12 min read

Pivot #14: 23 Thoughts

Pivot #14: 23 Thoughts

I am still experimenting with different ideas and writing styles for the newsletter. I know people enjoy the case study editions where I break down an interesting person, usually a hockey player, that pivoted successfully. Those write-ups do take a fair amount of work and research. The Pivot Newsletter also endeavors to broaden worldviews. What's going on out there? Possibly break the readers bubble and present things from a different perspective. This edition is aimed at that.

My favorite source of hockey content is Elliotte Friedman's 32 Thoughts blog and the podcast with Friedman and Jeff Marek. As an homage to the brand, this week I'm giving you 23 Thoughts. Why 23? Well 23 is the inverse of 32. It was also my hockey number. And most importantly, I don't have 9 more thoughts for you, so we're keeping it at 23. This was a fun edition for me because I was just riffing. It took less research, but I still managed to write a lot of words. Enjoy.


  1. Ask intelligent questions - Your personal brand at your place of employment matters a lot. Easy tactic to be viewed as a sharp, thoughtful contributor is to ask intelligent questions. You need to 1) prepare and 2) think critically. Do not ask questions for the sake of asking. Ask questions the entire room is thinking or would make everyone better. People will notice. 
  2. Don’t wait to be promoted to do leader things - You don’t get promoted and then all of a sudden you have leader, manager type things you’re doing. Start doing those things before you’re promoted. You don’t get promoted, then you can start writing proposals or sales pitches or outlining strategies. Start doing it now. Get your brain thinking ahead. 
  3. Work-Life Balance - If you are a young professional, in your 20s, I highly recommend you do not use the term ‘work life balance’. You are a complete sucker if you do. You’re destined to either not be taken seriously or not make any material advancement in life or both. If you use the term in an interview setting, you might as well light your resume on fire. No one cares that you want time to go to your parents cabin for three-day weekends in the summer. One needs to work hard early in your career to obtain “balance” later in life. You get to choose your own hours once you gain responsibility. 
  4. Hockey Players are Young - The average age of  an NHL player is 23.5 years old. Astonishingly young. There will be a greater need for players to have post-playing careers. As long as the CBA incentives young talent, 40 year old players will be unicorns across the league. I believe a service like Pivot is more critical than ever. Players should be thinking earlier than they may like about this stuff. Next season doesn't always come.


  1. Faceoffs - The NHL should provide more analysis on NHL team faceoff alignments. This idea came to me when I was reading a WSJ article this week about Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system and how the 49ers line-up in a bunch formation more often than anyone in the league. This is actually the opposite of the spread offense, but it attacks empty space on the field in unique ways all the same. Providing more insight on face-off alignments I think would help educate serious and casual fans alike. 
  2. Tactical Analysis - Similar vein as the thought above, but there should be more tactical analysis provided in hockey. Madden video games were probably the greatest single tool in teaching football to fans. Kids that grew up playing Madden all know formations, blitzes, offensive concepts, route names because of Madde, The NHL should figure out creative ways to make tactics more fan friendly. “Pucks on net”, “cycle”, “dump and chase”, all common casual fan jargon. Pretty stale if you ask me.
  3. She’s involved - Tate McRae is in the mix. She was a coach at last weekend’s NHL All Star game. I promise I have no inside knowledge, but I’m unsure if Gary Bettman was reading the newsletter. Solid progress for the league. Now keep at it. Let’s get her tiktoking through an NHL game, continue the collaborations, need her on some podcasts. We need to know more about Tate now through a hockey lens. I have a good idea occasionally.


  1. The Caitlin Clark Experience - I’ve become super interested in Caitlin Clark. The girl from Iowa who stars for the Hawkeyes is selling out arenas everywhere. Fans are scrambling for tickets, it’s a scene we’ve never seen in women’s basketball. And she’s awesome. She does everything. I’m very interested in what she is all about. I may write more about her. The WSJ recently profiled the circus and I love Caitlin’s quote: “people spend a lot of time, money and resources to come see us play, and whenever I step on the court, I just want to have a lot of fun. I’ve been able to find a lot of joy and calmness in that. I don’t get nervous for these games, honestly. It’s basketball.” There’s something highly rootable about 1) an athlete sees joy and fun when everyone else sees stress and pressure and 2) a killer that experiences calmness.
  2. The Rock Pay Package - The WWE recently struck a deal to air 3-hours of wrestling entertainment per week on Netflix. Part of the announcement included Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joining the TKO (parent company of WWE) board, in exchange for his name and likeness and $30 million of TKO stock! I like the Rock. Most hockey players won’t be dropping The People’s Elbow anytime soon, but this is still a model to aspire to. Could an NHL player partner with a B2C company, in exchange for equity. That’s the goal. Get equity. Say a NHL player exchanges his likeness for a certain % of stock in a local HVAC company. The player appears on commercials, marketing campaigns, attends some events, in an attempt to drive business. The player rinses and repeats 4-5 times and all of a sudden has an equity stake in a handful of profitable private companies that he’s clipping a dividend in. I could even see this working for hockey players at certain college programs.
  3. College Athletics - College sports landscape is an absolute shit show. I have no idea what is going to happen. But what I am certain of is that some people are going to make a lot of money. Football is clearly driving the bus, but  conference realignment, negotiations among teams, NIL, players are free agents, TV contracts, the winds in college sports are swirling. Whoever figures out the end state and is deemed a ‘winner’ out of all this is going to make a lot of money. We’re already seeing capital starting to flock like vultures. Financiers can smell blood in the water. Where there are inefficiencies there are profits.
  4. Streaming Consolidation - It’s finally happening.Thankfully. Streaming consolidation is here. This week Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros announced a combined sports streaming platform for later this year. Allegedly all four major sports will be available in some fashion and the majority of sporting events will be available. I’m so sick of hopping around streaming platforms. Consolidation will continue. The economics do not make sense for one-off platforms. There will likely be 2-3 players left when the dust settles. Sounds a little like…cable? I just hope the new streaming platform can figure out the technology for a ‘Last’ button.

Business & Macro

  1. Tiny But Vital - I’ve been thinking about a particular business model that I like a lot. A business that manufactures a small, niche, low cost input part for another business that is critical to the reliability of the end product. Example: a manufacturer that makes a specific bolt/screw/latch/nozzle/widget that is specially made for a Ford F-150. The Ford pick-up specifically needs that specific part for it to operate effectively. The part only costs $3/unit. Ford doesn’t care if the widget costs $3, $3.50, or $4.50. It’s immaterial to the total cost of building the truck, but they need to make sure they have the widget or else they can’t move the truck down the assembly line. The widget manufacturer has all the pricing power, so long as they have great customer service and enough supply. There has to be so many of these businesses out there.
  2. Midwest Durability - Be it migration, wages, housing, economic growth the Midwest USA is durable. It will never see the wild growth of coastal areas, but it’s not going to have the magnitude of retracement either. It’s solid steady growth. The beta of the MW markets I could see becoming an investment trend. Less political nonsense, better cost of living, pragmatism, predictable growth. I have my antenna up on this trend.
  3. Housing Durability - As someone who is active in the housing market, the durability and resilience of housing prices is impressive (and unfortunate for me). I don’t think many saw this coming: Rates going to 6-7% and prices increasing or chopping sideways at worst. There is no material housing correction coming either I don’t think. On the supply side, inventory is limited. No one is trading a 3% rate for a 6% rate unless they have to. The only housing churn is from death, divorce, disaster, and dislocation. On the demand side, family formation increased during Covid and the Millennial cohort is growing their families and need larger homes. No one has quite been priced out yet, despite insane affordability. I’ve chalked it up to two things: 1) Older Millennials had/have quite a bit of equity in their first home purchases that they’ve been able to roll. The oldest Millennials are early-40s and could be home owners for the past decade. That’s a lot of appreciation. 2) Parental support. It’s no secret Boomer’s are sitting on troves of wealth. I think a lot of parents are kicking in with down payment assistance. It’s the only other thing that makes sense. I’ve seen countless couples buy expensive homes. I know what he makes and I know what she makes and it does not pencil.
  4. Culture Shift - From my bird’s eye view, there seems to be a culture shift to the right. By right, I mean towards traditional conservative values. Macro trends I am seeing: rejection of DEI is picking up steam, the nation is facing the gut-rot within the country’s top universities, distrust of institutions and neighbors exiting Covid, consensus forming on strong borders (despite Washington’s incompetence), parents bearing more responsibility for a child’s education. I could be reading the tea leaves wrong, but that’s how I am putting the puzzle pieces together. Next is to think through second-order implications if this is true.
  5. Hybrid cars over electric - I think preferences and auto manufacturing habits will shift from a full-on electric push to a full suite hybrid offering. My guess is Chevy pivots at some point and offers the hybrid Silverado instead of the all-electric, similar to Ford. Toyota pretty much is putting all their chips into the hybrid offering. Hybrids are more reliable and pragmatic. No one can wait hours to charge a car. We don’t have the electric grid for it. From an emissions standpoint, we are better off concentrating on hybrids, for now, as well. For the same amount of lithium you can make either 1 electric car battery or 8 hybrid batteries (I made this number up because I don’t recall the exact number and I am not going to cite my sources, but it’s directionally accurate). That means you can eliminate emissions for a single vehicle or you can materially reduce emissions for 8 vehicles. The math for reducing the 8 makes more sense. 
  6. Scooter’s Coffee - I was in a small city in flyover country and stopped at Scooter’s Coffee. It was my first time. I heard of the franchise and I wanted to try it out. It’s a Nebraska born entity. The experience was great. Drive-thru only. In and out. You scoot in and you scoot out. The coffee is good, not amazing, but good. I ordered one black coffee. The service was enjoyable, reasonably priced, it was quick, a solid to-go cup, no leakage. It’s a tiny little building too. It’s amazing how far just doing one basic thing extremely well and reliably can take you. It seems like there is a dearth of these experiences. I like Starbucks but there’s too much foo foo sometimes. I still don’t know how to order the size I want. Is a venti a medium? Is that 16oz?. McDonald’s coffee is fine, but some locations are shitholes. There’s not many Dunks around me. Scooter’s is reliable. I hope to be back. Try it out. 
  7. Podcasts - There’s been some eye popping podcast deals lately. Rogan re-upped with Spotify for a reported $250 million and he isn’t exclusive to the platform anymore. The SmartLess podcast with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes inked a $100 million deal with SiriusXM. There has to be so many business ideas around the podcast space. Editing talent, audio engineers, marketing specialists have to be in high demand. Think of all the ways podcasts can go: translating podcasts to different languages, AI scraping capabilities so you can distill a podcast into cliff notes, key clips from your 10 favorite podcasts curated into your own unique podcast. There’s likely to be a lot of innovation around this. Too much capital and too many ears flowing to the space. 

Pop Culture

  1. RIP Toby Keith - Should’ve Been a Cowboy is one of my favorite songs all-time. On the shortlist for karaoke. “Go west young man, haven't you been told? California's full of whiskey, women and gold. Sleepin' out all night beneath the desert stars. With a dream in my eye and a prayer in my heart”
  2. Tracy Chapman - Last Sunday was the Grammy’s and we saw a surprise duet with Luke Combs and Tracy Chapman performing Fast Car. Great song. Love Combs. Tracy is cool. More interesting is Chapman’s story. Remember we discussed serendipity? She’s the epitome. As the story goes, in 1988 Stevie Wonder was supposed to perform at Wembley Stadium for Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday. It was a who’s who of a musical lineup and the concert was estimated to be watched by 600 million viewers. Those are insane numbers by today’s standards. Anyways, a particular part or something for Stevie’s set got lost. Stevie freaked out, didn’t think he’d be able to perform and opted to not perform last minute. Tracy Chapman, who performed earlier in the day, raised her hand and played as a fill-in during Wonder’s set time. Her acoustic performance of Fast Car became legendary. She went from selling 250k records total to selling 2 million records over the next two weeks. Prepare and be ready for opportunity. Whether you fill-in to run the slide deck during a manager presentation or take a client meeting in replace of someone. You never know what can catapult you.   
  3. Taylor Swift’s private plane - So there’s this college kid who is tracking and publishing the location of Taylor Swift’s private plane. He also did this with Elon Musk and Elon got pissed and banned him from X. This is all public information. The kid isn’t doing anything illegal. To say he is putting TSwift in harm's way by sharing the location is a large stretch, in my opinion. I don’t really care about any of it. What is amusing is Swift’s legal team put out a statement threatening the kid and explaining Swift purchased 2x the amount of carbon credit to offset her private air travel emissions. The entire carbon credit thing is a sham, but what I am walking through in my head is who in Taylor Swift’s circle brings up the carbon credit idea. “Taylor, look we have to buy some carbon credits or we’re going to get killed politically.” Does Taylor just nod like she knows what a carbon credit is? Does she even know at all? Does someone have carte blanche to make these decisions for her? I’m fascinated and find it hilarious all at the same time. I'm always curious the infrastructure of a business/team famous people have. 
  4. Masters of the Air - Show recommendation! Checkout Masters of the Air on Apple TV+. I’m loving it. Episode 4 drops today. The Spielberg and Hanks produced show is a sibling series to Band of Brothers and The Pacific. It follows the U.S. Air Force’s 100th Bombardment unit through WWII. Austin Butler stars in the lead role and he plays one cool cat. Sobering look at the soldier’s experience during WWII. To think we complain about too many streaming platforms to watch tv...


  1. Lift Weights - It’s simple. Just lift weights. Strengthen your muscles through resistance training. It’s the single most beneficial thing I do. Mental clarity, age well, be strong. The iron never lies to you. 100 pounds will always be 100 pounds. 

Thanks for reading. Share. Comment. Provide feedback.

Game Notes

  • Master's of the Air 8.0 rating - IMDB
  • Brilliant teacher. Great video. - X
  • Credit card delinquencies surged in 2023 - CNBC
    • Consumer debt is growing
  • Powell insists Fed will move carefully on rate cuts - CNBC
    • If another regional bank (NYCB) fails, the Fed has to feel the pressure to cut
  • ESPN, Fox and Warner Team Up to Create Sports Streaming Platform - WSJ
  • Automakers are forced to rethink EV plans - BI
    • I swear I wrote my thought on EVs before reading this article
  • Deepfake CFO. This is scary. - CNN
  • Dartmouth requires standardized tests again - Daily Beast
  • Real identity of Bitcoin founder ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ could FINALLY be revealed in court - The Sun
  • Sniper kills robber holding hostages at knifepoint - NBC