Perhaps this episode could be a great business case for not hating yourself. It’s amazing when you look at what you bring to the table at work as a truly happy person, which in Maeve’s case was a result of coming out.

Join the crew as we discuss what it was like for her coming out at Goldman Sachs, real experiences of what it’s like to be trans in finance, and Maeve’s expert advice for communicating around innovation in the industry.


Sloane (00:00.362)

Welcome to the free money podcast. It is, gosh, you know, we were starting to do it live. We used to have this great thing about how was the Brooklyn Bay Area conversation about institutional investment. We had that, that was our lead.

ASHBY (00:08.823)

Oh yeah, we had that. We need like a new consensus arrangement between the Bay Area and the Salt Lake City, Utah region.

Sloane (00:15.67)


Sloane (00:21.29)

Well, so I thought about Provo Palo Alto, the Provo Palo Alto conversation about institutional, is that our new lead? I think that might be it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All right. The Provo Palo Alto consensus about institutional investing that you desperately crave.

ASHBY (00:28.587)

Yeah, that's it.

ASHBY (00:37.023)

You are in need of this consensus. It's a, not many people know of this consensus, but it's new and it's awesome.

Sloane (00:42.67)

Ha ha ha!

It increasingly shapes market pricing in incalculable ways. And if you listen on, you will have, you will be able to make better investment decisions guaranteed-ish. Not really guaranteed. Guaranteesh, guaranteeesh.

ASHBY (00:57.295)

Guarantee. What I could guarantee is this is the number one podcast connecting Provo and Palo Alto. This is number one. Like the beauty of our little niche pod efforts is we get to be the giant fish in the little bag.

Sloane (01:06.754)


Sloane (01:18.428)

Yeah, the vast, the vast like, you know, kind of, I mean, you, I think we would both be shocked at how much connection Provo actually does have with Palo Alto.

ASHBY (01:26.763)

Oh really? That's true. So many people probably fly their jets and ski, right?

Sloane (01:32.07)

Yeah, oh, well, and like so many Mormons probably go to Stanford. I mean, like, you know, I feel like so my stereotype of Mormons is that they all go to they're all overeducated.

ASHBY (01:43.087)

They are. I had a Mormon, a fabulous PhD student, and who is actually a professor today, who was Mormon and he had 10 children. Sorry. That's the secret. And I was always just blown away at how this human being could do a PhD and have that many children. It was one of the most impressive things I ever saw.

Sloane (01:58.739)

That's the secret. I mean, like, you know, that...

Sloane (02:09.699)

My grandmother finished her PhD while pregnant and had like, I think two kids at home. Like, you know, my grandfather was teaching at the time. I don't know what's going on. Maybe it's the not drinking. Maybe it's the not doing drugs. You know. It's like, yeah, why not do a PhD with Ashley? That sounds like a blast. I bet.

ASHBY (02:22.091)

Maybe. Yeah, they gotta have a little bit of fun elsewhere. It's a fair point.

ASHBY (02:32.475)

It was. Hey, so just off the top here, we're doing this on a Monday. Doesn't feel the same. And I had this flash that I wanted to share you about, because it could be that we get a little product line here for free money. This could be a new product line. And I'm just going to pitch it to you because you and I are about to go into business together producing, this time it's not beverages.

Sloane (02:38.702)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Sloane (02:45.276)


Oh man. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sloane (02:55.646)


Sloane (02:59.086)


ASHBY (03:01.047)

You know how we have flags for all kinds of things in the world today? Okay. We have country, we have state, we have city, the Olympics has a flag. We obviously have the many, many pride flags for all the different orientations. We have a prisoner of war flag, right? There's so many flags. We don't have day of the week flags. And

Sloane (03:04.983)

Oh, yes we do. We do.

Sloane (03:12.292)


Sloane (03:21.132)

Yup, yup.

ASHBY (03:30.747)

I think day of the week flags are a real thing that people could get behind. Friday flag people would fly the shit out of the Friday flag. You would put the Monday flag. It would always be half masks. That would be the place where that would go. But isn't it strange? We don't have day of the week flags or am I just crazy?

Sloane (03:41.491)

That's such a good point.

Sloane (03:46.855)


Sloane (03:50.526)

I, you know, it's interesting. Like, yeah, I feel that it hasn't been productized yet. Like, you know, yeah, how has Monday not become a brand?

ASHBY (04:00.899)

logo for Monday, you know, and like you could be like, well, we have the name Monday, but it's different across the world. We need a, we need a logo that cuts across language for what Friday is.

Sloane (04:11.49)

Ha ha!

Sloane (04:15.018)

I mean, yeah, and like, you know, without a consensus about what Friday is, how is anybody even building a DCF model, right? Like that, yeah, no, like.

ASHBY (04:21.963)

Nobody, right? So anyway, I wanna put that out there for free money, and if some listener wants to come up with an idea for a Friday flag, I think we could get behind it.

Sloane (04:33.174)

Yeah, I mean, I think that we need to get better at crowdsourcing bullshit. I mean, innovative ideas from people. You know, I was thinking like, you know, I said to somebody a little while ago that there's no woke investopedia, you know, for like, cause you know, if you think like there, we are starved of terms, we're starved of descriptive tendencies or whatever. And I was like, maybe we'll make that the free money website. Maybe we'll let people create little Wiki pages on there.

ASHBY (04:39.343)


ASHBY (04:48.121)


ASHBY (04:55.425)


Sloane (05:02.921)


ASHBY (05:03.383)

And we could actually just ask ChatGPT to start. ChatGPT is pretty good at that kind of crap. It's really bad at facts, but at like generic, like commentary, it's pretty darn good.

Sloane (05:08.918)

That's so true. Yeah. That's it. Yeah. The Wikipedia of wrong shit about institutions. Hahahaha.

ASHBY (05:19.647)

Yes, of drug-induced hallucinations by our AI.

Sloane (05:27.17)

I mean, we changed to a new meeting tool recently. And before you got on, well, so it's great in terms of like, it does keep transcripts and makes meetings searchable, which is awesome if you're collaborating with people. But it's supposed to highlight to-do items, right? And in our morning meeting this morning, I was like, Gabe said, oh, you'll send me a thing. And then the AI is like, Sloan, you gotta send Gabe the thing.

ASHBY (05:31.611)

So that failed 100 times.

ASHBY (05:38.137)


ASHBY (05:46.52)


ASHBY (05:55.392)

No way.

Sloane (05:56.531)

And Gage's like, I have no idea what the AI is talking about. You know, so the hallucinatory tendencies seem to be all over the place.

ASHBY (06:00.163)


ASHBY (06:07.843)

Yeah, I don't think anybody's talking about the fact that our artificial intelligence toolkits are on drugs. Like, that's how you hallucinate. You take LSD or mushrooms. You know, people should be more worried about this.

Sloane (06:20.11)

Yeah, well, you know who's, you know who, wait, wait a second, you know who's really on drugs? Like so many of the Silicon Valley people who are just like jerking off to the prospects of what could happen with AI. Like the, there, they're,

ASHBY (06:34.644)

It is a bit of a hype right now. It feels like if you don't have, it's like three years ago, you had to have your story about crypto, and now you gotta have your story about AI.

Sloane (06:41.46)


Well, you know, one of the interesting, like, so, you know, the Turing test has been passed, right, by AI. And so there's this op-ed, I don't remember the name of the chud in question who wrote this op-ed, but the idea was that the new Turing test is when you give AI $100,000 and it turns it into a million in the stock market, you know, which says, I think, so much about where these people are coming from and the way they think.

ASHBY (06:49.507)


ASHBY (07:06.585)


ASHBY (07:11.759)

Totally. These are the people that are into this space. This is all about investment in randomness.

Sloane (07:17.99)

Yeah, and also like don't fundamentally understand how investing works and that is not

ASHBY (07:21.311)

No, the fact that you could think you could just ask an AI to turn 100k into a million. Although, I mean, I guess we'll see.

Sloane (07:28.819)

Yeah, like if it works, fine, more power to them. I guess, put me out of business, that's totally fine. I can pick up work as a gardener, I guess, or a podcaster, a merchant of flags.

ASHBY (07:38.763)

Yep. Here we go.

Yeah, week day of the week flags don't. Don't make fun of me this. I think this one's got legs. This is what is legit. OK, I got news though, and I know we got a guest here in five minutes, so I want to jump into the news. News Pakistan. Has a new sovereign wealth fund the government. Well, I think it's actually not fully approved, but.

Sloane (07:48.485)

I think...

Sloane (07:52.584)

This is like, yeah...

Yup, yeah, give me the news, man. What happened recently?

Sloane (08:03.842)


ASHBY (08:12.175)

There is a plan to establish a new sovereign wealth fund made up of a whole set of state owned enterprises and different things. It's gonna read around an 8 billion starting value. And the idea is to then sell stakes in this sovereign fund to foreign investors to spur growth, but also then to kind of catalyze this new industry.

which is kind of what the NIIF and India tried to do, but they're now gonna try to do it in Pakistan.

Sloane (08:41.803)


I wonder if that's like a sneaky play to move off of the MSCI frontier markets rating, because like the frontier markets rating is totally about market capitalization of your listed companies. And like there's just a hard bar based on how much you have listed. And so listing a whole bunch of state owned enterprises and generating liquidity for them would seem to have the mechanical effect of moving someone up the league tables. You know, the

ASHBY (09:07.607)

Yeah, it might. Well, if you're not tracking all these new development funds, they're just going gangbusters right now. They're all over the place, and they are seeking to do this type of work. Like, let's reconcile the state-owned enterprises and let's attract foreign capital. And it's a brand new development tool, brand new, last decade. But it seems like it's everywhere all of a sudden.

Sloane (09:33.518)

I mean, yeah, in your world. Yeah. Everyone's.

ASHBY (09:34.999)

In my world, yes. If you have Google alerts for sovereign development fund, you'll be blown away. Yes. Ha ha ha. Speaking of sovereign development funds, the Saudi PIF is another Saudi development fund, Public Investment Fund, and it reported its 2022 performance numbers. It is now worth about 650 billion. But aside from all of that,

Sloane (09:40.742)

Everyone's talking about everyone's talking about several development fights

ASHBY (10:04.879)

I thought it was fascinating to see that 83% of the assets in the Saudi PIF are managed internally.

Sloane (10:15.926)

That is really, really interesting. Yeah, that's really, really interesting. Yeah, I mean, I was at a conference once and it's Chatham House rules, so I won't reveal who said this, but it definitely wasn't inspired by talking about the Saudi Development Fund. Uh, yeah, like, I mean, you know, so anyone assumes that, but like, they were asking about ESG strategy, and the person said, well, our ESG strategy is we invested in the Softbank Vision Fund.

ASHBY (10:18.111)

Isn't it? Yeah, that's a lot. That's like Canadian pension style.

ASHBY (10:31.745)


ASHBY (10:44.483)

Sorry, that was a natural reaction. Oh my.

Sloane (10:50.939)

Yeah, to whoever said that about whatever fun. But like, I mean, you know, 83% internally, that seems like it's probably pretty high relative to pools of that size.

ASHBY (11:00.355)

Oh, I mean, that is a very aggressive, and it speaks to like the need for these funds to invest in industries and geographies for which there are no off-the-shelf products. So it's not crazy that a development fund would have that as an objective. But when you think that, you know, like the Softbank Vision Fund, that's an external fund. That's the kind of thing I think we all thought the Saudis would be doing, but instead,

Sloane (11:12.683)


Sloane (11:25.549)


ASHBY (11:26.747)

They're investing domestically. They're starting new companies. Like there's the golf, all this golf stuff. Every time the PIF shows up in my alerts, it's golf related. And I have to delete that alert. I do have one more bit of news, but is there time for my news? Okay, sweet. So here's the shocker. There's a guy that's named Richard Ennis, E-N-N-I-S. Yep. Richard Ennis.

Sloane (11:37.762)

I love that so much.

I think so, we don't have a guest yet, you know, so, you know.

Sloane (11:52.231)

Oh, I know him.

ASHBY (11:56.271)

Pub is publishing a paper in the Journal of Investing that shows that investments in alternatives by public pension funds is driving poor performance to the point where he quantified that the average public pension fund has delivered negative alpha of 1.2% annually since 2008 as a result of investments in two things.

and real estate. Private equity is okay, but hedge funds and real estate are dragging these pension funds down. I thought that was pretty wild. We don't, wouldn't have necessarily said that in 2008.

Sloane (12:39.006)

Yeah, that's, I mean, you know, I think I first heard about him from our friend Preston, who's a foe of hedge funds. You know, yeah. And yeah, like I, I mean, is anyone surprised? Are we surprised that there's that hedge funds are full of garbage?

ASHBY (12:45.143)

Right, true.

ASHBY (12:54.531)

Well, especially that period, because we had so much, the public markets did so well.

Sloane (12:58.879)

And especially the aggregate, right? The whole point of a hedge fund is that everybody who's investing in a hedge fund, just like all drivers think they're above average. You know, and wow, yeah.

ASHBY (13:01.584)

That's right.

ASHBY (13:06.273)


ASHBY (13:09.659)

High fees, you know, and so you can see that 1.2% is probably like, they probably just barely beat the markets, but because of the high fee load, they underperform, you know.

Sloane (13:19.894)

Yep. Yeah, I mean, cutting your fees is a great way to outperform, it's my favorite way. But you know, guess who we have in the waiting room? It's a guest, yeah, it's Maeve DuValley, one of the three other trans women in finance, if you can believe it. I'm so excited, I'm so excited. Maeve, hi! Hello, hello, thanks so much for hopping on the Free Money Podcast.

ASHBY (13:26.227)

Yeah, we have a guest.

ASHBY (13:34.808)


Maeve DuVally (13:39.746)


ASHBY (13:39.843)


Maeve DuVally (13:44.059)

I have my air conditioner on, but I'll shut it off as soon as we start.

Sloane (13:48.522)

Uh, oh we're starting. Hahaha!

ASHBY (13:50.083)

We do it live. We just bring you in and then it's go time.

Maeve DuVally (13:53.211)

Okay, I'll shut it off and all that.

Sloane (13:59.undefined)

Our wonderfully professional podcasting approach. I think we continue to set the standard for professionalism in communications, Maeve, as I'm sure you can attest. In the weird transgender coincidences realm, I wound up yesterday doing an oral history

ASHBY (14:07.119)

Yes we do.

Maeve DuVally (14:09.883)

OK, nice to see you.

ASHBY (14:10.167)

Nice to see you.

Sloane (14:22.242)

coming out to this Mormon group that was interested in how my membership in that kind of ethnic community has affected the whole thing. And I feel like somebody, hopefully a trans person, hopefully somebody who's on the fence and worried about this is gonna find it, find this conversation and maybe feel a little bit more able to go out and live their life. I mean, how's that for a hope?

Maeve DuVally (14:45.443)

Yeah, that's one reason I do these things.

Sloane (14:48.05)

Yeah, I mean, like, so I think like, as I think about, you know, so you've kind of you obviously were you were at Goldman Sachs, you were very senior there, you were involved in basically everything that the firm did for a period of time. If you were cisgender, I think you probably would be talking about how the stock has performed since you left, you know, and being like, well, they can't they can't exist without me.

Maeve DuVally (15:11.859)

Yeah, I'd probably be talking about how well or how imperfectly they handled certain media issues and reputational issues.

Sloane (15:22.366)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not that you would have those opinions, you know, but, you know, I think like maybe a good place to start is, you know, like when I came out, one of the weirdest and strangest and most like, in a way, costly in a practical sense, things was that all of a sudden that my gender, you know, from being like my one good secret was the one thing people knew about me, you know, and it sort of outweighed everything else I've ever done.

Has that been like what happened to you? Has that been your experience?

Maeve DuVally (15:56.275)

Yeah, I think before I came out, nobody knew anything about me personally. I never really talked about myself personally. And, um, you know, one of the biggest changes in my life is once I came out, I began to get happy before I came out. I wasn't very happy. So people were surprised, um, that how unhappy I was, uh, before, because I tried not to show that. So, yeah, people, um,

became very interested in me, what was driving me, what was it like before, how was it different now, and those all were not directly parts of my job, and previous to that, my interactions with people at work had mostly been about my job.

Sloane (16:45.81)

And your job, just to kind of level set for people, like what were you doing and why wouldn't you be necessarily putting yourself into the story at your old gig?

Maeve DuVally (16:56.275)

Yeah, I was, I was in corporate communication, specifically in media relations. So my job was to, uh, half my job was what you'd expect. I, I interacted with reporters who wanted to write stories about Goldman Sachs and half my job was acquiring information from people at Goldman Sachs that, um,

I could either use to give to reporters or just be aware that this is a potential problem. And if a reporter comes sniffing, you need to be careful. So that essentially was my job. And in communications, we have a saying that it's a problem if a communications person becomes part of the story. And I did my best for most of my life not to be part of the story. And quite honestly, if you...

ASHBY (17:38.435)


Maeve DuVally (17:46.559)

were to Google my dead name, you really wouldn't see very much interesting about me. And I think the content since I've come out, if you Google Maeve DuValley right now, it's actually quite interesting.

Sloane (18:00.79)

Yeah, and deadname just for those, Cishet folks following along at home is the way that we refer to the names that we used to be referred to, right? So which are functionally dead, at least in my concept of it. And yeah, I mean, it's always a really fun.

ASHBY (18:18.117)


Sloane (18:18.43)

time. I mean, like, congratulations on coming out. Just holy shit. So somebody was like, you know, at the end of my conversation yesterday, someone was like, just so you know, most trans people are not very successful because it's just hard to do. And it's just a lot to contain within yourself. Is that, I mean, does that resonate with you at all?

Maeve DuVally (18:38.815)

Yeah, I spend a lot of time up in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as just kind of a summer gay enclave. And I spend a lot of time with gay men up there. And gay men are just, generally speaking, a fairly affluent demographic. And transgender people are not an affluent demographic. It's just very, very different. And a lot of us,

You know, I come from privilege. I'm white. I worked at Goldman Sachs. I live in New York City. Things are pretty good for me. They're not so good for a lot of trans people who come from broken homes. Their parents disown them when they come out. So we're in a very different place than some other parts of LGBTQ+.

ASHBY (19:13.807)


ASHBY (19:29.051)

That's a really good segue to just the conformity of this profession. And thinking about for a second, Maeve, I was an investment banker. I did the two-year analyst stint, and then I went off and did the venture capital. And the expectation is you go get an MBA, and then you come back. It almost feels militaristic, and everybody's paying their dues, and that you conform to the standard of, I don't know.

the successful mold of an investment banker or whatever you wanna do. And what you've just described is a community that feels less conforming than the kind of typical finance professional. And from an investment perspective or a financial services perspective, I think it's a lost opportunity to think creatively and to try to bring innovation and different perspectives into the industry for the benefit of the industry. Is that your?

Maeve DuVally (20:01.183)

Yes, yes, yeah.

ASHBY (20:27.171)

kind of appreciation having gone through it through the entire career and now seeing it through this different lens.

Maeve DuVally (20:33.631)

Yeah, I've spent a lot of time with the diversity inclusion people at Goldman Sachs before I left Goldman. I still do some consulting in that area for Goldman. And you just hear a lot of people talk about the importance of having diverse viewpoints around the table. And I really do think our industry believes that having.

diverse viewpoints around the table yields better results because the more different views you have, it feeds into kind of the ultimate overall decision that you make and it's a better decision if there's more.

inputs into it. So I do believe that a lot of institutions in the financial services industry believe that, but getting all those diverse people in and getting them to stay, that's a different challenge.

Sloane (21:29.678)

And I feel I would add to that also that like, you know, a lot of the time, what the diverse people have to say to those firms is not necessarily stuff they want to hear. Right? Like, you know, one of the things I would say to all of them is, you know, if you're marketing a sustainable investment product and you can't take a one, one dollar deposit, you're full of shit. Um, and, uh, you know, that wouldn't endear me to anyone. Um, you know, yeah, you know, and, and I think like, so, you know,

Maeve DuVally (21:53.259)

Probably not.

Sloane (21:57.838)

Let's unpack different perspectives. One of my favorite things about financial services and conformity is that at one point I was sitting around with somebody and they saw that another friend of ours was wearing a Timex, or not a Timex, like a six or $700 tag-queuer watch. And they went, well, let's get you a real watch some point, by which they meant like a $15,000 monstrosity.

You know, like the, you know, so the difference between diversity of experience and maybe where you come from and diversity of viewpoint, how big is that in your view? And how much, how realistic is it to think that you could actually bring like revolutionary communists into Goldman Sachs and have them be, you know, like value adding.

Maeve DuVally (22:48.259)

Well, it's funny because if you asked me now what attributes I bring to the job, they'd mostly be totally different from what I would have answered before. Number one, I'd say that I'm happy. And, you know, well, I wasn't happy before, but if I was happy before, I wouldn't have said that was an important attribute to bring to the job. But I believe it is.

ASHBY (23:06.051)


Maeve DuVally (23:15.711)

And I believe knowing who you are, being happy, being confident, wanting to give back, those are really important attributes that make the workplace a better place, make people around you feel more comfortable, lead people to be willing to take risks and say things in meetings, and just...

yield that better result that we were talking about. But again, I wasn't many of those things before, but if I was, I wouldn't have said those were important to my job. I would have said something like, well, I understand financial markets pretty well. I was a reporter before, I know how to talk to journalists. And those are what I bring to the table.

Sloane (24:03.242)

Yeah, whereas now it's, I don't hate my life. It's very, I mean, speaking of that and hating your life, the, you know, I mean, sobriety, substance abuse, big part of your story, big part of my story, you know, and like, I think when one of our first podcast episodes of, you know, here, we were talking about just how everyone tends to get shit faced at financial services events, almost without thinking about it or without seeing anything wrong.

Maeve DuVally (24:05.479)


Sloane (24:33.258)

I mean, like, what's going on there? What's, like, why is it that so many of the people that I know who are in the financial services industry have made it out of the financial services industry? It seems like there's a significant over-representation of alcoholics. You know, is that serving a functional purpose, do you think?

ASHBY (24:37.04)


Maeve DuVally (24:54.859)

Um, I think some people view alcohol as a social lubricant that if you're, if you're having trouble bonding with the person, like alcohol can help you. It can reduce your inhibitions. At least that's what people say. Now that I'm sober, um, I'm really happy that I'm a hundred percent present in pretty much every situation I find myself in, whether it's work.

or social and when you're drinking, you're by definition, I think you're not present. So I think the whole idea of it being a social lubricant is not quite true, but a lot of people believe that.

ASHBY (25:34.703)

Thanks for watching!

Sloane (25:41.386)

Yeah, and I think like the, I mean, certainly, you know, in my own story, like my parents were both market professionals and both heavy drinkers. And when I got to my first, you know, job at Oppenheimer, I was like, how is everybody here drinking for eight hours a day? Like, where are they finding the time? You know, because I just assumed that was what everyone did.

ASHBY (26:03.279)


Maeve DuVally (26:03.519)

Well, and I spent 10 years in Japan and the social lubricant argument you really hear there all the time. And I was in the financial service, I was a research analyst over there and people kind of feel they can't get to know you and they can't talk about themselves unless they have a good degree, good amount of liquor in them. And...

You know, I think some people are like that, unfortunately.

ASHBY (26:34.839)

It's, it's almost the cost of doing business. Some parts around the world I've noted, like, you know, you, you have to go and clink the glasses and that's part of the deal, um, which is hard. I'm, I'm interested in, in some of the work you did in communications at, at Goldman and sounds like, you know, elsewhere, because one of the things we need to do as an industry. So the industry that I feel like we're really kind of representing here on this podcast, it's kind of like.

Maeve DuVally (26:39.088)


Maeve DuVally (26:45.19)


ASHBY (27:02.415)

creative thinkers for the finance industry, but it's also meant to be helping the world's biggest investors, like these big public pension plans, think more creatively about what they do for their benefit, but also for the world's benefit. And it's hard to be creative. It's hard inside of a civil society organization that's regulated out the wazoo to do creative things.

But we need that innovation in our industry. And so as a professional communicator, do you have tips for these investors or ways of thinking about explaining those innovations that can kind of help them take more bold bets?

Maeve DuVally (27:47.019)

That's a really good question. I think part of it is something I talked about a little bit earlier, bringing more of your personality into work and in not being that cookie cutter type of mold that you were talking about earlier, bringing those emotions and in what makes you what you are into the workplace.

and not having it just be a bunch of kind of, kind of, you know, boring processes that everybody has to follow. So if people did that a little bit more, I think it would feed innovation in the workplace.

ASHBY (28:25.326)


ASHBY (28:32.043)

Almost sounds like personifying like an innovative project, like to bring somebody's personality, but also bring life into these projects that it's like a new data software system. But if you can jazz it up with an excited person.

Maeve DuVally (28:51.071)

Well, and you know, the other thing I found is most big companies have employee resource groups, affinity networks, whatever you want to call them. And, you know, it's a place where people can meet outside of the people who have something in common, whether they're LGBTQ plus women, black, neurodivergent, people with something in common can meet at work.

but it's outside of the traditional workplace. And, you know, I...

I came out of Goldman Sachs in 2019 and probably for the first year and a half or so, I was totally focused on myself and my transition and getting in touch with what was happening. But after that, I started looking out and I realized I was part of this bigger LGBTQ plus community. So I got very involved with Goldman's LGBTQ plus affinity network.

Maeve DuVally (29:55.077)

experimentation and we did all kinds of things and we had all different types of pillars and we had a client engagement pillar where we some people.

in our group would reach out to similar LGBTQ plus groups at big clients of Goldman Sachs, and we would go out to lunch and we would interact. And there would already be that bond between us, right? That LGBTQ plus bond. And these were very effective and they actually do lead to more business. So I'm very, very...

fond and I think very highly of these affinity networks for kind of being grassroots and ideas bubble up from, you know, people all throughout the organization, not just senior people, and they can be sources of innovation within companies.

ASHBY (30:35.872)


ASHBY (30:45.869)


ASHBY (30:51.311)

The reason I love that so much is it almost confirms other things I've said. But let me tell you, I just have confirmation bias all day long. Yeah, exactly. Um, that type of collaboration we talk about all the time that if you can build like communities behind an idea, then you're not almost by definition, like you're not going to get fired as an individual for taking the crazy bet.

Maeve DuVally (31:00.508)

Well, that's why I'm here.

Sloane (31:02.331)

Yeah, exactly. The confirmation bias podcast. Woo!

ASHBY (31:20.751)

because there's like four or five people from different teams who've said, this is a good idea. In our world, we'll find four or five people from different public pension plans and we'll get them working together on a crazy idea. And then if it blows up, you're like, well, these other pension funds did it. Anyway.

Sloane (31:40.522)

I think that's sort of soft infrastructure, I think, between people of all sorts of different stripes. Like, you know, one of the dings about those DEI groups from the right is always like, what about religion? You know, well, usually religious groups have that sort of soft infrastructure already built. Like outside of a bar.

which is usually not a very professional setting. There are very few watering holes or third spaces where you can form those kinds of connections. I feel like almost anytime you can get people, yeah. Right, like it's.

ASHBY (32:15.407)

fascinating actually when you say it like that. You know, and if you're not like a parent, like I think about where like my connections come from nowadays, frankly, like sometimes it's my kid's parents. Sorry, my kid's friend's parents, I'm my kid's parents. But you know what I mean? Yeah.

Sloane (32:26.846)

Yeah. Breaking news. Yeah. But you know, like, I think, you know, I really want to talk about your book and I have a couple, you know, but like one of the things that like, we should start off here is like, there's a pattern in trans stories where like, you know, it's, I'm just going to characterize myself and you can say if this applies to you, but.

You know, I kind of came out, people noticed there was some press attention. Then I kind of like got happier, got more productive in my view. Got much more functional and effective. But then the setting that I was in, the corporate setting, which had, you know, like taken up a lot of identity points, right? Like being an employee of the CFA Institute was a load bearing part of my identity. And I'm not sure if that's why I left.

But I've noticed that a lot of trans women tend to leave after they come out. Do you have a theory about that?

Maeve DuVally (33:30.603)

Yes, I do. For me, I don't think I was an unkind person, but...

I don't think I was a particularly kind person. And what I mean by that is, I don't think I really looked out for other people. And from that standpoint, I think I was actually quite selfish. And that's a very common characteristic of an alcoholic. It's by definition, a selfish act. And so...

Once I got sober and once I realized I was trans, I just knew that I just needed to give back to our community. And for a while I was able to do that at Goldman Sachs through my work with the Affinity Network. And I work with a lot of other alcoholics and drug addicts in recovery as well. And...

And, and because there was publicity surrounding my coming out at Goldman Sachs, I actually had a lot of people reach out to me and just wanting to share their experience. And I shared my experience and that just convinced me that

you know, my experience could be useful to other people. So, you know, you put that all together and I really see my life responsibilities is kind of giving back to other people, especially because I'm a little bit older. And, you know, I just sucked energy from the world for so long. And I just need to get back right now and...

Maeve DuVally (35:14.292)

I quite frankly didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted to do while I was working at Goldman Sachs, so I'm kind of off on my own and I'm not making as much money as I'd like and I'm still trying to figure that out, but I'm not too worried.

Sloane (35:29.274)

Yeah, I mean, I wonder, thinking about kind of, so as I was thinking about this, I was like, well, somebody, I mean, first of all, right after I came out, people sort of expected me to characterize the trans experience, which was, I think is a really funny thing, because by definition, I had no trans experience. And I still feel like,

totally at best a teen mom in this whole, you know, sort of thing. But, you know, as we think about, you know, kind of what you're what's in your book and it's called Maeve Rising. What's the subtitle coming out in corporate America? Coming out trans in corporate America, which more people should do. You know, yeah, but will they stay there after they come out?

Maeve DuVally (36:10.563)

Coming out trans in corporate America, yep.

Maeve DuVally (36:16.427)

They will. They will.

Maeve DuVally (36:22.091)

Some will. So I think, you know what I've seen in the last five years? You know, I think people like you and I, when we decide to come out, like I waited so long and now I know what I want and I'm just all in. But I found in talking to people who were young in their careers or...

Sloane (36:23.631)

Yeah, like...

Maeve DuVally (36:51.103)

people in college or graduate school who may have been already out but were worried about interviewing out in corporate America, I found just in the last five years more and more of those younger people are coming out and I find that very encouraging. And I find that big companies are, you know, it's one thing. I had already been at Goldman for 15 years. I knew all the senior people at the company and I said I'm coming out.

Sloane (37:06.87)


Maeve DuVally (37:18.719)

In a way Goldman Sachs didn't really have a choice, right? But in terms of hiring an out transgender person straight from college, Goldman has a choice and Goldman is hiring those people right now. So I find that encouraging.

Sloane (37:33.878)

I do too. I think too, like the younger generation just has so much to teach all of us. Like the, I mean, even like, you know, I was talking to someone and they were like, the whole idea of coming out is so cis. Like you thought I was straight? That seems like your problem. And that really just makes me so happy. So like, you know, as you think about like, you know, another thing that I just kind of want to explode and then we'll go let you live your life, but is like when you think about transgender tips.

Right? Like the, there's a group of people who are kind of early in transition who might think that's about makeup and dresses and skirts and whatnot. And like, you know, if you had wisdom to offer somebody who's in that journey, you know, and like, I'm sure it's happened to you where somebody asked to meet you for coffee and they're like, you know, unclear what it's about. I sort of start saying yes to that because I sort of assumed that it might be about, you know, gender and they need a person to talk to.

What would your advice be for that person who, you know, is, you know, in this kind of confused and not sure what to do type state?

Maeve DuVally (38:44.688)

I think people should experiment and they should find their happy place. So vis-a-vis that point you just made about people thinking it's kind of all about makeup and what you wear and everything.

You and I both know that's part of it, but that's not the main part of it. And I can tell you, and this is an example I give all the time, because I think it just really shows what it's all about is, for me, I identify as a woman. So for me, the most joyful occasions are when I am fully accepted by a group, I'm in a group of women, and I'm fully accepted as one of them.

any better than that for me. And I think that's a good example to help people understand what's important for us. And then, you know, the other thing that I'm really talking about a lot

or I'm trying to talk about with my book coming out is, you know, this whole idea of transition not being something that's just specific to transgender people, because if you think about it, every human being is in transition their whole life. If you are a sentient human being trying to be your best self, you are...

in self-realization, in self-actualization, and you should be changing all your life and trying to become this idealized version of yourself, which you'll never get to, but that's okay. You know, striving is the most important thing. So that's the human condition. Transition is not something that's specific to us. We get a lot of attention because our physical appearance changes.

Maeve DuVally (40:37.176)

in some cases very quickly and dramatically.

Sloane (40:39.934)

Yeah, there's a pageantry to it.

Maeve DuVally (40:41.696)


ASHBY (40:44.283)

I would love that.

Sloane (40:45.674)

It's, yeah, I hope a couple of pension funds are hearing this and thinking, I'm gonna transition too. I'm gonna transition CalPERS. Maeve, I can't tell you how grateful I am to you for not only just being yourself because we need every fricking trans woman that's visible that we can have. I mean, and like, you know, I feel like we should all have a group text, because there's, you know.

ASHBY (40:51.591)


Sloane (41:15.239)

I mean, I feel like there's few enough of us that we could all fit around a dinner table.

Maeve DuVally (41:19.283)

Yeah, because the thing is that not everybody's in a position to or not everybody feels comfortable being vocal like you and I are. But for those of us who are comfortable, I think we have a responsibility.

Sloane (41:35.73)

I couldn't agree more, absolutely. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing your book hit the top of the bestseller list. Yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah. I mean, like let's get George Soros on the phone, help him like, you know, this fast left-wing conspiracy that's supposed to be helping us out. I mean, I personally haven't gotten any of my Soros money yet. I hope you have, but yeah. I mean, as far as I can tell, that's not really a thing, but thank you again. And, you know, just.

Maeve DuVally (41:42.461)

I hope so.

Maeve DuVally (41:52.547)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Maeve DuVally (41:58.161)

No, I haven't. I haven't.

Sloane (42:05.566)

looking forward to following what you do with this next era of your life. And I'm just pumped for you and pumped for all of us.

Maeve DuVally (42:13.515)

Well, thank you so much for having me. It's been, I've had a good time. It's been educational and fun. Well, you can't ask for more, right?

ASHBY (42:14.139)

Thanks, Maeve.

Sloane (42:20.074)

That's exactly right. Yeah, that's, I mean, that's the promo. We're putting that on a t-shirt. Uh, you can't ask for more. Uh, thanks so much, Maeve long distance high five and a hug. I'm gonna actually have to kick you out. Um, I think you can just close the window, Maeve. I don't actually know our technology is so good. It's so good.

Maeve DuVally (42:23.651)


ASHBY (42:24.347)

educational and fun. Thanks, Maeve.

Maeve DuVally (42:29.161)

Okay, thank you.

ASHBY (42:44.941)


You can just click.

Sloane (42:49.374)

Yeah, there we go. Man. Maeve's just like trapped in cyberspace, like, ah! But man, that like, I feel like, I feel like that was a bucket list conversation for me in a way.

ASHBY (42:50.999)

There we go. Hopefully that works. Probably won't.

ASHBY (42:59.258)


That was heavy.

ASHBY (43:05.799)

I was sitting here thinking, what was I thinking? One, I can't believe that's the first, I feel that that's our first trans woman we've had on, aside from you.

Sloane (43:16.186)

Liz? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, so the, I mean, but like, so, you know, but at that, at, with, with two, we're so overrepresented in the area.

ASHBY (43:17.547)

Oh, Liz. That's right.

ASHBY (43:26.103)

We are, I know, as like hosts that try to think about representation.

Sloane (43:31.55)

And we've had folks who are used or non-binary or they them. And so, but yeah, like I think, one of the things that I would have assumed about like the people who we can get to come on is that there would be a lot more trans and queer folks and there just aren't that many of us. And the ones who exist are not really usually in positions where they can speak candidly.

ASHBY (43:34.691)

That's right, I remember that.

ASHBY (43:49.453)


ASHBY (43:52.932)


Sloane (43:59.307)

Um, like Maeve was, you know, and.

ASHBY (44:00.791)

Here's my question for you coming out of that one. I found that final two minutes, like to be pretty like as a straight dude with a wife and kids, right? So the way that Maeve was just talking about, this is a transition to self-improvement. We're all on this transition. You know, Ashby, you're going to the gym and doing the stair master and you need a haircut. I'm also trying to improve.

Sloane (44:03.501)


Sloane (44:20.01)


ASHBY (44:30.595)

To me, that's like a very approachable way of thinking about this world of transitioning. Like it almost is like self-improvement, innovation, transitioning, you know, is this the way that you think of, is this like a mainstream way of talking about it? Cause I don't feel like I've heard that.

Sloane (44:38.155)


Sloane (44:48.022)

That's a great, I mean, so first off, I would say, my version of your ideal self-ashby is that you never cut your hair again. I feel like that's self-actualization for you. But yeah, I mean, for me, as a practical matter, I think that the way that we're, the trans people are represented in media and culture is like 98% porn. And when we receive praise, it's often appearance linked.

ASHBY (44:54.205)

Yeah, I know.

ASHBY (44:59.212)


Sloane (45:17.374)

And it's often kind of about like, oh, well, I couldn't even tell you were trans. Or something fucked up like that. And for me, the things that are significant milestones in my life, like, yeah, I had, I mean, one of my big milestones was having my facial feminization surgery and being like, holy shit. That's, I mean, that was some of the first time that I looked in the mirror and didn't hate what I saw.

ASHBY (45:24.004)


ASHBY (45:44.613)


Sloane (45:45.086)

you know, and that's kind of like, I would, it's like scratching an inch that you've never known you had. You know, so there are some specialty concerns related to transition and transness where, like I think that most, like, Ashby, you probably correct me if I'm wrong, have not been like, you know, am I really a man? Yeah, like, and I feel like that's one of the big things that like is inaccessible or hard for people to access about transness is like,

ASHBY (45:50.331)

Mm. Mm-hmm.

ASHBY (46:00.269)


ASHBY (46:04.515)

I have not had that one.

ASHBY (46:12.535)

Yeah, for sure that's hard for me. Yeah, like I'm... Yeah.

Sloane (46:14.322)

Yeah, because it's like, what would that even look like to wonder what your gender is? And like, I think for a lot of trans people, I could have told you at six that something was up, and you'll often have situations where like a four-year-old will say, hey, please use she, her pronouns for me. And the parents will be like, what the fuck? Where is that coming from? And so in some senses, there are some like, okay, this is a specific medical thing and whatever.

ASHBY (46:18.828)


ASHBY (46:24.782)


ASHBY (46:35.413)

I know, yeah.

Sloane (46:43.202)

But as a practical matter, like, you know, what am I doing day to day to make progress in my transition? You know, it's stuff like, you know, taking a walk in the morning. You know, it's not sex stuff. It's not, you know, it's not kink, it's not anything. And like, sure, I do that stuff, but like, you know, it's not what matters about, you know, what I'll look back on a couple months from now and say, oh, okay, I've been making some progress.

ASHBY (46:54.431)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Sloane (47:09.578)

You know, I've been taking a walk every day and being pretty good at standing at my desk. You know. Oh, that's, they call me the queen of the segue. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I mean, yeah, so I guess, I mean, that's it. You know, look, yet another masterful segue. What's your hard thing, Dr. Munk?

ASHBY (47:14.915)

that was your hard things content. You wrote it without even knowing. That is some hard stuff.

ASHBY (47:23.9)

Reverse segue. You already did the segment. Now we got to reverse.

ASHBY (47:35.579)

Oh, shit. First of all, before we move on to my hard thing, I'm grateful to have been on – because I obviously knew you under the dead name, and then I've been with you on this journey. And for me, it's like, just frankly like a window into something that I don't think in my day-to-day I would experience. And so it's like what I like in hearing Maeve talk about the different viewpoints around the table.

Sloane (47:55.83)

Yeah, yeah, I would say, yeah.

ASHBY (48:04.575)

Like there's the, I'm going to do some Donald Rumsfeld at you. There's the known knowns. There's the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns, right? Like for a long time, especially on these topics, like I'm in the unknown world and you've at least allowed me to, to convert some of those unknown unknowns to known unknowns. And so for that, I'm really grateful. I just want to say that.

Sloane (48:11.622)

Oh hell yeah. Shout out to Donnie, boy.

Sloane (48:19.096)


Sloane (48:26.018)

I mean, ditto. I think it's been, I mean, like, just, I feel every day is so lucky that we get to do this podcast. And like, it's great, because like, we're shitheads and wouldn't be like on the phone this much if we weren't doing a podcast. Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!

ASHBY (48:31.355)

I know.

ASHBY (48:35.947)

No, exactly. This is like a reason to hang out. So here's my hard thing. And this is going to be a little bit off topic. Like, it's hard to make. We're real bad at transitions.

Sloane (48:47.006)

This is not, I've been struggling with my gender and we just want to let you know Ashby, this is a safe space and we're.

ASHBY (48:53.739)

I am going to talk about homemade pizza. Sorry. So look, I was struggling to figure out what to talk about. And I just had this flash last night. I made homemade pizza. I've made 50 homemade pizzas ish. And it's time for me to share the tips for some homemade pizza with the listeners, because there is, and there's nothing like homemade pizza. It's absolutely astounding. And it takes.

Sloane (48:57.082)

Oh, fuck. I mean, sounds good.

Sloane (49:15.307)

It's a hard thing.

Sloane (49:19.266)


ASHBY (49:22.671)

from beginning to end, 30 minutes to do. And you have pizza that's delicious that you made and people are like, what, you made this? And so I'll tell you, like you go to the Whole Foods, you probably have it. They have pizza dough, pizza sauce and mozzarella there. You can get fun and get your own mozzarella. You can do fun stuff and make your own pizza dough. But I'm just telling you like, that's the path that I sometimes choose is fabulous. My tips that I've learned after 50 pizzas are too.

Sloane (49:25.45)

Yep. It's yeah.

Sloane (49:33.91)


ASHBY (49:51.907)

lightly sauce your pizza. Don't go too saucy. Too much sauce. It gets weird and doesn't cook all the way and you get it. Then the other tip I have is 475 degrees, not 450 degrees for your pizza. And to do that. I know, but I do mine in the oven. I don't I don't have a pizza oven. You know what I mean? But I know what you're saying. Like the pizza ovens go to like 800 or something.

Sloane (49:54.262)

Yes. Yup.

Sloane (50:07.51)

I always just crank it as high as it goes.

Sloane (50:14.117)

Ah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, like, I just, but.

Yeah, they're always like, how hot can we get this freaking oven?

ASHBY (50:22.079)

I know that's actually true. So maybe go as high as you can go. Thank you for correcting my tip Sloan. And then the other one that I think is worth saying is I used to do pepperoni, I still love pepperoni. I occasionally do Italian sausage. And the thing is for those of you that are vegetable-arian, the, you can do Beyond Beef in a pan, crisp it up and then sprinkle that on your pizza.

Sloane (50:28.861)

It's what I'm here for.

Sloane (50:46.41)

Yeah. Yup.

ASHBY (50:51.755)

And then you're still not a vegan pizza, but vegan. Oh, whoa.

Sloane (50:54.29)

Well, actually, I got good news for you. There is, Miyoko's pourable mozzarella will change your life. First of all, I feel like, I don't know if we've stated this explicitly, one of the premises around here is that a truly innovative thing is better in like 90 ways. And I think this pourable mozzarella is a great example of it. Mozzarella that you can pour, you don't even have to shred.

ASHBY (51:00.083)

Oh my god. Alright, so there you go.

Sloane (51:22.058)

It's in a bottle, you just pour it on the thing, and then you get your pizza, and it's 100% vegan. You don't have to murder anything. Yeah.

ASHBY (51:28.207)

amazing. You know, somebody at one point really made the most compelling argument that cheese even more so than meat. Cheese is what we should be able to manufacture out of plants, because that's all that cows and other animals are doing. They are eating plants, running it through their engine of processing and converting it into milk. And then we convert it into cheese.

And so they're trying to unravel what that processing is at this kind of molecular level. And they're gonna make the world's best grilled cheese sandwiches based without ever having to involve an animal. Cause you can take all those same ingredients at a molecular level and build the greatest grilled cheese. I'm excited about that.

Sloane (51:55.084)


Sloane (52:15.358)

Yeah, and you can often take the casein out of it too, which is a really potent carcinogen that's in all cheese. You know, yeah, like so, yeah, like the, you know, in general, I'd say like vegan cheeses will shock and amaze, you know, anybody who is, you know, willing to give them a time. And I'm not talking about the vegan cheeses that happen to be in your supermarket in a random place. Talk about specialty cheese. And that's really like part of, I think, what the vegan world struggles from.

ASHBY (52:38.457)


Sloane (52:44.322)

is just like that people tend to characterize what's possible based on what's available to them. Right, you know, and so like when they think about vegan cheese, they think about like whatever the Daya thing is that they happen to have in their, you know, bodega, you know, and yeah, I eat a lot of that. Yeah, yeah. I, you know, it makes a pretty good grilled cheese, you know, the Daya stuff, they've changed the formula, it melts pretty well, but like the

ASHBY (52:57.601)


Yeah, I thought you were gonna say I eat none of that. But you're, no, you eat all of that shit.

ASHBY (53:09.635)


Sloane (53:11.982)

when you go, like a specialty cheese maker can make something that is as sophisticated and as subtle and as beautiful as the best French cheeses, it's the same exact process. You're adding, you just take like cashew milk or cashews, you crush it and you add a coagulant. Yeah, it's just like this area where we haven't really paid attention. And so.

ASHBY (53:30.205)


ASHBY (53:34.267)

Do you know what was so funny about that? When I said those words to you earlier, I forgot what you do for your day job. Cause I was like, hey, let me tell Sloan about this cool grilled cheese idea. And for a second, I forgot about that this is your world.

Sloane (53:41.942)


Sloane (53:48.942)

It's a- Ha ha!

Yeah, the constituency for this podcast is a mixture of like vegans and pension fund managers.

ASHBY (53:59.223)

Exactly. And half the people are like kind of interested because they're learning this for the first time and everyone else is like, can we move on?

Sloane (54:08.458)

Well, yeah, I feel like, you know, the InvestVegan client base has like a betting pool on like when you convert to veganism. We'll get you.

ASHBY (54:14.943)

Yeah, exactly. Well, I'm already eating, because I find it delicious, and I do it because of the climate stuff. That's why I'm doing it.

Sloane (54:19.341)

It's good.

It's, I mean, yeah, exactly. It's, I mean, it's really like a pretty remarkably, you know, I, it re I've been going as part of like the, you know, the carbon stuff that I do to like various meetups and stuff. And I find it so weird to go to a climate industry meetup where people are serving meat, you know, it's just like, it's very like, you know, and I always wind up sitting around with a couple of other vegans and being like grumble, um, you know, and like.

ASHBY (54:38.311)

Oh yeah, I bet. Yeah.

ASHBY (54:47.915)

Is there always a vegan option?

Sloane (54:50.878)

Not, I mean, I, not even usually actually, as in my experience.

ASHBY (54:53.707)

Yeah, I was gonna say maybe there's vegetarian, but not vegan.

Sloane (54:57.586)

Yeah, like I usually, and just kind of operate under the assumption that there's going to be nothing for me to eat at those things. And so I'll stop at like Taco Bell or something. Shout out to Taco Bell, the vegan savior. You know, it's the biggest vegan secret out there is Taco Bell.

ASHBY (55:08.447)

Whoa, that was not where I expected you to say you stopped.

ASHBY (55:16.739)

Yeah, well, when you're not actually, you know, harvesting. Anyway, have you ever had a milkshake from McDonald's? You ask yourself oftentimes if there's any actual milk in there.

Sloane (55:27.828)


Sloane (55:31.302)

You know, one of the funniest things that I, you know, that I had early on was like, I assumed that it would be really easy to find like Parmesan, like fake Parmesan in supermarkets because like, you know, there's, there is all, there like, there's all this like fake Parmesan stuff out there. It's basically sawdust. And so exactly. Yeah. It's like, it's this kind of, it's.

ASHBY (55:40.123)

Huh, yeah.

ASHBY (55:47.855)

Like that's what they serve at the pizza shop, you know? Yeah, it's like that in your red pepper flake, like the crappiest Parmesan you've ever seen.

Sloane (55:55.986)

Exactly, you know, and I was sort of like, surely there's, there must be this incredible ecosystem of fake Parmesan. And no, it's all like, you know, part of what's so funny and weird about, and the reason like vegans often wind up alluding to vegetarians and being like, you know, sort of take a drag in a cigarette. You're like, you have no idea what you don't know. You know, it's because like there is, you know, the second you, you go that extra step, you realize that like, oh, whey is in everything because it's a subsidized ingredient. Oh, you know, like this gelatin.

ASHBY (56:11.147)

Right. Exactly.

Sloane (56:25.514)

You know, like so many different things that are, you know, they're not, you know, gelatin isn't in gummy worms because it tastes good. It's in gummy worms because it's cheaper than other ingredients because of massive federal subsidies for animal agriculture.

ASHBY (56:41.011)

and to give children nightmares that they're eating animal hooves. It's like, if you actually knew what this was made of.

Sloane (56:46.225)

That's a really, really good point. Yeah.

Sloane (56:52.129)

Exactly like, oh you think you want to eat these gummy worms? Well, don't you like horses sweetheart?

ASHBY (56:55.735)


ASHBY (56:59.449)

Oh, on that note.

Sloane (57:00.114)

That's a great transition. Oop, wait! Wait, I did it wrong! Ahhhh. Yeah, but the audience won't hear it. Now they'll hear it. That's the Dear Ashby horn. Beautiful. Thanks for watching!

ASHBY (57:03.595)

No, that worked. I heard it.

ASHBY (57:09.383)

Yeah, beautiful. And I don't think the audience has been able to hear that for a while, because I feel like I've heard a few of our last episodes.

Sloane (57:17.866)

Yeah, I think, well, so we tried to do another, like, you know, when surge got abducted by our technology, you know, and I feel like, you know, it's, you know, people who are like, if we eventually start live streaming this people will start seeing like, you know, someone who may be surged walking around in the backward packet.

ASHBY (57:23.489)


ASHBY (57:33.659)

I saw surge of this shit. I saw him. I just, I was going to say something and then we were chitting, but I saw him step into the room back there. Yeah. I know.

Sloane (57:42.154)

He's mysterious. He's, you know, yeah, he contains multitudes. But yes, free surge Bush, yeah, free surge Bushmen. So here's an actual very serious question. The US debt rating just got downgraded, right? Which is something that like I used to use on the debate team in college as like a potential catastrophic consequence for all sorts of things, right?

ASHBY (57:46.255)

Where is Serge? F and nine got him.

ASHBY (57:54.111)

Okay, sure. Real questions coming up.

Mm-hmm. Yup.

ASHBY (58:07.127)

I know. Yep.

Sloane (58:09.962)

Do you think that this matters in any practical sense? At all.

ASHBY (58:13.999)

Uh, I mean, I wish it would matter more. I don't think it actually, in theory, it could matter in my dreams. It matters. It doesn't matter because the rest of the world is just as bad. The reason I say my dreams, I am a little scared when I see our national, you know, debt up to 32 trillion. Like I'm a little scared. It's a big number. Somebody is gonna have to pay this off. Like somebody.

Sloane (58:25.612)


Sloane (58:41.418)

Yeah, yeah, and like, and how hard do we have to work to establish that there's a governance problem there? You know, can we take it as a given?

ASHBY (58:46.719)

Yeah, it's crazy. We have 32 trillion of debt. And every once in a while, we have to get into a big fight to raise the debt ceiling. So like, if and only, you know, this could trigger a new debate of like getting our finances in order and getting this thing shrunk. So that, you know, future generations can not worry about a government defaulting.

Um, it didn't seem to affect markets in the way that the S and P cut that, by the way, this isn't the first time this has happened. Even in 2011, the S and P cut their, uh, the interest rate, um, to I think AA plus there, they're all have different ratings, but

Sloane (59:23.295)

Yeah, yeah.

Sloane (59:33.574)

Yeah, they cut it like down a tier, S&P cut it down a tier. And I think this was like, Fitch got bought by someone apparently, I learned during all the, was yeah, there's, yeah, so there's, yeah, but yeah, like, you know, this was the, Fitch was the last one to cut us, you know? And so that was, you know, the big, you know, so there's now no triple A credit ratings anymore. You can, I mean, whenever I see a downgrade or an upgrade, I'm like, what took you guys so long?

ASHBY (59:40.983)

Moody's? Oh no, Moody's is the other one. Oh, Hurst! Hurst owns Fitch.

ASHBY (59:51.735)


ASHBY (01:00:01.655)

I know. Yeah. It's kind of crazy. Look, when S and P did it, the markets tanked. They dropped six and a half percent the next day. It took six months to rebound. I think markets were up today. Like, like we're, we're doing fine. Like the markets have not reacted to this one. And so, you know, I think in answer to the question, probably not a material effect that you notice. Um, sadly.

Sloane (01:00:02.815)

You know, like...

Sloane (01:00:14.156)


Sloane (01:00:29.106)

Yeah, if it's something you're going to worry about anyway, you're going to be worried about it. But like, yeah, I mean, as a practical matter, good luck finding a better investment grade issuer. You know, like that, that has, I mean, because, you know, one, one dynamic that I'll just kind of underline and then we can ask the next question is that like, in debt markets, you know, people, it's a product, the US dollar, US dollar denominated debt is a product where all of these sovereign development funds are looking for someone to park their funds, their money, they have a volatile currency.

ASHBY (01:00:32.589)


ASHBY (01:00:52.676)


ASHBY (01:00:55.928)


Sloane (01:00:56.612)

And the way to negate that volatility is to own dollars.

ASHBY (01:01:00.255)

Exactly. You know, it's a way to smooth out your holdings and make long-term commitments that you can be sure as a store of value. So.

Sloane (01:01:09.258)

Yep, yep. So yeah, here's another question. I'm really interested in your answer to this. Is there any software that you consider your secret weapon?

ASHBY (01:01:14.126)


ASHBY (01:01:19.475)

You know, I have one. I wish it was a little bit better, but it's close to being awesome, okay? It is called Dex, called Get, I think it's It is a personal CRM to manage my network. And the reason why it's way better than a LinkedIn where that's like professional network.

Sloane (01:01:33.664)


Sloane (01:01:37.486)


Sloane (01:01:40.716)


Sloane (01:01:48.188)


ASHBY (01:01:48.763)

This is like, and it's not like Salesforce, which is like, how do you sell shit? I'm not trying to close deals on my network, right? What I'm trying to do with my network is do things like spot when their LinkedIn title changes, not just their job, when what they write in the box changes. So get deck stores it, when those change, I see it. And I can go and like, look at it.

Sloane (01:01:53.514)

yet close deals on your friends. Yeah.

Sloane (01:02:10.038)


Sloane (01:02:16.982)


ASHBY (01:02:17.195)

I have, it does things like, um, which is like intelligent analytics on my network. Like, um, future founders is one of the searches I have. If somebody changes something about their titling to include stealth or any like, you know, stupid code word, it alerts me that they're doing something new. And those are just the use cases off of LinkedIn. There's a bunch of use cases off of my email, off of different, you know, different APIs that it's pulling out of.

Sloane (01:02:34.581)


Sloane (01:02:42.401)


ASHBY (01:02:46.271)

and it will auto remind me to email people. It's just like a smart way to manage my network.

Sloane (01:02:54.534)

Yeah, that sounds like, because yeah, like you have a pretty insane network. Uh, you know, as I, I mean, I sort of wind up being like, yeah, Ashby probably knows somebody there. And pretty much every time that's been true, uh, except for, I think one time where I was like, do you know anybody in Pakistan or something like that? Yeah.

ASHBY (01:03:10.068)

Yep, that's a hard one. Yeah. No, but I do. For like 15 years, I've been doing these conferences and traveling the world. And unfortunately, like you lose touch with these people unless you are proactive. And so I'll do things like, if I write a paper on a certain topic, I'll go in here and I'll see the people that would be interested in that paper and I'll forward it to them. And if they don't reply, fine, right? I don't care.

Sloane (01:03:35.69)

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

ASHBY (01:03:36.367)

But the point is sometimes they do reply and they're like, here's where you're dumb. And then I'll change the paper. So I'm less dumb, you know? But if you were trying to do that through LinkedIn, the search capabilities just suck.

Sloane (01:03:49.258)

Yeah, yeah, it's, well, it's all very like, you know, can you, can't, I mean, it's all geared towards LinkedIn's goals. You know, and I think like, that's kind of one of the big problems with these, you know, data networking platforms is like, they're all that, you know, oriented towards someone's goals that are not you. You know, um, and like, as, as I've been, we've been trying to like, you know, make it, to have adventures in the carbon market with Woodcash. Like I've, I've been often in a situation where I'm like, this knowledge is not Googleable that I need.

ASHBY (01:03:57.336)


ASHBY (01:04:16.462)


Sloane (01:04:17.334)

But I'm pretty sure it exists in my network somewhere.

ASHBY (01:04:20.411)

Totally. And then you're like, what do I? Are they even called tweets anymore on

Sloane (01:04:26.942)

I haven't been on that website in a long time.

ASHBY (01:04:28.603)

in a while, but yeah, so, but you do see a lot of people putting tweets out or link or threads, I don't know what asking like, how do I do X? And the reality is like, there just aren't great tools for managing this amazingly valuable resource that is your network. Um, do you know what a Rolodex is or do I need to explain that?

Sloane (01:04:44.906)

Yeah, I feel like that's one of-

I have actually seen and interacted with a Rolodex, but I am pretty sure that I'm the last of my kind in that.

ASHBY (01:04:52.171)

Okay, all right.

Yeah, like everybody younger than you listening to this is having to Google what a actual Rolodex is. It was like a thing that spun as a flip, and you would have these cards of your literal network with their addresses. It was not digital. And so the get decks is kind of a riff on the modern Rolodex.

Sloane (01:05:01.848)


Sloane (01:05:10.381)


Sloane (01:05:19.226)

Interesting, interesting. I thought this was going to be like some presentation tool just from the name of it, like get decks, you know, like the, but yeah, like that makes so much sense. Um, okay. Next question. And this, you know, I meant to actually, this is a question I ask every client coming into the best vegan and I meant to actually look at the composition. Well, yeah, but you, but you, uh, filled out your onboarding form. Uh,

ASHBY (01:05:24.37)


ASHBY (01:05:31.022)


ASHBY (01:05:35.954)


You didn't ask me this, because I am a client. I just have you know.

Oh you did, that's true!

Sloane (01:05:45.094)

Like, I mean, if I didn't ask you this, it's a problem. Ha ha ha!

ASHBY (01:05:49.215)

Yeah, no, I remember. I remember filling this in. This was a really good question you asked me when I did the filling in.

Sloane (01:05:55.678)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So like, how do you define success in investing? Oh yeah, shit. So yeah, I mean, I meant to actually see, like, so the way that I set it up is like, I give people the option to say, I'll perform in the market, trusting that my companies are aligned with my ethics, and just earning a competitive return. But I think that you're gonna have a more verbose answer.

ASHBY (01:05:58.779)

Ask the question, did you ask it yet?

ASHBY (01:06:18.271)

I do have a more, so the question that I wanted to ask was personally and then professionally. Personally, how do I define success in investing? And then professionally, if I would do is advising professional investors like you, how you would deliver a successful investment strategy. And I think the professional one is much easier. It's like deliver or exceed what's written in your investment policy document. It's going to talk about, that document will talk about risk.

Sloane (01:06:23.245)


Sloane (01:06:38.327)


ASHBY (01:06:47.895)

return, cost, markets, things you can invest in, things you can't do. It's pretty simple to me. And everybody should, if you don't have an investment policy document and you're a professional investor, then there's a problem. Because one, you're, oh shit. Well then, but then you should write one.

Sloane (01:06:55.831)


Sloane (01:07:03.376)

We don't have one. Yeah, we should. But we just did invest veganly. I mean, you know, the...

ASHBY (01:07:11.475)

Yeah, there you go. Yeah, it's pretty yours is in the name. You know what I mean? It's the investment policy name, not document. Personally, I'll admit that most of my money goes into like passive retirement accounts. And so the money that I have left over to do, like personal investing generally goes into what I would describe as like startup lottery tickets. You know, where it's like actually success for me.

Sloane (01:07:16.016)

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

I'm sorry.

Sloane (01:07:36.61)

Hell yeah. Yep.

ASHBY (01:07:41.107)

is if one of these investments changes my life. You know, like that's, like I am not looking for 12% a year on those investments. I am like hoping that by some miraculous luck, and I do happen to work in the engineering school at Stanford, so that's like, I don't need to be quite as lucky as most people. I just, the dartboard is a little smaller for me, or maybe it's bigger. I don't know which one it is, but.

Sloane (01:07:52.403)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sloane (01:08:02.55)

Decent inbox. Yeah, exactly.

Sloane (01:08:10.422)

But yeah, it's more dartboard relative to wall, I would say.

ASHBY (01:08:13.099)

Yeah, exactly. So I can throw my dart in it. The bullseye is bigger on my dartboard, I think is what it is. Yeah. And yeah, so like for me, success hasn't happened yet. But like, what I'm rooting for is like, I managed to be an angel and Uber or Google. And it like fundamentally changes my life. But I will note that is maybe 10% of the money that I'm investing the rest of its I max out all my retirement accounts. And that's, that's just passive. And because

Sloane (01:08:18.387)

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Sloane (01:08:29.118)


Sloane (01:08:40.214)

Hell yeah. I feel like that's like the real version of success in investing is like, if I don't have to give a shit about investing in the future, like that's such a win. Like if I can abstract away from this problem entirely.

ASHBY (01:08:49.393)

I know.

ASHBY (01:08:52.899)

Yeah, like you actually hit the lottery. These people who invest in these companies, like they hit the lottery. Like, let's be honest. You know, like there's academics at Stanford that invested in Google that, you know, they're worth $400 million. Like they just got lucky. That's it.

Sloane (01:08:57.962)

Yeah, yes, yes.

Sloane (01:09:09.851)

I'm picturing you guys all like sitting in the lunch room like, you know, just like, you know, it's like, oh, here comes Joey, you know, and he's got like gold shoes, I got golden all birds.

ASHBY (01:09:16.02)


ASHBY (01:09:20.247)

We also have, we also have people that were early investors in such great companies as Theranos. Yeah, through a pooled vehicle, I was, yes.

Sloane (01:09:26.686)

I was gonna say, you were an investor at Therados. Yeah, like, yeah, that...

Sloane (01:09:34.35)

I mean, that's what I call a track record. You know, like, you know, women founders, you know, they're really, they're... I don't know. Yeah, I don't know. She's iconic still though. Yeah, I never was her for Halloween, but I wanted to be and that's a lot.

ASHBY (01:09:36.057)


ASHBY (01:09:40.692)

Is she a jail yet? I don't know. I think she got it delayed maybe somehow. She's going to jail.

ASHBY (01:09:52.239)

What I think is wild is I think that whole deep voice thing was fake.

Sloane (01:09:56.458)

Yeah, no it was. And like, you know what, fuck, maybe we should have brought this up. Like there are a couple of, like, okay, two things that are hilarious about transness is one, you know, Elizabeth Holmes deepened her voice in order to sound more authoritative. You know, and two, I don't think I've told you this. There was a trader at SAC Capital, Ping Zhang, who forced one of his analysts to take female hormones because...

ASHBY (01:10:10.158)


Sloane (01:10:23.866)

in his, and this guy still manages institutional capital. He forced one of his analysts to take female hormones because he thought it would make them more effective at making investment.

ASHBY (01:10:29.373)

Oh my god.

ASHBY (01:10:39.396)


Sloane (01:10:42.141)

With that, got any garden tips?

ASHBY (01:10:45.001)

I do have a garden

ASHBY (01:10:49.779)

That one choked me up a little bit. So you know that I have friends that used to be deadheads. I did. And I, Ashby Monk, have seen Jerry Garcia play live. Okay? That's pretty legit. Okay? Now granted, I saw the Jerry Garcia band rather than the dead in the 90s.

Sloane (01:10:59.994)

No, what, you? Wait, wait a second.

Sloane (01:11:09.614)

Okay, okay, okay.

ASHBY (01:11:18.223)

That was his electric guitar outfit, but it was still pretty rad to see Jerry Garcia. Anywho, I'm not a deadhead, but I played one for a little bit in high school. There was a final concert, so a bunch of friends from high school were sending around notes about the deadhead. And so that got me thinking, what is this deadhead I remember from my garden? And so then, you're just dying.

Sloane (01:11:21.281)


Sloane (01:11:42.497)

I'm out.

Sloane (01:11:47.379)

You know this is a...

ASHBY (01:11:47.403)

Then I thought to myself, that could be my deadhead. That could be my garden tip at the next one. So the reality is deadheading is something. Deadheading, first of all, deadhead is a fan for the Grateful Dead. But Sloan, don't give me too much shit for my tip here.

Sloane (01:11:53.25)


Ha ha ha!


Sloane (01:12:04.407)


Sloane (01:12:08.014)

I feel like we're gonna need a list of like the 10 most insane segues from the show.

ASHBY (01:12:15.003)

It's the same word Sloan. It's not the it's not that crazy of a segue because the segue literally occurred in my own brain So I think our listeners can follow it. Okay The Grateful Dead played a concert dead heads go to those concerts I heard the word dead head and then I thought about my garden and what it is in my garden is when you cut The dead flowers you empower your roses and flowers to grow new buds

Sloane (01:12:17.274)


Sloane (01:12:23.381)


Sloane (01:12:40.791)


ASHBY (01:12:43.183)

to stop wasting energy on the old dead heads. Okay? And to even bring it all the way home, this is a great moment to be deadheading. August, you've had a lot of your blooms, a lot of them are sitting there dead, go to your garden right now, clip it out. Google deadhead. You guys will see it is critical.

Sloane (01:12:49.678)


Sloane (01:12:57.175)


Sloane (01:13:04.526)

It, huge deal. Yeah, I made a huge deadheading mistake actually with the rose bushes here. I deadheaded too early. And yeah, you know, and I ruined it. I ruined it. There will be no roses forevermore. I...

ASHBY (01:13:11.939)

Oh yeah.

ASHBY (01:13:18.839)

Oh no!

I didn't know you could actually ruin it forever more. Oh, oh,

Sloane (01:13:23.818)

No, no, it's not ruined forevermore. It's just ruined for a season. But I think it says something about a stage of life, perhaps, that you went to a dead show and you're like, this is like, so what does this say about my garden? Oh, yeah. Like, yeah, yeah. Deadhead. Yeah, I'm sure.

ASHBY (01:13:37.631)

Yeah, I didn't even I didn't even go. My friends went. Oh, yeah, you're going to a dead shell. Hmm. My garden. Interesting.

Sloane (01:13:47.566)

Yeah, exactly. This has many ramifications for my custody of these plants. Uh...

ASHBY (01:13:53.695)

I'm nowhere near cool enough to go to a dead shell at this point. Maybe my hair is cool.

Sloane (01:13:56.582)

Yeah, I feel like, I feel like, you know, it's for me, it's more like, ah, that sounds like a whole thing. Probably, probably, probably be up kind of late, you know, the...

ASHBY (01:14:02.487)

It does sound like a whole thing, doesn't it? Yeah. Oh my God, I go to concerts. I just wanna go home to bed and like put on a show.

Sloane (01:14:09.718)

There was this great thing, it's still a thing I think, but it's kind of lame now in New York City called Daybreaker, where they would have raves before the day started. Like yeah, I think we need more of that energy. Like early morning raves.

ASHBY (01:14:16.899)

That's fun.

Yeah. Because you know what? People get up and go to the damn gym. And they do the bikes with, you know, all the music playing.

Sloane (01:14:25.478)

Yeah! Well that was the idea!

That was the idea. Yeah, exactly. Like have like an, let's make an actual like fun exercise thing. So yeah, my garden tip, you know, this season is, you know, like have fun with it, right? Which I think is probably expectable, but you know, there is like right now I'm trying to grow. So my grandfather who lived in this house before, like a while before me, has always been trying to get stuff to grow up one of the sycamores in the front yard.

ASHBY (01:14:42.508)


ASHBY (01:14:59.417)


Sloane (01:15:01.03)

right, like, you know, get something to climb it. And so I've sort of taken it as a personal point of pride that I will establish a perennial that grows up this sycamore and really makes it like, you know, nice and viney and beautiful in a way that satisfies the patriarch of my family. They don't love it. And so what I did actually is I threw twine like a jute string.

ASHBY (01:15:06.043)


ASHBY (01:15:18.719)

Do trees like that?


ASHBY (01:15:29.284)


Sloane (01:15:29.414)

over a couple of the branches. And I'm training the vines, I'm training morning glories to grow up the string instead of around the tree. And you can't really see the jute. Well, I mean, it looks kind of dumb for a couple of days, but you can't really see the jute, you know, after too long. And that sort of becomes like a thing. So, you know, that adventure is, you know, the idea is to grow morning glories up the string and then grow a perennial up the morning glories.

ASHBY (01:15:35.323)

Oh wow. That's rad.

ASHBY (01:15:43.131)

That's okay.


ASHBY (01:15:57.672)

Oh my god, that's rad.

Sloane (01:15:59.738)

Yeah, exactly. So there's, so the, you know, kind of ideally over time, this like initial thing will decompose and then I'll have my nice perennial vine that is sustainably wrapped around this like hundred and change your old sycamore. Yeah, but it's just a fun science project is the way that I arrived at it. It wasn't like I was like, oh yeah, I want to do this. It's sort of like, oh, okay, you know, my grandfather mentioned that this might be interesting.

ASHBY (01:16:13.711)

That's beautiful.

ASHBY (01:16:18.252)


Sloane (01:16:26.572)

and that he's been trying to do it. And I'm like, okay, I can run with that.

ASHBY (01:16:30.851)

You know, you got to Google, you got to Google this place called Gilroy Gardens. And it is a kids amusement park on the one hand, and an adults gardening paradise on the other. And the reason I say that it's a quite a cool connection. Yeah, because like people like me are, I'll go there just to look at the trees they've, they've threaded, they take these trees and they thread them together in different patterns.

Sloane (01:16:36.263)


Sloane (01:16:40.694)


Sloane (01:16:46.025)

Ooh, that's synergy.

Sloane (01:16:57.875)

Oh, that's so cool.

ASHBY (01:16:58.347)

And so when they grow large, it's like, you're like, is that a statue? That can't be a tree, but it's a tree. And so when I hear you describing what you're trying to pull off here, it's the kind of thing that you would see at Gilroy Gardens where they've grown up from a very early stage plant, but they've thought ahead and then it gets to be big and it's beautiful. So Gilroy Gardens.

Sloane (01:17:04.342)

That's so cool. That's like a...

Sloane (01:17:20.406)

That's one way that that's like, I think that's it. You know, does the S. Bell, you mean anything to you? It's like.

ASHBY (01:17:24.895)

Exactly. Yes, it does. It does. It's where you transplant different trees together.

Sloane (01:17:31.774)

Yeah, and you sort of grow them into like, you could grow them into a fence if you want to, or whatever. That's so cool. I feel like...

ASHBY (01:17:35.883)

Yeah, that's what this looks like. Yeah, I think they do that for the hedgerows in the UK too. They kind of, yep.

Sloane (01:17:42.014)

It's one of my favorite fussy gardening techniques. It's extremely fussy, but damn, is it cool. Anyway, I mean, like, do you think that we've given the listeners enough value? Should we stop? Should we stop just, it was.

ASHBY (01:17:49.504)

It is cool if you're patient.

Holy cow, this was a long one. I think people, if you're still listening, I'll send me your Venmo, I'll give you 14 cents. I got a little scared. I was like, people are listening, I don't want to send $14 to.

Sloane (01:18:03.35)

Wow, I mean this is like, you know...

Sloane (01:18:10.584)

Yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah, really making the frame. I mean, you know.

ASHBY (01:18:13.755)

How about I will, I will answer any question you have about your portfolio if you email me, but you have to say the magic code word, which is Jamba juice.

Sloane (01:18:18.642)

Oh, that's a great question.

Sloane (01:18:24.93)

Mmm, you know, at the or, you know, send it to free money podcast that I will ask it to you live. Free money. Free money pod at baby. But but yeah, we love you all. Thanks for bearing with us. Bye.

ASHBY (01:18:31.023)

There you go! Oh shit! And you don't even need to say Jamba Juice.

Alright. We do.

ASHBY (01:18:42.617)


Sloane (01:18:44.776)


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