Not long ago, consumers could access health information about as easily as they could access plutonium. This is changing rapidly in the information age. As a result, consumers—rather than doctors, government, insurers, hospitals, or healthcare companies—will own the Healthcare Century. Any healthcare institution that ignores this trend does so at its peril.
Before the information age, consumers were almost entirely beholden to their physicians for information about health and disease. Now, consumers increasingly educate themselves using the Internet to learn about their health, illnesses, and symptoms. Every day, the patient-doctor relationship becomes more of a partnership as patients come up the learning curve.
Hiding In Plain Sight is a collection of essays that I have written on investing, healthcare, and life.
A Little Experiment
For the sake of experiment, read the next sentence once, while counting the number of “f”s that you see.
“Five-winged flies are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of many years.”
Most likely, you counted an “f” in each of the more vibrant words of the sentence: “five,” “flies” and “scientific.” Most people only see these three “f”s, when in fact there are six. The other “f”s are hidden in the unassuming preposition “of”. Your mind probably skipped over each “of” because it processed these words without absorbing the raw information of the letters that composed them.
(From The Get Inspired! Project)
“I go about my day really not thinking about ‘Do I know what I want?’ It’s more about ‘Am I available to what’s going on in the moment?’ And it’s a very nonlinear path, but it is much more … because I’m vulnerable and I don’t know where we’re going, I’m much more aware, and I find solutions to questions I wasn’t even asking.”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Joon, for agreeing to be part of the Project today, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Joon Yun: Yes, my name is Joon Yun. I am President of Palo Alto Investors, an investment management firm located in California, and I’m a physician by background. I ran healthcare investing at a firm for about 10 years, and I’ve been overseeing the firm for the last 2 years.
We’ve all heard the thesis on real estate investing: “They’re not making any more land.” It turns out that before too long we may not be making enough people either.
Global population has been expanding since antiquity, interrupted by wars, disasters, pandemics, and famine. Malthusian predictions of overpopulation, unsustainability, and resource depletion have also been a part of conventional wisdom since antiquity and remain popular today (see Paul Gilding’s “The Earth is Full” TED talk). It is, after all, a common trait of the human mind to assume that the past is an accurate predictor of the future.
One of the landmark events on the calendar of investors took place last month—the Value Investing Congress in New York. But it behooves us to remember that an alternative approach also exists—that of growth investing.
While the two styles share many common principles, growth investing focuses on identifying companies with above-average growth rates, whose share prices today are considered inexpensive relative to their intrinsic value over the long term.
The dearth of investors who publicly tout the principles of growth investing is one sign that its golden age may now be upon us. The Wikipedia entry on “Value investing” lists more than a dozen current well-known value investors including Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett. Value investing is a sensible discipline, and its success has attracted many acolytes. When too many people are performing the same analysis and arrive at the same conclusion, however, it becomes the crowded trade.
Human endeavor creates value. Healthier people endeavor more. Thus, health is a creator of value, of prosperity. The converse is also true. Wealthier societies demand more healthcare. When life is grand, people want to live longer and they want to maintain healthy bodies. Therefore, health and wealth form a virtuous, feed-forward cycle.
One of the landmark events on the calendar of investors takes place this week — the Value Investing Congress in New York. But it behooves us to remember that an alternative yet equally tenable approach also exists — that of growth investing. While the two styles share many common principles, growth investing focuses on identifying companies with above-average growth rates, whose share prices today are considered inexpensive relative to their intrinsic value over the long term.
The dearth of investors who publicly tout the principles of growth investing is one sign that its golden age may now be upon us. The Wikipedia entry on “Value investing” lists more than a dozen current well-known value investors including Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett. Value investing is a sensible discipline, and its success has attracted many acolytes. When too many people are performing the same analysis and arrive at the same conclusion, however, it becomes the crowded trade. By contrast, the only investor listed in the Wikipedia entry for “Growth investing” is Thomas Rowe Price, Jr., who died many years ago. Philip Fisher, another legend whose Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits is generally considered to be the reference work on growth investing, goes entirely unmentioned.
Social mobility enabled by innovations in technology, communication, and transportation has dramatically increased the liquidity of our relationships. Some of the hard-wired social traits that we inherited from our tribally-minded ancestors may be maladaptive and not properly suited to handle modern relationship dynamics.
Our attraction to new social opportunities was shaped when such opportunities were far more limited than they are today. Not unlike our attraction to sweet, fat, and salty foods, little selection pressure existed in the old world for evolving upper limits on our attractions for new social opportunities. But does a tendency to be intrigued by new social opportunities make us happier people in a world where access to new opportunities is virtually limitless?
To “curate”, in the modern vernacular, is to select and design a collection from a larger set. In a world where people have access to too much of nearly everything — things, experiences, information, and people — curating has emerged as a core skill to succeed in life.
In a way, we are all curating whether we realize it or not. When we furnish a house, we select specific artifacts from a vast number of potential options and arrange them in a way that enables particular form and function. When we speak or write, we select words from an ever-burgeoning lexicon and order them in a way that produces a particular narrative. When we spend time during the day, we pick our activities from a virtually limitless set of possible choices according to a design of our choosing and call it a day. The company we keep is the small subset of people with whom we have chosen to interact out of the 6 billion other humans with whom we share this planet.
What are the potential implications of global depopulation?
The world population has been growing since antiquity, interrupted by wars, disasters, pandemics, and famine. But the global human population may soon hit an inflection point and enter a period of demographic contraction.
The population is already declining in many countries, including Japan, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary.1 Many more are on the brink. If it were not for international immigration, both the United States and the EU would have declining populations today. The total population of the continent of Europe, including Russia and non-EU countries, peaked in the year 2000.