Things That Go Bump In The Night
Cover Story, by Mark Robertson, Managing Partner March 1st, 2011
Our Round Table monthly stock discussions are just one example of the 'campfire' opportunities to share and get some investing ideas from our friends and colleagues.
When you’re sitting around the campfire, noises from the darkness are generally BAD. Fear of darkness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just might save your life under the right circumstances. But that same core of human instincts is closely related to why investors in general make bad investing decisions when clouded by emotions and/or adrenaline. During our February Round Table, Hugh McManus shared stories of cavemen, mammoths on the bad end of a spear … our quest for fat (the perfect food) … all while weaving a tale that explained why Vulcans will choose Earth as a perfect retirement village. Turns out our stock market is pretty good hunting for them.
Wanna be a better investor? Hugh McManus explained that the answer is really quite simple. “MORE SPOCK. LESS KIRK.” For fans of the Star Trek series, you know this is true. Spock was the logical, relatively unemotional Vulcan on the team. William Shatner, whether he’s Denny Crane or Captain Kirk is beyond emotional, reaching new levels of passion and drama that Shatner fans thoroughly enjoy. And who isn’t a fan of Priceline, Boston Legal or the volatile Captain Kirk? When investing, “More Spock, Less Kirk” is a recipe for better days ahead.
“My investment club disbanded a few months ago. You and your colleagues and online sessions have become my new investment club while I start a quest for a new opportunity. In the meantime, I want you to know how invaluable these discussions are to me. Keep up the good work.”
We’ve received a few of these types of comments as “letters to the editor” and this is a paraphrased condensation of the feedback.
We want you to know that you’re most welcome. Everybody is. As Hugh explained, we’re social animals. Humans are weird. Almost all of the “other hunters” on the planet go shopping for food at night. (Particularly the ones that consider us delectable.) This poses a problem, a challenge and is an opportunity under the right conditions. We also need 8-9 hours of sleep. Hence, we need to gather in groups to team up against the predators who “shop” while we sleep. Nothing beats a good campfire, particularly when it includes mammoth on the spit. And few things beat a good night’s sleep. (By the way, Ken Kavula covered Resmed: RMD, apnea, snoring and the joys of deep restful sleep in another part of the same session.)
Round Table (February 2011). Held the day before the academy awards, we held our own black tie event. (Hugh came in green tuxedo and Cy considers Atlanta Braves attire to be tux-equivalent. Who doesn’t?) Ken Kavula took home the “Best Stock Story” award for his rendition of “Linking Slovakia to Cleveland to Mid-Michigan to China with Pulled Pork.” Cy landed “Best Big Picture” for his inspirational and thought-provoking January 2011 presentation that explored why the Great Recession was so hard to see coming. Mark hugged a “Best Stock Selection for 2010” statue while thanking his grandmother and sharing the honor with the Challenge Club for his August 2010 choice of Walgreen (WAG) for the Round Table tracking portfolio. And This Just In … in a controversial recount (by the accountants who safeguard the envelopes) … Hugh McManus will be recognized for “Best Overall Performance” and “Best Accuracy” for his 2010 selections during our March session.
We received the following comment from one of the people that I respect the most in the world of long-term investing:
“I was very impressed. The presentation was interesting and informative. The pacing was good, and the variety of speakers helped keep my (and I am sure others) attention. I have to believe that presentations like this are an important part of the future of [our long-term investing community.] It is a lot easier to turn your computer on for an hour than it is to drive to some maybe distant location for a class and probably spend much of a Saturday or a weekday night doing it. The only thing someone may miss is the interaction with the speaker, but you did a great job of fielding questions at the end.”
Wow. Thanks from all of us! We’ll talk a little more in a moment about those Saturday and weekend “campfires” and how the nature of learning mandates that we offer a spectrum of experiences and educational opportunity. Bottom line: We’re all wired differently. I’m grateful every day that my wife is wired differently than me. I don’t understand the wiring diagram some days … but I really, really like it.
“Y’all need to make more people aware of these online sessions.” — 2010 Groundhog Champion Anne Manning
As you can see, Anne, we take your words seriously. How are we doing so far? (Grin) We really appreciate it when any and all of you tell your friends and family. It’s one of the best ways that our herd finds out about good campfires.
You can use our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/manifestinvesting to share our world of long-term investing with friends and family. You can do this WITHOUT being a Facebook user. Facebook users have some advantages … and get nudges whenever we post articles or Event Notices, but we repeat, you can also use the public page at Facebook if you’re one of those people that “Facebook will never take alive.”
Our Producer, Dan Horinek, shares YouTube versions of the online sessions via the Facebook page and on the pages of the MANIFEST Forum. For example, if you want to hear more about the connection between successful investing, cavemen, campfires and the crew of the Starship Enterprise, visit the Manifest Roundtable for February.
Dan produces the event in segments, so if you want to hear about Cy’s selection of Cisco Systems or Mark’s selection of Hawkins (HWKN) or Ken Kavula’s compelling nudge to study Resmed (RMD) for a good night’s sleep, you can view them on YouTube at:
Valentine’s Day With the Beardstown Ladies. We were blessed to spend this February holiday with the lovely ladies of central Illinois. As participants in our monthly Dashboard Diagnostic session, we took a look at their current portfolio and got an update on how they’re doing.
Back to Beardstown
The sessions that Anne wants y’all to know about include a series of portfolio reviews we call Dashboard Diagnostics.
We spent Valentine’s Day with the Beardstown Ladies portfolio. If you’re new to investing, have heard some of the legends and some of the nonsense, the session included a review of what happened (and how badly the general media generally mangles the story.) Bottom line: There’s a reason that these wonderful ladies and the investment club phenomenon they inspired was the cornerstone of the 50th Anniversary edition of Better Investing magazine.
Badger Dan has this one available for you, too on the Forum under the Portfolio Design and Management board:
If you’re not familiar with the MANIFEST Forum yet, y’all should be. Go there. Explore. Discover. Lurk. Participate.
Wisconsin’s own Dan Horinek serves as our Producer, delivering recordings of our online sessions via YouTube when he’s not preoccupied with celebrating the achievements of Badgers and Packers. (Most of think it’s time to share trophies, too.) Thanks, Dan.
Interested in learning about conservative options strategies for long-term investors? How about trailing stop losses (TSLOs) for huge momentum stocks? We’re exploring TSLOs in our monthly (online) Challenge Club meetings.
Rest of the Beardstown story? (1) They’re welcoming a new generation of ladies and they’re stronger than ever. (2) They’re exploring covered calls, a form of options, proof that they have a lifetime commitment to learning, probably inspired by their schoolteacher, Doris Edwards.
We hope to explore that subject with the Ladies at a future Dashboard Diagnostics session. In the mean time, I’m sure that Beardstown extends an invitation to the “campfire” in Springfield (Illinois) this coming September. You can learn more about the event using the Facebook Events listing. I’m sure the Ladies would love to see you there … it’s a really, really good “campfire” ablaze with hospitality. Both Kirk and Spock would feel most welcome.