Category Archives: strategy

Investing Clues From Portland Food Carts

investing clues from portland food cartsWhen I last worked in downtown Portland, twenty-some years ago, this was where I parked. Back then it was just a parking lot. Look at it now – the entire front row is occupied by food carts. It looks like a shanty town, but smells better. Driving by here a few weeks ago led me to think about the investing lessons that can be found in the incredible success of the restaurant business. Continue reading

Investing Is Like Judging Hogs at The County Fair


My youngest son is a member of a 4-H livestock judging club. Since he is too young to drive, I take him to the meetings and usually hang out to watch the proceedings. In a judging competition, the competitors are shown a group of four animals. They rank the animals 1 – 4 and then explain the reasons for their ranking to a judge. There is a lot of freedom allowed for the competitors to combine their imagination with technical jargon to come up with flowery descriptions (i.e. “flatter in his stifle” or “less condition over his loin edge” or “exceptionally long from the hooks to the pins”). Combining observation with verbal agility to argue your case is a nice skill to develop, but the reasoning isn’t enough by itself. Continue reading

Defense Wins Championships

Public domain image courtesy of John Van Winkle via Wikimedia Commons

Public domain image courtesy of John Van Winkle via Wikimedia Commons

Investors often take the words “defensive” or “conservative” as code for “being willing to accept small returns.” The truth is, playing defense can be the easiest way to boost your returns.

Most investors focus on offense. Finding the next Tesla or Google. Trying to figure out which sector will benefit most from next week’s GDP numbers. Who’s going to beat estimates and by how much, etc.

The problem with focusing solely on offense is that it’s almost impossible to possess an advantage. You use the same information to try to find the same opportunities as everyone else. For example, Continue reading