Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news
- December 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 11

Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news


Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University: “The world that we’re building is not the world we are coming out of. Microchips are now going to be the rough equivalency of electricity — or water.”


Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental, regarding BlackRock’s $550 million investment in the company’s direct air capture project, designed to sequester up to 500,000 tons of carbon per year: “This joint venture demonstrates that direct air capture is becoming an investable technology and BlackRock’s commitment in Stratos underscores its importance and potential for the world.”


Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI: “We believe if you give people better tools, they will do amazing things. Eventually you’ll ask a computer for what you need and it will do all these tasks for you.”


Alfred Lin, partner at Sequoia Capital: “Immediately after FTX collapsed, we extensively reviewed our due diligence process and evaluated our 18-month working relationship with Sam Bankman-Fried. We concluded that we had been deliberately misled and lied to.”


Mike Gallagher, U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district, who is chairing a committee investigating Sequoia Capital’s tech investments in China: “What we're trying to do is gather information that will inform the legislative process. … American firms should not be capitalizing Chinese military companies, Chinese surveillance companies, and the Chinese Communist party’s human rights abuses. Sequoia has a history of investing in companies that do that.”


Jun Jiang, a professor at the Imperial College of London and a researcher focused on novel manufacturing techniques: “The biggest implication is that an AI-guided robot is able to produce useful chemicals in unknown conditions with unknown materials. My dream is maybe we can send several robots, to the Moon firstly, and start to use the local resources to prepare the necessary chemicals and materials for human beings.”


Darren Woods, CEO of ExxonMobil, on the company’s efforts to start producing lithium in 2027 from underground seawater: “We have, since the very beginning, stayed focused on what I’d say is the molecule side of the equation — in carbon capture and hydrogen and biofuels. Lithium — and production of lithium from brine water — is … really an extension of a lot of the current capabilities that we have in our upstream.”


John Hathaway, senior portfolio manager at Sprott Inc.: “Despite recent weakness in gold and precious metals stocks, we believe gold may be poised for stronger performance in the coming months. The Federal Reserve's ‘higher for longer’ stance on interest rates is unsustainable and could lead to a general credit deflation and a recession. Trouble is brewing in the banking system and the labor market, which could further support a rise in gold prices.”


Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, commenting on data showing that home sales had fallen to the lowest pace in 13 years: “We’re approaching the slowest part of the year in terms of home purchases in the fourth quarter, and that’s made more so by the spike in mortgage rates. Activity is pretty slow.”


Jennifer Granholm, U.S. energy secretary, on the Biden administration’s $3.5 billion allocation to strengthen the U.S. electric grid: “The grid, as it currently sits, is not equipped to handle all the new demand. We need it to be bigger, we need it to be stronger, we need it to be smarter.”


Jason Thompson, Erie (Kansas) City Council member and owner of a trash-hauling business, on the city’s decision to open and manage its own grocery store: “Without a grocery store, what are we going to do? It would kill this small town and it’s hard enough to keep it alive as it is.”


Adam Grant, Wharton professor and organizational psychologist: “Natural talent is overrated. It’s really easy to admire prodigies, but most child prodigies do not grow up to become adult geniuses. That leads us to under-estimate the slow learners and the late bloomers.”


Ben Carlson, portfolio manager at Ritholtz Wealth Management: “Slow wealth is stickier because it doesn’t hit you all at once. You become accustomed to it in bits and pieces as opposed to experiencing a one-time jump that shocks the system. People appreciate slow wealth more than fast wealth.”


Leo Huang, head of commercial real estate debt at Ellington Management Group: “It’s not a hiccup — it’s not COVID and then recover. Property prices are going to come down and loan delinquencies are going to keep going up.”

Forgot your username or password?