Topley’s Top 10 – June 14, 2021

1. Cyclically Adjusted CAPE Ratio Approaching 1999 Levels.

Big difference with interest rates 5% 1999 vs. 1.5% 2021

2.All Fundamental Stock Measures Like CAPE Above Dependent on Relation to Interest Rates…With Spike to 5% Inflation….Real Rates -4.94%

Charlie Bilello Central Banks Remain Easy

Meanwhile, the Fed continues to maintain the easiest monetary policy in history (0% rates and unending QE), and has stated it will continue to do so for years to come. The result: a Real Fed Funds Rate (Fed Funds minus inflation) of -4.9%, the lowest level in the last 40 years.

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Most central banks globally are doing the same, reluctant to reverse their emergency policy stances from last year even in the face of rising inflation.

3. Current Rate Situation is not Without Precedent …1926-1964 Rates Stayed Between 2-4%

Ben Carlson Blog–Inflation may be even harder to predict than the path of interest rates so we’re in a wait-and-see economic environment but I wouldn’t be shocked if interest rates stated relatively low for many years.

This scenario has precedent. From 1926 through 1964, the 10 year treasury yield was more or less stuck between 2% and 4%:

There were reasons for this. The Great Depression was massively deflationary. Then when the U.S. entered WWII the government put a cap on yields so it could borrow to fund the war efforts. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1960s that yields finally broke out of this channel for good.

The current channel could be more like 1% to 3% for some time.

Why Interest Rates Have to Stay Low For a Very Long Time by Ben Carlson

Why Interest Rates Have to Stay Low For a Very Long Time (

4. Percentage of Under 35 Year Olds Trading Stocks Approaching 1999 Levels.

Barrons Cover

Here Come the Teens: They Can’t Vote, but They’re Old Enough to Buy Stocks.By Daren Fonda

5. The Price of Batteries Down 97% and EV Car Sales Up to 10% of Total Sales.

From Barry Ritholtz -The Big Picture

The price of batteries has declined by 97% in the last three decades

Source: Our World In Data

6. Patent Grants Spike Higher…Good for America

In 1790 President George Washington signed the first US patent to Samuel Hopkins, for improvements in the “making of pot ash and pearl ash”. Since then, more than 10 million patents have been granted in the US, giving protections to inventors, designers, artists and engineers for their ideas and intellectual property (IP).

The innovation acceleration

Of those 10+ million patents, almost half have been granted since the turn of the millennium, with the number of patent grants rising significantly in recent years. In 2020 the US Patent Office granted another 352,000 — just shy of the record from 2019 of 354,000.

Filing a patent is not easy, and comes at considerable cost. On top of the $400 filing fee, preparing a patent submission usually requires lawyers or experts, and the cost can routinely run into the thousands, if not tens of thousands, for particularly complex ideas or submissions.

That effort is why tracking patent grants is a decent proxy for innovation within an economy — albeit a very crude and simple one. Going to that effort is (presumably) only worth it for ideas deemed worth protecting.

Many of the patents are assigned to massive corporations. IBM for example has held the top spot for patents granted for the last 28 years (something the company is particularly proud of and mentions a lot), with IBM scientists and researchers being granted 9,130 patents last year. For a list of the top 50 companies, TechCrunch has you covered here.

7.Shipping Costs China…Looks Like QQQ 1999 Chart

TopDown Charts


8. Rent vs. Buy Shifts in Favor of Renters Already from Housing Price Spike.


Renting Is Cheaper Than Buying, Almost Everywhere-By Michael Kolomatsky

9. Good Summary on Tech Antitrust Risks.

ANTITRUSTThe House Has Five On ItBig Tech under the antitrust spotlightA bipartisan group of House lawmakers interrupted Summer Fridays across the US yesterday afternoon by dropping five antitrust bills designed to finally put some speed limits on the tech industry’s autobahn.  The bills don’t mention any company by name, but they clearly subtweet four: Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple, which have a combined market capitalization of $6.4 trillion and collectively represent Big Tech’s domination of industries spanning from advertising to ecommerce.Why it matters: After years of a simmering “techlash” on Capitol Hill, this is the biggest effort yet to make Big Tech into Still Big But Slightly Smaller Tech. If passed, the bills would require those companies to significantly rejigger their businesses, or break up altogether, to conform to the new antitrust laws. Those new lawsHere’s a quick look at the major themes of the five bills lawmakers dropped yesterday.Conflict of interest: Huge tech companies wouldn’t be able to own or operate a business that would incentive it to favor its own products over those of a competitor. In theory that means Amazon would need to split up its business, because it operates a marketplace and also sells its own products on that marketplace. Self-preference: This bill would bar companies like Google from promoting their own products in search results to the disadvantage of a competitor.Interoperability: Big Tech would need to tweak their platforms to make porting data from one service to another easier.Mergers: A fourth bill would make it more difficult for Big Tech companies to snatch up smaller competitors.More mergers: The final bill would raise filing fees for large mergers in order to raise money for antitrust enforcement agencies.Looking ahead…the path to President Biden’s desk is long and winding—first the bills will need to get past the House Judiciary Committee, then the full House, then the Senate before they become actual law. If they do, they’ll represent the biggest changes to antitrust law in decades. 

10. 9 Ways to Improve Your Collaborative Meetings

How to make sure your meetings advance the cause.–
Debra Mashek Ph.D.


  • Poorly structured meetings deflate morale and momentum, and create confusion and contention.
  • While it is not difficult to design an effective meeting, following through on the plan requires work and discipline.
  • While it may be difficult for some to let go of entrenched meeting practices, doing so will help advance your collaborative goals.

I love meetings. Or, rather, I love beautifully structured and well-facilitated meetings that move collaborative work forward with clarity and efficiency. Few meetings hit that mark, which is unfortunate given many people spend hundreds of hours every year in meetings.

Meetings that fail to advance shared work deflate both morale and momentum, creating confusion and contention rather than action and accountability.

Why are our lives plagued by lackluster meetings?

A paucity of excellent meetings means many of us rarely, if ever, get to participate in them. Rather than adopt an approach we have never seen, we instead replicate subpar gatherings, surmising that “this must be the way it has to be done.”

And, while it is relatively straightforward to create an effective meeting, doing so requires significant work outside of the meeting, as well as discipline among meeting participants to walk the walk. In other words, it’s easy to know what to do; it’s much harder to actually do it.

If you’d like to ensure your meetings advance collaborative action, here are 9 steps you and your colleagues can take right away.

1. Know the meeting’s purpose. Work meetings generally fall into two categories: informational and collaborative. If your meetings are plagued by individuals droning on with informational updates and “report outs,” there’s a good chance that content could have been delivered more efficiently in an email or even a brief video update.

Collaborative meetings, on the other hand, require attendees to bring their respective views and talents to bear on a shared question, problem, or project. The whole point of these meetings is to think and do together, a goal that benefits tremendously from careful planning and skilled facilitation.

2. Start every agenda item with a verb. Agenda items like “Statement of purpose” and “Conference” say absolutely nothing about the type of thinking those in the meeting need to do together. Are we to workshop the statement of purpose? Are we to debrief the feedback we all received on the statement? Are we to finalize the dates and venue for the conference?

Our collaborators are awesome, but they’re not mind readers. Verbs like draft, decide, vet, workshop, brainstorm, problem-solve, debrief, and plan tell meeting participants what exactly they are expected to do during that agenda item. Knowing what needs to get done helps people stay on track. (Oh, and if you’re not using agendas: Godspeed.)

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3. Treat agenda creation as a collaborative process. If you’re the meeting host, you may not know exactly what everyone in the room needs to move forward with their piece of the shared work. As such, it is important to call for agenda items well in advance of the meeting.

It is equally important that meeting participants send agenda items to the facilitator. Don’t assume someone else is tracking your project needs, and keep in mind that you may be seeing around a corner that others have missed. If you need the group to do something, make that need known.

4. Prioritize the agenda. While it can be tempting to stuff 20 agenda items into a 60-minute meeting, doing so means elements of the work won’t get the attention they deserve, participants’ eyes will glaze over, some items will have to be dropped on the fly, or the meeting will run over (which is totally unfair to those participants who made other commitments immediately following the meeting and who will now have to decide how to navigate a likely avoidable calendar collision). These are all junky outcomes.

As the meeting host, estimate how much time each agenda item will take (you may need to ask the person who proposed the item in the first place), prioritize the items based on the needs of the project, and honor the footprint of the meeting.

If you have more stuff to cover than is possible within the timestamp of the meeting, evaluate whether any of the pieces can be moved into an email update or explore whether a subset of meeting participants could handle the item outside of the formal meeting structure and then report back to the group.

If this is a standing meeting that regularly has more work to do than is possible within the allotted footprint, consider whether it might make sense to extend the length of the meeting or to meet more frequently. Caution: Spending more minutes in meetings should be a last resort.

5. Distribute the agenda and pre-work in advance. Assuming you want meeting participants to arrive ready and able to fully engage in the work at hand, empower them to do so by distributing the agenda and any pre-work at least a day or two in advance.

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Yes, I know this takes advanced planning and action by the host, and I know that work can be hard to slot in when there are a bunch of fires to put out. But, failure to do the right thing now can have real consequences down the line. If the agenda asks us to vote up or down on the final proposal, but nobody has had a chance to read — much less think about — it, then voting risks errors, inconsistencies, or bad ideas making their way into the project. Likewise, if you would like the team to give thoughtful input on how to problem-solve a snag with an external partner, providing insufficient time to noodle on the situation will ensure their “thoughtful input” is anything but.

6. Respect people and their time. Welcome people as they arrive. Start on time. Honor the agenda (or make clear when you are stepping outside of the agenda and explain why). End on time. Whatever your role in a meeting, be psychologically present: no emails, no notifications, as few distractions as possible. Do you pre-work. Arrive ready, willing, and able to contribute meaningfully.

7. Make space, take space. Be conscious of making space for everyone in the room to share their contributions. Those who tend to jump into discussions early and often can work on sitting back, inviting others to share their views, and listening more. Those who tend to sit on the sidelines can practice contributing earlier. All of us can work on saying what we mean and meaning what we say, though doing so with grace and tact.

Intentionally seek out a broad range of perspectives. Ask questions like, “What are the best arguments against this approach?” and “Who sees the situation differently?”

Practice intellectual humility. It’s OK to say “I don’t know” or “I haven’t thought about this angle before.” By recognizing the limits of our own knowledge, we welcome curiosity to the table.

8. Document key decisions. Some degree of communal note-taking is generally needed in meetings. Transcription is a waste of effort in most situations. In addition to making people overly cautious about what they say and how they say it, the person who is trying to capture every iota of content (a huge cognitive lift) is unable to contribute their thoughts to the proceedings.

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Instead, record just key decisions, action items, and important issues to hold on the radar.

9. Make sure everyone knows what to do next. Meetings tend to generate more work, and we need to document expectations around that work so it gets done and the project moves forward. The question at hand is this: WHO needs to do WHAT by WHEN?

Save the last few minutes to review the action items generated during the meeting. I typically ask every person to say their action items out loud. If needed, I’ll point out inadvertent omissions (“You also said you’d reach out to the Dean to request the draft announcement, is that correct?”). Record everyone’s action items in a shared space so there’s no confusion over who is working on which piece of the puzzle.

At the top of every meeting, check in on the status of the do-outs by whipping through the last meeting’s list. Ask each person to indicate — either verbally or in the shared document — whether each item is “done,” “in process,” or “blocked.” If you notice a certain do-out has been carried over a number of weeks, or if a certain member of the team seems to struggle to get things done, an accountability conversation is in order.

Before venturing into the land of more productive and efficient meetings, keep in mind that it may be difficult for you and others to let go of entrenched meeting rituals and practices. Start with a conversation about if and how your meetings work in service to the shared goals. Be curious about others’ experiences. Name what you have noticed — confusion, treadmill, or a lack of clarity around who needs to do what.

Most importantly, keep the shared goals at the center of the conversation. For example, “I know we are all committed to realizing the promise of this amazing collaboration on time and under budget. I think we can redesign our meetings to advance that shared goal more effectively. Are you open to exploring some possibilities for doing so?”

With a bit of work and a lot of follow-through, your meetings — and collaborations — can become more productive and rewarding.


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