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First Year Writing
This is the 52nd Sunday article I write, which means From 0 to 1 in the Stock Market has been around for a year now. It’s unbelievable how large the space has become, I was of course not expecting anything like this and more so considering how inactive I’ve been these past months.
I’d like to personally and sincerely thank you all for your constant support. Taking weekly time to read articles about random stuff a guy like me is intrigued about means an absolute lot. Writing has become a key part of my life and I think it could be interesting to share what I learned from the experience. It’s very likely both of us benefit from it.
Thinking is hard
We have so internalized the fact that we think we are continuously thinking, but the truth is we rarely do. Not because we do not want to, but because it is very demanding. I’m still not even sure if I’m thinking when writing these articles. We believe most ideas are our own, however, they are just mixes of other people’s ideas or complete repetition.
Detaching the crowds is an area we explored a fair bit and I still have no clue what it means or how to accomplish it. The funny thing as well is that only time can tell if we are in the correct road, we do not get any clues during the journey. I will continue addressing this huge concept as I sense outperformance derives from it.
I have no idea of what I know
As of May of last year, I thought I knew a decent deal of things about the stock market (under reasonable standards as I was 22). I had read several books, many articles and listened to several podcasts. Therefore, my conclusion was that I knew all of that. I had no idea how little information had I retained from all these sources until I started writing about them.
“Ideas can feel complete. It's only when you try to put them into words that you discover they're not.” Paul Graham
There are too many things we take for granted, but, in my opinion, to truly grasp the essence of a particular subject, you have to question and re-think the very fundamental principles everyone just ‘knows they are there’. It’s what allows you to really go deep into ideas that lay on this foundation. Writing about it forces you to get everything as right as possible, because you will be judged if you get something wrong. The jury does not have to be somebody else, it can be your future self.
“So if you never subject your ideas to that test, you'll not only never have fully formed ideas, but also never realize it.” P. Graham
Ideas now have shape
Ideas cannot be correctly transmitted until they are precisely defined. When interacting, we get lost if there’s a weak detail in what the other person is telling us. That makes the whole message be seen as fragile, truth-lacking, which makes us, in most cases, ignore its completeness. We do this even on occasions where there’s a lot of value to be found in messages not 100% well constructed.
Before starting to write, I knew I had a lot of ideas, but they were amorphous. They had no core nor delineated edges. Each of them started as a single path that led to an infinity of paths, all of which ultimately ended nowhere. I now see concepts and principles a bit clearer, not as a crazy labyrinth. Around every topic we covered in this newsletter, my mind has built some inner speech that, when I speak about them, emerges. This by itself does not mean I figured it out, just that my mind is at least a bit more organized now.
It made me a better investor
The market always has the last word. Therefore, to really know if you improved, time has to go by so that the market has the chance to see you and judge you. Having said that, my feeling that I see these things clearer than before makes me think I improved. Clarity of thinking is a prerequisite for proper analysis and each Sunday I feel I get closer to it.
Leaving aside abstract lessons, it’s amazing how little we know about what companies do until we have to explain it to someone else. As with fundamental principles, I had read a decent amount of things about many companies, but every time I had to tell someone what they did or what the thesis was, I struggled. When I had to write about them, I was forced to come up with an actual thesis and to really learn what they did so that I could reproduce it in a faithful manner.
At the same time, in my case, every little thing I include in articles has been previously thought about and researched accordingly. I do not include things I could not defend or I’m not sure about. If that’s the case, I of course let you know. Nonetheless, forcing myself to understand all concepts and principles discussed, as well as technicalities around companies, helps me cover a lot of ground. It makes me research everything, which eventually leads to more clarity and more business knowledge. Hopefully, it leads to better investing results.
“A problem well defined is a problem half solved” Charles Kettering
I cannot stress enough how big of an impact writing has had on my life. Lessons and areas of improvement are infinite, though I tried to limit myself to what I think is not usually covered. I see no value in repeating what you have probably read elsewhere. Hope you enjoyed today’s article!
As a sidenote, I made up my mind. The first article out of normal coverage will be about the history of the semiconductor industry, after my read of Chip War. It will allow me to properly internalize that knowledge and I believe can help you better understand one of the best industries out there.
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