Reading, Writing, Rithmatic

People often think that being an investor is totally exciting.  The impression is that investors sit around and shoot the shit kicking big ideas back and forth.  There is some of that.  But, most of it is pretty mundane.

I was reminded of that when I saw this article on Warren Buffett.  He says the two guys Berkshire put in the pole position to replace he and Charlie Munger read more than they did.  Here is what they read:

*Ted Weschler’s reading list:

“Handelsblatt has a very good English version. I started reading that a couple years ago. The Financial Times gives you a slightly different view on the world the U.S. In the U.S., The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. I always read the local paper of the city that I wake up in each day. I still read the U.S.A. Today every day. It just kinda does a different job of telling you where things resonate with the non-financial crowd. And I like to see where article placements are in the U.S.A. Today versus New York Times.”

*And Todd’s list:

“Well it runs the gamut as well. I would say certainly newspapers. I follow about 250 public companies every quarter. And so I go through, for each quarter each one of those companies, their quarterly reports. So a lot of S.E.C. filings. A lotta transcripts. I can read a transcript much faster than I can listen to the conference call. And you weed out some of the friction there as well.

“So a lot of S.E.C. filings. A lotta trade magazines. There are a couple dozen of those that I subscribe to. And then I have a wonderful analyst who helps me with channel checks where we talk to customers, suppliers, ex-employees and so forth. We’re really trying to get a view of what it would be like—every security that we look at, we’re really trying to get a sense of what it would be like to own the entire business.”

I was laughing out loud.  Yesterday in Mattermark, they posted a VC reading list from VC Sara Thomas Deshpande.  I read a lot of the same stuff she reads.  However, I also read a lot of fin tech news.  The other thing I try to read is just general stuff about the future and think a lot how it will impact fin tech.

Want to know what my partner Kenny Estes does on some weekends?  He reads 10-K’s from insurance companies.  Exciting.

But, if you don’t know what’s going on how are you going to evaluate a deal?