TECH INVEST?

"Not only individual firms, but also entire industries must be judged as to their ability to keep pace with the needs of the future. The investor has to be certain that neither the products of the company in which he invests nor the particular industry itself will become obsolete in a few years." J Paul Getty

“Consider the field of technology. The rate of “creative destruction” have never been faster. The new products are a boon to the consumer but a bane to the legacy company. Avoid companies that are subject to technological obsolescence” Christopher Browne

“The durability of technology moats is many times an oxymoron.” Mohnish Pabrai

“In an era of rapid technological change, investors must be ever vigilant, even with regard to companies that are not involved in technology but are simply affected by it. In short, today’s good businesses may not be tomorrow’s” Seth Klarman

“Over the last two decades, the internet has destroyed many long-established business models – in advertising (Yellow Pages), media (newspapers), retailing (bookshops), and entertainment (music industry and video rental).  Investors who underestimated the disruptive impact of new technology have lost money”  Marathon Asset Management

“Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change.” Warren Buffett

“We don’t invest in tech, simply because we don’t understand it and because it’s valued on if-come-maybe” Sam Zell

"I note with no particular surprise that my most consistent losers were the technology stocks" Peter Lynch

“Predicting the long-term economics of companies that operate in fast-changing industries is simply far beyond our perimeter .. we just stick with what we understand” Warren Buffett

“We focus a lot on disrupters:  What they’re doing, what they could do. When we’re making an investment in a non startup-type company, we ask ourselves, “Who’s going to disrupt this company or industry?” Then, “Let’s really think about it, so we don’t make the wrong investment.”  Henry Kravis

“Companies with short product lifecycles face a constant challenge; they must develop new products or re-invent themselves regularly or risk losing market share or profitability. Consider computer hardware manufacturers or video game developers, for example. As new technologies or games come to market, prior versions quickly become obsolete, or at least fall in popularity. Therefore, continuous investments in research, product development, and marketing are required just to stay in place, much less to increase market share or profitability” Murray Stahl

“We’d like to believe any business is analysable, but when you have product cycles of only twelve months, as an investor you’re very reliant on the company hitting that window exactly right. If they don’t and somebody else does, you can buy low all you want, but you find out pretty quickly that you were buying a future income stream that was a mirage. We haven’t sworn off technology entirely, but we’ve essentially sworn off investing in short-product-cycle technology.” Larry Robbins

“I like businesses with long product cycles – say, cornflakes as opposed to cell phones – where there’s less risk of technological obsolescence” Murray Stahl

“We focus on companies with long competitive-advantage periods, which puts a premium on truly understanding the business dynamics over time” James Crichton

“A well managed technology company could always be toppled by a clever competitor or the latest scientific eureka from a rival” Shelby Davis

“There are some general rules. I’m not interested in investing in rapidly changing industries which means, generally speaking biotech, tech or anything that is moving real fast is not of interest. I’m looking for businesses in steady state industries” Mohnish Pabrai

“In the technology sector, and especially in consumer electronics, where replacement cycles are short and consumers are open-minded to new and better products, market share changes can be dramatic and difficult to reverse” Marathon Asset Management

“It is still surprising how many investment fads have elaborate spindrifts of ethereal logic which, when stripped away, are really dumb.” Paul Singer 

“There are risks of obsolescence in high-technology stocks that do not give us the margin of safety we cherish” Ed Wachenheim

“It’s very hard to look at a tech company and go 5 or 10 years out and have a good picture of what the company might look like” Mohnish Pabrai

"In technology if you're not growing, you're in effect dying." Jim Chanos

"We do have a harder time in technology businesses understanding the durability of the competitive advantage." Frank Martin

"Competitive advantages in the technological world are rare and often not durable. The rapid progress in technology, while delightful to consumers, is rarely a source of riches for shareholders. Yahoo! lost a good portion of its competitive advantage in 2004 to another business that went public that year: Google."  Francois Rochon

“We avoid many areas in technology because of the speed of the product cycles and the magnitude of change from cycle to cycle” Adam Weiss

“A business that must deal with fast moving technology is not going to lend itself to reliable evaluations of its long term economics. Did we foresee thirty years ago what would transpire in the television manufacturing or computer industries? Of course not (nor did most of the investors and corporate managers who enthusiastically entered those industries.) Why the, should Charlie and I now think we can predict the future of other rapidly evolving businesses? We’ll stick instead with the easy cases. Why search for a needle buried in a haystack when one is sitting in plain sight?” Warren Buffett

“It’s no surprise that the best returning stocks over time have been in areas like consumer goods where change is relatively incremental” Marathon Asset Management

“I am not going to be able to figure what the moat is going to look like for Oracle, Lotus or Microsoft, ten years from now. Gates is the best businessman I have ever run into and they have a hell of a position, but I really don‘t know what that business is going to look like ten years from now. I certainly don‘t know what his competitors will look like ten years from now. I know what the chewing business will look like ten years from now. The Internet is not going to change how we chew gum and nothing much else is going to change how we chew gum.” Warren Buffett

"When I look at a company, I ask myself whether I can state with near certainty that the business will exist and be flourishing in ten years time or longer"  Robert Vinali

“I have very little interest in industries with rapid change. Buffett says industries with rapid change are the enemy of the investor” Mohnish Pabrai

"We don’t like to take technology risk, which often leads us to software companies or instrument companies that have a significant service element to them." Jeffrey Ubben

“We don’t do a lot in technology. Successful technologies change something, creating an efficiency or demand that wasn’t there before. But the very fact the change happens means somebody else can come along and change it again. If, because of the threat of technological obsolescence, I’m uncertain about a company’s cash flows several years out, I’ll put a big discount on those cash flows and conclude they’re not worth much. Because Wall Street tends to put a large value on the future cash flows of technology companies, we rarely find one that we consider very attractive” Ed Wachednheim

“Our problem – which we can’t solve by studying up – is that we have no insights into which participants in the tech field possess a truly durable competitive advantage” Warren Buffett

"A computer company can lose half its value overnight when a rival unveils a better product, but a chain of donut franchises in New England is not going to lose business when somebody opens a superior donut franchise in Ohio. It may take a decade for the competitor to arrive, and investors can see it coming" Peter Lynch

"The extent of survivorship bias is just hugely underrated in technology. It wasn’t that long ago there were a large number of personal-computer makers, including some estimable companies that have since fallen by the wayside. I think there are easier ways to make money for your clients." Frank Martin

"We spend a lot of time thinking about technology and how it may alter things" Bill Miller

“New products are dangerous, especially in the computer field as technological breakthroughs bring price slashing every year.   What I have always looked for instead are the downstream users of new technologies.  I’ve bought the stocks of companies that buy, use, and exploit the computers and electronics to reduce costs, revitalise their businesses, and add functionality to their products.  Since the Industrial Revolution began, going downstream – investing in businesses that will benefit from new technology rather than investing in the technology companies themselves – has often proved the smarter strategy.  Those who really made money out of the new technology (of steam locomotives) were not the transportation people but those who bought real estate in Chicago in the 1880’s and 1890’s.  Recognizing a transforming technology and then investing downstream from it should be a key concept for any direct stock investor.” Ralph Wanger

"We look for industries that are undergoing some dramatic improvements in their end markets that may not yet be realized in their price. To get to those, we look for things like regulatory changes, policy changes, or demographic changes. Probably the most prolific is technological change, and I don't mean the PC change, but changes in an industry due to different kinds of technology being used. We find that often provides ripe areas for further investigation and a way to develop themes." Jim Brilliant

"Every company in today's age is a technology company somehow, but the technology may not be cutting edge, and may not play an important role in the success or failure of the overall business.  Successful technology companies are the ones that are capable of reinventing themselves and dealing with change."  Li Lu