Outerwall, Buybacks, and Activists

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in Case Studies, General Thoughts

Outerwall is a stock that has been struggling as the cash flows from Red Box are drying up much faster than investors have expected. Not only that, but Outerwall management has had the troubling habit of throwing good money after bad by “investing” in things like ecoATM–kiosks that allow you to turn in your old cell phones for cash, a concept that doesn’t seem to be gaining traction. This spending on business lines that were unlikely to succeed was all in an […]

Long-term Thinking and Back to Basics

Posted on 12 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Get Better by Reading, Think Differently, Warren Buffett

When markets are tumbling, it’s time to get excited about stocks. This is often talked about, but rarely practiced. J. Paul Getty once said the key to getting rich is simple: “Buy when everyone else is selling and hold when everyone else is buying”. For the value investing community, Buffett’s famous “Be greedy when others are fearful” basically is the same gist. Commonly referenced and preached, but far less often practiced. I am lucky to have a great client base at […]

Focusing on the Investment Process

Posted on 19 CommentsPosted in Case Studies, Education, General Thoughts

“It is the basics. It is focusing on selection, low prices, and reliable, convenient, fast delivery. It’s the cumulative effect of having this approach for 14 years. I always tell people, if we have a good quarter it’s because of the work we did three, four, and five years ago. It’s not because we did a good job this quarter.” – Jeff Bezos, 2009 The new year is always a good time to review your investment process. The other day, […]

The Misunderstanding of Peter Lynch’s Investment Style

Posted on 11 CommentsPosted in Books, General Thoughts

“I’ve never said, ‘If you go to a mall, see a Starbucks and say it’s good coffee, you should call Fidelity brokerage and buy the stock.’” – Peter Lynch I saw an article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal on Peter Lynch. Basically, it was a very brief piece where Lynch basically says that people are misinterpreting his advice to “buy what you know”. I like Peter Lynch and I like his writing. Although the first book I ever read on value […]

Lessons Learned from A History of Oil

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Industry-Oil, Macro

Since oil prices were in the headlines yesterday after an 8% fall, I thought it might be a good time to comment on something I’ve been working my way through while putting in the miles after a day of looking for bargains. I’m about halfway through the excellent series of podcast called “A History of Oil”. It’s an outstanding series that starts by introducing George Henry Bissell—the father of the oil industry—who in 1853 began experimenting with “rock oil” that […]

Being Cheap, Best of Munger, a Rare Bezos Interview, and Other Links

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Charlie Munger, General Thoughts, Get Better by Reading, Investment Philosophy

I was catching up on some links and articles this weekend. Sometimes, things that are interesting but not time sensitive get pushed to the back burner. In these cases, I sometimes create a file filled with things that I’d like to read and the early morning Saturday hours are sometimes a good time to catch up on these things. Anyhow, here are some things I’ve read recently that I read that I thought readers might be interested in taking a […]

A Few Thoughts on Reducing Unforced Errors

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Investment Philosophy, Portfolio Management

This weekend I came across a link to an excellent Manual of Ideas interview with Allan Mecham that I’ve read before, but I decided to read through it again. There are a few key points that Mecham brings up that I think are really worth repeating, so I thought I’d highlight them here. Investing is not easy, but it should be simplistic. Here are some points worth keeping in mind: Understand What You Are Buying The first is the concept of understanding a […]

Walking, Thinking, and Investing

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Investment Philosophy, Think Differently, Warren Buffett

I just came across an article I just read that I thought was interesting, and thought certain readers might enjoy. Although the article has nothing directly to do with investing, I think there are some takeaways for those of us in the investment world. Certainly the article has relevance to anyone whose chosen endeavor requires the occasional deep thinking. The article is called “Why Walking Helps Us Think”. The article—as you probably guessed from the self-explanatory title—describes the benefit of […]

The Stock Market: A Look at the Last 200 Years

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Investment Quotes, Overall Stock Market

I spend virtually zero energy thinking about the overall stock market. I’m always aware of what the indices are doing, but I really don’t pay attention to where I think they are headed or where they’ve been recently. As Munger has said, sometimes the tide will be with us and sometimes it will be against us, but the best thing to do is to just continue to focus on swimming forward. I think this has been going on for well […]

Macroeconomics & NBA Free Agency: Important, but not Knowable

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in General Thoughts, Warren Buffett

“I don’t think about the macro stuff. What you really want to do with investments, is think about what’s important and what’s knowable. Understanding Coke or Wrigley is knowable… but we have never bought a business or not bought a business because of any macro feeling of any kind… We don’t want to pass up the chance to do something intelligent because of some prediction about something that we’re no good at anyway.” – Warren Buffett, 1998 at the University […]