In the 1990s when we were trying to make a career we had our constraints but I am wondering how some of the constraints were helping us perhaps?

Let me argue for / against those constraints:

– we had to read balance sheets: there were no data crunchers available. Then there were 3 data providers. CMIE, Capital Market, and Dalal Street Journal.

However before these 3 data providers came it was a big pain in storing balance sheets, news items (can you believe we bought 4 business papers, cut the news items and stuck it in different files?).

We attended AGMs – and not just for the tea and snacks. It was an easy place to hear Nani Palkhiwala and Aditya Birla speak.

We took 2 days to calculate all the ratios and then one day to check whether we had taken the right numerator and right denominator.

We sold research reports and clients congratulated us on the numbers. Today A FREE WEBSITE gives you all this (hopefully accurately).

But the purpose of this post is to ask:

whether peoples ability to assimilate data / information REALLY changed?

Do people know how to react to so much of data (too much is nonsense)

Have a few people lost the ability to actually calculate the ratio (forget interpretation)

I still think that the following Investing Tips will work:

  • do not buy a company which YOU do not understand
  • if you are a direct equity investor who does not read a balance sheet, stop fooling yourself
  • stay within a small circle of competence
  • for an amateur NOT MAKING mistakes is far more important than spotting MULTIBAGGERS
  • have a Gambling portfolio (and give those profits to charity)
  • put a constraint on how many transactions in a week
  • talk to non market people about companies
  • keep track of advisory expenses / management expenses that you are paying
  • buy research reports OVER AND ABOVE unsolicited research reports / investor calls that you attend
  • have fun investing.




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  1. LOL

    Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom, wisdom is not action.

  2. addendum:

    it is the person not the data.

    technology has only made things FASTER be it data collection or communication etc.

    onus of understanding etc is still with the user. otherwise we can ask our kids to get their college degrees from google and wikipedia.

    For Example,

    Even if I did the same thing what the author did 25 yrs ago, I wouldn’t have understood a thing.

    Even now if you hit me with 1000s of filters screeners and annual reports, I won’t understand a thing.

    But show the author a faded balance sheet photocopy of XYZ company, he can give its entire horoscope.

  3. I have an offtopic, basic question.
    Subrabhai, how do you organise your paperwork? Service notes spanning multiple buys and multiple years.
    Would be grateful for any input.

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