9 Years of Valueandopportunity – “The more I learn the less I know”

Another “blogging year” has passed and Valueandopportunity has been now around for 9 years since its beginning as a German Speaking blog on “Value Investingg”.

Again a big thank you to all readers who continue to read and especially to those who contribute by constructive commenting and emailing me. Knowing that a few thousand investors find it somehow interesting what I write about is a great motivation.

As mentioned last year on the 8th anniversary, the time that I can commit to this effort is now quite limited. Still I managed to mostly send out weekly links plus some hopefully interesting posts. On the negative side, I didn’t reach my goal of looking at least at 1-2 investment opportunities in detail per month as I planned. I only managed to look at 9 stocks/ideas in more detail.

On the other hand, I started the “All German Stock” series in fall which is a real fun project and brings me back to my “roots” as German Small Cap investor. Plus, I managed to read some really great books this year which are now among my all time favorites (see below).

What I learned this year (hint: I know less than I thought)

The biggest theme for me this year was that I found out that I actually don’t know that much about investing and business (and life in general). 2-3 years ago I would confidently say that I know almost anything one needs to know in investing. I had read all the Buffett annual reports plus many books on Buffett and Munger, so what more do I need ?

Now I am not so sure anymore. For instance, I am currently just scratching the surface to understand where real organic growth comes from. Yes, there is the moat thing and everything, but the big growth stories of the last few decades didn’t start with moats. They started with some new, disruptive technology, network effects etc. I totally missed software companies. I never invested into Amazon although I am a very active client now since 1999 (thank you Amazon for reminding me each time I log in).

I have a lot of catching up to do in this respect. Any yes, there is clearly a bubble in some areas but a lot of the current economic growth is coming from this area. A few years ago I would have thought that negative interest rates are just not possible. Now the world seems to live quite fine with this, thank you.

I also found out the hard way over the last 1-2 years that assuming whatever you learned in your home market works easily everywhere is not a good strategy.  Cars.com was another proof (after Silver Chef) that extending the circle of competence across borders is really hard work and takes time and effort.

On a personal level, I have been learning a lot about parenting. To be honest, I haven’t really appreciated that much before how much work  (and fun) raising kids can be. These days I much more appreciate the effort of parents on raising a family than I did a few years ago.

Blogging Goals for next year

This time I will be a little bit more cautious with goals. Main goals are:

–  keep up weekly links post
–  Finish “All German Shares”
–  analyze at least one stock/investment per month
–  try to read as many books as possible

Blogging Highlights 2019

All German shares series

  1. Intro
  2. Part 1 (1-10)
  3. Part 2 (11-20)
  4. Part 3 (21-30)
  5. Part 4 (31-40)
  6. Part 5 (41-50)
  7. Part 6 (51-60)
  8. Part 7 (61-75)
  9. Part 8 (76-100)
  10. Part 9 (101-125)
  11. Part 10 (126-150)
  12. Part 11 (151-175)

Stock idea posts:

  1. April SA special situation
  2. KAS Bank special situation
  3. Zur Rose AG
  4. Innogy Special situation
  5. Deutsche Familienversicherung
  6. Osram Special Situation
  7. Thoughts on the WeWork IPO
  8. Uber 
  9. German Startups Group

Book reviews

  1. James Clear – Atomic Habits
  2. Merger Masters – Tales of Arbitrage
  3. Scott Kupor – Secrets of Sand Hill Road
  4. Super Pumped – The Battle for Uber
  5. Greg Zuckerman – The man who solved the markets

Again thanks for the attention. There will be a seperate Year end review post as usual and if time allows a xx investment fro 2020 post as well.

 

 

23 comments

  • Thanks mmi, especially enjoy the German series!

  • MMI,
    Well done on getting this far! I can tell you the kid thing gets significantly easier when they turn 2, though not if you choose to have a second one!

    Please stop drinking the growth cool aid: “Yes, there is the moat thing and everything, but the big growth stories of the last few decades didn’t start with moats. They started with some new, disruptive technology, network effects etc. “.

    No. They started with money being created out of thin air by the Fed ($330bn since September this year – that’s nearly half an Amazon; $3Tn over the last decade – that’s roughly equivalent to 3% of US GDP per year) and people chasing shiny flashy stories with all this dreamt up money. This isn’t value. This is a mirage which at some point will come crashing down.

    Amazon is not as impressive as people make it out to be – it is simply a business which hasn’t had to worry about generating cashflows for two decades because it’s been on the right side of investing fashion. That’s a lot of time and scale – and even at current scale it’s nowhere near generating a cashflow shareholders can buy themselves an ice cream with. The reason people are impressed is because they don’t understand accounting – no wonder Buffett hasn’t bought in despite mentioning Bezos several times. But if you remember conglomerate theory from the 60s, people thought a business could grow infinitely big because economies of scale keep going up and up. Well, then they figured out at some point diseconomies of scale kick in because it’s impossible to manage scale effectively. And then they completely forgot about all of that and now they think Amazon can basically become a communist state that provides everything, with perfect efficiency. It’s madness and at some point there’ll be a realization that actually Bezos has not invested every single $ as efficiently as people thought.

    But anyway, it’d be a pity for this blog to be renamed “Growth and Opportunity” it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? 🙂

    Happy New Year,
    Pogonific

  • All the best to Mr, Mrs & Jr Valueandopportunity going into the 2020s and thank you for an enjoyable blogg.

  • Great track record. Keep on going!
    I already hope I will be looking back at 9 years of blogging at my personal blog (searching4value.wordpress.com).
    Happy new year and good investing.
    Best, s4v

  • Thank you, always inspiring. Whish you all your best for the new year.
    Johannes

  • Thank you very much for writing. I never leave comments but I really enjoy each one of your posts!

  • GNP-GlobalNosePicking

    If you listen to Galloway, you will learn that the less time spent in this blog the happier you will actually be.

    Funnily, for your comments you could perfectly fit in Galloway’s prototype of the mid-30ies guy, that knows everything. (And then he realise he does not). //Hope this observation does not make you angry\\.

    My 2020 resolution is strickingly in line with Scott’s: keep in good shape, spend time with my loved ones, develop opportunities around me; and keep a high level of jokes per day (jokes remind me I am human and I make mistakes). All investing activities are secondary and do not extend beyond commuting time

  • Congratulations!
    I was inspired by you to do a similar series on all Israeli stocks (~420). I find my home market has incredible opportunities, unlike anywhere else I know of.

    I’m curious- why did you not stay focused in the German market? Don’t you find you have an edge there?

    • I think MmmmmmI considered that opportunities to find undervalued stocks was higher outside Germany. You know how efficient Germans are: they are systematic and do check thorougly all corners and stocks. So little room to find under researched stocks. Probably he thought the same does not happen everywhere (eg. you know the frenchies are a bit more loose… :-P! ).

    • Please do share your Israeli list online somewhere!

      • That’s a good idea. The return that are achievable in the Israeli stock market are far higher than I see anywhere else.

        This year I achieved a return of more than 160% on a portfolio I would say is low risk, and I would bet on atleast 40% a year in the next couple years with my current portfolio with low risk.

        I only have a chicken and egg problem in that I dont have followers outside Israel because I write in hebrew and vice versa, but maybe you could help me with spreading atleast a summary list!

        You can reach me at shlomiardan@gmail.com

        • I found your webpage and with google translate you can get a pretty good view of what you have written. Very nice! A shame I dont have electronic brokerage access to Tel Aviv exchange..

        • I think few global investors have access or can read hebrew. I guess that’s why the opportunity exists.

  • superblog, every week looking forward to it, hope you’ll continue

  • 9 years blogging is a tremendous achievement. Thank you for sharing your journey

  • Thank you very much for genrously sharing your information and views with us. I always find it inspirational and your shared reading as well.

  • Merry Christmas mmy.
    Remember you’ll always have the sunny Miami awaiting!
    Best,

  • I really like your blog! Keep on going!

  • Only one year to go to double-digit. Keep them coming and thanks for doing this for us!

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