Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Can I Learn From Warren Buffet?

What can I learn from Warren Buffet?  Warren Buffet has been the world's most successful investor of the last half century.  But rather than simply list his biography, which can be found here, I want to focus on which of his teachings can be transferred to sports analysis.  

1)  Are the fundamentals of the company strong?
Warren Buffet emphasizes buying the stocks of companies that have had a run of bad luck but for whom the fundamentals are still strong.  They have assets, a market, and advantages, etc.  He tries to buy companies that have value but are struggling to work in the market.  

The transfer to sports analysis is to find teams that have good players, a good coach, a good system, but for whatever reason they have been playing poorly.  Maybe they have not had the energy.  Or they have had some bad bounces.  They've been the victim of the other teams extraordinary plays or catches.  

2)  Understand what you are investing in.
Warren Buffet only invests in companies, markets, and geographical regions that he understands.  He doesn't invest in things that confuse him.

The transfer here is that one should never invest in teams that one has not followed.  Foreign teams with their own struggles, competing interests, goals and expectations are difficult to gauge, track, and predict.  

3) Make accurate comparisons.

The transfer here is to compare the units of teams accurately.  In basketball, compare each team's players at each position and determine who has the "3 out of 5" advantage.  Then also check the coach's time management skills, and various bench players, whose sum is maybe only equal to one or two starting player's value.  

4)  Be a historian of the market.
Warren Buffet knows more about the future of the market because he knows so much about the past of the market.  He is a prolific reader.  He listens first, talks second.

The transfer here is to not only watch sports unfold, but go back and re-read sports analysis, observe team's seasons in the totality, with the knowledge of what happened but re-living the feelings of the moment.

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