What Would You Like To See In My Upcoming Value Investing Book? Asking Me Questions, Starting To Research Again

Before I get too serious about thinking about the advertising and marketing of my upcoming value investing book I wanted to ask you if there was anything specifically you wanted to see talked about in the book?  Maybe something you wish would have been in other books about value investing that you would want to hear about?  At this point I still have time to add things and I will seriously consider any of your suggestions if they are not in the book already.

I have just finished up the second full revision/edit of the book and as of this time it looks like the book will end up being around 200 pages in an eBook format.  This of course is without any of your suggestions and will likely change before the book is released.  It was a lot longer originally as I have since cut several entire chapters to remain as concise and information packed as possible.

Once I hear some of your suggestions and weigh whether or not to include those into the book I will release detail on what the book is about and the title.

Also if there are any questions you have wanted to ask me for a while feel free to ask them as I would be more than glad to answer them.  They do not have to be investing related questions either.  I would love to share more about myself with you all and would love to hear some of your stories as well.  I will also take requests of any companies that you would like me to possibly write an article on as well since I have been drawing blanks while trying to find any interesting or undervalued companies lately.

Up next: Putting some of my advertising/marketing ideas into practice, setting up a site for the book, setting up a preorder page, continuing to revise and edit the book further, implementing some of your ideas into the book, finding a designer for the book cover, and I have also begun researching companies very slowly again.

Advertisements

Excerpt From My Upcoming Book About The Proposed Going Private Transaction At Dole and Dole Shareholders Fighting Back.

I have finished up writing the main transcript of my book and have done one full revision and edit of the book.  I have sent the book off to some family members and a couple recently published investing authors to get some feedback on things that I could be doing better.

After receiving some feedback from those sources, (Thank you all so much!) I am in the process of going back over the entire book to make improvements.   I wanted to release this portion of the book right now to you all because I have talked about Dole quite a bit on this blog and I wanted to share my full thoughts about the ridiculous situation at going on at Dole right now.

It appears that a lot of Dole’s current shareholders agree that the buyout offer at $12 is ridiculously low as its own shareholders have been suing the company to stop the low ball going private transaction offer.

Below are just two of the many articles about Dole getting sued for the proposed transaction.

Levi & Korsinsky Notifies Investors of Claims of Breaches of Fiduciary Duty in Connection With Going Private Proposal From Company’s CEO

More cases against Dole board say Murdock bid too low

Directly below are two pages from my upcoming book where I talk about the transaction. Please feel free to leave any comments or concerns you have about the actual excerpt from my book or the proposed Dole transaction as I would love to converse about either.  Also keep in mind that I still have a lot of editing and revising to do if you find any grammar or editing errors.

“As I have been writing, editing, and revising this book, Dole’s Chairman Mr. Murdock has put in an offer to take the company private once again like I thought that he may do so I wanted to write my thoughts on the ridiculous offer being given to Dole shareholders.  I did think that Mr. Murdock may have wanted to take the company private again but what I didn’t expect was the manipulation of the company’s stock price in my opinion before that happened.  Shortly after Dole sold its worldwide operations to Itochu Dole management began to do some very strange things.  The value of its land holdings, that Dole management themselves estimated to be worth around $500 million when they were getting ready to sell their worldwide operations to Itochu, suddenly stated that they thought their land now was worth only around $250 million only a few months later.

This was shocking to me and led to me sell the stock I owned in Dole in my personal portfolio and the portfolios that I manage because I figured that Dole was doing something untoward to try to get the value of its shares down so the company could be taken private again at a cheaper valuation.  One of my followers on Seeking Alpha and I actually talked about this and both came to the same conclusion that something fishy was going on.

After selling my shares in Dole due to the above situation I stopped paying attention to the company all together to concentrate on the research of other companies until it came out that Dole was planning to do a massive buyback of its shares.  I thought this was a very good thing for them to do since I found the company to be very undervalued when writing my second article on them so I started to look into them a little bit again.  Before I could do even minimal research into the new situation at Dole though its management made another very strange decision.  A few days after Dole announced that it was going to buy back $200 million worth of its shares it changed its mind and all of the sudden decided to update its fleet of container ships instead and canceled the proposed share buyback program.

Of course this sent the share price falling and again led me to believe that its management was trying to manipulate the share price lower so that it could be taken private at an unreasonably low valuation.

Unfortunately it turns out that I appear to have been right because a month or two after Dole decided to cancel its proposed share buyback program to instead buy new container ships, which of course sent the share price lower, Mr. Murdock announced that he was putting in an offer to take Dole private at $12 a share.

Mr. Murdock brought Dole public in 2009 at $12.50 a share so this in and of itself is ridiculous since the company is much more financially stable now than it was then due to getting rid of its giant debt load.  In my opinion this entire situation from the changing of the estimated value of its land by 50% shortly after announcing that they thought it was worth $500 million, announcing the proposed $200 million share buyback and then a few days later canceling it, and then Mr. Murdock attempting to take the company private again at an incredibly low valuation should be investigated.  If Dole is allowed to be taken private at $12 a share, which it probably will because Mr. Murdock at my last check still owned 40% of the company, then the company should be investigated for manipulating its stock price.   If the company is taken private for a paltry $12 per share then its remaining shareholders are getting screwed.

If a situation like this happens to a company you own be very careful, trust your research, trust your instincts, and get out of owning the company if you think you need to.  There are a lot of other companies you can spend your time researching and owning rather than spending your precious time and capital having to worry about whether a company’s management is going to screw over shareholders.  Dole’s current shareholders are fighting back by suing the company and I wish them good luck because the proposed buyout offer is ridiculously low.”

Update On My Value Investing Book, Discount For You Loyal Readers, Company Research, Another Baby Girl, and Dole Shareholders Getting Screwed.

I have been spending the bulk of my time lately getting ready to move, getting ready for another baby girl coming in late October, and writing my book.

We are staying in the same area just getting a bigger house to accommodate our growing family but packing and doing house related things to get ready for closing on both of our houses on the same day later in June, yikes, has been taking up the majority of my time in recent weeks.  Excited but also cannot wait until we are moved and settled in so things can start slowing down again and I can start working on me and my brothers business and researching companies more.  I have been researching companies very slowly but up to this point I am finding everything to still be overvalued.  The search continues though and I hope to pick up steam again after I move and get the book finished.

I am done writing my book and am now onto the editing and revision stage.  So far I have gone through the introduction and six chapters and am getting very excited.  While I was writing the book I was just trying to get the main transcript done without concentrating much on how good it actually was.  Now that I am able to read through the transcript as I am editing and revising it I am getting very excited because I think I will be able to help a lot of people become better investors faster and I cannot wait to release it to everyone.  I hope to have most of the editing and revising of the book done by early July and hope to release the book sometime in the mid October to mid November time frame.  I also plan to release a chapter or two online before the book comes out as well.  Of course if I get picked up by a publisher these things will likely change but if I self publish the book on places like Kindle and others than that is the time frame I am shooting for.

As a thank you to the loyal readers of this blog, my followers on Twitter and Seeking Alpha, and my Facebook friends I also wanted to let you know that if you follow me on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Seeking Alpha that you will be getting a 25% discount off of each package I am going to offer for my book.  The same discount is going to apply to anyone who mentions this blog or the upcoming book on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit as well.  If you want a discount when the book comes out make sure to # or @ me on Twitter, get my attention on Facebook, or email with the link where you mentioned this blog or the upcoming book as I will start to keep a list of everyone who has helped me promote this book and who has supported me while I was just getting started.  I also plan to offer an even bigger discount or prize of some kind for the person or people who help promote the book the most but have not come up with a solid idea for that yet.  Again this is all dependant on what a publisher would want to do if it comes to that but this is what I want to do.

I also want to let everyone know that we will be welcoming our second baby girl to this blog in late October whose name will be Kailani.  My family is one of the main reasons I have decided to write a book because I would like to find a way to start making some money from my investment writing so for every book package you buy.  Every book you buy or help promote will help support my family and keep continued free content on this blog, and it will be immensely appreciated.  I would like to keep most everything on this blog free except for the book and some other premium content I have planned and any help you can offer would help support that.

Yesterday news came out that the majority owner of Dole, Mr. Murdock, was attempting to take Dole private again at $12 a share.  Dole came public at a price of $12.50 a share a few years ago.  After some of the things that Dole management has done in the past few weeks from saying their land suddenly wasn’t worth as much money, to saying they were going to do a buyback, then a few days later not doing a buyback, to this low ball buy-out offer I am very glad that I got out of Dole when I did.  I figured that something fishy was going on when they said that some of their land suddenly wasn’t worth as much money as they thought and had a conversation with one of my followers on Seeking Alpha about how something funny was going on and how management might be trying to lower the price of the stock so they could take it private again.  Unfortunately it appears that I was right because by my conservative estimates Dole is worth somewhere between $15 and $22 a share.  If Dole management is able to pull this off and only take the company private for $12 a share then there should be an investigation into what management has done over the past month or so as its shareholders are about to get screwed.

I will continue to update happenings on the book and if I find a company to write an article on but until I move later this month posts will continue to be few and far between most likely.

Remember if you follow this blog, me on Twitter, Facebook, or Seeking Alpha you will get a discount on my book when it comes out so please share this with as many people as possible so they can get the discount too, thank you.

Until next time.

How I Look To Have Affected Bab Inc, Big Apple Bagel, $BABB, With My Recent Article On Them.

In the past two months while I have been working on getting our business started I pretty much blacked out everything investing related.  I did this for three reason; so I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to researching companies because that is where my heart lies, so I could concentrate on getting the business going, and because I needed to take a break physically from the amount of work I was doing.

In the past week or so I have been going over the companies I have written articles on, especially the ones I am interested in or own, to see if I have missed any news in the past two months that is very important and it looks like I have with Bab Inc (BABB.)

My recent article series on them, part 1 and the conclusion, laid out how overall I thought BABB was a very interesting company and how I would love to invest in the company, and possibly becoming activist in the company to help fix its major problem of overly excessive executive pay and overall excessive payroll in my opinion.  In my opinion this is the only major problem with the company and if executive pay and overall payroll was lowered it would help raise the companies earnings and cash flow, and would most likely help to unlock the underlying value of the company that I see beneath the excessive pay.

When looking back to see if I missed anything on the companies I am interested in I found this link.  Since I do not believe in coincidences, apparently BABB management noticed my article somewhere or were threatened by another investor, and have decided to adopt a “Stockholder’s Rights Plan.”  This allows the company to issue rights to current shareholders in the event that someone buys 15% of its shares (20% in the case of an institution) to “Protect Shareholders best interests” from outside investors. These rights would be issued to shareholders as of May 13th if someone were to purchase 15 or 20% of BABB and look to essentially be a way to keep people from making too much noise about change at the company.

There is also this line from the announcement:

BAB’s Board of Directors may redeem the Rights for $0.001 per Right at any time before an event that causes the Rights to become exercisable. The Rights will expire on the third anniversary date of the Agreement, unless the Rights have previously been redeemed by the Board of Directors.

This gives a further advantage to insiders over regular shareholders and is again put in there to keep outside investors from making changes in the company, and is completely ridiculous in my opinion.

 

It looks to me that current BABB management likes the status quo of taking giant payrolls, losing market share, and losing restaurant counts and does not want to have things shaken up by outside investors who may want to lower overall pay, help the company become more profitable, and help the company potentially grow again.

This is my first experience with a company doing something like this and I knew it would eventually happen because of how most nano caps are managed by only a small number of individuals who control the company.  It is still surprising and disappointing that they would do something like this, but apparently they would rather just keep milking the company instead of putting some of that excessive pay towards growing the company or growing earnings and cash flow.  Suffice it to say that I am glad I did not buy into BABB as this shows that in my opinion management does not care about the best interests of shareholders.

This does make me want to buy into the company though to change things even more for the betterment of all shareholders and not just the few at the top of the pyramid, maybe I will at some point.

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things, My Investing Book, Sold $STRT Up 75%, And What Have I Missed?

Since my last post almost two months ago now my brother and I have been working very hard in our business Black Hills Tech Solutions so I have had almost zero time to look at the stock market since then.  We are doing relatively well so far and are working on building a company’s website right now.  Okay well my brother and his buddy are doing the bulk of the website building since I have no idea how to do any of that.

I have also gotten off of my allergy shots, which have made me feel quite a bit better consistently and have also been forcing myself to take time off from things and relax every once in a while.  I do not know which has helped me the most but I have not been sick in about two straight months since I have started the above and have generally felt pretty decent most of the time.

Since I have been feeling better, (i.e not getting sick all the time mainly) and since I have had a bit of free time with less going on at the business I have had some time to fill my want/need to research companies, learn about investing, and work on my investing book in the past week or so.

In the past week so far I have finished up another two chapters in my book and tonight I will start on another chapter.  I also have been looking for a company to start research on but have thus far had no luck.  It seems that the market has continued to get even more over heated in the past couple months as a week ago I took cursory looks through about 250 companies to potentially do research on and the only ones I found to be even a little undervalued or interesting were Chinese nano caps.

If you have been following this blog for a while you know that Chinese small caps terrify me because of the fraud, misreporting, lying, etc and that I lost a lot of money on them when I first started investing.  Suffice it to say that if I am not comfortable buying into Chinese small caps that I won’t consider even looking into Chinese nano caps.

I have also sold out of Strattec (STRT) in the portfolios that I manage due to it reaching the higher end of my valuation range and I sold out up 75% since December when I originally bought into them.  If, and more likely when, the market crashes I will definitely think about buying into them again as I still really like what they are doing now that they have fixed the bulk of their problems and their management.  The portfolios that I manage are now sitting around 55% cash because of how overheated I think the market is.

I will continue to look for a company to do research on and continue working on my book and hope to post again a bit more regularly now that we have slowed down and settled in a bit more at the business.

Having said that I now ask you if there are any links, websites, articles, etc that have come out in the past couple months that you think are fantastic.  I pretty much blacked everything investing related out in that time frame to concentrate on opening and starting the business so I am sure I missed out on some pretty good information.  I would very much appreciate it if anyone has anything to share that you think I would like to learn from and might have missed in the past couple months and would really appreciate if you were able to share some of those with me.

Until next time.

My Epiphany and Horrid Health, Having A Baby, Writing An Investment Book, And I Started A Business

As you probably know if you have been following this blog for any amount of time I have been trying to find enough funding to open up my own investment firm and I have also been sending out my information and stock analysis articles to a bunch of value investing firms to try and land a job at one of these firms in the meantime while I try to raise capital to open up my own firm.  I figure that I would need around $5 million in assets under management to be able to comply with all regulations, have my results audited, pay accountants and lawyers to make sure I stay in compliance with everything, and still have enough left over to make some money for myself.

Since I do not have a lot of rich friends, know a lot of rich people, and myself do not have anywhere near that amount of money, I had to put this goal to the side for the time being and will explain why below.

As you also know if you have been following this blog for any amount of time, I have alluded multiple times to some pretty serious health issues that I have not fully explained to you and will do so later in this post.  Over the past several months I have been pushing myself extremely hard, too hard as it turns out, to try to get as good as possible as fast as possible at evaluating, valuing, and analyzing companies to determine if they are a good investment, in the hopes of either opening my own firm, or getting noticed by a value investing firm and paid for my research.

Since the summer of 2004, the year before my senior year of high school, up until today I have been, and still on a daily basis deal with extreme dizziness to the point where I have not been able to have a “normal” job since shortly after I graduated high school.  Due to this I have also not been able to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree which I have found out is apparently a MINIMUM requirement to even being considered for being hired at most investment related firms so I have also had zero luck in finding an investment related job up to this point.  My dizziness has gotten quite a bit better over the years (Finally making some progress after almost 9 years of dealing with this) as I have found a couple wonderful doctors who have helped me out quite a bit, but I still need to get over a few humps to get more towards “normal” or at least for me normal health, whatever that may end up being.

Due to me pushing myself to learn as much as possible as fast as possible relating to investing over the last several months I appear to be pushing myself too hard as I have gotten sick/flu/sinus infection/etc 5 or 6 times in the past 5 months or so.  These colds/infections  exacerbate my dizziness while I am sick and makes my dizziness worse than normal for at least a week or two AFTER I get over whatever sickness I have had, so for the past 5 months or so I have felt pretty miserable almost the entire 5 months.  This is one reason why you have seen a slowdown in my blog postings and stock analysis articles over this time period.

A different doctor that I saw has not found any reason why I keep getting sick so I figure it must be because I have been pushing myself so hard lately.  At the recommendation of ValuePrax for something investing related, and completely unrelated to the sickness situation, I read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which I highly recommend especially for those who are skeptical like I was about pulling this kind of thing off and who wants to be an entrepreneur.  The book is amazing and I highly recommend everyone read it but the main part of the book that I want to talk about here that relates to my health issues is a part of the book where he says you should evaluate how you spend your time to see what you can cut out to become more efficient.  After looking over how I have been spending my time over the past several months I believe I have found the main reason why I keep getting sick, I have been pushing myself WAY too hard.

It turns out that since I dedicated myself to learning and becoming a true value investor in February of 2012 that between taking care of my now 2+ year old daughter full time and learning about investing, evaluating, analyzing, valuing, and writing about companies, I have been working around 100 hours a week for almost a year straight now, or the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs!  Since I cut out free/relaxing/video game/watching sports, etc time to learn as much as possible as fast as possible literally the only free time I had where I wasn’t trying to learn something, take care of my daughter, or recovering from being dizzy was when I was sleeping.  Not exactly a healthy lifestyle apparently.

The last time I pushed myself like this was shortly after the dizziness started.  I kept trying to do the normal things I used to do at the time: Finishing high school, hanging out with friends, running track, working out, and combined with working a full time job at the time and having a girlfriend who is now my wife.  After having to go to the ER because I was so dizzy I fell down when I was at work and couldn’t walk without falling, I realized that I pushed myself too hard.  I ended up making my dizziness so bad that for a period of literally 2 or 3 straight years I could do literally nothing except lay around and watch TV because I felt so horrible all the time.  Since I do not want to feel that horrible again and set myself back like that, especially considering how much better my dizziness has gotten since then, I realized I needed to change course before I did that to myself again.

Using some of the techniques in the Four Hour Work Week I started to brainstorm business ideas and ways to start making money for my family but also lowering my hours worked dramatically in the hopes to stop getting sick all the time and putting off any kind of massive deterioration in my dizziness like what happened before.  The first idea was to write an investment book.  I have already shared the idea with a couple investors who have had investing related books published, gotten some feedback, changed some of my original thoughts, and they think that if I can write the book properly that the idea is good enough and unique enough to potentially be picked up by a publisher and fully published, not just self published by me!  Up to this point I have written the outline that still needs to be tweaked a bit, the introduction, and five full chapters.  I do not know when this will be done because of the business my brother and I have started which I will talk about below but I think that I can help a lot of newer and intermediate level investors and hope to have the transcript finished as soon as possible.

The second idea was something my brother and I have been kicking around for a while now and we decided to go for it.  My brother and I have started what is called a managed service provider, MSP, computer business to monitor local small businesses computers; do data back-ups, eliminate viruses, spyware, and malware, etc.  Make sure their servers, computers, and computer networks are working properly and keep them working properly and to help the particular businesses become more profitable due to saving them a lot of money, enabling them to have less or no down time, and having a lot less computer related headaches they have to deal with.  Our company is called Black Hills Tech Solutions.  If anyone is interested in this business please visit our website which I have linked.  We do not have any clients as of this time but once we start getting clients we will be making pretty good money and helping companies out by saving them a lot of money, time, and frustration.  If we do things right this will also enable me to work less once we get things rolling due to automation.  My brother is handling the computer and tech side of things and I am handling the business/marketing/sales side of things at this point.

The main reason I had to make a change in what I was doing on a daily basis was because of my horrid health.  The other major reason I had to change course was because frankly I am tired of not being able to make money for my family and I needed a way to make money sooner rather than later.  Why do I need to make money sooner rather than later?  Well besides the fact that I just want to start making my family money and not being able to due to my health reasons up to this point, we have another baby on the way which is very exciting but also expensive, and I want to contribute monetarily to my family.

Due to everything above I will probably post only every once and a while on this blog for the foreseeable future.  My hope is that once we start getting clients at our business and automate things properly is that I will be able to resume this blog on a more regular basis and start researching companies again as this is still my passion.  I also hope that writing this book and starting this business will make me enough money and gain me enough contacts that I will be able to open up my own investment firm sooner rather than later and resume my passion of searching for undervalued companies to buy into on a full time basis.

You all know that I am not a macro guy at all, but another reason I thought this was a good time to change course for a while was because how crazy the market is getting.  It seems to keep going up for absolutely no reason at all and I fear that there will be a major crash at some time in the near future.  Due to the starting of the business, saving up for baby, and my fear of an impending market crash, I have sold all of the stocks in my personal portfolio to help fund me and my brothers business start up and to put some money in savings in preparation for the baby that is due in late October.  The people that I manage portfolios for are sitting around 40% cash right now. Again my hopes are that I will start making some pretty good money relatively soon from the book and business that I will be able to open up my own investment firm relatively soon.

At this time I will urge anyone who is interested in contributing to this blog to please let me know as I am still very interested in having people write while I am working on some of the above things and if possible would like to keep the blog active until I can start writing on a more regular basis again.

I apologize that I have to take some time off from this blog due to my health issues but I do not want to go back to where I could literally do nothing for 2 or 3 years because I felt so horrible all the time. I am deeply saddened by this necessary step away from my passion of value investing but also excited at the same time for the ventures I will be concentrating on for the foreseeable future.

I want to thank you all so much for reading, I appreciate it so much and I hope you continue to read while I concentrate on these other ventures.  I hope to continue writing and researching companies as soon as physically possible.

Again, I would really love to keep content flowing on a somewhat regular basis so if you personally or you know anyone who would want to contribute to the blog it would be very much appreciated and please let me know.

Fantastic Idea From Valueprax: Mandarin Value Investing Journey. 从Valueprax国语价值投资之旅的奇妙的想法。

As you know I have been learning Mandarin for the past several months and yesterday Valueprax and I were talking on Twitter yesterday and after telling him that I am learning Mandarin he came up with a fantastic idea.  He said that I should translate my blog into Mandarin to get myself out there further.  Up to this point I have not been able to find any Mandarin language value investing blogs so this is another way to get myself out there.  This will also help me learn Mandarin faster, get myself out there to potential value firms in Asia which may lead to potentially getting hired or at the very minimum hopefully gaining a new audience in Asia.

The new Mandarin language version of Value Investing Journey is below and I am currently undertaking the process of translating the entire blog into Mandarin so if you are curious what the blog would look like in Mandarin feel free to take a look.  If you know anyone who reads Mandarin and is interested in investing I would really appreciate if you could pass this link on.  Thank you and I hope you enjoy.

http://mandarinvijourney.wordpress.com/

你知道我一直在学习普通话在过去的数个月,昨天Valueprax和我聊天昨天在Twitter上后,告诉他,我学习普通话,他想出了一个绝妙的想法。他说,我要我的博客翻译成普通话,没想到却在那里进一步。这点我一直没能找到任何的普通话价值投资博客,所以这是另一种方式来让自己有。这也将帮助我更快地学习普通话,让自己有潜在价值,公司在亚洲,这可能会导致潜在的被聘用,或最起码希望在亚洲获得了新的观众。

新的普通话语言版本,以下是价值投资之旅,我目前正在进行的过程中,整个博客翻译成普通话,所以如果你是好奇,到底是什么东西的博客看起来像普通话随时来看看。如果你知道谁读普通话及有兴趣投资,我会很感激,如果你可以通过这个链接上。谢谢你,我希望你能喜欢。

Catching Up On Some More Links

Farnam Street-The World Is Much More Interesting Than Any One Discipline.

Wexboy-Tetragon Ready To Be A Star.

Sahara Investing-The Luxury Goods Market.

Oddball Stocks-Thoughts On Quantative Value Investing.

Valueinvestingblog.net-Investing In Japan: Late To The Party.

Valuewalk-Insurance Companies, Where Buybacks Are Key: Travelers.

Farnam Street-Mastery.

OTC Adventures-Value Investing Strategy And Unlisted Securities Part 1.

Whopper Investments-The Best Values Are Over The Counter Stocks So Is $OTCM A Great Value Too?

Ragnar Is A Pirate-Changing 13D’s At Trinity Place Holdings.

The Aleph Blog-On Insurance Investing Part 2.

Quotations Page-Persistence Quotes, my favorite is the Calvin Coolidge One:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Absoutely love that quote.

Mises.org-Cartman Shrugged: The Invisible Gnomes and The Invisible Hand In South Park.

CSInvesting-The Secret To Investing Success (Munger Tip).

Valueconferences.com-Adib Motiwala: Your Instructor At Small Cap Investing Summit 2013, hour long interview.

Updates, Looking For Anyone Who Might Want To Write A Guest Value Investing Article or Articles, And “Becoming So Good That You Cannot Be Ignored”

As you know over the past couple weeks I have been doing in depth research on a company and written an article that I planned to post on Monday.  I have several other companies I want to research and since in my personal account I am unfortunately fully invested at the moment, I need to make the best possible buy decision of the companies I am looking into before deciding which one(s) to buy into and came up with an idea today.

When I first started my blog and posting articles on Seeking Alpha I did a series of posts on Dole, Chiquita, and Fresh Del Monte comparing them and figuring out which one was the best buy at the time.  I have wanted to do another series of posts like that for a while now and decided that this is a perfect opportunity to do that.  Up to this point I have completely finished up one article, done a lot of research and probably will start to write an article on the next company next week some time, and have at least one for sure and maybe another company I want to do research on and write full articles on after that before I make my final buy decision(s).

As you might expect with the amount of research I do this process and my posting of articles may take a while so this is where I ask for some help from you.  While I am researching and writing my articles I am still going to keep posting links, but would like good content to keep flowing at least somewhat regularly on the blog while I am concentrating on researching and writing.

I am looking for anyone who would want to contribute an article, or articles, to be posted as guest posts on this blog.  I will give you full credit for the entire article and write an introduction introducing you a little bit to get you some recognition.  You will retain full ownership of the article and can post it anywhere else that you like.  I would really like to have newer investors who may want to start a blog some day but for some reason haven’t, to submit any write ups you might have to get you some recognition and some feedback on your articles so you can learn faster.  I wish I would have started writing my ideas down in depth a lot sooner because as I have talked about before I am shocked by how much better I have gotten just since last June when I stated this blog. I will consider any articles as long as it is a VALUE based investment idea, if it is of good quality, if it is your original written and researched idea, and you do not already have a blog.  Sorry value bloggers but I want to help new investors or people who do not have a blog already get better and get some recognition.

I do not care if you have just started out investing (Would actually prefer newer investors to get you some recognition and to help you learn faster) or have been doing this for years and may not have a blog but you would like to post something here to get a taste for blogging.  As long as I think the article is of good quality, you show some passion, and want to get better as an investor I will consider any article submitted.  The article does not have to be as in depth or as long as my articles either.  If you have multiple articles you would like to submit you are more than welcome to submit as many as you like.  I know that I am a bit weird in welcoming public criticism of my articles but it helps me learn faster.  To alleviate some of this concern I will also help you out by reading the article before posting it on this site and sending you an email with any thoughts, feedback, or advice I might have and keep them private just between us since I know a lot of people are afraid of public criticism, especially beginners.

As you know if you have been following the blog for any length of time one of my other passions is bettering education and helping others out as much as possible because of all the advice and help I have received from others online.  I have been thinking about this for a while and have finally decided that this is a good time to start this program and I hope a lot of you submit articles.  This is also going to become a regular thing so if you come up with an idea a month or months from now that you would like to submit for publishing please feel free to submit it.  Again, I would highly encourage especially newer investors and investors without blogs to submit articles not only for the recognition, but the sooner you start writing your investment ideas down the faster you will get better.

For any questions or if you would like to submit an article email me at my email address provided in the Contact Me page above and I hope to hear from many of you very soon.

Another quick update is that last week I received an email from the Value Investor’s Club about my application and that I had been rejected for admission to VIC again.  Once again this just serves as further motivation (As if I didn’t have enough already) to keep learning and getting better. On a side note Whopper Investments posted on Twitter that he has been accepted into the Value Investors Club so a big shout out and congratulations to a fellow value blogger for this impressive accomplishment.  I have heard that VIC accepts fewer than 10% of all applications received, I know most of the people on VIC are professionals, and I know of at least a couple individuals who have had their funds seeded by Joel Greenblatt (The founder of VIC and world renowned value investor) so getting accepted into VIC is a huge goal for a lot of us value investing bloggers and it is extremely impressive to get accepted.

I have always been the type of extremely competitive and self motivated person where I always pushed myself so hard (sometimes too hard and I have occasionally paid for it with health problems) to get better at whatever I was doing.  A couple examples are that 1) I remember when I was a teenager mowing the lawn and that I would time myself just to see if I could mow the lawn more efficiently and faster.  Not so I could go play sports, hang out with friends or a girlfriend, or do whatever else I was doing at the time, but just to get better at it. 2) When I worked at Burger King in high school, even if I was just washing dishes I always tried to figure out ways to get faster and better at it, even timing myself doing this as well.  This is how driven, some would say crazy including probably my wife, lol, I am about everything I do and when I saw this quote from Steve Martin it really resonated with me. Emphasis is mine.

“Nobody ever takes note of [my advice], because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear,” Martin said. “What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’ . . . but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ “

The article is from Lifehacker and you can click here to read the whole article about becoming a “craftsman” and how Mr. Martin went about becoming a comedic craftsman.  So my new favorite quote and goal as it pertains to me getting a job in the investment world, opening my own firm, learning Mandarin, or whatever else I do is to become so good at it that I cannot be ignored.

I will post some more links over the coming days as I have gotten way behind in sharing some of the sites I have been learning from and think that you could possibly learn from, and I hope in the mean time to see that a lot of you have submitted articles to be posted on the blog.

Questions For You All And Some Observations About Insurance Companies

I just stopped researching what is probably the tenth insurance company I have done at least cursory research on and I have come to a few conclusions after looking at insurance companies of all sizes.  I stopped research on this company because of its massive underwriting losses again.

  1. UNAM is the only company I have looked at that has had consistent consecutive underwriting profits for almost a decade now.
  2. The best companies besides UNAM have generally only had underwriting profits for 3 out of the past 10 years.
  3. Almost all of the other companies have had consistent underwriting losses over the past decade.
  4. Underwriting losses have generally gotten worse over the last few years.

Having noticed all of this I realized in my previous UNAM analysis write up that maybe I was making things too complex and wanted to ask your opinion on the matter.

  1. How truly difficult is generating consistent underwriting profits over the almost past decade during a soft insurance market which is what UNAM has done?
  2. Are the other insurance companies managements complete morons or are UNAM’s management and discipline just exceptional?
  3. Should the consistent underwriting profit override the low ROE and low investment returns at UNAM?

Also just out of curiosity, does anyone else find researching insurance companies and other financials tedious with the amount of lawyer talk and useless crap that fills the pages of the annuals and quarterlies just to make sure they do not get sued?

Looking forward to some discussion on this topic.