ValuePickr Forum

Great articles to read on the web

An explanation of market bubbles that doesn’t blame greed or incompetence, and a
strategy to protect yourself from their inevitability.
from morgen housel


I am a great supporter of watching documntaries and videos as they deliver more of a punch and better recall.

Watching two documentaries

The corporation : on why a corporation is inhuman inaking decisions…

ENRON the smartest guys on the room : this is on corporate fraud. I wish folks read and understand this before asking a contrarian investor about stocks. :slight_smile: As a contrarian value investor myself, I quite agree with this article. Unless one truly understands avoiding social proof and standing isolated away from the crowd, one can’t ‘get’ contrarian investing. If you need someone else to investigate a stock and then you’re going to agree or disagree with him/her you’ve already proved that you are not a contrarian. A contrarian investor doesn’t give a damn about your or anyone else’s opinion either so if you keep shouting about something, it’s not going to affect him/her one bit. A contrarian investor is essentially a loner (in the investing world), does his/her own analysis and would love for stocks to go down so that he/she can buy even more. And it’s very difficult for a contrarian investor to act in any other way. I say all this out of personal experience. :slight_smile:

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The Big Lesson From Amazon And Whole Foods: Disruptive Competition Comes Out Of Nowhere

Vivek Wadhwa

June 22, 2017 5 min read

I doubt that Google and Microsoft ever worried about the prospect that a book retailer, Amazon, would come to lead one of their highest-growth markets: cloud services. And I doubt that Apple ever feared that Amazon’s Alexa would eat Apple’s Siri for lunch.

For that matter, the taxi industry couldn’t have imagined that a Silicon Valley startup would be its greatest threat, and AT&T and Verizon surely didn’t imagine that a social media company, Facebook could become a dominant player in mobile telecommunications.

But this is the new nature of disruption: disruptive competition comes out of nowhere. The incumbents aren’t ready for this and as a result, the vast majority of today’s leading companies will likely become what I call toast—in a decade or less.

Note the march of Amazon. First, it was bookstores, publishing and distribution; then cleaning supplies, electronics and assorted home goods.

Now Amazon is set to dominate all forms of retail as well as cloud services, electronic gadgetry and small-business lending.
And its proposed acquisition of Whole Foods sees Amazon literally breaking the barriers between the digital and physical realms.

This is the type of disruption we will see in almost every industry over the next decade, as technologies advance and converge and turn the incumbents into toast.
We have experienced the advances in our computing devices, with smartphones having greater computing power than yesterday’s supercomputers.
Now, every technology with a computing base is advancing on an exponential curve — including sensors, artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic biology and 3-D printing.
And when technologies converge, they allow industries to encroach on one another.

Uber became a threat to the transportation industry by taking advantage of the advances in smartphones, GPS sensors, and networks.
Airbnb did the same to hotels by using these advancing technologies to connect people with lodging.
Netflix’s ability to use internet connectivity put Blockbuster out of business.
Facebook’s WhatsApp and Microsoft’s Skype helped decimate the costs of texting and roaming, causing an estimated $386 billion loss to telecommunications companies from 2012 to 2018.

Similarly, having proven the viability of electric vehicles, Tesla is building batteries and solar technologies that could shake up the global energy industry.

Now tech companies are building sensor devices that monitor health.
With artificial intelligence, these will be able to provide better analysis of medical data than doctors can.
Apple’s ResearchKit is gathering so much clinical-trial data that it could eventually upend the pharmaceutical industry by correlating the effectiveness and side effects of the medications we take.

As well, Google, Facebook, SpaceX, and Oneweb are in a race to provide Wi-Fi Internet access everywhere through drones, microsatellites and balloons.
At first, they will use the telecom companies to provide their services; then they will turn them into toast.
The motivation of the technology industry is, after all, to have everyone online all the time.
Their business models are to monetize data rather than to charge cell, data, or access fees. They will also end up disrupting electronic entertainment — and every other industry that deals with information.

The disruptions don’t happen within an industry, as business executives have been taught by gurus such as Clayton Christensen, author of management bible “The Innovator’s Dilemma”; rather, they come from where you would least expect them to.

Christensen postulated that companies tend to ignore the markets most susceptible to disruptive innovations because these markets usually have very tight profit margins or are too small, leading competitors to start off by providing lower-end products and then scale them up, or to go for niches in a market that the incumbent is ignoring. But the competition no longer comes from the lower end of a market; it comes from other, completely different, industries.

Because they have succeeded in the past, companies believe that they can succeed in the future, that old business models can support new products.
Large companies are usually organised into divisions and functional silos, each with its own product development, sales, marketing, customer support and finance functions.
Each division acts from self-interest and focuses on its own success; within a fortress that protects its ideas, it has its own leadership and culture.
And employees focus on the problems of their own divisions or departments — not on those of the company.
Too often, the divisions of a company consider their competitors to be the company’s other divisions; they can’t envisage new industries or see the threat from other industries.

This is why the majority of today’s leading companies are likely to go the way of Blockbuster, Motorola, Sears and Kodak, which were at the top of their game until their markets were disrupted, sending them toward oblivion.

Companies now have to be on a war footing. They need to learn about technology advances and see themselves as a technology startup in Silicon Valley would: as a juicy target for disruption.
They have to realise that the threat may arise in any industry, with any new technology.
Companies need all hands on board — with all divisions working together employing bold new thinking to find ways to reinvent themselves and defend themselves from the onslaught of new competition.

The choice that leaders face is to disrupt themselves — or to be disrupted.


A very good read… Jason Zweig interviews Peter Bernstein.


Ray Dalio on the global economy


Thanks Shan. Feel honored that an article I wrote is posted in this esteemed Forum. An analogy i can think of for Contrarian investing is that of a “Knife”. In the hands of a skillful surgeon, a knife becomes a very useful tool to provide well-being / joy and in the hands of a toddler it can cause great harm / pain. Similarly, Contrarian investing when practiced by a skillful investor backed by solid facts can be a useful strategy for wealth creation. When practiced by (newbie) investors without backing of sound logic and reasoning, it may become a strategy for wealth destruction!!!

PS: New member here. Kindly excuse if commenting on own article is against forum guidelines.

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How loopholes in GST can be exploited…

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Inspiring journey of few most successful stock market Investors in India.

New memo by Howard marks
There They Go Again…Again


Writing this analogy for contrarian investing turned out to be a good learning experience personally. This lead me to an activity of exploring on what have the successful investors told about contrarian investing. I found some gems of wisdom. Listing a few of them:

  1. In order to win as a contrarian, you need the right timing and you have to put on a position in the appropriate size. If you do it too small, it’s not meaningful. If you do it too big, you can get wiped out if your timing is slightly off. The process requires courage, commitment and an understanding of your own psychology - Michael Steinhardt

  2. Humans are prone to herd because it is always warmer and safer in the middle of the herd. Indeed, our brains are wired to make us social animals. We feel the pain of social exclusion in the same parts of the brain where we feel real physical pain. So being a contrarian is a little bit like having your arm broken on a regular basis - James Montier

  3. To succeed as a contrarian you must recognize what the crowd believes, have concrete justification for why the majority is wrong, and have the patience and conviction to stick with what is, by definition, an unpopular bet - Whitney Tilson

  4. Successful contrarian investing requires us to live with discomfort, for being “wrong” and alone. But bargains do not exist in the absence of fear. The markets do not reward comfort - Robert Arnott

  5. The success of contrarian strategies requires you at times to go against gut reactions, the prevailing beliefs in the marketplace, and the experts you respect. It’s very hard to go against the crowd. Even if you’ve done it most of your life, it still jolts you - David Dreman

There are 20 more pieces of wisdom i found to be enlightening. Do not wish to clog the space here, you may check the rest here

Hopefully when one wants to place a contrarian bet by investing in pharma / IT stocks now , these pieces of wisdom will come handy.


A series of articles on ROIC and are great read. Author has explained very nicely with examples.


Latest notes from Howard Marks. A wonderful read.

With due respect, it is not by Ray Dalio but by Howard Marks.

Sorry. Was watching a Ray Dalio Video and ended up writing his name. Enjoy the Ray Dalio Video…

Interesting reading - but applicable only to present American Market.

I would tend to agree.

When in India have we seen common man is benefited more than corporate and government?

Most of the taxes are collected from middle class and we do not get any benefit like in developed countries such as free education (UK/Europe/Canada), NHS(UK) and Pension for private employees (Most of the developed nations).

We need some revolutionary reforms to stream line all the taxes so that the one who pays the tax should get maximum benefits from government and not the other way round.


One of the better sites from an overall perspective is as below

The essays by Paul Graham offer fresh insights into multifarious topics which I feel merit attention. Paul writes on an eclectic mix of topics which would prove to be quite a useful read. Am new to this forum, hence pardon me if I have violated any rules here.

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Ray Dalio’s principles, before his book launch

Characteristics of successful investors (a bit generalized)

A glimpse of how man & machine work ‘hand-in-hand’ at Amazon

A lot more Lithium mining is needed in the near future

Having a kaleidoscope of mental models helps in navigating the investment world when most are edges are disappearing

The tough stance of RBI and the changing regulatory environment is forcing Essar to look at paring its debt


Ray Dalio: The Steve Jobs of Investing. Must listen Podcast.

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