I discovered value investing in the Fall of 2008. I just graduated from college and was working at my family’s electronics distribution company and learning about operations, sales, and management. I walked through our massive warehouse each day in awe of the brute amount of product we had. I was swimming in business I had been raised around. It was fantastic.
A decade earlier, my dad and I opened my first brokerage account. I became interested in the concept of the stock market, but it seemed complicated and intimidating. The random fluctuations of prices made it feel more like a craps table than a legitimate investment apparatus. I was not interested.
A decade had passed. In the Fall of 2008 I had been perusing the investment section of Amazon when I stumbled across a book that had some good reviews; “Maybe this will teach me something about stocks…this could be useful”, I thought to myself as I added The Intelligent Investor to my shopping cart.
Each evening at 6PM I left the office and headed to the Starbucks down the street. With a black iced coffee in one hand and The Intelligent Investor in the other, my caffeine-fueled education had begun. I moved on to Snowball, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, and Security Analysis. I made summaries and outlines as I burned through books in that coffee shop, at home on the weekends, and on family vacations.
I internalized many of the concepts quickly because they resonated deeply. While no one had explained the concepts to me before, it all felt so familiar. Have you ever tried dating an ex again? Kind of like that. Except less tears.
In the Fall of 2008, I stumbled upon books that would change my career goals. I decided to allocate capital – and I felt I had the psychological makeup and analytical skills to do so.
My naive optimism in the Fall of 2008 led me on a unique path. It has been a challenging few years, but I now manage around 5 million dollars. I have made some major mistakes, but none fatal (though some very close). Most importantly, I am 10x better at investing then I was a year ago. A year ago I was 5x better at investing than I was in 2010. And in 2010, I was probably a 100x better investor than I was in the Fall of 2008.
The learning curve is steep, but hopefully my lessons can help you. And at some point, you need to start investing.