The Art of Boring™ was created for curious and passionate investors. We share strategies, frameworks, and insights to help readers and listeners make better investment decisions. Our aim? To provide some bottom-up, long-term investing signal to cut through the short-term noise.

  • Beakerhead 2017: Up against all odds

    This week we have the pleasure of partnering again with Beakerhead, a Calgary-based charitable organization that “brings together the arts, sciences, and engineering sectors to build, engage, compete, and exhibit interactive works of art, engineered creativity and entertainment.”

    September 13, 2017

  • The age of data monopolies

    About a decade ago, was an investor to ask, “What are the best businesses? The ones nearly immune to competition?” the most robust options on the market were arguably two-way network-effect businesses.

    August 30, 2017

  • Stroke of the pen risk

    The risk that a change in the rules governing an industry could impair an institution's financial performance—more casually known as “stroke of the pen risk,”—is something that all companies are exposed to in varying degrees.

    August 23, 2017

  • Don’t ignore the dragon

    We must not ignore the dragons in our lives or they will grow bigger and bigger, until they are destabilizing. Acknowledging your dragons is necessary to keep them kitten-sized.

    August 16, 2017

  • The anatomy of trust

    For investors, trust is an especially fascinating topic. It’s often a factor within the investment thesis since it relates to management teams. And yet, how should we consider “trust” in the context of management teams? How much trust is really enough to invest with someone? And is it ever prudent to fully trust a management team?

    August 9, 2017

  • Argentina’s 100 year “Houdini” bond

    Reminiscent of master escape artist Harry Houdini—who made a small fortune performing upside down and bound in heavily shackled circumstances—Argentina issued a $2.75 billion century bond in U.S. dollars at an interest rate of 7.125%.1 This means that the Argentinian government doesn’t have to pay investors back until the year 2117.

    July 19, 2017

  • Are all New Zealanders male and vegetarian?

    In our experience, it is useful to have a checklist to question the validity of statistics. We find checklists to be powerful tools in our research process—especially in our forensic accounting and risk work—and they are no less potent here. And one of the simplest first “checks” when it comes to evaluating a stat is what I will call the New Zealand vegetarian problem.

    June 28, 2017

  • Bayes for days: What to do with signal

    We need to ask: what is the best way to deal with new information? Fortunately, there is a tool that can help us with this problem: Bayes’ Theorem.

    June 21, 2017

  • Skydiving in a squirrel suit: Understanding the risks of NVCC bonds

    Since 2010, there has been growth in a certain breed of bond in debt markets. This bond has a unique risk profile: it is a bond until a crisis scenario is triggered and then it turns into equity. If that sounds unappealing to you, we wouldn’t blame you.

    June 14, 2017

  • Scuttlebutt

    Not everybody does it, but for long-term investors, the edge scuttlebutt provides is worth the time and effort.

    June 7, 2017

  • Worrying signals for Russia’s economy

    Two important events involving Russia occurred in the last week. First, Russia amassed a highly suspicious buildup of 20,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. Second, Russia’s yield curve inverted. 

    August 8, 2014

  • Skating over the line

    Narrow rules have a cost. Although there is value in the clarity of rule, process and position, a system must also be flexible. 

    July 29, 2014

  • Language matters

    Just how important is a common language to investing? While some investors view it as the sort of soft, fluffy stuff best left to liberal arts majors, empirically—and in our experience— it is an essential feature of high performing investment teams.

    July 24, 2014

  • The toothbrush test

    A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Google’s Toothbrush Test. Contrary to the images that the name inspires, this test does not involve sticking a web-enabled toothbrush into your mouth to collect data on your molars. Instead, it relates to how Google allocates capital.

    July 11, 2014

  • Look for the baby

    This past week, one of my colleagues shared a learning at our weekly research meeting. Christian and his wife, Siggi, were on vacation when Siggi unfortunately dropped her iPhone into the bath. 

    July 10, 2014

  • Waiting in line: The high cost of red tape

    Imagine you spent 4% of your life waiting in line. Given that there are 8,765 hours in a year, this would imply that you spent 350 hours each year staring at the backs of people’s heads. 

    July 4, 2014

  • The art of survival

    The restaurant industry is tough. Virtually anyone with decent cooking skills and a modest amount of capital can open one; the barriers to entry are quite low. Restaurateurs must also face an unpredictable customer base, as well as significant competition and substitutes.

    June 26, 2014