Who is Wise, Emerging Moats, Reading Double with Dobelli and VALUExKazakhstan

Revue
 
 
December 20 - Issue #7

Guy Spier

Father, Husband, Value Investor and Author

Emerging Moats
I have written elsewhere on the phenomenon of shrinking moats.  
There are just so many businesses are now under attack from the world of technology. 
But there are also new moats that are in formation.
In the case of Google and Amazon, the train has most likely already left the station. 
But I am also quite certain that this intense period of creative destruction will throw up many more. One example is Verisign, which only came to existence in recent years and there will certainly be others.  
I recently asked my intern Toby Tricks, do write up on a company called Rational Patent Exchange, which may or may not be an emerging moat. 
We are still working on that write-up. Sign up here if you would like a copy once it is done. 
My reading and conversations have also lead me to a number of other companies. Feel free to email me if you have strong thoughts about any of the following: 
Mohnish Pabrai in Barrons
I was pleased to see Mohnish in Barrons - especially considering that I own two of the three stocks mentioned.
Why Mohnish Pabrai Likes GM, Fiat, and Southwest Air
It’s an testament Mohnish’s unique and unusual mind that it seems that he figured out Southwest Air before Berkshire Hathaway.
The Compounders
Who is Wise?
I am one of those who still can’t quite believe that Donald Trump won. This article by Victor Davis Hanson has helped me to see some of what I missed.
What Is Wisdom, Who Is Wise: Advice for Donald Trump & the Elites Who Hate Him
For my part, I am disinclined to believe that all the people who voted for Donald Trump are gun-toting, happy-clappy religious racist bigots. 
Millions of Americans, far from the two coasts, kept largely quiet. They either did not talk much to pollsters or they politely declined to reveal their true feelings. They tuned out talking heads and ignored blue-chip pundits. - Hanson.
Perhaps the thought that we can all agree on is one first expressed by Peter Thiel:
I took Trump literally, but not seriously. The people who voted for him took him seriously, but not literally.
For my part, I’m willing to give Trump a chance. He might not be my favorite businessman: that spot has already been taken. But for all of his faults, Trump has certainly run a lemonade stand. And that should count for something. He’s certainly shrewd and a lot smarter than many people give him credit for. 
Books
Shane Parrish: Every Book I’ve read in 2016
Dobelli: Read less, but Double - NZZ Feuilleton
Books at VALUEx2017
Each year, before the VALUEx meeting in Zurich / Klosters, I ask the participants which books they have read that had the greatest impact. 
The early responses highlighted a couple of books that I am looking forward to reading. Peak: The New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool is one.
And Josh Waitzkin’s Art of Learning is certainly one to read and re-read, Dobelli Style. He recently featured in a podcast episode with Tim Ferris. Tim’s podcast had lead me to some great resources like this one on swimming.
Learn Value Investing: VALUEx, Latticework, the Zurich Project
After starting VALUEx with John Mihaljevic a few years ago, it’s been fun to see how the basic principles have spawned a number of other meets - including VALUExVail, VALUExBerkshires, VALUExIndia. and VALUExMunich.
And as part of the Manual of Ideas, John now sponsors both the Zurich Project and Latticework. I have attended both and they are excellent.
I plan to attend the Zurich Project - and so it would be a great place for us to meet. You can request to sign up here 
VALUExKazakhstan
Value Investing on Udemy
Book Giveaway at our Office
We have a number of spare copies of books and annual reports at my office - which we are planning to give away to the first people who ask for them. If would like to receive them, sign up here
Horsehead
For me, part of the story of 2016 was the story of Horsehead. You can my account of that battle here
You can also read my most recent email to Horsehead shareholders here. 
The short summary is this: I plan to practise Rolf Dobelli’s version of Disraeli’s list - described by Charlie Munger in this brilliant talk that he gave to the graduating class of Harvard-Westlake college. 
Dobellis’s version is that, having written down the names of people who wronged me and other Horsehead shareholders, I plan, on New Year’s eve, to burn the list. 
Spier Family Holiday Card Video
Happy Holidays and the best for 2017 from the Spier Family
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Guy Spier, 18 Rämistrasse, Zürich 8001