Michael Batnick Looking in the Mirror

Mr.Batnick has mentioned that he has made each of the mistakes made by other well-known investors. He was not clear during his college studies regarding his career. Lastly, he completed his studies into the economics and got a job at a financial planning company for selling insurance. He has sold a policy to his family and not able to sell anything to others. During his job, his father introduces him with a financial advisor and Mr.Batnick has taken place his liking for the wall-street.

During the year 2011, Mr.Batnick has started trading ETFs which are 3x levered. He thought that he can create a fortune by trading. During that time, he got a temporary job and due to his job, though he is not able to stick to the computer, he started trading through options.

He was bearish on the Netflix so that he bought put option of Netflix before earning got announced. The stock fell by 35% and he earned 10 times of his original investment. He started reading on trading, technical analysis. He knows that he couldn’t beat the market but he keeps on doing the same because he does not know anything else.

During the year 2012, he got hired by Josh and Barry. And his journey got started.


We all have made a mistake to think the stock market as a money printing machine where we put an order and machine make us billionaire sooner. We need to understand that this is not a machine but it’s a platform which facilitates us to make an investment into the various businesses. Businesses having a good time, bad time, best time, worst time as per our life. So that we need to give time to the business to grow, to prosper for creating wealth for every investor. It is just a platform, it does not have emotion, it drives through our emotions.

Everyone has made a mistake, the main difference between best investors and normal people is, best investors learn and grow from their mistakes but normal people do not, they keep their mistakes into their mind and bring them back to achieving the goal. If we want to grow then we need to learn from the mistakes and improve our way of doing things. If we keep on doing things in the same way then the result will remain as same as we have achieved during our mistake. Mistakes provide us an opportunity to change, learn and improve in the way we perform our job.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Chris Sacca Dealing with Regret

BM C15 01

Many of the immature investors buy overvalued stocks and then they sell when those stocks become cheaper in nature. But this is a wrong way of making an investment and making a decision. If we keep on making a wrong decision, then we keep on feeling a regret which affects our decisions. Our mind carries a past experience which affects our decision. As an investor, we need to make every new decision independently without getting effects from the past experience. If we have a bad past experience then our current decision will affect our regret and if we have a good past experience then our current decision will affect our overconfidence.

After the bad experience, people work more cautiously until they do not again start playing the game. As we again start playing a game, our past experience starts affecting us. When things go up then also greed for taking out profit stop us from getting more gain.

Mr. Chris Sacca is the founder and chairman of Lowercase Capital which is a venture capital fund. This fund considers as one of the successful venture capital funds which have recorded return of 250 times from its initial investment. This fund has put $300000 of a fund to Uber, currently, it’s 5000 times. Some of the other success of Mr. Sacca was Instagram, Uber, Kickstarter, Slack, Automattic (WordPress parent company), Twilio, and Twitter.

BM C15 02

He has also a regret of pass on some of the investment. One of the business was Dropbox and giving a pass on to the Dropbox cost him a lot. Another miss of Mr. Sacca was Snap, the parent company of Snapchat. He can speak for his misses because he has a more winner also which has created a fortune. But if we have missed an opportunity or sold-out good businesses earlier then we always remain into the regret. We actually need to move on to the opportunity which we have missed out and need to focus on the other coming opportunities.

Emotional biases affect us badly during our investment journey. If we have a winner into the portfolio and we sold it then also the winner keeps on growing. If we have a loser to the portfolio and we have cut losses then stock again gains from that level. Such situations affect the decision making skill and we make faulty decisions.

BM C15 03

As we have seen that Mr. Sacca has missed a few opportunities, Mr. Buffett has missed many and also he has lost money in a few of his investment. Important is that they have never kept their regret with them which has helped them to build an empire. We have to move on rather than sticking with the past decision or getting attached to the previous decision. Our life is full of such decisions and if we stuck with it then we will not make further decisions in our life. We have to learn from our decision and use it for further decisions.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

John Paulson You Only Need to Win Once

BM C13 01

Luck is not always going to support us if we do not have the proper skill to make appropriate decisions. If we won by help of luck but make the wrong decisions thereafter then we end up with the losing a game. And for making an appropriate decision, we need to work on developing our skills. If we get success by using a stroke of luck then we cannot say that failure will not come to our way. Actually, success and failure is a cycle so that if we meet success then failure will come to meet us next. By developing a skill, we can reduce the intensity of the failure.

John Paulson has started a hedge fund company with $2 million of own fund in the year 1994. His firm is specialized into the merger arbitrage. But during the year 2005, one of his analyst Mr. Paolo Pellegrini suggested him that US housing market is into the bubble territory. And after reviewing facts presented by Mr. Paolo Pellegrini, Mr. Paulson convinced to go against the housing price. He started acquiring credit default swaps. As he got a confirmation for his idea, he has started acquiring more swaps. The largest mortgage guys of the country were positive on the sub-prime during the year 2005. But outside of his team called him a crazy. He has earned during a fall of subprime in the year 2007 worth of $15 billion for the fund and $4 billion for personal.

After the big success, he started searching for a similar big winning idea. When we get a huge success then we need to save ourselves from the trap of ego. This is a very crucial emotional bias which enters to us and we remain unknowable about it.

Mr. Paulson has an idea to buy more valuable asset compared to inflation during the year 2010. So that he bought gold and gold-related investment worth of $5 billion, he became the largest owner of gold in the world. He could not able to repeat his past success and lost 30%+ value in a year and after that, he lost value for consecutive three years. Mr. Paulson other funds also lost in value and also merger fund where he has an expertise that also falls.

BM C13 02

We cannot able to hit winning shot every-time but when we hit a winning shot, we need to keep those value which we received. But generally, we try to repeat those winning shot again and again which create destruction of wealth for us. I learn from my Guru – Mr. Neeraj Marathe Sir, from Howard Marks and Mr. Ben Graham, that protection of wealth must be our priority. Neeraj Sir always mentioned that if we focus on avoiding mistakes then we won half of the battle. So that we should focus on not to hit a winning shot but rather focus on not to lose money. If we survive into the game then we may have a chance to hit winning shot again. But if we do not survive into the game then there will not be any probability to hit a winning shot again. If we keep our focus on hitting a winning shot then we compromise with the capital protection which is an essential part of the game. And we should not forget it ever.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

John Maynard Keynes The Most Addictive Game

BM C12 01

Every minute market is putting new information, fun, clues, etc. which can be excited and addictive to us. It is a game which always excites us with its nature and it is never ending game so that slowly, we become addictive of it.

BM C12 02

In investing, odds are decided by the human, investor’s expectation. Odds cannot be quantifiable. We all have information but users of that information are human so that human sets prices for the odds which have emotional biases also.

BM C12 03

Mr. Keynes has started managing fund of family and friends with $30,000 in the year 1920 which was turned out to be $80,000 in April 1920. But after that, he made a huge loss which has wiped out entire capital and his father has to help him. Mr. Keynes has started speculating and build the capital worth of $120000 till the end of the year 1922. This success has encouraged him to make speculation into the commodities. Here also, Mr. Keynes lost 80% of his net worth.

Mr. Keynes has worked on to the evolving his investment style.

BM C12 04

He stops focusing on the macroeconomic, currencies, interest rate forecasting, etc. and made the transition of his focus to the cash flow, earning the power of the companies which are selling below the intrinsic value. He put aside his ego and created fortune with the bottom-up approach rather than a top-down approach.

As we have seen in my article on Howard Marks that no investment strategy works forever. It’s cyclical, sometimes growth works, sometimes value works and sometimes momentum works, etc. Mr. Keynes was successful as a value investor but during the year 1936 to 1938, his strategy was failed and he lost around 2/3rd of his wealth.

BM C12 05

Mr. Keynes has explained his strategy to his clients – we need to look at the discount from the probable and potential intrinsic value, need to hold large quantity for a longer period of time.

BM C12 06

Mr. Keynes has shifted from macro to company-specific matrix and short-term to the long-term focused investor. During the year 1928 to 1931, the value of his assets fall by 50% v/s US market fall by 30% but during the year 1932 to 1945, the value of his assets grew by 869% v/s US market rise by 23%. Additionally, his portfolio turnover reduced from 56% to 14%. He has truly focused on the long term investing and due to his long-term thinking, he has delivered a remarkable result during the 1929 great depression and also during World War II.

BM C12 07

We always need to focus on the investing strategy which is suitable to us rather focusing on identifying a perfect strategy and following it. No strategy is perfect in all the market cycle. I like to build a portfolio of bargain stocks which badly fail during the last 2 year were no huge bargain available into the broader market level. But staying with the pre-decided strategy has helped a lot and I can able to outperformed benchmark with decent margins. So we need to select a strategy which suits our temperament and need to stick on it.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Sequoia The Risks of Concentrated Investing

One of the wise advice given on risk management is we don’t have put all your money into one basket. If we have 100 stocks of a portfolio and equal 1% allocation to each company then erosion into any company will affect the entire portfolio by 1%. Whereas if we have a 10% allocation to the 10 companies then erosion to any one company will affect the entire portfolio by 10%.

When we have concentrated our portfolio to the winning businesses then we will be a winner and if we have concentrated our portfolio to the losers then we also are losers.

BM C11 01

Sequoia fund which has done a concentrated investing, they are not interested in the short term profit making, also not interested in the low allocation to the portfolio and which is known as –

BM C11 02

Mr. Buffett has closed his partnership in the year 1969 and suggested Mr. Bill Ruane manage the capital of partners so that Mr. Bill Ruane has set up the Sequoia fund. During the dot-com bubble, Sequoia fund has lost ~16.50% whereas the S&P 500 gained 21% and NASDAQ gained 86%. But after the dot-com bubble in the year 2002-2002, Sequoia fund has gained by 29% whereas the S&P 500 lost value by 38%.

In the year 2010, Sequoia fund has started acquiring a position to the Valeant Pharmaceuticals which becomes the second largest position. And in the year 2011, it becomes the largest position of the fund which has overtaken Berkshire Hathway which was the largest position in the 20 years.

BM C11 03

In the year 2015, many consider Valeant business practice as an unethical and after that, it caught under accounting fraud. As Valeant was the largest position of the Sequoia fund, the fund lost 9.03% whereas S&P500 gained by 8.44%. Sequoia fund has bought again when Valeant fall by 50% and Sequoia fund becomes the largest shareholder of Valeant. But Valeant fall by 90% and Sequoia fund has to sell the entire position of the Valeant. Sequoia fund’s assets have fallen from around $9million+ to $5million. A single stock becomes a reason for the fall of their asset massively.

For avoiding such impact, we need to write down our assumption for buying a business so that we can take an exit when our assumption started getting wrong. This practice helps us to reduce the effect of endowment bias towards the stock which we hold. This also reduces the emotional bias towards the stock and help us to protect our capital. I always make a write up of the entry and exit reasons for the investment which help me for making a better decision and reduce my emotional bias. After all such activities, we need to be thankful for the role of luck which can support us. Concentration is good till we stay within our predefined process, assumptions, rules, etc. When we go out of any of the mentioned, we need to pay huge tuition fees for the concentration.

BM C11 04

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Stanley Druckenmiller Hard Lessons Can Be Necessary

BM C10 01

Mr. Charlie Ellis has explained to the book Winning the Loser’s Game – professional players force others to make an error which helps the professional player to win whereas amateur players play a faulty shot. This is similar to the investing field. And the main difference between an amateur and a professional investor. We have to keep on defending ourselves and wait for others to make errors. We need to stay on the pitch and wait for the loose ball for hitting it outside of the boundary.

Return of the investment instruments and our return having a gap which is known as a behavioral gap, which tells that investors’ behavior affects their own returns.

BM C10 02

Amateur investors do not focus on risk management. Generally, they focus on the risk after they meet to the risk. It is similar to wearing a helmet after facing a road accident as a precaution. Whereas professional investors do things in a different manner, they buy things which others do not want to buy and they sell things which everyone wants to buy. Mr. Howard Marks are given this technique as a second level thinking.

Howard Marks – Second Level Thinking

During the year 2015, Stanley Druckenmiller was getting an introduction as –

BM C10 03

During the year 1981, a 28 years old Mr. Druckenmiller has started with Duquesne Capital Management. During the year 1987, Mr. Druckenmiller had buildup long position as he felt that 2200 level supported zone for the Dow Jones but on Monday, Dow goes down to 1738 level which known for “Black Monday”. On Monday, after lunchtime, Stocks got to bounce back and Mr. Druckenmiller has covered all his position. Mr.Drukenmiller has left his job to join George Soros. In the year 1989, Mr.Drukenmiller has shorted Japan Index Nikkei which is still down from the top of the year 1989.

In the year 1992, Mr.Drukenmiller has shorted the pound currency and he turns out to be a winner. Mr.Drukermiller has a track record of generating a return of 31.50%, 29.60%, 53.40%, 68.80% and 63.20% in the year 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 respectively.

But during the year 1994, Fund lost in a bet against the yen and 1998, Quantum fund had lost $2 billion in Russia. The worst is about to come. Mr.Drukenmiller has invested in the IT stocks and he was uncomfortable with his positions so that he booked and took gained. But he had hired new young employees in the year 1999 and they kept on making money by investing in the IT stocks.

BM C10 04

He had double his position at the top to the tech stocks and when IT bubble got burst, Quantum fund had lost 21% or $7.60 billion since their peak value.

BM C10 05

Mr.Drukenmiller cannot able to see others making money and he can’t. So that he also makes an emotional error. Mr.Drukenmiller was known that what he is doing but he cannot able to stop his emotion and he has occurred an error. Sometimes it is important to see others making money. And we need to stay with not making money.

BM C10 06

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Bill Ackman Get of Your Soapbox

When we have a view on something in the world then we are getting attached to that view. So that when we get any dis-confirming evidence against our view then also many a time, we hesitant to accept it. We are overconfident on their own view that we do not accept any opposing view.

BM C09 01

Majority of people love to share their success but not their failure. People intend to hide their failure. We love to share our success because it gives us a social recognition and self-esteem. We feel guilty for our failure and stop ourselves from sharing it with people. Also, we feel fearful about the mistake or meeting the failure.

Bill Ackman had started a hedge fund with the name of Gotham in the year 1993 and he turnouts the $3 million to the $568 million at the peak of the year 2000. He becomes more confident and started taking positions to the illiquid investment as concentrated bets at a wrong time; such behavior has affected him with the closure of Gotham hedge fund.

In the year 2004, Mr.Ackman has started another fund with the name of Pershing Square Capital Management and become one of the most activist investors. He acquires large enough shares of the company and asks to the management to become more shareholder-friendly and if management fails then Mr.Ackman get on to the board.

Few of the companies where of Mr.Ackman was done an activist investment such as Wendy, McDonald, MBIA Inc., Target, Sears, Valeant, J. C. Penney, and Herbalife.

BM C09 02

Above mentioned companies earn a gross margin of around 42-46% whereas Herbalife earns around 80%. Mr.Ackman shows that top-selling product of Herbalife is Formula 1 shake which is not much known. And they sell this product 10-20 times compared to the competitor brand such as Oreos, Charmin, Crest, Gerber, Palmolive, Betty Crocker, Listerine, and Clorox which is manufactured by GNC, Unilever, and Abbot Labs. Herbalife is not selling products to the consumer but they sell products to the distributors, their distributor is all over the globe.

BM C09 03

Mr.Ackman has read all available information, he gets into the science of products, R&D for the product, read annual reports, SEC filing, etc.

Mr.Ackman has given a three-hour presentation to people, interview to CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg, etc. Now, how Mr.Ackman can admit defeat after telling everybody about the Herbalife. And also stock had declined by around 35% after his presentation. But during that panic selling movement, Dan Loeb, founder of the hedge fund Third Point LLC has bought 8.24% of the Herbalife and becomes a second largest shareholder. Herbalife stock price rose by 20% in five days. After that filing shows that activist investor Carl Icahn took a 12.98% stake in Herbalife.

Mr.Ackman has made a public commitment regarding his investment idea which has mentally created pressure on him and this pressure has to stop him by making a proper decision.

BM C09 04

Due to the public commitment and also a fear of losing a reputation, he faced difficult to cover his wrong position. If we keep on making our moves commitment to the public then we may face difficult to change moves when we may go wrong. We should focus on not making a commitment in public which helps us to change our move and saved our capital. When our odds go against us, it will cost us mentally, emotionally and financially. Mr.Ackman was on short after three years also. We will go wrong, we can meet failure but such kind of public commitment can stop us from accepting our failure and saved our remaining capital to restart again.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Warren Buffett Beware of Overconfidence

When we own something, we value it more preciously. If we purchase any stocks than it becomes a value for us. We value more which we are holding, which is known as an endowment bias. Due to the higher value for us, we cannot able sold out or go away from our holding.

BM C08 01

Mr. Buffett has always mentioned that not to become too much confidence.

BM C08 02

We can see that Mr. Buffett does not get overconfidence on his own holding, but especially he mentioned that he can have poor performance for his investment. And when he felt that he could not able to manage fund then he has discontinued his partnership approach.

Mr. Buffett has made much successful investment such as see’s candy, Coca-Cola, GEICO, Nebraska Furniture Mart, etc. But he has also made a mistake to make an investment to the Salomon Brothers, US Air, and Dexter Shoes, etc.

When Berkshire had purchased Dexter shoes than they have issued shares of Berkshire for acquiring a Dexter. Dexter got bought by Berkshire for the worth of $433 million which turnouts to be a ZERO a few years later. Mr. Buffett has mentioned into his letter to shareholders that one of the biggest mistakes he had made was to acquire Dexter shoes and that is by issuing a share of Berkshire. Berkshire share was quoted at $16765 at the time of Dexter acquisition which is currently quoted at $304057, which has grown by 13% CAGR for the same period and at the same time Dexter becomes zero. Mr. Buffett had bought H.H.Brown and Lowell Shoe in the year 1991 and 1992 respectively before the acquisition of Dexter.

BM C08 03

BM C08 04

In the year 2000, Mr. Buffett has recognized his mistake and write of remaining accounting goodwill. The overconfidence of Mr. Buffett has hampered a huge value to the Berkshire which teaches us that we should not be overconfident for any of the trade. When we are overconfident, we cannot able to see the negative part of our trade. We have to be neutral with our holding. I always mentioned that there is not a favorite stock of mine when people asked me for my favorite holding. I would like to hold the stock until it remains within my criteria of holding. As and when it goes out of it, I put a sell order into it. If we consider any of our investment as a favorite, then we get attached towards it and we cannot able to sell it when it is going out of our criteria.

BM C08 05

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Michael Steinhardt Stay in Your Lane

BM C06 01

We can create wealth from trading and investing to equities, commodity, currency, real estate etc. but we should do what is comfortable for us. Each and everything is not comfortable for us which is not comfortable for us, we should not do it at all. A performing task which is out of our comfort zone can prove as expensive for us. If Sachin Tendulkar starts singing and Legendary Lata Mangeshkar start playing cricket than both might meet failure.

We have to follow Mr. Buffett’s advice of circle of competence. Mr. Buffett did not buy any IT stocks during an IT bubble though he under-performed. We can prepare a circle of incompetence for not doing anything which falls into that circle.

BM C06 02

Consider fool among others is better than losing capital to demonstrate as a smart.

Michael Steinhardt has a decent performance over the S&P500. If anyone has invested $10000 in the year 1967 then those funds turn out to be $4.8 million and $190000 in the year 1995 from Michael firm and S&P500 respectively.

During the year 1993, Hedge fund has shown a bull run where every investor wants to give their fund to hedge fund manager to make an investment. Here, Mr. Michael also got a huge fund to manage which is around 200 times more than the amount with he has started a fund. But due to huge fund size, he faced difficulties to deploy fund to small & midcap companies so that he has started roaming around the world and started deploying fund to the area which is out of his competence. His major fortune was made through trading to the US stocks but out of US, he was little aware with the economy of businesses and political systems. He has started deploying fund across the world which is out of his expertise.

BM C06 03

This mistake has broken him badly psychologically and he could not able to retrieve himself again.

BM C06 04

We always have to focus on to the eliminate errors because that is only into our control, everything else we cannot control. If we keep on eliminating errors, then we have a better chance to win the game. During the FY14-18, the majority of the equity fund manager at India got a huge fund inflow due to the huge liquidity and not enough return from other assets class. Hence, many of them have occurred mistakes due to overconfidence and started to go outside their expertise.

BM C06 05BM C06 06

I was a deep discount and bargain hunter investor. My investment career gets to evolve with the time and my investment philosophy slowly transform from great bargain to quality businesses. But I have always take care of not losing capital so that I have invested with a lower percentage of my portfolio to the evolving area. Such a way I have made an experiment with my investment decision. (Still, my attraction towards bargain is with me).

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

Jack Bogle Find What Works for You

BM C05 01

Wellington fund was founded in the year 1928 who invest with the balanced portfolio of common and preferred stocks and high‐grade bonds, with the objective of providing investors with stability, income, and a little low‐risk growth to keep pace with inflation. During the year 1966, the company has made an acquisition of the Ivest fund. Ivest fund invests more to the common stocks which invite more fluctuations whereas Wellington fund minimizes fluctuations. Wellington fund was one of the few funds who has survived during a great depression of the year 1929.

After the acquisition of Ivest, Wellington’s equity average increased from 55% to 80% and fast turnover also get started.

BM C05 02

Their new strategy does not suit them and their fund fall by 55% compared to 31% of fall by the S&P 500. After that, they started a new strategy based on technical analysis. It’s shocking that Mr. Bogle who has formed an index-based strategy and fund into the leadership of him use technical analysis based fund. They lost 40% during the year 1972 and which recovered during the year 1983, after the 11 long years. Their strong offense proven wrong for the defense. And they lost reputation also.

BM C05 03

We need to identify the method which is comfortable for us. If we adopt the method which is not comfortable for us then we have to face difficulties. If we adopt the method of others then those borrowed method does not provide us a conviction and create a problem with our investment. Additionally, if we have an investment methodology but we go out of that methodology then it will also affect our wealth.

There is more than one method for creating wealth but if any method of creating wealth is not suitable with our temperament then we should avoid it rather stick with it. Every person is different in risk-taking capability, emotional characteristics, and the different purpose of making an investment so that if one method is suitable to a particular person then it might be possible that the same method is not suitable to the other one. No method is right or wrong but what suits us is right for us.

Read for more detail: Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick