Happy Mid Autumn Festival To The InvestingNote Team! + TTI’s Top 5 Generals List (Updated)

I remember reading an interview that Li Ka Shing gave some years back, and he was asked a hypothetical question about how a young person with XXXX amount of HKD (salary) per mth, should spend his money. I can’t find the interview right now, and anyone who knows what I’m talking about, if you could please kindly point me in the right direction, I’d include the link here.

But I do remember it clearly.

Li Ka Shing’s answer was very detailed. I can’t remember the exact breakdown, but he gave a detailed answer allocating a certain amount for food, a certain amount for savings, a certain amount for rent, a certain amount for clothing (and I remember he even mentioned the types of clothings like 1 x formal attire etc)….

But the 1 surprising item that stuck in my mind all this while was that he specifically said you should set aside XXX amount to meet, and treat if you have to, people every month. And these people are not just random people. It will have to be people that you either look up to and want to learn from, or people that you can seek advice on specific matters, or people that may value add or help you attain your goals, or just people that’d inspire you.

Since then, although I wouldn’t say I adapt his advice to the letter T, in general, I’ve always set aside sat afternoons for such meetings.

Weekday evenings are generally too rushed, with work usually extending till late. So they’re usually set aside for work meetings and/or frivolous meet ups, or for squeezing in some exercise in the gym so that I can bluff myself that I do work out.

Sundays are family days, and on occasion, I do get work done in the office on Sundays.

Sat evenings are generally set aside for either “Me-time” or for me to do planning for the kids aka set the structure and immediate goals for them to attain, and monitor their progress.

Which leaves sat afternoons as the only viable time for me to follow LKS’s advice.

On this note (pun pun pun), my latest meet up last sat, was with Shanison, the Founder of InvestingNote.

It’s been about 4(?) or 5 years since we last met, and so many things have changed since then.

For starters… we’ve both gotten visibly fatter. HAHA. Sorry bro, that’s my 1st impression when I saw you.

TTI’s face obscured because I am shy but Shanison isn’t.

At that point, InvestingNote was smaller and a true blue start up. Ethan, who is now the COO, was the marketing manager then.

I’m really glad for Shanison and his team, to hear that in the years since we last met up, he has managed to transform IN from a mere struggling start up, into something much stronger, much more stable and financially more secure. They’ve expanded both laterally and vertically, and even geographically.

All start ups face this initial phase affectionately known as the “Valley of Death”. It’s taught in all MBA programmes. 95% of startups fail within this phase. That’s why, it’s actually… stupid to start a business. LOL.

It really is. You actually need to be a bit illogical to start something from scratch. It’s like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Everything hits you with such a ferocity, you can’t breathe.

I also generally love to meet and listen to stories of entrepreneurs. If you do that often enough, you’d soon realize that their stories are kinda like Hollywood action movies. Every movie is different, with different plots, different characters and all that… but yet, there’s also a certain pattern: There’s always a hero or a group of heroes, there’s always an adversity, there’s usually a villain, a period of time in the movie where the good guys appear to be losing, and finally, there’s a turnaround, and finally, a happy ending. Sometimes, there’d also be a twist along the way, thrown in.

So what was supposed to be a quick, short 15min coffee session, turned into a 4hr long discussion/sharing session as we shared stories of our adventures in the past 4-5 years.

It was extremely enjoyable for me. I really do like listening to such stories. And apparently, we’re going to continue with the stories in 2 weeks.

Here, I’d also like to reveal a trivial: Team ThumbTack’s associate helping out with some of the site administration, coincidentally, happens to be IN’s 1st ever intern years ago. And to date, they keep in touch, are chummy with each other, and said associate has nothing but nice words to say of his ex bosses.

So yeah, to all bosses: remember that your ex-employees will turn into unpaid “marketing agents”, whether it’s for the better or worse!

Finally, I’d also like to wish Team IN a happy Mid Autumn Festival, and yeah, thanks for the yummy gift!

In the 2nd part of this post, I’d like to just quickly update my “top 5 generals list”. Since my last post (https://thumbtackinvestor.wordpress.com/2021/09/05/thumbtack-fund-report-9-you-shouldve-gone-for-the-head/), many have asked me about my 5 generals.

There have been some changes. Rather significantly in fact.

In my last 5 generals list (https://thumbtackinvestor.wordpress.com/2021/06/16/thumbtack-fund-new-no-1-general/), the list looked like this:

TTI’s 5 Generals

  1. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (9101), Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (9104), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd (9107)
  2. Alibaba Group (BABA, 9988)
  3. Broadcom (AVGO)
  4. Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH)
  5. Rocket Companies (RKT)

That list was posted in June 2021. Since then, top general, the 3 Japanese shipping firms, have done incredibly well, and added significantly TTF’s stellar returns.

I’d just use the 1st, Nippon YKK (9101) to illustrate:

In the 3 months or so since I’ve posted the list, it has returned… almost exactly 100%!

That’s some hands-down, crazy-ass, world beating ROI for 3 months.

I don’t care if you’re an Ackman or a Miller or a Klarman or a Buffett or a Burry or a whatever investing god you might think of, 100% return in 3 months will pretty much trash EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, with a lot of spare chump change lying around.

Even these investing gods would’ve been proud of TTI’s top general (all 3 of them!).

TTI’s top general is like a Guan Yu and Zhao Yun and Lu Bu and Ma Chao and Zhang Fei all rolled into 1, cutting through enemies like a blazing red hot knife through already soft butter!

General no.2 (BABA) hasn’t done quite as well, and as I’ve illustrated in my last post, Xi has been a thorn in the side of TTF. (https://thumbtackinvestor.wordpress.com/2021/09/05/thumbtack-fund-report-9-you-shouldve-gone-for-the-head/)

General no.3 (AVGO) has done reasonably well this year, being up around 17.2% YTD, and that’d normally be excellent, especially since they also throw in a 3% dividend yield or so. But even this kind of performance cannot beat S&P’s this year, so surely I can’t be overly elated at that.

General no.4 (PSTH) has been a dud. I blame Ackman for this. I simply cannot believe that a genius like Ackman, and PSH’s very very well paid legal counsel team, have failed to see this coming. Gosh. In chess, we notate this kinda moves with a (??) at the back and it’s called a “blunder”. BLEH! This is the last time I’ve trusting my monies with these so -called geniuses. TTI is better off trusting my own instincts. Ackman, if you ever read this, consider allocating some of PSH’s fund to TTF instead. I’m smaller, but more nimble, sharper, move more rapidly, and I dare say, probably smarter too, looking at what you’ve been doing.

General no.5 (RKT) hasn’t done well either, but I am not overly concerned as the business itself continues to show progress, and Farner continues to increase their moat against other competitors. It’s still going to be a tough environment as we reportedly start to move into a rate hike cycle, either in Q4 this year or Q1 2022. In the near term, I might have under estimated how much of an importance the macro conditions play in determining market sentiment and consequently, the share price performance.

My new top 5 generals list:

TTI’s 5 Generals

  1. ASML Holding (ASML)
  2. Accenture Plc (ACN)
  3. Broadcom (AVGO)
  4. Alibaba Group , Tencent (BABA, 9988, 700)
  5. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (9101), Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (9104), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd (9107)

If something has fallen off the 5 general list, it doesn’t mean that I’ve liquidated and taken profit or taken the loss. It may just mean that there are better candidates around.

For eg, my PSTH holdings remains constant. I might be very pissed with Ackman, but trading at below NAV now, it’d be dumb to cut loss. I think I’d still come out of this a winner, except that it’d take much longer than I expect it to, and it’d probably end up underperforming S&P, which is actually incredibly difficult to beat. So much so that I tend to not trust, until verified, anyone who says they can beat S&P consistently.

The current top 5 general list indicates a shift towards a focus on business moats. If we do move into a rate hike cycle, these guys are, imo, the most immune to a liquidity drain. They are either already beaten down like general no.4, or they have pricing power that’d protect the businesses’ products and market share.

Also, the list does somewhat indicate my order of preference, although it doesn’t necessarily indicate the position size. Because position size can change drastically in some instances.

Alright, that’s the end of my post.

Till the next time.



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