Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news
- January 1, 2024: Vol. 11, Number 1

Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news


Charlie Munger, the late vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, quoted in Damn Right, his 2000 biography: “Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich. Not because I wanted Ferraris. I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it. I thought it was undignified to have to send invoices to other people. I don't know where I got that notion from, but I had it.”


Tim Wu, Columbia Law School professor, on consolidation and the lack of innovation in the airline business: “If you went to a 1970s airplane it would be the same product with larger seats.”


Jamie Dimond, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, speaking at a congressional hearing about cryptocurrency: “I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, et cetera. You pointed out the only true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, anti-money-laundering, tax avoidance. If I was the government, I’d close it down.”


Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Investment Management: “Bitcoin is the money revolution. This is the first global, private — no government oversight — digital, rules-based monetary system in history. … In the ’90s, when the internet infrastructure was being put in place, no one expected financial services or commerce to be part of it, so they forgot to build that part into the blockchain. This is simply bringing financial services into the internet age.”


Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics: “What we are expecting now is a soft landing. We expect the economy to weaken quite a bit, but it does look like we’ll avoid an outright contraction.”


Nadiem Makarim, tech entrepreneur and education minister for Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s administration: “Indonesia’s combination of internal domestic market and natural resources is such that if we do get the human capital and education part right, I believe it will be hard for any country to compete with us.”


Elon Musk, co-founder of OpenAI, on the company’s recent changes: “It was meant to be open source. I named it after open source. It is in fact closed source. It should be renamed super closed source for maximum profit.”


Jim Chanos, one of Wall Street’s best-known bears, who announced he is closing his main short-focused hedge funds after more than three decades: “It is no secret that the long/short equity business model has come under pressure and interest in fundamental stock pickers has waned. While I am as passionate as ever about research and investing, I feel compelled to pursue these passions in a different construct.”


Adam Rozencwajg, managing partner at Goehring & Rozencwajg: “Energy is probably going to be the most important investment theme of the next seven or eight years, and the reason and the rationale behind that is that we have brutally undercapitalized this industry for the better part of a decade.”


Patrick Ghali, managing partner at Sussex Partners, on Blackstone’s decision to wind down its diversified multi-strategy fund — a so-called UCITS fund: “I haven’t seen a multi-strat in UCITS format do well. Performance has not been good.”


Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general on the prosecution of Binance founder Changpeng Zhao for violating anti-money-laundering guidelines: “The message here should be clear. Using new technology to break the law does not make you a disruptor, it makes you a criminal.”


Joanna Stern, senior personal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal: “There is no such thing in the world as a free iPhone. You’re going to see all of these companies — the Verizons, the AT&Ts, the T-Mobiles — saying you can get a free iPhone. There’s always the fine print … saying you’re going to have to sign up for their bigger plans.”


Michele Bare, borough manager in Wyomissing, Pa., on the withering state of the community’s Berkshire Mall: “It was thriving for at least three decades. It’s just sad to see it become what it’s become. In a perfect world, a giant sinkhole would open up overnight when the property was vacant, so nobody was harmed, and swallow the entire mall.”


Lorenzo Barrera Segovia, chief executive of Banco Base, a bank based in Monterrey, Mexico, on the business coming to his city because of nearshoring: “A week doesn’t go by for us without meeting Chinese, Korean, Japanese executives, looking to open offices or a plant.”


Vladimir Tenev, co-founder and CEO of Robinhood: “Bitcoin is actually the most popular recurring investment, so customers that are dollar-cost-averaging are choosing bitcoin as a part of their portfolio.”

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