Thursday, 18 October 2012

The more appropriate question is not how did Buffett do it but why did not other investors apply his approach?

How did Buffett do it?

Given the documented success of Buffett's performance coupled with the simplicity of his methodology, the more appropriate question is not how did he do it but why did not other investors apply his approach?  The answer may lie in how individuals perceive investing.

When Buffett invests, he sees a business.  Most investors see only a stock price.  They spend far too much time and effort watching, predicting, and anticipating price changes and far too little time understanding the business they partly own.  Elementary as this may be, it is the root that distinguishes Buffett.

His hands-on experience owning and managing a wide a variety of businesses while simultaneously investing in common stocks separates Buffett from all other professional investors.

Owning and operating businesses has given Buffett a distinct advantage.  He has experienced both success and failure in his business ventures and has applied to the stock market the lessons he learned. The professional investor has not been given the same beneficial education.

While other professional investors were busy studying capital asset pricing models, beta, and modern portfolio theory, Buffett studied income statements, capital reinvestment requirements, and the cash-generating capabilities of his companies.

"Can you really explain to a fish what it's like to walk on land?"  Buffett asks.  "One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it and one day running a business has exactly the same kind of value."

According to Buffett, the investor and the businessperson should look at the company in the same way because they both want essentially the same thing.  If you ask a businessperson what he thinks about when purchasing a company, the answer most often given is:  "How much cash can be generated from the business?"

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