I am a private value investor based in Australia. My investment philosophy is grounded in the tradition of Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham. In this blog, you will find my writings on investment ideas, investment philosophies and techniques.

This blog is intended to be 50% United States focused and 50% Australia focused. However, opportunities, ideas and insights don't come in such regularity. I'll try not to diverge too much from this aim. But I really can't guarantee.

Investing is not my profession. I have my own daytime work. My formal training is in compuer science and I work in the software industry. I do have some postgraduate education in business (some kind of mini-MBA, if you wish). But I learned (and am still learning) value investing mainly through readings (a lot of readings), reflections and, more importantly, practicing it.

I manage my own family's money. By any measure, I'm a small retail investor. I see this is an edge over larger and more sophisticated institutional investors. Given my small portfolio, my investment universe is far bigger than theirs. I'm far more flexible. I can stay long-term focused while institutional investors have their institutional imperatives to minimize short-term volatility.

I have a natural preference towards microcap companies and "net-nets". It's not because of less  competition from institutiional investors. That may very well be true. But more importantly, microcaps have far less moving parts and are easier to understand. In other words, I favour simplicity over complex ideas. This also relates to my temperament. I don't have superb attention to details. Complex situations usually call for very high level of attention to details. If a single adjective in a contract can make or break an investment case, there will be mistake waiting to happen.

But I am not setting myself in any fix mold. I am also interested in quality businesses with strong moats, special situations, turnarounds, etc.

Why am I writing this blog?

I've learned from experience keeping an investment journal is a must-do task for a value investor.  It reduces the influence of one's emotion in decision-makings. I've actually written a private blog which I shared with a couple of close friends. I learned that the process of preparing an investment thesis or a reflection to be viewed by others forced me to be more rigorous in checking my assumptions and reasonings.

Secondly, Charlies Munger said "Invert, always invert". I believe one has to continuously challenge one's own theses. I'm always in the outlook of contrarian views, views disagreeing with mine. I'm hopeful this blog can attract such voices.

Thirdly, I hope through this blog I can meet like-minded investors with who I can compare notes, ideas and experiences. Value investing is a lone act. You are swimming against the crowd. Value investing is an intellectual exercise. You are building theories. These are the theories you find exciting but majority of the people don't see. The line between great insights and insanity is blur. There is this "who else will understand me?" feeling.

Fourth, this is a two-way street. I learned a lot in the past years from many many great value bloggers and writers. Investing is such an imprecise art. Both skills and luck are blended beyond recognition in any investment result. Because of this, there are many deep-rooted myths and misconceptions. What counts more is the process. There is this urge in me to share with others the process I've learned and what I see now. I hope readers can benefit from it.

I don't pretend I know everything. Investing is very much a journey of learning and reflection. It is a humbling activity.

I'd love to hear from you if you have any thoughts, suggestions or anything investing related. You can contact me at john (at) portfolio14.com.



  1. have u looked at Boral Ltd (BLD AU)

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  3. I was wondering if (as an Australian), you've ever looked at Emeco Holdings? It's one of my larger holdings.

    1. I did. And I'm aware of your post.

      I've looked at half a dozen of "mining services" companies with the intention to invest in a basket. But I ended up only buying SWK, partly because I have better ideas elsewhere, partly because I don't have the conviction.