A model portfolio of large cap stocks

I’ve started an experiment where I’m keeping a public portfolio of large cap stocks via the Motley Fool CAPS system- you can view it here.  I would like to see if I can generate value on the long side… something that I find much, much more difficult than shorting.

My criteria are:

  1. Pick only the quality businesses in a particular sector.  For example, Dollarama is the clear leader among discounters.
  2. Not overpriced.  For that reason, Amazon and Netflix don’t make the cut (just look at what happened to Amazon during the Dot-Com Bubble).
  3. I avoid industries where there are no clear industry superstars.  Oil and mining stocks simply don’t make the cut as none of them are quality businesses.
  4. Lastly, I avoid dying or shrinking industries.  Profits ultimately don’t grow in dying industries and therefore those stocks almost never do well.

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Blockchain is a useless technology

Blockchain, a way of implementing a distributed ledger (distributed record-keeping), is a novel technology with little real-world practicality.  The original Bitcoin white paper published back in October 31, 2008 spurred little interest in distributed ledgers.  The distributed ledger was ignored for years until Bitcoin started receiving mainstream attention and a few years had passed.

I simply couldn’t find much evidence that distributed ledgers are useful for any real-world applications (other than speculative asset bubbles).  Once you understand that blockchains are bad at solving real-world problems, then you will understand why Bitcoin will fail.  The blockchain imposes limitations that makes Bitcoin a bad version of something that has been tried in the past: e-gold (description here and Wired profile here).

A company’s stance on blockchain can also serve as a test of a company’s management.  In my view, companies pushing blockchain technology (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle) are disconnected from customers’ actual needs and have mediocre management.  Companies that don’t talk about blockchain (e.g. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple) are more likely to produce sensible technology that will work in the real world.

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Online advertising (GOOG, FB, etc.)

I believe that online advertising offers significant value compared to traditional advertising because online advertising can be tracked very easily.  Internet advertisers can track the click-through rate on their ads and how many of those clicks convert into a sale.  This gives instant feedback on the ad’s return on investment.  Advertisers can optimize their advertising budget to maximize their profits and split-test different ads and landing pages (the webpage that the ad points to).

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