Monday, 25 April 2016

Annual Letters

A recent WSJ article pointed out that General Electric's annual report was downloaded only 800 times in 2013. No one has the time or patience to read annual reports anymore with all the jargon and legal disclosures involved its no wonder. But there are some great company letters out there. Buffet with Berkshire always tops the list. My personal favourite is Amazon's Jeff Bezos. He talks about their strategy and culture. He believes that Amazon is the "best place in the world to fail" a key reason for their success.

"We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments." Free shipping with Prime membership has been a major beneficiary. He adds that "we want Prime to be such a good value, you’d be irresponsible not to be a member."

Activision Blizzard is my next favourite. "If you had invested $100 in our company 20 years ago, it would have returned over $4,400 today — almost nine times more than the $520 the S&P 500 would have returned in that same period of time and almost five times more than Berkshire Hathaway, which we generally regard as the gold standard to measure just about everything against." Any company that measures themselves against Berkshire is setting an incredibly high standard.

My final pick is Under Armour. They are known as an aggressive upcoming brand in 2015 Under Armour athletes secured MVP titles in the four major US sports.

"We feel Under Armour's brand promise is to create products you don't know you need yet, but once you have them, you don't know how you lived without them." The best companies tend to explain their strategy simply. The CEO goes on to talk about the opportunity in connected fitness but he reminds us that he's not forgetting to sell shirts and shoes!

Decisive has a position in Amazon (AMZN). The material in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. The material has been prepared without regard to any client's or other person's investment objectives. Before making an investment decision you should consider the assistance of a financial adviser and whether any investment or service is appropriate in light of your particular investment needs.