The Last Straw

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 […]

The Rule Of Five

There’s an old (and quite unscientific) investment principle called the ‘rule of five‘ which states that for every five stocks in your portfolio, one will significantly outperform the market, three will more or less match it, and one will…well, it’ll suck. Badly. Overall, that makes the whole business of portfolio management seem rather futile. If the end result is pretty much a wash, […]

Big Swinging Stocks

When you’ve been around small-caps for a while, large daily moves aren’t unfamiliar. Much of the time, they’re best ignored. Shares in 8common (ASX:8CO) last month spiked by 29% in a single day after the business released an encouraging quarterly result. A nice gain, for sure, but one that was driven by less than $20k worth of trades. Shares are now back at where […]

Profiting From Volatility

With most companies issuing results this month, it’s a busy time for investors. And, given some of the volatility these results can induce, it’s also a period that can test your nerves. Sometimes the market’s reaction is perfectly rational. But not always, at least not in the context of how a long-term investor would appraise things. A good example lately is […]

Renovations And Valuations

Why is it that building or renovation cost estimates are always — and I mean always — wrong? Usually significantly so. If you’ve ever watched shows like Grand Designs, or undertaken a bit of remodelling yourself, you know this to be true. Projects that are completed on-time and on-budget are rarer than hen’s teeth. This is especially true for “nation […]