Weekly Review: How Will You Measure Your Life?

This week has been an impactful one. I can’t help but think about how many people’s lives are impacted by so many different events. Some events get attention and some don’t. Some that get attention should get far less and some that get next to none deserve far more. I have no business saying which should get more or less coverage…but I’m going to share a few that are top of mind for me this week.

What Would I Have Done?

First, I saw The Last Full Measure in theaters this week. It’s a movie about the 34-year effort to get Air Force Pararescueman (PJ), William H. Pitsenbarger (“Pits”) the Medal of Honor he deserved for his courage and ultimate sacrifice during one of the bloodiest battles of Vietnam.

Pits was on a team of several Air Force PJs in Vietnam. The ranking member of his PJ team was retired Chief Master Sergeant David Milsten who was portrayed as the character named “Tulley” in the movie. I had the honor of meeting Chief Milsten while I was in my military training program in college. Chief Milsten inspired me to pursue the career field I did and we have built a close bond over the years.

He invited me to join his family to watch the movie at the theater which was a unique experience. I enjoy good military movies, but I’ve never watched one while sitting right next to the person who it was about. Here’s a picture of us after the movie.

The movie hit me hard. I kept thinking about how challenging the war, coming home, and Chief’s entire career must have been for him…and his family who were all sitting with us. Chief is now 80 years old and had a successful military career and then civilian life after Vietnam. But I know Vietnam changed him in some way.

The movie did a good job (sometimes over dramatically) showing how the war impacted veterans and their lives afterward.

I kept finding myself thinking I wanted to be a better husband and father throughout the movie. Life really is fragile and I’m still serving in a career field where we regularly complete dangerous training and less frequently, combat deployments.

I also wondered… if I would have had the courage Pits, Chief Milsten, and his team did. I think I would. I volunteered to serve in a high-risk career field. But I’ve never been in combat so if I were to say I’m 100% certain of how I would respond, I’d be lying.

Here is a link to a local news story and interview with Chief Milsten about the movie and the battle of Abilene.

This is a roughly 24-minute interview with Chief Milsten about that day and the effort to get Pits his Medal of Honor. It’s worth your time to watch.

Clayton Christensen Passing..

Clay Christensen passed away this week at the age of 67. He had a long battle with lymphoma and is survived by his wife, five children, and six siblings. Christensen was a Harvard Business School professor and wrote three books that have impacted how I think about investing and life. The links below are affiliate links so if you purchase them, I’ll receive a very small commission from Amazon (at no extra cost to you).

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail helped me think about how new technologies and companies can disrupt legacy technologies (and larger companies) from the ground-up.

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth helped me think about how new technologies and companies can disrupt legacy technologies (and larger companies) from the ground-up.

However, the most impactful book of his (for me) was How Will You Measure Your Life which is a reflection on finding meaning and happiness in life. Christensen offers reminders from his own life and those of his successful colleagues about falling into habits that result in unhappiness.

For me, these two events this week are reminders to keep our priorities in perspective and be intentional about the impact of daily decisions we make.

Onto Our Portfolio Last Week..

Note, this is not financial advice and not a stock recommendation subscription service. I share all of this as a way to document my investing journey, and hopefully, teach others a bit about my process (and investing) which is flawed in a lot of ways.

Our portfolio continued climbing higher this week, though due to the sell-off on Friday, it ended the week up 0.57%.

We are currently up 22% year to date which is outperformance that I don’t expect to continue. Last year we started off very strong as well only to end up trailing the market. I’m trying not to make the same mistakes this year.

Here is a link to my article with some of the adjustments (and why) I made to the portfolio last week. It also has position sizes for each company. The article is for paying subscribers only.

Here are my core positions and how they have performed recently. As you can see, most were down on Friday. It’s impossible to know exactly why. Probably profit-taking after some had performed exceptionally YTD and probably out of fear of the Coronavirus… more on that in the next section.

Preparing for Next Week..

On Thursday, I wrote an article about a couple of minor adjustments I made as news of the Coronavirus was spreading. I am not one to try and incite fear into others. I hope this gets cured fast with the least amount of lost life possible. However, I’m aware of how much fear the headlines are invoking in the public, the possibility for fear alone to impact markets, and the smaller possibility that this becomes a global emergency.

I have added a couple of other positions related to the virus that I’ll share with premium subscribers in a follow-up email. I have not touched my core positions (above) at all based on the virus. These trades around this event represent a very small percentage of my portfolio and are unnecessary for most investors. They might even completely backfire. If you’re interested in that type of more active portfolio management & updates, you can start a paid subscription for $5/month or $50/year below


Earnings season has started. None of our companies report next week, but after seeing how strong Atlassian’s (TEAM) earnings were (especially their cloud segment), I’m expecting a strong earnings season from our cloud/SaaS companies.

Here’s a look at our portfolio’s earnings dates (in reverse order)

Thank you all for your time. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

-Austin