Warren Buffet, the greatest investor who ever lived, a man who, when he breaks wind, analysts analyze whether he did so in a northerly or southerly direction and what that might mean for the market, doesn’t have a computer on his desk. 

The investment industry would have us believe that the latest technology, the most up to the minute (second?) data, the largest staff, are among the minimum requirements to be successful at investing.  Yet the most successful investor in the history of investing has none of these.   A close read of his comprehensive and outstanding biography shows that in lieu of these, he pored over company filings and industry information until he was educated enough to understand the dynamics of the industry and could  pick out the factors that mattered most and determine that the company he was interested in was a good investment.  (As an aside, one could easily make the argument that by eschewing the technology and firehose of data online he was better able to filter out the signal from the noise by focusing on what really mattered).

Now, clearly not every investor can be Warren Buffet.  But his practice of focusing on the factors that matter, even with the technology and data available in his industry today, rather than getting caught up in the elements he supposedly needs to succeed tell a sharp lesson for us across so many aspects of life.

In any industry you choose, in any endeavor you undertake, be a skeptic about what that industry would have you believe is needed to succeed.  Look at the industry or endeavor thru the eyes of “what are the core elements it takes to succeed at this industry/endeavor” and be your own determiner of that question.  Because all too often the elements an industry insists are needed to succeed are simply not true.


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