This is my first blog post - About me

Monday, 31-March-2014

So this is my first blog post.  If you are reading it, you probably already know me at least in some way.  Whether you are a longtime friend, business colleague, or someone I've more recently met online, thanks a lot for finding your way here.  Joining social media is easily one of the best decisions I've ever made.  Being around such smart people all the time is not only educational and fun, but another huge benefit is that it pushes you to pick up your own game in order to keep up.  I'm a much better investor because of it, so I'd especially like to thank my friends on twitter for that. While those who know me in real life will tell you I'm a very reserved person, the positive experience over there has encouraged me to branch out and set up this blog.  I'm hoping that doing so might turn a great social media experience into an even better one.  Here is the background, the Five W's if you will, of what the blog will be about:

 

Who am I?

 

I am a full-time investor living in Lenexa, Kansas, which is a suburb of Kansas City...a great place to live.  I manage a family fund that typically consists of about 40 stocks, nearly half of which are biotech/healthcare.  I am an old school, buy-and-hold investor who believes the best way to outperform is by investing in innovative companies that have great management teams over the long-term.  My goal at the outset of a new position is to have a holding period of at least three years.  I do occasionally make some trades to keep things interesting, but I only short stocks once in a blue moon.  By far the most important factor I look for in an investment is the people who are managing the business. If that part isn't 100% worthy of your hard-earned money, it's best to stop right there 9 times out of 10.  In some cases I do think good assets deserve better attention, and that well-intentioned activism can improve companies.  My investing heroes are Sir John Templeton and Carl Icahn.

 

What will my blog cover?

 

There are a few issues relating to investing that I care about a lot.

 

The first is corporate governance.  It amazes me how a great country like ours would settle for such poor standards when it comes to governance.  While there are many well-run companies out there, I'm particularly convinced that the board of directors framework, and lack of responsibility it promotes, is the Achilles heel of our financial system. Governance is especially bad in biotech, so I'm sure this is a topic I'll be blogging about often in the future.  I have no problem calling people out on this btw, so apologies in advance if I ruffle a few feathers.

 

Second, and on a related note, I'm a big believer that some companies can be vastly improved by activist investing.  I have a lot of admiration for Carl Icahn, and think he deserves thanks for inspiring much of the successful activism we have seen lately.  It is especially interesting to me how activists are leveraging social media in their campaigns these days.  I don't think most business leaders realize the extent or importance of that dynamic yet.  I'm sure over time the smart ones will embrace it, and undoubtedly the clueless ones will be left in the dust.  How that unfolds is something I'll be watching closely

 

Finally, I'm interested in how the structure of our markets has been changing.  For example, I'll bet you might not know that the country's second largest stock market by volume is headquartered where I live in Kansas.  Yes, it's even bigger than the Nasdaq.  The takeaway there is that technology is capable of changing the environment faster than many of us even notice.  While new technologies have benefited investors tremendously, I'm less enthusiastic about the contribution from other aspects like high frequency trading.  I think it's crazy how we allow some of that stuff to go on.  This issue strikes a chord, so I'll be writing about it a lot.

 

Like most other investors who blog, I'll also be commenting on various companies I follow and other news of the day. While I'm as guilty as the next person about talking my book, this blog is not meant to offer stock tips.  I'll try to keep hype to a minimum, so please call me out on it if I don't

 

When will I blog?

 

When/how much I'll be blogging is something I am still not sure about myself.  The basic answer is: whenever inspiration strikes.  I don't know if that will be once a week, once a month, or once a quarter.  I guess it all depends on how interesting the markets are in the future.  Boring can be good when it comes to investing, so let's hope there isn't too much turbulence ahead.

 

Where can you read my stuff?

 

I’ll be blogging right here, obviously.  You might have seen some of the opinion pieces I have written in the past at Xconomy.  I’ve really enjoyed writing there, and hope to continue with that (and maybe at other places too) when something comes up that is relevant to a wider audience.  The blog here is intended for spur of the moment and company specific topics that might be a little too narrow for other venues.

 

Which reminds me, I really want to thank Luke Timmerman for the support he has given my writing.  Xconomy is an awesome site, and I’ll always be thankful for the opportunities he gave me to be published there.  Aside from the support, I also owe Luke big for the actual time he spent proofreading the pieces.  He didn’t have to do any of those things, and it means a lot that he did.  Good luck, Luke, on your new book and future endeavors!

 

Why blog?

 

The answer to why is, frankly, somewhat selfish.  Organizing my thoughts and trying to look halfway intelligent by tweeting them out has improved my investing.  If 140 characters can work that much magic, I’m hoping blogging will take things to the next level.  I owe biotech’s twitter community for improving my game there, and I know the pressure is on here because biotech also has one of the smartest groups of bloggers around.

 

Finally, I’ll try not to take myself too seriously.  That would probably be good advice for you too.  If you don’t like something I say here, or if I am critical of one of your companies, trust me it’s okay and life will go on.  Also, please don’t buy or sell a stock because I mention it, and always do your own homework.  In fact, smart readers might heed the advice of one of my favorite Roy Lichtenstein paintings below.

 

Thanks again for visiting.  I hope you enjoy the blog!

Who Am I?

I'm an individual investor from Kansas City.  My focus is on biotech stocks, but I enjoy investing in all industries. I'm an old-school, buy and hold investor who believes the best way to outperform and grow capital is to own innovative companies with good management teams over the long-term.

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