C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

819 articles in list

Data as a Moat

  We enjoyed this talk by Stanford Professor Andrew Ng.  He makes the case that in an era of Artificial Intelligence, access to data with which to train your algorithms can create an economic moat.  While the algorithms themselves can be easily replicated or copied, the huge data sets required…

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Just-In-Time Shortages & Opportunity Costs

For the first time since 1931, General Motors has been dethroned as the largest U.S. auto manufacturer.  During 2021, Toyota sold 2.3m cars in…

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Muslim World Demographics

About 25% (and growing) of the world’s population is Muslim. This map shows the geographic reach of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing religions. CCI, a Cook & Bynum holding since 2018, is the Muslim world’s leading Coca-Cola bottler. Currently serving only 430 million of the world’s 2…

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Chick-fil-A Unit Economics

We have long admired Chick-fil-A’s business both as consumers and as business analysts.  The family-owned company has created incredible wealth and value for its owners through a combination of an ownership culture, a simple but clear value proposition, excellent customer service, and attractive unit economics.  It does not surprise us…

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The Lightest Beer Bottle in the World

Sustainability is an important topic for our businesses, and in the beverage space, sustainability initiatives often lead directly to cost savings. This story about AB InBev’s efforts to reduce waste in packaging is an interesting example. All the beverage companies in our portfolio have taken prudent approaches to sustainability that…

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DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Approach

We take internet privacy seriously and use DuckDuckGo as our primary search engine. Recent Federal warrants being issued for anyone that searched certain keywords should…

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1908 Network Effects

Network effects can be an important competitive advantage for companies. Though the importance of network effects must have been evident in Phoenician trading routes and 19th century railroad companies, the first reference to network effects that we know of comes in AT&T’s 1908 Annual Report describing the telephone business. It…

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New On Our Bookshelf – Nomad Letters

Nick Sleep and Qais Zakaria’s Nomad Investment Partnership Letters to Partners 2001-2014 offer a treasure trove of great insights. One idea worth highlighting is…

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Weed-Killing Robots

Using the latest technology to improve agriculture yields has been important since at least the beginning of the Iron Age and the resulting iron plow, but we still get excited about it.    In the corner of an Ohio field, a laser-armed robot inches through a sea of onions, zapping weeds…

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Another Algorithm Application

Geico’s new partnership with Tractable is a different application of algorithms beyond user engagement.  Akin to advances in medicine where computers pattern-match scans to diagnose conditions, Geico and other auto insurers are using technology to speed the insurance claims and repair process.  This win-win approach is both consumer and cost-friendly.  Geico, the nation’s second-biggest auto insurer, will try to speed up vehicle…

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China’s Modern Propaganda Machine

Xi Jingping’s consolidation of power in China is not new news.  The ruling party’s re-versioning of history through a modern propaganda effort is both petty and chilling, particularly with the backdrop of widespread human right atrocities in the northwestern part of the country.  Xi’s re-embrace of Mao, rejection of financial market reforms, and desire to realign commerce with…

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Commodity Correlation in LatAm

One of our favorite and most informative sources of information are the charts delivered by The Daily Shot; we would recommend it to you. This chart caught our eye – Gavekal Research shows a strong positive relationship between commodity price changes and GDP growth in Latin America.  This correlation matches…

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