I’m a big fan of mental models. They allow you to think through analogy, often folding complex concepts into simple ones and transporting them from one discipline to another. They’re thinking shortcuts. If you arm yourself with mental models, you’ll often see what others don’t.
Fall Letter 2021
Some investors think the fewer positions you own, the cooler you are. I remember meeting two investors at a conference. One had a seven-stock portfolio, the other had three stocks. Sadly, the financial crisis humbled both. On the other hand, too many positions breeds indifference. At IMA, our portfolio construction process is built from a first-principles perspective.
Being a rich country has allowed us to develop what some call “luxury beliefs” – ideas that make us feel good but that fail upon contact with objective reality. We ignore inconvenient truths about green energy and keep marching on, trying to convert an even larger portion of our economy to wind and solar, without contemplating the related costs. When it comes to electricity generation, luxury beliefs can be dangerous.
What we have today in MCK is the largest drug distributor in the US, with a very stable and growing business. It is very cash-generative, doesn’t need much capital to grow, and has a very high return on capital. Owning the stock was very stressful at times but also very rewarding. But the best is yet to come for MCK.
I was having lunch with a close friend of mine. He mentioned that he had accumulated a significant sum of money and did not know what to do with it. It was sitting in bonds, and inflation was eating its purchasing power at a very rapid rate.
There happens to be a cryptocurrency, one of thousands, that is also named Omicron. I still cannot grasp the logic behind it, but that cryptocurrency was up 900% on the day the South African variant was christened. There must have been a trading algorithm or a lot of bored investors looking for the next gamble, to drive something seemingly worthless up 900%.