Insights from Tony Robbins Platinum Partnership Finance Trip, Whistler

22nd-26th Feb 2019 (Insights: Part 2 of a 2-part series, for the first part that is my notes, click here
I found myself sitting in a room with 400 others that have spent over 100k USD on personal development and coaching; there was an all-star list of speakers such as Ray Dalio, Bo Shao, Peter Diamandis, Howard Marks, Luca Padulli, and Tony Blair.
I had spent $85k USD to join Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partnership for a year, paid another $10k USD to get access to this, and travelled for over 24h to get to Whistler, and was dealing with severe jet-lag, but the content was so engaging and key distinctions were coming to me.
This review will cover interesting questions that were asked during the event, and my personal thoughts and takeaways from each of the questions. My thoughts are the bullet points and written in italic.
Bo Shao of Matrix Partners and “I’ve made billions of dollars, why am I making more money and why am I spending time worrying about money?”
  • It’s incredible how billionaires can still worry about money, and the reason for this is that when your life satisfaction comes from external sources, that satisfaction is not sustainable and only in short bursts.

  • I feel very encouraged to be reminded of the intelligent people in the world that find are starting to find their place on earth to be one that is more service and contribution oriented. 

  • When Bo Shao shared his stories, he was coming from a place that felt very much from his heart instead of from his head, and the audience’s reaction was incredible. Every person that asked a question basically wanted to share their life story back to Bo Shao. 

  • The world is very much becoming a place when true connection with other humans come from being vulnerable.
Bo Shao: "There’s a vacuum for meaning in China, I was pleasantly surprised when I left the VC world and many of the CEOs of my portfolio companies reacted positively."
  • Its encouraging to know that under the curtain of all the money-chasing in China, there is some awareness of the importance of meaning and fulfilment.

  • Ill confess here and say that one of the thoughts that came to my head was that I want to explore this opportunity in China at some point, so I am spending a significant amount of time improving my Mandarin. 

  • The next thoughts that came to my head were justifying that when I learn Mandarin, I would be able to serve more people (population is approaching 1.4 billion and 100% of the population is predicted to have the opportunity to access the internet if they want to by 2022-2025). I do recognise that my natural inclination here was towards money and I will set some time aside to reflect more deeply on this.
Tony Robbins, one of the countless times he was testing us on Ray Dalio’s opinion: “How many uncorrelated assets do we need in our portfolio?”
  • 15.

  • This was tangible information that I will remember for a long time, but then the questions arise - How do I determine correlation accurately? With 15 variables, there are 105 distinct pairs, so what does uncorrelated really mean in this situation? How low does correlation coefficient r need to be across all of the assets? If I were to use SPSS or R to determine correlation, what kind of timeline should I be using?

  • If X has a negative correlation to Y and Z has a negative correlation to Y, Z and X are likely going to be correlated - working with 15 variables to find any sort of sufficiently low correlation between all pairs is non-trivial.

  • My math brain has a tendency to want to complicate matters, but since investing is not my full-time job, I recognise the need to simplify here. My solution here is to approximate the matter and elect to invest in an asset that is clearly more uncorrelated to my portfolio than another one which is more correlated to my portfolio. ie. If I am long BTC and Vanguard 500, Ill pick a SEA tech fund over ETH and an American tech fund.

  • This does not feel like the perfect solution, but for how much time I want to spend picking my investments, Ill make do with this thesis until I have my own Family Office to accurately carry out what I want.
Tony Robbins: “How much will it take for you to have absolute financial freedom?”
  • $100m

  • At this moment, my mega dream lifestyle and contributions would add up to $5m a year, so with a 100m averaging a 5% return, Ill have absolute financial freedom.

  • My financial freedom numbers are significantly lower though, but if its absolute financial freedom theres no chance I would not include some awesome holidays, chartering private jet trips for family and friends, and causes I believe in (housing and education).
Tony Robbins: “What stage of the lifecycle of wealth are you in?”
  • Stage 5 (Young Adult) - There are 10 stages of the lifecycle of wealth that mimic the life cycle, Stage 4 is Teenager, Stage 5 is Young Adult, Stage 6 is Zone of Maximisation/Maturity

  • I recognised that I was making a lot of money (for me) in my poker career, but was also spending a lot of money (not more than I was earning, thankfully).

  • After my humbling 1.5 years investing in the blockchain space and coming up short ("too much money chasing too few deals" was a lesson that Howard Marks taught), I finally learned to respect money and am now learning how to control costs.

  • Im still in the process of discovering a vehicle to get to prime.
Tony Robbins: “How do billionaires think when they contribute money to a cause and influence others to match it?”
  •  Focus on the outcome, if what you want is to feed a million meals, why not feed 250k meals and find 3 other people or organisations that will match you, and get to that outcome quicker.

  • This also works for buying dream houses, we often do not need to own a 10000m^2 house in New Zealand by ourselves when we can easily share it with 3 friends that I'm more than happy to spend time on a retreat with.
Tony Robbins: “Do you need a new BBJ or is it better for you to rent a Global Express for $8k/hour?”
  • This made me recognise that although Im not at the stage of my life I would spend money on flying private, getting to my $100m absolute financial freedom goal would mean I can take trips on private. $100m is a lot lower than what I thought I needed to start flying private.

  • At the point when flying private saves me enough time and energy to justify it, its a no brainer and I should snap up that opportunity when I can.

  • Im currently still in the wealth accumulation phase and there are a lot of things that would come before this.
Ray Dalio: “Do you know what Country is written as in China?”
  • China has a Confucianism culture which prioritises a hierarchical structure and family. In Chinese, Country is written as 国家 (guo jia), where 国 (guo) means country or state and 家 (jia) means family. 

  • This was particularly shocking to me as I am ethnically Chinese and read Chinese but it never occurred to me how important the family is in the Chinese language.

  • I also now recognise how deep this is rooted in me and my fellow Chinese Singaporeans.
Ray Dalio: “Which is harder, the Alpha-game or competing in the Olympics?”
  • This question was not really asked, but more so of a fact that Ray Dalio stated. He said that the Alpha-game is harder than competing in the Olympics.

  • This was rather confusing to me, and Im not sure I want to take this as a fact before asking more questions.

  • Are we talking about there being more people competing in the Olympics than the Alpha-game?

  • Are we talking about the probability of succeeding in the Olympics being higher than in investing?

  • Without actually answering my own questions, it does remind me that investing in individual stocks is not somewhere I would go to to look for an edge.
Peter Diamandis: “What’s in the lab today? What’s coming in the coming years?”
  • Peters 6 Ds to think about exponential technology:
    1. Digitised
    2. Deceptive
    3. Disruptive
    4. Dematerialise
    5. Demonetise
    6. Democratise

  • There are so many exciting things coming up with technology and a million reasons to be excited about being alive today. "There has never been a more exciting time to be alive, maybe except for next year."

  • AR and VR are currently going from Deceptive to Disruptive. Magic Leap One is released in 2019, and it’s a foregone conclusion that AR will be ubiquitous and as big as or bigger than smartphones.

  • We’ll find out more about the human race because of AI, “what can humans do that AI can’t do? What is truly human by subtraction?"

  • A thought that really stuck out to me and that I only fully grasped the concept of was "We are linear thinkers in an exponential world. - We are in the process of evolving into the next species, this has been the case since the conception of organisms and the Cambrian Explosion. As with other species that came about before, they can see the next paradigm shift as they make that paradigm shift. We are in the process of becoming cyborgs. According to our linear minds, this looks like a big change, but in the grand scheme of things, we are just simply evolving the same way all life evolves.

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