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January 31, 2018

The Perils of Public Proclamations

Notes on the fight between Tesla fans and short-sellers

One of the things I fundamentally dislike about publishing research—or otherwise going public with investment opinions—is the effect it has on the psyche.


I still do it of course because, well, it’s my job. However, great investors have or develop an ability to remain objective in the sense that they do not bow to the pressures to remain externally consistent. That is, they realize there is a non-trivial chance they’re wrong. They know with certainty they will at times be wrong. The key then is to develop methods and heuristics for (a) circumventing definitive statements; (b) defining conditions, ex-ante, in which their view would be mistaken and thus need altering; and most importantly, (c) promptly facing the music when they are wrong. Hence, they have an amazing ability to choose reality—that which might hurt but is most likely to be true—over ego and public perception. They do not attempt to will their rightness into being.