Reconsidering OnDeck & Data Network Effects

February 12, 2016 Moats 5 Comments

In my post on OnDeck (ONDK) I included the collection of user data as key competitive advantage. Specifically, I thought ONDK benefited from “data network effects.”  What are data network effects?  As an online platform (such as ONDK< Google, Facebook,…

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An Ephemeral Form of Value: Thoughts on the 2015 Pershing Square Investor Letter

January 29, 2016 Moats 16 Comments

The 2015 annual letter from Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square makes for some interesting reading.  After seeing his fund decline by 20.5% in 2015 versus a 1.4% increase for the S&P 500, Ackman is prompted to undertake an assessment of what…

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Time Warner (TWX): A Compelling Short?

January 26, 2016 Moats 2 Comments

There is an interesting short thesis for Time Warner Inc. (TWX) on VIC. The author lays out one potential scenario for the outcome of competition between the cable networks and the OTT providers.  He sees the cable networks as obsolete…

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OnDeck Capital (ONDK) & The Re-Engineering of Small Business Lending

January 19, 2016 Moats 5 Comments

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, warned in his 2014 annual shareholder letter in 2015 that "Silicon Valley is coming" for banking's bread and butter. It was a pivotal moment, because traditional banks are deep-pocketed monsters with large…

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Cable One:  A Starkly Different Approach to The US Cable Industry

September 24, 2015 Moats 6 Comments

“In nature and in business, specialization is key.  Just as in an ecosystem, people who narrowly specialize can get terribly good at occupying some little niche.  Just as animals flourish in niches, similarly, people specialize in the business world –…

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Charter:  John Malone’s Return to The US Cable Industry

September 4, 2015 Moats 10 Comments

“It’s the law of nature. Big bubbles get bigger, small bubbles disappear — it’s surface tension, the law of physics; and in business it’s scale economics. It had to happen.” -John Malone For twenty-four years, from 1973 to 1996, Malone…

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Q2 2015 Form 13-F Summary

August 16, 2015 Moats 5 Comments

The following is a summary of the tweetstorm produced by @BluegrassCap with some refinement by me. Updated Compounders Watchlist, Q2 2015 Companies are sourced from 37 funds who concentrate their best ideas in growing companies with high returns on capital…

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Discovery Communications & the Uncertain Future of Pay-TV

July 15, 2015 Moats 11 Comments

For years, even as the Internet razed much of the profits at newspapers, magazines, books, and music labels, cable-TV networks kept making big money. More recently, as consumers shifted their viewing time from live television to various on-demand options, anxiety…

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Why Did John Malone Invest in Lions Gate?

June 2, 2015 Moats 15 Comments

Just like making movies. God help us if we think we can pick winners and losers when it comes to making movies. Even the good guys don’t know how to do that. There are certain fields, in my experience, that…

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Sirius XM Holdings & The Subscription Media Business

April 10, 2015 Moats 11 Comments

On February 17, 2009, SiriusXM Holdings Inc. (SIRI) found itself in dire straits.  With the economy and particularly the new car market collapsing, SIRI was dangerously close to bankruptcy.  The most urgent problem was a loan of $175 million due…

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