2021 Annual Review

Previous year(s): https://www.theirreverentinvestor.com/blog/category/Annual+Review

What an amazing year. I fell flat on my face quite a few times, but I fell forward and that’s what matters. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m significantly farther than I thought I would be by now.

I thought about a few ways to lay out this annual review. It was recommended that I have 3 sections: wins, losses, and lessons learned. The only problem with this was that all the listed wins and losses are lessons learned (a great problem to have).

These lessons are mostly for my own review, but hopefully they help someone else out there too.

The Wins

It’s still very early in this journey, so I’m focusing more on the how I work vs the returns. As I get into more reviews, whether they are annual, biannual, or quarterly,

  • The people! The biggest win this year was getting to know so many amazing people. The list is too long but learning from each of them has been amazing. Thank you, my friends.

My thinking on this is now that a node is happiest being connected to other nodes. The more connections, the stronger the node. If humans are nodes, it behooves the human to make as many connections as possible (within reason of course). Thanks to the internet for allowing this.

  • The learning. Learning about investing and equity research has been tough. There’s lingo, tools, and styles of doing all of this. Last October I went from denouncing Microsoft excel (thinking it was like learning cursive) to praising its name by new years eve. Learning these tools and my own “style” has been invaluable.

  • The writing. The writing is painful. There’s no way around getting yourself out there and doing the thing, but that’s what it takes. The best parts and the worst parts are all rolled together, and there’s no way to get to the end except to go through the writing process. I have grown more as a human in this last year than I have any year prior because of the writing process. What an amazing thing. I’m constantly reminded of Miles Davis and his saying “Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself.” I’m still new, but I’m starting to sound like myself with each written piece.

  • The investing itself. There is a lot of crap companies out there.  I started out in 2021 thinking that most public companies were the top of the top, and that’s why they are public. I could not have been more wrong. This isn’t a loss but a win because seeing just how simple it is to ask yourself “what am I buying today?” weeds out 90% of potential investments. Every unprofitable company has a compelling story and likes to manipulate their numbers within the rules.

  • Process over outcome. Also known as “the score takes care of itself.” This is the heart of value investing, in my opinion. I remember buying a small bit of a terrible company because the price was favorable, but it was still a terrible company circling the drain. That small position made 100% but zooming out it was apparent that it was luck and not process that resulted in gains. An extremely manipulative situation. For a while I thought I was a genius, but that is not the case. “We must not fool ourselves and we are the easiest ones to fool.”

The Loses

  • Perfectionism. Perfectionism is like if satan and ego had a child. It attempts to ruin the makers and the doers. Escaping perfectionism takes tenacity in uprooting systems, so that’s what I did. Sometime I’ll get into my personal workflow that helps eradicate perfectionism.

  • Creating in a vacuum. My hypothesis was that creating in a vacuum provided the best environment for learning and growing, but this was false. Much like solitary confinement, operating in a vacuum removes so much of what makes us human, especially when it comes to learning. “The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.” A human alone, creating alone, and then throwing his creation into the public is an injustice to what could have been.

  • Failing to publish on time. The perfectionism and creating in a vacuum snowballed into something ugly. I missed deadlines, which members are paying me for, and that’s unacceptable.

2022 Themes

I’m hoping to make 2021 cringeworthy in comparison to 2022. I think this is likely given a) my work ethic, b) the learnings from 2021, and c) the excellent network of smart and generous people on twitter.

Here’s the themes I’m focusing on for the rest of 2022:

  • Learning in public together – If you see something wrong or something isn’t clear let me know! Especially to the inner circle members, I want to hear your thoughts. The more we share the more we get. It’s just how the universe works.

  • Calling out grifters for the sake of the retail investor – A lot of friends, family, and people just like me are getting their assses handed to them by expert marketers like Cathie Wood, Chamath, and Jim Cramer.

  • Talking to inner circle members! (I’m very excited about this one).

  • Uncomfortable. Most growth happens outside of our comfort zones. It’s easy to get into a groove that becomes a rut, so maintaining that stretch is crucial. Level of comfort is one of the canaries in the coal mine.

  • Analog. If it doesn’t require the internet or formulas, it’s going in a handwritten journal or planner. I’ve been doing this since roughly mid-January and it’s been extremely beneficial. (ht to the best planner of all time here)

Until next year!

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