Investment Thesis Envy

Some of my favorite blogger-investors have posted recently on the whys and wherefores behind their investment approach, including Fred Wilson on his latest fund at Union Square, Brad Feld on the launch of Foundry Group, and Paul Graham on what sets Y Combinator apart from traditional VC.

While each of these three has a slightly different take on where and how to make smart bets, collectively they reinforce my suggestion in a recent post that:

“…smart investing is smart investing no matter what you’re buying: know exactly what you want to buy, know exactly why you want to buy it, and have the patience to wait until you find exactly what you’re looking for at a price you know is fair.”

While it’s nowhere near as crisp or comprehensive as the frameworks advanced by these three, all of my recent bets have been informed by a set of ideas about where opportunities exist and why small companies succeed or fail. Taken together with my recent dive into Charlie Munger’s thoughts and writings, the posts above crystallized for me the importance of codifying and documenting my own investment thesis, partly to help in screening new investments, and partly to shine a brighter light on my ideas to see which ones really stand up to scrutiny.

This is no small task, and I expect the act of writing it down alone to point out some ugly cracks and inconsistencies. My plan is to break the topic down into a series of posts over the next few weeks. I’ll title them all with “Investment Thesis” so you can read or skip as you see fit. As always, reader feedback and questions are more than welcome.

1 Comment

  1. booomer

    Chris Devore: I have enjoyed this past hour’s trip through your very perspicacious reflections on start-ups, Charlie Munger, integrity, passion, and fairness, especially.

    I live just over the hill from you, in Ballard, and I’d love to treat you to lunch @ Louies Chinese, just North of the Ballard Bridge, on any soon-noon of your choice.

    You can get a very concise thumbnail bio on Goggle @ “Brian Hughes Barron”, where you’ll find my WIPO patent published on the “Aero-thermal Energy Technology Platform.”

    At this juncture I not looking for a lot of money, but the kind of “flying experiences’ that you have acquired in your entrepreneurial travels, & I like your parameters of fairness.

    I have been a “lone eagle” to date in my monomaniacal focus on this patent to “burn water”, so am searching for a “wing man” with sharp local navigational skills to continue this journey of “strategic innovation design”.

    Hope you can spare a lunch to get acquainted……

    Best regards,
    Brian Hughes Barron
    General Innovation

    Brian Hughes Barron is Founder & CEO of General Innovation, inc., a Seattle-based strategic innovation design shop. His “Aero-thermal Energy Platform” patent was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on 6-25-09. Prior endeavors were Anchorage District Manager for Pittsburgh Testing Laboratories and as VP & GM of Chicago Flameproof & Wood Preserving.

    During the Viet Nam conflict Captain Barron flew 1,234 missions as a combat qualified fighter pilot with the USAF & 124th Tactical Fighter Squadron, where he was designated the most junior “Expert Pilot” in the Air Defense Command. Brian received a Full NROTC scholarship to Iowa State University, where he graduated with a BS in Distributed Studies in 1962.

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