A friend sent me Safi Bahcall’s book “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Disease, and Transform Industries” a couple of months ago. It’s a fascinating book with many interesting ideas and stories, the most important of which is (arguably) the Innovation Equation, a model that seeks to explain, in a … More Safi Bahcall’s Innovation Equation
While going through some old documents this week, I rediscovered a set of notes I took while reading Michael Porter many years ago. On rereading the notes, I find (again) his ideas to be really simple and compelling, worthy of sharing as a mental model for both practising data scientists and a value investors. A … More Understanding Industry Structure and Competition
The best investments I have made over the years tend to be the ones where the investment case is really simple and obvious, requiring only basic common sense and at best secondary-school arithmetic. In almost every case, the opportunity presented itself in a wider market downturn and the main thing I had to overcome to profit … More Opportunities of a Life Time?
Back in Sep 2015, I wrote this article outlining the investment case for SJM Holdings. The story is simple: the Macau gaming revenue had more than halved by Sep 2015 from a peak in early 2014 because of the corruption crackdown in China, sending Macau gaming stocks crashing more than 70% in some cases; the long-term fundamentals … More SJM Holdings: Hanging On or Cashing Out?
I have paid more than my fair share of bank fees in doing international fund transfers over the years. The (transparent) transaction fees charged by banks have come down significantly in the last few years and are now usually a small component of the overall cost but the hidden fees, in the form of an … More Low-cost Hassle-free International Fund Transfer
Woolworths and Coles are the two largest grocery retailers in Australia. Between them, they command a large percentage of the market share, with the rest divided between Aldi, IGA, Costco, and smaller players. The recent competitive history between Woolies and Coles is quite an interesting one. Up until Coles was acquired by Wesfarmers in 2007 … More The Supermarket Trolley Index
It’s been 10 years since I started practising Value Investing and it’s time to do a little introspection and write down a few reflections. I hope these reflections can serve as a memory aid to my future self and be of value to others as well. I have always had an affinity to investing because of … More Reflections on Tens Years of Value Investing
Like many AI researchers, I watched wide-eyed when IBM’s Watson beat human world champions at the difficult game of Jeopardy in 2011. It was a watershed event in AI history and it certainly provided a much-needed boost to knowledge-representation-based approaches to AI, against a backdrop of 20 years of superior advances in statistical approaches to AI. … More IBM Watson: Fake It till You Make It?
Incentive drives behaviour. If you have ever wondered why (brick-and-mortar) grocery retailers historically don’t pay much attention to understanding customer preferences — it’s getting better but things are still moving slowly — then you only have to look at how most of them make their money. It turns out that the main sources of supermarket profits … More Sources of Profit in Retail
When I was building the Data Science Centre of Excellence at Reliance Industries, I once interviewed a world-class researcher who has worked at multiple institutions, including Yahoo and Google, and he told me something I didn’t understand till then. I thought a company like Google has a weak business moat because it is vulnerable to … More The Competitive Moat of Google, Facebook and Other Data Owners