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Author: jackcrow Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35272  
Subject: Re: Bond study Project; selecting a company Date: 9/1/2006 12:43 PM
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Charlie,

No argument that dumpster diving is where we need to end up, I'm a dyed in the wool turn-around/value investor; stocks or corporate bonds.I like margin of safety but I tend to define that in numerical terms. Others may find their margin of safety in other ways. I want to respect both the seeking of margin of safey and the plurality of the definition.

For learning purposes, the first time out I think needs to be "companies whose situations are blatantly clear are a waste of time to look at. The best that can be gained from them is what indexing would produce because all relevant info is already priced into the situation." The investment itself may be a waste of time but its is the process that we need to learn and having the answer in the back of the book is useful. What we are placing our greatest value on for this project is the learning, not the output.

We don't start learning math with algebra or geometry proofs. We first need to have confidence in our ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

What I see you advocating is similar to the NAIC approach and momentum investing,

I don't intend to advocate any one or a few schools of investing. I do think there are fundemental techniques that can apply across a broad range of succesful schools. Using geometry I can figure the height of a tree. Using very similar techniques I can also use geometry to figure out how deep and how far behind the boat my lure is.

We can make relative valuation an investing school of thought. We can also use relative valuation within the frameworks of other investing schools. We can't do either until one undestands the fundemental techniques of creating ratios and interpreting them.

I think we need to "waste some time" learning how-to in order to save time later. Doing it well the first time is a huge time saver compared to doing it slopply and fast and constantly fixing it.

As a fly-fisher I have a tecniques that are practiced in the off season. 10and2, roll the wrist just so, double and single pull, yada yada. When I hit the water I have to adapt to the conditions, footing stinks, there is a bush in the way my son beat me to the last wooly bugger of the right color and size. I couldn't adapt if this was the starting point, I would have no reference point to start from.

My hope for the project is that we can share the foundational things that are applied across many approaches. If a person is has narrative approach bias we need to find ways to improve their chances. If a person is a numbers wonk we need to find ways to improve thier chances.

jack
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