20VC: Bill Gurley and Howard Marks: What Happened In 2020? What Can We Expect Looking Forward to 2021?

Posted on 4th January 2021 by Harry

Howard Marks is co-chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a leading investment firm with more than $120 billion in assets. Prior to founding Oaktree, Howard spent 10 years at The TCW Group, where he was responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. Howard has also written two books, most recently Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, and it was Warren Buffet who said, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something.”

Bill Gurley is a General Partner @ Benchmark Capital, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, WeWork, Snapchat, StitchFix, eBay and many many more. As for Bill, widely recognised as one of the greats of our time having worked with the likes of GrubHub, NextDoor, Uber, OpenTable, Stitch Fix and Zillow. Prior to Benchmark, Bill was a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Before entering venture, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) In March Ray Dalio stated we would be entering a “global recession”, how do Howard and Bill feel about this statement? How does today’s environment remind Howard and Bill of 2010/11? What is similar? What is different? How does Bill think about investing through cycles?

2.) How does Bill think about investing through cycles? What have Bill’s lessons been from seeing many venture vintages on LP performance across cycles? How does Howard think about investing through cycles from a distressed debt perspective? What have his lessons been from Oaktree’s performance over the years?

3.) Do Howard and Bill agree we will not see interest rates go anywhere for the next 3-5 years? What is the impact of this sustained low-interest rate environment? What could be done that would see interest rates increase in the future? How does Bill believe this will impact the supply of LP dollars in venture?

4.) How do Bill and Howard evaluate the state of the public markets today? Why does Howard believe that FOMO has really taken effect? How does Bill think about network effects and the laws of compounding with regards to public companies?

5.) Do Howard and Bill agree we are seeing a retreat from globalisation? What are the core impacts of this retreat? Why is Bill so concerned about “regulatory capture”? Why does Bill fear that today, “Washington is for sale”? What would he like to see change?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Howard’s Favourite Book: Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

Bill’s Favourite Book: How Innovation Works

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