The first day of Best Ideas 2017 just ended, less than an hour ago, and I want to take a few moments to share personal reflections — both while especially timely and while the thoughts are fresh in my mind.  Here it goes!

I personally love investment opportunities that distill to a “GoodCo – BadCo” pattern set, in which the blended dynamic leads to masked core financials, the divestment process serves as an inflection point (and creates a very well capitalized balance sheet) and the eventual pure-play GoodCo one day sparkles as the underlying realities are both easier to understand and the financials are easier to see via stock screens.  (…whew, all in one breath!)

This happens to be precisely the type of “set up” detailed by Travis Cocke, in his presentation at Best Ideas 2017.  Naturally, I absolutely loved his idea, but actually more importantly, cherished the opportunity to further understand how he approaches the art of intelligent investing.   Voss Capital is most certainly an investment organization we will be watching, admiring, and cheering for – in the years ahead!

While the overarching theme of “GoodCo – BadCo” as a recurring opportunity is not a point lost to Matthew Sweeney, either, as several of his investments showcase similar reasoning — his investment idea at Best Ideas 2017 grabbed my eye as leveraging the power of time arbitrage.   Matthew is fortunate to manage a partnership with truly aligned investors, and look for opportunities where patience is both a virtue and a potentially hidden asset, which he enunciated loudly and clearly.  We’re proud to showcase his domain expertise and, again, are humbled to showcase the work of Laughing Water Capital.

Scott Miller of Greenhaven Road recently shared with an insight-packed memo entitled Stable Patient Capital Allows Pursuit of Invisible Companies.   The two ideas that Scott explored at Best Ideas 2017 exhibit many of the characteristics enunciated in this essay — and are situations where, much like Matthew, a well-designed investment vehicle enables the execution of a well-reasoned long-term investment thesis.

Abhay Deshpande was a first-time instructor at Best Ideas 2017, and is a terrifically sophisticated manager I hope we will have the opportunity to showcase at our future events.  While I am not supposed to have favorite ideas — the situation that Abhay explored, in quite extensive detail, was in my opinion one of the more eye-opening presentations, giving a real-time and real-world glimpse into the how a true professional pursues the art of investing into wide-moat, compounder-style opportunities.  While there’s no question that all instructors spent a good deal of time and energy preparing for Best Ideas 2017 — it’s wonderfully obvious that Abhay, and his team, very much did their homework to deliver a presentation that was exceptionally crisp, clear, and sets a high standard for others to follow.

The Manual of Ideas featured Glenn Surowiec in our most recent issue, and it was wonderful to sit back and hear him reason through his investment process and thinking with an in-depth example.   Looking forward to catching up, hopefully at The Zurich Project!