January 30, 2012
post contributed by Megan Flynn
Tyler Mathisen, our celebrity moderator from CNBC, began the morning by asking both Mario Gabelli and Art Samberg how they size up investments and then how they size up the world more broadly. It didn’t take long before Mathisen dove right into the main topic of event asking: Is there room for both long only and alternative investments?
Mario answered the question by explaining how long only investments are becoming extinct. “My breed will not be here in 100 years,” he said. Art disagreed somewhat saying that he believes that there is room for both when there are opportunities in the equity market. This slight discrepancy began one of the many entertaining back and forth episodes between Mario and Art. The night was gearing up to be quite a presentation.
We are just sitting here with the technology and competitive edge and the capability to become energy independent, Mario said after describing his beginnings in the farm equipment and auto parts sectors as an analyst. There’s no doubt we can do it right, Art added that the cost and threat to this country are enormous because we depend on foreign oil.
Mathisen asked them both if they thought America was as innovative as we once were 20-30 years ago and Mario answered first saying “Absolutely- it’s fertile.” You can’t easily see it though, because the market is not there. Both Art and Mario agreed innovation today is also being “stifled” by current legislation. Mario describing that the lack of innovation you see today is what happens when you have to focus on checking boxes instead of being creative.
The night’s conversation between Mario, Art, and Tyler moved from energy to fracking to China to Argentina; the discussion so fluid and authentic that a vacation was almost planned amongst them on stage. The night closed with several great stories from Mario as well as a few quotes to keep the membership thinking. It was a successful meeting of the minds that was as entertaining as much as it was a classic; a terrific way to close 2011.