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Thursday 26 November 2020

Weekend Reading

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week. 

I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all one gets to read in all traditional media.

If you like this collection, consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate.

How to make decisions the Jeff Bezos way

As a senior executive, what do you really get paid to do? You get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day. There are two types of decisions. There are decisions that are irreversible and highly consequential; we call them one-way doors, or Type 2 decisions. They need to be made slowly and carefully. I often find myself at Amazon acting as the chief slowdown officer: “Whoa, I want to see that decision analyzed seventeen more ways because it’s highly consequential and irreversible.” The problem is that most decisions aren’t like that. Most decisions are two-way doors.


The fight for value investing to stay relevant

In an economy mostly made up of tangible assets you could perhaps rely on a growth stock that had got ahead of itself to be pulled back to earth, and a value stock that got left behind to eventually catch up. Reversion to the mean was the order of the day. But in a world of increasing returns to scale, a firm that rises quickly will often keep on rising. The appeal of old-style value investing is that it is tethered to something concrete. In contrast, forward-looking valuations are by their nature more speculative. Bubbles are perhaps unavoidable; some people will extrapolate too far. Nevertheless, were Ben Graham alive today he would probably be revising his thinking. No one, least of all the father of value investing, said stockpicking was easy.


How the internet changed our consumption pattern?

This point cannot be emphasized enough: the Internet is the single most disruptive force of our lifetimes because it does not evolve existing ways of doing things, but completely smashes the assumptions underlying them — assumptions we often didn’t even realize existed.

So it was with the Internet and the trade-off between reach and time: suddenly every single media entity on earth, no matter how large or small, and no matter its medium of choice, could reach anyone instantly. To put it another way, reach went to infinity, and time went to zero.


The Road Ahead by Bill Gates - looking back after 25 years   

One thing I wrote about that hasn’t happened yet—but I still think will happen—is the way the Internet will affect the structure of our cities. Today the cost of living in a dense downtown, like Seattle’s, is so high that many workers (including teachers, police officers, and baristas) can’t afford to live there. Even high earners spend a disproportionate percentage of their income on rent. As a result, some cities are arguably too successful, and others are not successful enough. It’s a real problem for our country.

But as digital technology makes it easier to work at home, then you can commute less often. That, in turn, makes it more attractive to live father away from the office, where you can afford a bigger house than in the city center. It also reduces the number of cars on the road at any given time. Over time, these shifts would mean major changes in the ways our cities work and are built.


100 Baggers: The Lost Chapter

The profiles in this chapter were originally collected for my book, 100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How to Find Them. They are the stories of 100-baggers... Brilliant thinkers... and mavericks who built fortunes with their wits – and a good bit of luck…

In the end, I felt the stories distracted from the main idea of the book. But these investing greats have important lessons to teach... as much from their failures as their successes.


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