Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jim Chanos quote

From his appearance on Bloomberg yesterday:
"My view is, just as an analyst, that any business that is predicated on selling overpriced products to consumers and/or distributors is ultimately a flawed business model."
The comment was in response to a question on Herbalife, but it is applicable across the board. When there is a desire for a certain product or service, the companies that can meet that demand with the right combination(s) of quality and price should win in the end. This is probably as applicable to “nutritional” beverages as it is with higher education, insurance, retail, etc. It can often be hard to tell who the winners will be, as the people running the business can have a huge impact on that outcome; like when you have fanatics like Sam Walton, Les Schwab, Rose Blumkin, or Jeff Bezos, for example, entering difficult, competitive businesses and succeeding. But it is easier to tell who the losers will probably be, which I think gets a bit to Nassim Taleb’s idea that it is easier to detect fragility than to estimate the probability of success. Figuring out the timing of when the fragile break or the flawed business model fails, however, is the tricky part (i.e. Keynes' comment about the market staying irrational longer than you can stay solvent.)