Thursday, February 26, 2015


Value Investing Community Loses a Legend: Irving Kahn (1905 – 2015) (LINK)

Webinar: Portfolio Construction, Concentration and Diversification for Value Investors - By Tobias Carlisle (LINK) ["If you are a professional and have confidence, then I would advocate lots of concentration. For everyone else, if it’s not your game, participate in total diversification... If it’s your game, diversification doesn’t make sense. It’s crazy to put money into your 20th choice rather than your 1st choice... Charlie and I operated mostly with 5 positions. If I were running 50, 100, 200 million, I would have 80% in 5 positions, with 25% for the largest. In 1964 I found a position I was willing to go heavier into, up to 40%. I told investors they could pull their money out. None did. The position was American Express after the Salad Oil Scandal. In 1951 I put the bulk of my net worth into GEICO. Later in 1998, LTCM was in trouble. With the spread between the on-the-run versus off-the-run 30 year Treasury bonds, I would have been willing to put 75% of my portfolio into it. There were various times I would have gone up to 75%, even in the past few years. If it’s your game and you really know your business, you can load up." -Warren Buffett]
Related recent post: A quick diversification thought...
Baupost Details Risk Management, Hedging In Q4 Letter (LINK)

Money creation in the modern economy (LINK)
This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans. Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits. The amount of money created in the economy ultimately depends on the monetary policy of the central bank. In normal times, this is carried out by setting interest rates. The central bank can also affect the amount of money directly through purchasing assets or ‘quantitative easing’.
The Brooklyn Investor: PM Investor Day 2015 (LINK)

Paul Graham: What Microsoft Is this the Altair Basic of? (LINK)
One of the most valuable exercises you can try if you want to understand startups is to look at the most successful companies and explain why they were not as lame as they seemed when they first launched. Because they practically all seemed lame at first. Not just small, lame. Not just the first step up a big mountain. More like the first step into a swamp.

A Basic interpreter for the Altair? How could that ever grow into a giant company? People sleeping on airbeds in strangers' apartments? A web site for college students to stalk one another? A wimpy little single-board computer for hobbyists that used a TV as a monitor? A new search engine, when there were already about 10, and they were all trying to de-emphasize search? These ideas didn't just seem small. They seemed wrong. They were the kind of ideas you could not merely ignore, but ridicule.

Often the founders themselves didn't know why their ideas were promising. They were attracted to these ideas by instinct, because they were living in the future and they sensed that something was missing. But they could not have put into words exactly how their ugly ducklings were going to grow into big, beautiful swans.
Book of the day (H/T Graham & Doddsville): Storage and Stability