Stocks are simple. All you do is buy shares in a great business for less than the business is intrinsically worth, with management of the highest integrity and ability. Then you own those shares forever. I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.

August 26, 2011

Steven Jobs, Beffets advise are the same to career - find out what you have passion to do

你的工作将会占据你人生大部分时间,因此获得成就感的惟一途径就是做你自己认为是伟大的工作,而成就一番伟业的惟一途径就是热爱你的事业。如果你还没有找到让自己热爱的事业,你要继续寻找,不要随遇而安。跟随自己的心,总有一天你会找到的。而且,工作和你之间的关系与其他任何一种伟大的关系一样,随着岁月流逝,它会变得越来越顺畅。所以,继续寻找,直到找到为止,不要半途而废。

August 23, 2011

一页纸说清战略

http://www.ebusinessreview.cn/articledetail-95276.html

我的合伙人马茨·莱德豪森(Mats Lederhausen)曾是麦当劳(McDonald's)的全球战略主管。他向我介绍了“战略树”(Strategy Tree)这一概念。该概念和大多数有用的东西一样,表面看来相当简单。但它能让你认识到你到底想取得什么。之所以用“树”作类比,是因为战略树中的各个问题之间存在相互关联。从你为什么做某事的根本目的开始,然后将它与你的目标以及衡量进展的方式联系起来。用图来表示,战略树更像是一连串相邻的圆圈,如下图所示:



归根到底,战略树就是要针对企业提出“为什么、什么、谁、怎么”等问题,并将这些问题在一页纸上排列好,使其成为管理层或董事会手中有用的协调工具。这个概念算不上新颖,属于一种常识,但却没有多少企业进行应用。上述几个问题有多种排列方式,不过我通常用以下四个问题来了解一家投资组合公司的总体状况:



1. 你为什么存在(你的目的是什么)?你的企业为什么有权利存在,要实现什么目的?例如,我们的投资组合公司中有一家名为MiniLuxe的美甲连锁店,它的目的是要做美甲领域的“星巴克”,为这种使用最广但最不规范的美容项目提供一贯质量的服务和操作方法。美国共有6.5万家美甲沙龙,但大多是夫妻经营的小店,没有正规的连锁店,服务质量不稳定。

2. 你的价值主张是什么?这个问题是针对顾客的。MiniLuxe将为顾客提供健康、开心的美甲服务——顾客将在这里获得最卫生、最优质、最便利、最合算的美甲体验。在写下你的价值主张时,要考虑自己企业明显区别于竞争对手的独特能力和资产。MiniLuxe采用医用压力蒸汽灭菌设备(用于对仪器进行消毒)。顾客可以透过玻璃“清洁实验室”看到器械消毒杀菌的全过程。这在美甲行业是一种独特的流程和资产。你拥有什么能够吸引顾客的独特之处呢?

3. 你要服务的对象是谁?也就是说,你的目标顾客是谁,越具体越好。MiniLuxe的每家门店都以方圆1英里内居住的人群为目标顾客,主要是20到55岁的女性,包括注重美容保养的年轻单身职业女性、想让自己振作起来的妈妈们、将去美甲沙龙看作定期社交活动和享受生活的富裕女性等。考虑前三类、最多前四类主要顾客群,着重关注那些能给企业持续带来最高价值的顾客。

4. 你怎么判断自己在取得成功?确定关键客户和财务指标。你每周应该做几次顾客拜访?提供哪些服务项目较为合适?什么是好的顾客幸福指数?MiniLuxe采用净推介值(Net Promoter Score)来衡量顾客向其他人推介服务的可能性。他们还每周衡量财务指标,其中最重要的指标包括销售同比增长、新门店实现正现金流所用的时间、门店每平方英尺面积的销售额等。我以前提到过,了解两三个主要运营指标以及两三个主要财务指标,就会使企业管理容易许多。先是对每个指标的合适目标做出最佳预测,然后开始进行衡量,必要时对目标做出调整。

战略树是决策树的一种变体,只不过它不像决策树那样迫使人们沿着某个路径做出选择,而是简单勾勒出实现战略目的和发展的路径。战略树对讨论真正重要的问题非常有效,如果能够以协作的方式展开讨论,则可以协调最重要的优先事项。你在一页纸上就可以了解全局及各部分之间的关联。从阐述目的和目标的“为什么”和“什么”开始,到企业要瞄准的客户“谁”,再到“怎么”去衡量进展,通过这一过程,你可以更快更好地进行战略协调——并有望转变为更好的结果。这虽是常识,但却少有企业这样做。

向马云学习创业

2009年9月10日,教师节,马云45岁生日,阿里巴巴也迎来了10周岁的生日。杭州黄龙体育场,在现场三万人的尖叫中,马云一副“朋克魔女”的另类装扮上场,唱起了英文歌,成了当晚最大的亮点。马云从来不缺少娱乐精神,马云的这一装扮也成了第二天许多媒体的娱乐头条,赚取了无数眼球,由此可见,他真是一个媒体运作的高手。

不过,当他白衣白裤地站到台中央的时候,在现场三万多人的尖叫中,其“商业领袖”的魅力还是显露无遗。在四十分钟的演讲中,他和三万多人分享了他的创业经历和感悟,他坦言,为了这四十分钟的演讲,他准备了整整十年。十年时间,马云完成了从创业者到商业领袖的蜕变,成了无数创业者心中的偶像,他的话语被许多创业者反复传颂。

我们能从马云身上学到什么呢?最主要的还是价值观、梦想和坚持的力量。相比而言,马云那非常出色的口才倒是次要的。遗憾的是,很多人学马云,以为创业就是去“忽悠投资”,去“整合资源”,结果“画虎不成反类犬”。让我们认真分析一下阿里巴巴走过的历程,以及马云身上的一些性格特质,看看马云是如何成功的,我们应该如何学习马云?

创业是理想和现实的结合

创业者通常都很有激情,经常大谈自己的理想。确实,激情和理想主义这是创业者的一个必要条件,如果没有这两者,他们通常不会去创业。但很多创业者以为,激情就是创业的全部,这就错了,激情和理想主义这只是创业的第一步,接下来的事情就是一步一步把理想落实为行动,将刹那的激情变为持久的专注。没有行动的激情是廉价的,也是不能持久的。

创业者是理想主义者和现实主义者的结合。没有理想主义,创业者不可能走太远;如果没有现实主义,这个企业更不可能活下来。正如复兴集团的董事长郭广昌所言,马云是一个“很能忽悠”的人,但马云之所以是马云,不在于他说了什么“大话”,而在于他说的那些“大话”,后来他都一一实现了。马云在十年的时间里,先后创办了阿里巴巴、淘宝、支付宝这样的能够改变人们生活方式的企业,而且创造了“网商”这个新的商业群体。这就是许多创业者和马云的区别,很多创业者都说了,但马云不仅说了,还做了,而且做成了。

成功是一个小概率事件。即便阿里巴巴顺利非常发展,但马云还是非常清醒地意识到,其成功在很大程度上归功于“运气”。他说:“我们不是最聪明的,也不是最勤奋的,但我们走到了今天,很大程度上归功运气。”这既是自谦之言,也是一个事实。他还说,创业如同攀岩,一开始有100个人从山底出发,一路上有95个人是悄无声息地消失了,还有4个人会在登顶之前惨叫一声,掉下深谷,只有1个人能够成功登顶。我们听到了1个人在大谈成功经验,却没人注意到那跌入深谷的99个人。

在成功创业者花团锦簇的热闹背后,很少有人指出一些残酷的真相:企业能够经营十年以上的不到2%,大学生创业成功的,更是不到1%。不夸张地说,一个刚毕业的大学生创业成功的概率,和一个人从五楼跳下来没摔死的概率差不多,是一个标准的小概率事件。很多人拿比尔•盖茨、迈克尔•戴尔、史蒂夫•乔布斯的案例来鼓舞大学生创业,殊不知,拿一个小概率去鼓励大家去冒险,无异于鼓励了一种投机心理,所以我一直对大学生创业持保留态度。理想主义固然值得尊敬,但现实主义往往能让一个人活得更长久。

创业者还容易陷入的一个误区是喜欢追随创业偶像,这也是过于理想化的一种表现。很多创业者经常挂在嘴边的故事就是马云、江南春、陈天桥的故事,好像只要他们向他们学习,将来也能成功一样。实际情况却远没有那么简单,我们被形形色色媒体炮制出来的创业故事误导了。一方面,成功者的故事都是经过精心包装过的,真实的情况不是这个样子的,我们能看到的只是冰山一角。另一方面,即便他们的故事是真的,偶像的成功也是无法模仿的,因为成功是“天时地利人和”的产物,而这些都是无法复制的。俗话说,小富靠勤,大富靠命,尽人事,听天命,创业也需要这种豁达的精神,没有什么事情是可以保证的。

对于有些创业者来说,如果确实需要一个偶像指引自己前行,这个可以理解,他们的一些为人处事之道也值得学习。只是千万要记住,可以学习他们,但不要模仿他们。创业本质上是一个发现自我和实现自我的过程,而每一个人的自我都是无法模仿的。记住一句话,要学习,不要模仿!

价值观比商业模式更重要

这是一个创业精神泛滥的年代。每天都会有人告诉你,他有一个很好的商业模式,他要创业了。每天打开电视,都会看到和创业有关的节目,每个人都在说他的梦想。你去任何一所高校,随便问问一个大学生,他想不想创业,十有八九的答案是“想”。遗憾的是,这又是一个价值观和职业精神缺乏的年代。我们很少能看到在这些时髦的话语背后,哪个人创业是为了改变别人的生活;也很少有人说,创业是和他的价值观有什么关系。所以我们看到的是很多小老板和大富豪,很少看到让人尊敬的企业家。

还有很多MBA出身的职业经理人喜欢大谈商业模式和战略,仿佛这就是创业的全部。我分析过数以百计的商业模式,每一个商业模式说起来都是头头是道,但真正做起来,却发现根本就不是那么回事。道理很简单,你在商业模式中考虑过的那些问题,往往不是现实中的真实问题,你最早的想法在现实面前,肯定会变化的,正所谓有心栽花花不开,无心插柳柳成荫,计划中要做的事情有时候做不成,反而是当初无意中做的事情做成了。

价值观比商业模式更持久。以星巴克为例,在现任CEO霍华德•舒尔茨接手这家公司之前,星巴克不过是位于西雅图的一家提供咖啡豆的公司。两个创始人对咖啡充满了狂热,对赚钱并不在行,他们的愿望只是提供美国最好的咖啡豆,也正是这一理念吸引了舒尔茨的加盟。众所周知的是,星巴克的商业模式后来发生了很多变化,从卖咖啡豆到卖咖啡,再到现在卖音乐,但他们的价值观也一直没有大的改变,那就是让更多的人体验咖啡的快乐。正是这种朴素的价值观使星巴克在二十年时间里成长为一个享誉全球的知名品牌。

不是说商业模式和战略不重要,这些商学院教过的学问在分析一个成熟市场的成熟业务时也许确实管用,但往往在开展新的业务时并不奏效。这是因为,那些创新型企业通常面对的是一个尚未存在的市场,相关的数据通常不存在或者快速变化的,支持那些创业者作出决定的往往是基于创业者的价值观。企业的经营环境不断改变,商业模式也会发生相应的变化,但一个企业的价值观变化并不大。从这个意义上来说,一个企业的价值观比这个企业的商业模式的生命力更加持久,力量也更强大。

马云的成功在很大程度上可以归功于价值观的成功。在马云创立阿里巴巴之前,就意识到了电子商务对未来商业形态的影响,并立下了“让天下没有难做的生意”的使命。在阿里巴巴获得软银的孙正义的2000万美元的投资之前,他曾经带着团队在硅谷拜访了40多家风险投资商,结果全部吃了闭门羹,不少人给他的商业模式的评价要么是“这个方案太愚蠢了”,要么是“你想清楚了再来找我”。在风险投资商看来,这些从来没有人实践成功的想法确实有点疯狂了,还好马云遇到了同样有点“疯狂”的孙正义,谈了6分钟,给了他2000万美元。孙正义后来说,正是马云身上体现出来的那种价值观打动了他。

稍稍受过一点商学院教育的人都是开口闭口战略,却并不了解这个词的真正含义。管理大师亨利•明茨伯格说过,战略本质上是一种手艺,不是创业者躲在办公室里制定出来的,而是在不断实践中慢慢调整形成的,战略是企业的远景和现实磨合形成的结果。所以刚开始创业就大谈所谓战略,结果往往是想当然,因为缺乏对现实环境的灵活反应,结果导致所谓的战略路线图变成了一种束缚,反而导致了企业的失败。马云说过,“来公司不超过半年的人,不要谈什么战略”,因为不了解公司现状的所谓战略,一定是夸夸其谈。

战略和管理一样,本质上都是一种实践,有过创业经验的人都说,“先开枪,后调整,少谈理论,做起来再说”。一旦公司的大方向确定之后,就不要停留在战略这个层面了,关键在于要把这些商业模式执行到位。企业成功的关键并不在于商业模式或者战略,这两样东西固然重要,其实还是比较好把握的,难就难在把每一个细节都做到位,这往往也是成功者和失败者的区别。所以说,创业者不要忽视了执行力和企业管理,这决定企业能走多远。

创业团队和整合资源的误区

“1头狮子加上9只齐心协力的狼,往往胜于10头想法各异的狮子”。曾经有一个商学院毕业的10个MBA,背景都非常优秀,个个堪称“豪华男”,一起合伙做事情,结果不到一年,就各奔东西了。原因是他们把太多精力放在讨论商业模式和制定战略上了,结果达不成一致意见,还彼此不服气,反而是没人去执行了,最后只好散伙。

与之形成鲜明对照的,是阿里巴巴的创业团队。在阿里巴巴最初创业的“18罗汉”中,平心而论,除了马云之外,其余17个人都不能算是出类拔萃的人物。这恰恰是阿里巴巴成功的一个条件,阿里巴巴只需要一个领军人物,其余的人负责执行到位就可以了。好的创业团队要善于搭配,团队核心只需要一个,其他人则尽力负责执行,这样成功的概率更大。

在创业早期,“经济适用男”是比较适合的创业合作伙伴,他们往往是执行力很强的人,而不是躲在办公室里谈理念,或者是彼此抱怨,却没有人行动。冯仑说,“在企业中最核心的部分,往往就是那些经历了创业,并通过学习不断取得提高的‘经济适用男’”。至于高学历的“豪华男”,新东方教育集团有限公司董事长兼总裁俞敏洪则建议,“可以在一些专业性的领域加以重用,但在吸引时必须加强人才的融合,就像器官移植中解决排斥问题一样。”

再说整合资源。北京大学教授、著名经济学家周其仁说,“小企业就是很少用他人钱财的企业,大企业就是大量用他人钱财的企业。”小企业是因为很少用他人钱财所以很小,还是因为很小所以才很少能用他人的钱财?这很像一个鸡生蛋还是蛋生鸡的循环,但绝大部分小企业是因为很少用他人钱财所以才很小,企业小是结果。所以创业者要会整合资源,只有能够有效地整合社会资源的企业,才能把小企业做成大企业。

但创业者在整合资源时往往会陷入另一个误区。一些高学历的创业者往往觉得自己起点高、想法好、认识的人多,因此搞资源整合是一条捷径,甚至是无本万利的事情,所以要搞出一副高举高打的模样出来。但是他们不知道的是,你想整合人家的资源,人家也想整合你的资源,大家都在玩资源交换的游戏。别人是看你的实力和诚意的,所以一个创业者在用别人的钱之前,就要先把自己的所有身家性命都搭进去,别人才会信任你,把他们的钱财投给你。

其次,不要高估了所谓“人脉资源”在整合资源中的作用。有些人喜欢说,我认识“谁谁谁”,问题在于,那个“谁谁谁”认识你么?即便认识,又怎么样?!人脉只是一个敲门砖,他给你一个见面的机会,但要真正合作,还是要你能提供他想要的价值。商业人脉说白了都是利益的交换关系,你对别人有用,别人就能成为你的朋友,你对别人没用,是朋友也没用!多认识一些人自然好,更重要的事情是把自己的事情做好,这才是商业的根本!

任何一个创业者都希望能够得到风险投资的帮助,更希望自己的公司在未来的某一天上市成功。所以,很多人一说到创业,第一个念头就是写商业计划书,第二个念头是找风险投资,第三个念头就是公司要上市。不过,事实的真相是,新创企业中能够拿到风险投资的不到百分之一,能够上市的更不到千分之一,而上市后还能基业长青的则不到万分之一。

所以,做企业还是要踏踏实实的把事情做好。将小概率事件当作创业的目标,往往结果会失望。正是像马云和霍华德.舒尔次这样的人,他们当初的目标并不是要把企业做得多么大,而是要去改变人的生活。他们用价值观去驱动自己的企业,结果把企业做成功了。

马云:差学生与创新者

我理解的企业创新,就是创造新的价值。创新不是因为你要打败对手而创新,不是为了挣更多的钱,为更大的名,而是为了社会,为了客户,为了明天——创新不是为对手竞争,而是跟明天竞争。真正的创新一定是基于使命感。

小时候我有很大的梦想,想进清华、北大,也有很大的使命,想为国家做贡献。但因为缺乏创新手段,一次次没有考上。我在想为什么没考进清华?

小学我念了七年,中学念了三年,高考考了三次,我从来没有被认为是好学生,但也没变成一个坏学生,小学我是最好的小学生之一。我们去参加重点中学考试全军覆没,第二年再度全军覆没,后来实在没有中学要我们,就把小学改成杭州天水中学。在杭州历史上,只有这一所小学被改为中学,改了一年后实在不行,后来撤了。我也不知道问题出在我们这里,还是出在教学的方法上。

马云说,信息时代是认为“我比别人聪明”,数据时代是别人比我聪明。

我分析为什么自己考试考不好,老师讲的东西我永远记不住,优秀的学生是老师讲的他记得很清楚,然后一遍一遍几乎是原版的拷贝。我特别喜欢这两个字:启迪。我认为知识是可以灌输的,但是人类的智慧是启迪的,是唤醒的。我们进入21世纪,在知识爆炸的时候,重要的不是获取更多的知识。以前可能需要大量的记忆,现在通过电脑一查就可以知道,中国人的文化中说勤劳勇敢,勤劳是很重要,机器是永远不会偷懒的,人和机器最大的差别,我们懂得创新。

我觉得未来学校和教育最大的改革是发现、好奇、独特的思考,我们去唤起人的智慧,而不是教更多的知识。王安石变法是哪年?我到今天还记得是1069年,我觉得这简直就是个悲哀。1069年跟我有什么关系?知道是宋朝就好了,可是高考就考那些东西。我以前数学还不错,后来高考数学考了一分,我学数学时学sin、cos、tan、cot,他们说很重要!到今天为止,我一次都没用到过。我认为最好的教学方法,就是去启迪不同人、不同性格、不同背景、不同文化、不同思考模式的人,去唤醒人的智慧,发现孩子的强项。这可能是我们未来最大的挑战,也是我们今天在教育上面需要找出来的巨大创新。

而我理解的企业创新,就是创造新的价值。创新不是因为你要打败对手而创新,不是为了挣更多的钱,为更大的名,而是为了社会,为了客户,为了明天——创新不是为对手竞争,而是跟明天竞争。真正的创新一定是基于使命感。

我们一定要问自己一个问题,我到底为了什么?其实有时候很多论坛邀请我去演讲,一个礼拜我拒绝参加的论坛不下十场,但有时候还得去,为什么?要想清楚自己有什么,要什么,要放弃什么。其实我们一无所有,没有一个有钱的爸,也没有一个有权的舅舅,只是一个平凡的人。在这个世界我们是没有理由成功的,没有理由做到现在。我能做到现在,感谢这个时代,感谢很多的朋友,感恩客户,感恩互联网,感恩所有信任我的朋友,他们的信任让我走到了今天。

十多年来,我做阿里巴巴从来没改过使命:让天下没有难做的生意,让小企业成长起来,成为明天的Google,明天的Apple,明天的腾讯,明天的阿里巴巴。微博上说,阿里巴巴的股票是投资负增长,我们挣钱确实没游戏公司多,但我们挣得踏实,我没骗过投资者。

我第一天就讲,我拿的钱是为十年以后中国的电子商务做的。我们拿到的钱影响了今天的一个行业,我不敢说我们有多大的贡献,但中国电子商务发展到今天,阿里人做出的贡献很大。我们自己可能没挣很多钱,但是我们创建了电子商务,创建了诚信体系和物流体系。也许今天没有回报,但是我相信三五年以后一定有回报。明白自己有什么,明白自己要什么,明白自己放弃什么。做企业有钱的人千万不要想有权,当政府有权的人千万不要想自己有钱,这两个东西就像火药和火一样,碰在一起,你死都不知道怎么死的。只有明白自己要什么,走得才会踏实、稳健,而基于使命感的创新也才是持久的。

首先,我觉得创新一定是在企业外部。在大企业内部找创新其实很难很难,我相信乔布斯没有离开苹果那么多年,苹果不会有今天,是社会培养了他。

前一段时间,美国一个学者问我,“你认为学校应该怎么培养企业家?”我认为社会是最好的学校,学校给了我们框架,是社会培育了我们、锻炼了我们。公司两三千人的时候,是我最困难的时候,管理混乱,我不知道怎么办。那时,我发现了一个问题:国家是怎么管理的?和尚是怎么管理的?我专门去研究了一下。

我发现建国这么多年,国家无论经济好坏都很稳定。而我们公司内部换一个经理,所有人都要辞职。仔细去研究发现,组织部很厉害,中央党校灌输党的价值体系、组织部管人,效果很好。由此,阿里建立了自己的阿里学院,建立集团的组织体系。中央副省级以上由中央组织部集中管理,后来我们改成总监以上是集团直接管理,越管越靠谱。我们今天换一个总监,换一个副总裁很方便,这样的机制才能可持续发展,所以创新是在公司以外。
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当他的同事安于每月拿着固定工资,每天三点一线的稳定生活时,马云已经开始为自己的理想和一颗不安分的心而“穷折腾”了。

在 2004年CCTV中国经济年度人物颁奖典礼上,一句“一个男人的才华跟他的智商是成反比的”引得全场一片欢呼;说这句话的人,不仅仅引起了当场的欢呼,更是引领了我国电子商务的发展,他就是马云。从三尺讲台上的一名老师到第一个登上美国《福布斯》杂志方面的中国企业家,也许马云在当初放下教鞭的时候,自己都没有想到。酷爱武侠小说的马云,最喜欢的武侠英雄是《笑傲江湖》中的风清扬,“我觉得他的武功是出手无招,这是我一直向往的一种境界。”事实也是这样,从涉足互联网,到创办阿里巴巴,再到对C2C、搜索引擎的拓展,单独看马云走过的路,几乎每一次出招都令人费解。直到整个过程即将结束,人们才会渐渐看清他究竟想干什么。



20世纪末21世纪初,在全球皆为互联网而疯狂的时代浪潮之中,在以雅虎、eBay、亚马逊三大巨头为主流的互联网格局下,“另类”的马云却高喊“只抓小龙虾”的口号,高举“做中小企业救赎者”的大旗,开拓一个前无古人、后有来者的新领域——中小企业B2B。从此,在雅虎、eBay、亚马逊之后,世界互联网版图上又多出了一个崭新的”第四种模式”——阿里巴巴模式。在企业家马云之前,习惯了全盘西化、大规模进口欧美经济模式的中国企业和企业家,从来没有像今天这样在世界新经济的大舞台上如此扬眉吐气过。这也应和了马云对商业模式的态度,除投资者以外,他对公司的商业模式都不肯透露半字,而等你意识到一切都豁然开朗时,游戏已经结束了,马云说,这就是商业。

兼职创业

1988年,大学毕业的马云顺利进入杭州电子科技大学做英语老师。就是这段经历给他以后创业打下了最坚实的基础——团队。作为一名老师,在那个年代,就告诫学生不要死读书。许多学生都把马云当成偶像。后来跟马云创业的18个元老,就有几个是他的学生。比如,周宝宝,从学生时代就开始崇拜马云,后来“脑子一热”就跟着马云一起创业了,一直到今天。另一位阿里巴巴的重要创始人彭蕾,也是马云在教书期间的同事。所以可以这么说,马云在杭州电子科技大学做老师的那几年,奠定了今后阿里巴巴创业路上最核心、最忠诚的团队。正是这些人一直追随马云,即使经历过几次失败,但最终还是支撑起了阿里巴巴的商业帝国。

1995年,30岁的马云凭借出色的工作表现被评为杭州十大杰出青年教师。但如果马云继续按部就班,一心一意地从事他的英语教学工作,那么也许今天的他会是一名非常出色的英语老师,甚至可以超过以《疯狂英语》大红大紫的李阳。

因为是英语老师,所以就有许多人找到马云帮忙翻译一些英文资料。请马云的人很多,有时候一天就可以接到多单生意。随着在业内的名气越来越大,渐渐地,马云感觉自己一个人根本做不过来,而同时他又发现一个现象:自己身边的同事,尤其是一些退休的老教师,在家里闲着没事可干。马云对自己的老师(有些也是老同事)很有感情,他们退休了之后,整日赋闲在家,不仅心理上感到莫大的寂寞和失落,而且经济上也很拮据,马云那时每月的工资还不到100元,相信他们的情况也好不到哪里去。这时他突然有了一个想法:开一家翻译社将退休的老师供养起来,既帮了同事的忙,也算是为社会尽了点绵薄之力。这样就有了马云的第一次创业——海博翻译社。

有一点我们不得不承认,步入而立之年的马云已经开始显现“敢为天下先”的气魄和勇气,正如他后来在中国互联网行业翻云覆雨一样。当他的同事安于每月拿着固定工资,每天三点一线的稳定生活时,马云已经开始为自己的理想和一颗不安分的心而“穷折腾”了。

虽然在创办之初,困难重重,但马云通过身边的实例,认为一定会有这方面的需求,只要坚持就能成功。在他的带领下,翻译社慢慢实现了盈利,虽然这些对他以后的创业没有提供太多的资本和经验,但让他明白了一个道理:成功者必须具备两种品质:一是大胆执着的性格;二是对市场的敏锐嗅觉。

第一次触网

1995年,杭州市政府正在修杭州通过安徽阜阳的高速公路。此时,美国的一个投资者与杭州市政府谈判了一年,资金却一直没有到账。双方认为谈判中间翻译有问题,于是号称“杭州英语最好”的马云就在这样的背景下粉墨登场。在谈判中,美国代表告诉马云是美国董事会那边没有同意,无奈之下,杭州市政府只得派马云远赴美国。就是这次美国之行,让马云第一次接触到了互联网。在美国的西雅图,马云无意中到了一家网络公司。进去之后才发现,这家公司只有两间很小的办公室,五个人一起工作。第一次见到电脑的马云非常好奇,经过主人的允许,并在他们的指点下马云开始第一次使用互联网。他在网页上打出了“beer”,结果搜出来德国啤酒、美国啤酒和日本啤酒,却没有中国啤酒。然后他又敲出了“chinese”,结果却是“no date”。于是,马云就开始设想在中国建一个公司,专门做互联网。

兴奋的马云,当时就做了一个非常简陋的网页——海博翻译社的页面,上面有价钱和联系方式。令他意想不到的是,一天之内就收到了五个人的回信。其中三个是美国人,两个是日本人。此时的马云尽管不懂网络,甚至对于网络可以说是“文盲”,但是嗅觉灵敏的他有一种发自内心直觉:互联网将改变世界!他立即决定与西雅图的朋友合作。一个全球首创的B2B电子商务模式,就这样在马云心里有了最初的商业雏形。

带着兴奋回国的马云立刻找来亲戚朋友说出了自己的想法,虽然大部分人都不看好马云的“奇思妙想”,但是冷水并灭有泼灭马云的创业热情。1995年4月,马云创建了“海博网络”,就这样马云带着自己的梦想,走下了三尺讲台,开始了自己的网商旅程。可以说没有海博网络就没有后来的阿里巴巴;没有英语教师的身份,也很难有海博翻译社,海波网络。就连马云出色的演讲能力,“这两下子主要是当年教书的时候练出来得,现在上台从来不备讲稿,一开口都收不住。”很多人都认为教师和创业者格格不入,看来这句话用在马云身上并不合适。

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编者按:2010年12月18日,云锋基金江苏论坛召开,基金发起人马云、虞锋、史玉柱、刘永好等商界大佬现场与数百名企业家交流如何做企业,反思总结自己做企业的经验和教训。马云说他不断问自己:为什么要办企业?凭什么能做企业?怎么能做好?做舒服的企业比做大做强更重要,善待员工带来的回报远超过想象。

马云说,不要抱怨没有机会,机会永远存在,每5年到10年就有伟大杰出的公司出来。“也不要抱怨竞争,竞争时候不要带着仇恨,带着仇恨一定失败。更不要抱怨经济形势,伟大的企业都是在经济不好的时候诞生的。”

以下是马云的闭幕式演讲:



在路上,越走越孤独,因为路上的行人越来越少,企业做得越大,时间越长,你其实越寂寞,难得我们这些人是同道之人,我们互相分享一些经验和看法。有一些企业家喜欢爬山,有一些企业家喜欢穿越沙漠,他们为了体验极端。每个人观点不一样,我每天在爬山,我每天在过沙漠,我要去旅游,我希望搞一个腐败一点、舒服一点的旅游,因为我太累了。所有办企业的人都要回忆起自己当初为什么办企业,就像人到一定程度结婚以后不断的要回忆一下初恋的感觉,爱的第一个男朋友是最好的,但是走着走着我们变了。我们要问自己这个问题:我们为什么办这个企业?凭什么我们可以办好这个企业,如何才能办好,什么时候办,谁来干?这些问题想清楚了,你走起来会踏实很多。

不断问自己为什么要办企业

我们为什么要办这个企业?有一些人说我为了挣钱,阿里巴巴走到今天为止,我自己觉得,不是第一天就设计好的,今天阿里巴巴的所有的管理团队包括我在内,比十年以前的我,能力上面好很多,但是我同样再走一遍一定走不到今天,即使就是把淘宝,阿里巴巴所有的网站关掉,同样的人再做一次也做不好,时机失去了。很多人说马云你们把好的机会都拿完了,我们没有机会,但是机会永远存在,每10年,每5年肯定有伟大杰出的公司出来,每一年都有新的希望出来,这是我们的行业,但是你要搞清楚你为什么办这个企业?

第一,凭什么你能?有人说我有这个资源,我有那个资源,我能办好,其实未必。有人跟我说娶一个女孩子,跟他讲,我什么都没有,我只是比别人更爱你,这是空话,做企业不是想做好就可以。要问为什么可以,为什么我能。

新浪一开始没有这些资源及阿里巴巴从来没有做过这些商业,淘宝网在做零售上面没有经验,但是为什么有经验,有资本的,有钱的,有资源的输给没有钱、没有资源、没有经验的,这个大家思考一下,我今天没有答案,我只是谈我的看法。

第二,如何去做?

前几年,我讲那个奥巴马说:Yes,We Can!是的,我可以。但是美国经济并没有做起来,他忘了回答,How We Can?我们到底怎么做起来,怎么做这个企业,如何做是最关键的。

很多人看到的是今天成功的史玉柱,今天成功的虞锋,今天成功的沈国军。但是我希望大家看到十年前的沈国军,倒下去的史玉柱,他们当时做了哪些决定和想法。今天的我们不值得大家学习,而前面十年走过艰难的过程,犯过错误,在这个过程中需要所有人反思和学习和思考。

我不觉得今天的阿里巴巴是今天做的。是十年以前的理想,十年的努力做到今天,我们今天不是做今天的企业,做企业要为十年以后做的,你对十年以后中国经济的判断,世界经济的判断,这个行业的判断,今天开始按照这个方向,不断的改变自己去适应它。

还有什么时候去做?在十年过程中,谁来做是非常之关键。一个好的项目,交给一个好的人做得非常好,一个好的项目交给一个错误的人做得悲痛,你还不知道为什么最后输了。这些问题希望大家思考。

做舒服的企业比做强做大更重要

很多人在问,我们企业怎么做强做大,怎么做得更有钱?我认为中国这个文化诞生非常大的企业很难。

企业为什么一定要做强?为什么要做大?我认为企业要做好做舒服了,做舒服的企业,做好的企业比什么都重要。什么是好的企业,好的企业就是客户满意,员工幸福,股东觉得很放心,这样的企业我觉得才是真正好的企业。其实我们觉得做大有大的难受。养公司跟养儿子没有什么区别,不是多生几个儿子就会发财,一个糟儿子把你两个好儿子所有的资产浪费得一塌糊涂,所以我希望大家不一定要做大。

小企业经常说,老板大了,很多人会帮你做的,大了以后你不用干了,我发现企业越大,我越累,孩子越大,担心越多。你既然在路上就不要后悔,选择了就去做,这是你在体验做企业的过程中,在路上一定有的经历。

我为什么喜欢和小企业在一起?因为在他们眼中看到希望,期待和梦想,而大企业我们看到的是KPI,看到的是竞争,看到IPO,看到上市,资本和股东,再大的企业回到当时的梦想,回到实实在在的你,回到当时你为什么为客户做,当时你的想法是什么。你选择了企业你就不要后悔,要不断的做好客户、员工和股东的工作。我想,做企业,做小有小的乐趣,我在日本走过一些小店,这个小店门口贴了一个牌子本店已经成立今天是147周年的纪念日,我很好奇的一看,两对老夫妻,一个女孩子说,这是我们做糕点生意的,147年以来我们只做糕点,从他讲的过程中看到无比的幸福。

另外一个故事。几年以前,星巴克的创始人,CEO霍华德·舒尔茨和我讲一个故事,真实的故事,我觉得我们很多人去思考这个问题,去看看这个故事,挺有意思。他说到伦敦去出差,走过伦敦的牛津大街,这里是寸金之地,这里有一个很小的门脸,卖奶酪,卖奶酪跟卖盐一样,很辛苦,不赚钱,看到一个老头穿的很干净卖奶酪,他走进去问一个问题,说这条街的房租这么贵,你赚的钱能够付得起这个房租吗?老头说,买10英镑的奶酪告诉你。他买了之后,他说,你说到底付不付得起房租?老头说,年轻人,你过来,把头伸出去看看,这条街上的大部分的房子是我们家的。我们家世世代代以卖奶酪为生,卖奶酪不知道干什么,把这个钱买一个店面,今天卖成这个样子。我今天就喜欢做奶酪,我儿子还在做奶酪,我们祖祖辈辈觉得这是一个幸福的行业。

企业做幸福了,你永远舒服,不要去跟人家比,谁大,谁强,做快乐,做幸福,做愉快,我觉得这样的才会真正的舒服,我一直认为,我们到这个世界来不是来做事业的,我们到这个世界赖是体验生活的,是体验做人的愉快。每个人就3万多天,在座的人和我们一样,每天过完之后,打一个叉,就越来越少好好过日子,不要老想做大做强,舒服就好。

善待员工,带来的回报远超过想象

我觉得管理一个企业最好的是通过文化,制度是去补充,弥补文化。一个优秀的国家和优秀的企业必须有文化来做。大家一直认为,美国的强盛是因为美国有很好的制度,但是大家想想,美国的强盛离不开他的基督教文化,他是有文化有宗教信仰,整个法制是基于完善和补充整个基督教体系。

假如你没有一个很强大的文化体系,东拼一些,西拼一些,拿一些国外的法律制度未必能解决我们的问题。我们不是政治家,我们当不了政治家,我们现在企业家讲着讲着就讲成政治,好像比国家主席还大。我们都是企业,我们可以通过企业的手段,可以通过我们自己的努力去完善这个国家,去完善人类的商业发展。我觉得今天我们没有办法,也做不了一个城市的文化,但是我们可以做好自己公司的文化。文化,无非就是什么是你的使命,为什么做?怎么做,价值观体系,以及KPI,还有考核,文化一定是考核出来的,文化不是贴在墙上,有一个企业说,我们文化做得很好,4本杂志,5个会办报,那个是宣传,没有用。我希望大家记住,最后影响你公司是否可持续发展,你员工是否幸福,客户是否满意,是因为你是否有优秀强大的文化,制度是来弥补发展这样的文化。

我又要讲一个我讲了很多年的故事,这个故事影响了我,影响了我们的企业。1989年以前,我第一次听到这个故事的时候,我回来问,我们如何能够做到这样?这个故事就是说,丰田是如何打败美国汽车的?大家有说战略重要,有说设计重要,但是有一个故事说明问题。说在美国芝加哥,有一天晚上,下了大雨,有一个司机开了一辆车,刮雨器坏了,这个时候雨中来一个老人,这个人跑到车上把这个刮雨器修好。问他是谁?他说我是丰田公司的汽车的工人,我看到我公司的产品受到伤害,我有责任把这个修好。制度上不会让你去看到坏车就修理,是文化,让他做到这一点,我希望大家,假如你拥有这样的员工的时候,你一定能够成功,而这样的员工是因为你有这样心态对待你的员工,照顾好你的员工,你才有这样的文化和这样的员工。

我也告诉大家,21世纪最贵的是人才,企业也一定一样。绝大多数的企业认为机器比人贵,很多人买机器的时候讨价还价。我们聘请员工的时候,我们没有想过给员工带来好的条件,你没有这样想的话在二十一世纪一定活不好。今天以人为本的时代,互联网时代,信息时代,数据时代,一定是人的创造力的时代。善待你的员工,投资在你的员工身上,他们给你带来的回报远远超过你的想象。什么是人才,人才可以培养出来。什么是养?就是给他失败的机会,给他成功的机会。你要看着,不能让他伤筋动骨,不能让他一辈子喘不过气来。

我感谢我自己的这个时代,感谢自己所受的训练和教育。有人说中国的体制,培养不出像史玉柱、马云这样的人,我恰好是中国造,中国体制出来的。你永远会找到一些借口,成功的人永远在找方向。去年有一个同事跟我说,我忙死了,事情太多,每天忙的晕头转向。好,给他再加两件工作。因为你不懂得优先级,你不懂得什么该做什么应该做,怎么授权于人,你不给他这样的训练,你不会成功的。要有一种好的方法去训练他们,培养他们,给他们机会。

也有人说,公司最大的快乐是什么?有一个企业的人跟我交流说,十年以前,我一年能够赚几十万,一年我能赚几千万,公司越大我越没有幸福感,我觉得我现在越来越幸福感,我的幸福感来自哪里?来自十年以前,我看到这个小伙子,小姑娘,他们进入我们公司,今天居然变成这么能干,这么能够面对现实,他们的成长才是我的幸福感来源,你会发现有了他们,阿里巴巴会更好,有了马云,阿里巴巴会走下坡路,因为我的年龄到了。

每年,我跟我的各部门领导者,都要问自己这个问题,你聘请了谁?你开除了谁?你提拔了谁,警告了谁?这四个事情你做没做?你没有做你一定不是好领导,你不懂得如何培训别人,公司里面只有各种各样的人,这才是丰富多彩的。企业就是一个生态链,企业就是一个野生动物园,我很高兴我们公司像野生动物园,各种各样人都有,在各种人当中你怎么去发现他们,用欣赏的眼光看待他们。你听见一个人,你问领导者,你下面人怎么样?他说,这个下面的人都是混蛋,不是我招的,我说他们是混蛋,我希望你把他们培养的不混蛋,第二年如果他们更混蛋,一定是你不对,你更混蛋。我们要问这个问题,你们为谁做了什么?

竞争的时候不要带仇恨,带仇恨一定失败

企业现在最多的是竞争,包括在我们这儿也有很多报怨。阿里巴巴、淘宝建了两个市场,很多人杀价,很多人天天杀价,我出5千万,他出4千万,这是最愚蠢的商战,我教一个傻子也会干,这不是企业家。比价算什么英雄?

竞争最高的境界是什么?竞争是一种乐趣,这是让对手很痛苦,你很快乐,如果你也痛苦,这是走错了,你痛苦他开心,你肯定走错了。竞争的乐趣,两个企业竞争,就像下棋一样,你输了,我们再来过,两个棋手不能打架,现在是很恨,你胜了,我弄死你,真正做企业是没有仇人的,心中无敌,无敌天下,你眼睛中全是敌人,外面全是敌人。什么是企业的生态作战,生态里面非洲的狮子吃羊不是因为恨羊,是因为我就是要吃羊,因为可以让我生存。你竞争的时候不要带仇恨,带仇恨一定失败。

不要抱怨经济形势

最后,我们很多人一定要听经济形势。什么CPI涨了,物价原料涨多少了,央行要加息了,我们的企业不要关心这些事情,永远不要关心总理关心的事情,经济形势好,你未必好,经济形势不好你未必不好,伟大的企业都是在经济形势不好的时候诞生出来。

不要埋怨形势,有的人在报怨形势,有人就在努力。我开始做互联网的时候,三个月以后就出现互联网的风暴,大家都觉得不好,有时候形势不好,对你更有机会。所以,不管你企业多大,改变自己,适应这个无论好和坏的近来形势。我记得金融风暴刚开始的时候,我参加中国企业家的会,在报纸上看到,北京公园里面有一野鸭被冻在湖上,大家救这个鸭,这是救不好的,为什么?那个公园里面,鸭都是野鸭,那个是家鸭,冬天到了,野鸭都飞了,你还在那里,是笨的。你必须学会飞。

我们做企业要永远保持乐观的精神。我想在路上的人一定是辛苦的,在路上的人没有必要你杀我杀,互相鼓励,互相分享,更加透明一点,更加开放一点,我们的企业会做得更好。

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要有理想
“……我今天早上还在说,到现在为止我还搞不清楚该怎么样在电脑上用U盘。但是这并不重要,重要的是你到底梦想想干嘛。”
给自己一个承诺
“有了一个理想以后,我觉得最重要是给自己一个承诺,承诺自己要把这件事做出来。……我觉得创业者最重要的是创造条件。如果机会都成熟的话,一定轮不到我们。……你坚信这事情能够起来的时候,给自己一个承诺说我准备干五年,我准备干十年,干二十年,把它干出来。”
“……我发现今天我回过来想,我看见很多游学的年轻人是晚上想想千条路,早上起来走原路。……如果你不去采取行动,不给自己梦想一个实践的机会,你永远没有机会。”
“……创业者在记住梦想、承诺、坚持,该做什么,不该做什么,做多久以外,我希望创业者给自己承诺,给员工承诺,给社会承诺,给股东承诺,永远让你的员工、让你的家人、让你的股东可以睡得着觉,绝对不能做任何偷税,不能做任何危害社会的事情。”
坚持
“……傻坚持要比不坚持要好很多。所以我觉得创业者给自己一个梦想,给自己一个承诺,给自己一份坚持,是极其关键的。”
“……在原则面前,在你能不能坚持,在诱惑面前能不能坚持原则,在压力面前能不能坚持原则。最后想干什么,该干什么以后,再给自己说,我能干多久,我想干多久,这件事情该干多久就做多久。”
“……今天很残酷,明天更残酷,但后天很美好,绝大部分人死在明天晚上,所以我们必须每天努力面对今天。”
两个问题
“……我想创业者一定要想清楚两个问题,第一,你想干什么,不是你父母让你干什么,不是你同事让你干什么,也不是因为别人在干什么,而是你自己到底想干什么。第二,你需要干什么,想清楚想干什么的时候,你要想清楚,我该干什么,而不是我能干什么。”
执行
“……大家说中国不具备做电子商务,中国没有诚信体系,没有银行支付体系,基础建设也非常差,凭什么你可以做电子商务,那你说我怎么办?等待机会?等待别人来,等待国家建好,等待竞争者进来。我觉得创业者如果没有诚信体系,我们就创造一个诚信体系,如果没有支付体系,我们建设支付体系,我们只有这个样子,才有机会。所以我想,九年经历告诉我,没有条件的时候,只要你有梦想,只要你有良好的团队坚定地执行,你是能够走到大洋的那一岸。”

比亞迪功利主義泛濫 4S店老板睡覺要吃安眠藥

现在明白了,为什么benjiamin graham 看重P/B,目前比亚迪的股价正向每股资产值8.5元极具靠拢,只有买入PB 才是最安全的,PE完全可能瞬间变化无常,这也是教训吧。

比亞迪功利主義泛濫,其通過分網銷售達到網絡的快速擴張,但卻忽視了渠道的利益。一家比亞迪4S店負責人表示,每晚睡覺都要吃安眠藥,一個月銷售不到10輛車,每月都在賠錢。

據第一財經日報8月24日報導,汽車廠商和經銷商關系就像魚和水,誰也離不開誰。廠家重量經銷商重利。如果經營一直虧損,合作將難以繼續。渠道對汽車廠商說,就如同一個人的大動脈,構建得好,企業如魚得水,反之,產品通路受阻,企業發展受困。對比亞迪來說,成功的渠道策略曾助力企業高速發展,而在渠道管理上的功利主義也讓比亞迪自食苦果。正所謂成也渠道,敗也渠道。


隨著今年汽車消費市場增速持續走低,比亞迪的銷量下滑最為明顯。解鈴還需系鈴人,比亞迪汽車銷售公司原總經理夏治冰以辭職來對比亞迪渠道管理中忽視經銷商利益負責。

夏治冰的離開,讓比亞迪再次反思自己的發展模式:通過分網銷售模式來達到網絡的快速擴張,但是忽視了渠道的利益,最終形成了惡性循環。

渠道之困

“我現在每晚睡覺都要吃安眠藥,睡不著覺也不敢翻身,就怕老婆擔心。我們4S店在苦苦支撐,一個月銷售不到10輛車,每月都在賠錢。”一家比亞迪4S店的負責人張樺(化名)表示。

走進辦公室,他隨手打開電風扇,“市場不好,就只能節約開支了。去年我們一個月的經營費用超過60萬,今年每月基本上減半。少開空調是為了將每月的電費控制在1萬元以內。”

為了省錢,張樺甚至把自己上下班的代步工具換成了一款省油的小型車。

張樺的省錢策略還包括關掉上海其他三個區域的比亞迪直營店,他還計劃繼續關掉一家門店,“租出去還可以收租金,不關的話,每天開門都要賠錢。”。

這家擬關閉的店,去年每月的毛利達到20多萬元人民幣,今年則降至5萬左右。平攤上經營費用,不僅不賺錢,還賠本賺吆喝。

“今年,上海沒有一家比亞迪4S店賺錢,大家都在熬。即使是二線城市的比亞迪經銷商也不賺錢,比如南昌4縣5區,400萬左右人口,就有6家4S店。可能只有三四線城市網點比較少的經銷商才能賺到錢。”滬上一家比亞迪經銷店銷售經理李響(化名)告訴記者。

經銷商網點太多了。2008年比亞迪在上海有7家4S店,其中A1網4家, A2網3家。2009年的時候增加了5家4S店,其中A1網有7家,A2網有5家。2010年經銷店數量翻倍增加,其中A1網8家,A2網9家, A3、A4網5家。

不同的網銷售的是不同的車型。雖然廠家分網絡銷售,實際上經銷商還是可以銷售其他網絡的車型。為了方便消費者的舉動,卻因為市場需求的不同步,而出現了商家的價格戰。

比亞迪內部人士也坦陳,2009年和2010年廠家就是發展經銷商網絡和逼經銷商壓庫。2010年經銷商數量增加了一倍,銷量卻只有10%的增長,經銷商銷量和單車利潤也急劇下滑。

隨著市場形勢不好,比亞迪遭到了終端經銷商的集體抵制。從去年5月份河南經銷商退網開始,之后成都、北京、浙江、山東等地區的經銷商陸續出現“退網”。上述比亞迪內部人士告訴記者,2010年退網的經銷商超過300家,退網比例超過20%。

業內人士認為,當車市好的時候,比亞迪汽車的擴張契合市場走向,廠商和經銷商都可以賺到錢,但是市場不好的時候,比亞迪沒有及時改變自己的渠道以及市場策略,就很容易出現經銷商“反水”。

渠道擴張

不過,在兩年前,比亞迪汽車和經銷商都充滿斗志。兩年前,張樺神清氣爽,語氣中掩飾不住喜悅,“我要在上海開5家比亞迪店,其中2家比亞迪4S店、3家直營店。”事實上他也這么做了,他建店的信心來自他樂觀看待車市的走向和比亞迪未來。

2009年A2網只有5家店,他們店年銷售額達到了1.4億元,他希望通過覆蓋更多的網點來增加銷量。但是他建店的速度還是沒有趕上比亞迪建店的速度。

比亞迪一位區域經理坦承,從2009年開始,每個區域經理都有必須要完成的“開渠”任務,當時也的確是為了開發而開發,只要完成任務就好。

“比亞迪汽車給經銷商畫的餅非常大,廠家政策看起來非常優厚,很多經銷商都認為比亞迪的投資回報率還不錯。其實經銷商很難完成銷量目標,最後可能會陷入無休止的怪圈。”一家合資品牌網絡渠道部高級經理告訴記者。

“2009年是比亞迪招商比較瘋狂的時候,門檻非常低。只要商家有地,交上保證金50萬到200萬不等都能加入,有個樣板門面就可以賣車。哪怕2個店的地址隔了幾百米他都讓你建,浦東的中馳4S店和弘仁4S店距離相差不到1公里。”李響說。

降低了經銷商入圍門檻后,因為房子拆遷突然有錢,服裝店老板、修理廠的老板都加入了銷售比亞迪的網絡渠道。缺少汽車銷售經驗,管理能力弱是這些4S店的短板,這為后來比亞迪網絡渠道的“反水”埋下隱患。

通過新品來分設網絡和擴張渠道,遲來的比亞迪的汽車一時間成為自主品牌中增速最快的企業。2007年比亞迪的經銷商數量在300家左右,一年后躍升到500家,2010年增至1200多家。

從當時來看,網絡渠道以及比亞迪采取的銷售策略確實幫助比亞迪銷量連續5年翻倍增長。2005年,比亞迪F3上市,比亞迪2006年完成5萬銷量,2007年10萬銷量,2008年翻倍到20萬,2009年實現接近44.5萬輛的銷量,按照每年翻倍的速度, 2015年比亞迪或許真能實現銷量全國第一,2025年全球第一的愿景。

調整渠道

不過,制造業有其自然發展的規律,不以一家企業的發展和愿景為參照物。在汽車產業歷史上,還沒有一家汽車公司能夠持續性地實現翻倍增長。

經過2年高速增長的中國車市今年突然戛然而止。根據中國汽車工業協會發布的數據,上半年我國汽車產銷915.60萬輛和932.52萬輛,同比增長2.48%和3.35%,比2010年增速的32%回落了29個百分點左右,這給一直高速擴張的比亞迪汽車打了個措手不及。

今年上半年,比亞迪銷量僅為22.58萬輛,下滑22%,但是比亞迪的經銷商仍然有上千家,不少經銷商都在等廠商政策的調整。還沒有等到政策調整,先是聽到比亞迪總經理夏治冰的辭職消息。夏治冰的離開,讓業界以及比亞迪本身再次反思比亞迪汽車的渠道管理。

廠家重量經銷商重利。經銷商投資是為了賺錢,如果經營一直虧損,肯定不會繼續再跟廠家干。上海最大的汽車經銷商集團——永達汽車相關負責人告訴記者,廠商和經銷商是共贏關系,是魚和水的關系,誰也離不開誰。

知名汽車分析師賈新光認為,這兩年的快速擴張,每家汽車企業的銷售網絡都存在經營狀況參差不齊的問題,銷售網絡的密度已經成為經銷商的隱憂。大規模建店,從短期看廠家的批發量上去了,但經銷商的利潤沒了。如果銷售渠道不穩定,即便市場復甦,也很難對銷量起到立竿見影的作用。

夏治冰在微博上承認比亞迪汽車渠道管理上的功利。夏治冰說:“由於我個人的急功近利,誤導了公司及銷售團隊。我定的策略對商家苛刻;我要求過高,團隊壓力過大后管理渠道用力太猛,傷害了經銷商朋友,於此致歉。”。

其實,在夏治冰辭職之前,比亞迪已經出現了一些調整策略,廠家不再對經銷商壓庫,經銷商根據自己的銷售能力來提車。即使不壓庫,商家網點太多,客戶都被分流了,經銷商還是面臨經營困難,仍然沒有辦法經營下去。下一步比亞迪汽車必須直面調整渠道,勸退一批能力弱的經銷商,并加強對經銷商管理能力的提升。

離開張樺辦公室前,他拋出了一個問題,“比亞迪汽車接下來2年會轉好嗎?我是退網還是再堅持一段時間?”這個問題,留給了比亞迪汽車新任總經理侯雁。

(陳巍 實習編輯)

免責聲明:本文所載資料僅供參考,并不構成投資建議

August 21, 2011

Should Investors Follow Charlie Munger Into Byd Company?

http://seekingalpha.com/article/270586-should-investors-follow-charlie-munger-into-byd-company

The recent questionable trading of former Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) employee David Sokol brought forth the fact that Charlie Munger owned Byd Company (BYDDY.PK) long before Berkshire took a large stake in the company. Of course, owning a stock for years before Berkshire bought it is quite a bit different than owning a stock for a few weeks before pitching it to Berkshire as an acquisition target.
Byd Company is a Chinese battery, mobile phone and electric car company. It was started in 1995 by Wang Chuan-Fu, a chemist and Chinese government employee, with $300,000 he raised from relatives with the intention of manufacturing rechargeable batteries. By 2000, Byd was one of the largest manufacturers of cell phone batteries and in 2003 entered the electric car market by acquiring a Chinese state-owned car company. The electric car venture was also quickly a roaring success as Byd’s F3 sedan became the best-selling sedan in China in 2009.
Munger apparently was introduced to Byd by money manager Li Lu. Lu manages an investment fund that Munger is the largest shareholder in. According to this article from Reuters, Munger invested $50 million with Lu in 2004, and a great deal of that money was invested in Byd Company.
In 2008, Munger encouraged Sokol, then-manager of Berkshire subsidiary MidAmerican, to look into Byd as an investment opportunity for Berkshire/MidAmerican. Munger thought that if he could get Sokol convinced that Byd was a great opportunity, it would be more likely that Warren Buffett could also get interested. Long story short: Sokol was impressed -- and so was Buffett, as Berkshire bought 10% of the company.
And that investment has worked out pretty well for Berkshire. At December 31, 2010, Berkshire’s stake in Byd Company was worth $1.182 billion versus an original cost of $232 million. The current share price of the unsponsored ADR $6.98, however, is off significantly from its high of $22.24 reached in 2009, and from the December 31, 2010 price of $10.95.
So that starts to get a little interesting. Buffett thought enough of the long term prospects of Byd Company to not sell when the stock reached $22.24. And now we have an opportunity to buy at $6.98. But my issue is that I have no business investing in an electric car company. I don’t know anything about the technology that Byd uses and its superiority over competitors. What I need is a sign from someone much, much smarter than me.
Perhaps we have one from Munger, who -- as you are likely aware -- is a bit of a curmudgeon who is very hard to please. He carries this over into his investing style, as he invests seldom and only in what he believes are exceptional opportunities. When he ran his hedge fund back in the 1960s and early 1970s, he favored a very concentrated portfolio, and his conviction in concentrated investing has seemingly only strengthened over time. And not only is Munger concentrated, he is really good. So if something gets his attention and I get a shot to buy at the same price, I’m interested.
Consider how he has managed the finances of the Daily Journal Corporation (DJCO). At its 2008 year end, the Daily Journal had roughly $21 million in cash and US Treasuries. One year later, the Daily Journal had $8 million of cash and US Treasuries and $54 million in marketable securities. Where did the additional 40 or so million come from? It wasn’t operations; cash flow for the year was about $8 million. It was from Munger investing virtually all of the $21 million held at the 2008 year end in Wells Fargo (WFC) in early 2009.
The link to the 10K filing is here; check out note 2, which discloses a $15 million equity investment during the year which, by year end, was worth almost $48 million.
Since that investment in early 2009, Munger hadn’t bought a single share of anything for the Daily Journal. Until the most recent quarter, that is. According to the most recent quarterly filing, the Daily Journal purchased over $10 million of two “foreign manufacturing companies.”
Anyway, given how much Munger admires Byd, what are the odds that one of those companies isn’t Byd? And given that Munger hasn’t bought a single share of anything since early 2009, what are the odds that he is making a rash, not well-thought-out investment decision now ?
Byd Company’s share price is now considerably lower than the January to March 2011 period, where Munger was likely buying. How can one resist getting to piggyback on his investment and at a better price?

July 04, 2011

In business and in personal affairs, be patient but aggressive when you know what you want; continuous learning.

Investing star Charlie Munger imparts a final few words of wisdom

Munger, billionaire Warren Buffett's investing partner for 46 years and vice chairman of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, meets with an audience of devotees in Pasadena for the last time.

By Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times

7:45 PM PDT, July 1, 2011

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The aging star met with his adoring fans for the last time Friday and basically told them to get a life.

"I don't want to be better known than this," Charlie Munger, billionaire Warren Buffett's investing partner for the last 46 years, told an audience of several hundred devotees at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Besides, he added with his trademark genial cantankerousness, "You people aren't normal."

Munger, 87, is vice chairman of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. holding company. He also has for decades run Pasadena-based Wesco Financial Corp., a mini-conglomerate that was majority-owned by Berkshire.

The annual meeting of Wesco has long been a high point of the year for Munger and Buffett fans for the opportunity to hear directly from Munger, whose unvarnished commentary on the economy, Wall Street and business in general has made him a cult hero.

Because Berkshire this spring bought the final 20% of Wesco, the company no longer will have shareholder meetings. But Munger had promised one last chance for shareholders to get together. He also opened the meeting to the public.

Munger used his opening remarks to take another jab at the "megalomania" of bankers who he says brought on the real estate bubble of the last decade. A lot of banking, he said, had become "gambling in drag."

He also said some of Wall Street's computerized traders were the equivalent of "letting rats into the granaries."

The audience ate it all up.

Herbert Yu, a 44-year-old executive at a Santa Ana printing company, said Munger and Buffett "are my heroes." Burned by dot-com stocks in the early 2000s, Yu said he soon after adopted the famed investors' "value" investing style. "I've been outperforming the market" since then, he said.

Yu brought his two children, ages 10 and 7, to the meeting because he said he wanted them to soak up Munger's wisdom — even if they weren't quite sure what they were hearing. "I made a deal with them: Sit here for one hour, and then you can go to the mall," he said.

Munger held forth for three hours, with the final two devoted to questions from his admiring audience. Many asked life-coaching questions — how to succeed in marriage, with children and in careers.

In business and in personal affairs, be patient but aggressive when you know what you want, Munger advised. He also stressed the importance of continuous learning. His current field of study: astrophysics.

Not surprisingly, some of his fans tried to draw him out for advice on individual stocks. He said Coca-Cola Co., a longtime Berkshire stock holding, was "not nearly as good a business as 20 years ago," but that as major companies go, it still was "one of my favorites."

Munger also praised Costco Wholesale Corp., on whose board he sits. The retailer "is about as admirable a capitalist enterprise as ever existed," Munger said.

A few attendees asked about Berkshire's controversial investment in Chinese automaker BYD, which has suffered a plunge in sales and earnings. Munger, who typically has great praise for China, said he "loved the people" at BYD and expected to hold the stock "to the end."

Asked whether Berkshire's own shares were a true value at the current price ($117,050 for a Class A share), Munger answered indirectly: "I think people who own Berkshire at the current price will do quite all right sitting on their patoots."

March 27, 2011

沃特・施洛斯(Walter Schloss)and Pricing Power than Management

(本文刊登于中国工商银行《现代商业银行・管理智慧》杂志2011年第2期)

纽约的基金经理人沃特・施洛斯(Walter Schloss)有两个让人印象深刻的地方,一个是他算得上在投资领域中工作最长的人——近半个世纪;另一个是在其工作的时间里,与标准普尔500指数不到10%的增长率相比,施洛斯为股东带来了平均20%多的年复合收益率,这是一个非常优秀的业绩。

施洛斯最早的投资可以追溯到1934年,那时他只有18岁,他就在华尔街上开始投资。1935年,施洛斯向一位名叫阿蒙德・俄普夫的合伙人请教如何走进“统计世界”,这位合伙人说,有个叫本杰明・格雷厄姆的人刚刚出版了一本《证券分析》。他说:“读这本书吧,如果你掌握了它说的一切就不必看别的了。”于是施洛斯从那一年起到1940年进入纽约证券交易学院,师从格雷厄姆。后来,他干脆辞去工作,效力于格雷厄姆。1946年施洛斯加盟格雷厄姆-纽曼公司。施洛斯工作的重点就是潜心寻找价格低于营运资本的股票。施洛斯通过系统研究,发现格雷厄姆-纽曼公司的经营状况非常优异。在1936-1946年10年中,美国股市总体趋势是下跌的,比如标普工业指数下跌了0.6%,而格雷厄姆-纽曼公司的年平均收益率却高达11.8%。特别是1942-1945年4年中,标普工业指数上升了26%,而格雷厄姆-纽曼公司的年平均收益率也同步上升了26.3%。

施洛斯第一次出现在人们的视野里是在1971年。当时亚当・史密斯在《超级金钱》一书中介绍了巴菲特和他谈论有关沃特・施洛斯的事迹之后,对施洛斯做了这样一番的描述:他从来不运用或接触有用的资讯。在华尔街几乎没有人认识他,所以没有人提供他有关投资的观念。他只参考手册上的数字,并要求企业寄年报给他,情况便是如此。当把沃特介绍他们认识时,巴菲特曾经说施洛斯“从来没有忘记自己是在管理别人的资金,这进一步强化了他对于风险的厌恶。”史密斯写道,沃特有高尚的品格.并以务实的态度自持。对他来说.金钱是真实的,股票也真实的——并从此而接受了“安全边际”的原则。沃特的投资组合极为分散,目前拥有的股票远越过100支。他了解如何选股,将价格远低于其价值者出售给私人投资者。这便是他所做的一切。他不担心目前是不是一月份,不在乎今天是不是星期一,也不关心今年是不是大选年。他的想法非常单纯,如果某家公司值一美元,若我能够以40美分买进,我迟早会获利。他便是如此不断地行动:他所持有的股票种类远比巴菲特的多,而且比巴菲特更不关心企业的本质;巴菲特对沃特似乎没有太大的影响力。这是他的长处之—,没有人能够对他产生足够的影响力。

第二次施洛斯出现在人们的视野里是在1984年。当时沃伦・巴菲特在哥伦比亚大学发表题为《格雷厄姆-多德都市里的超级投资者们》的著名演讲,举的第一个例子就是施洛斯。早在学生时代,巴菲特就在哥伦比亚大学遇见施洛斯,那时施洛斯是参加了格雷厄姆的夜间课程。后来两人一起在格雷厄姆-纽曼工作。有一次巴菲特前往新泽西参加一家格雷厄姆持有股份的公司年会,而同样在格雷厄姆-纽曼公司工作的沃特・施洛斯刚好也在那里。他们开始交谈,一起吃中饭,从此成为好友。巴菲特说沃特没有上过大学,但他在纽约金融学院选修了本・格雷厄姆教授的夜间课程。1955年离开了格雷厄姆—纽曼公司,在其后28年中,他取得了优秀的投资业绩记录。巴菲特回忆他和施洛斯的往事,亚当・史密斯就是经他介绍采访施洛斯的。后来史密斯将施洛斯的事迹写进了《超级金钱》。

当施洛斯第三次出现在人们的视野里是在2001年。当时哥伦比亚大学商学院著名教授布鲁斯・格林威尔在《价值投资:从格雷厄姆到巴菲特》中花了整整一个章节介绍施洛斯。格林威尔称施洛斯是“极简抽象主义者”。说他的办公室很简陋,从来不访问客户,很少谈管理理念,不和分析师交流,也不上网,不会被说服做他不愿意做的事,甚至和别人谈话时,也要限制时间。他只相信自己的分析,长期以来遵循他的惯例:只买便宜的股票。这一方法使得他几乎专注于研究上市公司每个季度发布的财务报告。施洛斯的投资策略就是“买便宜的”。这里的便宜是指相对于价值的价格。施洛斯最注意的就是价格下跌的股票。最好的情况就是股票能下跌到2年或3年来的最低点,而通常是大多数投资者最不能容忍的事,大多数投资者只注意大家都看好的股票。

施洛斯只买股票,既不会投资于金融衍生工具,也不会购买股指或者商品,更不会卖空——他曾经卖空过,并且从中赚了钱,然而这种经历却令人不快。他绝不会试图控制市场,尽管他会借助市场来知道到底那只股票更便宜。当他找到一只便宜的股票时,他甚至会在他分析研究完成之前就把它买下来,而事实上,他对很多公司都有一个很基本的了解,他还通过价值线或标普指南迅速浏览这家公司的财务状况。施洛斯认为,要想真正了解一只股票,唯一的办法就是去购买它。由于他持有的时间一般是4至5年,因此他有足够的时间来进一步了解这家公司。他会继续查看季度报表,当然也不会忽略价格波动,甚至是每股2美分的收益或损失。施洛斯所关注的公司通常不处于那些变化快的行业,因此他可以原地不动的等待着。这就是格林威尔所说的“极简抽象主义”。

施洛斯的儿子名叫埃德温,埃德温是施洛斯好助手,他完全秉承他父亲的投资原则,因此父子俩同心同德。但是埃德温认为他也非常容易犯错误。这就是首次往往买进太多,以至于当价格进一步滑落时无法再买进。如果他首次买进后,价格不再进一步下跌,那么他的决策就是正确的。但是许多时候事与愿违,当然他也总有机会能够将平均成本降低,即以更低的价格进一步买进。因为父子俩久经沙场,他们不相信市场会与他们背道而驰,他们坚信价格是会回升的。当几十年的良好收益证实了他们的睿智时,谦虚就逐渐转为自信。

施洛斯是一位优秀的基金管理人,他对他的客户始终忠贞不渝。在基金没有获利的年份,施洛斯为了将支出控制在最低水平,甚至取消了自己应得的管理报酬。施洛斯说:“如果我的工作没有做好,就不应该获得报酬。”对此,巴菲特由衷地赞叹施洛斯说:“我想施洛斯的经营方式为我们所有人都上了深刻的一课(芒格已经领会其中的要义)。施洛斯持有所罗门兄弟公司的股票有一年之久,收益显著,而正是这只股票令伯克希尔不得不开动‘不可或缺号’(指巴菲特的私人飞机)的引擎,载着我往返于纽约和奥马哈之间穷于应付。”在施洛斯的股东里,有的股东的父母就曾是他的股东,有的甚至三代都是他的股东。他们当中的许多人算不上是有钱人,因此他们把钱投放在施洛斯的公司里,对于他们来说是非常重要的。这也是为什么施洛斯下定决心不辱使命的原因。不过,有意思的是,施洛斯就是不愿意向股东们透露他所买的股票名称,因为他所投资的通常都是一些拿不出手的股票。这使得人们不能在鸡尾酒会或者是其他什么地方可以吹嘘一下。

1994年,在纽约金融协会举办的格雷厄姆诞辰100周年的纪念仪式上,巴菲特和施洛斯进行了一次亲密的谈话。巴菲特说,格雷厄姆觉得任何形式都是一种欺骗,例如召开只有高层管理人员参加的会议,却将个人投资者排除在外。然而巴菲特倾向于进行“善意的欺骗”,但是在这方面施洛斯却是保守分子。在过去几年里,施洛斯的确已经取得了不俗的投资记录。施洛斯不喜欢跟管理层谈话或者与人们进行过多的交流,是因为他曾经亲眼目睹了格雷厄姆向一个投资商透漏了一只股票后,当他回到办公室时,那只股票上涨得他都无法购买。施洛斯相信,相对而言,股票更容易打交道,因为它不会和你争论,不会有情绪,你也不需要把它紧紧握在手中。他说,如今的巴菲特是个非同寻常的家伙,因为他不仅是位优秀的分析师,还是优秀的推销员,是一位有着卓越判断能力的人,这些特质是非同寻常的组合。施洛斯坚信,如果他打算收购某人的公司,巴菲特第二天肯定会退出。但有时施洛斯会觉得对巴菲特的性格或其他因素判断失误,抑或是施洛斯可能自己觉得没有意识到,巴菲特的确是由于不喜欢这一公司,真的想出售该公司才放弃的。当买下某家公司后,巴菲特会放手让公司原来的管理层继续经营该公司,这也是一个特殊的显著的特点。

施洛斯最大的“缺点” 是喜欢拥有大量的股票,最多时会有100只,不过往往最大的20只股票占了大约60%的份额。有时候他甚至会使用60%的资金来购买单只股票,这样的集中度一般是罕见的。巴菲特并不赞成他的这些做法,但是施洛斯说他无法控制自己。施洛斯说,“你必须做一些令自己觉得开心的事情,即使这些事情可能并不像巴菲特所从事的事情那样有利可图,毕竟巴菲特是独一无二的。”施洛斯拥有这么多的股票,其实其中某一单一股票的风险并不显著,他试图根据资产而非收益来买进被低估的股票。依据资产而非收益进行判断,使施洛斯的投资活动得到了改善,因为收益容易发生变动。巴菲特坚持自己的观点,认为施洛斯拥有数不清的证券,是“二手雪茄烟蒂”的投资方法:你找到了这些充分燃烧、只剩烟蒂的雪茄,它们是免费的,你把它们捡起来,还可以抽上一口。但任何事物都是有价的。巴菲特说,“最近施洛斯罕见地说他要买一根‘新雪茄’,但他是在削价处理时买的。”

施洛斯在另一场合这样评价巴菲特;“从来都没有人能做到像他那样……因为要使公司实现持续的增长是非常困难的,也许有一天他会用它(伯克希尔)吞并加拿大。”关于伯克希尔公司居高不下的股价,施洛斯认为把只有发行在外的公司股票数量乘以股价之后得到的市值,再与其他收入和资产规模都较小的市值进行比较才是明智的,“但遗憾的是,人们通常并不考虑他们打算买进股票的那个公司的市值,他们仅仅关注每股价格而不是公司的价值。”

施洛斯就是这样,他有自己独立的思考。实际上在1980年代以前,巴菲特基本上就是实施这种投资策略的。当然,后来巴菲特又揉进了菲利普・费雪的成长投资策略,这也不能说明巴菲特就是错误的或者是“背叛”了,这只是两个人的投资风格不同而已。施洛斯从格雷厄姆那里学到了买入廉价股的策略,坚持五十年不动摇,却从未想去改变它,而且任凭时光的流逝、风云的变幻,任何人也不能对他施以影响,从这一点上说,他确实是格雷厄姆最忠实的信徒。

 巴菲特:我选股最看重企业定价力而非管理

http://www.sina.com.cn  2011年02月18日 20:54  新浪财经

  新浪财经讯 北京时间2月18日晚上消息,据美国金融危机调查委员会(FCIC)发布的谈话录影带,股神巴菲特(Warren Buffett)在与FCIC对话时指出,他评估一家企业时主要看重企业提高产品价格的能力,有时他甚至不会考虑谁掌管这家公司或管理的水平如何。

  巴菲特表示:“评估一家企业时唯一重要的决定性因素是定价能力。如果你有能力提价而业务又不会流向竞争对手,你拥有的就是一家很好的企业。如果你在提价10%前还要祈祷,你拥有的就是一家糟糕的企业。”

  现年80岁的巴菲特是世界第三号富豪,他的个人财富源自辉煌的股票投资和企业收购生涯。巴菲特曾收购过铁路和发电商等诸多企业,这些企业的定价力源自其客户几乎找不到其他选择。巴菲特还增持了可口可乐和卡夫食品等公司的股份,这类企业的品牌具有吸引力,能够吸引和留住客户。

  巴菲特在录影带中还称:“出色的企业并不必然需要良好的管理。”FCIC对巴菲特的调查集中在他对穆迪公司的投资上。一些国会议员曾批评道,这家债券评级机构在房地产泡沫期向客户提供了虚夸的信用评级。巴菲特的回答是,他持有穆迪的股票是因为穆迪的市场份额领先,它与主要对手标普的强强组合使两家公司具有很大的定价灵活度。

  巴菲特指出:“我对穆迪的管理层一无所知。如果你拥有一个城镇上唯一的一家报纸,这种状况持续了约五年时间,你就拥有了定价能力,你不用到办公室施加太多的管理。”

  加州大学伯克利分校哈斯商学院的经济学教授赫马林(Benjamin E. Hermalin)则认为,具有市场统治地位并不能阻止恶劣的管理随着时间的推移毁掉一家企业。

  去年巴菲特以265亿美元收购了伯灵顿北圣达菲公司,该公司拥有美国西部地区连接煤炭、谷类和消费者产品生产商及销售商的总计超过3万英里的铁路。巴菲特掌管的伯克希尔-哈撒韦集团麾下的电力公司:中美能源控股也拥有定价能力,它向美国大平原地区的家庭出售电力,还负责从怀俄明州向加州输送天然气。(立悟)

March 25, 2011

Louis who?

A Maestro of Investments in the Style of Buffett

CHICAGO — Warren E. Buffett is hardly a man of mystery.

But when investors gather in Omaha in two weeks for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, there will be a nagging question mark over the head of the 76-year-old chairman: who might someday replace him in each of the two roles he plays — chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, and its chief investment officer?

A bit more is known about the choice of a future chief executive. Mr. Buffett has said there are three candidates from various Berkshire-owned companies. Buffett watchers speculate that the list includes David L. Sokol of MidAmerican Energy Holdings; Ajit Jain, head of the reinsurance division of Berkshire's National Indemnity Company; Tony Nicely, chief executive of Geico; Joseph P. Brandon, chairman of General Re; and Richard T. Santulli, founder of NetJets.

The bigger mystery is who will become the chief investment officer. Mr. Buffett says he does not know himself. On this point of succession, "frankly, we are not as well prepared," he wrote in his 2006 shareholder letter last month.

Here is a clue, though. He or she will probably be a lot like Louis Simpson.

Louis who?

Mr. Simpson, 70, has long overseen the investment portfolio of Geico, the insurance company Berkshire owns, which is now valued at more than $4 billion. He is also the only man other than Mr. Buffett who has managed stock investments in Berkshire's portfolio.

Mr. Buffett is a big fan. "He is the kind of person we are looking for: smart, classy, loyal," he said of Mr. Simpson in a telephone interview on Friday. But Mr. Simpson is just six years younger than Mr. Buffett, who has written that "for the long term, though, we need a different answer."

Applicants would do well to learn from Mr. Simpson, which is easier now that he has agreed to his first interview since Berkshire Hathaway gained total control of Geico in 1995.

In many ways, Mr. Simpson, whose title at Geico is chief executive for capital operations, is a lot like his boss. The two have the same general distaste for technology stocks. They both favor intensive research to find attractive companies to invest in, and they share a willingness to bet on returns from just a handful of stocks.

In terms of style, though, there are some major differences. Mr. Simpson, a deliberate, slow-talking executive, has maintained much lower visibility. "I have always felt I could do a better job in adding value by being somewhat removed from the circus and parimutuel atmosphere of the market," he said.

Mr. Simpson works in Chicago, where he moved from the La Jolla district of San Diego two years ago because his second wife, Kimberly, a chemical engineer, missed the energy of urban life.

Though he is already well-connected among Chicago's power brokers, he tends to describe people in terms like "fancy" if they are not the plain-spoken types that populate Berkshire's host of companies.

Mr. Simpson's work life is similarly low-key. On a recent spring day, he sat in his three-room office suite on North Michigan Avenue here, where he works with a small staff, explaining that it had been a particularly busy time.

Busy, though, is relative. There were no researchers running around, no Bloomberg terminals, and no interruptions. "We are sort of the polar opposites of a lot of investors," Mr. Simpson said. "We do a lot of thinking and not a lot of acting. A lot of investors do a lot of acting, and not a lot of thinking."

He does not crow about Geico's performance except to say that "it has been very, very good," and he is disarmingly honest about investments that have not worked out.

"Pier 1 was a horrible mistake," he acknowledged. "It was our own doing. They were totally out of touch fashion-wise, and it was a disaster."

Such mistakes notwithstanding, his track record has even led Mr. Buffett to brag about him periodically. In 2004, the only time that Berkshire ever stated Geico's performance separately, Mr. Simpson over 24 years had posted a 20 percent average annual gain, surpassing the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index by 6.8 percentage points.

Since 2004, Geico's results have been somewhat better than the S.& P. index, he said, declining to be specific. In 2005, the S.& P. was up 4.9 percent, compounded. In 2006, it rose 15.8 percent.

"He has an amazing record," Mr. Buffett said in the interview. "He does not make a lot of noise about it. He is a very sensible, sound, decent guy."

To find stocks, Mr. Simpson does not read analysts' reports. "They have their own agenda," he said.

Nor does he search data on the Bloomberg terminal for ideas. "If I have the Bloomberg on, I find I am looking at what the market is doing," he said. "I am looking at every news story. I really like to be the one who is parsing the information, rather than having a lot of irrelevant information thrown at me."

Sometimes he speaks with Mr. Buffett several times a week and sometimes not for a month or two. Mr. Simpson makes his own decisions and essentially works alone.

"The more people you have, the more difficult it is to do well," he said. "You have to satisfy everybody. If you have a limited number of decision makers, they are more likely to agree."

It is hard to know which stocks are Geico's and which are Mr. Buffett's picks. Mr. Simpson holds about 10 major positions: According to filings with the Maryland Insurance Administration, they are in American Standard, Nike, Comcast, Costco Wholesale, First Data, Home Depot, ServiceMaster and UnitedHealth Group (he bought it after the stock-option scandal). Geico's biggest position is Tesco of Britain, a stock also owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Mr. Simpson found Nike, one of Geico's most successful holdings, through a stake in the rival Reebok. He had hired a journalist-turned researcher, and the researcher thought that Reebok was the "cat's meow," Mr. Simpson recalled, adding: "Paul Fireman ran the company, but not particularly well. The more we got into it, the more I saw the really quality company with the franchise and sports brand was Nike. It was truly a worldwide brand that did not have a lot of penetration in growing parts of the world such as Asia."

Thomas Russo, a partner in Gardner Russo & Gardner, also studied that industry for investors. Geico "did an enormous amount of research," he said. "They wanted to understand the management questions," adding, "We were researching companies in that same sector, and we had a pretty good idea of what was going on."

Mr. Simpson, who grew up in Chicago and has three sons, began his investing career at Stein Roe & Farnham. During a heady investment period in the late 1960s, he learned the perils of market timing when he worked for Shareholders Management, then a hot fund company run by Fred Carr. But when the market turned, Shareholders' Enterprise Fund took a nose dive, and there were substantial redemptions. Mr. Simpson resigned. "I viewed myself an investor, and they were trading-oriented," he said.

From there, he joined Western Asset Management where he rose to chief executive. Still, that firm basically followed analysts' recommendations.

It was not until Geico's chairman, John J. Byrne, called him in 1979 to become its chief investment officer that Mr. Simpson found a niche where he could put his own ideas to work. Berkshire Hathaway was already a shareholder in Geico, and Mr. Byrne sent several candidates to see Mr. Buffett about the management job. After a four-hour interview with Mr. Simpson, Mr. Buffett called Mr. Byrne. "Stop the search," Mr. Bryne recalled him saying. "That's the fellow."

Mr. Simpson's compensation has not been disclosed since Berkshire took over Geico in 1995. At that time, he received a moderate salary and a bonus based on how much the portfolio outperformed the S.& P. 500. He said that structure had not changed.

Mr. Buffett has noted that Mr. Simpson could probably make more money elsewhere. Mr. Simpson says he is not tempted.

Does the fact that Mr. Buffett seeks a younger heir for the long term upset him?

"If he would have asked me to take over the investments for Berkshire, I certainly would have done it," Mr. Simpson said, "but I certainly did not seek it out or wait for it to happen."

That kind of patience has proved to be its own reward. "Lou can keep running money as long as he wants," Mr. Buffett said.

February 11, 2011

Interview: Top Indian Value Investor Chetan Parikh Outlines His Fundamental Approach

http://seekingalpha.com/article/173189-interview-top-indian-value-investor-chetan-parikh-outlines-his-fundamental-approach

I’m exceptionally proud and honored to present an interview with one of the top value investors of India, Mr. Chetan Parikh. This interview with Mr. Parikh represents one of the highlights of my career. Mr. Parikh is a man whom I admire and who has extensively contributed to the value investing community (via Capital Ideas Online and his numerous writings). I hope you enjoy the interview.


Mr. Chetan Parikh’s Background


Chetan Parikh is a Director of Jeetay Investments Private Limited, an asset management firm registered with SEBI. He holds an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business and a BSc in Statistics & Economics from the University of Bombay. He has been investing in the Indian capital markets through proprietary investment companies and family trusts.


Chetan was rated amongst India’s best investors by Business India magazine. He is also the co-promoter of capitalideasonline.com, a well regarded investment website. His writings have been published in Business Standard, Business World, The Economic Times, and Business India. He is a visiting faculty member at Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (University of Bombay) for the MBA course.



Opening Questions


Q. There are many different approaches to investing. What led you to choose the value approach?


A. Value investing is a logical, safe and disciplined approach to investing. It requires a lot of patience which fits in with my temperament.

Q. Which investors do you admire? Besides these investors who else has influenced you?

A. Any value investor can learn a lot from the Masters. In India I’ve listened to and learnt from Prof. Rusi Jal Taraporevala and Mr. Chandrakant Sampat.

Q. What’s your opinion of the efficient markets hypothesis and practitioners of technical analysis?

A. I believe that the efficient market hypothesis in the various avatars (strong, semi-strong and weak) is not correct. Sometimes prices deviate far away from intrinsic values and it is possible to earn high risk adjusted returns. In fact, the lower the downside risk, the higher can be the upside reward. I do not know anything about technical analysis.

Q. Tell us about your approach to fundamental analysis-what is your focus? How do you search for your investment ideas? Where do most of these ideas come from? Describe your evaluation process (both quantitative & qualitative)? How long do you hold on to your positions?

A. My firm, Jeetay, principally invests in publicly traded Indian securities and seeks to maximize investors’ capital by buying securities trading at values materially lower than their true business value.

Jeetay aims to achieve high absolute rates of return while minimizing risk of capital loss. Jeetay combines the analytical vigor of determining the fair value of a security with a deep understanding of the Indian markets. Jeetay will invest in securities where it can ascertain the reasons for the market’s mispricing and the likelihood of the mispricing being corrected.

Jeetay follows the value investment philosophy, which means that the objective is to buy a security trading at a significant discount to its intrinsic value. Since the focus is on discovering undervalued stocks, the fund doesn’t base its investments on macro-economic factors like GDP growth.

Jeetay determines intrinsic value as the present value of the future cash flows of a company discounted at a rate that properly reflects the time value of the money and the risks associated with the cash flows. In other cases Jeetay invests in “Special Situations” which involve the following:

Repositioning assets to higher uses
Mergers and acquisitions / open offers
Restructuring troubled companies
Spin-offs
Buybacks
The fund invests in a company if the market price is quoting at a discount of at least 60% to the intrinsic value. It sells when the market value approaches intrinsic value or it finds a security trading at a steeper discount to intrinsic value.

Jeetay believes that while in the long term, a company is valued by its fundamentals, short term mispricing occurs due to investor psychology, liquidity and macroeconomic factors. This provides opportunities for the diligent and patient investor to make outstanding risk-adjusted returns.

The time horizon of Jeetay is 3-5 years. It believes that short-term market movements can be volatile and the market may recognize mispricing only in the medium to long term. Hence the emphasis is on understanding the corporate strategy and the resultant cash flows for a 3-5 year period. The probability of the markets recognizing the mispricing becomes high over the medium to long-term period.

The firm does not limit its investments to certain asset classes or sectors. The fund evaluates any sector or asset class where a conservative estimate of intrinsic value is determinable with a reasonably high probability and invests if the security is available at a reasonable margin of safety.

The firm does extensive research to arrive at estimates of expected cash flows, asset values and earnings. Jeetay culls information from public databases, quarterly and annual filings, annual reports, meetings with management, competitors, vendors, customers and other industry participants, industry experts, trade journals and bankers. Jeetay has extensive networks in India to get data and information for superior analysis. Jeetay believes that a disciplined private equity approach to investing that stresses on buying at a discount to intrinsic value will deliver consistent absolute above average investment returns and safeguard capital irrespective of the state of the markets.

Jeetay believes that the following steps are essential to its process:

1. Opportunity Identification. Jeetay identifies opportunities through a multitude of ways. Jeetay has numerous financial models and screens that are used to filter investment opportunities within the framework of the investment philosophy. Jeetay has many contacts and professional relationships. This gives it many opportunities consistent with the investment philosophy.

2. Analysis. Jeetay does intensive financial and qualitative analysis on companies once an opportunity is identified. The analysis is mainly to arrive at whether a disparity exists or not between the traded value of the security and its intrinsic value. Jeetay has substantial experience in determining the intrinsic value of a company across sectors. Multiple valuation metrics including discounted cash flow analysis, price to earnings, dividend discount model, price to sales, price to book, comparative analysis is used to arrive at the valuation of a company.

Other than financial analysis, Jeetay extensively meets every possible associate of the company to understand the opportunity better. These include vendors, customers, middle management, bankers, competitors, large stakeholders and senior management. This helps Jeetay arrive at a closer intrinsic value and also exit an investment if unfavourable events arise or the team’s original calculation of intrinsic value was wrong.

The analysis would focus on the 3B’s, – Understanding the business, analyzing the balance sheet and looking for bargains.

Take each in turn:

Business: What is the nature of the business and its competitive strengths and weaknesses? What is the competitive ecological niche that it occupies and how protected are its profits from predators there? What are the nature of the entry barriers or ‘moats’ - intangible assets, switching costs, network effects, cost advantages? How wide and deep are the moats? Does the business cover its cost of capital? A qualitative assessment of the business should be made to understand whether it is a superior or inferior business. Evidence of pricing power or the ability to lower cost of production and distribution should be searched for.
Balance Sheet: In order of importance is the balance sheet, the cash flow statement and the profit and loss account.
Bargains: One need not to be able to determine value exactly to know whether a stock is cheap or not. As Ben Graham wrote, “To use a homely smile, it is quite possible to decide by inspection that a woman is old enough to vote without knowing her age, or that a man is heavier than he should be without knowing his weight.” A discount to value, a ‘margin of safety’ is paramount, without which an investor is relying on the whims of “Mr. Market” for his investment return.
Q. As a follow up question, how do you determine intrinsic value?


A. The textbook definition of Intrinsic Value is the present value of the future cash flows discounted at a rate that realistically reflects the time value of money, risk and volatility of the cash flows.

The problem is that it is difficult to:

1. determine the future free cash flows

2. determine the discount rate

3. determine the terminal value

There are very few companies, i.e. those that are franchises earning well over their cost of capital and growing whose intrinsic value can be calculated using the Dcf approach. Ben Graham’s method of bargain identification is useful in other cases.

You don’t have to calculate intrinsic value with precision (especially where it is not possible) to know whether a stock is cheap in seldom to its value or not.

Q. Do you invest in foreign companies? If so, do you evaluate foreign companies different than those based in India and how do you hedge currency exposure(s)?


A. I have not invested in foreign companies as of yet. Sitting in India, I would have to invest in the large cap stocks in foreign markets, and have not as yet found large caps in USA to be cheap in relation to my investing universe in India. Whilst markets may change, valuation principles are universal-they are the same whether it’s the USA or India.

Q. How many stocks do you typically hold in your portfolio?

A. In my family portfolio, given the time horizon and tax considerations, there is a heavy concentration on a few stocks that have franchise value and entry barriers. There are smaller positions, but the bulk of the portfolio is in a handful of stocks.


In the managed accounts, price in relation to value is of paramount importance and many of the businesses are clearly not franchises. The portfolio thus in the managed accounts tends to be more diversified with roughly around 18-25 positions. Cash is carried at all times in the managed portfolios, the level directly correlated with the valuation of the broad market.



Q. Do you invest in any fixed income? If so, tell us about the role of fixed income investments in your portfolio.

A. I do not normally invest in fixed income securities. Cash is usually a default position and varies directly with the level of the market. The cash is usually kept in the bank or in money market funds. I do not like to take a credit risk with money that I know will eventually be opportunistically deployed in the stock markets. The key is to be able to sit on your low-yielding cash without losing your patience.


Q. . How do you judge a company’s management?

A. There are three ways of looking at management:


1. their integrity

2. their competence – both operational and in capital allocation

3. their corporate governance

In the end you want to deal with people who do not make your stomach churn. Integrity and competence are both necessary in top management. Finally there is the factor of the passion to improve the game by never becoming complacent.

Sometimes a good price can cover a multitude of sins, including poor management. But if I had to hold a non-franchise investment for any length of time, management would certainly be an important factor. In many cases, it is the jockey, not the horse that one should bet on.

Q. What makes you sell an investment?

A. I sell when:

My original thesis was wrong
Price is reached
A better option comes along
Ben Graham’s criteria should be kept in mind. Switch for:

1. Increased security

2. Larger yield

3. Greater chance for profit

4. Better marketability

Q. How do you look at risk?

A. Risk is very subjective. Academic theory has one definition of risk namely standard deviation which is wrong. Actually, if one had to use statistical distributions to measure risk, then there are three dimensions, Variance, Skewness & Kurtosis.

I do not think however that risk can only be captured by statistical measures. To me, risk is simply the chance of permanent loss of capital and an investors’ job is to eliminate that risk. He may not be able to do so for individual securities, even with a margin of safety, but he has to do it in a portfolio context.

Q. What’s your take on leverage?

A. Leverage is one of the two things that can cause a permanent loss of capital to a value investor. Avoid it, unless you are willing to take a risk of a permanent loss to your capital. The other thing that can cause a permanent loss of capital is holding on to overvalued stocks, but I assume that a value investor would not do that.

I always carry cash for optionality, rather than borrow against my holdings should the opportunity arise.


Q. Do you invest in commodities, gold, real estate, etc? If so what has been your experience with these classes?

A. I have legacy investments in real estate. I view it as an inflation hedge and a different asset class in the portfolio.

Currently I have investments in gold as a hedge against a highly likely decline in the value of the dollar and a meltdown in financial assets. The economic problems in US are severe and the wrong treatment is being given. When fiscal and monetary insanity prevails, gold always reigns supreme. I’m not making a directional bet on gold prices – it is only a hedge against my financial investments.

Q. Tell us a little more about your involvement with special situations?

A. It depends on the definition of “special situations”. If special situations means a value stock with identifiable catalysts like change in management, operational and financing restructuring, buybacks, mergers and acquisitions etc, then we certainly do invest in special situations. We have investments in spin offs and in open offers as a result of takeovers.


Q. Have you ever taken the role as an activist investor, would you ever do so?

A. I’ve never wanted to take a confrontational attitude with management although sometimes I’m forced to. If I’m not happy with their policies, I sell - but my aim is to influence management through logic and rationality, not through financial blackmail.

There is a grey area however. I’ve been connected with the press through my columns in various newspapers and magazines and I’ve written about instances of corporate misgovernance there. But I’ve never threatened management.

I do not have the temperament to fight management or for that matter, anybody. I believe in exiting relationships where there is no mutual respect, rather than slugging it out for dominance.


Q. We understand that you are very focused on bottom up value investing-what has the financial crisis taught you?

A. I wrote this piece awhile ago and it would be related to the question above.

It may be interesting to use a cross-disciplinary approach to the problems and mistakes made by banks in the sub-prime market.

The power of rewards that leads to repeated actions and the flawed compensation structure that led to misaligned incentives could be one mental model. As Raghuram Rajan pointed out in Financial Times (Jan 9, 2008), the compensation practices in the financial sector are deeply flawed. The compensation is based on the so-called ‘alpha’ that a manager of financial asset generates. There are three sources of ‘alpha’:

1) Truly special abilities in identifying undervalued assets (eg. Warren Buffett)

2) Activism – using financial resources to create, or obtain control over, real assets and to use the control to change the payout obtained on the financial investment.

3) Financial engineering – financial innovation or creating securities that appeal to particular investors.

Many managers create ‘fake alpha’ i.e. they appear to create excess returns but are taking on ‘tail’ risks which produce a steady return most of the time as compensation for the very rare, very negative returns (‘black swans’). The AAA rated CDOs generated higher returns than similar AAA rated bonds. The ‘tail risk’, so evident in hindsight, of the CDO defaulting was not as small as perceived and so the excess return was compensation for that.

The credit rating agencies that rated these securities as AAA because of their ‘insured’ status were themselves wrongly incentivized (compensated by the issuers of the securities). Furthermore once their peers started issuing AAA ratings, ‘social proof’ came into play and the ratings war as to who assigned the highest ratings for junk became a classic Prisoners’ Dilemma..

This is proving to be a game of chicken between the regulators and the players (banks and monoline insurers). In a classic game of chicken, two cars drive towards each other. The first driver who turns loses. Of course, if neither car swerves then there is a crash. The best outcome for each player results when he goes straight whilst his opponent turns. Insane players have a massive edge in a game of chicken. At this point of time, the jury is out given the level of insanity in the system.


Q. How have you evolved as an investor?

A. I guess the process of evolution is never over. I started out knowing nothing but efficient markets and so the leap to value investing was a big one. I know I’ll never leap out of value investing, but the nuances may undergo changes, as also my ability to widen and deepen my circle of competence.


Q. What is the most interesting part of your job?

A. It is searching for investment ideas, working out the odds and reading from a wide variety of sources.



Q. Which books would you recommend?

A. Here are a few, but they are by no means exhaustive.

Everything by Jared Diamond
Everything by Garett Hardin
“The Road to Serfdom” - Friedrich Hayek
“The Prophet of Innovation”
“More than your know” - Michael Mauboussin
“The Robot’s Rebellion”
“The mind of the market” - Michael Shermer
Try to read all of Mr. Munger’s book recommendations and also the books in Mr. Peter Bevelin’s Bibliography in “Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger”. I do not think that I’ll be able to read all the books that have been recommended in my life time but I’m going to give it a shot.

Q. What is the biggest mistake keeping investors from reaching their goals? How have you guarded yourself against this folly?

A. Greed, fear, sloth and envy are the four emotions that are positively inimical to becoming a better investor.


Meditation, detachment from results, but attachment to efforts, yoga, discipline in living and thinking are some of the ways for self-improvement in investing.

One must also have an open mind to new ideas and try to become in the words of Mr. Munger “a learning machine.”

Q. What should investors understand before investing in India?

A. Indian markets are very volatile, so be very careful on entry prices. “Growth” is a seductive term and stories woven about growth even more seductive, but be very careful of paying too much for it. Homework matters. Liquidity can dry up, so be clear whether you can live with relatively illiquid positions.

Closing Questions


Q. If you could do anything besides allocating capital what would you do?


A. I would teach and write more often than I do.


Q. What message/advice would you give to readers of SimoleonSense?


A. Read a lot, be disciplined, be humble about your knowledge and stay within your circle of competence.


Q. What does the future hold for you, your funds, and website? Are you going to do this forever?


A. As long as I can, mentally and physically.



Miguel Barbosa: Mr. Parikh thank you for taking the time to interview with us.

Benjamin Graham and Security Analysis: A Reminiscence

Benjamin Graham and Security Analysis: A Reminiscence
Walter J. Schloss
http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/24/04712447/0471244724.pdf

Ben Graham was an original thinker as well as a clear thinker. He had
high ethical standards and was modest and unassuming. He was one
of a kind. I worked for him for nearly 10 years as a security analyst.
In re-reading the preface to the first edition of Security Analysis, I
am impressed all over again with Ben’s views. I quote . . . “[W]e are
concerned chiefly with concepts, methods, standards, principles, and
above all with logical reasoning. We have stressed theory not for itself
alone but for its value in practice. We have tried to avoid prescribing
standards which are too stringent to follow or technical methods which
are more trouble than they are worth.”
Security Analysis says it all. It is up to analysts and investors to put
Ben’s ideas into practice.
Back in 1935 while working at Loeb Rhodes (then called Carl M.
Loeb & Co.), one of the partners, Armand Erpf, gave a good piece of
advice when I asked him how I could get into the “statistical department.”
In those days and perhaps today to some extent, the best way
to advance was by bringing in business. If you had a wealthy family or
friends, you brought in commissions. Security analysis was in its infancy
and who you knew was much more important than what you
knew. If you didn’t have connections, it was difficult to get ahead. In
any case Mr. Erpf told me that there was a new book called Security
Analysis that had just been written by a man called Ben Graham.
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Reproduced by permission from the private writings (1976) of Walter J. Schloss.
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“Read the book and when you know everything in it, you won’t
have to read anything else.”
I took Ben’s course in Advanced Security Analysis at the New York
Stock Exchange Institute (New York Institute of Finance).
Ben was a good speaker, enthusiastic and logical. Ben did something
that I haven’t seen done often. He would take an undervalued situation
at that time, such as the bankrupt bonds of Baldwin Locomotive,
and show how much the new securities would be worth based on their
projected earning power and assets and relate this to the price of the
bonds. Many bright Wall Streeters such as Gus Levy of Goldman Sachs,
who later became the top arbitrageur in the country, used to take his
course. I often wondered how much money people made on Ben’s ideas
by transforming them into investments.
Ben was very generous with his thoughts and his time, particularly
with young people. By offering me a job as his security analyst as I was
about to leave the Army at the end of 1945, he changed my life. I know
he helped others in our field too.
At Ben’s memorial service, Dave Dodd, Ben’s co-author, told how
he had got involved in the book.
It seems that Ben was asked to teach a course at Columbia University
on investments and he agreed to do it with the stipulation that he
would only do so if someone would take notes. Dave Dodd, a young
instructor, volunteered and took copious notes at each of Ben’s lectures.
Ben, using the notes, then went ahead and wrote Security Analysis. As
Dave said, Ben did the work but he insisted that Dave get credit by being
co-author.
Professor Dodd went on to become a very successful investor and a
director of Graham-Newman Corporation, an investment trust that
Ben had founded in 1936 with his partner, Jerome Newman.
The ability to think clearly in the investment field without the emotions
that are attached to it, is not an easy undertaking. Fear and greed
tend to affect one’s judgment. Because Ben was not really very aggressive
about making money, he was less affected by these emotions than
were many others.
Ben had been hurt by the Depression, so he wanted to invest in
things that would protect him on the downside. The best way to do this
was to lay out rules which, if followed, would reduce his chance of loss.
2 BENJAMIN GRAHAM AND SECURITY ANALYSIS
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A good example of this was the day I happened to be in his office at
Graham-Newman when he received a telephone call that they had
bought 50 percent of Government Employees Insurance Co. (now
GEICO). He turned to me and said, “Walter, if this purchase doesn’t
work out, we can always liquidate it and get our money back.”
The fact that GEICO worked out better than his wildest dreams
wasn’t what he was looking for. As the saying goes, a stock well bought
is half sold. I think Ben was an expert in that area.
Graham-Newman followed the precepts set down by Ben and the
fund prospered. Compared to today’s investment company, it was tiny.
Its total net assets on January 31, 1946, were $3,300,000.
Ben’s emphasis was on protecting his expectation of profit with
minimum risk. If one wants to get hold of Moody’s Investment Manuals
for the 1947–1956 period, it is interesting to see Graham-Newman’s
holdings. Many of them were small, practically unknown companies
but they were cheap on the numbers. It is instructive to read their
annual report for the year ended January 1946. It states that their general
investment policies were twofold.
1. To purchase securities at prices less than their intrinsic value as
determined by careful analysis with particular emphasis on the
purchase of securities at less than their liquidating value.
2. To engage in arbitrage and hedging operations.
I helped Ben with the third edition of Security Analysis, published in
1951. In the appendix is an article on special situations that first
appeared in The Analysts Journal in 1946. In the article, he had worked
out an algebraic formula for risk-reward results that could be applied
today, 37 years later.
In 1949, The Intelligent Investor was published. This was a book for
the layman but it focused on security analysis and gave prestige to the
field. Its fourth revised edition is still in print.
One day, I came across a very cheap stock based on its price at the
time, Lukens Steel. We bought some but expected to buy more.
At this point, Ben went out to lunch with a man who kept telling
Ben about one blue chip after another. At the end of the meal he asked
Ben if he liked anything and Ben said we were buying some Lukens Steel.
Benjamin Graham and Security Analysis: A Reminiscence 3
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I doubt if it took a day before the man went out and bought a great deal
of Lukens and pushed the stock out of our buying range. I had the
impression after Ben told me the story that he didn’t want to be rude
and hadn’t realized how important his comments were.
He tried to keep things simple. He wrote that he didn’t believe security
analysts should use more than arithmetic and possibly a little algebra
for any investment decision.
Because Ben was a cultured, many-faceted man, he didn’t spend as
much time on investments as did others in the field. He liked to try
new ideas. In the late 1930s he became involved in promoting his evernormal
granary theory and wrote a book on it called Storage and Stability
in which some commodities and metals would be used as a backing
for our currency. His ideas made sense and with cotton at six cents
a pound and other raw materials at low prices, it was an interesting
proposal. He never had the clout to sell it to the Congress, although
Bernard Baruch, a friend of his, supported the idea and it could have
been a useful way to help the farmers and reduce the threat of inflation.
Of all the things that Ben accomplished in his lifetime, Security Analysis
was, to me, his greatest achievement.
Ben Graham was the leader in giving status to security analysts. It
was a privilege to know him.

February 04, 2011

Walter Schloss’ Presentation at The Benjamin Graham Center for Value Investing

Walter Schloss’ Presentation at The Benjamin Graham Center for Value Investing
July 25th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized
http://www.schloss-value-investing.com/2010/07/walter-schloss-presentation-at-the-benjamin-graham-center-for-value-investing/#more-70

Walter Schloss conducted a recorded video / audio presentation at the Richard Ivey School of Business’ Benjamin Graham Center for Value Investing. If you would like to see the audio / video, we have it on our value investing resource page. In this post, I am going to take notes on Schloss’ speech and add some commentary later in the week. Enjoy.

Started fund in 1955 when Graham said he was going to retire
Schloss was left handed (I never knew that)
Started out with 19 partners, each with approximately $5,000
Stayed in field until 2001 (or 2003…couldn’t recall). Son couldn’t find any good value stocks.
Started work when his father lost his job – the family had no money. Started off making $15/week. Wanted in the research department. Was denied. Was told to read “Security Analysis”
Question: How do you choose stocks? Answer: Stocks that are hitting new lows. Schloss fines Value Line very helpful. He doesn’t have a computer and likes to look at the numbers. He doesn’t talk to management teams.
Went to work for Graham in the beginning of 1946
Question: What process did you follow to minimize mistakes? Answer: I don’t like to lose money and therefore buy stocks that are protected on the downside and then the upside takes care of itself. Look for companies that do not have a lot of debt. By looking at the proxy statement and annual reports, can get a sense of how much stock the directors own, who owns a fair amount of stock, and the history of the company.
Look at companies selling at new lows. It means the company has problems. Debt exacerbates these problems.
Love companies with simple capital structures. Not a lot of debt. The company has to have history. Management needs to own stock.
Schloss admits he was never good at evaluating management character. Therefore he stuck to the numbers.
Value Line is helpful because you get a good sense of history on the company because they have 10-15 years of performance data.
Question: If stock falls, what do you do? Answer: If I like a company, I’ll buy more on the way down. Stock brokers do not like recommending stocks that are going down. The stockbrokers don’t want to look like fools. People get nervous when stocks go lower.
Likes to try to get 50% profit. Only long-term profits (don’t want to pay short term taxes)
Admits that he makes mistakes in sales. He will buy at $30, sell at $50, and see it go to $200
Likes stocks selling below book value. Reiterates how much he hates debt.
Read annual report. Figure out why the company is having problems.
If you get a stock selling significantly below book value, has a good history over 20 years, and little debt with lots of management holdings, probably a good purchase.
Margin of Safety to Schloss is if the company’s book value is substantially higher than the market price. Companies get bought out that are trading at significant discounts to book.
Question: Emotional mistakes? How do you control? Answer: Schloss does not get emotional about stocks. One reason he doesn’t talk to management teams is because management presents the company the way you want to see them. Schloss is not a good judge of people. Warren Buffett is. Schloss says you have to look at situations logically, not the way you WANT to look at it.
He wants to buy things the way there are, not the way they may be in the future. He wouldn’t buy a company with a prospect of an electric car just because of that prospect.
Seems to me that he uses Good to Cancel Orders
Question: Outstanding company at a fair price or a fair company at an outstanding price? Answer: He doesn’t want to buy good companies at what they are worth – he wants to buy these companies at a discount. Sometimes people get VERY nervous and bargains arise, but that is not too often. You want to buy stocks that you can make 50% over a couple of years.
He doesn’t like to lose money. So he buys companies that are having problems. He likes companies with no debt.
Quite often the stock market reacts emotionally. Bad news causes troubles. If you are managing money for other people you should not tell your limited partners what you own – Why? Don’t want competition. Don’t want to deal with investors emotions and don’t want to hear their complaints. If LPs are worried, don’t take them as investors.
Question: Three traits to be a successful value investor? Answer: Be calm and not to be emotional. Be intellectual and look at the facts. Never get emotionally involved in a stock.
Distinguish between temporary and permanent problems.
He likes companies to be a success. If you sell early, and the stock triples, who cares? Move on.
Question: Is the upcoming recession worse than previous ones? Answer: Schloss tries to stay away from what is going on in the overall economy. He has no idea what is going on in the economy. He buys stocks on what they are worth – and not what is going on in the macro economy.
Stop worrying about what is going on in the overall economy or where the market is going – buy cheap stocks – if you go into a recession, you’ll have to wait longer to make your money. Just buy cheap stocks.
Graham liked to compare stocks that started with the same letter of the alphabet. Intellectual exercise. Compared the stocks.
Compare stocks in the same field. Two liquor companies for instance. What are their trading levels?
Question: Has market become more efficient? Answer: As an analyst, your job is to determine why one stock is selling lower than another. If an industry is having a problem, take a look. A lot more competition but that being said, “value analysts” are still not happy buying stocks that are going down.
Harder to determine when to sell versus when to buy.
Question: Personal view on diversification? Answer: Stay away from industries that are outside of your circle of competence. More comfortable with very old industries. More comfortable in stocks than bonds because inflation eats up return. Very few people become millionaires buying bonds. Bonds are for old people.
Seems to me this guy is incredibly humble. Jives with what I have read in the past.
Question: Raising capital in the 50s as a young fund manager? Answer: Not an aggressive man in going around to raise capital. Get your feet wet with family money. Very difficult to start a fund. You don’t want to lose money. If you like math, if you like investing, you can do it as long as you control your emotions.
Question: Biggest mistake? Answer: ”I forget my mistakes.” Awesome. Schloss didn’t lose money often. Never put a great amount of money in any one stock. Held over 100 stocks at any one time.
Compared value of a company versus its working capital…i.e the company was trading at 2 dollars a share but had 7 dollars of working capital per share.
Didn’t like getting involved in legal actions
Never focused on mistakes – including selling too early
Question: China? Answer: Schloss does not buy foreign companies. It is not easy to judge foreign companies. Insiders have too much advantage overseas.
Question: When to sell / mechanics of sales? “I don’t know when to sell” Schloss will sell at 100% profit. At Graham Newman will scale their sales. Will usually hold stocks for 3 years. Schloss likes profit, but he has no formula for when to sell.
If a stock gets high enough, it becomes a lot more vulnerable.
Schloss quotes from Ben Graham from the 3rd edition of Security Analysis: McDonald’s was selling at $14, down from $35. Graham’s arbitrage formula for return per year.
Question: Max you would allocate to a stock in a portfolio? If you really like, individually, you might put 20% in one stock for yourself. In a partnership, you may put only 10% in.
Shorted stocks in the tech bubble. Historically never did it before. It made him feel uncomfortable.
Question: Research – just Value Line and Annual? Answer: Less than book value, not much debt. Then you look at company itself – company might suck, but it may have a lot of book value.
Question: How do you become comfortable with an industry? He likes simple manufacturing companies. Companies might have lots of growth, but stockholders might do poorly. Simply capitalized companies. Look at the last 20 years. And then get an annual report.
Buys stocks where the outlook is not good.
Value Line: Look where stock was ten years ago.
The point is: You do not want to lose money. Buy stocks that are depressed, that aren’t going broke.
Warren Buffett – very brilliant guy – but some people were reluctant to invest because there was no income.
Question: What is the most important thing in investing and in life that you have learned in the past 50 or so years? Answer: Honesty is the best thing you could have.
Stay tuned over the next week as we analyze this Walter Schloss’ speech on value investing.

----------------------------
Value Investing Resources
http://www.schloss-value-investing.com/value-investing-resources/

Here I am in the process of compiling literally everything I can find on the web as it relates to Walter Schloss, Irving Kahn, and other members of the Graham – Newman Partnership. This list will continually be updated as I stumble upon more items – that being said, if you have something to share, please shoot me an email at hunter [at] distressed-debt-investing.com

Walter Schloss Resources

Schloss honoring Janet Lowe

Profiles in Investing Walter and Edwin Schloss

Schloss on Graham from Lowe’s Biography

Walter Schloss on Liquidations

Walter Schloss List of Stocks

In Defense of Stock Dividends

Intrinsic Value is Key Factor

Walter J. Schloss_Searching for Value

Schloss Seminar at CBS ’93

The Over-Valuation of Some Blue Chip Stocks

Profiles in Investing Walter and Edwin Schloss

Who is Walter Schloss – Barrons Article

The Hippocratic Method in Security Analysis

Making Money Out of Junk

Walter J. Schloss: Searching for Value

Factors needed to make money in the stock market

Walter Schloss on Liquidations

Schloss at Grant’s Interest Rate Observer Conference

Schloss: “Why We Invest the Way We Do”

Why Schloss is Such a Great Investor

Schloss on the DJIA

Walter Schloss: 1985 Barrons Article

Benjamin Graham and Security Analysis: A Reminiscence
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Walter Schloss and Value Investing – Barron’s Article from 1985
August 23rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

One of the reasons I started a value investing blog on Walter Schloss, Irving Kahn, early Warren Buffett and other members of the Graham-Newman Corporation was my fascination on how rare their early investment style is still applied today. I think we can all agree that finding 2/3 net/nets as Ben Graham prescribed is difficult. That being said, far too often we hear about GARP or EV/EBITDA versus as asset based approach so effectively employed by Walter Schloss.

In 1985, Barron’s ran a story entitled “The Right Stuff: Why Walter Schloss is Such a Great Investor.” You can find a link to the piece in our value investing resources page. In this post, like one of our earlier Walter Schloss posts on the blog, I will be using bullet points to document my notes.

Interesting point about how Barron’s had not heard of Walter Schloss until Warren Buffett blew his cover in the ever famous “The Superinvestors of Graham-And-Doddsville”
Walter recounts how he got into the business. It is interesting to note that in this interview, he says “Graham was writing his book on the stock market, and I remember helping him with one chapter.” I never knew that part of the story – this is all before Schloss had enlisted.
Very heartily recommends The Intelligent Investor
Compares Ben Graham to an undervalued security: “It’s a funny thing about Graham. I think he was like an undervalued security, if you want to know. People said, ‘Oh, Ben Graham, he’s very smart.’ But then they’d go off and do their own little thing with computers, or whatever the popular thing was at the moment. They kind of forgot. They’d say ‘Oh, we like undervalued stocks,’ but then they wouldn’t buy them.” He then goes on to point out that Graham’s ideas made perfect sense to him.
Ben Graham’s philosophy on buying a diversified pool of stocks stems from the pain he experienced during the Great Depression.
At Graham Newman they followed “the idea of buying companies selling below working capital – at two thirds of working capital – then, when the stocks’ prices went up to match working capital per share, we’d have made 50% on our money. And the firm averaged about 20% a year on that basis.” Schloss, like I noted above, then goes on to note that during the fifties, those stocks started disappearing.
Why did these stocks trade at these levels previously? “They were mostly secondary companies; they were never the top grade companies. And they tended to be ignored by the public because they didn’t have any sex appeal, there wasn’t any growth – there was always trouble with them. You were buying trouble when you bought these companies, but you were buying them cheap. Of course, when you got them too cheap, they maybe ended up going down the tubes. So you try to be a little careful. But people don’t like to buy things that are going down.”
Philosophy: “Graham liked the idea of protection on the downside and basically, that’s what I do. I try not to lose money.”
When asked what he think the market will do, his response: “I’ve got no idea; your guess is as good as mine.”
Schloss on timing: “Timing is a very – everybody tries to do it, so I stay away from the game that everyone’s trying to do. If you buy value – and you may buy it too soon, as undoubtedly I do – then if it goes lower; you buy more. You have to have confidence in what you are doing.”
Again using five years as a yardstick. But notes their average holding period is 4 years.
Liked to stay under the radar.
On his investing style: “I am a passive investor. There are people who try to be very aggressive; they try to buy companies [Editor Note: Remember this is during the LBO Boom of the mid to late 80s]. We just buy the stock, and if it goes to what we think is a reasonable price, we sell it and move on to something else. Graham made the point in his book where he said, ‘You buy stocks like you buy groceries, not like you buy perfume.’ You’re looking for value.”
No ticker tape machine in his office – he tries to stay away from the emotions of the market. The market appeals to fear and greed – He doesn’t want to be a part of that.
Blames Warren Buffett for the uprise in value investing and how hard it is to buy cheap stocks.
Gives an anecdote about a stock that Schloss purchased for the fund and then the company was bought out shortly thereafter: “But the point is, if it hadn’t worked out that way, Stauffer was a really good company, and in a few years it would have worked out satisfactory. It happened to work out quicker, that’ all.”
Doesn’t like short term gains.
On the insert lists the rationale’s for a number of his stock picks:
“The downside is limited…so you buy it”
It isn’t exactly cheap. But it’s a good value.”
“Basically a good company and there will be another deal”
“It does have problems. I can’t say that enough.”
“The timber is worth a lot more than the market price.”
“You couldn’t replace it for what it sells for.” (On Texaco)
“A good value stock. They had a terrible break.”
“There’s no particular point selling it. I have a big profit.”
“It’s got a lot of cash flow”
Note that he was managing $45M in 1987
Notes that Graham returned a substantial amount of his limited partners capital when he couldn’t find cheap stocks in 53′.
On portfolio management: “The thing is, we don’t put the same amount in each stock. If you like something like Northwest Industries, you put a lot of money in it. But we may buy a little bit of stock, to get our feet wet, and get a feeling for it. Sometimes if you don’t own a stock, you don’t pay enough attention. Then also, we sell stock on scale. Sometimes we sell some, and then stock poops out on us, and then we’re stuck.”
Continuing: “Sometimes we get into situations where we really don’t sell at all. So we have more securities than I’d like to have, and yet, I feel comfortable owning them. Then, of course, you get a situation where you buy the stock, and it seems a good value, and it goes up a fair amount, and you like it better. You become a little more attached to it, and then you see some pluses that you may not have realized before.”
The quote above confuses me: Does he mean you like the stock because it has gone up or because you’ve done more work on it and got lucky with the price action?
Adjusted Working Capital = Current Assets – Current Liabilities – Debt
Again notes about management holding stock – seems to be very import to Walter Schloss
Talk about analyzing the balance sheet: “And of course a lot of companies have lots of assets tied up in plant and equipment. Well is it an old plant, or is it a new plant?
“You don’t have to just look at book value. You can look at what you think companies are worth, if sold. Are you getting a fair stake for your money?”
Talks about a “good company” and dubs it a “not a book value stock.” (For reference, the company was selling at 10x earnings, 5.5% dividend yield, 1.5x book, 15% ROE)
Here is a very interesting quote (probably my favorite in this article): When asked why “park money” in a stock: “If the market was very low, I’d say ‘Well, CPC probably isn’t a great stock to own. If the market is so cheap, you want something with a little more zip in it, or potential.’ In a market like ours, which is not very cheap – I wouldn’t say its way overpriced, because it isn’t; it’s in a more reasonable area-there’s more risk on the downside. CPC probably doesn’t have that much downside risk, and therefore I feel comfortable with it. If the market should collapse, we, then maybe we’d sell it, assuming we’d be getting that price, and buy something that’d gone down a lot.”
Notes how he doesn’t get involved in looking at earnings potential.
Why difficult to sell? Upward price movements feed on themselves …
On holding cash: “We’ve never really done that. We’ve always been fully invested. Which may be good, and may not be good – it’s psychological. I find I’m more comfortable being fully invested than I am sitting with cash.” …very different from a number of Value Investing Legends…
Note he doesn’t play in options, doesn’t write covered calls, doesn’t short stocks
Noted that Graham thought when there were no working capital stocks, the market was overvalued…Schloss does not that theory does not really apply anymore.
Schloss on the market: “I simply say, if there are not too many value stocks that I can find, the market isn’t all that cheap.”
Simply incredible. Stay tuned later in the week when we explore more value investing articles on Walter Schloss and start digging into some securities.
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Investment Nuggets

WALTER SCHLOSS
Walter Schloss is considered one of the investment greats, a value investor in the same league as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet. Like Buffett, Walter Schloss was also trained under the legendary Benjamin Graham. For a brief while in the 1950s, Schloss and Buffet even shared the same office.

For sheer uninterrupted performance record, few investors can match Walter Schloss. For 45 years from 1955 to 2000, he managed the investment partnership, Walter J. Schloss Associates and delivered an astounding compound annual return of more than 15 per cent per year compared to a gain of S&P 500 of just over 10 per cent.

And this is what Buffet had to say about Walter Schloss: "He knows how to identify securities that sell at considerably less than their value to a private owner: And that's all he does. He owns many more stocks that I do and is far less interested in the underlying nature of the business; I don't seem to have very much influence on Walter. That is one of his strengths; no one has much influence on him."

"One of the things we've done is hold over a hundred companies in our portfolio. Now Warren (Buffet) has said to me that, that is a defence against stupidity. And my argument was, and I made it to Warren, we can't project the earnings of these companies, they are secondary companies, but somewhere along the line some of them will work. Now I cannot tell you which ones, so I buy a hundred of them. Of course, it does not mean you own the same amount of each stock."

"I'm not very good at judging people. So I found that it was much better to look at figures rather than people. I didn't go to many meetings unless they were relatively nearby. I like the idea of company-paid dividends, because I think it makes management a little more aware of stockholders, but we did not really talk about it, because we were small. I think if you were big, if you were a Fidelity, you wanted to go out and talk to management. They would listen to you. I think it is really easy to use numbers when you're small."

"Timidity prompted by past failures causes investors to miss the most important bull markets."

"We did not get involved in many companies that turned crooked. I know there were a few people that had poor reputations and their stocks were low, and when we did buy some of those we were sorry afterwards because they figured out a way of taking advantage of you, and you were always worried that they'd do something that didn't like."

"When companies have problems they often like to have their annual meetings in cities and states where there are not too many stockholders."

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