TOPLEY’S TOP 10 – Mar 01, 2024

1. A 5% February: What Worked and What Didn’t-Bespoke

The S&P 500 finished February with a gain of more than 5% for just the 11th time in the index’s history since 1928. Below is a look at prior 5%+ gains in February along with the S&P 500’s performance in March and for the remainder of each year. The last time we had a 5% February was 2015. That March, the S&P fell 1.74%, and the index fell 2.88% from the end of February through year-end. Let’s hope we don’t see that type of action for the remainder of 2024, although a repeat of 2015 would be a lot better than what investors experienced in 1931 when the S&P rallied 11.37% in February only to fall 54.96% for the rest of the year!

2. Small Cap Russell 2000 Breaks Above 2022 Levels

3. Bitcoin Flows vs. Gold Since ETF Launch



4. Wall Street Banks Now Lending to Private Equity Lenders

Semafor Blog Wall Street banks have lost out on billions of dollars in fees to private lenders. A few have figured out how to get some of that money back. As private lenders muscle in on banks’ bread-and-butter business of corporate lending, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and others have built sizable businesses lending to these upstart competitors, which are eager to juice their own returns with that favorite of Wall Street tools: leverage. This lending casts these two camps more as frenemies than existential rivals in a game that is “less zero-sum than it seems,” said Dee Dee Sklar, who ran this business at Wells Fargo until retiring in 2019. Liz Hoffman

5. Oprah Leaves Weight Watchers Board….WW -63% Year to Date

6. Obesity Greater Risk than Hunger 2024

7. The Cost of Reinsuring Properties-FT

8. Urban, Suburban, Rural Home Updates

9. OpenAI Bot-Morningbrew

10. Intelligent Failure

Psychology Today Andy Lopata Edmondson challenges the perceived wisdom that all failure is, by its very nature, bad for us. She talks about “intelligent failure”, an outcome that results from experimentation. “An intelligent failure is an undesired outcome; it’s not the outcome we had hoped for, maybe even expected, but it takes place in new territory where we lacked available knowledge about how to get that result that we wanted.

“An intelligent failure happens in pursuit of a goal. We’re not just messing around with resources; it’s thoughtful. We’ve done our homework. “These are the kinds of failures that we really must train ourselves to welcome because they are the source of discovery.”

In The Right Kind of Wrong, Edmondson talks about how failures in early attempts at open-heart surgery laid the pathway for the successes we have witnessed in this field ever since. She explains how we take for granted that “surgeons today can crack open the breastbone and operate on the heart of a living person and repair it and give you more years of life.

“And yet there was a point in history where no one had ever done that before. It was initially considered more or less impossible because you couldn’t operate on a beating heart.”

To get from that point to the daily miracles we witness in the current era, doctors had to fail and patients died. But the key, according to Edmondson, is that they never operated on a patient who had a better option. “If the choice was between operating and possibly making them better or not operating and they would still be OK, they wouldn’t operate.”

Intelligent failure is all about the failure being “no bigger than it has to be to get the new knowledge that it brings.” By only operating on patients who had no other alternatives and would have died without an attempt to save them, the risk of failure was mitigated.

Culture Blocks The challenge is that too few modern organisations operate within a culture that encourages intelligent failure. Short-term pressures can often make failure something to hide under a rock rather than shine a spotlight on to learn from and progress.

Edmondson argues that organisations need to think beyond short-term reporting and, if necessary, take a hit. After all, if everyone just focused on quarterly profits, nobody would ever take a risk or try something new at all. “I don’t think you have to be a visionary, but you have to be reasonably thoughtful. And you do need to get people on board with that.

It’s important to recognise longer-term thinking as a cost of being in business five years from now and making that a cost you are willing to pay.”

Perfectionism also, somewhat naturally, creates a barrier to learning from failure. Edmondson argues that “perfection equals disconnection”, explaining that leaders who strive for perfection may impose the same unrealistic standards on their team members, creating a culture of fear. “There’s no such thing as perfect”, Dr. Edmondson explains, “and so they end up blaming and shaming if they make a mistake.”

Rather than striving for perfection and creating a climate of fear, Edmondson wants to see leaders who are focused on developing trusted relationships across their team and encouraging honest and vulnerable conversations that lead to growth and innovation. “High-quality relationships, are ones where we’re willing to tell each other the truth and we can roll up our sleeves and get hard things done because we have that honesty, because we’re not posturing and we’re not putting on a show for each other. We’re authentically digging into the challenges on our mutual plates. “That’s how I think of high-quality relationships, not people who I know really well, but ones where I believe I can be truthful.”