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In an industry that celebrates personal sacrifice as a symbol of commitment, you might not consider 'making sure everyone gets home for dinner' to be a mark of success, but creating and maintaining that culture is one of the things I'm most proud of.
My father and grandfather were businessmen. The family business was Adelphi Paints in New Jersey. When the first energy crisis came in the early 1970s, the business suffered.
We take the traditional value investor's process and just flip it around a little bit. The traditional value investor asks 'Is this cheap?' and then 'Why is it cheap?' We start by identifying a reason something might be mispriced, and then if we find a reason why something is likely mispriced, then we make a determination whether it's cheap.
We believe in constructing the portfolio so that we put our biggest amount of money in our highest-conviction idea, and then we view the other ideas relative to that.
Both poker and investing are games of incomplete information. You have a certain set of facts and you are looking for situations where you have an edge, whether the edge is psychological or statistical.
Microsoft could help Facebook with one of the biggest challenges, namely monetizing its traffic without reducing the user's experience. It's obvious that Microsoft needs traffic and Facebook needs search.
During my freshman year at Cornell, I joined my dorm's intramural football team. At the first practice, upper classmen pointed out I was tall, so I should try playing QB. Well half an hour later, it was abundantly clear that I should not be the QB.
Texas hold 'em is all about folding and waiting for that time that comes up every hour or two where you actually have an advantage and you can press it.
There's more at risk in what happens in Microsoft than I could ever bet on a poker table.
I've got a fantasy-baseball team with my brother. But I have to admit, he does all the work.
I rooted for the Milwaukee Brewers and its stars, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. I went to a lot of games, including the World Series in 1982. The Brewers may have been a bad team for most of my life, but to have your team at its peak when you are thirteen years old is an experience I wish for every fan.
I spent most of high school working on the debate team, probably at some expense to my grades. Being a member of the team was great training in critical analysis, organization, and logic.
On my best days, I fancy myself a combination of Dad's persistence/patience and Mom's toughness/skepticism.
In my business investing, you are buying a stock, and someone else is selling the stock. Right there, that's like a debate. Is the stock going up, or is it going to go down?
After my undergraduate, I've written a thesis that was in the government department, but largely, it turned out almost an economic type of thesis. And I was very interested in that, and I wanted to go get a Ph.D. in Economics.
I worked in investment banking for two years. I was in a program where they kind of just owned you. And you - I didn't realize that I've signed up for that, which was one of the problems. I didn't know anybody who'd done this.
Investing in a poker game and investing in stocks, at least the way I do it, it's a very similar skillset.
For one thing, Greenlight only hires nice people. By that, I don't mean that we avoid hiring jerks. I mean we actively look to hire people who are nice.
Obviously, I wasn't expecting Wall Street to be a laid-back place. I was prepared for hard work. Sadly, much of the work the new guys were asked to do and the insane hours we were expected to keep had little to do with making the bank more productive. It felt more like hazing.
My parents are nice people, and they also made a point to have dinner as a family every night.
The enthusiasm for Tesla and other bubble-basket stocks is reminiscent of the March 2000 dot-com bubble. As was the case then, the bulls rejected conventional valuation methods for a handful of stocks that seemingly could only go up. While we don't know exactly when the bubble will pop, it eventually will.
Our view is that just because Amazon can disrupt somebody else's profit stream, it doesn't mean that Amazon earns that profit stream.
We never invent new reasons to continue with a position when the original reasons are no longer available.
We try not to have many investing 'rules,' but there is one that has served us well: If we decide we were wrong about something, in terms of why we did it, we exit, period.
Most of the time, when someone tells you something, and it makes sense, it just makes sense. And that's that. But sometimes it really doesn't make sense.
The investing world is a little bit more multidimensional than poker.
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