Post of the Day
February 2, 2000

Board Name:
Berkshire Hathaway

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Subject:  Taking This All Too Personally
Author:  Rlquall

Perhaps that's what I'm doing. I realize that Spammer must have a point when his "rules" get 10 recommendations, last time I looked, on this board. And I know that a compilation of my posts (non-utility at least) is probably the closest thing to the "straw man" out there. Certainly, I am an example of Old Value Think, and I lack Elias' accounting ability, benkea's technical knowledge, Ian's writing ability, Tim's net worth, or anything else much to make my points defensible. So I will make a weak attempt to restate what I really feel.

Contrary to what you seem to believe to be true, few on this board are rooting for a crash, Depression, or long-term bear market, least of all your humble poster. We would like to see valuations reflective of economic realities, even as WEB would. We don't think, for the most part, that every website company is high tech, any more than we would have thought that a company that took phone orders in 1950 was a telephone company, or a company that shipped goods by train in 1875 was a railroad. Mr. Market seems to, however, but that's not the fault of the posters on this board.

"There's a difference between bad companies and poor investments."

Few of us are saying that Yahoo! is a bad company. Even fewer would say that QCOM, Cisco, or Nokia are. There's a difference between bad companies and poor investments. I doubt that many of us think that MCD makes the world's BEST hamburgers, but it has over the last twenty years been a far superior investment to WEN. That doesn't make Dave Thomas a bad person or his company a bad company, just not a great investment! I feel that Yahoo! would be a fine investment at some price, just not today's or probably tomorrow's. It would have been good to have gotten in at 30, although with my concern for sustainability I probably would have been out way before now.

Also contrary to what you seem to believe, there are no Luddites here. Several of the posters on this board, sadly not yours truly, have made substantial gains in tech. I begrudge them nothing. I'm not some bitter old man going off about how the world has been ruined by long-haired hippies and their toys. Like WEB, good Internet investing has been outside my circle of competence. I intend to remedy that so that when and if good Internet values become available, I will know
"I'm not some bitter old man going off about how the world has been ruined by long-haired hippies and their toys."
them when I see them and then make purchases as cash becomes available. But, Spammer, don't make my mistake of taking it personally either. We're not saying that those who bought RHAT at 200 or Yahoo! at 250 are somehow evil for doing so and the equivalent of Adolf Hitler, Jeffery Dahmer, or Charlie Manson. We just feel that they're misguided and buying on momentum or friend's recommendations, not fundamentals. Neither are we expecting to be equated with Mother Theresa or Gahndi for owning BRK, other insurance companies, or "value stocks" in general.

So let's lighten up. If you buy a stock that I wouldn't, it doesn't make you a bad guy or the stock part of a bad company. If I see value in a company that you don't think qualifies as a Ben Graham cigar butt, that doesn't make me evil or even stupid. It's possible we're both right, or even (gasp!) both wrong, and what's right for you may be wrong for me and vice versa.

Best of luck,

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