25iq

My views on the market, tech, and everything else

The “Free Parking” Business Model

This blog post is on what I call the “free parking” business model, which in my view is a different way of describing the “attach” business model.  @cdixon tweeted a suggestion that I follow up our exchange of tweets with a longer blog post. The right way to look at almost any business question is to start with the customer. Unfortunately, sorting out who the customer is may not always […]

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Asset Allocation for Muppets with a 401(k)

A few people have recently asked me to write a post on asset allocation.   I decided to focus the post on the situation facing so-called “muppets” since they have greatest need for the advice.  A term like “muppet” which can be used in a derogatory way can be argued to be a badge of honor for some people.  In other words, the sooner you “get to acceptance” if you are indeed […]

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BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL – HEART OF DARKNESS

                                                      I had attended a very important conference the previous month during which we needed the support of a delegation of Africans. To cement that support I promised to attend another conference a few weeks later in the city of Kinshasa in a country that is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The story begins in London on  December 3, 1995 when I called a friend from the hotel. He knew I was about to leave on a […]

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Investment vs. Speculation

Jason Zweig makes an interesting point about the difference between investment and speculation. http://blogs.wsj.com/totalreturn/2013/02/28/are-you-an-investor-or-a-speculator-part-one/?mod=WSJ_Business_LatestHeadlines He raises the idea that the distinction should perhaps have a time element, which in my view is not helpful. Seth Klarman has written: “The line I draw in the sand is that if an asset has cash flow or the likelihood of cash flow in the near term and is not purely dependent on what a […]

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Mauboussin

Sometimes I will be reading some dreadful business book or article and think to myself: “I could be re-reading a Mauboussin essay instead!” I suggest you at least read (free and priceless- price is what you pay and value is what you get): http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/FoStrategy/Fos1.pdf   http://turtletrader.com/pdfs/babe-ruth.pdf   http://michaelmauboussin.com/921031.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/FoFinance/Fof10.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/measuringthemoat.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/Valuation%20-%20Mauboussin.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/ExplainingtheWisdomofCrowds.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/CapitalIdeasRevisited.pdf   http://www.capatcolumbia.com/Articles/CapitalIdeasRevisited–Part%25202.pdf   http://people.stern.nyu.edu/adamodar/pdfiles/eqnotes/cap.pdf

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“If you take away the skill that Buffett has Buffett has no skill” is a bullshit thesis.

Blogger cites an older (misinformed ) Economist article citing an academic study (rubbish) as support for Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) here:  http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=19209. If the blogger is trying to get nearly all people to buy index funds, well say so. But don’t use that to argue that markets are *always* efficient. Or that EMH supports deeply broken economic theories like dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE). The academic thesis in the case of the paper […]

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How thinking like Charlie Munger may have saved my life

  This is a continuation of my previous blog posts on “the Psychology of Human Misjudgment,” which is Charlie Munger’s description of dysfunctional decision making heuristics.  Munger writes: “…tendencies are probably much more good than bad. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there, working pretty well for man, given his condition and his limited brain capacity. So the tendencies can’t be simply washed out automatically, and shouldn’t be. Nevertheless, the psychological thought […]

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Charlie Munger on The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

“…the brain should be using the simple probability mathematics of Fermat and Pascal applied to all reasonably obtainable and correctly weighted items of information that are of value in predicting outcomes…”  Charlie Munger  http://www.rbcpa.com/Mungerspeech_june_95.pdf To cope with information and computation overload, humans have developed simple “rules of thumb” called “heuristics” which  allow them to make decisions.  It would be great if people could do what Charlie describes above, but it […]

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Charlie Munger on the Importance of Worldly Wisdom and Consistently not being Stupid

“I think part of the popularity of Berkshire Hathaway is that we look like people who have found a trick.  It’s not brilliance.  It’s just avoiding stupidity.” http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/110302239?access_key=key-28dmiqkoda00xd7b7mae  A Lattice of Mental Models Understanding how humans make decisions is critical for any investor.  Unless careful attention is devoted to decision making processes the brain can be a mistake-making machine. “It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like  [Warren Buffett and […]

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Charlie Munger on Investment Concentration versus Diversification

Active versus Passive Investing Charlie’s advice to other people on investing is very different depending on the nature of the investor. “Our standard prescription for the know-nothing investor with a long-term time horizon is a no-load index fund.” http://www.myinvestmentforum.com/category/sgfunds-forum/interview-with-charlie-munger-t1655.html What is a “know nothing” investor? The answer is simple for Charlie:  a no-nothing investor is someone who does not understand the economics of the specific business in question. As was pointed […]

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