The Last Straw

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The End Of An Era: A Farewell to Charlie Munger

This week we lost one of the greats. Only one month shy of his 100th birthday, legendary investor and polymath Charles Thomas Munger departed this mortal coil. He had a rich and varied life with pursuits spanning law, mathematics, architecture — and much more besides. He witnessed first hand incredible societal and technological change and, of course, amassed a giant […]

AI and Exponential Progress

If you could fold a piece of paper just 42 times, it’d be thick enough to touch the moon. Fold it 52 times further and it’d reach across the entire observable universe.  Exponentials break your brain, and thinking in those terms doesn’t come naturally. Still, most investors tend to get it, at least as it applies to compound returns. But there are […]

The Language Of Business

Accounting may not be the most enthralling of topics, but some basic literacy here is vital if you fancy yourself a stock picker. As Buffett put it: “You have to understand accounting and you have to understand the nuances of accounting. It’s the language of business and it’s an imperfect language, but unless you are willing to put in the […]

The Best Investment Approach

There is no one ‘right’ way to invest. Even if there were, somehow, a way to prove the superiority of a particular approach, it’s not worth much if you lack the wherewithal to execute it. And it’s not necessarily a question of ability; temperament, time, experience, resources, personal interest, and many other things besides, are also important. The best investing […]

The First Rule Of Compounding

Charlie Munger has loads of great quotes, but this one is a standout: The first rule of compounding: never interrupt it unnecessarily Charlie Munger The maths behind compounding is easy enough, but the intuition is anything but. If you can find an investment that compounds at 20% per annum, the gain you make in year 10 is greater than the total […]

Eyes Forward

At bottom the ability to buy securities – particularly common stocks – successfully is the ability to look ahead accurately. Looking backward, however carefully, will not suffice, and may do more harm than good.” — Benjamin Graham The financial statements can tell you a great deal about a company, and any serious investor ignores them at their own peril. Revenue, margins, […]

Is Bigger Better?

We love our small caps here at Strawman. And not without good reason. The trouble is, at least according to conventional wisdom, that things are far riskier in that space. Perhaps that’s true, to some extent, if by risk you mean volatility. And it’s not an unfair characterisation if you assume, as many do, that “small cap” must mean pre-revenue, […]

Identifying (Real) Value

In a fair and just world, the only way to build wealth is to generate value for others. If you can enhance the subjective well-being of someone — either through your direct labour or by producing a good they desire — you can demand payment. Either in kind, or more likely money; that wonderful, civilisation-unlocking technology that has allowed human cooperation and coordination […]

Dumb Questions

When I first started to attend company briefings, I usually came away feeling more than a little stupid. It always felt like I was accidently sat at the adults table; nodding along like an idiot and desperately hoping no one expected me to speak. While others asked probing questions on all manner of esoteric accounting adjustments and industry specifics, I […]

Hairy Businesses

Every business, no matter how wonderful, has a few hairs on it. And if you don’t think that’s true, it’s only because you haven’t looked hard enough. But some hairs are, well, hairier than others.  It’s not ideal to see the CEO of one of your favourite companies sell shares right before an opportunistic capital raise, but that may be more palatable […]