Why have no new stocks been posted recently?

Apologies for the meta (and perhaps OT) post, but I think I little self-reflection is critical here. (See the bottom on why I think this really isn’t OT.)

When is the last time an actual new investment was presented by anyone, discussed, and accepted as a true possibility.

I find this disingenuous. First of all, the answer is “just a couple of weeks ago”. GitLab, Pure, and several others have been discussed recently. But the reason I find this disingenuous is that this reminds me of the people critical of Apple in the mid 2000’s. e.g. “When are they going to innovate? It’s been 5 years since the iPod! Why is the stock down so much?! They have lost their magic!”. It was so frustrating because Apple had been releasing market-changing products (Apple 2, Mac, iMac, iPod) every five years or so. Innovations that would be “once in a lifetime” for most other companies, but for some reason releasing a game changing innovation every five years wasn’t enough for some people. And every stumble (HiFi, for example) was mercilessly criticized. (And, of course, just a few years after these criticisms the iPhone was released. Which was, of course, mocked. Until, it turned into the biggest success of the companies history, and arguably the biggest success of any product in history.)

The point being, we have NEVER had new stocks come up every month on Saul’s board. We are looking for diamonds here. We have always had a handful of suggestions, most of which get discarded, and the remainder which get analyzed and analyzed and analyzed and debated almost to the point of absurdity. It’s what we do, because we are looking for diamonds. Often with high valuations, so we must analyze every detail.

And, furthermore, in huge economic uncertainty, it’s certainly not unusual to get defensive about our positions. Yes, I’m very much looking at my current portfolio to make sure they will weather the economic storm and not exactly hunting for new locations for cash (which I don’t really have, since I’ve already used it to buy in at lower prices).

How many, including myself won’t even try for fear of being shot down by the leaders of the board.

I’m typing out a long, rambling OT post and yet I still have no fear of being shot down. This board has always been welcoming of thoughtful contributions: both supportive and critical. What it is ruthless about is off topic posts and posts that don’t contribute meaningfully.

This drives people crazy. Because virtually every other online community is so hungry for “engagement”. If you want to grow a community, you want people to post. Post anything. Because people who post keep coming back. It took me a bit to get my head around this, but what is different here is that we aren’t looking to grow the community for growing the community’s sake. We are looking to improve the quality of the analysis. And growing the community can sometimes be at odds with that. Wikipedia does not encourage people to edit articles. And it is notoriously harsh on those that do contribute, reversing huge numbers of edits. It holds editors to a high standard and doesn’t worry about hurting feelings. Because they don’t want “engagement”: they want quality content. The same is true here.

Similarly, yes, a lot of people might want to debate whether hypergrowth stocks are a good idea in a down market. But that is not what this board is about and if you want to debate that, you can go elsewhere.

Some of them have disappeared over the last few months. Seemingly once headed towards leadership roles, starting there own websites, newsletters, live webcasts, videos on Yahoo, building Twitter followings, all at the best of times. Many now silent at the worst of times.

I have no idea who you are talking about. There are lots of folks who still post their numbers here monthly. Who come and contribute regularly.

Yes, everyone’s enthusiasm goes down in a down market. I am not a “leader of this board”, but I certainly have had my enthusiasm go down. Seeing red in my stocks, even when they are thriving as businesses, is frustrating.

My point is this. If you make the decision to step to the forefront and take on a leadership role when it’s easy to do so, when business is great, you need to also work through the worst of times, to show those same leadership skills when the you know what hits the fan. Saul is still here, but that core group of vocal leaders that were once very active on this board, some of them have completely vanished, not only here, but everywhere else they built a following.

As I said, I don’t know who you are talking about. But, you know what, there are lots of people here still posting a lot of valuable content. If some people got winnowed out, because they got discouraged by the down market, well that’s just how down markets work. It’s why these stocks have been valuable over the long term, because it’s difficult.

To get to my point about why this is valuable to talk about, even though seemingly OT. We must remind ourselves that:

  • Hypergrowth stocks do not grow on trees. We should always be extremely picky about our stocks.
  • In an up market making mistakes was less costly. In a market where even good stocks are getting punished, it is normal (and probably good) to be even more diligent and paranoid.
  • We should remain open about criticism of our analysis. But we should remain absolutely closed about criticism of our “bylaws”. Yes, there will be a downtown in interest when people are in the red. But what will keep people coming back is focus and quality content. Sacrificing those now would be sacrificing principles at the worst time.