, and sane – centrists, in the current context. The interests of both are endangered by lunatics of any type.

    Tripling my net worth should not be a challenge; it’s not that much now. I have a good job and very few expenses. Whatever comes from investment is just “buy low, sell high” with a lot of diversity, small profits on most sales, and few risky assets. Mostly I buy stuff that has intrinsic and reliable value and has down in price recently; I rarely take or close a major position all at once. I’ve made a 16% gain on GLD, for instance, even though my average buy price was only 3% below the current price.

  5. So, you live in Bangkok? Would you mind tell us why you ended up there? Is it because of the weather, and the affordability? Is it your Walden Pond? I read your stuff years ago, and I remember you lived in Lund…

    “-Bitcoin & Ethereum up 70%.”
    I thought you were a bitcoin bear? I guess it’s hard to be against bitcoin when you’re so close to Syding!
    I’m thinking of allocating some capital to bitcoin too; but I haven’t really studied it enough. But I’ve started to open up my mind, especially after listening to Michael Saylor, Raoul Pal, WSP and others…

    My portfolio is kind of boring. I’ve got a lot of gold, some stocks, and a lot of cash. I never bought the dip in March – CAPE never went below 24; the mean is 15-16. So, it was never “cheap” according to most fundamental metrics…

    “10 Muscle-ups”
    That is really impressive! I was never able to do one muscle up, even though I could do at least 20 chin ups. Maybe I never got the technique right.

    For the last year or to, I’m only fooling around with my 25-kilo dumbbell, and doing some push ups etc. I do walk at least 10 k steps each day, too.

    “Many girls already have panic attacks because they don’t fit in on Instagram, maybe boys are next. ”
    I’d say Instagram, and most social media, is very dangerous. I avoid it. Although, you must be on twitter to read what Alexander Bard and Nassim Taleb has to say.

    “Money Masters is the best book on investing I have read.”
    This one I will check out.

    I’ve read quite a bit on investing too in 2020.
    I love everything by Benjamin Graham. I can also recommend Spitznagel’s book “the Dao of Capital”.
    I’m really looking forward to October 2021, when his new book will be released.

    “Risk-Reward: a 400% upside at a 50% chance? Sounds good to me.”

    That’s what Michael Saylor said in an interview. “You want something with 50 % downside and 10 x upside”. He’s referring to bitcoin here.

    “If I can more than double-up again this year with my investing, I’ll reach the cut-off point where I can live off dividends.”
    Impressing! Would you mind saying what your monthly costs, roughly, that is, are?

    • Hi Jacob,

      No I lived in Bangkok during 2019 and early 2020. Now I’m in Sweden.

      Regarding Bitcoin: I’m neither a bull or a bear, but it certainly looks like it’s undergoing the early-to-mid stages of the hype phase. There’s no telling how high it might go this year, or when it will crash. So I’m watching that closely.

      Portfolio: Having a lot of cash is not preferable at this moment, with all the money-printing going on. I hope you find a way to allocate that cash.

      Muscle-ups: If you can do 20 chin-ups, you’re strong enough to do one or several muscle-ups. The technique is definitely the sticking point, you have to repeat the transition movement many times before it feels intuitive.

      Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ve come across “Dao of Capital” several times, but never read it.

      My monthly costs are relatively low, maybe around $2500. And I don’t have any expensive hobbies.

      • Francisco Rafael says

        Hey Ludvig,

        Bitcoin’s hype phase started 4 years ago, but it is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how huge it will get. The real opportunity is with other cryptos which will explode in value as the technology matures and blockchain is implemented across different industries.

        Bitcoin will stay at the forefront in terms of market value because banks and hedge-funds have accepted it as a store of value and investment vehicle, but BTC is technologically inferior to many crypto projects.

        I personally believe Binance is a gauranteed 5X (probably much more) within the next decade or so.

        • Francisco Rafael says

          It looks like 5X only took a month instead of a decade. I was really looking at this objectively with all factors considered. It just made sense that the price would continue to climb. I wasn’t sure how long it would take, but these rapid increases are par for the course; it’s just a matter of when they will happen.

        • Good job man.

      • Fransisco Rafael:
        Are you saying you think it’s time for the Altcoins next, during the rest of 2021?
        Or do you think Bitcoin is better?

    • Francisco Rafael says

      Hi Steve,

      Your timeline is short given the stage of development and adoption we are at with crypto and blockchain. As Ludvig has pointed out, we are in the infancy stage of this technology. My point was to say that there will be opportunities for huge gains with lesser-known, under-hyped projects as the landscape unfolds.

      My logic behind Binance is simple. It is the largest crypto exchange in the world and makes a profit from brokering purchases and sales. Their revenue is in the billions regardless of the market value of BNB (their coin).

      The crypto market is microscopic compared to where it will be 20 years from now (this is an assumption, but one that is supported by trends in our economy that are decades in the making). Everything (literally everything) in society has been moving towards the internet for the last twenty years. Why would money be the exception?

      Looking into the teams of individuals involved with projects will go a long way in identifying platforms with solid potential. There are people developing technologies in the crypto space that have proven track records of success with internet-based services.

      I don’t want to come off like a crypto maniac, so I won’t discuss the platforms I follow. But the information is out there, and I believe this is where the future of money and transactions is headed.

      • I think you are quite right in general, but I see one (huge) problem with electronic currencies: governments don’t control them.

        That’s not a problem for /users/, but governments most certainly will see it as a problem. Rulers have relied on manipulating money for as long as money has existed.

        Whatever “crypto” currency eventually dominates, my guess is that it will be owned by a government. Probably that of China.

        • Francisco Rafael says

          Hi Abgrund,

          You are correct – many of the idealistic benefits of cryptocurrencies may never come to fruition.

          It is quite possible that the Chinese government will seize control of the crypto markets, but this fairs well for Binance, which is a Chinese exchange.

          Also, once the hype and FOMO phase kicks into overdrive, there will be skyrocketing valuations across the board (driven by greed, of course).

          Most of these projects will come crashing down during the next bear market, but a few will retain their value and carry on into the future.

          In this sense, it will be similar to the internet bubble. Amazon crashed from $97 to less than a dollar in the late 90s. We all know how that turned out.

  6. Great thoughts and perspective.

    By the way, speaking of the social media bans and deplatformisation, it also includes YouTube now. That is quite a worrying development indeed.

  7. Bitcoin: the restrictive legislation I have long predicted may be emerging. Ouch.

    Stats: I like how you don’t fake or juice. When a 150 lb. man tells me he benches 300 lb for 10 reps, I know he is half-pressing, or outright lying. If he really can press 10×300, he’s a chemistry experiment (and it would be obvious by looking at him).

    The Bubble: could pop. There is, and will be more, a lot of money pouring into assets because the U.S. (and world?) economy has a huge excess of funds over real growth, and a painful maldistribution of income. Same situation as 1927, 1928… could it be 1929 already? What will happen when the U.S. has a ten trillion dollar deficit? Forty trillion? Psychology is hard to predict.

    Fusion: Conservatives, whoever is left, are pretty much Libertarian already. What we’ve seen lately (and it’s hardly propitious) is a tendency to delusion, polarization, and fanaticism – often over trivial issues that don’t always follow traditional left/right conflict. There are Americans who think they have a right to demand that everyone else pretend they are a different sex (or none!) from what they obviously are; there are Americans who think coronavirus is a hoax, 400,000 deaths were faked, and wearing a face mask for ten minutes causes brain damage. I think they already had brain damage. What is needed is a “sanity” movement; unfortunately it seems 80% of the population is committed to one form or another of mental illness. I fear that pointless violence is more likely than fusion, for several years at least. There could be another coup attempt in a week.

    Breakup of the EU: I sure hope so. The consequences of forcing unrestricted immigration on all of Europe were obvious. High taxes, though: I think US is worse than EU for +98% of people. I bet a middle class American gives up a higher % of income in direct and indirect taxes than a billionaire in Sweden.

    “Most people under age 30 are irrational.” I couldn’t agree more. If the voting age were raised to thirty, democracy would be a viable form of government.

    “Let me know if you have some ideas.” The next really big thing could be software that facilitates fake work from home, or helps employers (or fake employees) farm out tasks on commission to starving Asians. Why shouldn’t you hold down four different jobs by farming out the actual work? Or, why doesn’t your employer eliminate you as middleman? We may be up for the worst economic collapse in Western history. Otherwise, I expect a mass migration from urban shitholes to suburbs, from suburban shitholes to semi-rural shitholes, and possible from those to rural areas. I’m optimistically looking for ways to invest in farmland (and not only for that reason).

    I don’t follow gaming, but I think there are opportunities there that seem to be going unexplored.

    “Free Speech” is an oxymoron — Speech is never free. If you can’t pay to publicize yourself, you depend on satisfying the whims of whoever provides the platform, and everyone who opens their mouth has to account for the fact that The Boss Might Not Like It. This is nothing new; democracy is inherently NOT favorable to free speech.

    Elon Musk is one of the greatest con artists of history — and he will never be called to account, unlike John Law. He identified a way in which public opinion could be manipulated to his advantage, and he manipulated it very adroity. Ironically, his best known company is named after a man who was destroyed by an exploiter like himself (Thomas Edison). But let’s be clear: what really props up Tesla is not government subsidies (yet) but the issuance of $10,000,000,000 in new stock in 2020.

    What would be a meaningful accomplishment for me in 2021? Not catch coronavirus. Take a notch off my belt. Triple my net worth. In that order.

    • Great comment. What is this restrictive regulation you have been predicting?

      Re: Excess funds vs growth. Here’s a good figure – Wilshire 5000 to GDP:
      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=qLC

      Re: Maldistribution of income. Yes I agree.

      Re: Deficits. No one cares anymore. I think it’s going to be an all-or-nothing type situation, where the can is kicked down the road for as long as it’s possible. Then a breaking point is reached. Then there’s a debt jubilee.

      Re: Political fusion. I don’t agree. I think Conservatives and Libertarians are two separate ideological demographic groups.

      Re: Delusion & polarization. Yes, fanaticism is to be avoided.

      Re: Voting Age. Good idea.

      Re: Remote Work. That’s an interesting take on Outsourcing! But how do you hold multiple jobs at the same time without your employer knowing? Seems to me like “Scam 2.0”. And “why doesn’t your employer eliminate you as a middleman?” Perhaps because they are looking for your specific competence?

      Re Tesla: Well, someone had to buy that stock.

      How would you go about tripling your net worth in one year?

    • You must not understand the potential of Tesla. It’s an easy mistake to make, but it’s the company of the future.

      • It’s mind boggling that people believe their skewed uninformed opinion but not the reality. We need insane people like Elon. Ford was never a normal person neither was Tesla himself or Napoleon or Alexander The Great or Hannibal or Seneca or Marcus Aurelius. In fact this blog itself is not normal. Nothing about Ludvig is normal, if he was normal he would have a 9 – 5 job and that will be end of it and the day he died they would forget him after 5 minutes.

        Theres nothing normal about me either.

        We need more geniuses like Elon Musk that are solving some of the hardest problems, I would rather be on side of Elon and Trump than all the other jokers. They are the best asymmetric bets you can get in your lifetime.

    • Dear Abgrund,

      Would you be open-minded to share your thoughts as to how you came to the idea that Elon is a con-artist?

      Is your conclusion of him based on you spending time with him as a friend or a worker in his factor or you run and manage his OpenAI team?

      I am blown away that some of the smartest people listen to a joker analyst from WallStreet or a writer from a financial newsletter but won’t spend a day or two doing research into Elon Musk. His OpenAI company itself is worth billions of dollars. By the way, most people are looking at companies the wrong way. Markets don’t care about opinion, as my mentor George Soros always said, “Liquidity is the main driver of the stock market and always has been.”

      Whether you like it or not his companies are future. Read some works of Karl Popper and George Soros to understand how to exploit trends my friend.

      • Can’t argue with religion.

        • Again a flaw in your thinking, one can do logic without empiricism but one must never do empiricism without logic.

          There is nothing about religion. As I said study works of legendary George Soros and James Simon.

          You have an opinion based on your limited experience. Remember, changing your mind is a super power.

          Nothing I said has anything whatsoever to do with religion or pink elephants.

  8. Thanks bro, I will read it all during the weekend.

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