8 Years of Value & Opportunity: Staying alive..

Once a year in mid-December I always realize quite suddenly that another year has passed and Value and Opportunity is now 8 years old since the first post in 2010.

As I mentioned earlier this year, for very positive reasons, both private and professional, activity in the blog did not reach the standards of the previous years.

Looking back, I still managed to look a these companies in more detail:

  1. Getinge / Arjo spin-off
  2. Softbank (part 1 and part 2
  3. Landis & Gyr
  4. Boiron SA
  5. Expedia
  6. Criteo SA
  7. Saga Plc
  8. Paul Hartmann
  9. Creditshelf
  10. DormaKaba
  11. SIAS SpA (revisited)
  12. FitBit
  13. System1
  14. Listed VC funds part 1
  15. Listed VC funds part 2 – Vostok New Ventures

Book reviews in 2018:

  1. Machine, Platform, Crowd – Harnessing our Digital Future
  2. Am I being too subtle – Sam Zell
  3. When the Wolves bite
  4. Bad Blood

Compared to the 31 company write ups  and 12 book reviews in 2017, I really have slowed down a little bit but as a the headline says, imortant is “staying alive”.

Top 10 most read posts in 2018:

  1. Softbank part 2 sum-of parts
  2. The Value and Opportunity All time Flop 10
  3. Paul Hartmann – Back to my boring roots
  4. Performance review 2017 – Comment: “Keep an Eye on Interest Rates and Credit Spreads”
  5. Softbank & Masa Son – Mad Genius pumping the Start up bubble or Visionary Capital allocator ? (Part 1)
  6. The return of the Travel Series (9): Expedia (EXPE) – Cheaper than I thought
  7. Metro AG – Update & Playing the Devil’s Advocate

What I have learned in 2018

2018 was a year where finally the “tide got out again” and to use Mr. Buffett’s words it was finally possible to see “who was swimming naked”:

  • Clearly, the crypto bubble deflated significantly. Now the crypto guys have to show if they can really create solutions that have real world significance apart from ideology and money laundering.
  • The internet/mobile industrial revolution is still eating up sector by sector. Newspapers, TelCos, retail, taxi / personal transport, travel are just a few sectors that have been completely changed. Who will be next ? My guess is financial services (already happening), real estate buying /renting, auto trading and many more.
  • Despite the internet/mobile revolution, in my opinion the creation of a strong VC infrastructure will also impact many other sectors in the long-term, even if we see  a big “cooling down” in the VC sector in 2019
  • The downfall of GE is a classic example that companies do not become more stable or impossible to beat if they become huge. Size (and access to capital) theses days is not the advantage it used to be. This should also be a warning for the current behemoths Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft & Co
  • In investments, i think 2018 was also a year where finally people realized that certain “bullet proof” investment strategies (i.e. buy cheap, short expensive) do not work even in the longer term if significant change is happening in the economy. A lot of famous hedge funds are struggling now for several years and many are closing. “Mean reversion” doesn’t work well if the parameters are changing fundamentally.

Goals for 2019:

  • Increase the “quality” of my financial media consumption. Having less time requires to be more selective. For instance I started subscribing to the “Economist”. Although it really takes time to read an issue, I think it is time well invested.
  • keep up the pace of looking at 1-2 companies per month
  • look even less at portfolio performance. I moved from a “real-time” portfolio view to weekly updates.

And a big thank you to all readers !!

And finally a big thank you to all readers to allocate part of your precious time to this blog. Especially to those who provide constructive comments and challenge my views.





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