Companies I admire

Here’s a short list of modern companies I admire, in no particular order:

I admire each for different reasons, but primarily it is their culture, processes, and organizational structure. All of these also maintain “smallness” in their own way, a topic I’ll probably discuss in a future post.

Finding an Edge

The stock ticker is like a tote board. It gives the public odds. A trader who wants to beat the market must have an edge, a more accurate view of what bets on stocks are really worth.

—William Poundstone, “Fortune’s Formula”

Everyone needs an “edge” in both investing and business. If it were just a matter of finding and purchasing a security below its intrinsic value, anyone could go out and buy “The Intelligent Investor” and become great. In other words, value investing, in and of itself, is not a competitive advantage.

An “edge” is any method that gives an investor a leg up over the market by obtaining higher returns with lower risk. (Risk in this case being the risk of permanent capital loss–or the size of potential loss times the probability of loss.)

From what I’ve seen, there are six basic advantages, each of which can give investors an edge over the market:

  1. Psychological – discipline, patience, and the avoidance of common biases and misjudgments. An extremely difficult advantage to have, but is probably the most common among good investors. (Easier said than done.) Continue reading “Finding an Edge”

Baupost Fund Allocations: 1995-2001

A few months ago I helped put together a PDF of Seth Klarman’s letters to investors of the Baupost Fund from 1995 to 2001. Among many other great discussions, Klarman goes over a few of his individual holdings and Baupost’s rationale for investing.

One interesting aspect of Klarman’s investing style is his allocation into many asset classes. By not limiting himself to one asset class, he is able to hugely increase his universe of investments and also mitigate the risk of a single market class collapsing. If public equities are generally overvalued, corporate bonds, treasuries, private equity or real estate may provide better returns. It is also well known that Klarman doesn’t hesitate to hold a lot of cash when he can’t find any good investments.

In this post, I’d like to examine the investment allocations of the Baupost Fund from both a numerical and qualitative perspective. (Keep in mind that the letters from above are from only one of Baupost’s smaller funds, but my guess is that the allocations are very similar to those in the main fund.)

Let’s take a look at the investment categories: Continue reading “Baupost Fund Allocations: 1995-2001”

Value Investing Word Clouds

Berkshire Hathaway Letters (1983-1987)

Berkshire Letters 83-87

Berkshire Hathaway Letters (2003-2007)
Berkshire Letters 03-07

A word cloud is a visual representation of a group of words, with the size of each word weighted to how many times it appears. The above two examples use the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters for the 5-year periods ending in 1987 and 2007. You can see some often-used words between the 20-year period: business, earnings, value, company, insurance. Word clouds are a good representation of what subjects the author is focusing on.
Below are a few more examples: (all created at Wordle) Continue reading “Value Investing Word Clouds”