Tag Archives: Value Vault

Update on VALUE VAULT; Questions from a Reader; Apple and Strategic Logic

A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.

A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator… these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone! Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
–Steve Jobs

Update on the VALUE VAULT

(contact: Aldridge56@aol.com with VALUE VAULT in subject line for the key)

I uploaded 21 videos of 2010 value investing lectures into a sub-folder in the VALUE VAULT.  The VAULT seems cluttered so unless anyone objects, I will place non-videos into folders with sub-categories for easier searching. I will choose a quiet time to work on the vault—probably Sunday.

If you are having trouble opening the folder, please contact www.yousendit.com customer service at 888-535-9442 or (outside the USA) 1-408-385-8491 and email me if the problem has or hasn’t been fixed.  I will #$%^&*! find out the problem. I am having no issues accessing the folder or videos so far.

If anyone has an idea for a more accessible storage option, let me know.

Question from a Reader

I’ve just started digging into the Competition Demystified PDF (in VALUE VAULT) and came across this passage (also mentioned in the “Strategy is Local” PDF) and couldn’t help but wonder what’s changed:

“Apple’s experience stands in stark contrast. From the start, Apple took a more global approach than Microsoft. It was both a computer manufacturer and a software producer. Its Macintosh operating system anticipated the attractive features of Windows by many years— “Windows 5 = Macintosh 87,” as the saying goes. Yet its comprehensive product strategy has been at best a limited and occasional success, especially when compared to Microsoft’s more focused approach.”

This strategy of controlling everything (operating system, hardware, software licenses/developers, content delivery, etc.) is, according to Greenwald, a competitive liability, yet today, as Apple is the most valuable company in the world and the most successful tech company, it is the very reason given for their massive success, and the “special genius” of the recently departed Jobs.

What gives? Is Apple just a fad? Is Greenwald making stuff up? Or is there some other piece of this puzzle I am not considering?

The Reader follows up with: “I thought of another strategic element for Apple. I read this somewhere a few months ago, don’t remember where, but Apple basically made exclusive contracts with its various suppliers such that they guaranteed them large volume up front in return for them not taking orders from competitors, essentially (some arrangement like that).

This resulted in two things:

First, conferred a competitive advantage in supply to Apple because they were able to achieve lowest cost in production.

Second, accomplished the strategic goal of totally denying their competitors access to suppliers of similar quality/cost. This meant that the only way a competitor could create something of Apple quality would be to pay (and charge) a lot more for it. But Apple commanded a brand premium in the market place while the competitors did not. This would be a good example of the Jarillo principle of the premium company charging less than they could, forcing competitors who don’t command a premium to price near cost.

I think normally the issue of “what suppliers do we use and how do we contract with them?” would be tactical. But because Apple interfered with their competitors’ ability to compete by working with suppliers the way they did, this seems to be a strategic consideration as well.

My reply: Like a lecturer before an audience, I was hoping no one would notice that my fly was unzipped. The reader is mentioning the elephant in the room–did Steve Jobs read Prof. Greenwald’s Competition Demystified and just do the opposite–Apple has a closed system for hardware and software. Has Apple been successful?

There are a number of possible answers:

  1. Prof. Greenwald has missed something in his approach to strategy.
  2. Apple may be using elements of strategic logic to be successful like economies of scale, customer captivity, network effect, and patents.
  3. Steve Jobs may be a genius who invented an industry or product beyond the immediate scope of strategic analysis. In other words, you can’t analyze the reasons for success of someone who invents the cure for cancer or a process that turns an element into a resource. You can’t predict genius.

Who said strategic thinking would be easy. Let’s take our time to look at a problem from all sides and go through our strategic logic process. We will soon discuss the Coors case study and then move on to Chapter 6: Compaq and Apple in the Personal Computer Industry or pages 113-136 in the book. Once we have finished the book and all the cases, let’s circle back and study Apple’s current success.

One question that should slap you in the face, “Why does Apple have such a low multiple of earnings and cash flow?” Perhaps the market does not believe that Apple can have real growth and/or the genius of Steve Jobs will no longer drive Apple’s future.

Should the government tell you how to live?

Freedom of choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6a9549ZeqQ&feature=g-vrec&context=G22064f2RVAAAAAAAABA

Personal Prejudices

We all have our prejudices. Here is how to deal with them.

Prejudice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=9aVUoy9r0CM

Sensitivity Training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iliNaspGVDg&feature=related

More posts to follow…………

VALUE VAULT Additions, Unintended Consequences, Studying the Theory of Money and Credit

Before I speak, I have something important to say. —Groucho Marx

VALUE VAULT Additions*

  • You will find Money Management Interviews from 2005 to 2011, 1938 page PDF.
  • Howard Marks on the Human Side of Investing, 42 page PDF
  • Investors and Austrian Economics, 7 page PDF

All from generous, anonymous contributors. Thank you!

*Access to VALUE VAULT is given by emailing:  aldridge56@aol.com with VALUE VAULT in subject line. For your personal use only

Unintended Consequences of Goernment Action

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting giving a 3-minute lecture on unintended consequences or Why I Won’t Work for the National Security Agency (NSA): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8rQNdBmPek

Studying Von Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit at The Mises Academy

Readers should know that if ever I benefit from a reveral/advertisement, I will alert you upfront about any conflict of interest or incentive-based bias.

Mises Academy (http://academy.mises.org/) has an eight week course on Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit taught by Robert Murphy.  I have taken a few courses from Prof. Murphy, and he is an engaging lecturer. Go here: ( http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog).

This would be a great course–though advanced–to sink your teeth into Austrian monetary theory with an excellent teacher.  I will take this course and if enough people here are interested, I could try for a group discount. Your only risk is $25.00. But, I warn you, the course is demanding. See the texts below:



The course:   Econ 400 — with Robert P. Murphy

Cost: $145 Length: 8 weeks       Dates: February 1, 2012 – March 27, 2012
Click here to register for this course

This course will tour Ludwig von Mises’ classic work, Theory of Money & Credit. Space constraints prevent us from covering the entire book. Instead we will focus on Mises’ two crucial achievements in the book: (1) His unification of “micro” and “macro” by successfully applying the modern subjective theory of value to money, and (2) his development of (what we now call) Austrian business cycle theory. The course will showcase not only Mises’ brilliance as a novel thinker, but also his excellent command of the literature and his selection of the best ideas from other schools.


The video lectures are online. Lectures will be Wednesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:00 pm Eastern Time. They will be recorded and made available for enrolled students to download.


All readings for the course will be free and available online.

Grades and Certificates

The final grade will depend on quizzes. Taking the course for a grade is optional. The Mises Academy is currently not accredited, but this course is worth 3 credits in our own internal system. Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits. You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.

Refund Policy

If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee. If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund. No refunds will be granted following the second week.

Academy Courses

Update on Value Vault Videos and Materials

Dear Readers & Contributors:

I accidently gave permission to one of you to modify the folder and guess what?All videos and materials got deleted!   This was by accident no doubt.

I have gone and made sure that everyone who has accessed the folder only has permission to VIEW the contents.

But I now have to upload 750MB files – 16 or more of them so it may take several hours (15) before everything is back up. Additional books and pdfs. will be added as well.  Please bear with me.

Also if you or new readers want continuous access to the Value Vault as new material is added then download the free www.yousendit.com app here: http://www.yousendit.com/applications

Then you will be alerted at your desktop whenever there is a change.   This will be like sharing a library where everyone can read whatever book/video is in the vault at any time.

Sorry for this inconvenience but within a day the Value Vault will be replenished.


Value Vault Updated!

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. –Alex Ovechkin, NHL Washington Capitals.

The Value Vault has been updated with 16 videos and several books. For those who already sent me your emails, you should have automatically received an update. For those new to this blog, please just send an email to: Aldridge56@aol.com with the line: VALUE VAULT. I will send you the link in a day or two.   Your email will not be shared or compromised.

The videos are the equivalent of an MBA course in investing. However, the real learning won’t take place until you use the concepts in your own investing.

One reader was kind enough to send his thoughts on the Value Vault:

“Like wow dude! You know, ugh, these vids are bitchin’.”

I appreciate the enthusiasm since your comments and suggestions are always welcome.  The more specific the better to help you learn.

An early Christmas present(s) for you all. Be well,

John Chew

Value Vault Videos Available

A link to the value vault (A folder containing several videos of great investor lectures like Michael Price, etc.) was sent to readers who previously requested video links.

If you did not receive this link or would like to have access to the folder just email me at aldridge56@aol.com   with the title VALUE VAULT.

You will not have to pay the $80,000 a year for an MBA program; instead view these lectures in the comfort of your home.

Please send comments or suggestions.

More Video Lectures….

to be sent to all who wish to view privately. However, I must first post the supporting case studies in the next few weeks with solutions before I send out the videos or else you won´t have the maximum benefit.

Many readers have been gracious in their praise of the videos. Thanks, but I never found just viewing them to be as good a learning tool as trying to value the companies mentioned myself. Then I would go back and listen again and again.

Perhaps viewers gain an emotional boost watching Great Investors discuss their craft?

The additional videos should be available (another 5) before Thanksgiving.   Ever think of how the life cycle of a turkey is similar to the chart of Enron?  The turkey´s growth rises until that final day-then it’s over.

Thanks for your patience. To tide you over, you can view other investors discussing their methods at the Ben Graham Center (Ivey Business School in Canada): http://www.bengrahaminvesting.ca/Resources/audio.htm

Another great resource.