We continue to hear from members how much they enjoy interacting with like-minded investors. What stands out is the consistent feedback about the openness and authenticity of MOI Global members.
In part, I believe it simply reflects the nature of most value investors — they are long term-oriented wisdom seekers and view themselves as somewhat apart from the mainstream investment industry.
I also believe — or, hope — that this feedback results from the deliberate design of MOI Global. We strive to be a forum for authentic investors, a service that builds value over the long term, and a community in which members appreciate that giving value is not only a catalyst for receiving value, but that giving value is in itself gratifying.
Our goal is to see members build lifelong relationships — friendships — and to keep out of the community the highly transactional, short-term nature of so many interactions in the business world. We are different in this regard, and proudly so. It is always telling to me when this difference is genuinely not understood by a prospective member or sometimes even by an existing member who views herself merely as a “subscriber” to a bunch of content.
I get two types of pushback: From a prospective member it’s usually something along the lines of, “What’s this ‘waiting list’ thing? It must be some kind of a marketing gimmick. Kindly tell me where to sign up. Oh, and can I get a free trial?” From an existing member who may have originally signed up for a newsletter, I occasionally hear, “I don’t have time to read through my subscriptions right now, so I’ll cancel and return when my schedule is less hectic.”
People reveal themselves in such statements, which is wonderful because it helps us to keep refining the community by removing those that do not belong. The latter opens the door to those who do belong, those who should have a seat at our limited-capacity events. Part of my role is finding people who would add massive value to the community—and to delight them over time so that they become an integral part of MOI Global. Our online and offline events are wonderful opportunities for me to spot investors who embody the ethos of MOI Global. This is in part why we are so enthusiastic about creating additional opportunities for member interaction.
We were pleased to co-host the Best Ideas Omaha 2018 mini-conference during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting weekend. With the generous support of Bob Robotti, we brought together one hundred MOI Global members for an idea-sharing event. In this edition of The Manual of Ideas, you’ll find key takeaways from the event and a transcript of Bob’s remarks. I am also pleased to share selected member impressions from Omaha.
A few voices on Best Ideas Omaha 2018:
“Perhaps the most valuable, and certainly unique, aspect of an event with such high-quality attendees is the unforeseeable, but probable, chance of making new acquaintances with people who bring deep insights from unexpected backgrounds. The gentleman who chose the seat next to me was an engineer/investor with decades of experience in managing offshore drilling projects, which led to animated sharing of ideas on related industry topics.” —Vincent Linz
“As usual, members of the value investing community were all communicative and cordial with one another. Very refreshing! Meeting attendee Charles Royce was a highlight for me. It’s always inspiring to see such a successful and tenured investor still eager to learn.” —Thomas Poehling
“…gaining exposure to a diverse group of speakers and seeing how their individual preferences as people/investors differ was an insightful experience. On one hand, it challenged my own framework. On the other hand, it solidified my own views and that they are distinct in their own way.” —Ross Bendetson
“Matt Haynes spent two months learning a completely new industry, industrial sand. Matt showed how to learn an industry from the ground up and used the term ‘R&D position’ to describe how his position is weighted so he can continue to learn more about the industry. I appreciated Matt’s humility in answering a question he hadn’t yet learned how to answer. This can be hard to do in front of peers, but Matt modeled for me how to live value investing principles by essentially saying ‘I don’t know…yet.’” —Justin Foeppel
A few voices on the Berkshire Hathaway weekend:
“…my favorite line came from Charlie comparing trading cryptocurrency to trading turds!” —Walter Lehman
“Takeaways: (1) setting myself up for success by creating an environment that is conducive for patience, contrarianism and value investing as well as making an effort to interact with people that are better than me; and (2) reinforcement of the importance of patience and contrarianism, illustrated by Berkshire’s large cash balance in a richly valued private and public market environment.” —Theodore Rosenthal
“Buffett’s opening remarks were excellent. He took us back to March 1942. The headlines were full of bad news. Buffett talked about how he told his dad he wanted to buy 3 shares of Citi Service preferred stock. It was all the money he had. The stock was $84 the year before and he watched it hit $55 at the start of 1942. They fell further to $40. Buffett got his shares at $38.25. That was the high price for the day. The stock closed at $37. They fell to $27 as the war raged on. Scary. Then they rallied to $40. Buffett sells. He clears $5.25. Serious money in those days. Sounds like a pretty good outcome, right? But you know what happens next. The stock keeps rallying and Citi soon after redeems the preferred shares for $200. Buffett would’ve have made $485.25 – about 90x more than he did make. First, you can’t help but be impressed Buffett was trading preferred stock at age 11. With all the money he had, no less! But the more important lesson was the idea that you have to look past today’s troubles and take the long view. How often do we allow what’s happening today influence our investment decisions?” —Chris Mayer
“Tom [Gayner] shared his thoughts on moats. In a dynamic world, the ability to change and adapt is a moat. Some of the best companies — Berkshire, Disney, Alphabet — have been ‘shape-shifters’. They adapt and evolve to the opportunities in an ever-changing world. Consistent values provide an anchor to do that. Mindset and culture matter.” —Saurabh Madaan
“Especially here in the Washington DC beltway (as well as in New York or other influential cities), we tend to become a bit myopic as to how things are viewed, business wise as well as politically. It is stunning that so many can converge on a small Midwestern city from such disparate places and share, enjoy, and learn from each other. Somehow I hear the old Coca-Cola commercial playing in the background (‘I’d like to teach the world to sing…’) though it proves to me that humanity is so much better off when we seek out the things that unite us rather than ‘demagogue’ what divides us. In this case it is an octogenarian and nonagenarian taking five hours of questions. AI may provide us with more and better information but it will not replace the benefit gained by a handshake and looking someone in the eye.” —Howard Lichstrahl
We are gearing up for the sixth annual edition of our online conference, Wide-Moat Investing Summit, to be held from June 27-29. This will be our largest quality-focused idea conference ever, featuring the best ideas of more than fifty instructors from the MOI Global community, all of whom share a value-oriented investment philosophy.
In the past, Wide-Moat Investing Summit and other online conferences hosted by MOI Global were available to anyone purchasing a conference pass. Since last year, only members of MOI Global have access to these summits. Access is not only exclusive to members but also fully complimentary.
Tune into the sessions at Wide-Moat Investing Summit 2018. You’ll enjoy LIVE access in late June, followed by unlimited replay access.
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About The Author: MOI Global Editorial Team
The MOI Global Editorial Team, led by John Mihaljevic, CFA, includes community builders, event organizers, writers, editors, research associates, security analysts, and fanatical member support advocates. Our sole purpose is to serve the members of MOI Global as well as we possibly can in order to help them learn, invest intelligently, and build lifelong friendships with like-minded people.
Who is MOI Global? In recent years, The Manual of Ideas has expanded to become more than simply “the very best investing newsletter on the planet” (Mohnish Pabrai). We are now a thriving global community of intelligent investors, connected through great ideas, thought-provoking interviews, online conferences, live member events, and much more.
Members of MOI Global enjoy complimentary access to a growing array of resources and content related to the art of intelligent investing. Members also enjoy preferential access to selected offline events as well as exclusive access to other events hosted by MOI Global, including the Zurich Project Summit, the Latticework Conference, and Ideaweek.
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